Monday, May 31, 2010

A short video of Galati filmed by C

As promised, a video from my walk with C...please don't attempt to learn Romanian from me.

Also today, in Contemplation, we have Tuesdays Unwrapped where I share a bit about a play therapy session.

A walk with C

We have a boy here at the center who really likes to take pictures. Almost every day he asks if he can use my camera to "make pictures." (The Romanian way of saying 'take pictures.)
One day he was the only student we had in the afternoon, so I took him on a little walk near the center and let him snap shots. It's always interesting for me to see life through his eyes. There were lots of pictures of cars (from all angles), street dogs, and views of the valley. Here are a few from that walk:

He's also keen on filming videos. Hopefully I'll have those to share with you tomorrow!

Make sure to take a look at Contemplation for this weeks 1,000 Gifts and Romanian Wifery for some 'crafty' things I've been doing, what I've been reading and listening to.

Friday, May 28, 2010

How he makes me smile

Things my husband does to make me smile...

Peonies, twice in as many weeks...
it makes a girl smile.

Activism: Super Sweetness
Contemplation: Psalm 73

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

his gift

Several months ago, one of our little boys arrived at the center with a gift for me. Out of his pocket he pulled these large-ish sized earrings.

Now, I'm a fan of big earrings...and these take the cake!
He said he'd found them on a bench.
The 'silver' was decorated with tiny sparkly-ish things, but one was missing and had grown a little rusty around it's edges.

Honestly, my first thought was: tacky.
My second was, I'm not putting these things in my ears! Who knows where they've been!
But, his little scarred ear that rounded out the burns covering his arm and chest, his crooked elbow...all left-overs from neglect...they were handing me his gift and the pride in his amber eyes could not be dismissed.

So, we grabbed some alcohol and wiped them clean and he watched on his tip-toes (really, he did...this is not poetic license) as I stuck them in my ears.
I pronounced them great, gave him a hug, and he skipped away.

Doamna M, the mom of another one of our boys and a woman who cleans for us a couple weeks a month, a woman who is my age and started having babies at 14, a woman who looks twice her age, a woman who, when she speaks to me, I rarely understand (and it's not just about not being so great at Romanian), a woman who has known a lot of abuse and who, for many months, was living in a tent...
she watched as I put this gift into my ears, and all day long kept telling me how beautiful they were.

And they were.
And, this gift, these words, those eyes, that pride of his, made me feel as if I glowed with their beauty, too.

Have you ever dismissed something as tacky or dirty, when really it was this beautiful gift? Do you mind sharing your story?

Today in Contemplation: a poem called Language Learning.
And, in Romanian Wifery: my pants are too tight.
Head on up to the pages above to read these posts!

Letting Go...

Here's my post from yesterday after I tweaked a few things:

Two years ago, I moved to Romania. In that time, I've had to apply for permission to live here 3 times. The first two applications needed to be be renewed every year. The visa I received last year was good until the year 5010.


Customs had a good laugh at that.

Since I married a Romanian citizen, this year I was eligible to apply for permanent residency. Which means I don't have to go through the hassle of applying for a visa every year. Which means that now seems like a good time to share the evolution of my residency card photos.

First year. I sat down to have my picture taken and smiled big.

The man taking my picture laughed OUT LOUD.

Romanians don't usually smile in pictures.
Not wedding pictures.
Not birthday pictures.
Not family reunions.
Not million dollar winning lottery ticket pictures.
And definitely not ID pictures.

So, I stopped the smile and just tried to sort of perk up my lips around the edges. I think I look sort of squeaky clean in this picture, you know? Wide-eyed, innocent, idealistic.
I probably thought I'd show them all and try and smile for next years picture.

This is last year's ID. I'm still trying to hold on to a smile, but barely. Look a bit dazed...
This was the year when some of the other staff were having a contest to see who could win ugliest ID picture. I decided not to play. Really, I didn't.

And this is my most recent attempt at achieving full-on Romaniancy (I just made that word up...)I'll carry it with me for the next 5 years because it won't expire until the year 2015.

Notice, no smile.
Looking pretty darn tired.
It was a Friday.
Bags under the eyes.
Haggard? Maybe.
Older. Definitely.
And certainly a contender for ugliest ID picture.
Most of us on staff had a good laugh at it.
Maybe because we all saw ourselves in this run-down-no-smiling-allowed photo and our progression from wet-behind-the-ears Americancy (yes, another made up word)to I've-left-it-all-behind-and-can't-smile-about-it culture adaptation.

Sometimes, it's hard to smile at what we've left behind.
There's grinning-and-bearing-it because we've given something up.
Or, laughing-until-it-hurts because, honestly, it really does hurt to let go.
To what we were. In order to embrace what we are. Where we are.

I'm not embarrassed of this photo. I'll show it to you in person if you like. And not just because it's funny. But mostly, because in some backwards Kingdom way, it's lovely.

Maybe one of the best pictures I've ever taken.

All facades washed away. Just me. Not even trying to smile because I didn't feel like it. I was tired. It was Friday.
Me, not trying to hide anything.
Me, letting go.

What have you been trying to let go of?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

just the broken ones

"I just want the broken ones," she said...

To read more, go to the Contemplation page for more of this Tuesday Unwrapped.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

I previously had another post in this spot. It'll be back here tomorrow...I just had to tweak a few things (usuage of tweak...another nod to You've Got Mail...that's twice in one day after another. Not sure what that means...)

So, If you haven't read this post yet, be sure to come back tomorrow!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Friendliest Flower...

Don't you think they are?

These daises are growing in the garden at the drop-in center.

holy experience

I'm thankful for...
70. hot water
71. warm showers
72. Tanner
73. My almost 63 year old mom who is wielding chain saws and daring to imagine her life differently.
74. Aunt Linda and Uncle Dean having Lexus.
75. Peonies and a husband who brings them to me.
76. Cool spring weather.
77. Hearing from old friends.
78. new plants
79. Onion bread.
80. Reading
81. chicken tacos and chardonay
82. the anticipation of a trip home.

On Learning today:
Contemplation: 1,000 Gifts
Activism:: A couple lines from the book Caretakers of Our Common House by Carol Lakey Hess.

Friday, May 21, 2010

There's a little girl...

Who likes to draw me pictures...of me.

And more often that not she gives me a side ponytail and chains on my jeans.

But she also writes me little notes saying she loves me. Or hearts are left all over my daytimer.

And I think of all the little girls I know. I think of how so many of them like to draw and color; sitting at a table for hours filling in lines, choosing colors, writing notes of dedication on the pages. And this little girl, she's just like all those others. It's sort of a sorority of drawing, a sisterhood of colors, a solidarity of beauty.

Because that's exactly what they do. That's what this little one has done. Entered my world with her little girl love and given me drawings that line my heart with a beauty that is as deep and breathtaking as any celebrated artist.

Even if I do have a side pontytail.

So, I figure that this blog is getting around 100 hits a day. That doesn't mean that everyone stays who comes by (although I hope most do!), still, if you do happen by, I want to hear from you...I'd love for you to interact with what I'm sharing and posting. So, share some love and leave a comment!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Updates for today...

Check out Contemplation for a bit from Frederick Buechner and Romanian Wifery for a bit from me.

Also, I've posed some questions at the end of each reflection and I'd love to hear what you have to say...

The flowers in the photos posted here today are courtesy of one little girl who loves to pick flowers for us on her way to the center.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


A couple weeks ago we were on our annual staff retreat in Lepsa. I've posted lots of pictures of this amazing place before so this time I decided to share some that are just a bit different. I was playing around with the settings on my camera, but I really like the effect I got on some of them. It was just my little point and shoot camera, but it didn't do half bad.

Make sure to check out the Contemplation and Activism pages!!! Today in Contemplation I highlight a passage from The Brothers K and in Activism I direct you to a link about organic take a look!

Monday, May 17, 2010

10 Year Anniversary

A couple weeks ago our community here at Cuvantul Intrupat (Word Made Flesh in Romanian) celebrated Bela and his 10 years of service. It was such a great evening as we ate Indian food, told funny Bela stories, watched videos made especially for him, and read letters written to him. We also gave him a gift: a DSLR camera that he'd been saving for and investigating the last 10 months or so. It was a joy to be able to surprise him with this gift...he never expected it! He also received an apron made just for him, the WMF bird in glass, and a t-shirt with a picture of our community on the back.

Here's some shots from the evening:
Our dinner together...and the handsome man.

Friends reading to him and presenting him with gifts they'd made.
Anca got dressed up for the occasion.

Bela opening the camera.

In other news, check out Contemplation for 1,000 gifts!

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