Sunday, November 15, 2009

Why I Love The Episcopal Church

Today, I found yet another reason to love love LOVE my church. Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of 16 countries, came to our very own Sacramento cathedral and spoke this morning.

For once, I was actually early, by ten minutes - to church. Good thing because the pews were packed. The Rev. Dr. Schori is a legend in her own time and all of Sacramento's Episcopal community came out to welcome her.

Keeping stride with the Episcopal faith, Rev. Dr. Schori underscored the importance of CHANGE in our nation. Feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, ensuring that everyone has fair and affordable access to quality health care, and addressing the global warming crisis.

"We need to stop building mega structures - religious, corporate and otherwise - and start noticing suffering," she proclaimed.

Amen to that.

The energy in the congregation was palpable. I found myself, more than once, in utter amazement at being in the presence of such a compassionate and wise spiritual leader. And I know that the people all around me were feeling the same way.

I stumbled - quite literally - into Trinity exactly three years ago, in the midst of a divorce and desperately seeking spiritual comfort and guidance. Oddly enough, the message on that cold November morning was underscored again this morning: "When the temple was about to come down, Jesus assured the disciples that something far more beautiful on the other side." At the time, the temple was my marriage. Right now, it could be a lot of things.

Last night, while perusing the News and Review, the following quote - by medical doctor and theologian, Albert Schweitzer, caught my eye:

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."

Rev. Dr. Schori did that for me today - she rekindled my spark, which had temporarily been snuffed out by life. The temple, the flame, the notion of beauty on the other side of destruction - such wonderful ways to re-capture the essence of life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Aunt, The Invertebrate and Iron Man

We finished up the month of October with a visit from my Aunt Diana. Everyone should have an Aunt Diana. I'm crazy about my aunt; I always have been. She is the most soft-spoken, gentle soul that you'll ever meet. As a retired school teacher, she's brilliant with children. Her favorite holiday is Halloween so her visit was perfectly timed. Ben fell in love with her and was incredibly sad when she left.

The requisite pumpkin carving, spearheaded by mother this year. Bless her!

Ben's class studied invertebrates in October. Ben was the desert scorpion. The kids made costumes and had a parade on Halloween. Here is Ben in his scorpion costume with Aunt Diana.

Each child had to give an oral presentation about their invertebrate. Ben's favorite detail about the desert scorpion: "Sometimes the mommy scorpion EATS the daddy scorpion after she has her babies!" He then asked me, "Mommy, did you want to eat Daddy after you had me?"

My mom, Ben and Aunt Diana at Ben's last soccer game. Aunt Diana was thrilled to get to see him play (and score a goal!)

On Halloween Day, we went to the Discovery Museum.

I think Ben was in heaven with all the attention he got throughout the day! Can you see the sparkle in his eye?

That night, Iron Man emerged from the bedroom for some serious trick-or-treating!

We told Iron Man that he could run as much as he wanted to, but under no circumstances could he fly around the neighborhood!

Iron Man attacks Mommy! This is the last Halloween I'll be able to pick him up, unless I want a serious back injury!

And here is the perfect trick-or-treater. This was taken right before Molly jumped into the Halloween action, going from doorstep to doorstep and being the best behaved trick-or-treater on the block (until the poodle crossed our path).

I can only hope that every Halloween was as fun as this one! Aunt Diana, please come back and visit us soon. We love you!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ben Turns 6, Part 2

We celebrated Ben's birthday two times. The first time was at my house; the second was at his dad's.

Ben asks a lot of questions about divorce and why he has two homes. I remind him, all the time, how very lucky he is to have two parents who love him so much and two bedrooms and two sets of toys and two distinctly different, yet wonderful, environments that he can grow and thrive in.

And who wouldn't want to have two birthday parties?

This is my dear friend Kathie, who has Ean. Ben and Ean have known each other and loved each other since birth.

This is Ean and Ben.

The three kids - Ben, Ean and Ben's cousin, Lily, were waiting for cake. Ben's paternal grandma got their attention:

And the laughing began:

And continued:

The kids were in such hysterics that they momentarily forgot about the cake. I love to see children laugh like this. It was my favorite part of the day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

October, Part 1: Ben Turns 6

I'm in a bit of denial over the amount of pictures and posts that I need to catch up on from October. Holy cow, what a month. I figure that the only way to approach this daunting project is to break it down into manageable posts, otherwise I'll likely take Google down with the number of pictures I want to upload.

So. starting with the most important event from last month, this post contains the highlights from Ben's 6th birthday party. Ben's first 6th birthday party, that is. He also had a party at his dad's house.

On October 1st, seven of Ben's friends came over after school for the festivities. I hired a magician who provided ALL the entertainment, thus allowing the mommies to drink sangria and eat dinner in complete peace. The weather was spectacular; a perfect warm fall day and evening in our backyard.

Here is the magician entertaining the kids and as usual, Molly, our socialite dog, was in the middle of the mix (much to the kids delight, the magician, not so much!). The kids were captivated by his tricks.

And here is Ben with his life-long friend, L. Most of the time they fight like siblings (they are only two weeks apart in age), but on the day of Ben's party, they were completely sweet with each other.

After the magician and cake, we moved to the living room where Ben tore into his gifts. Below are his "adult" friends (i.e. - my friends!). His "fairy godmother," Ann is on the left and Nancy is on the right.

We're only a month into "year 6" but so far, I'm liking this age the best (I say that about every year though!). My little boy has shed his toddler characteristics completely but is quickly moving toward being a thoughtful and perceptive child.

Just one month ago, Ben was happy to curl up in my lap in the movie theater. Tonight when I offered to hold him during "G-Force", he looked at me like I was crazy. Then he ate four pieces of pizza, a carton of yogurt, a Zone bar and washed it all down with two glasses of milk.

Yes, indeed, he is definitely a boy now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Thanks, Kir and Kari for once again providing the title of my post today.

My sister, Alisa, is getting married next weekend. We've hardly talked this last month; she's been so busy with wedding details.

I called her frantically from the Verizon store this morning as the account that we share is under her name and I needed her Social. I realized I as hurriedly rushed through the conversation, that we have not had a "proper" conversation in weeks. I'm so sorry, Alisa.

So let me say this to my beautiful, wise, younger sister: I can't wait to see you get married. You've waited oh-so-long for this and you're not the type to burden your family with a lot of fanfare. Being the practical girl that you are, (we are, after all, our mother's daughters!) your wedding dress that you ordered online, with an enormous leap of faith looks lovely. You will be so pretty. And I will be so proud of you for waiting for a special guy like Alec and for having faith that your day would indeed come.

Exactly one week from tomorrow, our entire immediate family (including one of the brothers!) and a handful of your dear childhood friends will descend on Indianapolis to watch you and Alec start your new life together. I'm so excited.

I'm just wordless.