Saturday, December 15, 2007

Change of plans

Well, this is how it goes some days.

Tessa woke up this morning with a fever (103.2), and so this weekend will be spent laying low. Ryan and I are taking turns with her and going out one at a time(I went to the C&P Arts and Crafts fair and got a fabulous gift for my mom's birthday - hurrah!). The bummer, though, is that tomorrow was to be her blessing, and now we can't go. Wahhh.

Seeing our girl laid low breaks my heart. She just sleeps and watches TV; she's very snuggly (which is nice) but she's got absolutely no energy. I hope this illness passes very, very quickly.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Christmas Card Photo

Okay, so here it is. A darling picture of a family enjoy themselves....

or is it just a picture of my butt?! ACK!

I hope you get a good laugh out of it. It IS one of my favorite photos, because I remember the moment so clearly, but after I chose it I started to wonder if I was insane to send a picture of my rear end to many people I know.

Well, it is what it is. Happy holidays!

Varolli Holiday Party

Here we are! You can see my longer hair in this phot.


Our new camera arrived and it's functional. Here are some of the first pics. Carolyn & I in San Fran, the Herceptin Advisory Panel girls, and of course Tessa and Jessie decorating the gingerbread house today (I think they did a great job).


This Sunday, we are having Tessa blessed at WSUU. Reverend Peg sent out part of the script for that event, which reads:

Sunday, during the blessing ritual, I will ask all the parents (we have thirteen children involved) to answer at the same time "I DO" to this
Peg: Parents, your job is the most important job in our society. Do you promise that, to the best of your abilities, you will help your children to love themselves, to love others without prejudice, to gain an ever evolving appreciation of truth & beauty, and to achieve a deepening understanding of
how to live lives of good character and compassionate living? If so,
please say "I do"
Parents: I do.

I am thrilled to do this with and for Tessa. The congregation will also read their promises to the children, to help them grow in a loving and supportive environment, etc. I am grateful to have found this type of community, and to give Tessa the gift of support in her quest to be the best person that she can be.

Because this is not a typical Christian church, and because this fellowship embraces many world traditions and not just Christian ones, we have not invited a large group to attend the blessing ceremony. We wish to be respectful of our family members' Christian beliefs, and understand that there are those in our family who may feel uncomfortable with the liberal nature of our beliefs. For that reason, we are not sending out invitations or having a party etc. for this event; we're being pretty quiet about it. I am mentioning it here, though, to say that I am happy about this part of our spiritual evolution, and grateful that we have found a spiritual home. This is one further step in our commitment to spirituality, and I feel strongly that we are on the right path for us.

I thought I'd use the blog today to share my thoughts on the subject. Our church encompasses many world traditions and beliefs, and is as liberal as they come, but there are commonalities with Christian traditions. The blessing is akin to a dedication or christening. It is about love, commitment, values, and spirituality. I hope that our friends and family who come from a strong Christian faith can celebrate these similarities with us, and share in the understanding that we are striving to make the world a better place together. Our approach might be different, but there are important similarities, as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Cards

If you get one of my Christmas cards (I wish I could say that I sent them to everyone but as time and money are short it was a smaller list than "everyone"!) I wonder, sincerely, what your reaction will be.

The part of me that chose the photo thinks, "This is a picture of our family having fun together, looking ahead to the future, dreaming, laughing." Another part of me thinks "What was I thinking?!" You can decide for yourself what you think. ;-)

This year I am really, really, really trying to simplify my holiday season. I am trying to keep spending in check by making homemade gifts and shortening my giving-list (please note: I love everyone as much and more than before - the lack of giving is NOT a lack of love, but an attempt to rein in our finances and focus on time and love not stuff); I am trying not to overcommit; I'm trying to enjoy the pleasures of the season (hot coffee while sitting by the tree; singing Christmas carols to myself as I do chores; parties but not too many...) instead of feeling the dreaded "should" and "rush" that I usually feel. I did not write a single word in my would have been nice, but I would have felt rushed and stressed (and late - there is no way I could have gotten them out in time). We did not have a cocktail party. We're taking it easy...and that feels good right now. Maybe another year I'll try to do a Martha Stewart imitation, but this year I'm trying to just relax and enjoy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Home from San Fran

Just a note to let everyone know that I am home and well. The trip was great; incredible women, interesting work, a nice hotel (nothing compares with the Ritz, but still, it was nice), and of course the incomparable Carolyn.

I have been reading (especially on the airplane ride home) the book "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron (sp?), which was a gift from Adrienne after my meltdown, and I can't tell you how much I am getting out of it. I'm receptive to the messages in it, and I feel like I'm learning so much. It is about dealing with loss and pain and grief, but also about meditation, joy, anger, fear,'s brilliant so far. I am ready to be a student.

Since my meltdown, I feel like everything has changed. The book tells me that the meltdown might have been a great turning point in my life, and I tend to agree. I am reinterpreting everything through new eyes, and I'm open to many things because I have to be. What I mean is, when things are going well, I'm not looking to change much because I have no incentive to do so. But now, when things have fallen apart and everything feels uncertain, it makes sense to be open and to try new things. Hey, it can't hurt.

In the book there is a story about a boy and a snarling, barking, ferocious dog. As the dog growls and runs toward the boy, the boy runs, too....toward the dog. The dog, startled, turns and runs away. The author suggests that this should be our approach to fear, and that only by running INTO the fear can we save ourselves. It's an interesting idea, and I'm thinking about it.

I'm tired; this much isn't new. I still feel unlike myself, and that is filled with uncertainty and I feel uncomfortable with the uncertainty. But I'm starting to feel that it will be okay, that I will find joy. I'm on a mission to do so.