Thursday, October 28, 2010

If you have the time: short story share

Welcome to: If you have the time Fridays: short story share. All you need to do is link up to my blog in the comment section (sorry, I am still working on how to do a Linky system...)and then post your own short story or essay on your blog. I'm hoping that this will develop a community of people who read one another's work, comment on it (in kind, constructive ways) that both improve our writing/stories/essays AND get our work out there. Feel free to post the same story week after week so that we can enjoy the changes you make. And now, my story:

The Whole World Rested on the Point of his Finger

Florin closed the door behind him when he wasn’t quite out of the doorway- the door bumping the red backpack straddled across his shoulders. He paused for a moment, adjusting the weight in the bag, looked up and down the street, and headed to school.
His navy pants were held up by a zipper that wouldn’t zip and a piece of shoestring pulled tight, causing the waist of the too big pants to buckle around his too small body. A rainy day in a gray city, he skipped through puddles, the holes in his shoes capturing the water, wetting his socks, and sloshing him down the street. The shoes he wore he’d been so proud of. Bought at a second hand store, they’d once been some other boy’s Addidas soccer shoes.
The city was abuzz with early morning activity. Tall men topped with curly fur hats brushed by him while women in fur trimmed coats held the arms of their husbands, smug expressions of satisfaction lining their thin and aging lips. A biting wind stung Florin’s cheeks as people passed by as icily, and he pulled his knit hat down lower over his ears.
Thrown up against a granite sky, giant block apartments stood with their empty eyed windows staring blankly at him as he waited for the bus. A woman shook a rug out from the balcony above him and the dust of other’s lives rained on his shoulders. He hardly noticed, although the dust made him sneeze.
The 34 bus came swimming toward him like a whale heading south for the winter, stopped and squeezed open its door. Florin grabbed the rail and pulled squat legs over steps as jagged as a prize-fighter’s teeth. Before he reached the top step, the door closed, and the bus enveloped him into its body.
Florin faced a sea of faces and no one offered him a seat. So he stood and braced his legs as the bus rumbled away from the stop. The strong smell of garlic and onions wafted around him- vapors of lunches and dinners. The smell, however wrong, made his belly rumble and his full-lipped mouth swallowed away a lump of hunger.
The bus lunged to a stop and grownups stood around him to exit. Shoving him into another passenger, they pushed past Florin.
The door yawned shut and he mumbled to himself,”One more stop.”
The bus lurched forward, causing him to lose his balance and fall into the lap of an old woman.
“Careful!” she yelled, “Stupid boy.” With one hand, she pushed him off of her and made the sign of the cross with the other. “Don’t you look where you’re going?” she hissed.
Florin stumbled forward as the woman mumbled and carefully fixed her hat, “Why do they smell? You always know one is near by the smell.”
Having turned pink with shame, Florin shouldered himself forward and found a bar to hold onto, when the bus came to another lurching stop. Moving quickly through a thick forest of coats, he mumbled, “Scuze, pardon.” Hands pushed him through until he erupted from their grasp, whereupon he fell down the steps of the bus, through the yawning door, and into a half frozen puddle of water.
As the door shut, he heard someone say, “He needed a bath.” And then the roar of the bus echoed around him, leaving a trail of exhaust in which he could hide.
But the relief of being hidden, or at least just a shadow, was momentary before he heard the honking of an approaching car. Florin quickly stepped out of the puddle and onto a slippery curb while at the same moment being splashed by the same puddle he’d just fallen into as a white Dacia raced past, dousing an already wet child.
His too big pants, now mud spattered, were heavy with water and as he moved forward, they began to fall. A shoelace through belt loops made an inadequate belt.
Adjusting his backpack, he held up his pants with one hand, while continuing to push forward with the other. Fearing he’d be late for school and with only one more block to go, he began an awkward limp of a run. With one hand still on his pant and the other pushing open the door, he entered the building even while heaving a huge sigh of relief. In a moment of complete exhausted relief, the hand that held his pants in place lifted to re-shift his backpack, just as his pants slipped to his ankles. A few students were scattered in the almost empty halls of Scoala 24, and while Florin quickly realized his mistake, he wasn’t fast enough for the observant eyes of upper elementary aged students. Those who saw began to laugh and point, while exclaiming loudly so others would look. With a heave and a sigh, Florin reached down and pulled up his pants, trying to work with the wet knotted shoe-lace so that he could pull the pants tight around him again and squished his way to the classroom. Doamna would most certainly be unhappy with his tardiness, not to mention his appearance. Still, he pressed forward, finding the classroom door and entering, greeting his teacher who sat at her desk with the mandatory, “Buna ziua.”
Slopping his way to his seat in the back of the class, every eye watched him. A few giggled, but his head was down so he couldn’t see who.
He sat with a squish, water oozing out of his pants which then began to drip on the floor. His neighbor scooted away from him so that the gathering puddle around Florin would not over take him, too.
Drip, drip ran the water over the side of the bench. In the quiet of the classroom, the sound rocketed off chalkboard and window pane until Doamna teacher who sat at her desk, lowered her glasses to the tip of her nose and hollered, “Florin!”
He jumped in his seat, his legs not unbending quickly enough and he, knobby kneed, hit the bottom of his desk. The thunder of bone against wood shook books off the ledge and off the desk, hitting the ground with a slam.
And there he stood. All eyes, all heads, giving him obeisance he did not seek. A submission of mockery, of disgust and mistrust, lay at his feet along with the gathering puddle of water.
Silently the teacher stood, too. Glasses still lying low on her nose, anchored by a mole that hung there, she powerfully cleared her throat. Quickly, all obeisances were returned to her. Ripples of laughter ceased, pencils submitted to paper, and a litany of homework began.
Florin stood, facing his teacher. Their eyes met, but he didn’t look away. She stared hard, and he didn’t turn his gaze. A bead of water traced its way down his brown cheek and neck, and still he didn’t move, still he didn’t look lower his eyes in submission/humiliation.
“Florin,” she spoke, “You entered my classroom late, wet, and, it appears, unprepared. You’ve continued to disrupt the class with your clumsiness, wet appearance, and now, with your disrespect. I suggest you collect your things and return tomorrow with a more narrowed perspective given to your education.” And then, almost as an aside, she said, “And do something about that smell.”
Still, he didn’t move. Undeterred in his gaze, he watched his teacher sit and resume her work. He, though, was an oak where he stood. The clock ticked and he dripped. After some moments, the teacher raised her head and found him where she’d last seen him.
“Florin, I told you to gather your things and go.”
No movement. Not even a flicker of understanding ran across his face.
“Young man, if you do not move this instant, I will call security and they will escort you out of the building.”
Suddenly, a shudder ran down Florin’s arm, as it rose from his side, one finger extended. On the point of that finger a whole world rested. The air of that world filled his lungs, expanding them in his chest, growing his heart large and strong. The light of that world filled his eyes so he could see as if for the first time. The water of that world bathed him and its hands dressed him and its words filled him and its power raised his finger high until he exclaimed, “I am a gypsy!”

Imperfect Prose: We Came to Say Good-bye

We Came to Say Good-bye

We came to say good-bye
sitting on couches,
which would later be beds.
Grandpa read Orthodox proverbs to us
and asked if I could read Romanian.
When I said: a little,
he gave me his book to read.

We ate chicken from the yard
and were gifted a frozen goose.
After spreading garlic thick across our meal,
we ate warm placinta and complained of tummies too full.

We held new babies
round with fat and life,
they smiled at us~
and we came to say good-bye.

We sat in the yard
and on a green bench snapped the moment,
then rose, the day grown cold around us.
Grandpa said: when two become one, you go~
and told us he'd been married 60 years~
and then they could go together no longer.

We embraced; I wore my chunky shoes
and had to bend my baby heavy waist to hug him~
Three kisses on each cheek.
My husband held him closer~
and then we all walked to the gate.
Aunt said: nu vreau sa plang~
I don't want to cry, as tears fell.

We held back our sobs, even as we held them
one last time.
We stood, he on his cane, her on her tears,
and us on our choice, and waved.
We came to say good-bye
and maybe we have been
since the day we arrived.

Come back tomorrow to link up your short story to "If you have the time..." See Tuesday's post for more details.

Today I'm linking up with In the Hush of the Moon...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eiffel Tower

What landmark better represents Paris than the Eiffel Tower? It's renown is worldwide (I think that's what renown means...)Standing tall and proud over such a gem of a city, its own grace represents the city's beauty.

However, our visit to the Eiffel Tower will always be shadowed not by the iron edifices grace, but by our stop at the public toilet (i.e. port-a-potty) preceding our vieiwing.

First, I must say that the public toilets on the streets of Paris are not your ordinary run-of-the-mill port-a-potties. (I'll describe them in a minute). The line for this toilet was, however, exactly what you'd expect from a free public toilet.

And I HAD to go.

But, we waited. 20 minutes.

Now, the toilet. I'm sure other major cities in the world have similar toilets, but this was my first experience with one of such caliber. First of all, after each use, when the user leaves the plastic -but actually spacious so you don't worry about touching the walls accidentally- shack, the toilet cleans itself. Some sort of water and disinfectant rises from a chain-mail type floor, the toilet scrubs and rinses, the sink power bubbles itself so that the next user can relieve one's self in a relatively sanitary environment.

However, such endeavors take time and therefore the long line to wait for occupancy.

As we waited we saw many young people draped in the flag of Liberia. They were in fact of Liberian descent and it was World Cup time. Liberia was playing that night and these transplants were proud. (In fact, while in Paris we saw many different nationalities. It is truly a cosmopolitan city).

We also saw Indian men selling Eiffel Tower miniatures of all sizes and uses (i.e. key chains). They were selling their wares illegally, so when a policeman was spotted they had their display rigged on a mat that would quickly close up and the vendor could hide what he was doing from the law. Sneaky. We didn't buy one of those models, but now I wish we did. (What we did buy was this little bust of Napolean - which I love).

At last, finding relief in a clean Parisian public toilet, we walked the few blocks that remained to the tower.

We'd waited until evening for our visit because we wanted to see it light up. (We opted not to go up due to costs and more lines). Of course, when you approach this tower of steel, it is as imposing and gorgeous and inspiring as you'd imagine. A kind of "I can't believe I'm in Paris" feeling ensues.

We found a spot on the long lawn that stretches in front of the tower and waited with the crowds of others who'd brought baskets of bread and bottles of wine. We snapped photos and soaked it all in - we were in Paris.

And then, this brief light show brightens the tower and we all watched and cheered and then took more pictures until we realized we'd walked all over Paris that day having left Romania extremely early and were operating on very little sleep. We still needed to walk back to our hotel, so we lingered a moment more in the Eiffel glow, kissed (because we were in Paris at the Eiffel Tower), and hand in hand, walked away past the line at the public toilet, glad we (read: I) no longer had to use it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Random Updates of the Not-so-Random

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

~~ When I eat too much, I can't breathe. And it doesn't take much to be too much.

~~ The heat is on in our apartment!!! A whole week early!!!

~~ Looks like water is clear and clean of any toxic waste...

~~ I go to the grocery story almost every day. Sometimes twice. It helps that I only have to walk 100 steps.

~~ When trying to choose a name for our baby, almost all names I like have been chosen by friends, either for a child or a dog. Whatever happened to naming the canine species things like Rover?

~~ While wanting to keep this blog family-friendly, this update was too good to pass up. Galati now has a Mexican Restaurant and it's called:

That's right, El C.O. Jones. We ate there with some friends a couple weeks ago. It was least there were free chips!

~~ Every Friday I'm going to start posting short stories (at least I'm going to try to), and set up a LINKY system so that others can also post their stories. I'm hoping to start a community of people who basically want to read one another's work and offer constructive criticism. And also, just get some written work out there. It's going to be called "If you have the time." Hoping that some of writers out there will post your stuff along with me!

~~ Today Bela and I have been together for 2 years. So hard to believe, it's gone by so quickly! And now we're having a baby. Whowoodathunkit?

~~ And now, the Lentil Soup recipe. It's so great...and good for you, too! (sorry that the pictures aren't the greatest...)

Here's what you'll need:

4c lentils (or less...this amount makes a ton, so last time I only put in 2 1/4c and still had plenty)
2 tbsp oil
2 carrots, diced finely
1 onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely (or pressed)
1 tsp paprika (I always put in more, though!)
1 tsp cumin (again, I'm generous!)
1 tsp tumeric (don't skimp!)
1 tbsp tomato paste
8 c veg or chicken stock (although you'll probably want to add water as this gets pretty darn thick!)

salt and pepper

on the side: sour cream to top it.

saute carrot, onion, and garlic in oil 3-4 minutes

add paprika, cumin and tumeric to pan of sauted veggies.

continue to cook 6-8 minutes
stir in tomato paste to pan of spices and veggies.

add lentils to stock, bring to boil

cook 20-30 minutes
stir time to time

After lentils and stock have cooked, add spices and veggies to lentils and continue to let bubble for about 20 minutes. Make sure the lentils are tender, and then you know you're done. And so are they.

also, you can add chopped tomatoes, peppers, whatever you like!
this is always better the second day! gets the second day add more water and then some spices to compensate, if you like!

Here's what my kitchen looks like after I finish cooking.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So much for which to be grateful....

The next couple of weeks promise to be especially difficult for us...I'll say more later, but to look at pictures like this one and be grateful for the things I've posted below, well, they become more and more precious.

I wonder how my life would be different if I didn't know these little girls...if they didn't play with my hair...if they didn't complain about the math homework I gave them...if they didn't let me touch their face or rub their back...if we didn't have conversations about their changing bodies...if I didn't know their smile, their voices, their hugs.

I try and figure how life would be different if I didn't stop and look at what I have been given and then lift my voice in thanks. I'm not certain, but I think it would lack a certain depth, a voice called meaning, a grace called love.

Grateful for...grateful that...

~ He knows where we'll be.
~ Doing lessons/homework with "I"...I love doing this.
~ The countryside visit.
~ Feeling fetita move.
~ Little girls who collect fall leaves.
~ Clean water.
~ means I've loved and I've hoped.
~ Green apples.
~ Ballet pictures of Brynne.
~ I'm ecoli free!!!
~ Pizza dates with my husband and papnasi for dessert.
~ Hard conversations and looking/digging deep.
~ Reading old notes/letters/pictures/drawings from the past 3 years.
~ Bela's grandpa calling me: Fetita mea (my little girl).
~ Gifts of goose and chicken.

(Those were #251-265, please see link below to learn more about the Gratitude Community...)

holy experience

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Baby Post

Friday, October 22, 2010

Judging from the amount of comments I get when I post anything about our baby or this pregnancy, I'd say that having a baby has been the most popular topic of my life. I'm here to say that I share the joy and revel in all the comments I get after a baby post.

So, I have a doctor appointment in just a little over a week, so no new sonograms to share. In about 2 weeks we head to the states on maternity leave, so that is exciting.

I thought I'd share some of the music I've been listening to over the last several Baby Playlist, as it were. I imagine I'll add to this list still, or even make a new one as we begin a different part of this baby journey. Some of the songs are repeats from other lists....but maybe mean a little something different to me now. Anywho, here they are:

1. Sing over your Children, Matt Maher
2. Closer to Love, Mat Kearney
3. Your House, Aaron Strumple
4. Say, John Mayer
5. Desert Song, Hillsong (Thanks to Jenny Matthes for bringing this to my attention....I had the CD, but after your recommendation, it's become a favorite).
6. In These Arms, The Swell Season
7. Grace and Peace, Fernando Ortega
8. Your Grace is Enough, Matt Maher (if you're not familiar with him, you should be.)
9. I knew I loved you (Savage Garden: an oldie...but so true)
10. Mighty to Save, Hillsong
11. Love you 'till the end, The Pogues
12. Alejandro, Lady Gaga (sort of an inside joke...)


Also, some people have asked me about baby bedding (!!!). I'm still trying to wrap my mind around actually having a child and all the other things going on in our lives. But, it's still fun to look and this is what I think I want to do.

Sari Bari (click the name to go to the site) is a business ran in the red-light area of Kolkata. It was founded by WMF staff and basically what they do is help women get out of the sex-industry (slavery) and into a job where they discover their worth, freedom, and the love of God. They recycle old sari's and make blankets, purses, etc.

They also make baby blankets. Right now they are only showing one on the site and it's sold out....but I've been told that new shipment will arrive and when it does I'll get a sneak-peak and what they have so we can choose for our baby girl. HERE'S the baby blanket they current display on their site. I think I'll just find some sheets, bumper, and maybe a crib skirt to match the blanket and we'll be good to go.

Be sure to check out the Sari Bari website...Christmas is coming and these blankets and purses would make great gifts.


I've mentioned before a blog that I love: A Holy Experience. Awhile back she posted some thoughts on raising kids and I thought I'd share a few of them here, today.

Figuring out how to parent teenagers, a holy experience, Aug 25, 2010

...And I hear these fathers' wise words and I line them up a bit different in my heart and I think too about this.

Our children are the fruit of our best love -- am I making them my best friends?
Their hearts came into being in the circle of our wooing -- why do I ever stop wooing their hearts?

Each child came to us directly from the presence of God and a parent's daily work is to lead the child back from whence she came --- back into the presence of God. To simply keep inviting the child into the transformative presence of God -- to live before Him ourselves.

For only the Spirit of God can take a child and shape him into a whole and holy person. My parenting cannot do this work. I forget this. I realize parenting is complicated with seasons necessitating instruction, admonition, intervention... but I wonder --
Is my work as a parent less about directing and more about being a friend who's a spiritual director?

It's our tender love that woos them back to His.

We string a net up across the back lawn and volley laughter. We call it a day early and go swimming. We bike back lanes. We pray and vow to pray more. We endeavor to make our parenting more hospitable to soul growth. We listen better and linger longer. And we practice the hospitality of parenting -- inviting children into our presence and His.

I'm thinking we're having best friends for dinner.


And these she shared about her first pregnancy, which feel so true right now.

Friday, Sept. 3, A Holy Experience

The long winter I grew heavy with our first child, I wore heavier sweaters and I didn’t tell any of our friends until I was six and a half months swollen.

We’d only been married eight.

And six weeks later, I held our baby.

Our friends thought it a remarkably short pregnancy.

Sometimes we shroud who we are becoming, to keep all the tender, stretching places, safe. Sometimes we fear the words that might abort dreams, the future that might miscarry, the humility that might hurt.

Sometimes the new life unfurling within us, the unexpected embryonic gift God’s placed within, asks us to be brave, to let God change the shape of us, to be courageous and let Him fill all of our skin and not shrink back because He’s so big.

Please visit her blog...I've it listed as one of my favorites.


Finally, this week I woke up one day and thought: Today, I feel pregnant. It seems this bump just gets bigger and bigger. I'll ask the kids at the center: Is it bigger today? and they always say yes. :)

I'm about 19 and a half weeks. :) (Hey, every day counts). Here are the most recent pictures of my little girl as she grows...and so do I. (Sorry for how dark they are).

With the sweater...

Without the sweater...

Have a good weekend...I'm off on a pizza date with my husband.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


The other day "J" came to the drop-in center full of her usual liveliness. Running through the yard and to the door in a puffy red coat and yellow 'abc' hat she exclaimed: I ran the whole way! And collapsed on a set of lockers. Taking off her coat she revealed an outfit composed entirely of purple: purple turtle neck, purple sweat pants, purple sweatshirt.

We did lessons together that day and I had to keep re-focusing her to her math homework. "J" is very social, easily distracted, loud, takes her time doing just about anything, and is just plain cute. When she talks, she'll put air quotes around what she's saying. She's 9 and this seems like such a western thing to do, that it makes me laugh to see her do it for Romanian. Her hair is blonde, her eyes are aquamarine, and she is tiny. Next to the mostly Roma kids we work with, she stands out.

And within all the sparks of life that dance in her eyes and tip-toe in her feet is the reality that in the last two years "J" has lost both her parents. Two years ago, her mom died of cancer. Last year, her dad lost his battle with TB.

When she at last completed her homework, she had a few extra minutes before art class began. So she wouldn't distract others, I had her sit with me and asked her how her weekend was.

Good, she said.

What did you do?

On Friday I played and on Saturday we had pomana for my dad.

Pomana is an Orthodox service celebrated a year after someone has died. A priest comes to the house and prays, certain foods are prepared, and the loved one who is gone is mourned.

I said, Oh "J," was it hard?

She paused and said: a little...and then Sunday I played some more.

Grief, bookended by play, swallowed in the yawn of girlhood whimsy. What will she remember and what will be lost? The sound of her mother's voice, the feel of her dad's hug? Her grandma's wail of grief? The pound of young feet on hard pavement when she ran? The freedom of a good girly laugh? That her favorite color was purple and she loved to do art but had a hard time focusing on math homework? Will she forget that on Friday and Sunday she played and on Saturday she mourned?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random Romania/Galati/Ispas Update for Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010

* It's the coldest time of year in our apartment as the heat has not been turned on. No matter how cold it is, the common heat we share with the rest of the building/city (? uncertain of that 'city' statement) will not be turned on until Oct. 31/Nov. 1. A throwback to communism? Perhaps, but pass me another blanket and fill the hot water bottle!

* Speaking of water, perhaps some of you have heard of the toxic spill in Hungary that flowed into the Danube River. The Danube also runs through Galati. We heard today that for the next couple of days we should avoid using tap water for anything. Including washing the dishes. I guess toxic substances aren't good for enamel. (On a side note, Hungary has refused to release exactly what that toxic waste was...which is so unbelievable to me. Thousands of people are effected by this spill, not to mention the environment, and no one can make them talk? Where's the EU when you need them? Now, back to regularly scheduled programming...)

p.s. don't mean to sound whiney and complain here...just keepin' it real.

* It's raining. A lot.

* Aren't pregnant women supposed to have beautiful skin and gorgeous thick hair? Must be the toxic water...Hungary is even keeping that from me!

* Here are some Romanian fashion pictures I've taken (on another side note, I thought I had more of these, but couldn't find them...these'll have to do). I adore these kids and I think the way they sometimes dress makes them all the more adorable. I don't mean in anyway to dishonor them in these photos. On the contrary, I hope it endears them to you all the more.

Let's catch those jazzy feet in action!!!

* You may have noticed that I haven't posted under my tabs recently (please see above...contemplation, advocacy, romanian wifery). The truth is, with being pregnant most of my energy goes into staying up with main blog posts. And, I'm not happy with the format of the tab posts. No one can comment and I can't label the posts, either. Further, life is changing for me and while all these areas are still topics I'm passionate and learning about, I think when I do post under tabs again, I'll use different categories. For now, the above tabs will remain because I like the stuff I posted there. I just won't be posting anything new.

* Finally, I think maybe I felt twinges of fetita (or fetitsa, the Romanian for baby girl or little girl). It was unlike anything I've felt before, so I'm hoping that's her giving me a little 'heads up, mama' and not any residual toxic Hungarian waste.

* In conclusion, the Folkertsma Family no-longer-a-secret Recipe for Potato Soup: (and, if you haven't read the post I wrote about this yummy soup, click HERE now).

You'll need:
6-8 good sized potatoes. Cut them into small-medium sized pieces. I prefer smaller pieces.

1-2 small to medicum onions, again, cut into small-medium can guess my preferance.

Garlic powder or fresh crushed garlic. I don't know how much, I always just eyeball it. Maybe start with a little and you can add more to taste later.

Real, full of fat sour cream. A whole tub...don't even think about buying low-fat stuff. If you do, this recipe won't work and you may as well walk away now.

Butter (several tablespoons)

2 tsp salt

What I do:

Depending on whether you use garlic powder or fresh garlic...if you use fresh garlic, you'll want to saute it in a little butter first...otherwise...

Place the potatoes in a good sized soup pot, and the put the onions on top of the potatoes. Next, fill the pot with water, but make sure it just barely reaches the onions. Too much water, and then you'll need more sour cream. Which isn't a bad thing...anyway, the idea is, don't use too much water (especially if it could have come from Hungary).

Then, if you're using garlic powder, put that in the pot along with the 2 tsp of salt. Let it all boil, but not boil over, until the potatoes are soft. At the point you'll add the butter and sour cream. Let them melt, while stirring/stiring. Either way, it'll all mix in there and is so yummy. Taste it and adjust seasonings as needed.

You'll most definitely want to top the whole thing off with shredded cheddar cheese. And, if you're going for an authentic Folkertsma experience, garlic toast.

Pofta buna!

p.s. I think next week I'll post my lentil soup recipe. It is pretty darn tasty...although quite different from potato soup.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fields of Romania

Thought I'd post a couple pictures I took in June of the fields we pass on the way to the village where Bela's family is from. Of course, it's mid-October now, so those fields look much differently, but I still thought their early summer beauty were worth posting.

In continued gratefulness for...
(When I put a letter in quotes, it refers to a child we work with at the drop-in center. Out of safety for them, I don't post their full name.)

# 236-250


red-leafed vines crawling on old brick walls

laughing with Bela

Each kid at the center, past and present.


Insurance ladies who are understanding

listening to kids learn to read

"I's" whimsy/whimsey(?)

last geranium blooms of the year

When 10 year old "D" counts fetita (our baby girl, still in utero) as one of the kids at the lunch table.

When 9 year old "I" puts air quotes around what she's saying.

Reading that not everyone feels the baby move at 18 weeks.

Learning that we're paid up 1 month in advance on our rent.

Anca making me a pregnancy coat.

"S" wearing an "I can be your hero" sweatshirt (pics to come). In pink. (Think Enrique Iglesias).

holy experience

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Romania I: Imperfect prose

Old man with a cane, tipped hat.
A skeleton dressed in sports coat and tie,
You shuffle the street with the steps of the aged,
Visions wash through watery eyes
When these buildings were a youth and a beauty
Instead of the bag of bones they’ve become.
An age when rectangles didn’t dot the skyline
And all you could see on a clear dry day were cumulus and sunflowers, bowing their heads
Waiting to dry and die.

You, bent over a stick
And they, only monument istorics?
Tombs marking ancient goodness
Just as big bloc buildings mark an old evil.

A folded paper stuck under your arm
A few steps until you reach a bench and
The pleats of your paper become the folds
Of your body resting on wood.

It all rests on so little a thing
As wood and bone and beauty.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Notre Dame

When we visited Notre Dame, first we sat in a courtyard and listened to a jazz band. It was a perfect spring day ~ sunny, but not too hot. Reclining on benches, gravel crunched under our feet and in the shadow of this great old Parisian church, the sound of classic American music rose around us.

We rose ourselves and began to walk towards the entrance of the church. On our way we paused at a souvenir shop and bought a calendar. Then I stopped to take a picture of this red door that hangs on the church. I had the following conversation with a Roma girl who approached me to beg.

Her: You speak English?
Me: (in Romanian) No, I speak Romanian.
Her: (surprised and switching to Romanian) Romanian? Are you Romanian?
Me: No
Her: Where are you from?
Me: Galati

Bela came up at this point and we said good-bye to the girl, who continued to follow us - incredulous that I could "speak" Romanian.

We came around the front of the church where there stood a great crowd of people. Quickly we stood in line to enter.

And it took my breath away. The immensity. The height. The weight of stones and glory. The music. The candles. The glass windows.

There was a small section set aside for prayer, and so I sat and stared and listened. And as I sat I thought of Jesus, beckoning the little ones and saying: Hinder them not, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

And I thought of my own longing for a child and how the Kingdom is made up of such as the child I longed for. Emotion rose up in me: His longing, His beckoning were so similar to mine.

And I was humbled.

I walked around the church ~ pausing at different stations where others also stood, lighting candles, praying to the saints.

And then, at the end, there He was. Jesus with His kids. The little ones gathered around Him, His smile welcoming them, His hands blessing them. For such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

And me. Gathered at the ancient, His smile welcoming me, hands reaching for me, His little one, lost and humbled in her longing.

And that humility. That longing. Such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Search This Blog


Learning | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates