Thursday, August 30, 2007

Settling in...and appreciation


It's been a busy, busy week. So MUCH has been happening. Nothing earth shattering but the mobile is moving, the family mobile, that is. We have my eldest in a private school and it's a big adjustment in more ways than one. lol! I'm laughing because a lot of people would be a bit surprised to know she's in a religious school. Mainly because I lean towards, how shall I say this, a more agnostic pov. Oddly, my feelings about religion/beliefs have basically mellowed or gained perspective. Whatever one wants to call it...I've come to think of religion as a necessary thing and even a good thing for some.

Another part of growing a bit was being part of a nice little group of UU's and sort of seeing myself in them. I didn't realize how much I was letting previous experiences color of feelings/thoughts. And once I sort of let go of that old mentality, I saw that it's okay to be Christian, or in my case a very liberal Christian. I also feel like it's okay to be an atheist as well. The problem with either side is when one becomes dogmatic. Any one is vulnerable to this...regardless of viewpoints. So, once I saw this in myself, the whole church/religious part became real and meaningful. I still feel very Unitarian but I'm open to lots of interpretations of spirituality and kindnesses.

So, my eldest is in school and besides being God based, it's walking distance(can we say, saving on gas!)! This is a great feeling as I've talked to the gals about helping the planet and being very environmental. I feel like they are getting good examples in their lives and I don't have to worry about them being hurt or around mass commercialism; that's one reason why I like private schools. There are uniforms and very specific guidelines about this. Some people might think this is restrictive but really why should school be a fashion show just because commercials dump stuff on people to buy, buy, buy. Another point that a neighbor mentioned was uniforms take away class perceptions. There are many public schools that are doing this and I think that's a very good thing. It's just a bit much if a 5 year old or so is worrying about their shirts/dress/clothing because they won't fit in. I know this for a fact as I remember a friend in California who's niece nearly had a nervous breakdown because she didn't "look" like the other girls. She was only 10 at the time. I hope she grew out of this.

Another aspect of this school is the uniforms are actually given to you for free. I was surprised and felt like this was a really unique system. Talk about trading at the most simple level. Freecycle watch out! ;)

So, I was pleased and happy to see a real act of economic equality at this school. More of my prejudices washed away.

It's funny. For a long time, I felt like I had to do things alone, by myself as an independent. But there is an old saying that's probably used all too frequently and mostly neglected. "It takes a village to raise a child" and it seems like this is what's happening. I'm sure there are hurdles to jump and pitfalls to be aware of but for this first week, it's going smoothly enough.

And I have to say, going to kinder-camp was a great idea. We did this for two weeks in June in Juniata. Apparently, Juniata is a "bad" school as termed by locals and non-locals. Certainly, there were a few kids who just need more time to adjust to kindergarten and I wouldn't blame kids for economic problems (the real culprit here...if there aren't very many youth programs, the youth will wander). So, I felt this was a good primer for my gal. I'll do the same for my youngest too.

On a different note, when I was going to the local Unitarian group, I noticed there was this big push to be on campus. I was like, all right...there must be a huge out pouring of students going to the UU congregation. Instead, not one student was there. I was confused and then I started to see a pattern. Basically, the use of the facility was the highest priority, not so much the students. When I suggested going out to the community, this was given a cold shoulder. I was surprised and a bit disgusted. I felt like most of the group just wanted to have a little club to hang out at the campus and that was it. Which is fine, I guess, but not what I was looking for.

The other problem is lack of stability. I want to have a minister/priest/pastor/fill-in-the-blank be in charge of church/meeting/group. It gives strength to an organization to have someone be responsible for various aspects. When I was in California, I stayed at a convent with my best friend, Caroline. I was amazed at the efficiency and organizational aspect of this place. Talk about perfecting time. I loved every minute of it. And I had time to reflect and felt a sense of wellbeing.

My adopted aunt, Tina, would also bring me to Big Bear for a Women's Retreat based on Baptist perspective. And I loved every minute of it because there was flexibility and kindness for everyone there. I saw all sorts of women in all age and health. It just felt like a great environment...even if some of the speakers where a bit too focused on money for buildings (I remember one speaker was going on and on about millions of dollars for a building and the perfect table/chair set. What this has to do with Jesus and helping people, I don't know. At the time, it really annoyed me and I think other women as well). Anyway, these are some of the emotions I was having and thinking about this week.

Besides having these feelings/school treks, I started a new job as a caregiver. I basically take care of adults who have lost their ability to tend to house matters/themselves but want to live at home. I must say it is hard work but very rewarding as well. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have this cold (I got a full blown cold right in the middle of everything) and it sapped me of energy. But I'm mending up. I hope I can bring some comfort and spark into people's everyday lives. I even played the piano for one client and I'm considering bringing my guitar to another one tomorrow. I hope I can play a few pieces and not have the client tell me to put the guitar away! lol!

Also, I've been itching to start a large painting. I have to finish a few first, but I want to start a big new one. I have fish on my mind and green blue waters. I can see gold and bits of reds and yellows. Jon wants to take the painting (once I finish it) to a place in State College. I'm fine with that. I know it will have to be framed and I hate framing things. I find it tedious and so final, I suppose.

I have a few things I want to start on art-wise. I would love to find an agent, so I wouldn't have to do so much of the business part. But it's a good learning experience as well. Sometimes, I wish there were two of me...well, maybe not (thinking of all my messes).

When I started writing tonight, I felt a bit melancholy and tired. But now, I feel better. I guess writing out what I feel and think is a good thing. Speaking of which, Jon's planning to go to California for a short time to visit our friend who is ill. I have this constantly in the back of my mind and it worries me to no end. I know we all have our hurdles to jump and life is just not perfect. I need to light some candles.

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I started to watch a few TV shows...I forget the names of them. One is about doctors and they make some good statements about life. I actually saw two programs of this show and now, it's starting to make more sense (it's hard jumping into any series and not knowing previous storylines). Anyway, one character says, "Life is so hard most of the time and it's so unfair." I can see that for many people this is so true. It's not fair. If we acknowledge it isn't fair and can take all the unfairness swirling around and contain it, maybe we can set it aside for a moment and see the bits of miracles in that moment. Focusing on what is there, meditating...I can see how looking at a flower and noticing the purple, the petals symmetry and the miracle of it coming from a seed, and rejoicing in it. Doing the whole 5 senses thing and allowing ourselves to feel for it. This is understanding life. It is very much taking time to smell the roses and listening to the wind in the trees. It's sewing and knitting and standing in a crowd demanding justice. And it's looking at your heart and being true to what you love. It's carving out of wood even in the heart of winter and taking care of someone even when you're the one who's sick.

I must say, I couldn't do this job I'm doing if I didn't have my kids to break my selfishness. I couldn't do it, if I wasn't married and didn't know what it was like to be loved. And I couldn't do this job if I didn't have my pets to give me their affection and gentle soft nuzzles. I know I wouldn't be able to do this job, if I didn't have the family I had growing up. They taught me so much by their openness even if it was traced in fear.

Well, I'll close for tonight. Tranquility is slightly tainted as Mr. Nelson has spotted me petting Kiwi (one of our cats). He's fiercely jealous of all the cats. sigh...

Oh, and on a quick side note, I tried these cookies by Starbucks which have coffee inside of them. Pretty good, though I didn’t check to see if there was trans fat. They reminded me of these cookies my dad would get that had coconut inside of them. They were pretty awful but for some reason so good dunked in milk.

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