Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Community-- and why I'm glad to be a realist

Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arch communities, has written,
"Almost everyone finds their early days in a community ideal. It all seems perfect. They feel they are surrounded by saints, heroes, or at the least, most exceptional people who are everything they want to be themselves. And then comes the let-down. The greater their idealization of the community at the start, the greater the disenchantment. If people manage to get through this second period, they come to a third phase -- that of realism and of true commitment. They no longer see other members of the community as saints or devils, but as people -- each with a mixture of good and bad, darkness and light, each growing and each with their own hope. The community is neither heaven nor hell, but planted firmly on earth, and they are ready to walk in it, and with it. They accept the community and the other members as they are; they are confident that together they can grow towards something more beautiful."

I have found this to be true for me. What about you?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crooked Toenails and Relentless Love

My friend Lindsey asked me to be a guest blogger for her series on Relentless Love, which is also her One Word for 2012.

Now, usually when one is a guest blogger for someone else, they put a little teaser part of the post on their own blog and link to their guest spot. Before I do that, I have to set the record straight.

Lindsey always gives me so much credit for something that happened in college, and though I pretty much did change her life, it was only because she had already changed mine. During my senior year I worked in the Spiritual Life Department (for the campus pastor and men's and women's chaplains). We had a few openings for student chaplains and I just happened to know of this amazing girl who lived on my friend's floor. Lindsey was just a freshman, but she had a spiritual depth and maturity that made me a little bit jealous. She didn't just have potential, she was already a leader. It was a no-brainer that she should fill one of the openings and it didn't take much to convince the leadership to agree.

I would tell you that was 15 years ago, but then I'd just feel really old! 

I'm still super impressed with this girl, though now I suppose we have to call ourselves "ladies." I've recommended her blog before, but if you're still not reading it regularly, I suggest you do. I've got a hunch about these things!

Ok, here's the teaser:

Battle Scars & Crooked Toenails

have a few really messed up toenails. I brutalized them in years (too far) past by running a couple of marathons, causing them to die and grow back in lumpy and crooked. Even though they look somewhat normal when painted and pedicured, I know what they really look like and that they will probably always be this way.

That’s what my heart is sort of like, too.

You’d never know it by my usually hilariously awesome personality, but I had a broken heart at least one day a month for almost three years.

You can go read the rest here, and be sure to check out the other posts in the Relentless Love series. Lindsey is still changing lives all over her world!

PS- You'll see a few pictures from our photo shoot with Bex White during our vacation to Colorado in November. I'll post more of those just right after I get to all the other vacation pictures from last summer!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ayla's First Birthday Party

My goal was to get these pictures posted before Ayla's birthday balloon was out of helium and wouldn't you know, today it is about an inch off the floor, so I totally still have time!

As her birthday approached, I wasn't sure what to do to celebrate. You know I have issues with my own birthday, the short of it is that you should celebrate what my mom did on that day, not me, as I pretty much didn't do anything except show up.

However, I love celebrating other people's birthday however they like to, so my own daughter's day presented a bit of a dilemma. I don't want to pass my issues on to her. I don't want to deprive her of special moments or others of celebrating her life. Of course, she's too young to tell me how she feels about it (in a language I understand, anyway). She's also too young to remember it, though pictures will tell her the story. I didn't want to do anything too extravagant and couldn't host a "small party" of my own because as I've said, we have too many friends (a good problem, I know), and we wouldn't be near our also not-small family.

Sometimes the answer to life's questions can be found by looking right in front of you. For me, I realized we had a built-in "small" circle with the mom's group we attend every other week, which was also a pre-established time and place. We also could share the celebration with another mom, whose son, Micah, is four days older than Ayla. So, that's what we did.

I made cupcakes and frosting. That's about as fancy as I get!
Somehow, I glanced away from the table after setting the cupcakes with burning candles down, and managed to introduce my daughter to fire. (There was only 4 seconds between these pictures!)

I don't mean to brag, but Ayla clearly won the unannounced mess-making contest.
To honor Micah's Korean heritage, we played the Toljabee. We set out a number of symbolic items for the babies to crawl to, and tradition says that what they choose first says something about who they become or what they do when they grow up. Micah's dad had added a computer mouse to the other options of rice (riches or plenty), a book (scholar), money (riches), a pen (writer), or string (long life).

Ayla went straight for the mouse! Her second choice was rice, so we're set. I'm sure she'll be running an internet company by the time she's in pre-school. I'll let you know when it goes public.

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