For the month of May: Mind your Mom…

Happy May! Thank goodness, it’s May!  Now, for us Catholics, May is the month of honoring Mary as the Mother of God, indeed, as our  mother too.  It’s the month for remembering we have a role model and someone who really “gets it.”

As we all should, it’s the month to tell your mom you love her and to just give her a break and treat each other well.  So, to that end, we have the annual video put out by the May Feelings folks, drawn from the witness of Pope John Paul II and his encouragement to youth the world over to go out and be a light in this world.

We are all so connected, more than we realize, even with the pervasive reach of social media.  We need each other, it’s our greatest gift: connection, caring.  Mind your mom:

Post Conference Post

So, here it is, Monday.  I didn’t have to travel to and from this conference (hooray) like so many did.  I’m still reeling from re-entry a bit though.  Don’t get me wrong, the conference was great.  Just so much rich stuff to digest and consider and even the gifts to still relish….plus of course, the inevitable extra need of the kiddles who didn’t have me for two whole days (and of course that means that somehow EVERYTHING is a minor emergency, from english notes to missing shoes).  The house looked like a minor tornado had ripped through, and I even came home to eat and sleep {not to look around or actually DO anything productive tho, obviously} !  So, not to complain but it’s a bit of an exponential Monday here: Monday to the 2nd power.  The usual Monday-ness combined with missing three days of laundry (oh the horror) and referreeing nurturing these kiddles, with a layer of still really pondering and soaking in the words I heard and the ideas that were refreshed, and an icing on the cake of smiling about good visits with new/old friends.  Just so much to filter and relish.

So, in other words, this conference was pure gift.  To me.

My challenge, now, is to be able to pay forward that gift to my family, and maybe a friend or two who will graciously suffer through my yammering about it.  Yes,  you clever people, that probably means you.  You know I gotta post a bit.  And I will.  But first I have to go flip a few loads of laundry, and dig out, er….tidy a couple of small one’s  bedrooms, and make a real dinner…..you know the drill.  Plus I am on the deadline clock for packaging up a bday present for our Bro Peter Joseph.  I made four – that’s right, four – cakes yesterday so that he can  have his favorite birthday cake on his special day.  But the whole novitiate gets to have it too….it was a “Day O’ Baking.”  More on that in the  bday blog post to come: Wednesday.

These two were only a few of those waiting for me to get home....cute tho!

In the meantime, let me say this.  If you ever wonder if it’s worth it to go to one of these Empowered to Connect Conferences…I’d say, heck yeah!  I’ve already seen some of the payoff. Sure sure, I know, it’s a honeymoon. I’m all motivated and um, empowered (doh), and fired up.  I’m all “Can you try that again with respect?” and “Do you want a compromise?”   But, I tell ya, if I don’t slack off, this could be the start of something new….a tired mom can only hope!  Seriously though, really, I’ve already seen a difference and made some important child connections that might not be perceptible to the outside eye….but I was there and they really happened.  Minor miracles.  And so were they.  And I’m grateful..and happy for it all.

Conference, day two

So here I am at lunch, day two (and final) of this conference. I guess I’m doing wht they call “live blogging”…..yeah thats right, I’m just hip like that!

Another great morning. I have missed running into a new friend (Elaine, where are you?) but have a good seat and the talks have been very good, meaty, much to digest. Additionally, we’ve heard two personal stories from extra guest speakers: moms who have been “through the fire,” so to speak. One of them was the great fav blogger pal of mine, Lisa Qualls (from the “one thankful mom” blog, a minimum daily requirement blog for me). No surprise, she gave a moving talk; brought numerous folks to tears…inspired. Another speaker was a gal named Debbie (I’m sorry I can’t remember her last name at this second) and her story also was just inspirational. And all too close to home for me…not in all ways, but, the ones that count. Yeah, blinking away in my seat again.

The other talks this morning laid the groundwork for the afternoon sessions: talking about sensory processing deficits and integration, the effects of history of brain development and so on. This afternoon is about addressing behaviors arising from some of these issues and finding ways to heal and connect. Of course, because thats what this conference is all about.

And i am grateful to be here. I’m getting close to maximum saturation myself…fantasizing a bit about a double espresso and some good chocolate to perk me up. ( I know, supposed to pound the water instead….what can I say, old dog, not many new tricks, etc etc…). But I’m gonna take notes in these afternoon sessions….I know they will be helpful. And they are, not only for my kids who have difficult needs or backgrounds…but really so much of this is good for all of my kids. Each and every one. And can I use reminders, refreshers, and new ideas? Oh. Yeah. Absolutely. Every single day.

So, heading back in. I have met some really nice people- Jamey of Zehlalum family! Lisa! Buttercup from Farmboy and buttercup (old virtual pals,that one, very nice to connect in person!)….and tho I still feel like my usual doofy self, I do love meeting these gals…a great treat! So, this afternoon if any of you are here or reading this, come say hi! I’m still the old gray mom, looking desperate for more caffeine and maybe some M&M’s…..

Connections and conferences – great buoys in the adoptive life.

Girl Feast: the Visitation

Today is the Feast of the Visitation!

I saw this in the Uffizi, one of my fav's

That means that today we celebrate and remember when Mary went to her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with the soon to be born John the Baptist. I love this image, I love this whole concept.  It’s one of my favorite mysteries of the rosary….and I’ve wondered why it speaks to me so.  But I think, really, it’s that whole connection thing, once again.

The connections that we make, especially we women, are so important.  They mean everything, in a way.  It took me a long time to get there, way past the awkward high school years and the striving driven, boyfriend focused, college years.  But as I’ve grown older and into the woman I am now in middle age and hopefully was meant to be (mostly), I have grown also into some of the richest relationships: friendships with women.  My girl friends are such a support; even the virtual ones through email, phones, and blogging…the support gained and given through these friendships with other women give me such strength.  They have pulled me out of deepest indigo blues, they have encouraged me forward in burnout and despair, they have brainstormed with me in mom dilemmas, they have brightened days with a good laugh.  They have called me out from my selfishness, they have told me when the swimsuit is just too tired and for pity’s sake go buy a new one.  They have listened to me vent and cry and rage and brag; saved my marriage a few times and my child’s backside as well.  They are generous, genious, kind, caring, prayerful gals…..and I hope and pray I have returned the favor more than once and can continue to.  In person, blog, email or phone, it all counts.

I think that is why I love this feast so.  Mary did it first.  She found out she was with child, and in her first trimester she journeyed to her cousin.  Now, we all know what that first trimester is like: such exhaustion, illness, hunger, sleepy fatigue. And Mary set out on a long journey to be with her dear friend, her cousin.  She didn’t get to hop in her comfy BMW, she had to walk or use the donkey.  I would’a griped about traveling in my comfy Honda (oh, right I think I did, way back when I was in first trimester’s.  oops).  But she went.  She went to help, not to get her own comfort, but to help.  Because Elizabeth was older and was in the end (third trimester?) of her pregnancy.  We all know what that’s like too: exhausted, feeling big as a whale, swollen, uncomfortable, maybe a tad irritable, just…done.  So, Mary went to help.  And they embraced when they met, like friends/family who miss each other do.  And Elizabeth blurted out “Who am I that the mother of my Lord comes to me?”  She didn’t say, “Mary! Wow, what a surprise, what are you doing here?” and start fretting about if she had enough kefir or whatever to add to lunch or if the house was clean.  No, she instantly felt the baby flip around and she had those words out, I suspect, before she even really understood them, fully.  That’s how it works, I think. It’s all grace.  This feast is all about the grace and we see it in that painting, up there, one of my favorites.

Our friendships, the support we women give each other is unlike anything else.  And it is all grace. It really is, when it’s good.  We can  undermine each other like nobody’s business if we choose.  But when we choose to give, it’s like nothing else….except, like Mary..and Elizabeth.  And that, just that, is why I love this feast day.  It’s a feast about connections and grace and giving.  It’s a girl feast.  Because we rock and we do this better than anyone; when we open ourselves to this grace. Mary and Elizabeth did, so long ago.  They show us the way, even now.

>International Adoption Conference this weekend!

>This is where I will be this Saturday!
It’s local and has some great forums and best of all, my dear pal and social worker, Amanda Heiderich, is the keynote speaker!
Whoohoo!
Not to be missed.
It’s called “International Adoption: What to expect when you leave the airport.”

The forums are on:
Older Child Adoptions
Trans Racial and Trans Cultural Adoptions
Special Needs
A Parent’s Perspective

I know! How am I gonna choose?!  Every one, right up my alley.  Oy….choices choices.
Anyhow, I’ve arranged the sitters (thank you Olivia and Tom) and I’m going. I’m excited, I’m gonna Tivo the ND game and go to the conference and clap really loud for Amanda too, because everyone else will be doing the same thing.  She is terrific and a great resource for anyone who has interest in these topics.  This should be a great day of info and hopefully hanging out with interesting folks who are standing on the same page….I”m really looking forward to it!


Be there or be square!
{No, that doesn’t date me….all the really cool hip people are saying that again!}