Archives for posts with tag: family

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Ah, she’s awake and smiling. I plant a kiss on the top of her head.
 Giggles. More smiles. She coos and “converses” with me.

I watch her play. “Plop!” She looks over the bassinet and on the floor.

“Uh-oh”. I pick up her bottle. She’s still learning to hold it on her own.

More conversation. Squeals. “Singing”. Lovely.

Earlier, we were going through the process of clearing her nasal congestion…

With warm running in the sink, I let her play, watching her fascination as she tries to catch the water flowing through her long fingers.

I take the top off the nasal spray (natural product, of course). I show it to her; then I spray it towards the mirror so she can see it. She smiles. Reaches for it. I hold her as she holds the bottle. Let her “spray” it. Gently, I place the nozzle in each nostril. 1-2-3 squirts each one. She blinks with each one. Water runs continuously during this time, her reward-playing with it after I’m finished. We repeat this again with the bulb syringe. Touch. Feel. Hold. Squeeze. I fill the syringe with water, hold it up, let her watch the water flow out and down the sink. I hold her hand, she holds the syringe, she watches in the mirror as she places it near her nose. She squeezes, her eyes blinking, inhaling, as the air blows out. She smiles and coos. She watches me in the mirror as I clear her passages. Again, she enjoys her reward. We finish with a warm compress to her face, say “Bye-Bye” to her dirty tissues vanishing into the toilet, and clean the nozzle and syringe. She watches. I let her hold, spray, squeeze, before everything is put away.

She plays for awhile, then it’s back to sleep. Her sleep is quiet, and her breathing is easy.

 

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I love winter.

The cold wakes you up, or makes you wrap up under the sheets, blankets, comforters-pajamas?

Snow. The laughter of children enjoy this special treat when it hangs around for awhile.

The beauty of the naked trees, sometimes encased like glass under the ice. Odd, peculiar shapes hidden by leaves now show.

Bundle up: thermal underwear under layers of clothes, hats, mittens, socks and stockings, boots, scarves, and more.

Hot Tea with lemon, several cups warm you up. Soothe. Calm. Necessary to do this time of the year, but it is Pure Pleasure.

Warmth from the fireplace, listen to the sounds of the wood burning in the flames. Watch the embers glow as it finally goes out.

 

Hearty meals of stews, chunky vegetable soups, thick pieces of bread, mouth watering smells of pumpkin and sweet potato pies.

Time with family in close quarters. Read. Play games. Watch TV. Laugh. Catch up. Enjoy each other.

…and the wind blows, as the quiet of night falls.

 

 

 

Looking through old boxes while moving, I found a paper I did for my psychology class. I chose research the faith community’s response to family violence. My professor encouraged me to approach this topic from a different angle, and I included interviews with two ministers, and an imam. The imam interaction was a brief contact, one time only; I completed my interview with a young woman, one of their teachers. Because we had a short time to complete our papers, I could not include rabbis, as the appointments were outside the deadline.

I saved my interviews with women survivors, who were actively involved in their churches, for last.

This assignment garnered me an A+, but the knowledge and understanding of the faith communities’ sense of duty to the call of ministering to hurting congregants meant more to me than a grade.

The interviews were eye-openers. The young woman I talked with at the mosque was very knowledgeable, breaking down the similarities/differences in southern/northern cultures’ view of women and their status in their respective regions. She was from the northern middle east region, where women are allowed to receive an education, drive a car, pursue careers, own property, own and operate businesses-pretty much different from the media portrayal I’d experienced ( I didn’t ask her where she was from, since my paper’s focus on this issue was general). Women living in the southern region were not so fortunate. It surprised me to learn that the wives walked two steps behind their husbands. I appreciated all she had to say, but I left with the impression that not too much is done, other than the women are given assistance. I received this interview after attending their worship service; I saw the imam after this interview. He just wanted to know if I was satisfied with what I learned.

The interview that impressed me, to this day, was with the minister who personally involved himself in assisting one of his congregants to safety-to another state; and helping another woman to move forward after counseling with the husband proved futile. He was Mexican, and I learned his perspective on the cultural views of women in his country, north and south regions. The surprise here was the similarity to the young woman’s interview. The story was the same.

My interview with the last minister, an African-American, was similar to the other minister. He was involved on a community level, working with social agencies, and preferred to maintain a distance from the families he serviced. His experiences led him to not become personally involved. So my question to the minister who involved himself on a personal level: Why?

He understood his ministry goes beyond praying with and for his congregants. He understood the practical religion of Jesus Christ. Both families are still active in their respective congregations. He maintains contact with them, even though he no longer pastors them.

Pastor….key word.

My interviews with the women who left their abusive relationships was interesting. I say interesting because these women were very active, holding leadership positions, on the surface looking like “I’m a survivor”-but still attached to their abusive ex-spouses- emotionally and mentally. One woman, married twice, was battered in both marriages. The pain, the emotions were still very raw. One couldn’t talk anymore after opening up. I respect that, I feel for them, having been there myself.

They didn’t say too much about their churches’ responses to their situations, and whether their pastors kept in touch with them.

My mentor, a social worker, offered much support to me and my family, along with the pastor and his wife whose leadership my family was under at that time. I know these individuals were the reason I was able to move on, forgive my ex, and live freely.

That was five years ago when I did that assignment. I was researching this morning, and want to explore it again, this time along with spiritual abuse.

 

 

 

 

 

I was looking through the Bible for stories addressing women’s issues, specifically, positive and negative examples of our relationships. I want to do series of short plays, or a reader’s theatre, and present the stories in a relevant, yet respectful manner. I found plenty of examples, and noted the ones that fit what I want to do. One such account, the love story of Jacob and Rachel, caught my attention, because of the dialogue between Rachel, and her sister, Leah.

Even though I’ve read the story many times about the rivalry between the two, I never realized just how hilarious their behavior was until I started researching material for this project. Here’s a little background.

During that time, where they lived, polygamy was a common cultural practice. Jacob had nothing to “bring to the table”, so to speak, to ask Laban for Rachel’s hand in marriage, so he worked for Laban seven years (how’s that for proving your love?).  He finished his time-but Laban changed his mind. He gave Jacob his daughter Leah instead, because the practice in their country was to give away in marriage the older daughter before the younger daughter. But Laban told him he could have Rachel-if he worked for him another seven years. Jacob did just that!

During this time, Jacob had sons by Leah; sadly, Rachel his true love, could not have any children.

This is where the funny part begins for me, and the dialogue I will use to build a great story to show just how far sibling rivalry can go.

Jacob’s fourteen years of labor netted him two wives, sons, many cattle-actually, all that Laban had-now belonged to Jacob. Obviously, this changed Laban’s feelings toward Jacob, so he told Jacob to leave with his wives, children, animals, and all for which he’d worked. Beautiful irony!

Now here’s how the sisters’ rivalry goes:

Leah gives Jacob a first-born son (Reuben). She births another son (Simeon). Conceives yet a third son (Levi); and a fourth son is born (Judah).

Rachel has no children. She becomes jealous of Leah. She tells Jacob to give her children or she’ll die.

Jacob gets angry with Rachel; after all, he’s not a breeder.

Rachel offers Jacob her handmaid Bilhah as a surrogate to give her a child. Bilhah bares not one, but two sons (Dan & Naphtali).

Leah sees she’s not getting pregnant, so she gives Jacob her handmaid Zilpah to have a child. Zilpah births a son (Gad). And another son (Asher).

Leah’s son Reuben brings mandrakes to her from the wheat harvest. Rachel wants them. Leah tells her you took away my husband, and now you want to take my son’s mandrakes? Soooo…Rachel tells Leah Jacob can sleep with her tonight for Reuben’s mandrakes. Jacob obliged after Leah explains the deal Rachel made with her (He’d just come from working in the field that evening, poor fellow).

Leah gives Jacob sons five & six (Issachar & Zebulon). Then she births Dinah, a girl. She’s finished childbearing.

Now Rachel gives birth to Joseph. Rachel finishes childbearing.

It appears that the rivalry between the two sisters has finished, as no further references are mentioned. This account is found is Genesis 29 & 30.

Again, my purpose for producing these series is to show the different relationships that we, as women, have with one another, both good and bad, with their natural consequences. The goal is to recognize that we must, as sisters, mothers, daughters, etc., make a conscious decision to act on the principle to love and care for each other, so that envies, jealousies, and rivalries find no home in our hearts, our lives, and our children’s lives.

So, what modern versions can be done with this story? I’m open to suggestions, and I appreciate your input, insights, discoveries, etc.