Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March madness...and loveliness

I've hardly posted this month. It's been so busy. Good, but busy.

We had the fashion show featuring recycled and/or renewable materials. My last post has pics from the fashion show, which was almost 2 weeks ago, and since then I have been busy..... a fundraiser for papaloko4kids, a nonprofit empowering Haitian kids through art. Jude "papaloko" Thegenius is a Haitian American living in Miami, working with kids and the arts in both Miami and Haiti.Check out Jude's artwork, and if you live near Miami, check out his evolving cultural center.

Jude guided us in the kitchen as we made red beans with rice, twice fried plantains, and fish with lime sauce. Jude rocked it in the kitchen with the ladies and showed us how to cook up a Haitian feast. Whenever we'd thank him, he would tell us to thank his Mama. Well, if I knew her I would.

The food combined with some local entertainment and a small silent auction made for a lovely evening. We hosted the gathering at a local church's beautiful new gathering center. We had some beans and rice left over, so we donated it to the church, which holds a Saturday night gathering service where they serve a free meal.

I also helped out some at E's 3rd grade play. At Waldorf school, in 3rd grade, they study the old testament (they go on to also study other religions and regions of the world). They acted out the story of Moses. It was soooooo sweet.

The burning bush.

The Hebrews

The Egyptians (that's my sweet boy, playing an Egyptian guard)

The Pharaoh

The plague

The journey

It couldn't have been sweeter. When I see the plays, and witness how far they come each year, it reaffirms why we take total leaps of faith and bust our booty's to send our kids to Waldorf.

We had friends and family day at E's school, where we got to observe in the classroom and take a tour through the grades.

My parents came all the way from Minnesota for a visit, and were able to be there for the day, and several days thereafter.

We, of course, had to have some Easter fun.

Today, we bussed it to the pool. My car is currently having transmission problems...ugh. The boys were totally stoked to take the bus though, pics to come later (blogger is really sloooow at loading my pics) on that adventure. Whew, I'm glad today is the last day of March. It's been fun, but I'm ready to slow back down a little.

Tomorrow morning, I head out on my 3rd solo mama trip to the big city (in 6 years). THE big city, New York city. I'm so looking forward to being in the city, going to the museum of modern art, seeing one of my African dance teachers perform in Fela on Broadway, eating ethnic food, taking pictures of the city, attending black church in Brooklyn on Easter Sunday (can I get a Hallelujah?!) and spending time with one of my favorite friends on the planet. I'll miss my family, but I'll be back Monday and they'll get the treat of alone time with Papa (a papa who works way too much). Those pics to come later too.

I have a feeling it's going to be a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

feelings captured

Last night I was reading this book to J (E was busy listening to Harry Potter book on tape). I got all teary and thought, this author captured my thoughts and feelings about my precious children and if only every child could hear these kinds of words every day, how different the world might be. I want to take this book to orphanages the world over, or perhaps even just some of its words, to let every single child know how special and one of a kind they really are.

On the Night You Were Born

by Nancy Tillman

On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
"Life will never be the same."

Because there had never been anyone like you......
ever in the world.

So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain
that they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.

The sound of your name is a magical one.
Let's say it out loud before we go on.

It sailed through the farmland high on the breeze....
Over the ocean.....
and through the trees....
Until everyone heard it
and everyone knew
of the one and only ever you.

Not once had there been such eyes,
such a nose,
such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.
In fact, I think I'll count to three
so you can wiggle your toes for me.

When the polar bears heard,
they danced until dawn.
From far away places,
the geese flew home.
The moon stayed up until
morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.

So whenever you doubt just how special you are
and you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They're singing a song to remember you by.)
Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It's because they've been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen's whispering your name again.)

If the moon stays up until morning one day,
or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
it's because they're all hoping to see you smile....

Heaven blew every trumpet
and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous
night you were born.

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day, a "global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future."

As women, we have sense of love and nurturing that we are born with. This multiplies when we have children. We relate to other mothers, to other women. We are inspired by those who stand up, use their voices for justice, and act on behalf of all women. Today is a day we can celebrate them! We can be inspired become them. We know that when the women of the household are well taken care of, and able to provide basic necessities for her family, the whole family, and in turn society, are better off.

As women, we are the primary influence in the home. You know what they say.... "When mama ain't happy....ain't nobody happy." Well imagine you're a mother living in poverty, your life turned upside down by war or natural disaster and you are trying to provide for your children. Sometimes children have to work rather than get an education, in order to help the family survive. Sometimes education costs money that the struggling family cannot afford. People really do live without enough. Not enough food. Not enough safety. Not enough opportunity.

Is it depressing to think about? Yes. But we can make a difference. In many ways. We can sponsor a woman through Women for Women International, and organization that supports women war survivors, many of them mothers. We can host a Run for Congo Women in our city. We can be inspired by the many women in this world that are doing things to ensure the well being of women and children around the world. We can check out Half the Sky and encourage others to do so. We can visit CARE'S website and see how else we can help. We can keep these women in our prayers, both the ones who are suffering to survive and the one's who are offering their time, money, and talents to help.

Here's to women; women who make the household go 'round; women who make their communities go 'round; women who raise their children to be stellar human beings; women who work hard to ensure a life for their children; women who help one another. We have a strong voice.

I can't say it better than this poem from Mother's Acting Up.

"we are mothers, sisters, family
wrapped in different cloth, standing under the same wide sky
and we've come to the very end of our silence
together we've found our voice
and it is loud
and it is beautiful
and it sings a love song for our children"

Friday, March 5, 2010


Most recently I have been captured by the phenomenon of kenosis: the path of self-emptying love. This word in Greek literally means 'to empty'. Jesus practiced kenosis, and is an amazing teacher if we are able to hear the message. Whether you're a Christian or not, Jesus is an amazing teacher. In Christianity, it is not Jesus that is the problem, it took me some years to come back 'round to Jesus, to separate Jesus' teachings from the negativity I saw in the Christian church.

Within the last year, I started going back to church. I'm not sure what drew me back in the first place (you know, besides God....) but that first Sunday that I entered the chapel, I was overcome with emotion and love as I sat bathing in the warm sunlight washing over me through the stained glass. I was so pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming message of love. That is not how I had remembered church, or maybe I was just too closed minded to notice. For quite some time, I was stuck in thinking that Christians were like many of the Christians I grew up with at my church.....closed minded, judgmental, hypocritical, and stuck in fear based thinking. I always felt that God should be loved, not feared.....revered, yes, but feared? no.

The first day I went, Cynthia Bourgeault was up at the podium. She is the author of many wonderful books, I recently read The Wisdom Jesus by her. She has studied Christianity in the Wisdom tradition. This form of mystical Christianity has really opened my heart to Christ's message in a way that is pure love, in a way that feels right, a way that incorporates answers to many of the questions that went unanswered for years about the message of Jesus, the messages from God, a way that actually validates a lot of the things I have always felt in my heart about God. In this past year I have been praying a lot. Several times I have had what seems like direct validation via the sermon, or something I have been reading. The answers coming to me validate that I am right to believe my heart. I am on a (lifelong) path of uncovering God's true message. I'm finding original translations from the Bible that can completely change how some of the scriptures have been interpreted.

Just last Sunday, one of our pastors preached a sermon about kenosis. This message is coming at me from multiple directions, it's amazing what can happen when one asks and then listens, really listens. When we are able to let go, become unattached, trust in God and empty ourselves, there is room for God's will. We then have room to really listen. When we "embrace everything, cling to nothing" we are free. Believe me, I am far from achieving this. I cling. I cling to what people think of me. I cling to my dreams. I cling to my life and the life of my children and loved ones. I cling to ideas. I cling to beliefs about things and people. I cling to bad habits. I cling to ideals. What if I just stop clinging and start embracing? We don't have to be a renunciate and give up what we have been blessed with. We can and should embrace them, give thanks for them, but not cling to them. An amazing thing happens when we are able to let go, share ourselves and our things generously and watch the amazing ways we are filled up in return.

I believe we all have deep knowing within us, whether we believe the same things or not. Some of us are farther away from hearing or listening than others, but it is inside all of us and we all have access. Some call it God (like me, for example), some call it Oneness, some call it the Universe, some call it the Goddess, some call it Enlightenment, some call it the Higher Self. I believe it is the same source that lives within us all, no matter what we call it. The opportunity to tune in to it is always there, no matter our circumstances. We need only to recognize it and listen to it. When we can quiet our own mind, our own ego, there it lives.