Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I am so thankful for spring this year. It’s not that I dislike winter, as I find much to love about the snow & ice... the laughter in building a snowman with the children.. the cozy fires in evening. I even enjoy being snowed in on occasion, making hot chocolate and reading. But this winter has brought personal challenges, too. The warm spring sunshine feels good on my soul.
Just a week and a half ago I noticed the tiny green shoots of mint peeping out from under a mess of dead, crispy stems. As I removed all the dead stuff to clear the way, a wonderful fragrance was released in the air and lingered on my hands. I must add more mint to the garden this year; it’s such a happy and uplifting little herb. Not fussy at all -- just the kind I like to grow.
The shamrock plant (pictured above) survives the winter indoors and when the time is right, finds a home on the porch to catch gentle rains. Our grass now needs mowed, the birds are busy and , oh! we have a new couple at our feeder this year. A male and female towhee have been regularly stopping by since late January.
I love the return of green and watching the trees wake up...the season of renewal and rebirth. A season that I feel internally, too. I’ve also had some changes in the last few weeks, a new direction and focus which I am enjoying very much.
I began a new part-time job last Monday, teaching art to 3rd-6th graders and am loving every minute of it! The job is only 3 hours per day, which fits in nicely with my photography business. The best part? I get to spend those hours near our children and two nieces. The job opportunity came as a surprise and as soon as I knew the school wanted me on board, I began researching art projects. What fun! I feel like I did as a third grader and a brand-new box of Crayola® crayons was given to me --the 64 count that is. Full explosive color with sharpened tips just waiting for the fuse of imagination to create something spectacular on that clean sheet of paper.
The first week went well. I’m still finding my bearings, but am encouraged at every turn by faculty as well as the students. I actually laughed out loud during my first class with the third graders. When I asked, “Does anyone know why this week is so special?” A young man raised his hand and said, “Because it’s your first week of work?” ha! Thankfully, the next young lady had the answer I was looking for...”Because it’s the first week of spring?” Yes, indeed. It is spring, glorious spring...my spirit is being renewed. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord. †
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
If she can part with her waist-length locks, then I can too, I finally determined. Locks of Love provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the USA and Canada who suffer long-term hair loss due to medical reasons such as alopecia areata or chemotherapy. Their hair prosthetics are custom made from donated ponytails and tailored specifically for each child. It’s hard for me to imagine what a child must go through when they have lost their hair, knowing the trials of peer pressure & ridicule. My sister has told me that through Izzy’s challenges with cancer, of all the chemo, radiation, blood transfusions and surgeries, it was losing her hair that was most difficult to bear. Our hair is so much a part of our identity and self-confidence.
These custom made wigs return a sense of normalcy and help to build self-esteem in these children. Just check out the donor and recipient galleries at Locks of Love and see if it doesn’t bring a smile to your face today = ‘ )
Thanks to Corrie at Calabria Salon for educating me about the program and making it easy to donate. Thanks, too, for giving me a smart cut and easing that momentary pang I felt when seeing my new short hair in the mirror. You’re a gem!
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I mentioned previously about the Life of St. Mary of Egypt being conveniently located in the back of Frederica Mathewes-Green’s book, First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty-Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew. I enjoy this book more every year, working my way through it during Great Lent. My Orthodox friends are most likely familiar with the Canon of St. Andrew, but the great thing about Frederica’s style is that she often appeals to a wider audience, from the reference of her Protestant background.
She writes about the history of the Canon in her introduction and goes on to differentiate between an Eastern view of Christianity and our Western one. She addresses concepts such as sin, theosis (sanctification in the Protestant realm) , the evil one, monasticism, and prayers to the saints -- something very misunderstood to Protestants.
If you are unfamiliar, the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete is a prayerful hymn.... a very lengthy one. St. Andrew was born in Damascus and spent many years as a monk in Jerusalem. Later he spent his time caring for orphans and the elderly in Constantinople and toward the end of his years, was made Bishop of Crete. He died in 740 A.D. St. Andrew was inspired to write this hymn during close examination of the Scriptures; many researchers believe this work was originally intended for his personal use. He presents a very intimate look at repentance as a pathway toward healing and wholeness, drawing much encouragment from passages in the Old Testament. As the early Church became aware of this Canon, it began a wide circulation and eventually became used during Lent each year.
I like this book primarily because it is to be ingested in small bits, with each page offering wisdom and insight. It’s perfect for reading after prayers, during a lunch break or just before going to sleep at night -- a healthy soul-food.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Our lil’ trooper continues to amaze! On Tuesday, March 1, 2011 Izzy had another surgery in order to remove tissue that had surrounded the recurring tumor back in October 2010. This is an area just behind her left knee. The surgery was recommended by Dr. Paul from Ruby Memorial not because he suspected a recurrence of cancer, but as a precautionary measure. The surgeon indicated that if a recurrence might happen, it would be in the tissue closest to the earlier tumor. She came through just fine and the surgeon was pleased at what had been accomplished. Izzy experienced some pain immediately afterwards, but yesterday I talked with her on the phone and she sounded her normal happy self -- telling me all about the “cast” (it’s really just a firm soft wrap) on her leg and that her daddy bought her a cane to help with walking. Jenny says the doctors want her to use the leg and put weight on it right away, even though she can’t bend her knee just yet.
Last night my dad visited with her at home and together they did the Cha Cha Slide ..! Cancer can’t keep this kid down. Just last week, prior to the surgery, she had her debut as mascot for the Mountain View Christian School Patriots (pictured above) and loved every minute of it. With such a warm and loving bunch of girls to cheer with, how could she not? Everyone at Mountain View cheers this girl on and remembers her regularly in prayer; we’re thankful for such a blessed environment at our school.
And thankful to ALL of You out there who remember Izzy and her family in your prayers. We know we’ve got a world of support out there with many prayer warriors lifting her up to our Heavenly Father daily. A mere thank you seems so little, but know that we remember you also in our prayers to God.
Izzy will be continuing her regularly scheduled chemo in two or three weeks, as the healing of her leg dictates. The doctors expect her to recover just fine from this recent surgery and have full use of her leg.
In other news, the Quigley’s, of charitable organization, Timmy’s Fund, have created a new page for Izzy; check it out here. The Quigley family and their incredible organization have been a tremendous help to Jenny and her family as well as many other children with cancer at Ruby Memorial Hospital. Their mission began through heartache, after losing their own son to medulla blastoma in December 2004. The Quigley’s radiate the love of God and represent everything good in the human heart, illustrating Romans 8:28 perfectly. May God continue to bless your efforts, Mr. & Mrs. Quigley; you are shining lights on this earth.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Do you know who this man is?
It’s worth your time to get acquainted and read some world news about Fethullah Gülen. He is a Turkish imam who now resides in the United States (eastern PA) and is the mastermind behind a growing charter school system, fully funded by your tax dollars, in our nation that promotes Islam, subtly, but assuredly. And, did you know that while charter schools in the US are fully funded by the government, they are not subject to the same rules and restrictions of public schools? Interesting how any mention of God has been systematically removed from public schools, even to the point of infringing upon our freedom of speech and yet a very biased view of the Ottoman Empire and the culture of Islam has been steadily making inroads in our American schools for years. Just check out who is writing our childrens’ history & social studies textbooks.
The Gülen charter schools are promoted under such auspices as excellence in fields of science & math, while also promoting Turkish culture whose national identity is Islam. Of note, he is also known as a Muslim scholar and promoter of interfaith dialogue --most appropriate and intriguing terminology, considering the present cultural mindset in America and the fact that Islam is most often intolerant toward other faiths.
It may be curious for you to know that Gülen is in the US after he fled Turkey in 1998 in order to avoid prosecution charges, where he was accused of undermining Turkey’s secular government in order to promote a purely Islamic one.
It may also interest you to know that Russia, Uzbekistan & the Netherlands have either banned Gülen inspired schools or significantly reduced funding due to their aggressive promotion of Islam. Could it be that in the United States, Gülen has developed a finesse at incrementally pushing a pro-Islamic worldview via our stranglehold of political correctness and tolerance? Islamic stealth. It seems he knows all too well that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
But don’t take my word for it. Look into it for yourself, taxpayer.