Wednesday, August 27, 2008

God in the Evolutionary Process

I recently read an article in the NYTimes about the delicate balance that one teacher is striking with his Christian students to teach them the science of evolution. This has been such a contentious issue for so many years, so why does it seem so simple to me as a Christian? Why can't my God, who is the most powerful and imaginative being to exist, be the author of the evolutionary process?

I am so reticent to speak aloud about matters of faith and science because I feel so inept in both areas. (Maybe attending church alongside rocket scientists and Old Testament scholars has shown me how much I don't know!) But this is my space to write, and so I will try to make my thoughts as coherent as possible, even if I have reams more to read on both subjects. I know (and hope) that my understanding will deepen with age and experience. Here I am at this point in time, however simplistic.

I have come to understand the bible, more to the point, the Christian Old Testament, in such a different way than I had grasped it growing up. And it makes so much more sense to me, especially Genesis, to understand it as a work of literature. I certainly believe that God is powerful enough to create the world and everything in it within 10,080 minutes. (That counts Him resting.) But to me, it makes more sense that the opening chapters of our Bible tell a story figuratively, and that God created a much more interesting and orderly world over a much longer stretch of time. To me, it makes God appear even bigger and more creative in the way He introduced mammals, etc. (us included) into this universe. He set the laws of nature for some good reason, I think.

But that's not the point for me. The point is, while it is imperative that we do our best to think critically and draw the most logical conclusions, it shouldn't matter to our faith the exact manner in which God created us. God created us. And however He did it, whether He set his stopwatch or took His time, it's an amazing work. Whether his way to create us was to evolve us into the latest model, or to set us down as the prototype, we are here now as we are and we're here to serve and worship him. Regardless of how we got here. Either way is a miracle. And frankly, I believe there is so much that God doesn't tell us so how can any of us presume we know the definitive answer? I think that the more scientific discoveries are made, the more God reveals to us how amazing His creation really is. And how vast His resources are as Creator. Observing the evolutionary process doesn't negate our value as humans. It further unveils an imaginative and brilliant Creator.

Come Visit Me in Chicago!

Or if that's too far, just stay at your computer and click on the Chicago Mom's Blog, where I have just added my voice to a wide variety of other mothers from Chicago, writing about their parenting adventures and mishaps in the Second City. (My children may despise me for this when they are older!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In Anticipation of our Roadtrip this Weekend

Road trip, seatbelts click, across the hip, in case we flip.
Settle back, make a pact, for God to get us there and back.

Listening, Nourit will sing, to herself, it's a precious thing.
Start to breathe, behind I leave, a load of responsibilities.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Some Highs and Lows of Last Week

Another quiet summer week with friends and at the playground last week. Low - Thursday the girls turned into drippy, snotty, disgusting messes, so we played alone. High - Friday, however, we kept our swim date with the twins Stella and Hayley, and what a fun morning we had! Since having Avi, I haven't had enough arms (I'd need at least 2 more, maybe 4) to take both girls swimming, so unfortunately Nourit has only been swimming once this year. She borrowed a swim vest from the twins' and by the end of the morning, was paddling around the deep-end all by herself, arms full of pool toys (including a couple dinosaurs, I think.) It was perfect, so I'm going to order one (along with a couple thermal swim suits) so I can take both girls to the (freezing-cold) gym pool, and teach Nourit to swim this year. Thanks, Christine!

High- Saturday we helped clean the parsonage to get it ready for our new (but old) Pastor Joe and Pastor Joe's wife, Dr. Sherwin. I'm looking forward to what God has planned for our small congregation this year.

High - Sunday we had the Patterson's over for lunch. Heather is getting so big and happy, and I think she and Nourit will become good friends over the next year in the church nursery together.
After a few minutes learning to drive in our backyard, Heather subsequently asked her dad if she could have the car keys to drive home.

Really Big High - Nourit has been a ROCK STAR on the potty this week! She has even been out and about without a diaper, peed on a big potty at the pool, and even tried it out in the garden this week. (She's a bit intrigued that all the little boys go potty at the park behind the trees, so she wanted to try it out.) She even dumps her little potty into the big one to help mom 'clean up.' Very cool, but now I'm wishing Cassia came more than once a week to clean the bathroom!

Low, Low, Low - Mike and I now have the girls' colds. Ugh!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Su La What?

I've spent quite some time trying to find just the right address and title for my blog. Liz's Blog is just so...I don't know...not available as a URL. And neither are all the other deep, thought-provoking, cute or catchy ones I could think up, including: blessed, gracenotes, gracenote, mamainwonderland, mommyinwonderland, lizardmusic, hotmama and a great deal of other ones that I can't remember (mostly titles of my favorite children's books or songs.) But lo and behold, I tried sulali and it wasn't yet taken by someone who abandoned their blog 5 years ago! Not much behind it, really. It's just one of Nourit's favorite lullabies that we sing every night. I don't think the words actually mean anything. It's simple and you can substitute lots of words, like I Love You, or Noo-ou-rit, or Cho-co-late.

So welcome! What would YOU substitute for it?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Overheard at the Dinner Table

Tonight, we were playing word games with Nourit, asking her things like opposites, etc.

Mike asked, "Nourit, what time of day is dawn?"


"Nourit, what time of day is dusk?"

"Nightime! The sun goes up, and then down, and then up and then down," she said, making circles with her arms. Obviously she's been coached.

"Nourit," Mike asks again, "Is mommy silly or serious?" and I furrow my eyebrows to look as serious as I can.

"Mommy is crazy," Nourit responds.

Obviously she's been coached.


While I was at work this afternoon, Mike said there was a time when the room was quite messy, the music was a little too loud, and Avi was crying. At that point, Nourit put up her hands and said, "This just isn't working out."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Week in Review

Wow. I'm having a hard time even remembering back one week. Let's see...

Last Monday, my dear friend Elaine came to visit, and thoroughly made Nourit's day since she played with her the entire time. Elaine was one of the first people to welcome me to Hyde Park through MTHP, five years ago, and who gave Nourit her precious Dodo. ~ We spent quite a few days just going to the playground, and then Thursday, Grandma arrived! (Oh, the screams of joy!) We had a picnic at the Point (our first of the summer, I'm afraid.)

Friday was appointment day. We drove to the far end of Lincoln Park just to visit a pediatric dentist who got rave reviews by Nourit's pediatrician and our dentist. With Nourit's fear of doctors (apparent every time a man in a white lab coat addresses her), I was willing to go out of network and out of my comfort zone of Hyde Park to find someone who could get her to say "ahhhh". Well, we hit the jackpot. Dr. Morin was wonderful and Nourit got a good report on her teeth. (And he was so adorable I just had to take his picture!)
Yes, he is a doctor, even though he doesn't wear a white coat.

Next was Avi's 6 month appointment with Dr. Schwab. She weighs 14lbs 13ounces, and is 26 inches long, and is perfectly healthy.

Saturday morning, we made our usual trek to the market/garden/coffee shop, but then had an impromptu picnic with some other old friends (well, old for our time here!) Where? The Point!
Nourit, Rachel and Maya

Rachel, Maya and Nourit 1 year ago

Edwin and Mike
Lisa, Nourit and Baby Owen

Sunday we went to church, came home for lunch and naps, then had a nice visit with our friends Viola, Marek, and Jacob (Kubi), and their young friend Anja, who was visiting for the summer from Poland. The evening ended with Nourit peeing on the floor. (But today she's 4 for 4!)
Avi just learning to sit up this week, playing trains with Kubi.

Although she's too young to step foot in the Lyric, Nourit created her own "Opera Sunglasses." I wonder if there's a market for them...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Here Come the Geese

I think it started last week. The weather seemed to change overnight, but it took a few days for me to pin down the strange feelings I was having. Then I realized what it was- summer is practically over. It feels like fall. The sun is at a different place, the humidity is gone, and we've actually pulled out sweaters for an evening trip to the playground. Yesterday, though, it was official. I heard him before I saw him. One lone, Canadian goose, flying southward. It seems too soon. We haven't even harvested more than 2 tomatoes off of our plants! We've only been to the beach once! It's not time for the geese to leave yet! Because once they do, our lovely, languid summer will be over, and we'll be gearing up for another cold, messy Chicago winter.

Ode to Dirty Dishes

If I had three wishes,
I'd use two on the dishes,
Since that's what I hate doing the most.

Each night that we leave them,
Next morning I grieve them,
When there's not a clean plate for my toast.

The first wish would demand,
With scrub brush in hand,
A Martha Stewart clone.

The second would be,
That she'd show up nightly,
With nary a cancellation by phone. (or email. or text message.)

Now I know that usually,
All wishes come in three,
So here's one last wish just in case.

If the Martha clone quits,
But the Dish Fairy exists,
I wish that she'd move in to our place.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This and That

There are alot of thoughts buzzing around my head, so this will be a smattering of what we've done over the past week, funny quotes from Nourit and an update on my quest for a disciplined life.

Last week we had a playdate with Laura and Anissa, inside instead of outside, since it rained last Monday. Wednesday morning we went to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park, then dropped off the $330 worth of vitamins to the Infant Welfare Center before work. Thursday, my birthday, we cruised down to Fox & Obel to pick out my birthday tart (see below) and then I was whisked away for a facial and a pedicure.

The yummiest chocolate tart ever!

We had a good time with Uncle Matt, who dropped by for a visit, showed us all the latest irreverent hits on Youtube, and stayed for dinner and to play with the girls.
Cool Nourit and Uncle Matt"I'm so exited Uncle Matt is here!!"

Friday night we got Chinese takeout and watched the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, and Saturday we went on a wild-goose chase to buy a composter. Didn't get one. But we did stop at the Bleeding Heart Bakery for scones, bought corn and nectarines at the Green City Market (2nd time in one week) and said hello to the giraffes at the zoo. We took a little spin on the carousel, too.

Sunday we had a wonderful visit at church over lunch with some old friends, the Mitchells, who stopped in for the weekend. We met Josiah (pictures to be posted later!) and saw how grown up Abby had become in a year. It was fun to watch Nourit and Abby play together, (exchange blows,) then hugs, many, many times during the visit. Such girls!

We think Nourit could be a politician when she grows up. Yesterday, we spent a large amount of breath asking her to use the potty. She decided to save a big load for her diaper during naptime. When she woke up, she surprised us by asking to use the potty, so after I cleaned up her diaper, I took her to use the potty, on which she promptly peed. What a joy filled child we had after that. As she danced around the room, Mike tried to tie it all in and convince her to used the potty for her poop next time, too.

"Nourit, did you poop on the potty or in your diaper?"

"I PEED on the potty! I got a sticker and a cookie!"

"Yes, but shouldn't you try to poop on the potty?"

"Yay! I PEED on the potty!"

Mike then remarks that she would make a good politician.

"Yes," I answered. "She certainly knows how to spin it."

To which Nourit chimes in, "I spinned it in the potty!"

I am so exhausted. I have gotten up early almost every morning to go to the garden, and spend quiet time talking to God and reading His word. I am so thankful for that quiet time alone. I feel a huge difference already - more peace, more optimism. I'm also exhausted. I need more sleep. But I need quiet time more than sleep. Part of the Islamic call to prayer states that Prayer is better than sleep. I wholeheartedly agree. So, until Avi starts sleeping through the night, I guess I will just have to prioritize.

Since I am so tired by the time the girls get into bed, or we have something planned for the evenings, I'm afraid I've only gotten one or two evenings of yoga practice in. I'm going to work it in more this week.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tomorrow is my birthday! And guess what? I love getting older! I used to get depressed for weeks before my birthday (during my teens and 20's) because I anticipated that the day would just be a disappointment. The older I get, though, the more I really value the passage of time and what it brings with it: perspective, self-acceptance, contentment, maturity. That, and I am unabashedly committed to being happy as soon as I wake up each August 7th. (Even if I don't do everything I want to do, I tell myself that I can!)

This year, I'm turning 34, which is one of those murky, nothing-special ages. I don't really remember what I did the past 3 years, but I do remember the BIG fiesta we had when I turned 30. That will tide me over until 40, I think. For those birthdays in between, including tomorrow, I just want a little time alone, a little time being pampered, and the rest of the time with my family. And really yummy chocolate cake!

I do feel extremely blessed, though, with or without the chocolate cake. I have two extraordinary little girls, an extended family that loves us, and a husband who still thinks I'm HOT, even though I have this weird thing growing on my nose, warts on my feet, and not enough energy to shave my legs. I can leave the house without brushing my hair, and wearing the same wrinkled clothes I've worn all week, and still feel good about myself. That is something that has only come with the passage of time, (and an incredibly affirmative husband.) Thank goodness, because I definitely don't want to spend two hours a day curling my hair anymore, just to pump up my self-esteem!

I'm also feeling that life has more possibilities, instead of less, the older I get. I'm confident there will be time to play the piano again, when my kids are older and Mike is out of school. I'm starting to feel wanderlust again, after finally, FINALLY, being settled in one place for a good amount of time. And if Obama wins the presidency, I will feel much more optimistic about the direction of our country!

From time to time, I do flinch a little when I see someone 10 years younger doing grand and glorious things with their life or careers, and it's then that I start to feel old. I realize there are paths I didn't follow because of lack of maturity and confidence. There are skills I didn't attain because of inexperience or laziness. But another benefit of growing older is gaining the acceptance that we are all on different paths, and at different points on our paths, and for better or worse, this is where I am. I'm not fluent in French; I'm not playing in Carnegie Hall; (heck, I'm not even playing in church!) BUT I am happily married; I am crazy about being a mom; I am paying all of our bills on time; and I am looking forward to what the next 34 years have in store.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Week in Review

This has been a wonderfully normal, slow-paced, summer week for us. A few bumps and bruises along the way, but nothing that won't heal. I finished knitting a wool scarf for my friend Melody, presenting it to her on the hottest day of the summer (it's not my fault they had to move on August 1st!) We had a good visit with my pregnant friend Hsing-Huei and her son Zachary, a run-in between an angry mosquito and Nourit's face, a trip to Indiana to pick blueberries, and our favorite Saturday pastime - coffee at backstory, the Bleeding Heart Bakery's "Take a Hike" scones (yum!), produce from the market, a little drum music with Eli, and the first eggplant from our garden. Oh, yeah, and I did go to work at some point in between all this...
Hsing-Huei, Zachary, and Emily (you can't see her until October!)

That's the last time I forget the bug spray - poor baby!

Danielle and Moshe - the sweetest peaches in town!

Drum Man!

My walk to work - one of my favorite parts of Hyde Park.