Monday, December 31, 2007

What happened to my last vacation days?

The bee is stuck in David's bonnet. He really wants to make Sarah a new bedroom in part of the big front room that also houses my office and a living room. So, I'm in the massive re-arrange at the moment. Our hope is to finish before Joanna comes from the Dominican Republic in February so she can have a room to herself. We have a lot of company, which is great, but it means that Sarah is often displaced.

Her new room will be narrow, but because the ceiling is high, she will have a loft for sleeping. I think it is going to be neat, after I get over the aching muscles from moving everything.

So, that is why there are no Christmas photos up yet. But, they are coming . . . .

Monday, December 24, 2007


This result begins as follows:

she really does not like having her hair washed

drying is okay, as long as she is in charge. I think she looks like a print model in this hair drying shot.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Alden is NINE!

Can you imagine celebrating your birthday, at age 9, for the FIRST time in your life?! I'm sure you can imagine it was fun.

Zion had a bit of a hard time giving up HER birthday celebration of two days ago. She really wanted her birthday to continue.

Alden was happy to open presents from family, then share a few hours in the afternoon with two friends, one from his class at school and another friend who is home schooled. They jumped on the trampoline, played in his room and then Alden blew out candles (for the first time) on his Chocolate Torte Royale, which is a Mehltretter family tradition for birthdays.

Here's the recipe if you want to try it: recipe

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Annual ACS poker tourney

Yesterday was the annual ACS Christmas poker game. David won. He gave his winnings to Dido, runner up (far left of photo). Dido has not played much, but basically scared everyone else out of the game by raising EVERY hand. David came home for twenty minutes, then left for poker game number 2, which he also won. I emptied his wallet while he was sleeping and spent those winnings today at the grocery store, which I thought worked out well.

Zion is FOUR!

and, boy, is she happy about it!

To do, or not to do

In keeping with my recent meditation on un-complicating my life in order to live it, I’ve been listening to some of Doug’s sermons on line.

I am a big proponent of the “to do” list. Up until a recent paper purge, I had to do lists dating back to sixth grade. Scores of hand drawn check boxes next to a myriad of essential tasks. I considered making an art project out of them, but I didn’t want to add it to the current list. I’ve actually missed them since throwing them out, which I find symptomatic of an un-yet-realized something, perhaps something serious.

Doug says: “We need to step away from the supposition that ultimacy is found in our “to do” list – of getting stuff done so now we can move on to real life.” He encourages his listeners to live in the now and “tap into God, pursuing the eternal, awakening ourselves to the always-ness of eternal time.”

I experience now-ness when I shoot, especially in documentary situations. Time slips, my fractured awareness unifies and hones in on what is present. It is energizing. Doug talks about times like these and how though they may be an aberration to us, but truly they are what God calls us to.

“The fulfilling parts of life, like deep community, and energy exploding spirituality, the deeply fulfilling experience of divine love and the deep fulfillment of love among spiritual friends gets missed because our lives are just too complicated.”

I think I will listen to this again. Maybe my goal this year will be to disengage from my to do list. I’m having with drawls just considering it.

Doug’s series “Awakened to the Dance” may be found here
Quotes taken from sermon: Awakened to the Dance: Uncomplicating Our Lives (part 3)

Friday, December 21, 2007

accomplish it?

Daily I ask myself, "why can't I seem to accomplish more?" to impact the world, to get rid of stuff, to forward projects, to write a book, to do things with my kids . . .

My dad is going through some coaching right now and addressing some issues, not surprisingly, similar to my own. He sent me this (3rd graph REALLY resonated):


I find myself
In a difficult place
The pressures of life
Not keeping place

With all I know
Of the nature of man
My own life seems
Out of hand

How do I order
The things that I know
To reframe the world
To get up and go

Some is with skills
Faster and better
Learn how to do it
Get good at the letter

Some is by seeing
And changing the rules
What governs my life
At times I can choose

Some is with being
The who that I am
Transforming my role
In this scheme that’s so grand

These three talk of me
And my role
And my place
Where do I fit
What do I embrace

But the who that I am
Is related to you
The system I’m in
Bumps your system too

I suspect that these loops
Go on for ever
Well beyond
My mental endeavors

But change we will
As time goes on
To find a place
Serene and calm

To find that place
Where each one fits
A perfect match
For all our gifts…

©12/20/07, Glenn Mehltretter
You can read more of my dad's poems on his personal blog. Or, check out his work in human capacity at peoplefit. They are in the process of updating the look of the site, so try back if you don't get in.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

touch my heart

I finally took a few days and gathered all the information I'd found on the birth families of my friend's children when I was in Ethiopia. I mailed out dvds of interviews and cds of photos. Well, they arrived and I'm getting some wonderful emails. I find that parents, myself included, are so happy to hear about their adopted children's lives prior to coming to the States. I look forward to the time when all adoption agencies in Ethiopia understand this desire and pay someone in Ethiopia to compile background information for families.

It costs about $500 a month, plus transportation, to hire a local person to research and create videos. For me, it took a few days to find leads on the children and make initial contacts. Then, a full day to travel and meet families that lived in outlying areas. Another day to edit the footage and send it out. So, a full time person with contact information supplied when I child was found could probably research a minimum of ten children a month, and edit a video for each of them. Say there is $50 in transportation costs, averaged for each person. Total: $100 spent before the trails run cold and it is harder to find families. I do not know one adoptive parent unwilling to pay an additional $100 for this treasure.

This note was emailed to me this morning from a girl who was adopted when my son came home from China. I took photos of her to her aunt (see above) while I was in Ethiopia. This precious note made my Christmas:

Dear Miss Heidi,

Thank you so much I love you. I felt happy to see my auntie in the pictures.
Thank you for taking the time to go see her. I love these pictures, I
appreciate them so much.

Have a Merry Christmas,


An article about ACS

EAW, manufacturer of high end sound gear, wrote this article highlighting David's company's work on the Obama/Oprah rally. Nice publicity for us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shooting the president

Thanks to my friend Lee Ann Kornegay, last night I got paid to shoot the president. Not too shabby since a ticket into the room required a $5000 donation.

President Clinton spoke for over 40 minutes at a dinner honoring former Secretary of Education Dick Riley. I truly enjoyed his talk, which I mistakenly thought would be full of political platitudes and low in meaningful content. But, he spoke in depth about key issues I ponder often: global warming, illegal immigration and, of course, the educational system in the USA.

more thoughts to come . . .

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sarah's gift

Sarah decided to give the gift of her beautiful hair - or at least a large portion of it - to charity this year. Grandma helped while David winced.

I'm thinking about encouraging Zion to donate her hair so we can end the 4 hour Sunday scream-fest where we wash, part and braid it.

First Christmas

I guess I never thought I'd have an 8 year old kid who had never celebrated Christmas. It has some really fun moments, actually.
Watching him set up the nativity, having never seen one before was one of them. First, the animals and people were in battle formation, then, after some prompting, they were crowding in staring at Jesus, much like people do to white Americans asking directions in Ethiopia. In the end, they stood in a straight line across the front of the table, flanking Jesus, his manger leaned up against Mary so he can see our front door.

David's hobby

David has spent most of his nights this past week at church. I knew it was coming when he came home from the Adult Christmas Musical last year and said, "it was really well done, if only they had the lighting they deserved . . . "

So, I wasn't surprised when he volunteered as the lighting designer this year and filled a truck full of gear to take to the church. After some animated discussions on the virtue of haze in the sanctuary, and a number of frustrating hours trying to get a mylar curtain to drop and then fly again without getting tangled, the end result of everyone's labor was fantastic. Each song had it's own unique feel and I felt the evening was an inspiring success.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


So, David has not been home much. He's been doing Christmas shows and political rallies. The biggest was sound, lights and staging for the Obama/Oprah thing this past weekend. I went by in my pj's the night before the event because David accidently left with the truck keys and was too tired to go back. The set up looked impressive. I didn't venture into the traffic the following day, but did get to see it on line. Oprah's speech inspired me, regardless of my political leanings (or lack thereof). I didn't catch much of Obama's talk because I had to go get kids.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Unwrapping Homeschool

I finally made the committment to homeschool my son, starting in January. A big box of history and reading material arrived today and Zion jumped right in. Lying in the packing paper was by far her most relaxed moment of the day.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

World AIDS day

Please visit my friend Lisa's blog for a wonderful thought for World AIDS day. I too have been to this orphanage she mentions and loved reading her thoughts on it.