Friday, September 28, 2007

We Shall Prevail: Let the Rebuilding Begin!

A few days ago I wheeled this cannon into the front yard and placed a tattered and burned - yet still glorious - flag by its side. Somehow - for me - it symbolized our family's resolve to move past this sad event and rebuild my parents' home. I have never been one for aggressive patriotic symbols ... but this just felt right. And it gave me some strength. That's what counts.

The kids, Sydney & Isaac, seemed to find it interesting and meaningful as well.

And here they are - resolved to rebuild! (Or maybe they just like playing on large tractors ???)

Thank you for all the love & well wishes. My parents are holding up well. They have alot of support and all will be well - of that I have no doubt :) I will keep in touch regarding the rebuild.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gratitude After a Tragedy (or otherwise titled: What Could Have Been a Tragedy But Was Instead Filled With Blessings).

My parents just suffered a terrible house fire. And truth be told, I have no energy (or want) to explain the drama of it all ... but it was quite a horrifying event. Instead, I would love to explain all the blessings that we experienced both during and after this event.

* My parents live deep in the woods. The fire was first discovered by strangers working across the street at American Concrete. These men called 9-11, then ran across the street, broke into the home, and rescued every one of my Mom's exotic birds ... even as the roof was caving in! Imagine that, strangers coming to the rescue of our birds ... at the risk of their own lives. AMAZING!

* Jennifer, the neighbor who lives three doors down at Country Kennel ran over to the fire, knowing my Mom has dogs and cats and quickly went to work helping the fire fighters to find & identify all the critters. Then she offered her kennel up to house all our animals. (The birds and cats are currently being spoiled there). Jennifer and her husband stayed throughout the day to offer any and all assistance. They brought over every pet supply that could possibly be needed. Just incredible people!

* My parents were at my house when I got the call that their house was on fire. It was Jennifer who called and she became the liaison to all of us as we rushed to the fire. She and her workers were so generous with their time and efforts. We are humbled by their generosity.

* Due to several phone calls from myself & my parents, the fire fighters were finally able to rescue my Mom's precious dogs who were caged under the stairs where no one was able to see them initially. They were all saved :) The fire fighters were such heroes about making sure to get every pet out of there.

* While the fire fighters were there, two cats were found. One was rescued from underneath a bed that is now burnt to a crisp. Another was found outside. But a third was still missing and presumed dead (as the upstairs was completely destroyed and that is where he usually hid). Then, late that night, as Halis was searching through rubble upstairs ... he heard a cat growl. He found the third cat hidden within some rubble .... unscathed!

* My best friend Melissa was the first "family member" on the scene. I called her as soon as we got the call because I knew it would take us nearly an hour to get to my parents home and I wanted her to instruct the fire dept on how to find all pets. She was AMAZING! I honestly don't know how I could ever live without that woman. I ask her to do some of the most gut-wrenching tasks ... and she does them without a second thought because she is so in love with me too. She kept the press away, helped to find animals, told the fire fighters about some important mementos that we would want pulled from the fire (she rescued a very important photo of my Pepere), kept me from fainting after I arrived, and made sure my son was whisked away and played with so that he didn't experience any of the drama. And during the aftermath, she kept spirits high ... and well .... I just can't tell you how important is was to all of us that she was there. I believe that she was the glue that kept us all from losing "it". I am so thankful for her .... and I am sorry for the rest of the world that she is all MINE :)

* My extended family, that I like to most affectionately call "The Rez" (because they are all native and all come from the same Indian Reservation), all came together to help my parents both during and after the fire. They are my self-created family ... and they were also amazing! They never ceased in their efforts to make my parents life easier ... and they still haven't stopped. Days later, Johnny (also known as Isaac's Grampy) has been doing all he can to do his best by my parents. And Deanna (also known as Isaac's Nanu) has continued to offer everything she possibly can (including lots of good advice) in order to help. I am just so incredibly thankful for them as well.

* My biological family from NH - Aunt Lisa, Uncle Jim, Uncle Bill, My brother Jamie, all made the 4-hour trip to my parents' home in order to help them both physically and emotionally in every way they could. They too were absolutely amazing. The love that was shared was just brilliant. They too were burdened with grief for my parents, but they made every effort to find the energy to assist my parents in every need. It was beautiful to watch that kind of love within a family --- that kind of instantly coming together to support a family member in need. It is priceless.

* Also, family and friends who heard the news but could not be physically present sent prayers, offerings of help and love and support. The prayers were most appreciated! And the love was certainly felt.

* I am also SO grateful for all the precious items that were rescued from the fire ... many handmade quilts, very special photos, heirloom items, etc. My mom and I both felt as though someone (Pepere and Mimi) were guiding the hands of those men and woman to collect that which was most dear to us. There was only one very sad loss for me and I will blog about that later (but even that will be just fine after all).

* Many community members came by to offer their help. Some brought donuts and dog biscuits, others brought their expertise and assistance in important details (thank you Ryan!). Some business members brought offerings of the use of any of their equipment (thank you Family Tree Landscaping!) I think my parents were shocked to see that the human race is capable of such generosity (they had little faith in that before). Add that to the growing list of blessings - my parents may have some renewed faith in the beauty of humanity!

* A local policeman gave Isaac a stuffed dog to enjoy - to take some of the trauma of the day away. How sweet is that - police now keep goodies in the trunks of their cars for kids in order to reduce their trauma.

* The fire men & women were so inspirational. Not only did they make every effort to save my parents' home ... and risked lives to save the animals ... but they also went out of their way to grab any sentimental items they could find. I wanted to kiss the feet of every one of them. I felt so humbled by them. I hope Isaac is a firefighter someday :)

* Also, though I cannot elaborate about it here ... but there was an incredible healing that took place in my Mom's heart that day of the fire ... she gained some insights into some personal matters that I really believe she could have only gained through this fire .... which I think has cleansed her soul in more ways than she even realizes. Fire can do that. That is what I am most thankful for ... and if I am right ... and she has begun some incredible healing journeys that were initiated by this event ... than I am ever so thankful for that seemingly devastating fire.

* Oh yeah, how could I forget ... I am also so grateful for my loving husband, who has dropped everything in his life to take good care of my parents. The man who said that he would never live with my Dad, (EVER!) has sincerely offered (time and time again) for them to move into our house while theirs is being built. He loves them so much and is determined to make this easier on them by doing whatever he can. God Bless a Good Husband :)

Well, there is likely so much more to say about the blessings that were experienced that day. And though it was horribly sad to watch my parents house go up in flames ... we are all truly blown away by how much our lives have been touched in positive ways by this as well.

My Mom is already picking out her beautiful new home ... and what better way to heal than to get excited for the future :)


Friday, September 21, 2007

This Handmade Christmas - I Hope!

I have vowed that every Christmas present that I bestow onto a loved one this year will be handmade by me. So, I have ALOT of work to do!
I have begun by making Isaac a new quilt ( I think a yearly Christmas quilt will become a tradition). It is finished except for the handstitched binding. And here it is:

He is SO into elephants, that I thought a safari quilt would totally delight him. And so far, as he has caught glimpses of it (even though I have tried to sew in secret) he has gotten quite excited about the elephants. So, hooray for Mommy. I think this will be a hit on Christmas morning.

Also, I have begun a couple of "stuffie" projects as well:

I am going to put together a basket of stuffed puppies in a basket, thus the first puppy on the left. And I am also hoping to finish a line of safari stuffies to go with Isaac's quilt. (Any patterns or ideas out there? The giraffe was all I could find so far).

So, that is what I've got for Isaac so far. I am also working on making a "Memory Game" out of fabric squares. It, of course, it has a safari/jungle theme as well :) I have made these before with much success:

The above game was made last year for my neice. They are lots of fun to make - and pretty easy to make without a pattern, but if anyone would like some advice on making their own, just ask.

Well, I'll keep in touch regarding my progress on the gift making front. I have also decided that if I cannot keep my vow, I will resort to purchasing second-hand items instead (Viva La Goodwill!).



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Hero ... Mister Rogers.

I found this "old" Mister Rogers book for $1.99 at a local Goodwill store, and let me say that if I could afford to, I would buy a copy for every parent in the world. It is that amazing. It is titled, "Mister Rogers Talks With Parents", and that is the beauty of this book ... it is a conversation between parents ... not some kind of didactic "how-to" book.

Just the first chapter alone brought tears to my eyes when he made immediate reference to the fact that not all parents are biological ones, and that many Mommies and Daddies come to parenting through other wonderful means as well. Amen & Thank you!

I have been spending alot of time going through this book ... reading over many parts to fully digest them ... skipping some and then going backward to others, etc. And I am thinking that I will write several future posts regarding some of the wisdom contained within this book. I surely couldn't summarize it all in one post :)

For now, I encourage you all to purchase a copy of this book. And to watch the following youtube videos regarding this most amazing man. I honestly feel that he was a prophet for our times. He not only has done some amazing things for children, but his encouraging words and his pure love have healed many an adult heart as well.

Mr. Rogers Receives the Lifetime Achievement Award (MUST SEE!)

Mr. Rogers Speaks to the US Senate

Rare Mr. Rogers Interview

Mr. Rogers Says Goodbye

Thank you Mr. Rogers. You have changed my life and my parenting. Namaste.

~ Jodi

Friday, September 14, 2007

YES ...

Yes, I am the kind of Mother who would do these things to her child .... you know, things like dress him up silly for my own amusement :)

He seems to enjoy it as well. Which is your favorite???



Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Inheritance II.

You gotta love my Father-in-Law. I know I do and I have never met the man. Sadly, he died when Halis was 11 years old. However, he was one of the doctors in the delivery room on the day I was born. So, perhaps we did meet and the rest was destiny.

Anyway, I think he and I would have enjoyed one another on so many levels. Especially our appreciation for the female form. Cemal (that is his name) was wildly in love with his wife and yet still had an appreciation for the beauty of all women that did not create jealousy. (This reminds me so much of my own Pepere with whom I loved to watch the Solid Gold Dancers so that we could comment on all the sexy ladies). As some of my readers may remember, Halis and I inherited a beautiful picture of a most gorgeous scantily clad woman that now resides in our stairwell. This was Cemal's and we inherited it after Halis's mother's passing. Now I present to you another of our inherited treasures ...

... the naked-lady-on-a-bear-skin-rug-by-the-fire puzzle! It is called the "Executive Puzzle". (Apparently all executives of the 60's were heterosexual men or lesbians.) And I love it! You should have seen the effort that everyone put into trying to complete THIS puzzle. The great mystery was just how naked she was as the box only gave you a glimpse of what lay ahead. So, my parents, my friends, the kids, myself and Halis all coordinated efforts to complete the picture. It was so much fun. And it turned out that she was (as you can see) very tastefully photographed.

Here is some of the chaos that surrounded the efforts to complete the puzzle...

And I absolutely love that the kids were involved (both mine and my best friend's) for so many reasons. I love that we are raising them to appreciate their bodies and the bodies of others. I love that we are not making sexuality a "dirty" or shameful thing, but rather a beautiful thing that is to be appreciated. I love that they see that we, as their Mommies and Daddies, are happily married couples that are wildly in-love, monogamous, and sensual beings. And that they too can benefit from finding a lifelong partner that they are crazy about while still appreciating the beauty of other human beings all around them.

Ahhh... and that is both my Dr. Ruth and my parenting lesson for the day :)


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dear Babysitter,

When you can't find Isaac, be sure to check under the porch. He often thinks he is a dog. Please don't tell him otherwise.

Thank you,

Isaac's Mommy

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Orono Farmer's Market

Our favorite Farmer's Market is about an hours drive from our home, BUT, where else can I get such incredible food and friendship? Ummm... well ... there! So, off we go just about every Tuesday or Saturday to purchase our veggies, meats, and the occasional flower or two. And we always find old friends (I used to live in that area) as well as make new ones (Isaac is really good at that).

My favorite part of the market is the fact that I can get the absolute best meats there .... farm raised, grass-fed, organic beef and pork. Nothing better. I have just begun eating meat after nearly 15 years as a vegetarian, and I am veracious (I eat meat almost nightly now)! I am very thankful for my vegetarian years, and no less thankful for this new era of meat-eating years. Boy, steak is yummy...

And there is something so special about meeting the people who farm and harvest your foods for you. You can rest assurred that they are passing on to you the highest quality beef , carrots, and basil because they produce it for their own families. And they put their face to it. This is a way of life for them that no other food business can match.

As for Isaac, well, he loves that he can pick out the foods for himself and that he can flirt with his favorite baby while Mommy continues her shopping and or gabbing.

Do you have a local (or not so local) farmer's market? Tell me about it.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Learning From Daddy ...

My Baby is growing up, and learning what it means to be a homesteader. Gotta love it ...

Oops, I forgot to include the celebratory ending to their chore ... here it is...