Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Posting from this time last year:

Although the "Holiday Season" has begun to manifest itself through most every human possible means (this is of coarse a guess, I am living in an Arabic community!)... I was just thinking about alternative possibilities to giving to others, outside of any material gift (again - I do have to admit, we did send our families gifts this year)... here are a few ideas I thought you may be interested in-

Sewa-Ashram is a Christ-centered community dedicated to the practical application of spirituality to the reality of suffering, present amongst the poor. Their mission is to provide long-term holistic care and professional treatment for the sick and dying destitute of Delhi's streets.

International Justice Mission is an organization that works to defend the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the slave. With just a small donation you can sponsor a day’s wages for an investigative worker ($50), legal advocate ($70), or social worker ($40). You can find these, and many other ways to give under the GIVE index, found in the top right corner.

World Hope International works to relieve suffering around the world by offering a care package to a woman who has survived sexual trafficking ($60) or provide a microcredit loan ($100).

Mennonite Central Committee offers a Christmas Giving Catalog which includes possible gifts such as giving $26 to provide kitchen supplies to a displaced family in Cambodia.

Samaritan’s Purse offers numerous opportunities to give to others in third world countries. One example of an offering is by donating just $9 you can feed a hungry baby for a week.

United Methodist Committee on Relief works to serve others by offering financial support to others. Their gift catalog includes offering $37 to a child in South Sudan to feed them a meal every school day for six months.

World Vision offers a number of opportunities to give through their Christmas catalog.

Catholic Relief Services - Wow! Withe just $13 you can immunize a child in the developing world against measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, AND tuberculosis.

Alterna works with and advocates for immigrants in situations that are often egregiously unjust. Immigrants are not allowed to acquire driver’s licenses, yet they are allowed to purchase cars and get jobs they need to drive to. One working poor immigrant has paid over $2,000 in fines for simply driving without a license. Help Alterna turn what is exploitation of the poor into an act of civil disobedience and solidarity! Donate $1-$150 to help immigrants "Drive in Peace." To order this or other gifts, email or phone (706-302-9661) Alterna.

Hope each of you are enjoying this beautiful Advent Season...

additional P.S. - if you have a specific "type" of organization you would like to give to but have idea of where to begin looking, drop us a note or an e-mail and we'll do our best to help you out during the most beautiful season of giving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thoughts from a Chicago-based ESL teacher...

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2007

calls often.

he just got his first pay check for playing the Oscar Meyer Weiner and bought a PSP.

when we were getting off the phone right now (10 pm) we told, as always, that we love him.

Edgar's response, "yeah, I know you do."


Thursday, November 15, 2007

children of God = our God children.

the entire family - husband/father

the building mud pie dinosaurs


absolute joy

entire family + one photo-unhappy babe

if you have a little time & want a little fun take a visit to Free Rice

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

it's 7ish in the morning.

Carter is off to bed. Asheley & the babe are still in bed. Doug has chelloed off to his new job at the paper mill and here Maya & I sit watching Sesame Street.

Breakfast has been had and I'm just awaiting the moment Asheley comes down and says, "Let's make some coffee."

Watching Maya is amazing. I wonder if she knows how much she rolls around from one side of her belly to the next. How often she lifts her legs in the air and scratched her tenderonies. How often she reaches into the sky as though it was hers to control.

What happened just moments ago though trumped all the cuteness that has ever seeped from her skin & personality.

Just moments ago, as I was watching her eat her bagel and watch T.V. I witnessed her bend over in her kiddie-sized chair and let out the absolute longest toot I have ever heard. What followed though - unbelievable!

Maya, my precious god-daughter stood up,
turned around,
bent down,
put her face to the chair
and took a big ole' sniff of her own fart up into her nostrils.

Big ole' sniff of her own omitted gas.

She is absolutely amazing & I can't say I wouldn't have done the same if I didn't know the median of cultural norms. Oh to be a kid again.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A wee little neighbor of ours would like to play you a song.

Jake and Jess

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

hide & go seek.
it's been ages.

yet, tonight, that's what i play. it's who i am.

after sunday's melting, jake and i decided that i need a night. one night each week that i have no one over & rest. rest my mind. rest my hands. rest my ears.

although this task may seem quite easy to some, in this household, for these walls - hiding is not an easy task. jake and i have both heard statements leak form the mouths of babes & adults alike, "i saw your shades were up, so i knew you were home" to "jessica! the lights are on in your house, i know you're home." - i was, just on the toilet when they came a knockin'.

so tonight i play. hide. it's their turn to seek.

i came home to a dark house with my husband waiting inside. after a much desired kiss he took me into he kitchen where dinner was in mid-preparation and the water was hot - ready for tea/hot cocoa. at that time a flashlight was placed in my hand and his familiar voice asked me to "have a good night." that statement has never fallen on my ears with such weight. such release.

the kids came a knockin' - so i crawled around our apartment, with hopes that they wouldn't hear the floor boards creek or see my shadow dance on the walls from the neighbors flood lights (ah - light pollution, how i hate you!). I listened to the variety of songs our plug-in door chime has & dashed around our apartment, ensuring no sounds were made to clue them off as to my existence, my trick, my hide, their seek.

they left, seven rug-burn minutes later.

tonight i'm taking a night off. maybe a night for a movie. maybe a night for...

regardless, this typing in the dark is making my eyes bleed and this portion of my night must end.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

thank yous.

you see, i have a stack of thank you cards. literally a stack.
a good big toe (measured length wise) size in depth.
all fully written thank yous.
well, 95% written out.
95% addressed (all addresses obtained months ago).
only 10% with postage.

all of them over 3 months due, and that's being quite liberal in the turn over rate of gift given and a one month leeway.

garbage side: they're still not out & that, as an unintended consequence, makes me feel like a big glob of applesauce.

pleasant side: because i'm negligent in sending these initial well intentioned notes, i think of each and every one of you almost everyday. really.

worst side: one of these letters in a sympathy note. on that note, i think it may just be the best one to delay. so often i have found people get inundated with cards immediately following the death of their loved one and one week/month later, their loss is often slighted with everyday everydayness.

ugh - i am my mother's daughter.

edgar is over. looking up stories of validation that his high school is haunted.
we love him. so much.

p.s. related to toes: new found glory. where were these when i was wearing trouser socks everyday?

Monday, November 05, 2007

something new.

it's a bit campy - but it works for the "right now."

working with a daily (read: semi-daily) inventory. i know asheley, i know.

it's a messy process. so messy in fact that it's not even addressed until Step 10 in the 12 Steps of Recovery.

still, i know i need to do this. i need, at this time in the "right now," to take time and give myself and my beloved an assessment of where i am. so i've started here.

for the next "while" - whatever while
really means i'm going to answer the following questions, with trust in God and a hope of honesty placed within this "self" that through this daily inventory i may be lead to understand a little bit more where this "self" is going through all this messiness.

  • what is frustrating me now?
  • what am i angry about?
  • what am i scared of?
  • what am i dreading?
  • what am i anxious about?
  • what concerns me?
  • what is the smallest thing that i feel dumb about even writing down but it is actually stressing me out?
  • what am i looking forward to?
    • today?
    • tomorrow?
    • this year?
so we'll see what happens.

only God knows - maybe. this whole free will thing just may be getting in the way of His ability to know my future.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

sorry about the deep-press.

i'm going to have to try something new.

in the 12 step program they give this definition of insanity - "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

summary - i'm insane. really.

i have to force myself to rest. i also really need to force myself to blog more often - when things are good. not deep-pressing. sorry about that, i'll do better. Insha'Allah.

i've been feeling whipped lately. i think it's all part of a greater pulse pressing on all sides, beginning to vibrate all that i have found makes me who i am.

i haven't figured anything out yet but i figured this: i am still grieving. ugh.

i believe i have shared this not so profound thought before, but after my melt-down on saturday, with it's fresh pain still a little too close for comfort, i figured it may be worth it to mention it once again.

so with that "once again..." let me give a little e-d-u: probably the most well-known authors who speaks of grief might be from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who wrote "On Death and Dying." in it, she identified five stages that a dying patient experiences when informed of their terminal prognosis.

the stages Kubler-Ross identified are as follows:

stage 1 ± denial - check. "i'm not crazy. everyone else thinks this way, don't they? please, someone tell me i'm not alone in all this. please tell me you think these thoughts too. please!"

stage 2 ± anger - check. "why do i feel so absolutely crazy?!? why do i hate cars, hate money, hate clothes, dishes, the availability of water, the abuse of energy, the bickering of intellects, the idols of fashion. why do i feel angry simply allowing myself to be angry!"

stage 3 ± bargaining - check. "maybe i won't feel so ape if i give all my money away, make all my own clothes, eat only what's 99 cents or below & give all my time to my neighbors. yeah! that's it! let the craziness be gone!"

stage 4 ± depression - check. "i'm done. i still feel unhinged & unzipped, nutty & unbalanced. why do i care so deeply but feel like it's slowly destroying me. ugh. i'm done."

stage 5 ± acceptance - check. "saturday. not fully here yet but feeling more at rest with where He has me at this time. still feeling a little unstable, but i guess that comes with the territory of me allowing the messiness of Christ's blood to flow inside me."

although i'm not dying (thank you God - although let it be known I would be okay if i was...i think) i, thanks to the help of pastor Guizar, have come to discover once again that life is just one continuous messy sequence of events & experiences that dance in the abyss of celebration & grief. time and time again. we all are in a constant state of celebration & grief. not just to be pinned on those who are physically dying or grieving the loss of someone who has physically died, but everyone who breathes & loves, letting their bodies, soul, heart and mind experience life to it's fullest capacity, which i - by the way, have by no means done.

on that note: it's a grilled cheese and tomato soup night and my beloved is due home soon.