Friday, February 27, 2009

Response to my Verbal Vomit...

So, where to begin... I've been awed by the response of this blog post. And I've also received a couple of private emails (not uncommon in blogland) regarding personal opinion and thoughts about this touchy subject. I received this one email in particular from a friend/reader the other day and it was late when I read through it. It was profound. I re-read it the next morning over coffee to digest it more. And then read it again before responding to her and asked her permission to publish it here. Her words hit me, on many levels.

Thanks girl, for writing me privately (and Bethany and Rhonda.) Mrs. J, you will soon have the power and will to publish your thoughts openly and without fear or regret. I'll highlight her thoughts that really hit home and gave me great comfort. I'm sure you'll find her writing to be as wonderful and articulate as I have. And the post goes to you, Mrs. J!


Typically, I would comment on your blog. But, unlike you, I have a hard time totally revealing myself so publicly for fear of being misunderstood. So, I chose to email you.

I commend your bravery. And, I understand your frustration. This is a struggle for me as well. Yet, I admire your willingness to see this as a mission/goal/calling to serve others. My grandfather used to say to me, "Don't do. Be." I know this makes me sound 85. But, it's something I have held onto. And, it's something that has helped me not glorify my material surroundings, but see them as a challenge to be an even better me! You struck such a chord with me when you were talking about the leader of the group at church and his philosophy of the more you do-the more you get. "Hell no!" I couldn't agree more! Our relationship with God or our spouses or our children comes from within. Sure, it may start with going to church as kids, getting those great seats at a game to see his favorite team when you first start dating, or making heart-shaped pancakes for our kids for breakfast. These "deeds" certainly start a relationship. They even keep it fun along the way. But, they are a display of something much deeper-our be-ing. Because we are compassionate, because we are sensitive, because we are caring, because we are mindful, because we are generous, because we are filled with His spirit, we do these things. The shit end of it all is that those in third world or war torn countries are also all those things. And, they still do similar acts of love for their loved ones in whatever way they can! More good deeds=more blessed-not so fast!

SO, the question I struggle with is are we "worse" than they are because we don't struggle in the same way? I don't think so. I think your struggle (and mine) is to be. Even with all the "things" around us-all these "blessings." I am NOT ungrateful. But, I know that my "blessings" mean that I have a greater responsibility to those without. I know that my insides better shine through even more because they can be easily shadowed by all this stuff and that'd be a shame! So, I choose to be. I choose to be in the present at every moment looking for the lighted path where my insides can shine just a bit brighter than my house or clothes or cute shoes. And, only when I am, through quiet actions, do I really feel that I am on the right path and living up to God's expectations of me and fulfilling His purpose. In my ever-so-humble opinion the compassionate part of you that shines through when you blog about Charity water is just as important as the passionate part of you that shines through when you blog about Twilight. Both of these are pieces of Him in you! And, again in my ever-so-humble opinion, you'd be restricting God's greatness if you only allowed one to shine and not the other!

OK-that's all the vomit I have. I hope you read this and can hear my understanding, my compassion for your hearts struggles, and my support of your bravery and ability to use this as an opportunity! I commend you to the n'th degree! And, I find myself, again, learning from you and being challenged by you to rise up to the occasion.

*this wonderful woman shouldn't have written any compliments to me, they're undeserved, but very humbling. it's truly amazing when we can help a stranger and they you*

To just "be." It's a hard one to swallow when you're confused. I'm still struggling with what that means for me. I think that it means action, to make more of a difference. I'll NEVER change the world, never expected to. I do put pressure on myself when I see a problem. And if I cannot solve it I start to internalize it and feel like a failure on some weird level. I get that. I don't need to feed the world.

It doesn't need to be all or nothing. Black or white, I can participate without being a charter member of greenpeace or a UN ambassador, right? There is a middle?? I can be in the middle.

Mrs. J, Thank you for the reminder to just BE. I will try to just BE.

P.S. You don't think for a second that I don't applaud her for giving me a pass and reason to be a Twilight addict, do you?? C'mon... She's Brilliant!

Monday, February 23, 2009

You asked for verbal vomit - here you go!

You asked for it, oddly it all came to me today, in the car, as usual! You cannot say I'm not an open book after this post -

So, pull up an ice-block and lend an ear! (Rudolph quote, not Twilight!) :)

First, some background information:

A very dear friend of mine was discussing a troubling situation that had to do with a topical discussion at a church group regarding "finances." I'm paraphrasing, but it came down to talking about being blessed. Are those with fortunes (meaning a decent home etc., you and I basically) more blessed because we do good deeds. Hell no, if you ask me. And that was her point of view. There was MUCH more to it and I don't want to reveal her name because I'm totally butchering the encounter. The "group leader" at the church group took the opposite stance and starting pounding his bible etc. and belittling my friend in front of the others to make his point, quoting scripture etc. I loathe people like that.

FF to right after reading this from my friend; I was driving and got over being angry at her leader for talking that way to her and began to think about the actual premise of the argument. Why are we blessed the way we are. Why? And not others.

The thoughts that soon followed are what shaped my day and put into perspective how things have unfolded for me over the past six months home.

Why? Why? It's a question that has come into my head more times since April 2007 than ever in my entire life. So many times I've been able to work through questions and they've been answered, worked through in my head, resolved in the end. I'm a black/white girl, not much gray, not this time, not with this one. Why are we "blessed" and not them (Ethiopians/third world countries?)

Yes, others in third world countries are blessed, differently. Their souls are rich and strong. Their gifts are small but great. Their spirit is beyond. But I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say that they have such happy lives every day, blah, blah, blah. They ARE blessed by the grace of God, but they struggle.

But I have to say, it's friggin' ugly that my daughters mother couldn't even feed her and therefore had to say goodbye. I'm sorry, that's not blessed, it's called suffering and I DON'T KNOW WHY!!! I see no answer ever coming from "why" when I reflect on our life altering trip to Ethiopia last August. So many why's, too many to count.

Then, it began, I really started to relive our trip, the ugly parts of the trip that I've stuffed down into some black hole in my head and heart. A few scenes that I replay in my head until I want to drown. It's so f*ucking disgusting to see the daily lives of people who STRUGGLE SO much. It makes me want to throw up just thinking of it again. Two scenes in particular that I haven't shared with you. I hate it. Still don't want to verbalize it because I cannot make it the horror that it was with just words.

Blessings, how can you count them? What are they? Faith, community, health, family, prosperity?? What are they? What are blessings... and to whom? They differ from person to person... And I have too many to count.

Figuring out my place on this planet is something new, a new challenge. I fear it and welcome it at the same time.

I want to go back to Ethiopia so bad. Being all over the place is not a new thing for me (like you don't know that one.) On one hand I value everything and everyone around me 100 times more since our trip, but then again, I could give a shit about anything because it's not important, these blessings, material things, who cares!

And lest not forget, I got completely encapsulated by a book series, a young adult series for that matter. It has become my escape, my treat, and I love it so much. I'm either deep and reflective or shallow and a twelve year old!

This is the odd and other side of this strange coin. I've found my humor again. I have been stuffing it down somewhere over the years without knowing and only recently have I realized it was missing. Regaining humor has brought back a part of myself that I didn't know was gone until it came back. I've laughed so hard, so much lately that it's not uncommon to be in tears of laughter. My mood and wit have been challenged and raised up and up

What I came away with today is this. This is my chance to find a way to serve others. I have the golden opportunity! It's so clear! I'm blessed beyond measure, and I need to do something with it, life is changing, the ground is shifting beneath my feet, it's pretty cool!

*Tessa has NOTHING and EVERYTHING to do with this realization. It is SHE that has made me/us look at her everyday and wonder how we ever got the priveledge to raise her. She's exceeded our expectations as a human being on more levels ever imaginable. Which is why I often have to question.... WHY. We are not worthy.*

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hey there!

What is wrong with Lori? That's a great question...

You've noticed that I haven't been posting much. You want to know why? I cannot tell you. My interest in blogging has gone away. Plus, there is nothing to report that is of any interest to my blog readers.

Everybody is doing great. There. Post done. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Six months home~

We came home just over six months ago. It was on August 16th, 2008! I wanted to do a video montage but you all have seen her growing up home as a Parker every week. I know it's lazy of me, but I want to re-share the video that took me weeks to prepare, months ago! It's old, most of you have seen it, if not, give a look-see. I have not watched it in a long time and plan on doing so now too! Be warned, have coffee or drink of preference, it's ten minutes long! Sorry!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Quick update ~

NOTHING exciting to report - things are ok here! Trust me, you don't want to hear me b*itch and whine - plenty to be a brat about but nothing real! Make sense! ;) I was nudged by my friend PKQKP to at least add some fun! So, here it is!

Tessa feeding Snoopy from the make-believe microwave... ignore the bedhead on her!

My bff Rhonda an I (me wearing the scarf in case you're new to this blog and cannot pick me out) out last week w/Lynnie and Cindy (absent from the pic)...

Does this really need a caption; This is us surfing in Hawaii last week!

Perhaps I'll be inspired/motivated to do something new soon, or not!