Monday, November 26, 2007

Two Poems

I have been impacted recently by these two poems and would like to share. I find them beautiful, beautiful. Enjoy with me...

A New Way of Struggling

To struggle used to be
To grab with both hands
and shake
and twist
and turn
and push
and shove and not give in

But wrest an answer from it all
As Jacob did a blessing.

But there is another way
To struggle with an issue, a question.

Simply to jump
into the abyss
and find ourselves
being led
slowly and gently
but surely

to the answers God has for us
to watch the answers unfold
before our eyes and still
to be a part of the unfolding.

But, oh! the trust necessary for this new way!
Not to be always reaching out for the old hand-holds.

(Susan W N Duack)

The Prayer of One Ready for Birth

God who creates something
out of nothing
Compassionate Shaper of Clay
Tiller of the Soil
Midwife God
I am ready to be born

I'm giving up the darkness
of the womb
I'm waiting for the life
that you alone can give.

A little light
slipped through a crack last night
and covered up my fears

A promise leaned against my heart
last night
and told me it was mine.

And you were in that promise LORD
And you were in the light.

It's enough to give me hope again
I'm giving up the night.

(Macrina Wiederkehr)

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Holy Longing

I was introduced recently to an exquisitely nourishing soul-book. My moments with tea, in my red chair in the corner, have been rich this week, as I've weaved my way through The Holy Longing, by Ronald Rolheiser.

Rolheiser writes for those in search of a Christian Spirituality. For those of us who have been confused by certain expressions of organized Christianity, especially the aspects that seem contrary to the God we have experienced, or the God we imagine is holding us in the palm of his hands, and is able to hold all that is "us", all that is created and human.

In the dedication, Rolheiser writes:
"For Henri Nouwen, 1932-1996, our generation's Kierkegaard. By sharing his own struggles, he mentored us all, helping us to pray while not knowing how to pray, to rest while feeling restless, to be at peace while tempted, to feel safe while still anxious, to be surrounded by a cloud of light while still in darkness, and to love while still in doubt."

To me, this communicates the grace of God, that my trust can propel me even while I am confused, that my creator does not expect me to understand all. It is okay to feel small and to approach with handfulls of questions. It is okay to keep walking toward the light, to take one step closer, to procede as far as the light shines in that moment.

In the reading of this book, I have felt my inner thoughts understood and expressed. I have felt relieved at points, that my questions are not "bad" or "dark", but part of my yearning for truth, for authenticity.

I especially appreciate the section on the "nonnegotiable essentials" as I navigate my way through the many expressions of Christianity I have experienced thus far. I am trying to find a clear way through, past the confusing inconsistencies and disagreements.

From Thursday-Sunday, I will be away for an Advent Retreat at a beautiful property nearby. I will take two books along, including The Holy Longing. And will settle into the largeness of a God I believe can hold me, and will lovingly accept my questions.

I highly recommend this book as a companion as we enter the Advent season, in preparation for the mystery and wonder of the Nativity.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Great Fish Oil Mishap

I'm not sure why I included this picture. I suppose because it shows the ocean, where varieties of fish come from. And this is a post about fish oil: COD LIVER OIL, to be precise.

You see, a couple of weeks back, one of us (I won't say who) was attempting to take the goat's milk carton from the fridge door. We have two shelves on our fridge door and they are removeable and interchangeable. As the carton was lifted, it nicked the edge of the shelf above and sent all the contents crashing against our STONE, kitchen floor.

One item that shattered with gusto, was a 1/2 liter, glass bottle of $60.00, lemon flavoured Norwegian COD LIVER OIL. And the bottle was nearly full.

I had recently purchased it through our Naturopath and it was to keep us in tip-top nutritional shape during the coming winter.

The house filled with an overpowering lemon scent and I was initially relieved. Lemon isn't too bad, in fact most cleaning products use lemon to cut odors like fish.

But, the world continued to turn. And the next morning, we awoke to the most putrid, rotting fish smell. Walking into the kitchen was like sticking your head in a pail of old fish guts. I mean, seriously! It was overwhelming at best! It filled the house.

You see, I made a mistake. I attempted to wash the towel that was used to sop up the mess. I simply couldn't part with it and decided to try a washing machine rescue. I even washed it on hot, which amplified the smell. BAD idea. REALLY bad idea!

Our washing machine smelled horrible. So, after three washes of empty, large load sized, hot water with vinegar cycles, it started to smell a little better. And I attempted a wash of clothes.

Again, bad idea!

Everything came out smelling like good old rotting COD. Merciful Days!

Since then, I have washed with vinegar and borax and each load gets a tad bit better.

But, the moral of this story is:
**Store fish oil in a safe, out-of-the-way place in the fridge.
**Don't sop up the mess with anything you might want to keep.
**Vinegar is the answer to most smelly cleaning issues.
**Burn lots of incense to cut the smell and purify the air.

And all-in-all, remember that when insane things happen like THIS, it's always good to laugh, smile and think of it as a good story.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Keeping Dreams Alive

My husband and I just returned from our weekly date night. We have decided to have a non-negotiable night out together during which to reconnect as a couple. We have also decided to alternate who plans the experience. Tonight was my night to plan.

First off, we went to the local library and purused the books and magazines for sale. Every so often, the library staff clears out old stock and sells it all for dirt cheap. We both love to thumb through magazines , tearing out pictures as we go, and collecting them into collages. I especially love this. But we've decided to make some collages together, to "dream board" our ideas and dreams for interests and aspirations for our life together. We snagged about 20 great magazines (Living, Architectural Digest, GardenWise) for less than $1.50! Nice!

We then attended a slide presentation (free and at the library) by two remarkable individuals: Anne Brevig and Martin Vennesland. Anne Brevig is the author of a book that chronicles their adventures together called 9 Years on the 7 Seas. She told astounding stories of their years at sea: easing through pirate invested waters, docking in Morroco so Martin could receive emergency back surgery, getting caught in a 2km long fishing net near Iran. I loved listening to her thick Norwegian accent and uniquely honest and straight forward style of storytelling.

At the completion of the talk, the woman who introduced Anne and Martin drew two names of individuals who would each win a copy of Anne's book. My husband's name was drawn, so we now have a gorgeous and inspiring coffee table book about sailing. What a surprise blessing!

In this season of starting a business at home, finances are especially tight. And we have found it difficult to dream. So much of our energy is put toward making ends meet, and trying to have perspective and contentment in the midst of the strain. So tonight felt like a gift. It was inspiring to step aside for a time, and to allow ourselves to dream. And to know that God loves our hearts, and loves the dreams that stir passion for life inside of us. He longs to give us vibrance and blessing and is with us in the journey. These glimpses help us slog through on our way to more financial peace in our life.

Homeschool Room

I took a few more current pictures of our homeschool room and decided to share.I would still like to get my working area more organized and decluttered. But for now (and with our budget) it is working GREAT and I am thrilled to have a little "work" corner of my own. This is (again) the reading tree with a cozy corner chair.
My side of the room: office desk, white board and filing cabinet. My computer and phone will eventually move down here.
A few maps and chalkboard/whiteboard for the kids.
This is my little Soul-baby area. Alley dives it to play as well. But this is especially crucial for entertaining him while engaging in more concentration-heavy activities with Alley.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Beginning

I have started creating a homeschool room. This is the book reading tree. It looks a little different now, with a big chair in the corner instead of the bookcase. But, it gives some idea. Our library is slowly growing. And we are working into the rhythm of daily reading times together in the big chair.

We decided to put Alley into preschool one afternoon a week for a 3 hour block. It is at a local church, a few blocks away. We wrestled with the decision at first, wondering if it would interfere with our goal to homeschool. Would she get too used to a school environment? Would she then be ancy at home?

Gladly, our fears have been relieved by the positive experience we are having. Ms. Joanne is a wonderful, loving woman. She has taught for years and has created an inspiring, creative atmosphere for the kids to learn in. I learn much from her discipline and teaching style. She is a really good fit for Alley's personality and brings out different sides of her. I feel like I am able to observe Alley in a different light one day a week, to learn what she gravitates toward in a group setting, how she responds to different types of leadership/teaching. And since it is only one day, the bulk of her learning still happens at home.

Sometimes, as I weed through all the info coming my way, I feel confused when it comes to how to *start* homeschooling. I'm sure I will revisit this many times as we grasp our personal philosophy more clearly in the coming months before diving into Kindergarten.

But in the meantime, I am reading Charlotte Mason and Susan Wise Bauer. I am weaving my way through the wonderful homeschooling blogs. And in our home, we are reading together lots and lots, and talking about the whys of this and that. We are getting into the rhythm of all-day-every-day learning. Alley reminds me to carve out plenty of time for creative/artistic play. And I quite like it.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

First Blogiversary!

It's hard to believe a year has passed as mamamonk. What a surprise source of joy it has been to reveal and find myself in this space. I want to thank you, my friends and gracious fellow-journeyers, for visiting from time to time, for taking the moments to step in for a glimpse and listen.

I look forward to what this next year holds.