Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What I Like About You

A fan of large doses of laughter before sleep (or any time), sometimes, I still want to make sure the last thing on my brain when I turn in isn't what Jon Stewart just said, but something...deeper. It occurred to me tonight, after letting Carter watch "Phineas & Ferb" as a treat before bedtime--and let's be real, a treat for me, too, because I didn't have to read aloud, which I love, but I also love a break--that as hilarious as Perry the Platypus is, it's not a bad idea to reconnect to something deeper, and sweeter, for him, too.

So we listened to music, and then we told each other some of the things we like about each other (some, because there's a million to infinity things that we like).

Me: "I like that you are kind; I like your great sense of humor; I like the way you sat there and listened to beautiful music with me; I like the way you make play-doh tickets--it's very creative; and I like the way you were helpful to the kid yesterday (at the play-scape)."

C: "I like the way you painted my bedroom (with words), I like that your eyes were going to be blue (idk, they're green), I'm going to kiss you (kisses my cheek) and I'm going to kiss your other cheek to say 'goodnight' to it."

The beautiful music we were listening to is a song that a dear friend posted on Father's Day. We talked about how sometimes people talk to God like to a mama ("em" in Hebrew) or a papa ("abba"). The song is "Abba" and it's a profound, melodious lullaby for all ages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-GeVf1XQOPg (The song starts at 1:15.) (Apologies for the "copy-and-paste" link--some blogger.com issues with links, or maybe user-error. Anyway...)


Monday, January 2, 2012

sea moss

I was thinking that to have had this magnanimous gift of time away and to hear the ocean night and day, I must come home changed. Less fatigued, more spiritual, wiser...something. What have I done with this gift?

I've embraced the rest and respite, the reconnection with my family, with nature, salty air, and my soul. Especially, when I walk by the waves and talk to God and try to hear back. I've treasured the fun of teaching a 5-year-old to play checkers, have watched him run with a kite on a day with no wind, and have enjoyed the myriad of crafts—especially the ones made on the days Jeff was able to take off completely from work, and I slept in—delicious treat of extra sleep. We've ridden bikes in the sunshine, baked cookies, and laughed at the rain (because it wasn't snow!).

We've had some hiccups on the "perfect vacation"—requiring a trip to urgent care for antibiotics and steroids, and a sleepless night with a sweet little coughing patient. We've listened, and shared, and I should probably always listen more, with friends and family on the phone, via text, FB, and email. 2011 was sometimes painful, for many—and for some whom we love most, there aren't new chapters, rather mid-chapters...but so much can happen in that expanse, I believe, I will believe.

I've considered theology by Gulley, laughed out loud with Kaling, and just today finished some fascinating "escapism" in The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh for book club. We've danced to spunky Christmas tunes and made a puzzle map of the world. Carter asks "where should we go next?" and my mind muses, "yes, where?" Of course, the answer now is, home. Time to go home.

But wait, has anything changed, in me?

That was the question I pondered today when I walked, and happened upon the sea moss. In the story above, The Language of Flowers, moss is to represent nurture. Impeccable timing. Impeccable. I really cannot tell you how stunned I was—I hadn't noticed sea moss on any other walk. For me, it was a message from flowers, the ocean, and God—of God's maternal love. I will cling to that image for this grand new year—may it be one of nurture, one which you and I feel, and share, that aspect of God that we might often forget...that motherly, comforting, nourishing embrace...it's from there, I believe, that we are able to reimagine, create, and most of all, be.


Saturday, November 12, 2011


Working with some friends to help find resources for a young mom & babe has me thinking about nets, of which I know very little...nets. But I do know that nets of safety are real, and really needed. Especially as the persons I'm thinking of, even just when looking at public transportation systems, are being told 3 conflicting stories about how it will (and won't work) in your scenario. Or, when your employer (even if it's a popular chain) indicates that you'll be fired if you don't show up, even if your baby is sick. But daycare can't take the babe if sick. And if you get sick, too, and need to take care of you and the baby, and will probably lose your job, that takes mountains to get to because of the aforementioned transportation issue, where's your net? Family, neighbors? If your ex abused you (as your own family did, too) and you don't know anyone here and are trying to make a fresh start so your kid (and you, just a kid yourself) can have a better life...you need a net.

There's a system that can help, and it does help, in a lot of ways, but it is stressed and stretched and fragile, and not much help on a day that everything can come crashing in...because you got sick. And the system has to be augmented by people, anyway (or it won't work)...people all the more willing to be community, sacrificing (time, which is already likely stressed, and resources, already likely stretched) together (so one doesn't become depleted) to create something strong and new, a better safety-net for one dangerously missing.

Net-weavers, and brave moms, and kids who'll get a chance because of them--they need you and me to stay connected.

From FB notes 8/25/11

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mary Lynn

A really precious Austin friend has passed on. Everyone should be so blessed to have a Mrs. Harr in their life--her friendship has left an indelible imprint. Some thoughts and recollections:

The Heart of the Matter (from Parent's Corner, Chimes newsletter 1/08)

When I first met Mrs. Harr, I thought of my time with her as a kind of gift, meaning, I would give to her. She is elderly and, having suffered from MS and other numerous ailments for decades, she is mostly bed-ridden. Most of her family has pre-deceased her, and she lives in a small, sparse (but cheerful) subsidized apartment. From the surface, she seems to have nothing and be in need of everything, so my husband Jeff and I would try to stop by for a brief visit, bring her meals, etc. What started out as a relationship based on our giving, in turn, became a treasured friendship and a lovely gift...to us.

We discovered that Mrs. Harr uses her joyful spirit to share God's love with those she encounters. She uses her sorrows to do the same. Once, concerned about how Mrs. Harr would spend a holiday, we learned she would spend her day with strangers, by volunteering for a suicide hotline. Also, with hardly a new nightgown or robe, she willingly gives her "widow's mite" to those more in need. On one occasion, I overheard her speak to another stranger, a delivery person, about the comfort of knowing God. Her comments to this young man were not patronizing, rather, they were gentle, pure and true. I have many other Mrs. Harr anecdotes like these. She has personally encouraged me (and Jeff) through many life seasons. Currently, she calls on a regular basis to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to our son. Have I painted a picture of this precious woman? I hope so.

Add to your image a splendid smile, a healthy sense of humor, and an affinity for music by Rod Stewart and Flock of Seagulls (Mrs. Harr adores the 80's)! This woman with seemingly little to offer by modern standards is truly a masterpiece of God's creation. I'm so glad to know her, and through her, to further learn the lesson that it is a good and imperative thing to look beyond appearances. I want my children to know this, too. May we all seek to look at the hearts of those around us. And, may we be surprised by what incredible beauty we see.

Mary Lynn and MJ

Mary Lynn Harr. MS patient for years, which meant countless other ailments over the course of this disease, frequently bed-ridden, at other-times wheel-chair bound. But, when her body let her, full of spunk. When Michael Jackson passed away, she told me her Thriller story. It was some kind of Thriller anniversary and Mrs. Harr decided to roll herself to the event happening at the drafthouse cinema behind her apartment complex. Everyone was to wear a white glove. She couldn't find one, but didn't want to miss out. Medical latex glove to the rescue... Lights, action, time for everyone to dance and sing-along. She waved her latex-laden hand in the air like she just didn't care. She said she made so many wonderful friends that day. That was simply...how she rolled.

We'll miss and love you always, Mrs. Harr. You rocked our world...

walk on

"Not everyone is able to walk, but most people can, which makes walking one of the most easily available spiritual practices of all."

"Where you are going is not as important, as counter-intuitive as that may seem."

"'I began to feel at peace in my body again after being very angry that it had let me down,' the woman explained."

There's more greatness in Taylor's delighting, insightful An Altar in the World. A worthwhile read. I love the story about this particular woman, and her comment resonates with walking (poquito running some of it, because my friend Michelle "made me") a half-marathon last year. I was super tired (like almost all the time, from PCOS and thyroid stuff--on the mend now, and neither condition is comparable to the immeasurable hardship the woman in the book went through, but, for me, it was a frustrating time) and I felt that I just needed "to cross a finish line." So I signed up for a race, conveniently in NoCal, so I could walk near sweet wineries with sweet Michelle.

The finish line was, of course, fabulous. The best part, though: the walk.

From FB notes 6/14/11

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kale, Glorious Kale

I had heard of kale chips but actually never tried them till at a friend's house last week. Ooh, very delish and addicting. What a great way to use a vege that sometimes confounds me in our csa share. Following is a very easy recipe for this fun and healthy snack. Followed by another for Zuppa Toscana, a hearty soup using fabulous Vitamin C & A rich kale. Buon appetito!

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and thoroughly dry the kale (salad spinning followed by air-drying on a towel works great), remove large stems, toss with olive oil in a bowl, then sprinkle with sea salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet & bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool and enjoy.

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb turkey sausage
sliced red potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups kale, chopped
2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 quart water
1 cup milk
ground pepper to taste.

Cook sausage and set aside. Place potatoes, chicken broth, water, onions & garlic in pot, and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Add sausage & pepper to taste and simmer another 10 min. Lower heat and add kale & milk. Heat thoroughly & serve.

Some Zuppa Toscana recipes call for cream, but 2% milk worked well here. Also, Jeff, who can't have onions & garlic (such a bummer), found his onion & garlic free soup very tasty and even better the next day. Kale is flavorful, wonderful stuff!

Note: both recipes adapted from a variety of sources.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I've been catching up on hee-larious 30 Rock of late. That's right, already hitting New Year's goals hard. Thank you, Netflix. I love the episode when Jack and Frank bond over their absentee dad history (“Goodbye, My Friend”). Their connection is juxtaposed by the friendship Liz forms with a pregnant young woman and her understandably super-freaked-out boyfriend.

The episode was timely. I have a recent FB status that goes like this: “While dropping Carter off at preschool this am, he told me that he was going to play in the 'house' center today. And be a dad. A good dad like his dad.” I'm so exceedingly grateful that Carter & Jessica have an attentive, loving dad. Even as a single dad to Jess, Jeff made great effort to “be there.” It seems, no matter what the family dynamics might be, it's the being there, or “showing up” piece that often means the most.

I received some “return to sender / no longer at this address” mail recently. It was a Christmas card that I had sent to my biological dad. Our shared history is that he was absent from my life till a phone call when I was 15, then absent again till 26, then around for a little while (unfortunately with what felt like unrealistic, presumptive expectations of me, but that's another story), then kind of gone again but leaving me with a PO box address to stay in touch. Thus the holiday cards sent over the past decade. To get one back is like a re-rejection. I'm good, though—at 40, I can honestly say that much of that is processed and I wish him happiness. And I've been blessed anyway with a great family and a lot of love. But what another juxtaposition, to receive such mail, and the sweet moment when my 4 year old son wanted to emulate his “Papa.”

If you relate, maybe watch the 30 Rock episode I'm referring to, and have a good laugh-cry. And if you're a parent wondering about your role in your kid's life, here's my best 2 cents: just be there.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top Ten of 2010

My dear cousin DS made a beautiful “Top Ten of 2010” list. Hers is deeply moving. And inspiring, so here goes my own. In no particular order, some favorite things—even ordinary day things—from 2010:

- Making and taking some dedicated time for yoga & walking (& poquito running), and walking the Santa Rosa 1/2 M w/ a sweet friend

- Successful completion of Search Committee duties & calling of a pastor who seems to be a great fit for our community-oriented and globally caring/serving church

- Carter continuing to grow with wonder at the world around him, and seeing his sheer joy at doing things like riding a “big-boy bike,” building Lego skyscrapers, and writing his name (letters are brilliant, you know?!)

- Happiness for Jeff as he continues to follow his dream w/ his own co, and for a favorable new project that has been a gift to us and other programming contractors

- 2 sweet, special family trips, to Austin & Haleiwa (love having people we love living in places we love!)

- Catching up with great girlfriends locally (Olive Garden Moms, baby) and at other locales (one that required use of a renewed passport—yay!)

- Participating in a variety of successful volunteer efforts for Haiti's relief

- Turning 40 in the company of lovely friends & realizing those 2 digits aren't so scary and often pretty great

- Progress/encouragement in renewing thyroid & PCOS health (a lot less fatigue than last year—so grateful)

- More travel/wanderlust emphasis: off-season deal and falling asleep to the sound of Atlantic waves during a quick pre-blizzard Christmas trip to the eastern shore with my favorite fellas

- A little bit of time to think, ponder, create--a favorite gift from a magnanimous Creator (Yes, yes, that's 11 things—funny how lists of joy and gratitude beget more joy and gratitude. I just thought of number 12.)

I'd love to read your list, too. Salud!

Pic from TX trip, May 2010.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Advent of Openness

While Advent is a season of waiting, it isn't a passive passage of time. The waiting is active, contemplative, and preparatory for opening our hearts and minds to God's great love. There is significance to this process as it relates to a reflective, listening season in which my church finds itself on the subject of homosexuality. Our denomination maintains a mandate of carrying on Christ's work. A small mainstream denomination, we are blessed with an ability to serve in large, world-affecting ways—groundbreaking involvement in fair-trade, disaster relief, and an influential model of volunteerism. My congregation can be seen as a microcosm of the whole—multigenerational, historically liberal as a peace church, but also traditional, and even, at moments, conservative. And we, like so many churches, are at a crossroads.

At the center of this junction, we find intersecting thoughts about interpretation of scripture. I am of the outlook that many biblical passages have contextual references, and that the writers of the Bible, though God-inspired, were not infallible—personalities and environs showed, an example being Pauline expressions about women in the ministry. I recall conversation with a dearly loved and respected family member about this—the belief that women should not be ordained. My response was heartfelt: but what if I have a daughter who is called to and passionate for pastoral ministry? Another close-to-home “hot topic” in my family: remarriage after divorce. When my parents (one is my step-parent) married, the union was the subject of well-meant concern. By observation, in my own varied ecumenical experience, it appears that most churches, or church-goers, have moved past these contextual ideas about ordination and remarriage. Where many churches, including ours, are still deliberating: homosexuality, specifically regarding calling to ministry and blessing of commitments.

In my 20's (now 40's), I had a dear friend who came out and was subsequently treated negatively by some from the church we attended. It was a wonderful non-denominational church, but not without it's flaws, or flawed persons, as we all can be. The well-intentioned words said to my friend, were often misused or misunderstood scripture. Persons, were, in my opinion, being so heavenly-minded that they missed out on the truth of our highest calling: “to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Christ said nothing about homosexuality, and yet, in an instant, a Christ-follower can reject another Christ-follower. Based on what? Interpretations of scripture. Just like use of scripture to justify slavery, or the repression of women, or even perpetuate the idea of a flat earth, religious texts can be used in damaging ways. At the time that scripture was written, it was widely viewed that homosexuality was a choice. We now have scientific references that show otherwise. Just as we know that the earth is round and that second marriages may be blessed unions, some things are learned from science, and sometimes relationships teach us even more.

Christ's words were most always relational, and as such, our greatest calling involves healing and restoration. If so, who needs attention most? I believe, it is those persons who've been wounded by the church's misuse or misunderstanding of scripture. May we mend hurting hearts. And may we also see time as a healer. Years later, the beloved persons who disagreed with my parents' marriage may have re-evaluated their thoughts when divorce and remarriage became realities in their families. Likewise, just this week, I heard a story about a prominent Christian educator who reexamined his long-held views on homosexuality and scripture when his grandson came out. When, over the course of time, we look at scripture relationally, we are no longer merely discussing ideas, we are caring for each other—our grandchildren, our neighbors, our friends. Like Advent, relationships change us. May our hearts be open to whatever God has in store.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Do you remember being 3? It seems pretty fabulous!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

One Fine Day... and Evening

A lunch date with Cartz & Jeff included visiting some chicks at a local pet supply store, followed by a meal from Chick-fila. Yeah...don't think about that too much.

Later that eve, a trek to REI to check out strollers (someone is outgrowing his) became all about bikes. I guess it's time for a big boy bike... Does every mom's heart seem to skip a beat upon seeing her bebe looking so grown up?

I love my family.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No Soup for You

Not really. Plenty of soup here. But seriously, all this about...soup? Yes. You'll want to lick the bowls. That good.

First up: O'Lordan's Potato & Leek. If you haven't tried it, do! If you're local, you really want to get in the car or jog down the street, stat. Not local, find a way to BWI asap. Divine. Just devoured some last week for St. Pat's. Perfect with Orchard Spinach Salad and a Killian's Red.


The second soup that will have you asking for seconds: Greek-Lemon Chicken. Warmth at winter's end = my friend Judy's January-March "soup night." Mid-week during her demanding job in disaster relief, Judy makes 2 huge crocks of soup & invites friend's to drop by at their convenience for a bowl of culinary mastery, artisan bread, coffee, and conversation. My family loves this awesome community tradition (something, unlike, say 4+ feet of snow in less than a week that we won't miss after it melts). Recipe for last week's savoring:

Avgolemono, or Greek Lemon-Chicken soup

6 c chicken broth
1 sm onion
1 sm carrot
1 bay leaf
1/2 t salt
2 chicken breasts
1 c long grain white rice
2 eggs
1/4 c lemon juice
2 T chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Chop onion & carrot fine, saute till cooked. Dice chicken & brown. Place in a pot with broth, lemon & spices. Beat the eggs very well, add hot soup to them slowly and continue to beat, then slowly put the egg mixture into the soup (important: do not let the soup/eggs boil again). Add rice & simmer 20 minutes.

Beautiful, delicious, and perfect in every way. Σας ευχαριστούμε (thank you), Judy!

Uno mas. I have a dear friend & neighbor who makes incredible gazpacho & it seems the perfect soup to celebrate spring. Actually spring through summer, as it's served cold. I'm thrilled that she shared her un-recipe: "I use V8 juice as a base, then add whatever fresh veggies I can get, add many seasonings and olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, etc. I use the food processor and like it chunky...I guess it is something I prepare by the seat of my pants and we all seem to enjoy it." True, we do. Gracias, Dolly!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Was it keys, spare change, an ear-ring? I had just returned from dropping Carter off at preschool, placed my hands in my coat pockets as I walked from the car, and felt something metal. Cool...mini MatchBox airplane. Melt my heart moment. A symbol of what I spent so long hoping/dreaming/praying (and paying a doctor) for.

Cheerios all over the car, the house that never stays clean (I mean n-e-v-e-r), a new blouse that becomes someone's handkerchief (while I'm wearing it), an over-tired child in the middle of an aisle, stiff-legged being loud, very loud, with displeasure about being at the grocery store(yes, this did happen once. okay, twice.)—these are also signs of what I wanted/hoped/longed for. And it's wonderful, actually—I like and laugh about the Cheerios thing, and I learn from the others. What stands out even more are requests for "little hug, Mama?" or dancing the "hopping dance" in the kitchen, or pointing up to show me a nest in a tree at the park. I get happy, like beaming happy, when my kid eats heartily, and even wants more. When he pees on the potty. Or tells me he'd like to paint with "dark blue" next. Dark blue, not just blue, uh-huh, that's right, my son the genius! When he shares a favorite toy with a friend. When he races his race-cars on the train track. I.love.this.stuff.

It feels right, for me, to be at home with this little person. For this season. What feels right for most of my friends, is working, and it really is right for their families. For many, it makes family-time more treasured. I'm also mindful that there are countless moms, or dads, who'd like to be home and don't have the choice--I know to value just having the option as a gift. While, I'm pretty confident about where I want to be, I feel pressure to validate my decision. To combat that, I have been a volunteer/fund-raiser/member for maybe one too many causes, boards or committees. I've also tried to be an at-home chef extraordinaire, and attempted to create the most awesome at-home kid activities. All good things. Totally important. But, for me, all things to be done with balance, and not to justify a choice that I really needn't pressure myself to justify.

Antidote? Still figuring that out, and learning what to say yes to, and when to decline, and I hate that learning curve... But more so, I think it's simply cherishing this precious time, the blissful mingled with the melt-downs, the laughter and the runny noses, Jeff reading bedtime stories to our babe and the sleepless nights, bright new days (or "Sunny Day!" as Carter exclaims) and also the days of running on empty and caffeine. It's looking forward to the next stages, but not wishing the current one away. And decidedly, purposefully embracing the ordinary...finding in it, extraordinary joy.

These are the moments,
I thank God that I'm alive,
These are the moments,
I'll remember all my life.

—Edwin McCain

Tangible hope. A great way to send it: www.ahomeinhaiti.org.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Brick Ridge

Jeff & I could not recall the last time we went out to dinner just the two of us, so when a dear friend, here for a working vacation, offered to stay with Cartz for an evening, it gave us a little vacay, too! Note to self: dates are good. Thanks, Cheri.

For this super fun date, Jeff and I went to our fav Carroll County restaurant, Brick Ridge. The gorgeous brick building used to be a schoolhouse, now a "green" (windmill-powered & more) eatery serving fresh, innovative "lessons" on familiar U.S. classics: San Fran Scallops, New York Shrimp Risotto, Indiana Meatloaf... They also have clever and delicious "state of the week" specials. Ooh, and a really brilliant vino list. Can't wait to go back!

Lot's of other fab info here: www.brickridge.com

Speaking of wining and dining...and incredible music...for a great cause, please check out Unplugged for Haiti at The Austin Grill this Sat: http://bit.ly/biC0fI.


Jeff, Carter, & I are immensely enjoying our time with dear friends visiting from Nicaragua & Texas—so incredibly fun to see places we know through new eyes. I have to be honest, the grey weather of late has me longing for warmer climes, like the Emerald Coast of FL as in this pic of Carter. Our friends Sarah and Cheri keep saying how pretty it is here. "Really?" I think, "you mean all this grey?" But I'm starting to see (again) what they see.

I long for fresh bulbs and new green, but before starting to sing their praises, I'm pausing to admire the powerful season melting into the next.

A favorite quote: In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer. —Albert Camus

And a warped one (long live SNL): Too bad Lassie didn't know how to ice skate, because then if she was in Holland on vacation in winter and someone said "Lassie, go skate for help," she could do it.” —Jack Handy

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mi Familia Tiles

During the summer of 2007, I made mosaic tiles like the one in the above pic and sold them to raise funds for various charities. I'm thinking of making them again to help raise funds for www.ahomeihaiti.org. If you'd like one, please let me know--I can customize them with faces, color schemes, and favorite quotes or sayings.

Last thought for this post--a quote I read earlier in the week: We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. —Ray Bradbury

May you know great beauty. All the time.

3/3 note: the tiles are 4X6" to 6X8" & $22 for 3 faces, $2 for ea addl face. They take about 3 weeks with firing, gazing re-firing & mastic. I'll chk 4 requests here, on FB, or at melissa.shaffer@muttlogic.com. Thx!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I have a friend who is posting a pic for everyday. She & her family live on gorgeous farmland and it's a thrill to see her capture the beauty of nature and family. She's inspired me to aim for similar: one pic or set of pics each week. This is the week following Valentine's Day, or as it's called in Latin America, "Dia del Amor y la Amistad" (Love and Friendship Day), thus the pics of Carter enjoying freshly sugar-sprinkled love and friendship cakes.

I would be remiss to not mention Haiti. May we send them love and friendship in tangible form. Waterproof shelter is desperately needed before the rainy season--10 days from now--and it can be sent via www.aHomeInHaiti.org (you can send them a tent or funds for one, and they'll get it into the hands of Haiti).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Oh goodness, it took me forever to figure out how to set up the site (I have a wonderful, energetic toddler, so I was indeed a wee bit distracted) and now I need to put some words to the action. I hope to post something erudite from time to time, but for now I'll just admit that I'm not the most tech-advanced chica, although I am married to a software developer, so that should make up for it, yes?

Daily life seems to vacillate from moments where I want to pull my hair out (most recently because my little Picasso has redecorated the ottoman...in crayola) and moments of sheer bliss ("big hug, Mama"). BTW, I'm not as upset as maybe I should (?) be about the ottoman (and other parts of the house) because my inner quirky artsy side loves that he's expressing himself. But I don't want him to redecorate your living room if we visit! Boundaries...I'll work on that after I stop gazing at his exceptional use of color.

So much happens in the course of a day, often in the space of just a few rooms. That leads me to what prompted me to get off my duff about this long-postponed blog: I—have—a—house. A home. A place of shelter and love. Many don't. My mind and heart go straight to Haiti, experiencing the aftermath of "the most destructive natural disaster in modern history" (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gXTdasGtz0gate-5xW-V0Tmc6Ajg) and doing so in the face of the coming rainy season. Remarkably, even as a stay-at-home mama, I can make some bit of difference there. Today.

Last night I entered the brave new world (for me) of Twitter for the same reason. There are a number of NGO's that I feel confident in supporting, some big names, some small. Most recently, aHomeInHaiti.org, and the grass roots movement around it, has captured my time and attention. The plan is three-fold with the end result being safe and sturdy rebuilt communities, but the immediate aim is to send tents, waterproof, to those in Haiti (nearly 1 million) desperately needing them.

The rainy season starts in 11 days. For this reason, if you are reading, you might see 11 more blogs about the same thing. I apologize in advance, but I can't not talk about it. If you can, please send a little more love, preferably a waterproof tent, or donate to www.aHomeinHaiti.org (or to any other NGO's sending waterproof shelter, like The Salvation Army in Canada). You can even donate your time, as it's largely a Twitter, FB & blog movement.

Meanwhile, from the comfort of my home, for which I am so thankful, I promise to throw in some humorous moments...my son is dedicated to the later cause.