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1000 Gifts-Week 34

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Usually on these days I write a list of gifts small and large over the past week. Sometimes paragraphs tell the story best. This is one of those weeks.

I take the smallest of steps toward God. Make time to pray. His response, so all out of proportion to my furtive stumbling blows me away. Yet again I remember how good, how generous he is.

I wake up at 6:30 am to the quiet beep of the alarm, on the days when Aaron doesn't have to work early and kisses me awake on his way out the door. I prefer the second way. Sometime in the night Little crept into my bed and now lays snuggled beside me.

As quietly as possible I sneak out of bed and don workout clothes before making my way into the living room. I cherish this quiet dark silence. I don't want little needy voices disturbing me yet.

I light candles on the piano and kneel at the bench, not because I am very pious, but to remind my sleepy body to stay awake. This is my early morning meeting with God, and it is very good. My hand in his,…

Writer's Block?

There are so many things going in my head this month. I'm learning and thinking through some new things and I'm longing to write about them. But I seem unable to pull it all together in a way that is communicable yet. Two attempts already this week have gone by way of the delete button. (The mucus in my sinus cavities may have something to do with that. That is communicable I'm sure.)

There are stories entangled with these thoughts that are not going to appear here because they are confidential. Which may be the other difficulty. Until I can extract the kernels from the stories that I must not tell there isn't much to say.

Then there is the very real and constant conundrum of voice. What kind of blog is this anyway? It's my blog and so it in many ways reflects me, my personality. I am the type of person to be having a deeply intense discussion on the practical aspects of the charismatic ministry of the church one second, or the nature of the divine, and the next laug…

Not for people who are offended by underwear, or vomit.

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It has come to my attention of late that the bras I bought a year ago are no longer doing the job for which they were fashioned. That job being to prevent my breasts from doing what nature intended, hang around my belly button.

When I commented on this fact to Aaron he informed me that he had observed the same. If your husband notices the stretched out sags in your dormant bras you can be sure that it is time to get a new one. I said, "I have been waiting for a good time to spend the $30 on a new one but it hasn't come."

"There will never be a good time," he responded, "just go and get one."

To motivate myself I threw the no longer useful items away. What would I wear instead? Why, an old demi-bra from my lingerie shower before our wedding that is two cup sizes too small and itches. But it does hold them up (Why, you ask, do I still have such an item? Well, the straps adjust to halter, and once or twice it has been useful under a dress for an hour or two…

to find life

Recently I was having a conversation about a mutual acquaintance who has just achieved a wonderful milestone, one they worked hard for.

This person has also been more unhappy than happy for quite some time and the person I was talking to wondered if this achievement would finally do it, would finally give this person some sense of peace or accomplishment that would change their life for the better.

I don't think it will. I'm not sure that meeting goals and finding success will ever be able to meet the truly deep needs that we all have, to feel loved, accepted, and worthwhile.

Some people believe pushing and working for what they want, often at great cost, is being grown up, mature, and the right thing to do. Find yourself, follow your happiness, these are catch phrases for the attempts our society makes to find happiness. Often the work and the things they obtain are good things.

I believe that the method is flawed.

The sign of a true grown up, a truly successful person, is someone…

Never a Dull Moment

Do not for a second imagine that just because I am not posting that all is quiet and peaceful here at casaCarrien. Quite the contrary. It has been an eventful week of the kind that taking care of people will draw you into if you truly mean it when you say, "I'm here for you if you need me, just let me know."

It has involved middle of the night knocks on the door, waiting for the police to show up, watching many children while their mom gets important things done, holding someone while she cries for a very long time over a situation that will not change; you know, all the normal stuff that happens in a week.

I will not be telling those stories. They aren't mine to tell. But I can assure you that it is mentally and emotionally draining to be walking through them with the people we have been given to love. I can also assure you that it is very worth it. Aaron and I are of a mind that it is a privilege to be called upon in this way, to be allowed to give help where we alre…

One Thousand Gifts-Week 33

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The discipline of stopping to notice and say thank-you for every little gift that is bestowed may be the most life changing of all that I have yet endeavored. Will you join me?
I walk past the front door again while exercising and there, lit only by the gray light flooding through the door and the candles on the piano is Little, beaming, as the Girl wraps her arms around her while putting on her sweater.The Boy's satisfaction with a job well done.The Girl deciding to forgive one of her little friends, and running over to her house to tell her so.Little- "Mmmm, it taste dewicious!"
The unabashed pleasure the Boy takes in being told he has done well.Candlelit silence in the morning.Walks at sunrise.
The Boy sneaking his hand into mine as we are walking.My kids swimming with their dad.Well thought of words that feed mind and soul alike.The questions my children ask.
"This is my Father's world. Oh let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is…

Fear of Failure

I was thinking last night, as I put the finishing touches on the daily schedule that I hope we can stick to this school year, about how it used to embarrass me to be seen trying anything new. It still does sometimes actually. I would rather Aaron believe that I have it all together and that things just run smoothly than to let him see me posting reminders to myself to learn a new habit, such as remember to put in a load of laundry right after breakfast. I know, how horrible, to let my husband see me making an effort at something. He will think awful things of me if he sees that. No, it doesn't make sense what goes on in my head.

But I've always been this way. I never liked for people to see me practice. They might hear a wrong note. I would rather exercise alone. So no one sees me sweaty and awkward. I would rather not get sleep than post myself a reminder to go to bed.

I don't like to feel that people are checking up on me, measuring me against a standard that I am trying t…

One Thousand Gifts-Week 32

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The safe return of the Aaron from Thailand.The Girl in her new traditional Thai clothes sitting on his lap exploring his face with her hand while they smile at each other.Little waking up from nap walking out from the room saying, "I want my mommy.""I love you so, so, so, so, so, so, so, much."The Boy reading Winnie the Pooh with girls cuddled up on either side listening.The Girl gently cradling our neighbor's 2 week old baby in her arms.Mother and daughters weeping as they embrace in prayer.peach crisp with ice creamHundreds of photos of happy, well cared for kids at the children's home.Impromptu dance parties in the living room.Books arranged in order, ready for school to start.


The gratitude community is here.

7 Quick Takes

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1.This story just took my breath away. As a doula I have read a lot of the literature about skin to skin contact being best for baby. That's the first place babies should go after they are born. But that it saved this baby's life takes my breath away.

I'm also angry that mainstream birth practice in this country is still so ignorant of how mother's bodies work, and so brutal at times.

2. I was ordering a book on amazon and remembered that I've wanted to buy a copy of Tales of the Kingdom for a while now. One of my all times favorite books. I planned to read it to the kids this year. But when I went to order it I found out that a second hand used copy would cost more than $35. Why is this? Is it out of print? If you scroll down further you will see that people are selling new copies for more than $100. Someone should find out about this and organize another printing of this excellent book. It is very good, but I can't spend $140 for it.

3. Without really realizing…

Before it was Iran, it was Persia

We were a young couple with a baby, just moved in to a cute one bedroom walk up near the university with hardwood floors and south facing windows. They were the family that owned and ran the dollar store in a store front of the same building.

Warm, friendly and open, they quickly became real friends. I would stop to chat on my way home, or on the way out while the Boy played with the trinkets at eye level. Her name meant butterfly. From her I learned that Iranian women keep their names when they marry, unlike western tradition.

From him I learned never to confuse Farsi and Arabic. He was not an Arab, he was a Persian, and he was proud of it. "We were Persian long before Islam came," he would tell me as if heritage were more important than religion. To them it was. They were nominally Muslim, mostly to keep the peace. But he kept his beer in the garage anyway.

He was an engineer in Iran. Here he was a shopkeeper. His wife, an accountant, kept them all afloat for a while.

Thei…

While we all go quietly about our day, they are saving lives

My friends Levi and Jessie have been great supporters of The Charis Project since the very beginning. The laptop that the GH took with him on this trip for the kids in the home to use was donated by them. They rallied their friends to help us through a crisis last January. They still sponsor one of our children.

A few months ago they left their life in Sacramento and moved to Ethiopia to help establish an orphanage for children who would have been killed by their tribe if they had not been rescued by outsiders. Their tribe believes that certain children are cursed and must be drowned in the river to take the curse away. For the whole story go to drawnfromwater.org

I was going to post something else today, but when I found out that they are running out of money and that their support is waning I had to tell you about it. Maybe some of you will be able to help.

Drawn from Water from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

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