Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thankful Thanksgiving Tag- in pictures

I’m thankful for this man and this child of East Africa – who came into my life one after the other, and who together bring a beauty to my life I find magical and delightful I am thankful for this daughter and sister (and premier pie maker) who is a keeper of the family traditions, smart and sassy, and lovely beyond wordsI am thankful for this daughter and sister who sees otters in the pond, reads in her Grandma’s chair (here it is “A Room With A View”), and embodies joy

I am thankful for this son and brother, who brings smiles to our faces and reminds us all to be happy and goofy and kind and tender all in the same moment – and who can teach our Finnish “son” how to throw a football! (Schwartz in blue, Waffles in red)I am thankful for members of the committee (read:sisterhood) because I couldn’t get there or be here without their wisdom and steadfast friendshipI’m thankful for a bountiful table – a bounty for which I am grateful but no more deserving of than any of my fellow humans

I am thankful for the festive spirit of my family – for the luxury of play right out our back door

I am thankful for giggling and laughing and a life already rich with memories and telling stories; “Remember when Grandma always sprayed whip cream in our mouths?”

Thanksgiving 2008

This is my kind of evening

A lot of kids, a lot of giggling, a lot of horsing around, a lot of yelling and being silly. Testicles outnumber ovaries tonight and so there is some gaming going on – (it doesn’t look fun to the girls in the house, but the boys tell us it is a lot of fun). There is also some Spanish speaking going on – a lot, actually. Let’s see who is here; Schwartz, Waffles and his 2 friends, Twinkletoes, Songbird, and Twinkletoes boyfriend. Plus me and my beloved and Blueberry. That makes 10 of us all in the family room surrounded by ice cream and a chocolate pecan pie that Mr. Silly Pants made today for tomorrow. Uh, but it is getting eaten tonight. Perfect. Did I mention there is a fire in the fireplace? The only thing is that Blueberry won’t go to sleep, and it’s nearly 10 P.M. Ok, well, almost perfect.

I Peeled Grapes!

About 18 years ago I remember seeing someone feed their infant peeled grapes. It might have been my sister. I remember thinking, “wow, that is really over the top!” Guess what I did today? I PEELED GRAPES this afternoon for my sweet son. Yes I did. I peeled the grapes with my bare hands and then fed them to him, gursha. OK, so I’m now in the “I indulge my child” club. I hope the big kids don’t feel gipped since I never did it for them, and in fact, I scoffed at it!. But today as I stood at the counter peeling grapes I was totally aware that I was deliberating on my “over the top” opinion – and I kept on peeling them for darling Blueberry. Yeah, I peeled grapes today.

Jane Kurtz’s comment about need

I was just reading one of my favorite blogs HERE today – catching up since being on vacation. I read the 3rd entry from guest blogger, the author Jane Kurtz. Jane writes about her efforts to bring books to Ethiopia’s children and the hard work of this effort. She says, “In the dark, hard moments, I have several thoughts I hang onto: Need is everywhere, opportunity isn’t. And Money isn’t always the answer; in this case, it is.”
Handwringing…yeah, sometimes money is the answer. Damn. I wrote about this 2 posts ago and asked what more I could do? Here’s one opinion tonight. Yeah, and we just did an enormous grocery shopping at Whole Paycheck today and I’m wondering what we could NOT have purchased and thus add to our support of the kids. 6 bottles of wine? Organic cranberries? 2 scones and some praline muffins? Maybe the 2 boxes of Puffins cereal or the Odwalla bars? Are you tired of this yet? I’m exhausted by it.

Island Love

Our first trip to the beach near Grandma’s house in WA state. Lovely island, lovely beach, lovely son. I can’t wait for the tide pools this summer when Blueberry is toddling!

I can’t get these beautiful young people out of my mind..

…and I don’t want to! Look at them! I mean, really try to see them- they are so incredible. These beautiful children are our young friends in Lalibela. I miss them. I miss them every day. I yearn for the fulfillment of their dreams; for food on their tables, for daily schooling, for work for their parents, for their health, for warm beds and fresh water. What I know is that each and every one of these things for which I yearn are a daily struggle for each of them, a possibility but not a certainty. What more can I do? How can I help? The tiny one is 8 but is the size of a 4 year old. He brings lunch for his working father every day – a 3K walk in each direction.The big boys told me, “he is a very good boy – he works very hard, but he doesn’t have enough to eat and he is so small.” The young girl’s father has died this past month and he was the sole family provider. She tells me in an e-mail, “He was a strong father and always wanted better for us.” The brothers were sent to an orphanage when their mother didn’t have enough to feed them, and are now out on their own with only shoes to shine. It is their room which is shown here (they are the 2 leaning on each other): I have sent them a small stipend to sustain their lives – oh but it isn’t enough for them for more than 6 months- they don’t have a bed – the blankets they have now are the 2 travel blankets we had in our backpacks. I blogged earlier about Richard (far left), who is in Addis, the beneficiary of our sponsorship for schooling. They struggle to survive. Richard can’t continue his studies unless we continue our sponsorship (and it isn’t a small sum). What more can I do? And finally, see these 2 mothers with their children. My heart aches. Some days I just can’t enjoy the bounty of my life because of the injustice of what I have seen. What more can I do? If you are going to Lalibela, if you are going to Addis, if you have a thought about what more I can do, please share it with me. Really. How do I make a difference?

Today I celebrate my oldest child’s 20th birthday!

That’s right – Songbird is 20 YEARS OLD today! She is called songbird because when she was a tiny baby she used to “sing” like a little bird – and so this knickname has been hers from the start. I love this daughter; she is such a joy. She giggles and smiles all the time, has a great sense of humor, loves to be outside, is a terrific athlete (she swims and plays softball in college), and is truly the “old soul” in the family. Songbird is deeply compassionate and sensitive. Everything she does is done from a place of feeling – of kindness and tenderness. Some days I think this must be a burden for Songbird, but she carries herself with such grace and wisdom that her tender heart sings more than it aches. Somehow her wisdom and kindness is matched with strength and fortitude. This is why we all love her company – she is our “yes” girl – yes to walking in the woods, yes to watching a movie, yes to playing a game, yes to adventure, yes to friendship, yes to cuddles and hugs (although she doesn’t really like me to touch her feet, and I’m a foot person!).

Songbird celebrates her 20th birthday at college today, where she is studying anthropology and biology. She has chosen a rigorous double major to compliment her talents and her interests. Songbird has done a lot in her 20 years – from traveling to Hungary solo, to an exchange year in Ecuador, to volunteering for a summer of service work in Mexico – add family travels to Kenya and Ethiopia and ….well, Songbird is also wordly! Did I mention she’s a gifted artist and a musician? Yup, this young woman has my admiration and my adoration. She deserves it – plus some.

I have always known that Songbird needs the world, but more than that, the world needs Songbird! I love you, sweet daughter. Happy Birthday!