Monday, 27 September 2010

Street Art

As we were working on our raised gardening beds in our community garden last week, we were shocked and appalled to find that someone has put graffiti on the side of one of them. We were horrified. How could a person be so bloody self-centered? Grrrrr...

However, I quickly realized that this person, as destructive as it is, is putting his/her mark on the world. I know it probably means something different than just self actualization, but I stopped myself from judging too quickly or too harshly (see previous post). I was still irritated, however.

As an aside, I am always amazed at how certain things come into our lives at certain times. I say this because as I was blog hopping, I came across Katie Sokoler's blog. Let me tell you, this woman is cool. She is a street artist who beautifies Brooklyn with her whimsical and colourful creations. And in my mind popped the idea that this might just be the way to counteract the graffiti.

Can you imagine if people would decorate buildings with pacman? Or draw footprints on the sidewalk? Or put up little punched hearts all over their neighbourhood?

No, it may not bring world peace. But I can guarantee it will bring a smile to many faces.

Maybe I will leave that graffiti on our raised bed, and cover it with bright red hearts. That way, if he or she comes around, I'll have made a mark of love on their mark of destruction...isn't that like turning the other cheek?

photo by Katie Sokoler

Saturday, 25 September 2010

You are beautiful

I took this picture a few months back as I was walking along the streets in Philadelphia. I'm not sure why I took it. It just seemed the right thing to do in the moment.

And every so often, in my ordinary everyday life, this picture pops in my head.

I've seen people take self portraits with "you are beautiful" showing in the foreground. I've seen people write it on public bathroom mirrors with lipstick. I've even seen a post-it note on the walls in my house with "you are beautiful" written on it. It is a good reminder to someone like me that I am beautiful.

When I came around the corner and saw a homeless man sleeping in a sleeping bag on the street with "You are beautiful" written on the window (and no, I did not photoshop the words into the photo...), it just seemed so odd. I don't usually put "homeless-guy-sleeping-on-the-street" and "beautiful" in the same sentence. Maybe I should, I just usually don't.

But it seems to me that this photo is actually more real than I first thought. And maybe that is why I am so attracted to it. Because it is truth. It is speaking a human truth that so many of us can't or won't accept. I am beautiful when I am dressed up for the company Christmas party. I am beautiful when I 'put my face on' for the rest of the world.

But I am also beautiful when I lay on the floor, sobbing because I can't seem to find my way. I am also beautiful when it is all I can do to get out of bed in the morning because I feel like all hope is gone.

And this homeless guy in the photo is beautiful, like me (and pretty much 95% of the rest of the world), because we are human and trying to make sense of this world around us. It is so easy to forget that the people we come in contact with each day are hurting and trying to make sense of life. I have to remind myself that I am not the only one in this world who puts on a front for everyone else to see.

My hope is that I am able to see the beauty in each person around me today not because they look so good or act a certain way, but because they are another human being. And that, inherantley, makes them beautiful.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

I don't think my mom reads my blog very often (if at all). So, I am sending her the link to this post so she will know that the world is going to be singing her a collective 'happy birthday' this weekend.

My mom is one of those people who makes everyone around her feel safe. The kind of person that you could just talk to about 'stuff' and she makes it feel important. She has a gift of listening and a gift of being real.

I also noticed, as I was going through my awfully large file of pictures, there is not one of me and my mom. Definitely need to fix that particular problem...

So, Mom...I am wishing you a wonderful and extraodinarily happy and joyous birthday this year. Not because you are so perfect, but because you are so you.

Happy birthday to a mom who can be awfully silly at times.

Happy birthday to a mom who has taught me that sometimes, in order to get a bathroom floor really clean, you need to get on your hands and knees.

Happy birthday to a mom who has given so much of herself for her children.

Happy birthday to a mom who can make a killer chicken noodle soup.

Happy birthday to a mom who is as stubborn as a mule sometimes.

Happy birthday to a mom who is loved beyond measure.

Happy birthday to a mom who made thousands of meals for us growing up.

Happy birthday to a mom who sewed curtains and bed sheets and dresses and dolls and teddies (and everything else imaginable).

Happy birthday to a mom who taught me the meaning of selfless giving.

Happy birthday to a mom who has left a legacy of love for all things beautiful.

Happy birthday to a mom who taught me how to drive my first car.

Happy birthday to a mom who, at a very young age, taught me about being playful with a fish head attached to her hand.

Happy birthday to a mom who has nurtured a deep compassion for other people in me.

Happy birthday to a mom who can cry and laugh and giggle along with me.

Happy birthday mom.
I love you.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Today You

Today you started preschool.

Today you entered a whole new phase of life. One that includes new friends and influential adults in your life other than your mommy and daddy. One that includes water tables, indoor shoes, structure and paint. One that means you are just a bit more self-reliant than yesterday.

Today you told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to stay at your preschool. Today you said goodbye to me as if it was no big deal. As if my heart wasn't torn between wanting to hold you close to me for just a little longer and jumping for joy knowing what this new independence means.

Today you wore your drum shirt. Today you grudgingly put on pants and socks.

Today you followed alot of direction. Taking outdoor shoes off, putting indoor shoes on, bring your snack to the snack table.

Today you ran into my arms when I showed up to pick you up from preschool.

Today you made me one proud mama.

I love you Ephraim.

Friday, 3 September 2010

You Anchor Me

The first thing you are going to want to do is turn off the music from the sidebar ------>

Second, go grab yourself a cup of something really delicious to drink.

Third, press play and sit back for three short minutes of your life and enjoy the sights and sounds of Mindy new absolute favourite.

My favourite line in this whole song:

There are those who think I am strange, they would box me up and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say that you wouldn't have me any other way.

This song (and her whole album) pretty much sums up Mike and I. Goodness, I love him!!! (and he does actually say that to me - quite often)

Happy Tuesday!!

Hooray for the Everyday

I have this catalogue sitting on my bookshelf at home (read cover to cover a number of times), and it wasn't until this blog post (written by ali) that I actually opened my eyes and saw their tag line - "hooray for the everday".

Now, I am not someone to gravitate towards corporate taglines as a motto for life, but it isn't everyday that a corporation nails it on the head either.

Hooray for the everyday.

This statement is not about purchasing furniture and it isn't about Swedish meatballs and fries (for $1.99 no less!!). IKEA may want to use this phrase to sell me stuff, but I'm taking it back and using it as my mantra today.

Hooray is one of those great words that kids use all the time, but I can't remember the last time I have heard an adult use it. So today, as you are reading this, shout it out!! "Hooray!!" (You know you can do it!!) And then finish the 'hooray' with something.

Hooray for little boys who dress themselves in the craziest clothes. Hooray for braids and pigtails.

Hooray for a hot cup of coffee in the morning and a husband who faithfully makes it each morning.

Hooray for blue, cloudless skies. Hooray for swings and slides and monkey bars and sandboxes.

Hooray for dress up clothes that lend themselves to hours of playing family and monsters.

Hooray for green grass that is growing like a thick carpet because of all the rain we've been having.

Hooray for Fridays and long weekends.

Hooray for the everyday.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

And they're off...

We are all sighing a huge sigh of relief.

After weeks of anticipation, the girls are off to school. No more sleeping in. No more pajamas until noon. No more wondering who our teachers are going to be. No more hanging out at the playground for the whole day. No more feeling split between three kids' attention all day.

Structure and routines and schedules and consistency and predictability is what we are all seeking right now. And it is good to be back on this train.

Two beautiful girls hopped onto the bus this morning and didn't turn back.

But not before I grabbed a few photos of them first...
Eden could not stop smiling and laughing and giggling this morning. All I could get out of her were goofy smiles. She is so over-the-top excited to be back at school.

Aaralyn dropped off all her school supplies yesterday afternoon, so we saw her classroom and met her teacher yesterday. She is not as exuberant about school as Eden is, but underneath all that anxiety is some excitement. It came out again and again last week. I know that she will have a great day!

It is still hard for me to let them go, but I am so thankful they have each other's hand to hold.