Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The groan and the illumination

At the end of a day a thought awakens this deep ache in my soul:
I wish I could tell my grandparents.

Fred, who has been gone longer than I care to admit, in deep baritone, would rumble: Praise the Lord!

Because that's what he always said, because that's what he always meant.

And then, he'd hug me, his round tummy pressed against my heart ~ an embrace that can't be taken away no matter how much time has admittedly passed.

And maybe he'd say: I can't believe you're going to be a mom...the way he once said: I can't believe you're a teacher...the way he once told his freckle-faced, red-haired granddaughter: You're my little school girl.

And Grace, with her quiet smile and gentle twinkle would smile and giggle her glee.

She, who birthed her own children in mid-thirties would know the deep ache, the sighing relief, tripled by anxiety, softened with prayer.

Her hand would clasp mine and maybe she'd say: I never thought I'd see another great-grandchild.

The last thing Fred ever said to me was this:
We prayed for you everyday.

And while one thought ached my soul, the other gives it light: That those prayers, transcending seasons and years, would be as new and as old as if they were given yesterday; may they still reach the throne of God.

And here, wrapped in the groan and the illumination of the love that was the past and is the current, may my own child find a home in the prayers of my grandparents.

All these images were taken at the home of my husband's grandma in Romania; the same home where he spent most of his growing up years. She, too, is gone now and how we long to share our news with Irina.

I'm linking up with In the Hush of the Moon and Imperfect Prose Thursdays.

Grateful on a Wednesday

And I continue to count a 1000 ways to say thanks...


celebrating Nicu and Ionica's (my in-laws) 39 years of marriage. (see photos above)
Bela's golf clubs.
Another week of healthy pregnancy.
'I's' hugs and sweet eyes
'D's' sassiness and smarts
'S's' cuteness
faithful supporters
Mom and dad making it safely from CA to AK and back again.
Mom and dad were able to safely build a cabin AD this summer.
Ava's prayers
The new kids at the Center.
Compassion lavished
Feeling the best I've felt in months last Sunday.
Skip-Bo with my husband.

Me feeling the best and looking the cutest than I've felt in months...sorry for the bad pic and the cluttered hat-stand....I actually took some things off for this photo! (Yes, I'm big. And only 15 weeks...sigh. What's a girl to do when she has to eat in order to avoid nausea?)

holy experience

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Living in Romania: unwrapped

Obviously, I cannot unwrap the gift that living in Romania is in just one post.

Hopefully, I've done part of that unwrapping in other posts.

Here today, though, I'd like to highlight a few of the lighter moments of living in Romania.

First, the darker side of Romanian living.

Okay, it really isn't that dark, I just couldn't think of a better word.

So, last Thursday evening my husband told me that beginning at 8am the next morning and for the next 20 hours, we would have no water in our apartment. He explained something about new pipes, but all I heard was: no water from 8am until 4am the next morning.

My brain couldn't even fathom that kind of time without water. Maybe it's because I'm pregnant...

So, before bed, I filled every receptacle I could but the bathtub so we'd have water to at least wash our hands and flush the toilet (all I could think of was the sanitary issues).

Turns out that we were never fully without water. The hot water was gone, but there was always a small stream to at least wash hands or put through the Brita filter.


However, prior to that good news, I had a pretty rotten attitude about the whole thing. If it wasn't the dark side of living in Romania, then it was the dark side of me living in Romania.

And then I began to think about the little things that make me laugh while living here...usually it's packaging on some product that to my english speaking ears just sounds awkward and funny.

The way I'm sure some American slang or expression sounds silly in the ear of those from other countries.

Here's the gift as I see it: the way we express ourselves, the way we say things, the idioms we use, the languages we speak eventually all cross over into this great myriad of meaning where we can forever dig deep into the laughter or the tears or the memories that they evoke until I find that the darker side of me living in Romania, the harder parts about living here, pale in comparison to the great light of joy that living here has created.

This is shower gel and the name "Happy Time" just made me smile...sounds like it should be for a kid's bath rather than an adults. My husband bought this for me when I was in the throes of morning did make a few moments of those day a little more happy.

And then there's this one which reads: Irresistable Price! Dandruff shampoo at an irresistable price??? Yes, please!

Who can forget the 'pithy grabbers' on the boxes of chocolate?

I'm linking up with Chatting at the Sky and Tuesdays Unwrapped

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sacre Coure: the prayers of the praying

On a Parisian hill stands a church, where,
they say that for 125 years, day and night, somebody....anybody,
has been praying.
And then they beckon:
Come and adore the Lord.

On a recent cloudy June day, I stood at the doors of Sacre Coure,
the white church on the hill,
a little in awe of its bigness,
and even more by the time, the numbers, the worship of the Saints in this place.
I entered. I wanted to join my prayers with theirs.
I wanted to adore the Lord.

But I found that rather than adoring, I was crying. The weight of a year,
the heaviness of longing, followed me into that dusky holy place.
And I couldn't even pray.

I could only be there, silent with tears.
I'm sure mine were not the only ones wept in that place over such a length of time...
Wars, Paris has seen them. The Church has struggled under the weight of them. The Saints have mourned them.
The dying. The lost. The gone.
Names uttered, memories held, lives released
in that space of a holy building.

And so were mine.
I found, without words, myself joining the cloud of witnesses.
My tears finding a home.
My cries, heard.

Come and adore the Lord.


I wrote this poem many years ago after considering The Lord's Prayer.

the prayers of the praying

black words white spaces
what to say whom to thank.
telling, as much as they ask.
i’ve never truly prayed
but only spoken
inky language
signifying the
hardness appropriate of those,
of me, afraid.

thy will be done
in this crowded icy corner
as it is in heaven.

Linking up with in the hush of the moon and Imperfect Prose Thursdays.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

14 weeks: unwrapped

For most of the 14 weeks I've been pregnant, I've worried.

I'm 38 and have wanted this child for a lifetime.

In the beginning my heart would go out of control with panic at the thought of losing our child. I'd breathe deep in attempt to resize the reality of my emotions and re-orient myself to what was true.

Or I would freeze with fear. And breathing was out of the question.

I couldn't stop thinking about it, losing our baby. I couldn't make the thoughts not come.
I'd dream I was bleeding.
I was so afraid and I'd cry and beg that everything be okay.

And for 14 weeks it has been.
But I still lie anxious in my bed at night.

Until I considered this sonogram.

Look at him ~ or her.
At rest, thumb in mouth.
No worries no cares no anxieties.
Complete peace.
In my womb.

And this little one's silent message unwrapped for me:

Be still. Because there's nothing you can do.

Let go.

And so, in order to receive this gift, I must open my hands and not hold on so tightly.

It's fear that makes me squeeze shut my fists~ not love.

It's being in control and thinking I have power that make me hold on to what I want~ not love.

So this little one whispers~ if you want to receive me, all of me, you'll have to open your hands. Closed fists can't receive anything.

And I feel that this is what he ~ or she ~ will always be telling me. That from the moment it was conceived, this baby wasn't really mine, or ours. We can care for it, provide for it, love it ~ but if I really want to receive this gift, I'll always be letting go.

From the moment he gobbles his first gulp of earth air.

And takes her first shakey steps. Away from us.

We are, I am, always letting go ~ so we can receive this gift, wrapped or unwrapped.

Me, at 14 weeks.

Many of the thoughts here are borrowed from Henri Nouwen's With Open Hands...a must read.

I'm linking up with Chatting at the Sky and Tuesday's Unwrapped....
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, September 20, 2010

More gratitude...

It's been awhile since I participated in 1,000 gifts, but be sure, I've had much to be thankful for over the last several months. I thought I'd give a bit of a comprehensive list here to make up for lost time...


A year of marriage to an incredible man.
A trip to Paris to celebrate our first anniversary.
Notre Dame
Sacre Coeur
seeing London
Spending time with the Brawleys
hiking in the Gorge
Drinking Bubble Tea
Imago Dei Community
Elisabeth's cooking
Good weather while in the NW
Incredible open to see so many friends!
Brittle's hospitality
The Reids
Driving a BMW...convertible!
Seeing the Pelluers
Blue corn enchiladas and mojitos
Riding to the airport with the Josts
Staying in Redlands
Mexican food at Las Consuelas Nuevas
Sangria and Tapas
So much good food...
lunch with Jo
Beach with the Holmes and Prossers
Sleeping at the house I grew up in
Nice weather...not too hot, not too cold.
The 4th at the Andres and the Taco Cart!
Hot humid Houston
More Mexican food
Lunch with the Victors
An amazing 2 days at Lake Livingston
Being spoiled at Flemings with Adam and Jamie
Pregnancy- mine
Pregnancy- Kris
14 weeks of a safe and healthy pregnancy
A husband who has taken care of me so well over some rough weeks of pregnancy. He's going to be such a great dad.
Cooler September weather.
Doing lessons with V today.

Linking up with Ann at a Holy Experience...if you haven't been to her blog yet, go!!!

holy experience

And, the pictures of the roses were taken in the garden at the Center before we left for vacation in June.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Paris and London: What we ate, what we drank

Because I don't want you to miss this post, I'm copying it here from the Romanian Wifery page...bon appetit!

For our first anniversary, Bela and I decided to take a quick trip to Paris and London on our way to the states. It was a whirlwind time, and while Bela had been to both cities before, we still fell in love with them together. Here are the details about what we ate and drank in these two lovely cities.

The first meal we ate in Paris we failed to document. Which is a tragedy because it was beyond words heavenly. As you will begin to see is a pattern, I don't remember much of what Bela ate, as is the case with our first lunch, but I have an impeccable memory of that which I partook. So, this lunch, we stopped at a little bakery. Bela had a sandwich. I had a loaf of bread with melted brie in it. The grilled cheese of heaven.

After doing some sight-seeing, we decided to take a pause at one of those little French cafes you hear so much about. While they are not cheap, the ambiance is completely Paris and it was lovely to sip my coffee and watch Parisians pass well as quite a few tourists.

Dinner our first night in Paris was spent in the Latin Quarter. We basically stopped at a touristy type place, but the food was great. White wine. French onion soup unlike any I have ever eaten, it melted in my mouth. And, for me, boeuf bourguignon. I'm at a loss for adjectives to describe how good it was. Notice, both the rice and potatoes for my sides. With a side of bread. The French love their carbs.

The next morning we stopped at a little cafe/bakery and had coffee and rolls. The raisin one was the butteriest mouthwatering goodness I've eaten ever. The coffee was good, too.

For lunch we stopped at a sweet outdoor cafe where kids were playing soccer right in front of us and may or may not have just missed hitting us with the ball more than once. Anywho, we had crepes. I can't remember what kind, but we had crepes for lunch and crepes for dessert. And beer to drink. It was fabulous.

Later in the afternoon we had a snack of lemon crepes. Eaten on a bench in a Parisian park on our way to the Louvre.

And then, our First Anniversary Dinner. While we roamed the streets I had spied a little place called 'Cru'. It was tucked off the road in the middle of a courtyard. We decided to try it.

At first, they asked us if we had reservations, although at that point the place was empty. When we said we didn't, they checked and decided they could take us. So, we sat. As you can see, it was very modern, very bare bones in it's style. Even the water carafe and wine decanter were modeled to look like plastic bottles (but they were glass) and the cups like a glorified dixie cup (but they were glass, too).

So, we set about ordering. Bela, who knows French, asked some questions about what the cuts of meat meant. I decided that I wanted chuncks of meat in Thai seasonings while he wanted thinly sliced meat. One thing was stumping us, though. What did they mean when they said that the meat was 'cru'? We asked the waitress, who in broken English tried to explain, but decided to just ask what the right word was.

Raw. The meat was 'cru', or, raw.

We looked at one another and blinked. Do we stay? Do we dare to venture down this road of raw meat, tartar it is called? Shrugged our shoulders and said: when in Paris, do as the Parisians! And happily cuddled up with a basket of bread and a creme fraiche spread.

Our food was delivered. Honestly, I thought mine looked like a glorified hamburger patty. But, it was better than raw hamburger. Perfectly cured and seasoned. Bela's potato wedges were just so cute...and we both agreed that my meal was better than his. Although, again, I don't remember what he ate.

Dessert, although undocumented, was even better than the dinner. Raspberry cheesecake in a cute little circle shape is what I ate. You'll have to ask Bela what he had.

After a day and a half in Paris, we took the train to London and spent the day with friends. Bela was craving authentic fish 'n chips, so we went in search of them. Which shouldn't have been too difficult given as we were in London and the English are famous for their fish 'n chips. Turns out finding more affordable fish 'n chips in a tourist area in London is what can be a challenge. We ended up finding a little place in a flea market type area. I'll be honest. They weren't the best ever, but they were good enough. (And, who wants peas with their fried fish and potatoes, I ask you? I never want them, even less as a side with greasy food. Bela ate mine).

After several hours of walking and sight-seeing, we decided to stop at a pub and rest a bit. It was a fun, quaint place, with several elderly gentlemen dressed up in their old military uniforms. Bela had a beer that they make on site, while I had something called Pimms...and it was so good! It had this English liqueor as well as lemonade and fruit in it. A must have if ever you are in England or see the bottle for sale in a duty-free shop.

To round out the day (and I must say, by this point I was exhausted. We'd just run around 2 major cities in 3 days) we stopped at an Asian restaurant. It's a chain in England, I guess, and the food was great. At least what I had was great. I still dream about it..some kind of curry chicken thing. That's mine in the big bowl. I don't remember what Bela had, but, it was good too. Just not as good as mine. :)

Soon after dinner we said good-bye to our sweet friends and headed our tired selves to the airport where we spent the night waiting for our early flight to the states. Wish I had pictures documenting that adventure. We stayed at a little coffee shop in the airport and the Middle-Eastern man who ran it was so nice. I fell asleep I don't know how many times, my head swinging back against my chair, mouth wide open, and as we were leaving in the morning he asked me: did you sleep well? And sold me my cup of coffee. (He really was nice, not sure if I made him sound that way or not here...)

And that is what we ate, and drank, while in Paris and London.

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