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Sunday, July 24, 2011

rain dance

stood outside on the veranda today and watched the skies.

begging for rain.

even did a rain dance- much to the consternation and hilarity of my family.

eventually- slowly- grudgingly-

the sky opened up and the black clouds dumped


on us

we seem to be in a corridor of drought
where the clouds like to skim around
and past
and north and south of us

but today

it rained

and my trees lifted up their hands

and thanked the Lord

and so did i

Sunday, July 17, 2011


it's so hot, and the ground is scorched and hard as concrete. i can't even bear to walk on it in 'bare' feet.

the expected rains have bypassed us.

the blazing sun and wind have baked the land into a pancake of desperate dirt.




only a couple of weeks ago there was a mini-lake in our yard.

now it's a wasteland of cracked earth and weeds where my newly planted trees struggle to survive the furnace of each noon.

i wasted a lot of time experimenting on irrigation.

almost killed one big tree by not realizing it wasn't getting enough water to its roots. i'm not familiar with a tropical water table,'s deeper and lower than i know.


a friend said


as God had ordained it (yes, i do really think so)

the grass in our fields had just been cut hours before i got the message.

i dashed outside in my bare feet and my housedress and began grabbing armfuls of the fragrant mown hay and hauling them over the garden wall. like, it was right next door.

for two hours my helper and i hauled hay and 'mulched' the dying trees and shrubs and plants.

then watered.

for hours.

up again before sunrise to gather more hay, mulch some more, and pour on the water.

almost had a disaster late this afternoon- came home from a long day out and the person instructed to "water" had merely sprinkled a little and left the hay/mulch dry so it was literally blowing in the wind.

but i saved it.

this farming is hard work.

please, God, let it rain.

and please me to remember that my heart must never become as hard as this thirsty parched garden...i need mulch.

what that mulch is, in spiritual form, i'm not too sure.

but whatever it is, i need it.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

time stood still

yesterday a package came in the mail.

a little brown envelope that i have been waiting for my whole life.

inside, a small black book with crumbling covers, and within its pages

an envelope containing a lock of hair from my grandmother who died 3 years before i was born.

the world stopped spinning as i held my breath and carefully, carefully opened the notepaper containing the treasure

and paused

time stood still

i touched the golden strands


amazed at how silky they are,

fine and shiny and oh so few

a piece of me

come down through the years from a loved one i've never met

but who knew me and loved me before i was even conceived

my grandmother's hair


Friday, July 8, 2011

appreciation for the culture...

one of the many things i've learned to appreciate about Filipino culture- and Asian in general- is the way it revolves around children.

coming from the West, i grew up hearing about motherhood as a sort of secondary choice to career. plus, it was the 60's.

which meant independent thinking and congratulations to anyone who veered away from the norm of the nuclear family and a stay-at-home mom.

of course, being a child of the 60's, i opted to deviate from my own deviation and so became a SAHM by choice, for as long as i had children at home.

but i digress from my original point.

Asian culture loves children. there is no higher value than having children. a newly married couple is under immediate pressure to produce a baby- there is nothing more important.

westerners think this is terrible.

i think it's fantastic.

an asian child is a wanted, pampered, loved, held and secure child. (with exceptions, of course, but as a general rule).

in public, you will never see a child being scolded or smacked. you will see tolerance for temper tantrums, and even people surrounding a screaming/freaking out toddler will smile and nod and exchange knowing glances that say "my goodness, what a strong-willed high-spirited child this is! how lucky the parents are! this kid is going to go places!"

different from the west, where looks of scorn and impatience greet any parent dealing with a "high-spirited" child in a public place. more along the lines of "shut that kid up, he's disturbing my personal noise bubble"...

Filipino babies feet almost never touch the floor till they're past a year old. they are held, rocked, bounced, passed from arm to arm, tickled and kissed and snuggled and just plain loved.

western babies are put into carseats for the drive home from the hospital, and often spend many hours of their early days in mechanical devices such as swings, bouncy chairs, etc rather than being held in human arms. i understand that western moms can't carry their babies around all the time- but i grieve for the human contact that these babies miss.

i carried my emma-girlie in a sling on my body much of the time for almost 3 years. i learned from Asian culture that nothing substitutes the warmth of a beating heart to a baby. i appreciate the filipino family system where everyone holds the baby, all the time. it's a beautiful thing.

nothing is perfect, of course, and there are downsides to some of this way of thinking, but for the most part, i prefer the asian way to the western way. babies are important, and they are to be held and loved and tolerated until they get old enough to understand how to behave. with gentle words and gentle handling of situations, particularly in public, they quickly learn that while freaking out may attract some negative attention, it's really not that big of a deal.