30 September 2007
all her life, as long as she could remember, this little girl had known that out there, in the very big, wide world, there was someone else...someone she did not know...someone who had done something very brave...& out of love. you see, this little girl had another momma.
her momma & daddy had told her in all their stories about this very special woman & how she had made a sacrifice so very big, for reasons that the three of them would not be allowed to know...her momma said it was the very hardest of sacrifices...
she had sent this little girl to live with them because sometimes life is so very hard...& because this other great lady had wanted the little girl to grow up in a safe & happy place. they told her to always remember her other momma in her prayers...to ask God everyday to bless her & ease the sorrow that she surely felt in making this very hard decision.
as the little girl grew she took to heart the words of her momma & daddy...she kept this brave lady in her heart & prayers...she also asked for blessings on her whole family, for surely that was the right thing to do. eventually this girl married, had children & even worked with mothers & babies. she thought very often about the sacrifice...which she know understood with more clarity...every. single. time. she looked at her own very dear babies...
what a tremendous sacrifice.
years passed...& sadly the girl's momma & daddy left this world. she was left with the bittersweet task of sorting through the belongings of these marvelous parents. it was a difficult task that took several years to accomplish. nearing the end of her sorting, she found a very special paper that her momma (the keeper of treasures) had never shown her...
it was her official adoption decree.
it contained her very first name.
she tucked this unusual find in a safe place, & for several months she would occasionally pull it out & read those words. someone had loved her enough to name her...where was she? did she wonder? did she worry? but of course! *all* mommas do those things!
with the passing of her momma & daddy, time & life had taken on new meaning. it was just too fleeting...
several years before, at the request of her doctor, the girl had obtained her medical history through the agency who handled her adoption. the counselor who had helped her encouraged her to consider making contact with her birth momma. at the time the girl was fearful of this option...her own children were so very young, she was afraid of how her momma & daddy would feel about it, & she was afraid of hurting this woman who maybe had "moved on"...
so she said no...but she did not forget what the counselor said...
all women wonder...
& it was likely that her momma was told that she should never, ever, under any circumstances try to find the child ever again!
one day, holding the adoption decree with her first name, the girl called the agency again. the proper legal channels were followed. in time contact was established by the counselor with her birth momma...stories & updates flowed in the three way conversation of many months.
the girl decided that she would send a letter through the counselor. she poured out her heart & bravely included her phone number at the bottom of it.
the phone rang. three hours of stories & history were shared.
they met. face-to-face...for the first time in over 39 years! it all seemed so natural...like no time at all had passed! there were so many coincidences, so many similarities! so much joy!
& now, in case, my dear reader, that you haven't guessed...i am that little girl grown up...& J. is my birth momma! we are 2 years passed our first meeting & i have lost that "unfinished" feeling that i carried with me so many years!
today, i share this story because it is a very special day...it is my birth momma J.'s birthday!!! what a woman she is! what a heroine to us!
J., may you have the happiest of days today...happy, happy birthday!!
J. & Little Man, sunset by the bay
28 September 2007
2. britt-arnhild...for your photography, your sweet words & your delectable recipes...i feel like i am at home when i read any of your blogs!
3. rochambeau...for sacred things & hats, for frida kahlo dress up & tributes to a most beautiful mom...your smiling face is just the best!
4. bri...for your encouragement to me, both in your writing & with your critiques of mine...for your studious endeavors...you keep me motivated!
5. somepinkflowers...gosh, where do i start??!?! for rounding up fellow travel sluts (whoops there goes my family friendly rating...only *you* could make me do that!), for taking us on weekly journeys to beautiful places (not to mention italy!), for spreading pinkness & petals all over bloglandia...you keep my tuesdays sane!!
6. K-Bug...now you just *know* i can't pass up this one!...this cinderella's really not so complicated...but she is adorable, witty, smart, creative, crazy, etc..etc..etc..& she is my baby!!!
7. annie elf...for the name alone, i could choose you!...my new-found blog-ball friend...for your kind words & creative spirit...for your love of exploring back roads & your writing of eloquent words...i love all your blogs!
8. eb...for the perfect shade of eb-pink...for unleashing creativity throughout all of bloglandia...for being a very creative inspiration to me every. single. day...i would do the award colors over just for you!!
9. andrea...for taking the chance, trading in the "safe" life, & for sharing your wild & crazy journey with us...through words & photos...can't wait to read the next chapter!
oh gosh...just one more...i don't like this ~~ there are so. many. more. it want to list :(
10. H...you wicked, wicked girl!...for your quips of life that make me spew some coffee... for the inspiration that your desk post vacation (next time post your actual desk & we will advise!;)...for your complete & total understanding of the fact that 45 days between vacations is way. too. long....did i say waaaaaaaaay too long??!!?!
there you have it. my *short* list.
now go out & visit these wonderful people!
and finally...i leave you with some Fine Art for Friday...
simone martini...the annunciation...uffizi gallery, firenze
27 September 2007
the SMS Book Reviews book to movie reading challenge is on (click on link for details)...
my first completed read (very timely as i begin my ethics class)...
Title: Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States
Author: Helen Prejean, C.S.J.
Publisher: Vintage Books, a division of Random House
First sentence: "When Chava Colon from the Prison Coalition asks me one January day in 1982 to become a pen pal to a death-row inmate, I say, sure."
And thus begins Sister Prejean's journey out of her ordinary work as a Catholic nun in Louisiana, into the darkest parts of the prison system in the US. Initially I had some reservations about doing this particular book for the review, given my choice as a blogger to avoid political commentary here at piacere. However, the book was on my "to-read" list before the challenge was posted at Callista's site, and so I took the challenge in spite of the political volatility of the issue of the death penalty.
Sister Prejean tells of her journey from pen pal to spiritual advisor for two men who are eventually electrocuted. Her journey is not an easy one, as one would imagine. She relates her personal struggles of getting to know these men as humans. She portrays them in an honest light that is often unexpected and sometimes difficult. Throughout her story of the time spent with these men, she weaves encounters with various levels of government officials and knowledge she uncovered as the workings of the judicial and prison systems were revealed to her. She is brutally honest about what she considers her own faults (for example, not befriending the victims' families in the very beginning of her time as the inmates' spiritual advisor). And Sister Prejean is uncompromising in her pursuit to see every single human being as a child of God - victim or criminal. She is able to convey this and yet strongly advocates for the accountability of the inmates for the wrongs they have done. She does not excuse them, but she does not see death as the answer for crime.
Sister Prejean's story is written in a very matter-of-fact manner. She presents her personal and public struggle in such a way as to let the reader know that what she is doing is very difficult and it is done without sloppy sentiment. Overall, in style of writing, the book is easy to read in spite of the difficult subject matter. Sister Prejean's choice of words for this difficult topic is strangely comforting. Her inclusion of pertinent statistics, chapter-by-chapter detailed notes, and an extensive index are very helpful to the reader who demands an accountabilty of the author to back up her points. Given the age of this publication, it is helpful that Dead Man Walking Update maintains information updates.
My recommendations?...I would say that if the issues of violent crime and the death penalty hold interest, then the book is a very good choice for human insight. It does contain images that are not for the faint of heart. I have not yet seen the movie, but based on the book, I would like to do so.
& now it is on to the Freedom Writers' Diary...
26 September 2007
eb is serving a delectable apple pie a la mode...accompanied by a blissful cider...OH MY! i must bring something...almost no time...
25 September 2007
23 September 2007
21 September 2007
this led to a discussion about praying. naturally there are many different ways to pray, to be in the Presence of our Creator. my boys wondered about petitions (prayers of requests, or begging, depending on one's state of mind & level of need)...we've been doing a lot of that around here in the last year or so. we have many friends for whom we have been praying for healing. the boys went in the direction of "how exactly are our prayers answered."
we are told..."ask & you shall receive."
that seems pretty straightforward. it doesn't say "you shall sometimes receive." it says "shall receive." there is always an answer. the boys wondered about the answer. what if what we ask isn't what's best for us. after all, we only have a people-eye view of the Big Picture. we are not privy to the God's-eye view.
i told them my humble thoughts on this...the answer may be...
i've got something better in mind.
"yes" is easy & it's grand! woo hoo!!! we all love a "yes."
"not yet" is hard. we think we know what we want & once we have arrived at this knowing, we usually want it *right now*!! i am quite the spiritual toddler sometimes. "wait" is a four letter word to me some days. one of my petition-prayer-wait-answers went *years* before one day i could see the clouds of my mind clear & the very first step of the "not waiting anymore" answered. only the first step, mind you. some more years have passed & i am still in the midst of piecemeal answers to this long-ago prayer. & i have made peace with this process (good thing, huh?). what i have begun to see is that my own ready-made answer all those years ago looks nothing like the current answers & i find myself oh-so-very-glad about that. i much prefer this newer, better, i-never-thought-the-answer-would-be-this answer!
"i've got something better in mind" is also hard for many of the same reasons. we think we have *all* or maybe most of the answers. it is hard to believe there could possibly be "something better"...but so many times there is. acceptance of this answer requires a lot of humility in petition prayers. i have to humbly ask & be open to the "something better." the "something better" often looks confusing at first & it requires patience & discernment on my part. it does eventually become apparent, & it takes you by surprise when you are hit with the realization of what it is.
"ask & you shall receive" is from the Gospel of St. Matthew. & today happens to be the feast in our Church calendar of St. Matthew. as i was contemplating art this morning (considering doing Fine Art Friday on the blog like i've seen & enjoyed elsewhere) with this feast day in mind, i remembered one of the most compelling pieces of art i have ever seen...
The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio hangs in San Luigi dei Francesi in Roma (in situ it is so much more provocative & i apologize for the inability to convey the light & size here with a measly blog post). i have always been fascinated by St. Matthew's response to Jesus' "follow me." he just did it. no "but first i have to's"... no hesitations... i love the "who, me?" (or maybe it's a "busted") look on St. Matthew's face in Caravaggio's portrayal of this passage. that is exactly how i feel when i am wallowing in my own muck so often...who me? St. Matthew moved past his love of money & took a giant step into something more spectacular...the love of God, the love of others, a life of service. he answered the Call to Love right then & there.
i must remember to ask. i must remember to humbly accept. i must remember to wait if need be. i must remember to follow. i must remember to just do it. i must remember the call to Love!
19 September 2007
venice daily photo
i do promise you that once my obsession dies down, the fruits of it will be forthcoming...places to visit while we are there! (not that i needed much help, but...)
now venezia, italia always reminds me of food & that is good because it is wednesay...time for what's cooking wednesday! (shan, i hope you are feeling better...i would do chicken soup for you if i could :)...i don't have that particular culinary cure (unless we are talking about chocolate or cookie dough addictions!) on today's agenda, but i promise i will post it further into the cool weather time.
before i do get to the recipe for today, i wanted to share some yummy, inspiring sites i have found of late. not only are the recipes contained within enough to make me run to the market & cook, but the photography of some of these talented cooks makes me want to frame their works!
after all these spectacular sites, my recipes seem so lame, but they do serve me well. this week's treat was the special request of K-Bug for her birthday dessert. i must make this when no one is around or else the cookie dough is gone before it is on the brownies!
Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies
*Combine 2 c. sugar, 1 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. cocoa, & 1/2 t. salt in a mixing bowl
*Add 1 c. canola oil, 4 eggs & 2 t. vanilla extract to sugar mix...beat at medium speed for 3 minutes
*Pour into a greased 9"X13" pan & bake at 350 for ~30"...cool completely
*Mix 1/2 c. soft butter, 1/2 c. brown sugar, & 1/4 c. sugar well
*Add 2 T. milk & 1 t. vanilla extract to butter mix...blend well
*Add 1 c. flour...mix well then spread over cooled brownies...chill until firm
*Melt 1 c. chocolate chips & 1 T. shortening, stirring until smooth
*Spread or drizzle chocolate mix over cooled cookie dough
(for some serious distraction-from-real-life, be sure to click on the "jackson" link above!)
18 September 2007
17 September 2007
can you really be 21 today???
happy birthday JD!!!!
stay safe & have fun...
15 September 2007
14 September 2007
12 September 2007
11 September 2007
Vincent Brunton, Captain
Thomas Kelly, Firefighter
Henry Miller Jr., Firefighter
Dennis Oberg, Firefighter
Frank Palombo, Firefighter
John Chipura, Firefighter
Timothy Stackpole, Captain
& all the those lost to us on that day...
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
memorial photo courtesy engine 219/ladder105