Thursday, October 29, 2009
That day, spurred on by a website called 350, people all over the world worked to raise awareness about Climate Change. Check out this video of 15,000 people in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tegan sent her picture in to PACT, and they sent her some awesome underwear. It is manufactured with cradle-to-cradle philosophy. Every part of the process has been honed to have the least impact possible on the environment. Everything - the underwear, the packaging, the label - is recyclable and/or compostable. And part of their proceeds go to various non-profit orgs working to clean up this earth. This is real change. So... change your underwear.
Friday, October 23, 2009
On Monday, the team I am leading is going to start doing the work for which I hired them. I had to pull together all kinds of papers and supplies and approvals and agreements from government and contract people who are all up to their ears in end-of contract transition to make this happen. I love that my manager trusted me to do this. I love that having a positive attitude has been rewarded by positive get-it-done attitudes in the people working with me. I love that this project is restoring my faith in humans to be mostly helpful and agreeable.
I love this video. I don't care what you think of Oprah (I admire her). This is a powerful demonstration of the energy a group of people can create just by wanting to create something beautiful together. Sometimes I feel like the woman dancing alone being looked at like I'm crazy... when I dance, when I sing the national anthem at games, when I cheer, when I clap and dance at parades. People ask if I am drunk, they seem to think my happiness and excitement is annoying or even bad. What would happen if they let go of their inhibitions and let out their inner kid and just joined in? Maybe something like this...
Friday, October 9, 2009
Congratulations, President Obama, on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. There are people the world over who recognize that your commitment, vision, and words towards creating a global political climate in which people can really listen to each other IS a HUGE contribution to world peace.
Without hope, there is no peace.
I've just started reading the book, Radical Collaboration, by Jim Tamm and Ron Luyet. Check out some articles to get a taste of it:
Know Your Zone
Just the first chapter inspired me and has already helped me at work.
President Obama operates in the Green Zone. And to have a world leader actively operating in the Green Zone?!?!!! That is worth a prestigious prize.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The more you touch that ball, the better you know it. If you touch it enough, you will know exactly how big it is, and how it responds to the different ways you touch it. There is NO WAY to get good at soccer without really getting to know that ball. Spending time with it, with and without other friends. To really love it and want to help it get to its goal. To share it, let it go, and welcome it back. To respect its impossible roundness, its squirrelyness, its perfection and your imperfection.
Quality time, you might call it, but if it ain't quantity time, too, you're goin' nowhere.
Call it a game, call it parenting or marriage or career or personal growth or any number of things you want to win at. Call it life. Or just call it soccer.
Friday, June 19, 2009
This might get me thrown off the six adoption yahoo groups to which I belong, but I actually think it is unethical, in most cases, to use the term Forever Family. Here's the gist of it: I think my kids' first family was/is EVERY BIT of Forever as we are for them. I think they live on in my kids' hearts, and that to label me as Forever Mom would steal away something very important to every child: the knowledge that my first mom loved me and didn't stop loving me. Same with dad, and I don't really even care what kind of damage was done, whether there was abandonment, neglect or abuse. I think it is very important to make a distinction between the idea of love, the concept of commitment, and the assumption of every mommy or daddy's ability to choose to parent well.
I don't like creating a distincition between the birth family and the adoptive family. Every one in each of these families is integral in the life story of the child. To be whole, even someone who has been abused or neglected because of their parents' inability to parent well (for whatever reason) needs to get through all the stages of grief - the shock, the denial, the anger, the blame - and find that place called acceptance that acknowledges that even though mom and dad left (or died or hurt me), there is this link, a forever link, between that person's story and my story. I know, it might take a whole lifetime to get there in some cases, but in most cases of adoption, I think there is no way to justify cutting the birth parents out of the forever circle of the child's life.
In cases where the birth parents were not able to parent due to illness, death, or poverty, it seems cruel to me to count the adoptive family as Forever. It automatically begs the question: my first parents didn't ever plan to be forever mine? It sounds a little snobby to me, like the first family wasn't committed enough to you, but we are: we are forever. We are better. Ugh.
I think MAYBE it might be a good term to use with little kids (pre teenhood) who have been through several different foster placements. Maybe it is a good term to use with certain special needs kids. I can't say that it is never appropriate.
Here's the question I always feel when I hear someone talk about being a child's forever family: What if something awful happens, like both "forever" parents die in a car crash, or of cancer, or whatever. Not so forever. What if one parent just can't handle it all after a few years, has a breakdown, and leaves. Then the parent left gets married again after a few years. Do you introduce that new parent as the New Forever Parent? That old forever parent wasn't really truly forever, but this new one is?
Of course you think you'll be around forever, but how can you promise something you have no real control over?
I think only Universal Love is forever, only g-d by whatever name or namelessness, is forever. I want my language to teach my kids that no matter what, there is love, forever, but that all human beings are fragile and to be honored and loved each moment because you never know when loss will happen. It is one of the great lessons of grief, and I will not cover it over by naming myself Forever Mommy, no matter how infinate my love for my kids feels. And it feels pretty darn forever.
It's not that I'm not committed. It's just that I can't say I'm committed forever, because I don't have forever to be committed. I only have today. I'm committed for as long as I have this body, this heart, this mind. I'm committed for as long as Love lets me be here.
ps: This bright shining light is coming home soon!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I am also a to-do addict. A do-do-do addict for short. I used to have three calendars. Just for personal stuff. Ridiculous.
Work is work. Of course I have a calendar there, and a post-it note list of what I am working on. Not too hard to keep track of. I am blessed with a job I don’t have to take home with me.
For home… which includes six kids, my husband who is Mister Present Moment, two dogs, one cat, church, singing, friends, the house, the yard, the car, and the bills – well, things are a bit more complex. Still, at 48, I have given up on keeping meticulous track of EVERYthing. I figure it is like theater and the show will go on - it must! - even if I’m not ready. Besides, priorities are always changing. Sick happens. And flooded basements. And a kid crying over his haircut. Yes, last weekend’s list was completely obliterated for the sake of ridding the house and its inhabitants of lice and their possible offspring.
So, now, I have one little calendar that fits in my little purse. Its cover is moleskin just because it makes me happy. It is 3.5" x 5.5" and each page is a week, with individual days on one side and just lines for notes on the other side. Not much space to let me cram in things I really don't have the time for. It keeps me honest. It helps me say no. My little moleskin book also sports a ribbon to mark where I am, and an attached elastic band to mark another place or just to keep it closed. I put all my appointments and the kids’ appointments and even Laird's important appointments in there, because he is not good with dates and reminding him of some big things is just one of the things I do for him because I love him. I write my to-do lists on the notes side, with phone numbers. Sometimes I have to go back through to find things. It's okay. If I can't fit things in my little calendar book, I give up on them and figure there is no real need. When I get them done, I cross them out, even if I have to go back eight pages to do so.
On the weekend, I make a paper list of things to do over the weekend and sit it on the table just in case other people in the house want to help get things done. I keep adding to the list as I go. It doesn't all get done, ever. I throw it out on Sunday night anyway. It’s life. Things don’t get done. So what. The really important things get done even if they aren’t on the list.
Sometimes, when I really want a sense of accomplishment, I just get out a blank piece of paper and do it backwards. I only write down what I have done right after I do it. Everything. Nap. Wash dishes. Anything I could remotely be proud of accomplishing. At the end of the day, I look at the list and smile.
Some weekends, I go hog wild and just do whatever I want without any list at all! It’s fun!!! I just get up, make breakfast, then look around for something to do. Oh, there is a basket of laundry. I will fold it. Now what? Make a cup of coffee, yippee! Now what? Call mom. Yeah! Now what? Go for a bike ride. Great idea! Those weekends are the very best days of all.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Everyone loves the boys and they are doing really well. Thank you to everyone who has brought us meals, and given us encouragement, and welcomed our kids.
There is so much to say, but I have so little confidence in my ability to put it all into words.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I am not ready.
I have everything I need. Good traveling companions. Open heart. Arms waiting to hug me.
It's the paradox of life on earth - not ready, and yet, able. Amazing adaptable human beings.
It's the biggest love journey I have ever been given. Everything I've ever experienced has prepared me for this. This one journey.
I am breathing. I am being. I am shining light. I am love in motion.
Peace, peace, peace.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Here is her story.
But, if you really want to be inspired to live your best life, read There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene. This book will teach you the history of Ethiopia, the history of HIV/AIDS, but best of all, the story of this gracious woman who thought all was lost when her daughter died, but then went on to love and provide for many, many orphaned children.
This is a great loss. I trust she is now dancing in Heaven with her beloved daughter.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
So... I can't really believe how long my to do list is. Seriously, I am the mistress of lists. I make lists like nobody's business. With my lists, I can figure out how to get things done that can't be done. So, I am kinda surprised that there are all these things I could have done before we passed court that aren't done yet and now I have to do them along with all of the things that I can do and need to do now that we have passed court. How did I let this happen?
Well, it has something to do with the long, slow climb. You really can't tell when you are climbing the hill how long it is going to take to get there. You can guess, but you just don't know. And, more importantly, you have NO IDEA just how fast you are going to go down the other side... you think it is going to be a hill like the one you are climbing, but it turns out to be steeper and higher and - MAN - this is fast.
When we first saw the picture of our kids, I thought maybe we could go to Ethiopia to pick them up in December. Before the first court date, I thought we would be traveling in early March. Then because it was a WHOLE two months between the first court date and the second, and I really wasn't convinced we would pass the second time, I just really couldn't put my effort into getting ready to travel in MAYBE late March. Because it could just as easily have turned out to be MAYBE late June, or even August... or goodness what if we didn't pass court before the annual closing of court for two months... then we wouldn't travel until November! So, it was hard to motivate.
We did the big things... we got our shots, and we worked on the house, but there are all kinds of little things I half-heartedly started and now I wish they were already done. I wish I had gotten them done during all that time I spent waiting and waiting. One problem was it is hard for me to motivate other people to do something for me that I know needs to be done without giving them a deadline, like this needs to be done by Friday. I couldn't honestly tell them it needed to be done by a certain date, because it could have been two months down the line... not very motivating. So much of the adoption process is about getting other people to produce or process a piece of paper for you. For instance, the forms I filled out in December and sent to the board of education to tell them I am bringing three kids home, and they will need to be in the school that has ESL every day.... those three forms? Lost. They probably landed in someone's pending box after that saw that there was no for-sure date on when it had to be processed. And now, they are lost.
Luckily, I am the Queen of No Form Left Uncopied and all I have to do is make copies of my copies and send them. Unfortunately, I am not the Queen of Putting Every Paper in Its Place, so it might be easier for me to re-do it then to find the forms....
Anyway, it was the most frantic sort of waiting. Not just sitting back, waiting for the movie to start waiting. More like, Oh My Gosh, when is The Show going to go on? I know, I just mixed the theater metaphor in with the roller coaster metaphor, but dang it, I have never been on a roller coaster that had me as frantic as I was waiting to pass court (and I'm a pretty patient person) but I have been in a show that I needed to absolutely get to the part where the curtain opens or I was going to puke. That's the kind of waiting I am talking about.
Speaking of the theater, because I didn't know how long we were waiting, I purchased tickets for a performance of Hamlet that is being shadow interpreted. Today. At 2 pm. So, I need to go. Even though I should be filling out immigration forms right now.
I'm not complaining, just noticing. Because, I have to tell you.... it is SO much fun rolling down this big hill!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
As we say here in West Virginia:
Meet our konjo kids:
Abel, Helen, and Rediet
More later..... I got peeps to call! And a huge TO DO list that just kicked out of Waiting Mode and into Active Mode.
Thank you ALL for your prayers and vibes and love and encouragement!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I can't write here about all the reasons I might choose to worry about my court date not working out the way I want it tomorrow (in Ethiopia, that is tonight). I can tell you I have done everything in my power to have things prepared and ready and complete. I think maybe everything will be in place, and the judge will say Yes, and declare Laird and I parents of these three kids we already love in an unbelieveable way. But I also think maybe the judge will want something more, and say: here, have another court date two months from now, they're delicious. (argh) My question is how does one visualize success while simultaneously bracing for a longer wait?
It turns out this is something that is not in my hands.
So... I figured out this is my labor experience. I thought maybe it would be the big exhausting 24-hour trip over there, but now I think this is it. It is like a very long labor, the due date for which has changed many times, after a 16-month-and-counting pregnancy.
Art by Mara Friedman
I've done labor before. I've done "I have no idea if this if for real" labor. I've done three weeks of Braxton-Hicks contractions wondering if this is it labor. I've done totally prepared everything in place home birth with medical back-up friends on call totally ready for labor waiting. I've been through the mountain and valley marathon experience that is called labor and birth. Three times. I know what this is. This is where I have to hand my life over, and trust the people around me to take care of me during one of the most significant events of my life.
In my personal I Can Do It, Just Do It, Gotta Do It world, this is one of those moments when I have to NOT do it.
Just. Hand. It. Over.
Sure, I've got some power over my attitude and my viewpoint. But really, I am pretty helpless. This is just one of those wonderful growth opportunities in which I have virtually no power (at this point) to affect a very important event in my life. I did my research, I carefully picked my care provider (my awesome agency), and I got everything together to be ready to "birth" these babies. And now, I have to hand myself over to my caregivers and the universe. This is labor. I can't control how fast it happens, or how much pain I experience, or whether there will be complications, or how those complications are handled. I can only breathe, and know that this family will be born.
It's especially hard because there is nothing physical about it. My body is not tuned by millions of years of evolution to totally take over during this momentous event and completely get my attention in a way that makes me Let Go. This is Adoption! It's all Inside, down at the core, there is nothing physical about it right now, except that my eyes can look at this picture of these kids who want nothing more than they want to be part of a family who will take care of them and protect them and love them like the very special people they are.
So, I am taking notes. I know the energy it is taking right now to trust that everyone who has anything to do with this thing that is SO important to me and my husband and my kids is doing a good job. I know how much faith and hope it is taking me to believe that people are working in my children's best interest. It is an exhausting task trusting people I barely know. I need to remember this when my kids are home and working hard to build trust in their new parents. They are waiting now, not having any control or knowledge about when they will come here. They are looking at a picture of us with all kinds of hope in their hearts. They probably have no conscious idea of how they will be using a lot of energy putting their trust in us for the first months to years of their life with us.
Anyone know where I can plug in my trust-and-optimism energy pack for re-fueling? Let's see, what did I do when I was in labor? Oh yeah, I need to hold my sisters' hands. I need to look into my husband's eyes. I need to moan from the deepest part of me, and know I am loved, and know I Can Do This.
Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers--strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.
Barbara Katz Rothman
Monday, February 23, 2009
I am so grateful to be a mom and to have a wonderful mom. If you want to be a mom or a dad, you can be one, somehow. There are many ways to become one of the most important people in a child's life. It is the most growing thing, the hardest thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most beautiful thing I have ever done to be a mom to my kids, and to share my mommy love with others of all ages.
Thanks to Rocio in Spain for sharing this link. It's so much fun to meet adoptive parents from all over the world via the internet!
Before you click play on the video, scroll down to the playlist and click on pause so you can hear the music in the video without simultanesously hearing the music on my bloggy radio.
Nine and a half days until our court date.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Keep on showing and telling your love and affection, in whatever way you can. Teens need to know they are loved, and they need to have strong, clear boundaries set and enforced for them. They need your love, they need back-rubs and hugs (when they let you near them). They really need you. Every cell in their bodies is saying "I WILL be my own person" and it is terrifying. It is especially terrifying to a young person who doesn't really know what they want to do as a career, for young people who don't feel smart and confident, for young people who have been traumatized at some point in their lives (most people, eh?), and for young people who struggle with one or more academic areas (since that is highly valued in our "but you have to go to college" culture). They know they have to leave home at some point (because they naturally can't stand these people!) but they are starting to realize just how much it is going to cost (money and energy and thought) to actually take care of themselves. It's relentless, adult life, but at some point, a teen just knows they Can Not Stay in the nest.
One of my son's teachers who worked with teens on the edge for years told me that a teen's job is to make you hate them enough to eventually push them out of the nest. Don't take it personally. It is his/her job, developmentally speaking, to make you hold him/her responsible for creating a Life. At this point, it is your job to require him/her to be responsible and earn his/her keep and to keep him/herself alive and safe and real. But love, your love is not earned. Your love is a fact of his life and he can't do anything about it. Your love is a fact of her life and she can't do anything about it.
Any hurt or resentment you feel toward your teen is a message from your heart that you have unhealed hurts to which you need to attend. Find the ways you as a teen were let down, confused, frustrated, terrified at the hands of parents or teachers or other adults who probably just didn't realize what you needed from them. Learn how to express everything you need to express without hurling hurtful words (or rolling your eyes or making a fist) in the direction of a human heart.
Take care of yourself.
Teens are the wonderful coming peers and leaders in our world. Teens are great examples of high energy, having fun, feeling everything. Teens are fabulous examples of just hanging out, sleeping in, enjoying food, laughing out loud, dancing crazy. Teens are good at letting their anger out instead of pushing it down to smolder for years. Teens are passionate about what they believe. Except when they are, like, whatever. Which can also be a very good place to be.
Be the adult. Be the one who believes. Be the one who respects no matter what. Be the one who holds on to hope, so that when your teen can't, they can at least know it isn't just slipping away.
Stand your ground and shout I love you!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
A glorious hymn to the atom by Ani DiFranco.
Better sound here from her cd "Red Latter Year". You can also hear it here as part of the archived podcast of her January 16th Mountain Stage performance, but it takes a little more effort to get to it. Definately worth it.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
We went to the Inaugural Ball at the WVU Alumni Center to dance with a great crowd of people celebrating a new day in America, a new day for the world. When I woke the next morning, I had this thought: there are two kinds of Americans. There are the Americans who think this country is great because it is prosperous. And there are those who think America is great because people are free. (I guess you also have to count the ones who don't believe America is great, but I'm guessing they weren't at any of the Balls in this land on Tuesday.) The reason Obama's speech on Tuesday was so compelling is because he was speaking for all the Americans who define greatness by the freedom to be who we are, to work with integrity, to build and to give according to our abilities, and he is wise enough to know that with great freedom comes great responsibility. The responsibility to love one another. To love one another enough to tolerate their freedom to be who they are. To love one another enough to help those who are in need. To love one another enough to cry while smiling at your great moment of accomplishment, on the eve of your taking on the hardest work you have ever done. To love one another enough to know that prosperity is not the only, or even the best, measure of greatness.
Here is my favorite part of President Obama's Inaugural speech.
"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
"This is the price and the promise of citizenship."
-President Barack Hussein Obama
And here is a link to the beautiful poem by Elizabeth Alexander, Praise Song for the Day.
Praise song for struggle;
praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Monday, January 19, 2009
We are enjoying all the MLK and Obama celebrations on tv and here in town. Today, I went to the MLK birthday celebration downtown and was treated to a live preformance of Ilene Evans portrayal of Harriet Tubman. It was awesome. And tomorrow night, I will be going to the local Inaugural Ball. My friend lent me a fabulous gown, but Laird hasn't figured out what he will wear as his suit is an hour-and-a-half drive away. Gotta go make supper so I can be done with that before the Kids' Inaugural Celebration on Disney channel. Oh My!!!!!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
All Hail the Bialatti!
It is less than a week until our court date!!!! So, I am off to clean up the kitchen and attack my finances so I can apply for a refinance on my house to cover the travel expenses and be able to take off work for four to six weeks. Laird is using his new right-hand cordless drill to finish the fireplace project and then move on to installing the second bathroom. Did I mention it is less than a week until our court date? Ack!!!!! That means we could be leaving for Ethiopia in about five weeks..... if we pass court. Pray the electricity stays on in Addis on January 16th!