Thursday, March 09, 2017

More Lenten meditations

Its been a few days since I posted but I am still trying to be intentional about this Lent season. It has been increasingly hard for me to abstain from Facebook. I feel like I am missing out on something, that i dont know what is going on in peoples lives, or that scrolling through my news feed gives me something to pass the time while waiting for an appointment. Regardless, it is clear that it was a good choice for Lent.

As far as the past few days, on Monday we decorated our mite box to collect money for the children of Malawi. I showed Adam a video on youtube of children in Malawi so he could get an idea of what life was like in that country, and see the poverty that exists. In the middle of video, he said, "mom,  pause the video right now." And then he got up, ran into the other room and came back with his piggy bank. He then said, Mom, they need dollars, not just change. They need to have a playground." It was pretty incredible to see his heart moved so clearly. He told Justin that he needed to put money in our mite box, because those kids need electricity and to go to school.  It made my happy to see that genuine empathy and I hope that continues to grow. The following day, we were praying at bedtime, and I asked if he would like to add a prayer for someone special. He prayed for the children in Malawi, that they would have playgrounds, electricity and could go to school.

Today was a busy day. We had open house at Adam's school tonight, so I wasnt sure what if anything I could do today. However after talking with Adam's teacher this evening; I thought of a simple way to show care to her. I asked about spring break plans and she mentioned that they were not going anywhere, because her husband has to work. She said that she was fine with that because she doesnt get to spend alot of time with her kids (who are 7 and 2) and was hoping to just enjoy her time off with them. As a fellow working mom, I understand the feeling of not feeling present enough with your kids, however it must be especially hard to take care of other peoples children all day, when you would love to be with your own kids instead. Regardless, being a mom is hard, being a mom to little kids is hard, and being a working mom of little kids is even harder. So as i was at Whole foods picking up some things for work tomorrow. I noticed the frozen yogurt shop next door. I went in and purchased a gift card and included a note to send to her in Adam's folder tomorrow, which is the last tday of school before spring break.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join some women from my church at our annual womens retreat. It was held at Camp Crucis (a little over an hour away) and was taking place Friday-Sunday. I wasnt able to go down on Friday, but left Saturday morning to join the group for the day. This was something that I was a little anxious about at first, although Im not sure why. I think it was related to past church experiences where I have struggled to feel welcomed or accepted by the women in the church. I know I have a lot of baggage from my spiritual journey, and sometimes I use that as an excuse to not get involved. However in the spirit of Lent, not only are you supposed to give something up, but also encouraged to add a new practice throughout the season. For me, this was an opportunity to do that. The ladies leading the retreat are ones that I admire and respect, and I felt this would be a good way to enrich my faith and learn from others.

When I arrived they had already started the first session, and Cherie Bennett was leading a discussion on who God is. She contrasted different views on God (polytheism. deism, dualism, etc) and the roles he encompasses in our lives. We then broke up in small groups to study and discuss the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. The conversation in our group veered off the study for a bit, but it was a natural discussion of other women's journey to the church and Anglicanism as a whole. It was encouraging to see similarities in my own faith, and also to reflect on the interaction of Christ with this vulnerable woman. One thing that stood out to me that was shared  was "sometimes we are called to reflect and be Jesus in the story, and sometimes we are to emulate the woman." Later in the day, Melissa Hatcher spoke about vulnerability and how it is required to build connections with others and with God. She shared some good insight from her therapy background and from scripture, and many small conversations followed. Although some veered from the overall message, it was refreshing to hear women of different generations and perspectives share together in an open manner. One of the reasons I had for choosing to give up facebook for Lent, was because it creates a false sense of connection with others, often neglecting real connection with others.  Listening to and learning from these other ladies is something that i needed to experience to encourage my faith and push me out of my normal comfort zone. That vulnerability was a central theme of the day was ironic, as I frequently avoid that with others in order to protect myself.

Then this morning, we attended mass and led children's chapel. As expected the kids were a little rambunctious, but the gospel passage today was the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness after 40 days of fasting. We talked about Lent, and the kids had some funny responses, but we were able to share the differences between when Jesus by Satan and Adam was tempted by Jesus. And why that is significant. Im not sure whether the kids got it or will even remember it, but serving the church in this capacity is always a bit humbling. I am so thankful for the teachers and leaders in our faith communty that pour into our kids to teach them the traditions and beliefs of our faith. I love that childrens chapel is structured to reflect mass, so that when the kids go back into the service they know prayers of the people or what the collect is. I also love that Adam can quote the Lords prayer and says it loud and proud in the service.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Day 2 of Lenten

For today's way to celebrate Lent, I focused on the community. As I mentioned in yesterdays post, this year has been very difficult. The political climate is extremely hostile, people are full of fear and hate, and many people are feeling less welcomed or valued in our country.  The social worker part of me jumps into activism mode, marching at the Womens March, joining action committess and speaking out through social media. But one thing that i feel I have not done a good job of, is demonstrating those values on a more personal level.  So today I decided to stop by the Muslim Community Center near us, take them some cookies, and to tell them that they are valued and appreciated. My orginal plan was to do this a few weeks ago, but of course life happened and I kept pushing it off. Then as I contemplated Lent, i thought this would be a perfect time to demonstrate my faith in action.  As i drove to the center, I was surprised that I felt a little nervous. Mainly because i didnt want to sound stupid, and then start talking myself out of doing it. Like, its a Friday afternoon, there is probably no one there, I dont want to waste money on cookies that nobody will eat, etc. But as I turned the radio on, NPR was covering a story about the rise of animosity towards Muslim Americans. There was a call to action from a pastor saying that people need to reach out and connect with Muslims in thier communities to break the fear that currently exists.  With this in my mind, I found a new local bakery to support, bought 1 dozen cookies and went to the center. As I imagined, there were only about 4 cars in the parking lot. I walked up to the buiding and went in, and there was 1 person (an intern) sitting at a table inside. I told her why I was there, and although many staff were gone for the day, she introduced me to the director. The director was very kind, thanked me for the cookies and got me some information about thier agency and services. She also asked for my card to follow up.

It wasnt a groundbreaking experience, but i am glad I did it. It put me out of my comfort zone a little bit, and hopefully made their day better.

And on to tomorrow...

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Lent 2017

I am resurrecting this blog nearly 10 years after the last post. Things have definitely changed since that last entry. Most notably would be the addition of two little boys to our family, and of course new jobs and houses. My reason for jumping back into the blogging world is Lent. This year during the intense political climate we live in, my faith and belief in others has been strained. I have watched and heard things from other professed believers that have shocked and dismayed me. And i have gotten into far too many facebook debates that have left me frustrated and angry. And so for Lent this year, (yes we became Anglicans during the past 10 years as well) I decided to give up Facebook.  I had been wasting too much time and energy on trying to educate and inform others about social issues they should care about and not enough time intentionally doing things for others and reflecting on my values and beliefs. So that is my goal this Lent season. To connect more with my family, those in my community, and even those I disagree with, in an attempt to live out my faith more intentionally. And because i have more time because I am not stalking random friends from high school, i thought i would blog about those experiences. So although I am already one day behind here goes....
Today I wrote a letter to my grandma. That may not seem significant, but I rarely see her and unfortunately dont call her enough. We dont have much in common, but i know she loves to hear from her grand children and great grandchildren, and this is one thing i have neglected to do.  So today, i wrote her a card saying that i love and care for her and giving her an update on  our lives and the boys.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Some Colorado pics!

So we got back a few weeks ago from our second vacation of the summer: Colorado! It was absolutely beautiful, the mountains still had some snow on them! We also got to go white water rafting! This was incredible & SO fun, even if I had to rescue my husband from falling into the rapids!
All in all, we had an incredible time. My little sister got to come with us too and it was nice to catch up since it had been 6 months since I saw her. Well here are some pics, I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

We're BACK!!!

Well Justin and I returned this weekend from our trip to Boston! We had a magnificent time and saw so much in the short time that we were there. It was also nice to hang out with our friends Ang and Karen who introduced to some new ethnic dining experiences as always. (Malaysian, Taiwanese, & Cantonese-Style Dim Sum)
Here are a few pics from our trip

This is Trinity Church (amazing architecture inside & out) one of the oldest churches in Boston. Right next to the church is the new John Hancock building. This building was designed to allow the reflection of the church to appear on the side of the building as well as serve as a mirror image for the Old John Hancock building which is located on the other side. (However I must say that the John Hancock building in Chicago is much cooler)

This is my husband next to the tombstone of Samuel Adams.
You can see that Justin is trying to look serious; he felt it was wrong to smile at a cemetery. Other famous people buried in this graveyard include John Hancock, Mother Goose, Paul Revere, and the 5 victims of the Boston Massacre.

This is us at the beach on Cape Cod. This is such a beautiful area.
And lastly this is us in Paul Revere Mall. Its not really a mall more like a courtyard area with a fountain in front of the Old North Church. Its also located in the North End, which is the Italian district of Boston. A great area to eat, shop, and visit. And if you ever visit make sure to stop by the famous Mike's Pastries for a delicious cannoli!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Well...its official. It looks as though our time in Oklahoma may be coming to close. After completing his M.A. in philosophy at OU, Justin was denied acceptance into the PhD program. Although we have been preparing for this possibility, I never thought it would end up this way. Justin has worked so hard especially this past semester to prove himself, and has been told by many within the department that he is one of the better students in the program. However, for some reason it was not in God's plan for us and so begins the next adventure in our life...who knows where it will lead us?