Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013


Rice and black beans with yellow squash, tomatoes, green peppers, and carrots from the garden (and some purple onion, not from the garden). My favorite rice and beans meal thus far!
The boy who was asked to stand up on his chair between each bite of the 7 he took and exclaim, "Mmmmm, that was delicious, mom! Thank you for dinner!" because he complained about what was being served at the precise moment we were reading about kids around the world who are malnourished where beans and rice is a most welcome refuge. Um, ironic. **The audacity** Tsk, tsk, tsk. Kids...
One of the things I find most refreshing about this challenge is it beckons me to step outside myself, each day for an entire week and allow the challenges of the lives of others - people I have not met - to weigh heavily on my mind. To be honest, the malnourished children in the Dominican Republic (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter!) are not a thought that occurs to me all that regularly. Definitely not daily. I all too easily get lost in the details of my own life. The Dominican Republic is a place that has spent next to no time on my radar, other than to remember, "Oh yeah, they are the ones neighboring Haiti." Deep, I know.

The majority of my mental energy is focused on what is right in front of my face.

I think about home schooling and how I will approach providing each of my kids a thorough education while scavenging my own existence which is forever teetering on the precarious edge of sanity.

I think about ways to nurture awe and wonder and desire in a decade and a half long marriage. I think about Flint and if I will ever reach all the way through to truly get to all that is him. I think about my morning coffee and my afternoon green tea and my morning and afternoon and nightly chocolate. I think about Jayla's braces and Meadow's braces and Meadow's extractions and Flint's semi-annual Children's Hospital appointments and new tires for the van and how the budget is continually forced to bend to comply with demands and how it will ever manage to reconcile.

I think about food and what is for breakfast and what is for lunch and what is for dinner and how it endlessly must be brought to the table all the days of the week. I think about ways to feed the growing bodies of our brood deliciously and heartily and healthily within the confines of a non growing paycheck. I think about my dogs and I worry for the one that was up sick all night last night and I pray I never hear the dreadful words intestinal obstruction again.

I think about the wrinkles on my face and my changing, aging body and my library fines and when I will squeeze in time for a workout. I think about God and I wonder if He really is a card carrying member of the Republican party as politicians make it seem and if it can be so simple as those who haven't prayed the sinner's prayer or something like it will be left in eternal darkness. I think about foster babies entering our home. I think about foster babies entering our hearts. I think about Meadow and how the countless layers of her immense grief perpetually peel away leaving her little reprieve from her sorrow.

I think about my mother and how hard she works and my father's life, so far distanced from my own and I think about my brother's continual recovery from a stroke. I think about the appointments that must be made and arriving at the appointments on time and maintaining friendships and how women can be such tremendous encouragers to one another, a priceless sweetening agent in our lives. I think about how I divide my time and if I carelessly squander what is fleeting and precious.

I think about discipline and offering consequence and natural developmental stages and the easing of tension in their days and my own. I think about long baths with good books. I think about how rarely I take long baths with good books. I think I should take more long baths with good books. I think about my garden and how well it did this year and I think about gratitude for the simple beauty and vitality of living, growing, nourishing things. I think about gentleness and methods to cultivate it and breathing deeply to avoid damage I may inflict on my beloveds when I am too rigid and hard and forceful. I think about meeting vast, unique, individual needs and if our relationships will flourish into the future and if my one day grown children will thrive and I ask, Lord have mercy.

I think about how all of this has changed me, in some ways for the better, in others less so and I am profoundly glad for the fullness of days spent with those whom I love and for years consumed in service and for immense joy and sorrowful pain and toil and strife and resolution and simplicity and complexity and sweat and tears and laughter and noise like I have never known and peace that miraculously supersedes and smiles that will forever mark the eyes. I think about the ebb and flow of waves rushing in to deliver it all to us, this dear gift we have been given.

For today, it is a welcome shift to dwell on those in the Dominican Republic...

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