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Friday, September 30, 2011

On Friends

On friends:

I've learned a lot about friendship in my life.  Nothing I could easily sum up, necessarily.  I've been surprised by friends in good ways and bad ways.  I've been without a lot of friends for a period which lasted far too long.

 Coming home to Arizona and reuniting with my friends after years of loneliness in Iowa was a gift from God.  While away I learned that Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He truly is.  But I also learned that females, especially, need relationship.  We need relationship with other women.  I can't tell you how much lighter I feel, encircled by a few close friends.  I have coffee friends and card friends. I have deep intellectual friendships and friends that crack me up.  And I need all of that.  At thirty-two, I am able to see the value in each of these women I give this title to.  I can see that they are God-ordained friendships, women to learn from and to share joys and burdens with.  Friendship is no small thing.  I am so grateful for the people God has chosen to place in my life.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Acceptance

An hour till bedtime and the kids are jumping on the trampoline in the dark.  Not a wonderful winding-down activity.

For school today we did workbooks and an online game called spent.

Not the most productive day, as I was crazy busy with doctor's appointments. And... more looming tomorrow.

 Yesterday, I was a stress case.  I hate having to do things, having to go places.  I'm more inclined toward quiet and home.  I don't like running.  And the tension it was causing me was unbelievable. On top of the doctor's appointments I also had to go to the MVD.  Oh my goodness.

 But sometime in the midst of all that brain chaos, I just began praying for serenity.

I'd been striving for gratitude to no avail.  And then I realized that before I could be grateful, I just had to accept.

And by the grace of God, this morning came and I was totally at peace.  I went to the first appointment, got in and out, lickety split.  Went to the MVD and only waited forty-five minutes and then home, back to a different doctor and finally home again.  But it's all good.  By the time it was all said and done, all I could do was laugh when the doctor called and added two more visits to my 'itenerary' tomorrow.  Whatever.

Acceptance, right?


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and then, she {snapped}


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


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Busy

"Humanity will always love Rousseau for having confessed his sins, not to a priest, but to the world...."
-Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

John-Jacques Rousseau, not Henri Rousseau.  I had to clear that up for myself so thought I'd clarify.

This is a quote from a piece I had to read as part of my homework this week.  I thought it fit aptly in my blog.  And sadly, I will not have a lot of blogging time this week.  My instructor for this class is asking for two papers a week now and Mayo Clinic is under the impression that I'd like to spend multiple full days at their facility.  So....a lot of un-fun stuff.  But I'll at least check in daily.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Annika



This is my Annika.  My second child.  The one I feared I would never have.  But that's another story.

She came and she is a joy.  Her Nana calls this one, her sunshine, an apt description.  To know her is to love her.  Really.  She can make most smile.  She makes me smile every day.  She amazes me, as they all do but in different ways.

There are times, I think she is the most like me.  This is flattering myself.  But she is the little actress, the artist, the reader, the learner.  Wow.  Superstar.

 And she has the most amazing heart.  She will work for hours making a book, illustrating it, writing it.  And then announce she wants to give it to 'someone with cancer'.  She plays cooking games online.  Games with soft yoga music in the background and slow directions which require patience and which have no seeming goal.  She'll happily create crepes with these games.  She learns cooking tips online and knows more about cooking than I do, even though she's only six!

She's always encouraging.  She writes letters to her friends telling them that they are 'kind'. She teaches and sings to her little sisters.  She is her older brother's biggest fan.   She tells me every day that I'm the best mommy in the world.

I want to be like Annika when I grow up.

 Submitting at The Creative Exchange Wordless Wednesday Sweet Shot Tuesday  and Communal Global On Your Heart Tuesdays


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Monday, September 26, 2011

Time



There never seems to be enough time in the day.

But this I know- there are hours in the morning which I could utilize and I don't.   Because I'm sleeping.

I'm tired.  Very tired.  And I let the illness excuse me from the morning opportunity which I know is a fruitful time for me.

So, I sleep in and I take a couple of cups of coffee to get going and by the time we start our day, it is late.  Later than I'd like.

And I've had whiles when I've woken early, before the kids; and fatigued or not, my day goes better.  Yawning smiles.  Because the quiet time, the prayer, has happened deliberately.  The discipline.  And I'm built up for what may come in any given day.

And this is not a legalistic thing.  Because I don't feel condemnation.  God can work with me wherever I am and if I give Him these afternoon hours while I blog, I'm sure He's fine with that.  But I know in my heart, that mornings for us are better.  I've even asked Him in times past to waken me in the morning, early.  And He did!  For about a week.  And I kept going back to sleep.  That's okay.  Rest, He gives me, too.

But when I come back to the thought, that there's not enough time in the day for all that must be done, the reminder of the morning comes.

Naturally, I am not the best with time management.  I don't need to be.  But if I start my day off on the right foot, chances are, I'll hear His voice more clearly through the day, be guided more easily into right priorities.

Maybe soon, you'll find me here, early.


And counting:
paths and journeys
God whenever
Here
cuddly dogs
boy on the trampoline
September

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Crucifixion





In church today we read Philippians 2.  I love the title of the chapter: Imitating Christ's humility.

That's beautiful to me.

But why is it so hard?  Christ was obedient unto death. Many times I'm not obedient unto little things let alone death.

It's the flesh that has to be crucified.  It makes me think of what Megan said about our pride:  "It doesn't just go skipping."  Obviously not, or we wouldn't need to use the term, 'crucify'. And it's such a harsh term (such a harsh penalty He paid) that we believe it doesn't pertain to us.  That we're not in need of something so drastic.  That it's not really an issue.

And so I justify.  What if Christ had justified in the sense that he'd argued with God on the rightness or wrongness of why he should have to get on that cross.  Yes, he said, "If you can take this cup." But he didn't go to Gethsemane and argue with God about how He wasn't deserving--even though He wasn't.

Obedience, crucifixion.

And I want to sit around telling God why it's not fair that I have to drink the cup He's given me.  Why I don't think I should have to crucify my flesh.  Why others are worse.  They're always worse in my eyes.

We were worse.  And Christ was obedient unto death.




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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Six Word Saturday - Giving

"Giving myself away, I've found myself."


To hear more of Brandee's words, click here.  She writes about service, willingness and giving.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Growth

Growing.  I said the other day that joy swells.  It grows.  It becomes and happens but sometimes gradually through the journey of choosing.  And then the growth unrecognized because it suddenly so strong upon you.  Could everything grow just this way?  Ideas, thoughts, children, even love?  What we call growing, maybe, God's work all along?  He the hand that waters the seeds?  And then suddenly, the flower has bloomed.

I think of my children and how so quickly, my oldest son creeps up on ten.  How quickly I came into myself at thirty.  How love has become something so different than what it was.

It seems as if so many times we are unaware of the process and when within it seems long, tedious, hard and rocky but though the wind and the rain there are days of sun and breeze and if we beam up long enough we create an invitation where our roots might be fed, our petals spread.

Hope grows, too.

But these are choices to choose the life offered, the bread, the light, the air and the water.  To not whither but to bravely do our part.  Our part may only be a small willingness.

He can work with that.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

What I'm Excited About

I'm super excited about something today.

 A while ago I had an idea for another blog.  I haven't written over there as much as I would have liked but over the weeks the idea has evolved.  I've really wanted to include reader participation.  But in a different way than is usual.  I've avoided a blog roll because I wanted more to feature other's thoughts, allow them to be read by all.  I envision it as a sort of meeting online.

Definition of meeting:  Voluntary fellowship of people suffering from alcoholism who seek to become and stay sober through mutual self-help by meeting in local, independent groups to share their common experience. Anonymity, confidentiality, and understanding of alcoholism as a disease free members to speak frankly. Many consider AA to be the most successful method of coping with alcoholism; participation raises the chances of success of other treatments. Its 12 steps to recovery include acknowledgment of the problem, faith in a "higher power" as understood by each individual, self-examination, and a desire to change for the better and to help others recover. Begun in 1935 by two alcoholics, AA has grown to some 2 million members worldwide. Similar organizations for abusers of other substances and for habitual gamblers and debtors are based on its principles.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/alcoholics-anonymous#ixzz1YiIcYNUX



-Answers.com


I wanted to do this in regards not to alcoholism but in regards to the human ailment of self.  For anyone who struggled in any sense.  For anyone who felt the need for freedom.  


I've probably lost some of you by now, but please bear with me.  


I wanted an entire space to do this so I chose the avenue of another blog.  I wanted it to focus on the idea of recovery from self-will, selfishness, addictions of any sort (be it addiction to food, cleaning, the Internet, whatever).  The idea was that we are all the same in this one way.  That the world would be such a better place if we could consider others above ourselves.  If we could work on seeing things from other's point of view with love and compassion.  This is hard to do because we, of course, see everything in relation to self.  That's natural.  But if we don't at least work on it, this quality we share can easily get out of hand and destroy relationships.  


So, I started the blog.  But then I didn't know how to go about accomplishing what it was I wanted to accomplish.  It was all very imperfect - still is.  


But if you're still with me, I want to share my heart with you a little (if you care) and tell you what I see.  I see a space (the blog) where humans (all) can come and share.  So then the blog roll doesn't work because I want everyone's voice to be heard. 


 I don't want to necessarily give a topic on any certain day because I want it to be more open than that.  I began by offering my email but realized that I probably wouldn't take anybody up on such an offer for two reasons.  One, I would just feel strange and two, my writing time is valuable.  If I write for someone else will that then take away my own blog time?  So, what I want to propose is that people can write what they want, let me know if they want (or will allow) me to feature it on Self Anonymous and they can still feature it, of course, on their own blog.  I just don't have the logistics figured out.  I don't know how to add a linky (?) even. 


 Another problem I found was when I was reading through it to give my step-daughter a better idea of what I was looking for, I realized there's so much about God.  Okay, that's not exactly a problem.  I can't change my writing or the fact that God infuses into everything about me but I do want the space to be open to anyone regardless of faith or lack of faith.  I do not want it to be exclusive.  I don't want people to think they have to talk about God just because I do.  So another idea I'm toying with is having a list of topics and people can choose based on what's on their heart at any given time.  A good place to start would be with the 12 principles.

Goodness, I hope  I'm not boring everyone to death.  I'm not too good with words of explanation.

I'm sharing this because it's so on my heart, I'd love to see a version of this idea come to fruition, I wanted to lead you to Megan words today  and I thought this might be the best place to begin with( my readers here).

Did that make a lick of sense?  Maybe Bill Wilson summed it up better when he said,

 "The wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong.  -Twelve and Twelve, p. 88

Ok, so onto my excitement (if anyone's still left).  I told you how my step-daughter came over the other night and how I so enjoyed her company.  In the midst of our conversation, I told her about Self Anonymous.  And then I gave her a writing assignment.  Because I can.  I (jokingly) told her it was due Friday.  I was hoping she'd do it.  She really was in no way obligated to.  And sweet, loving heart that she is, she did it!  She wrote a piece for me on humility (which is what I assigned her when she asked for me to please be more specific) and it's brilliant what came out of this twenty-one year old.  I'd be honored if you'd read her thoughts over here.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Joy Swells



Joy
Swells
Anew
Prayers answered
Indescribable
Inexplicable
I wonder if my words here, He hears from up above
Maybe, healing here
Words written,
Spoken,
Bring
Peace






Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Megan

After all that weight of late, how bout' a bit of joy?

I love how God knows just what I need.  Laughter, lightness, love.  These, I received last night when my step-daughter came over.  How I adore that girl.

So far, I've spotlighted Verity and True.  I thought today, I'd spotlight my Megan.

She's been in my life since she was eleven.  Since I was twenty-one.  Now she is the age I was when I became her step-mother.  Wow.  That's crazy.  It's amazing that I've been privileged to see her grow from a child to an adult.

She has been a blessing in my life, teaching my young heart many lessons about pre-teens and teenagers.  I got my schooling early.  And now she has blossomed into an amazing young lady.

Megan has always been so good to me.  Never was I placed in the wicked step-mother category.  I played the role of another sort-of mother while she was growing up but it was really more like the role of aunt or even big sister because we're so close in age.

Today, she is my friend.

A friend who makes me cry with laughter, who lets me teach her, who warms my heart with her encouraging words and teaches me.


Yep, I love that girl.

God is good. He has given her to me and it is all gift.




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Monday, September 19, 2011

How Many Times

There are days when words don't roll in easy.  Not because of lack.  No, the words whisk inside my brain, they just don't always make much sense when strung together. I cannot knead them into smooth form. There is no outline.

And, too, I get to a place every now and then, when I'm just sick and tired of my words.  Sick and tired of a lot of things.  My words, my moods, my surroundings.  And then I figure out that it's me I'm sick of.

Sometimes, the meeting of God means the ushering in of tears.  And I thought I was ready for it all but it's hard, healing.  I've cried more in the last week than I have in the last year.  These words written are what I fear.  Which bring apprehension and sometimes self-condemnation, even self-hatred. That fear I can taste that I'm opening myself up to sympathy I don't want.  Because it touches such a sore spot for me, letting you in.  To exhibit any weakness, to show raw truth.  But if I don't, then what?  I only postpone the pain.  So, I come here and I choose courage and I share because I'm asked to and then I can more easily let it alone.

Yesterday, I skipped church.  I shouldn't have.  I wanted to isolate and be sad, I guess.  I wasn't choosing joy.  And this morning I had a dreaded doctor's visit.  Not dreaded because of any news or tests, just a routine visit to get set up with a doctor now that we've moved.  I didn't want to go.  I'm sick of my sickness.  I'm done with it.

What does this mean?  That I've allowed God to heal me or that I've decided to not let it define me?  No, unfortunately.  It means I've stopped taking my medication.  It means I was tempted to sabotage my appointment by not registering online. It means I listened to the doctor outwardly but inside was really hating him because it's somehow his fault that I have to be there.  And he listed about a million things he wants me to do.  And I said okay.  But I don't feel okay with it.  I'm angry.  I'm angry that I have a disease that means I have to do anything.  And when those stupid tears came in the sterile office and then we had to have the dreaded conversation about anti-depressants I felt like dying.  Wow, dramatic much?

Okay.  My ten second ( I know it was much longer than that) pity party time is up.

So, I came home and I was still mad.  And I had so wanted today to be okay.  I wanted yesterday's pain to be done and over and yet here I was in my tomorrow, still feeling ick.  And then I read Ann Voskamp's blog like I usually do.  And it was about Sara, whose heart I only last week discovered.  And she chose joy.  And, I, who am mostly fine, too often do not.  I need to.  How many times do I have to be reminded?

So then, now I've had my little rant.  Yeah, life's not fair.  But what did I read the other day?  It's not fair for all of us therefore that makes it fair for all of us.

So, I pray and I write and when sick of myself and my words, I listen to what God is trying to tell me.  I accept His words because they are gentle.


Counting the gifts:

His gentle words,
poetry
doctors
healing
tears
hearing what I need to when I need to


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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Humility

"I, Paul, who am 'timid' when face to face with you, but 'bold' when away!....For some say , 'His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing'..."


2 Corinthians 10: 1, 10.

How many writers can relate to this?

 I love how in verse ten, he says, "For some say...."  It's as though even in this acknowledgement of his writing abilities he wants to make it clear that this is the opinion of only some.  Not all.  He seems like a humble character. A guy whom God clearly gifted, who was given words of knowledge to share, but he always gave God the credit.  He was not afraid to admit his shortcomings.

I heard in a meeting the other night that humility means honestly admitting who we are.  This means two things.  That we admit our character defaults and that we also admit that we are loved despite these defects by our Creator.  That's a great balance.  A balance I don't always achieve.

 But today, this is my focus; seeing myself for who I am without condemnation and without arrogance.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Joy

I don't naturally trend toward joy.  Which is not to say that I'm melancholic all the time.  I'm just a person who may need to be reminded now and again that the glass is half full rather than half empty.  This is not easy to admit.



Source: d.yimg.com via Nicole on Pinterest

On,Wednesday, I had my day alone.  Before I blogged, I came across Sara's blog.  And then I couldn't write.  What could I say?  The new perspective silenced me.  I spent hours that day reading her thoughts, and the thoughts of others who spoke with love of how she'd impacted their lives.  I was moved and convicted.  Here was a girl who lived in incredible pain and yet with incredible joy.  And she never ceased to praise God.  She reminded us to praise.  Her testimony so beautiful, so enlightening and I know without a shadow of a doubt that God brought me to her story that day and again today so that I might be reminded that joy is a choice.  That God can give us supernaturally what we don't naturally possess.



Source: etsy.com via Nicole on Pinterest

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Here

I am here but elsewhere.

It is Wednesday night but I will post tomorrow.  I am in a hotel room.  My wonderful husband read my last blog, the sentence about how I wanted oh, a weeks vacation and this is what he did.  Booked me a room.  A room of one's own, I have right now.  And it's almost nine o'clock and I am just now able to process any sort of coherent share-able thought.  This whole deal was last minute.  He told me and I packed and came.  And then sort-of freaked.  I brought every writing notebook I own and my drawing paper and my laptop and my homework (which I did first) and then I had somewhat of a silent neurasthenia.  I don't know what I was expecting.  Maybe a breakthrough, but not a breakdown.  I felt this maniacal idea bobbing over me that I had to heal.  Right now.  Today.  Get it all out.  It was going to be dramatic.  God was going to send me into tears and then lift me up with secrets of my future...or something like that.  I was also going to finish my novel.

Suffice it to say, none of that happened.  Really, I just tried to ignore the horrible aching of homesickness and rationalize my fear of leaving the room to go to the pool, while begging God to show me whatever it was He wanted me to see.  Finally, I gave up and listened to music and drew and I think I did hear a bit of what I was supposed to.  And then I called up my old roommate and talked through some of the craziness and it helped.

"...good communication is stimulating as black coffee...."-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

So here I am.  Here.  Wherever.  But here.  And I think the freak out was good.  Because I realized that, while maybe there's a part of me that's a contemplative, that craves this alone time, the bigger part of me is now so deeply tied to my husband and my children and my home and the routine.  Perhaps the creative is nourished better even when I'm allowed to slip away throughout the day to blog, or write in my notebook but with space and time galore I sink a little under it all.  Lindbergh also wrote, "Reeling a little from our intense absorption, we come back with relief to the small chores...as if they were lifelines to reality-as if we had indeed almost drowned in the sea of intellectual work and welcomed the firm ground of physical action under our feet."  Maybe I need the chores, the physicality to experience the soft touches of the deep.

I am seeing things I've never seen before.  I am still on the cusp but I don't necessarily have to dive head first into it all.  Maybe just to announce that I am healing is healing.  I can set aside the notions I've had of facing things head on.  God's got it covered.  It will be revealed in His timing....if it needs to be.










Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just This

Today I am silenced.  Humbled.  Moved.

So, just this:

Please, join my heart here today?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Are We All Under This Illusion?

I am here, later than usual today.  It was a long afternoon.  I elected to not give the baby a nap (wondering if she's ready for that - I may not be).  And when I looked at the clock at 2:47 I about died.  It seemed like it should have at least been five.

I ended up taking my notebook and pen outside.  Sometimes it's good to get back to the pen to paper routine.


"I began these pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships.  And since I think best with a pencil in my hand, I started naturally to write.  I had the feeling, when the thoughts first clarified on paper, that my experience was very different from other people's.  (Are we all under this illusion?)" - Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea




Here's what I wrote:

    God, help me.  The baby's eating chips for lunch.  These are the days I wonder why I didn't become a nun.  I am restless, irritable and discontent.  They can't seem to manage themselves for five minutes.  I'm going to go in - make cookies- but I don't really want to.  I want to be alone to read and write-- for about a week.  What's wrong with me?  The mind races too fast to be tamed some days by children's needs.  And maybe this is it.  Part of what I'm to see, acknowledge, even grieve.  The contemplative in me.  I write about being on the cusp and tears and then shove it all away for who knows when, preferring tributes to the children but it's nagging for attention and I haven't picked up that book for a while and I should.  Sometimes even the blog time's not enough, or I wouldn't fantasize about Oxford.  But I do know, joy with contentment, these are choices.  



I wasn't sure I was going to share this.  Wrote it once, why rewrite it?  But the deal is this:  I really have nothing to offer here, except my honesty.  I carry no expertise on raising children, or cooking fancy/cheap meals, publishing know-how tips...nothing.  All I am is one more housewife making choices day to day, choices of joy or irritability, contentment or restlessness.  Daily, I choose to accept grace because it's all I can do to keep myself sane.

I am reading, slowly, savoring, Gift from the Sea and it is beautiful and I intend to share some of it here.  She spoke so many words which rang wonderfully true with me; words of woman stretched and how we need these times of escape to find ourselves again.  This, my escape.  My confessions, life.  My words, offerings of sacrifice and all I have for gifts.  


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Monday, September 12, 2011

Today - Play



Today I am not inclined toward handstands.... but maybe I need to be.

Today the kids want to play.  I say, "It's Monday, there's stuff to do."

But what if I gave up stressing? Gave up the worry, just right now and said, "It's okay that you all have built a fort in the living room, that there's a million barbies everywhere, that you want yet more toys out...so what,  let's just play."

What if these were my words, my thoughts for today rather than the financial worries, the schoolwork tensions.

 Would it be so unacceptable if today I remembered to be grateful that my kids are still young enough to play and that this time is short. What if I just changed perspective?

Grateful today for:


living room forts
cartwheels on carpet
baby sentences
the cooling weather
a job in today's economy
prayer
casting my cares on Him





















Quotography at {My}Perspective


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering

I can't not talk about 911 today.  It's all around, as I want it to be.  And it has been a weepy weekend for me.  God has laid it heavy on my heart these last few days.  I can't escape and I don't want to.  I am grateful for  needed tears which are not about me, for release of whatever all else ponderous has sat dormant for too long.

  I took the kids, on Friday, to a park nearby filled with flags.  A flag for each victim.  My oldest child is nine.  I had hoped they could comprehend, by viewing the mass amount of flags, the magnitude of just what we lost that day.  They could not.  And it occurred to me that there is a generation arising who will not know.  Who will not be able to understand the horror we felt.  But we can't stop talking.  We can't stop remembering.

It seems, that for many of us, it has become important to share our stories.  We want to recount where we were and how we felt.  Just as women need to share the stories of the lives they've birthed, their labor stories, so we want to talk of that tragedy, the collective groanings which birthed in us something we can't quite touch or  remember quite as vividly as in those moments, but still, something so life changing that its story-indeed, our stories, must be told.

I was twenty-two, six months pregnant with my first child, asleep with my husband in our tiny apartment when the phone call from my mom woke me up.  I turned on the news just after the first plane crashed and woke up Brett.  We watched as the second plane hit.

The kids and I have been watching specials this weekend with coverage from that day.  Always, I will remember that second crash.  But I was reminded watching again, all these years later, how the day's horrors unfurled one after the other.  Our nervous system, didn't seem to have adequate time to recover before the next thing happened.  The Pentagon.  The fourth plane.  All planes being grounded.  The second tower falling and then the first.

Shock waves continued to reverberate through our hearts even as we watched live, trying to wrap our minds around each last scene.

I've been trying to figure out just why it still affects me so.  Why, the crying on and off this weighty weekend?  I was in Phoenix, not New York.  I didn't know anyone who was killed or hurt.  Still, my life changed.  My naivete vanished that day.   Young and with child, I was honestly scared.  What kind of world was I bringing a child into?  I became one of those glued to the TV for days, maybe weeks, after.  My husband worked, I didn't.  So, I just watched.  I wanted to go help.  I felt helpless.  Was I too caught up?  I don't know but I do know that it's important to be reminded, to feel the echoes ten years later of what we felt then, to try to call up the love for our fellow citizens and the patriotism we all willingly chose in the thereafter.  To question just what was it that we birthed that day?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September

September: siblings and slides and swings.




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