-1-Grace is…believing you’re loved even when you can’t feel it, knowing that living out our vocations requires ongoing discernment and sacrifice, people recognizing and affirming those who have spent time away from the workplace to take care of family and friends at home, the acknowledgement of anyone that raising a family is the most challenging and important job there is for married couples and parents, learning about inspiring people who use their talents to serve others, being able to pray for and with others…
What’s a Life Worth? Late last night, I finished reading the amazing Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. The book is about a remarkable man, Dr. Paul Farmer, whose passion for treating people in poverty (starting with those he served in Haiti) with the utmost dignity, respect, and the best medical technologies available literally impacted and dramatically improved treatment of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in poor countries around the world.
"...the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world" is the essence of Dr. Paul Farmer’s philosophy. I know a book is very well-written when, though it’s about a topic as depressing as rampant illness affecting the poorest of the poor, I’m left feeling hopeful, inspired, and completely in awe of what happens when one man insists and believes that every life is of incalculable value; every person is worth treating; and every individual deserves the best we have to give, whatever the cost to ourselves or others.
. God did it again. I was led to read this book at the perfect time. The pastor of our church and a group of parishioners are on yet another mission trip in Haiti this week, visiting our twin parish in Dos Palais, which is supposed to be opening a medical clinic soon.
Noisy Toys After a three day weekend, suddenly a vast number of battery-operated 'noisy toys' no longer make sounds. When Sunshine told me all of the batteries just ran down, I rolled with it, and told her if they were taken out and not replaced it must have been for a good reason. My guess is that their parents, like any adults who have a reasonable amount of sanity somewhere on their top ten list of most important attributes of a caregiver, can only take but so much of Rock'n'Roll Elmo, an endless loop of "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider," and toys that add more sound effects that make it seem like their children are actually being raised in a barn.I recall quite clearly a few toys that the boys loved to play with that would “disappear” at random intervals when I deemed my sanity more important than their need to press the fire engine’s siren another bazillion times. I found it particularly taxing when the battery was about to run out on the sea-themed exersaucer activity center. One of the boys picked up on how much it annoyed me to hear a painfully slow, scratchy version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” that was the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me. Kid was smart. When he was upset with me for failing to concede in any way, shape, or form that only the exersaucer, not the entire universe revolved around him, he would purposely press the star and watch me cringe.
You will never convince me that kids aren’t clever enough to torture their parents and caregivers on purpose from a surprisingly young age. I know better.
-4-Calling for Back-up The other day was a 3+ time-outs, not enough sleep (them or me), and call for at least one of our favorite visitors kind of nannying day. I feared that after five hours of feeding, cleaning up after, playing with, and refereeing three young girls in a limited space I was likely to run completely out of energy and patience sometime in the remaining four and a half hours before their mom would get home from work.
|Cuties with Contraband|
Fortunately, Kevin came over late that afternoon in case there was a repeat after naps (theirs, not mine) of I-want-whatever-you’re-playing-with-when-you’re-playing-with-it-and-I’m-going-to-grab-it-from-you-and-knock-you-over-to-get-it Advanced Pre-school Aerobics/Kung Fu Class.
The girls only napped for an hour, so it was even more vital that I had back-up on the way. Kevin and I had the girls running, playing, giggling, and in much better moods than any of us were in that morning. Thank God Almighty for the gift of my husband, and I do! To read about more of my adventures as a nanny, check out posts from My Nanny Diary.
JAM Session Highlights Our parish has a really great, very successful ecumenical Job Assistance Ministry (JAM) which has helped hundreds of people in our area find employment. Kevin’s been going to the meetings regularly as he searches for a new job. The numerous professionals and business people involved offer a wide variety of career services for free that other recruiters and job search agencies charge hundreds of dollars to do. Check out the ministry website, activities, and successes here.
-6-My Guy Gets It This past Wednesday at JAM, the speaker was swamped with questions after his
presentation, so Kevin took it upon himself to approach a woman wondering what to put on her resume since he has spent several hours working, revising, and rewriting his with the recent tips, tricks, and trends he’s learned. Kevin’s a friendly, helpful guy, so this gesture didn’t surprise me. What I was really excited to hear is that he reassured this woman, who has gone 17 years without a paying job, that raising a family is the hardest and most important job anyone can do and made it abundantly clear to her that she must have a number of marketable skills from such a feat that will translate into the work world. While they were talking, another woman came up who’s been out of the workforce for 21 years raising her family. I am beyond grateful that my husband gets what so many men and women don’t: there’s nothing more challenging or more essential than raising a family, and those who devote their time and energy to that are generally hardworking, very talented individuals who deserve respect.
Hope and Help for the Philippines This is a very good article on what has happened in the Philippines and what is being done to help the many victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan. There are links in the article of what organizations are already in place to help and how you can donate to the effort.
Lord, please open our hearts and minds to do and be what you need us to in order to alleviate the suffering that is taking place in the Philippines right now.