Wednesday, July 29, 2009

100 things #40 I never heard of a blessingsway until I decided to give one ...

for my daughter this past weekend.

The months of anticipation when you are waiting for the arrival of your first grandchild is an exciting time for most women, I know it has been for me. I was reading about what a scary time it can also be as we watch our daughters become subjected to the ways and fears of modern day science. They are tested and probed and encouraged to research and prepare for something to go wrong. so ...

I gathered some of the women in Mandy's life together at 10 am, the morning of her shower to draw upon some of the rich traditions of other cultures that tend to focus more than ours does on offering comfort, confidence, strength, courage, knowledge and a sense of community to a new mother in their immediate circle.

We sang several American Indian songs to Mandy and with her ...

Many Indian tribes drum and sing to celebrate during a significant rite of passage.

Karen, Becky and I already knew several songs that were appropriate to welcome a new mother

the two of them practiced and practiced for a couple of weeks until they were able to lead them in front of our group.

We told stories ... in almost every culture storytelling is a way of sharing wisdom. We each told stories of parenting, birthing, bonding and stories of motherly love and strength ... in hopes of helping Mandy focus on some of her fears, hopes, dreams, worry, and expectation of bringing a baby into the world.

We laughed until we cried

We pampered to offer comfort to the new mother, we soaked her feet in rosewater ...

I brushed her hair the way I did when she was a little girl

then placed a beautiful headpiece of pink roses on her head ... Thank you for the roses Larry

We asked Mandy to take a deep breath to release some of the tension from all the worst case scenario training she has been focusing on and invited her to listen to her own heart, to her own intuitive wisdom as well as the collective wisdom of the women who have come before her.

I shared a traditional african prayer ... Let us take care if our children for they have a long way to go ... Let us take care of our elders for they have come a long way ... Let us take care of those of us inbetween for we do the work ... Welcome to the inbetween Mandy.

In many Eastern cultures it is tradition to paint henna on the belly to protect and bless the new mother during her delivery ... we intended to paint henna on Mandy's belly until Karen read the directions of the belly henna kit I bought and sent me this e -mail ... Did you read all of the instructions? You have to mix some, wait 12 hours, add something else to the mix and wait another 12 hours. Then wait some more. Then you need to mix sugar and lemon juice to cover it and seal it while you are waiting for it to dry. After the seal is applied, you need to cover the application with gauze and saran wrap for about 4 to 5 hours until the color sets. Then you have to put the oil on it and rub the Henna off. Then she is not to get it wet for 24 hours. Do you really want to do this?

Obviously the morning of her baby shower is was not the right time to henna her belly so we didn't.

We waited until the party at night to do the blessing beads ... each person at her shower choose a special bead and gave Mandy a wish for the Baby as they strung their bead on the necklace. Mandy love, love, love, love loves that necklace and knows exactly who gave her which bead and exactly what they said as they gave it to her.

And as tradition in every culture there was food ...

I didn't know what a blessingsway was a few weeks ago but I was sure able to pull one off in style with the help of my family and friends.

Then came the party ...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

100 things #39 I've got sharks, coconuts and joy on my mind today ...

Yesterday, I was reading an entry in Vagabond Journeys titled, Quanitity Quest and was delighted by the closing expression and goodwill gesture" May joy fall on your head" I returned the gesture in his comment threads by saying " May joy fall on your head as well my friend" that thought followed me around all day and I couldn't help thinking that maybe I should have added " but not with the same velocity as a falling coconut".

I've had more than one conversation this week about falling coconuts, both were brought on by shark talk. A few weeks ago I saw a spinner shark leap from the ocean just a few feet from the shore, and then there was last weekends manatee encounter and the lady afraid to use the "S" word ... Some how the thoughts of these things has encouraged people to quote " More people are killed each year from falling coconuts than by shark bite"

Doubting wheather or not this was true, I went home and googled it. Click image below to see what I found -->

by the way, I borrowed the graphic above from the Straight Dope site I've linked to. Any thoughts of your own about sharks, coconuts or joy?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

100 things #38 It has only happened to me 4 times in a lifetime ...

The conditions have to be perfect ... and the warm shallow water on Deerfield beach this 4th of July was just right.

These photos of another family staying at our hotel, playing on a giant surf board/small sailing device shows just how shallow the water was that day.

David and I were floating on our floats and a woman shouts out to me "what is that behind you? a giant stingray?" I turned around to look and it was giant all right, but it was not a stingray. It was only a few feet away from me and while everyone else started heading back towards shore, I headed straight to it in hopes finally getting to touch one in the wild. It was a manatee ... not a very old one but still quite large.

They typically hang out in brackish water canals here, but when the water becomes warm enough they occasionally head for the sea. This is only the the forth time in a lifetime that I've seen one in the wild, I was close enough to count his whiskers and do wish I could have photographed it.

Later that evening I spoke to the lady that shouted out the warning, she said she wanted to ask if it was a shark but choose not to use the "S" word.

Although David did not necessairly share my excitement and desire to get as close to the big guy as I could, he did see him and he also saw the mother and calf from Hillsboro pier with me a month or two ago. I'm lucky to have such a close friend to share so many of life's amazing moments with.

100 things #37 Giving comes easy for me ...

but it's the art of gracious receiving that is still sometimes a challenge. Last night I celebrated my birthday with my family... Mom and Dad, Theresa and Chris and Brittney and Eddy. I am very fortunate to have such a close knit family and even though our schedules are beyond hectic we still squeeze in time to celebrate each other when it's time. I really, really love my family.

Back to gracious receiving ... the gifts I got last night are not gifts you pick up at the mall and wrap in perfect paper, they were thought filled and fun really, really fun. I want to make sure the givers of these gifts know how excited I am to have received them.

This is my sister ...

This is Larry, an artist that works for my sister at Party Perfect.

This is a painting that my sister had Larry paint for me for my birthday. Several years ago I gave my sister a birthday card with a similar face on it. She loved the sister card then and has loved it since, it's framed and near her desk at work.

I love, love, love, love, love the painting ... and once it's framed, I have the perfect place to hang it.

This is my niece Brittney ...

This is the box filled with blinking rings, a boa, glowing bracelets and necklaces a carnation wrist corsage, some lucky dice and a $20 bill for our trip to the casino after dinner. A winners costume if ever there were one.

We didn't stay long but we did enjoy ourselves for a little while, I won a few bucks and could have been gracious enough to share the wealth so all of us could have enjoyed ourselves a little while longer while giving it all back to the casino ... I opted not to do that. I've got a baby shower for my daughter coming up in a few weeks so having a couple of extra bucks wont hurt.
I want to thank my Mom and Dad for being the backbone of our family and always supplying the glue that holds us together, for buying dinner last night and the shopping $$$.
I should not leave Chris and Eddy out, Chris did take my sister off my Mom and Dad's hands 24 years ago and has taken good care of her ever since. Thank you for that Chris. Their anniversary is on my birthday so we celebrate together every year.
Eddy is Brittney's boyfriend, I love watching the two of them together. Eddy was the boy next door when Brittney was a kid, who would have thought that he would become so important to our family once he grew up? Thank you Eddy for being such a good friend to Brittney.
It's been a Happy, Happy Birthday for me so far, A weekend with David in Deerfield, a birthday celebration luncheon yesterday at work and tonight I get to celebrate with some of my closest girlfriends. I feel blessed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

100 things # 36 The 4th of July weekend is my birthday weekend.

Imagine a "Birthday Bash" each year, complete with parades, marching bands, spectacular firework displays, live entertainment all across town, neighborhood block parties, family vacations and "bonus" everyone gets time off work to celebrate with you!!! Pretty good, right?

My birthday is on July 6th but I have always celebrated it on July 4th for obvious reasons, this year was no exception. I ended up with both Friday and Saturday off (a two day weekend seldom happens for me) David and I took a mini vacation right in our own back yard.

Hillsboro Beach is the beach that I grew up on and is just a few miles from my house. David and I got a room there on Friday at the Seaboney Resort on the beach, this is very close to the pier where some of the best fireworks in town are displayed every year.
We opted for late check out on Saturday so we didn't have to pack up until 6:00 pm, I had to be back to work first thing Sunday morning or we would have stayed another night.
The weather was perfect, the water was warm, we soaked up the sun while floating on net rafts in the smooth as glass ocean (very rare on our beach).
We chit chatted about everything immaginable and only enterupted our sun worshiping when we needed something cold to drink or it was time to eat.
We had dinner at the Whales Rib on Friday night, I've been going to the Whales Rib for beach food since I was a kid. We had birthday cake at the Cheesecake Facrtory when we were strolling along Los Olas later that night.

The best part of the weekend happened after we checked out of the hotel at 6pm on Saturday and went back down to the beach to wait for the fireworked to begin. I've been taking not so great fireworks photos for years now, as you can see this years photos were also not so great but something makes me keep on trying. Hope everyone enjoyed your 4th of July weekend as much as I did mine.