East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


Throwback Thursday: Romancing the ordinary.

Note: This post was first published on October 2, 2012, on my old blog, Far Above Rubies. Enjoy! ~Li

On Thursday, my friend Kawania stopped by to pick up a flash drive. She was just leaving her job as an elementary school teacher, and as I opened the door to let her in, I said, "Wow! Is this what the teachers are wearing these days?" Decked out in a brown, above the knee shirtdress, with leopard print, four inch, peep toe heels, she laughed and said assuredly, "Gone are the days teachers wear long flower skirts and penny loafers." I laughed, too, thinking how cool it would be to find a pair of penny loafers nowadays. But hey, these glasses aren't for show. I'm a true blue nerd. Kawania began playing with Z, and I slid back over to the dining room table where I had been cutting up peppers, tomatoes and onions for dinner. She looked at me, dressed in a tank and shorts, scarf on head, chopping away, and said, "You know, even though you don't think you're doing anything great or exciting by staying home full time with Z, you are. It's so awesome that you're with her. It's not glamorous but it'll pay off." No, there was nothing glamorous about me or that scene at that moment. I was definitely not Facebook pic-ready, and even using three Instagram filters couldn't change that. But why did she start off by saying I don't think I'm doing anything great? Because I not only think  it, I know I am.

Oh, did that last line seem boisterous? Yes? Well, good. I'm not bragging. Far from it. I am no supermom. Z is not reading or potty trained at 14 months. I sneak her chocolate milk when her Dad isn't around. I play like 10 Alphablocks episodes in a row to stop her squealing when I'm doing her hair. No, my pride comes from my job... no, strike that, my vocation as a mother, not in my skills (or lack thereof) in this role. In the six months that have passed since I resigned my professional job, a number of people have given me pep talks similar to Kawania's. Others, like my 82 year old Grandmother, have asked me, in an almost pleading tone, how I manage to stay home and stay sane. Some have just bluntly said, "Not me! I'd dump my kid off in daycare so fast...". Putting my health issues aside (which is the actual reason I resigned), I can't seem to convince people of how amazing it actually is to be with Z full time. I've watched her grow from a squiggly newborn who could only manage two ounces of milk to a curious toddler who devours just about anything she can find (scarily, not necessarily food, either). Outside of a couple of colds and tummy aches, there have been no illnesses. When she took her first steps, it was to me. I'm her teacher, chef, nurse and playmate. And maid. And janitor. And custodian. I don't have one job. I have at least a dozen. There is no fanfare, no glory. It's so ordinary. Millions love "The Kardashians" because their "ordinary" includes dating rap stars, marrying (and divorcing) millionaire athletes, flying across the globe, vacations, glitz and glamor.  Yesterday I posted about St. Therese and her "little way" to Jesus. Little steps. An appreciation of and love for the little things. I'm reminded of India Arie's "Little Things":

"Got everything that I prayed for
Even a little more
When I asked to learn humility
This is what I was told
 
 It's the little things 
 And the joy they bring 
 It's the little things 
And the joy they bring"
 

No accolades. No paycheck. Total reward.

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Throwback Thursday: Zoe 101: Lessons From My Daughter

Note from Li: This post was first published on my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on March 6, 2012. I'm republishing it today, with an update: Matt is now an awesome dad to two adorable boys. I knew he'd be a great dad. ;-) ~Li

 Last week at The Church of No People, Matt topped off his month long series on Parenting by explaining why he didn't want to have kids. At least anytime soon. I laughed out loud reading it, and not in that fake "LOL! But I only wrote that because I don't know what else to write except maybe a smiley face, but I don't want to" type way, either. Especially that part about Go-Gurt. I don't know why, but before having Zoe, seriously thinking about having kids always conjured up images of gross poopy diapers, crazy kid temper tantrums, and yes, Go-Gurt. Sticky, sour-smelling, old Go-Gurt on teeny fingers and chubby cheeks. And I shuddered. And wrote this. And recorded this. In other words, I understand. In fact, I still shudder when I think of what others have told me about parenting. The sleepless nights, the illnesses, the ruined... well, just about everything, from carpeting to electronics to waistlines. But as God as my witness, in my admittedly short time as a mom, I have yet to feel that chill. Really. Yes, there were sleepless nights, and being popped and peed on. Yet, I wouldn't have it any other way. Why? One, because just as with everything else that has challenged me- Pre-Calculus, working at a super awful job, being married, dealing with a chronic illness- I have emerged much stronger having had to deal with it. Well, except for maybe Pre-Cal, which taught me the lesson that I should've stopped at Algebra. Two, because I've learned much from Zoe. So much. Here are a few: 1.) Don't take things too seriously. Nearly everyday lately, I've turned around for LITERALLY two minutes and return to Zoe having my cell in her mouth. Or the TV remote. Or a corner of my iPad. Sometimes, she's managed to crawl into near disaster. My first reaction is, "What the ksfhkrfskhs!" And my second, is to quietly laugh to myself. Like my daughter, I am learning to call them how I see them. And sometimes, it's really not that serious. Or really, not serious at all.

 2.) It's okay to cry. Other times, it is serious. At least enough to cry. I'm not saying I go into hysterics, but I know, balancing church, family, etc., can be trying. Sometimes, letting out some tears is totally cleansing. It's like a little emotional reset. So when two loved ones passed a few weeks ago, I sat and cried. And was the better for it.

 
 

 3.) Smile often. Zoe is one of the smiliest babies I've ever known. Really. Most mornings, she wakes up smiling. She smiles at us. Her Big Poppa. Our pastor. And especially Keiron's co-worker Tim (yeah, she's totally a flirt). It's good to smile. Meet a new day with happiness.

4.) Be determined. When Z focuses on something, she'll keep going (even it means a tumble off the bed) until she gets it. There have been many days I've  felt weak and did not even attempt to go out. I'll stop myself before I even tried. Watching Zoe crawl, squiggle, wiggle and kick her way to her goal inspires me to do so. Onward march! Or crawl. 5.) K is awesome. Yeah, duh, I know he is. But I need to show him that. Daily. Zoe will scream and laugh when K gets come home from work. Or goes into the living room and then comes back. She shows her Daddy how much he is missed. A reminder to me to throw some of that excitement his way, too. P.S. to Matt, you're going to be a great dad. You already are.

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Lent- Day 33: Say a little prayer for you.

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This week, Zoe painted an old glass pasta sauce bottle, put pen to note cards and listed names of family and friends, then dropped said cards into the bottle. Every day since, she has opened the lid and pulled out a card. With clasped hands, she says a little prayer for the Loved One.

 

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Lent- Day 32: Be you.

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While straightening up earlier, I came across the above picture made by Z. She explained it as, "the name of my new song I'm writing." She never ceases to amaze me.

The message- "Be you."- made me smile. A little command to remain. It made me think of I Corinthians 12:14-27:

 

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

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Lent- Day 30: Have a slice.


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(Humble pie. Can I get you a slice? Image Source)

 

 

Zoe's Bible lesson for today was on Jesus' parable of The Pharisee and Tax Collector found in Luke 18:9-14. By the way, we're using "Countdown to Easter: Daily Lenten Devotions for Children" by Ruth Geisler. The Kindle version is just .99 cents, so you may want to just go ahead and download it today. Now on to the scripture:

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:

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Lent- Day 25: For them, I give thanks.

One of the things I love about attending an Episcopal/Anglican church is the liturgy from The Book of Common Prayer. During the Thanksgiving season, we use prayers specifically listing the many things for which to be thankful, from life and leisure to firemen and police. The leader may say, "For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice," and the congregation will respond by saying, "We thank you, Lord" or simply, "We give thanks".

 

This post is a prayer of thanksgiving for my husband K and daughter Z, and the very special daddy-daughter relationship they have. This week, K and Z have come to some kind of arrangement where K would take Z's stuffed polar bear ("Ice Bear") to work with him and take pictures of the bear's adventures. I'm not sure how this set-up came to be, but it's been on, and this afternoon K sent a few pictures via text for me to share with Z:

 

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Lent- Day 16: Ponderings of the heart.

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 Zoe in 2013. The pout is strong in this one.

  

 

Around Zoe's second birthday, we took her for a check-up at the pediatrician. She wass weighed, measured and given shots. Thankfully, she didn't scream while receiving the inoculations. She was clearly unhappy, and cried a bit, but it was in a "Hey, that HURTS! Stop it!"- kind of way. When it was done, the doctor instructed us to go down the hall for blood to be drawn to be sent to a lab for tests. This had happened around her first birthday, so it was a surprise.

 

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Some Sunday Stuff: July 20th.

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Happy Sunday, All. Tomorrow is Zoe's third (!) birthday, but we started celebrating early. K will be at work all day tomorrow, so after a trip to the Carteret Waterfront Park (we were going to hit up a beach, but with the temp around 75 and plenty of clouds, we skipped it), we did a little celebrating at home. There was a surprisingly sturdy pinata (K had to crack it open) and candles on chocalate cupcakes made by me. On Thursday night I hung a bunch of paper lanterns from twine- I was trying to give it a summer/outdoor party feel. I lit the lanterns with tiny LED lights.

 

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