Oh, I love to play games!

If you can correctly identify both of these two curious little boys, I'll blow you bed time kisses (That's a better prize than money!)


Exploring the Possibilies

The new job that I re-entered a month or so ago, can at times be very stressful. It can also be extremely rewarding. The work that I am referring to is being a caregiver, working in the home of an elderly individual, who for whatever reason cannot fully care for themselves any more.

At one time or another, I believe it is important to care for another soul. You see, at the very heart of service we understand that the act of caring is always mutually beneficial. We understand that in nurturing others we are always caring for ourselves, and this understanding fundamentally shifts the way we provide care...

"Compassion," when literally translated means "suffering with others" and "with'" is the most important word, because it implies belonging.

"Companion” is "one who travels with another."

So in this relationship there is no guide, there is no healer and no one healed; we simply accompany one another. We are simply walking through birth and death holding hands. If we are paying attention as we walk into the room of someone dying, we immediately understand, in a visceral way, just how precarious this life is. As we understand that, we also come to see how precious it is.

When we keep death close at hand, we become less compulsive about our desires, we take ourselves and our ideas a little less seriously, and we let go more easily. We become more open to generosity and to love. Working with the dying will make us kinder to one another.

In the face of death everything we normally identify with ourselves will either be stripped away by illness or given up gracefully – but it all goes. "I'm a father, I'm a mother, I'm a hospice worker" – whatever our notion about our identity, it will go.

Helping incurs debt. When you help someone, they owe you. But service is mutual. When I help I have a feeling of satisfaction, but when I serve I have a feeling of gratitude. Serving is also different to fixing. We fix broken pipes, we don't fix people. When I set about fixing another person, it's because I see them as broken. Fixing is a form of judgment that separates us from one another; it creates a distance. So fundamentally, helping, fixing and serving are ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak; when you fix, you see life as broken; and when you serve, you see life as whole.

When we serve in this way, we understand that this person's suffering is also my suffering that their joy is also my joy and then the impulse to serve arises naturally -- our natural wisdom and compassion presents itself quite simply. A server knows that they're being used and has the willingness to be. When we serve, we are always in the service of wholeness. Caring for those who are suffering, whether or not they are dying, wakes us up. It opens up our hearts and our minds. It opens us up to the experience of this wholeness that I speak of.

More often than not, though, we are caught in the habitual roles and ideas that keep us separate from each other. Lost in some reactive mind state, busy trying to protect our self-image, we cut ourselves off and isolate ourselves from that which would really serve and inform our work.

To be people who heal, we have to be willing to bring our passion to the bedside; our own wounds, our fear, our full selves. Yes, it is the exploration of our own suffering that forms a bridge to the person we're serving.


Making amends

As I'm sure most of my loyal readers are aware, a few months ago I wrote a fairly controversial blog. My blog was aimed at being humerous, and instead took a wrong turn into being offensive; very offensive. For this I sincerely apologize.

Just over a year ago, when I began to join the world wide web with the phenomonen of blogoland, I didn't expect any blog to spread past my inner circle. For some silly reason (not so silly if you know how niave I can really be) I expected that the only ones who would read it were people who were really close to me. I expect that these people know who I am and my true heart and kindness, so I didn't think that it would be taken in any wrong sense.

Since then, I have noticed that some very dear people to me no longer include my site in their lists of blogs to visit. Maybe I'm completely off and I'm truthfully too boring to check up on, but still... Mending needs to be done.

I can be very stubborn and rotten headed. But in truth I can also be very generous and upfront. I am generous at giving forgiveness when it is deserved. I am very upfront when I need to apologize to someone for wronging them. I put some words into the world that were unkind, no matter how I meant them. In truth, if I can't say something nice - I shouldn't have said anything at all.

These last 7 months have been filled with twists, turns, highs, and lonely lows. Being a new college student, and also a working mother to four of the most beautiful boys ever, has meant that I have a lot of new information thrown at me from all angles. During the time when I wrote that shameful post, I was doing an assignment on being too politically correct. Jeremy, my wonderful husband, would tell you that I am impressionable and very easily convinced on subjects I don't know intimately. I am not trying to excuse my actions, I felt like clearing the air.

I am deeply and truly sorry to those of my friends, and even unknown blogotown readers, that I offended. It has never been my intention to hurt anyone. Thank you to all my wonderful friends and family, that love me through my idiot moments. Truly, you are the best.

A trip around the block (or further)

On a short day trip to Boise last week, we stopped at the Boise Depot and were able to walk around the water falls and ponds, spotting wildlife and other stuff...

Timo can be such a bright spirit. He has the ability to annoy the pants right off of anyone that he wants by incessant talking and standing about 2 inches away, but he is also the one and only Timo. Therefore, he is my lovey!

And then there's Mike, he is so much like his other brothers; it's amazing! He has a little part of each one of them, making him a beautiful mix. He is super smart and interested in his surroundings (like Eric), silly and sensitive (like Timo), and perma-hungry or sleepy (like Noah). Some of these attributes make it hard to snap a good photo of him without those big blue eyes closed in slumber, but in the jeep I was finally able to catch a great shot of him looking straight at me. This is beauty!


Pay it forward!

A couple of days ago, as I was checking out my favorite blogs, I noticed a "concept" blog from one of my dear friends. It is based on the concept of paying it forward. Just like in the movie, where people (even strangers) do something kind for an individual and only ask that the recipient returns the favor to another person.

My friend asked for (at least) three people to comment on her blog, requesting to participate, and she will send them a special home-made surprise. They in turn ask for three more volunteers, and on, and on...

So, here I am. I only ask for at least three people who would like to recieve an item made with love by my own two hands, who are willing to do the same for someone else. It's kind of like one of those dreaded chain letters, but with a real purpose. (My unknown blogger friends are also invited to join in!)


Tribute to Eric

As Eric grows older and older, I realize how special he is. I know that every parent goes through the every day motions of life and then while sitting quietly has an "Ah, ha" moment. I have been having those moments a lot lately.

Eric has this amazingly sweet personality to him, he shares that with his Daddy. He's also adorable and super cuddly. Lately, every night right before going to bed, after a family reading of "Charlotte's Web", he wants me to lay down with him and just snuggle. I hope that never ends. But when it does I hope to have plenty of cozy memories to keep me and my cold feet warm.

Eric is also awesome at anything sports related, but he loves art, music, movies, and of course, Sponge Bob.

So, Eric, today's blog is just for you! Enjoy the spotlight, my star!


ABC's and 123's

As each of our boys have gotten older, there are comments they make that we never want to forget. Thankfully, we are lucky enough to have a camera that can record videos too! And then, of course, we have the internet to share them with you!

This first video is of Timo. He has been practicing his ABC's and 123's for kindergarten!

Then in this second video, Noah has begun his training early, and he always gets stuck on one letter near the end!