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It goes without saying that I am horrible at keeping up with this blog.  Maybe someday.

This is my 3rd year as a teaching assistant at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, an all-boys (yes, that is all-BOYS) school in the area.  One of the things I’ve spent the year doing (though I barely recall volunteering for this endeavor) is writing prayers that are appropriate for boys ages 4-11.  Not only are we talking about all boys, but this is a HUGE age range!  The prayers consist of a short opening/explanation, a scripture reading, and a closing prayer.  Needless to say, these have been challenging at times, because, in all reality, I am writing short, mini-sermons twice a week.  Also, keeping in mind that although this is a Catholic school, some of the boys have never been to church or heard of Jesus, and many practice other faiths, such as Judaism, Islam, and Hindu.  My intention for each prayer is that it is meaningful, understandable, but most of all, that it expresses the love that God has for each of them.

It’s almost Holy Week, and since Christmas I have been using gospel passages which tell the story of Jesus’ life on earth.  Tuesday is the last day we will meet for prayers until after Easter, and I knew that I would need to re-write a version of the Passion.  How do you tell such a story to a five-year-old?  It’s strange and horrible and wonderful all at the same time.  I felt it was more appropriate told in a play form and here’s what I came up with.

Narrator 1:  From the Gospel of Mark.  The religious leaders were not happy with Jesus.

Religious Leader:  Sure, he’s a nice guy and all, but he’s taking all the attention away from us!  He’s making us give up things that we’re used to, and now all the people want to listen to him rather than us.

Narrator 2:  So they came up with a plan.  They were sure that at least one of Jesus’ disciples would be willing to help.  And they were right.  One of them, a man named Judas, wanted to be part of the plan.

Judas:  So all I have to do is make sure Jesus is alone so you can capture him, right?  And what will you give me?

Religious Leader:  How does 30 pieces of silver sound?

Judas:  Perfect.  You have a deal.

Narrator 1:  All they had to do now was wait for the perfect time.  It was Passover, a time where the people of Israel remembered that God has rescued them from Egypt.  The priests and leaders knew that they could not do it until after the meal was over.  So, they waited.

Narrator 2:  Meanwhile, Jesus and his disciples were also getting ready for Passover.  They had found a quiet room to share the meal together, and they sat down to eat.

Jesus:  I’m so happy that we could be together to share this special meal.  I know you might not understand, but I have something important to tell you.  Do you see this bread?  I want to share it with each of you, but in order to do that, I need to break it.  This is what’s going to happen to my body.  It’s going to be broken so that I can share myself with each of you, and so that you can share my love with others.  And see this cup of wine?  When my body is broken, I will bleed, and this wine is like my blood.  Let’s pass this cup around and share this drink, just like I will share myself with you to rescue you.

Narrator 1:  The disciples were confused.  Bread like a body?  Wine like blood?  What was Jesus talking about?  Although they did not understand what he meant, they knew that something was wrong.  One of the disciples, named Peter, did not like the way Jesus was talking.

Peter:  Jesus, I’m not sure what you mean, but I want you to know that I would never, ever let anything bad happen to you.  I will always be by your side.

Jesus:  Peter, I know you love me, but no one will stay with me soon.  Even you will tell people that you don’t even know me.

Narrator 2:  Peter would not believe what Jesus was telling him, but Jesus was right.  In the end, even Peter would run away.

Narrator 1:  After they finished the meal, Jesus asked them to go for a walk.  It was late and the sky was getting dark.  They came to a beautiful garden and Jesus told them that he wanted to be alone for a little while.  He asked the disciples to keep an eye out while he walked on a little further.  Then he began to pray.

Jesus:  Father?  I know what needs to be done, but I’m so sad.  Is there any other way?  But whatever you choose, I am ready.  I love them.

Narrator 2:  When Jesus finished praying he went back and found that the disciples had fallen asleep.  But it was time.  He could see Judas and some other men walking toward them.

Judas:  There he is.  Arrest him!

Narrator 1:  Jesus’ disciples were ready to fight.  Why were they arresting him?  What had he done wrong?

Jesus:  It’s okay, my friends.  This has to be done.

Narrator 2:  And just like he said they would, all the disciples ran away.  They were confused and scared.

Narrator 1:   Jesus was marched around the city, taken to one person after another, each who realized that Jesus had really done nothing wrong.  But the priests and religious leaders were very good at persuading people.

Religious Leader:  He tells people he’s God’s Son, that he’s the king!  This is against the law!

Narrator 2:  After some convincing, the people began to agree with these men.  By the time Jesus was finally taken to Pilate, the governor, they were mad.

Pilate:  What do you want me to do with this man, Jesus?

Crowd:  Kill him!

Pilate:  But he really hasn’t done anything wrong.  Are you sure that’s what you want me to do?

Crowd:  Yes!  Kill him!

Narrator 1:  So Pilate agreed and told his men to take Jesus to a hill where people were put to death for horrible crimes.  He didn’t really think Jesus deserved to die, but this is what the people wanted.

Narrator 2:  When they got to the top of the hill, they put Jesus up on a cross, with his hands nailed out to the sides, and his feet to the post.  The people that walked by spit on him and shouted mean words.

Narrator 1:   It was noon, but suddenly it became dark.  Then Jesus said something surprising.

Jesus:  Father?  These people don’t know what they are doing.  They are so hurt and confused.  Forgive them.  I’m ready.

Narrator 2:  When he said this he took one last breath.  And he was gone.

Narrator 1:  Jesus’ friends came back after he had died.  They did not want to believe that it had really happened.  How could he die?  He was supposed to be the rescuer, the savior.  They could not hold back their tears as they took him down from the cross.  They wrapped him in cloth and placed him in a tomb. A stone that took many men to move was rolled in front.

Prayer:

Let us pray:

Dear Jesus,

You gave us the biggest gift when you gave your life for us.  Because you died we can be free from our sins, all the bad things that stop us from really knowing your love.  You rescued us from a life without that great love.  Thank you for coming to this earth.  Thank you for dying.  But most of all, thank you that the story does not end here.

In hope and faith and in your great name we pray,

Amen.

Here is a list of jobs I would like to hold before I die:

  • Teacher (again)
  • Occupational Therapist
  • School Counselor
  • Counselor with my own private practice
  • Midwife
  • Doula
  • Worship Leader
  • Pastor
  • Professional Blogger
  • Baby gear tester (that’s a thing, right?)
  • Carpenter
  • Something with theatre
  • And more things I can’t think of right now
Yep, I need a lot more years to get all this stuff done.

Yes, it has been over a year since I last posted anything.  And yes, MUCH has changed in that period of time.  Aidyn is no longer a baby, he is a toddler.  He no longer has feeding issues, though the allergies have yet to make their departure.  David is now ABD (Yay!!) and can possibly start to job hunt for as early as next fall.  And me?  I finished my second year at Princeton Academy as a teaching assistant in 2nd grade, and will return for a 3rd year, which is the longest I have been at any one job since I graduated college.  It doesn’t sound like much, but for me, it is quite a feat.  Strangely, I hate change in many ways, but at the same time, I think I hate even more when things stay exactly the same.  This is certainly part of what has contributed to the multiple job changes in only 6 years (and what causes me to continue to browse the job listings on craigslist from time to time…just in case!), but it is also what is spurring me on to my next endeavor – starting my own business!  Sort of.

You’re most likely reading this because you clicked on the link in Facebook, and if you cared enough to do so, you’ve probably seen the pictures I’ve recently posted of the picture frames that I started making a few weeks ago.  I don’t consider myself a crafty person, in fact, I’m a pretty by-the-book kind of person.  But something about making these frames is striking the perfect chord between creativity and technicality, allowing me to find great pleasure in the process.

Now, here is where I need your help.  I’m going to be setting up an Etsy shop for my frames in the near future (don’t know what Etsy is?  Now is your chance to check it out – www.etsy.com), but in order to do this, I need a name for my little business.  From today until Friday, July 8, you may post your ideas for a name for my Etsy shop in the comment section of this post.  Post as many times as you like!  The more, the better.  After Friday I will go through all the suggestions, and whichever one I use (or base my final decision on), that person will win a free frame with the color scheme and personalization (i.e., a name, quote, date) of their choice!

Just in case that was unclear, here is it again –

1. Enter your idea(s) for what you think I should name my Etsy shop/business into the comment section of this post.  You may enter as many as you like.

2. Get your entries in by Friday, July 8, 11:59PM EST.

3. The person whose name I pick or base my selection up will win a free frame!

All right creative minds – GO!

Oh, just in case you haven’t seen the pictures, here are some samples –

It’s been a LONG time since I posted.  What was supposed to be a week or two hiatus turned into several months as we have had our hands quite full with a now, full-fledged toddler who has multiple allergies and is a picky eater.  Let me try and start from the beginning –

Ever since his first birthday (literally), poor Aidyn had been having all sorts of issues with eating and vomiting, etc.  We first figured out that he has some sort of late onset reflux and after we medicated him for that, he’s been MUCH better.  Then it was on to the eating issue.  He was 13 months and still not eating any sort of solid foods other than pureed baby food.  He wouldn’t touch the stuff.  He was scheduled to have a feeding evaluation done at the beginning of April, but thankfully there was a cancellation and we got him in almost a month earlier (and during my spring break!).  He took about two bites of food and they told us he had oral dysphagia – the muscles in his mouth were underdeveloped and he didn’t know how to chew/swallow properly.  Overall, I was just glad there was an actual problem that we could address.  They suggested we see a speech therapist for feeding therapy.  It took us over a month to get in.

Amazingly, in that short amount of time, Aidyn began to eat things with more texture on his own.  By more texture I mean there were tiny granules in his food versus a completely smooth puree.  It was a huge step when he took tiny pieces of bread (which he will no longer eat today) and fed them to himself.  There was some hope after all.

After we finally got him in to see the SLP (speech language pathologist), he began to make many more advancements in his feeding abilities.  He’s already done with therapy, and if you didn’t know it, you would think this kid has always been capable of eating solid foods.  Truly a miracle.

On the other hand, there are the food allergies.  In the midst of all this therapy, we’ve also been taking Aidyn in for allergy testing.  The poor little guy has had forty pokes on his back at a time for us to find out that he is allergic to a whole slew of things, including: eggs, milk, dairy, beef, pork, lamb, celery, lemon, banana, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peas, and…actually, that’s it.  But, seriously – lemon? banana?  We had some blood work done today that will hopefully give us some different answers.

Now, having a child with feeding issues would be fine, having a child with multiple food allergies might be fine, too, but put them together, and you get one heck of a challenge.  Somedays I literally do not know what to feed this child.  He is so picky, but the problem is, he only has so many choices (I might be picky, too if I could only have the things he has).  It is a daily struggle to feed him – and he has to eat.  He is only at the 5th percentile for weight according to the growth charts.  This kid needs food.

It is really a test of my patience and faith to get through each meal with this child.  I constantly have to remind myself that I’m doing everything I can do for him, but it often doesn’t seem like enough.  A lot of people have told me to just relax.  Much, much, much easier said than done.  My brain is keeping a log of all the things that Aidyn has put in his mouth AND swallowed for the current day, and my anxiety rises as we get closer to the end of dinner and that list of foods is not what it should be.

Don’t you ever wonder why you are stuck with the problems that you’ve got?  I think I ask that question everyday.  And then I remember that no matter what happens, I’m Aidyn’s mom now, and he’s my son.  I would do anything for him.  I never thought it would be an easy job, and maybe I hoped it wouldn’t be this difficult, but I’m along for the ride now and there’s no turning back.

We had the pleasure of having some friends over for dinner this evening (a rare mid-week treat!).  She is literally days from delivering her first child and of course, we talked some baby.  I was remembering those first few months of Aidyn’s life and the fog that seemed to surround me during that time.  Every new mom finds that sleep deprivation is unavoidable during those first few months.  Sleep when the baby sleeps, they tell you.  Well, that would work quite well – if my baby slept.

It’s almost as though Aidyn did not sleep his first two months of life.  He would not sleep on his own during the day for more than 20 minutes at a time.  I was at my wit’s end!  I needed to get things done around the house and he would not let us put him down.  Then I found my solution – the Moby Wrap!

The Moby is an 18 foot long piece of continuous fabric that is wrapped around the wearer to create a pouch for your baby.  It is made of 100% cotton, making it very breathable and stretchable (but not too stretchy!).  It is made to accommodate moms and dads of all sizes.  At first is looks quite daunting, but after one or two times, you get the idea of how to wrap it around yourself.  Is it perfect for a newborn, giving mom and baby lots of close contact, helping them to bond.  The baby is wrapped in such a way that the head is supported and mom can be completely hands-free!

What I love about the Moby is the versatility.  It can be used for a newborn or a toddler.  You can wear baby facing in, out, on front or back (for an older baby).  And it can be adjusted to fit you and your child exactly.  It is cool in the summer as the fabric breathes quite well, and warm enough in the winter as it can be wrapped around the baby’s legs as well.  It’s also great for running errands, as you can wrap it before you leave the house and keep it on while in the car (without baby, of course!), making for a fast and easy way to bring baby into stores with you.

Our Moby was literally a life-saver.  I could get things done and Aidyn could get some good, continuous sleep.  At $39.95 it is a steal!  It is machine washable and comes in a variety of colors.  If you’re into something fancier than a solid color, it also comes in some great prints and even UV protected materials (for a bit more $).  Check it out at www.mobywrap.com.  Aidyn loves his Moby!

Poor Aidyn can’t seem to catch a break.  The month of February was awful for him, health-wise.  It all started on his birthday, the 2nd, when he caught a stomach bug (that I most likely brought home from school).  He was sick for a week with that awful virus and lost weight because of it.  He had a runny nose all month.  He was teething.  Then we tried to introduce him to whole milk and he threw it up.  We tried lactose free milk and he vomited that, too.  Finally, I thought he had caught a cold and figured, after all this, no big deal.  Wrong.  He threw up five times in one day because he had such a bad cough.  The next day he couldn’t breathe well and we took a trip to the pediatricians on a Saturday to find out he needed some albuterol treatments with a nebulizer.  I’m really hoping March has something better in store.

It really has been a case of, just when you think nothing else strange could happen, it does.  I’m learning to expect the unexpected.  This is not an easy lesson to learn, not for me.

I wouldn’t call myself the most organized person, but I’ve always been a planner as far as events and schedules go.  I’ve never done well with spontaneity.  This is not to say that I don’t enjoy a random visit with friends or surprise excursion to the park, but all in all, I need a plan.  I can remember being so disappointed when plans with a friend didn’t work out the way I had planned.  You can ask David.  Even when he couldn’t call me at the time he said he was going to I was crushed.  My expectations were so great and I put all my faith into “the plan.”  It was literally like someone punched me in the stomach every time my expectations were not fulfilled.

It’s definitely a little better now.  Aidyn forces me to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around my master plan.  In fact, my plan really means nothing.  Certainly, it is wise to have structure in my life, but my happiness can’t depend on whether or not it all works out the way I envisioned.  I never know what will happen with Aidyn.  Each day is a new adventure, sometimes exciting and other days it seems barely survivable.  But we make it through each day, always better the next because of it.  It is a lesson that has been decades in the making.  It is a lesson in love.