Sunday, May 23, 2010

All Characters Welcome

Levi was born Tuesday May 18th at 11:39 a.m. Our miracle boy is healthy and full of character. Mom is recovering just fine.

These are the things that Levi has explained to Aunt Nicole in the past 5 days. He says I can spread the word...

1. I love my mom. I try to follow her voice around the room.

 2. If my lip is sucked in..I'm playing possum. You only think I'm asleep.

3. If my lip is pouty looking, I really am asleep.

4. I like..and often be held. Kisses..those are nice too. If I make a fish-face and turn my cheek (see pic above) I expect kisses. If  I do not receive them, I will peek out at you with one eye and try again.

5.Lots of people LOVE me;)

6. I do not like to be read anything by Eudora Welty. It's probably brother and cousins don't like it either.

7. I LOVE to be sang songs from Johnny Cash. It's a good thing Aunt Nicole just learned the words to "I got Stripes" at Kairos last weekend. In a crunch, I Got Stripes...will make me grin

What can I say? We have a lot of characters in our like the adds say...

All Characters Welcome.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Bags Are Packed...

and I'm SO not ready to go... bags are not even packed.

I have spent the past 2 weeks enjoying my time at home.

Big B and I have enjoyed having coffee on the deck. We watch the hummingbirds. He talks to the deer. You know, really charming things like Come here, venison, I have some bread for you... and he always throws out food..and the deer always come while he sweetly calls them names of meals he enjoys eating.

I have learned to drive fence-posts into the ground. I've finished planting the last of the basil in our organic garden. I am learning to guard things. In particular I have been guarding my zucchini from one lone baby chick..who keeps proudly finding ways through my awesome fence work, AND I've been guarding all of our chickens from one big, scary and beautiful hawk.

My method is simple. I watch the hawk, in awe, from a distance. It really is beautiful. When it enters the sky above our yard, I scream and yell and wave my hands while running. I am secretly hoping  that  it is not a human-eating hawk, because it sure looks like one to me!

I decide to enlist some help. I cannot, after all, spend all my time chasing this hawk. We pull out our fake owl and place him on our fence-post. The owl is our head guard, I only do occasional shift work for him (the owl) now.

When I am not screaming like a banshee in our yard,. I am generally, overcooking or under cooking or burning meals. We are still trying to stick to a Mediteranean (for us meaning primarily Italian..and some Greek) Diet. I am so grateful when the boys help cook. Things go much smoother when we work together and they remind me stuff is in the oven or on the stove.

This morning? I am playing on this blog, listening to Norah Jones, rotating laundry..and dreading the stack of dishes that has (yet again) appeared during the night.  It is slowly dawning on me that I am leaving tomorrow for the Kairos Prison Weekend in Hondo.

I have nothing ready. Still need to make a few dozen cookies, bake a cake, prepare some sort-of veggie pot-luck dish and write a bunch of letters. However..since I have no clean clothes..I will be rotating laundry all day.

 Finally? We were given strict orders from Austen's neurologist to stay on Mediteranean Diet, only with limited pasta...and a strict restriction on microwavable foods, anything with MSG, processed meats, etc.

Meaning? Austen and I need to spend some time today figuring out some simple meals he can cook while I am out of town with our veggies and organic red meats, fish and poultry. I guess if worse comes to worse, he can be a "fruit-a-tarian" while I am out of town.

So, today is the last day before I leave for this extended weekend. I am truly looking forward to it. However, Kairos is the first of three "bag-packing" events in a row.

I return on Sunday. On Monday..Austen and I head to SA. I hope to be with my sister during Levi's delivery on Tuesday. Please continue to keep them both in prayer.

Austen has some cardiology follow-ups. (To rule out things like ugh tumors and strokes. Hopefully, the key word here being rule out) So we plan to spend most of the week staying with my parents and hanging around the medical center.

Then? Barring no medical catastrophes (knocking on wood here), we head to Michigan for the Odyssey of the Mind Competition. Approximately 10 days of travel and competition viewing with this fun and motley crew of homeschooled teens and their moms. I am really looking forward to this.

I will return home..about two or three times during the next few weeks, to cook more food, do more laundry, tell Big B  things like hello, I love you..and see ya' later!  Because Big B?? He will continue to stay here and work and work and work. Big B does this so that the rest of us?

We can pack our bags.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Thanks to my Mom...

Yesterday was the reunion of the Mills College strike of 1990

I have spent a lot of time in the past month, reconnecting with old Mills friends, reminiscing about how much this short span of my life helped form the person I am today...and remembering how I was not such an easy person to get along with at that time.

  I had dropped out of Mills, returned home, returned back to the Bay Area..only to discover that I was (gasp) pregnant with my oldest son. I was supposed to go to the SF Music Conservatory, but (ahem) was part of the process that blocked my own Mills transcripts from being sent!. This was my crash course in civil disobedience. My Mills peers fed me vitamin C..for the baby.. during the early strike days, and through it all I maintained my quest to be the true Renaissance Woman. Half-way through the strike I returned to Texas and began forming my own family. I continued to write letters to Trustees and watch the results on t.v.  This was before we all had internet..and I couldn't afford too many long-distance calls!

  My poor mom, did not know if I was coming or going! Yet, she stood beside me in whatever I chose to do. Now..she did not stand by silently. She was happy to give me her opinions along the way. But I always knew that she was standing by me..even if I didn't know how to stand on my own.

  As I was reflecting on all of this, it occurred to me, that my mother has shaped me in more ways than I can ever imagine. Even  more than I like to give Mills credit for. My years at Mills are without a doubt, some of the  most influential in my adult life.. but my mom..she shaped my beliefs, my sense of compassion.

So for her, I would like to give this list of thanks.

Thank you.   for teaching me to be bold  (and to be bold politely).
You taught me to never fear new places,languages, people or things. It is an invaluable gift.

Thank you   for  teaching me the art of conversation..and for passing this on to your grandchildren.  Day after day, week after week and year after year of conversation. You taught me more through conversation alone,  than you can ever imagine.

Thank you  for teaching me I can always ask for directions.

Thank you  for teaching me the value of long-term commitment.

Thank you  for teaching me to stay in motion, when things get tough.

Thank you  for showing by example..that I can work when I want (or feel I  need) and stay home when I want (or feel I need) That I am truly free to engage in living.

Thank you    for supporting me when I am downright obnoxious, and trusting that "this, too, shall pass".

Thank you    for teaching me that "No one is better than me, and I am better than no one."

This morning I saw some photos of current Mills students celebrating the reunion of the Strike. It brought me to tears, to think that another 20  years of women had the luxury of a women's education. An education, by the way, whose goal is NOT anti-men. Rather, it is an education that allows for a small window of opportunity  to really focus on women. A chance for an almost unparalleled view of the world.

Very rarely do you get to say in your life..I was part of something bigger than myself....and here is the benefit of that. The Mills Strike is noted in history as a successful strike.
       We had a revolution.
       There was childcare,
        there was consensus,
       we sent thank you notes,
      we cleaned up after ourselves,
       and we won.
        We won!

I would not have been part of this experience (nor carried the knowledge of this experience into anything I do now). Nor would my own children be budding social-activists, (Pictured are Cody, Austen and friends with Darfur Coalliton at MLK March) if my mom had not been the woman she was and is.

Thanks Mom.

Hope you have a great Mother's Day. Your welcome to come make raviolis with us. (Yvonne is coming up). We're having a ravioli day.

Weekly Menu:
Monday: Irish stew, variety of fruits, dinner rolls, salad
Tuesday: Home-made pizza, stuffed clams, grapes
Wednesday: breakfast jacks, salad
Thursday: spaghetti, bread-sticks, green beans
Friday: zucchini bake, wild rice, sliced tomatoes and carrots
Saturday: corn-bread, beans and salad
Sunday: home-made spinach raviolis. 

Sunday, May 02, 2010

John 13:34-45 short homily for nursing home chapel

 John 13:34-35: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Grace and Peace to you..from God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Love.  What a powerful concept!

Love..has been known to change the course of history, make heroes out of ordinary people. Love can also be a source of tension and doubt. Love has been, and will continue to be, a source of wonderment for centuries past and centuries to come.

The fact is, love is one of the most difficult..and simple.. concepts we can encounter.

In this afternoon's Gospel, Jesus says, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."

So how does God love us? What has he done for you? What has he done for me?

In the past couple of months, I have been spending some time preparing for a prison ministry. We are asked to spend a few days in prison..and simply, listen, love, listen love. We are asked to demonstrate God's grace, to the best of our human abilities.

One of the things that is done in preparation for this prison weekend, is to decorate place-mats for a special dinner. These place-mats are decorated by children. As I worked with groups of children in decorating these place-mats, the children and I spend  a lot of time discussing mistakes. Small mistakes, medium mistakes..and BIG mistakes.

Because I am working with young children..I usually confess to the time I STOLE Easter Candy from a good friend of mine..and then (ahem) BLAMED IT ON THE EASTER BUNNY.

2 really uncool things..I stole from a friend..I passed the blame onto the Easter Bunny. Yet..despite my small brush with crime and my willingness to blame my acts on an innocent bystander, God still loves me...and this type of unconditional love, is what we are asked to share with others.

This discussion on unconditional love..when talking to the younger elementary folks, usually leads to a discussion on..nose picking. Specifically, does God still love you when you pick your nose? We unanimously agree, that Yes, God still loves us. Then, one day, a young girl states. "But i'ts dirty! My mama says nose picking makes you dirty. Does God love me when I'm dirty?!"

..and the answer is Yes. God loves us even when we are dirty.

What has Jesus done for us?

I would like to quote Pastor Nadia from a sermon she gave at House of All Saints and Sinners regarding this question.

He's met us with dirty feet. God was made into man and walked among us--walked among the despised and wretched- the rich and haughty, and did so-does so- when we are unclean. The love of God comes to us, not when God is good and sure we believe all the right 
doctrine, but here, now, when our feet are dirty. He kneels before us and says "Here's what I'm about."

This is all we need to know. God pouring out God's self and saying- Don't be ashamed. I love you..just as you are. do the same!

God's Peace.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Paycheck Player No More

I am typing this after only being unemployed for 36 hours.

Truth is..I don't usually work on Fridays and Saturdays I have been surprised at the strange freedom I feel.

It is strange not having the Club as the backdrop of all my thoughts. I did not realize  how much of my time is spent on planning. You know..while I'm driving, while I'm cooking,while I'm somewhere with my kids... Always contemplating in the back of my head how to problem solve with various kids/families in overcoming some of life's basic hurdles. Also time-consuming is just basic planning in things like Be Great, Young Inventors, Backyard Ballistics, Odyssey of the Mind, Power Hour, etc. It is freeing to just be where I am..and not planning anything. It has been a long time.

Please don't misconstrue this. My family and I have been deeply enriched by our years at the Club

I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Club Staff, Board and Kids when I left. They surprised me with numerous cards, hugs, candy ( freezer is FULL),hugs, a collage of pics from the past 6 years, hugs ..more cards and a skit put on by some of the older OM kids.

The skit was complete with lots of humor on my grouchiness without coffee, my demanding of shower-taking and my ability to get lost everywhere.Made me laugh. Made me cry. More hugging.

..and then I came home.

So what is different? What is the same?

 A lot is the same. Same is the mountains of laundry. The bills to pay. The books to read. The dishes to wash. The garden to care for. The chickens. The family..etc. I am still looking forward to being Levi's aunt. We will still be without an air-conditioner. I am still discouraged by Arizona's passing of anti-immigration laws..and relieved Texas has not followed suit. Yet wondering, as we "secure" borders when our nation will remember that (ahem) The Berlin Wall Fell!..and why we think we are different.  I am still bemused by the Texas Board of Educations latest decision to rewrite history to fit a specific world-view..and wondering if they have LOST THEIR MINDS??? I am still not very good at keeping my opinions to myself....and last, but not least, the genocide in Darfur continues.

I will have no more pay-checks. That will be different.

I had time to visit with Austen's pottery teacher and to even play with the potterywheel. That was a nice different.

I could f-i-n-a-l-l-y say YES to Shakespeare at the Park with the boys this summer.

I had the luxury of hanging around Kerrville with NO AGENDA..while waiting for Cody to take his SAT Math 2.

Tonight I will volunteer at the Relay for Life..because I want to.

I am enjoying planning our road-trip to Michigan with the SAHERO OM team..where I am going as a parent..and nothing more. will be an insane road-trip..with 4 homeschool moms and 7 teens in one van..(or maybe 2?) But I am really looking forward to it.

I am enjoying reading (or re-reading) and discussing the Ender Series with Austen because I have the time to do so.

and most of all????

I am enjoying wearing my own clothes and sandals!