Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holidays in Romania

What a busy week! I arrived in Romania on Thursday afternoon and have been enjoying seeing all the kids and staff members again.

We helped one of the transition graduates and one of the current transition boys celebrate their birthdays.
Happy birthday, Florin and Sunny!
 I've had so much fun just being here with the other half of my heart. I feel like all the relationships I have with everyone are growing deeper each time I come. There is nothing better than having a gaggle of children run up to you yelling your name, grabbing your hand, pulling you in 5 directions at once, climbing on you, laying on you, jumping in your lap, kissing you on the cheek, hiding in your scarf, playing with your hair, joking with you, "whining" to you, laughing with you...

I don't know what I'm going to do in a week when I have to leave.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Holiday preparations are well under way! Today is the start of Christmas week festivities with our annual "Christmas Eve" celebration. We moved it this year from Christmas Eve to the weekend before Christmas to accommodate more people. Personally I'm a little relieved. I've been working like crazy this week to get some internship hours in before I leave for the holidays. That means that nothing besides Christmas shopping has been accomplished. Case in point: I still need to finish packing for my trip to Romania which happens in 4 days.
The only thing that's been packed are supplies for the kids. Too bad I also need clothes to wear. However, having the Christmas Eve celebration today means more time before Christmas to get packing and wrapping done.

In my defense I have finished some laundry and made brownies for this afternoon. I still have some work stuff to finish before I can actually leave the country but I've been working on it slowly and steadily...for the most part.
Through this doorway lies the workspace of doom. Enter if you dare...
Last night I did a little paperwork and then started one of the few Christmas presents I decided to make this year. I almost didn't make any gifts at all but then my grandmother requested some dishcloths and I thought that might be kind of nice. And then I thought my other grandmother might like some slippers so I'll be making those later this weekend.
Still life: Cat with Dishcloth in Early Morning Sun
The big question is: can I finish this dishcloth before 12:30 p.m. when we leave for the party? Does it matter that it is now 11:15 and I'm not dressed or have any gifts wrapped? What if I throw in the fact that I need to fold laundry? How about adding in the fact that I'm blogging instead of knitting?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tis the Season

This weekend has been full of seasonal happenings.

Friday I ran hither and yon while prepping for a Christmas party given by the agency that I intern with. I was out early in the morning to visit clients, then to the office, then out for the party, back to the office, and, finally, back out for several hours to visit clients again.

I thought about wearing my newly finished Christmas socks and my clear clogs to the party but the dress was semi-professional so I decided against it.
Saturday I went shopping for Christmas presents. I hadn't done any shopping until then. I managed to get all but 3 presents (and 2 are small and easy to obtain). I had planned to finish some paperwork for work/internship but I took a nap instead. Much better choice.

Sunday we went out to dinner at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta for my aunt's birthday.
The food was good but I spent the night having one of those moments where I thought my dinner might be trying to kill me. I don't know if it was the shear volume of food (though I've done worse in recent memory), the richness of it, or if there was something that didn't agree with me. Whatever it was it caused me to go to bed at 9:45 and sleep until 8:15 this morning. Nearly 11 hours of sleep. Except for the hour between 2:30 and 3:30 when I woke from a dream concerned that I had to be at work at 8:15 in the morning (I don't) and that I'd double booked clients (I didn't). I then stayed awake trying to find a position where my stomach didn't feel like it was being wrung out and contemplating whether I should all the CDC and report a possible food poisoning or not. I'm feeling a bit better this morning but still not 100%.

This week I've got to get paperwork for tax-exempt status submitted to the IRS for the Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project and also finish that paperwork for my internship that I keep putting off. Oh, yeah, and finish getting/making Christmas gifts.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I really don't want to write this post. But in light of everything that happened in Connecticut I feel I need to.

This is sort of like 9/11 for me. It's like I woke up in the middle of a bad nightmare and I want it to go away. I had a very hard time after 9/11. Something about the lingering afterwards. No closure and just uncertainty.


Life does go on. I know that sounds really harsh and it's not meant that way. But we have to go ahead with life and vow to make it a little better because of a tragedy and not worse.

It's very hard for me to be on social media right now. Every post is like a poke at an open wound. For me, personally, I need to not pick at it. I need to let the wound close over. I know what happened. I have the details I want. I don't need a replay of it every. single. hour. And I really don't think there are too many people who do need that.

I feel that one of the curses of social media is that suddenly everything is in our faces all the time. It's knowledge over share. I'm guilty of it too. No one needs to know that I ate muffins for breakfast or had a crappy day or went on a date. But we put it out there and suddenly everyone is in every detail of everyone's lives. When I was in high school we called that "drama." And it wasn't a good thing.

I'm not saying that we should do away with social media or that I will be deleting my Facebook and Twitter accounts. But I think we make things complicated for ourselves by continuing to use social media in a reckless attempt to engage with people. The argument now is going to be over gun control and everyone is going to have an opinion. Here's the problem: everyone is going to find evidence to support their chosen position. And, no matter what position you take, it won't bring back those 20 children or the 30+ from Virginia Tech or the ones from Columbine or any of the others. There is no easy solution. We need to stop looking for one. We need to stop arguing over which side is right and which side is wrong. Why don't we all start promoting love and peace and Jesus instead? Then it shouldn't matter whether you own a gun or not.

There are sick people in this world and most of them aren't even going to make it on t.v. As a child and adolescent mental health counselor I see the sickness. I have heard stories that would make you vomit. Stories that would make you say, "To hell with gun control, I'd kill that guy for what he did!" But it doesn't change that in the wake of everything are hurting children who have no innocence to stand on. So instead of arguing over who gets a gun and who doesn't why don't we remember the children who have been left behind in this tragedy? And, while we're at it, why not remember all the children around the world who have no running water, no shoes, no health care, no food, no clean water, no vaccinations, no parents, no hope? If we don't remember them then while we're standing still their lives will continue to move forward on a much more tragic trajectory.

P.S. I realize this is rambling from one thing to the next but I guess that's kind of how I'm feeling right now. Trying to piece it all together. This posting is my attempt to process, as best I can, some of my emotions. If you're like me and it's all a little much, check out this posting to help restore your faith in life: 26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Closing in on 2013

Another weekend down and 2013 is closing in. I can't believe this year is almost up! I've decided to do Crazy Aunt Purl's Totally Do-Able 12 Month Plan for 2013. It seems easy enough and I like to have some sort of game plan for the coming year.

This weekend was very chill. Grad school is finishing up this Friday and my final paper is under peer review so there wasn't much I needed to work on. Saturday I went to the Gladiator's hockey game across town with my mom and some of the kids she tutors on Wednesday. It was a reward for one of the boys for making A's and B's this semester.
Love a good hockey game!
Gandolf was at the game to promote the Hobbit which comes out next week.
Today was church, napping, dinner, working out, and knitting. A week or so ago I tried my hand at crocheting. I was thinking of making a blanket. I didn't get very far.
Nearly 2 rows of crochet.
Tonight I ripped out the crochet because I came to my senses and realized I was never going to have the patience to finish an entire crochet blanket. I decided to make a blanket square instead.
Patterns for washcloths (I'm using them for blanket squares).
Just a few hours of work.
Needless to say I'm much more successful with knitting than crochet. It only took me a few hours to finish the first square.

I'm also working on a pair of socks for myself. I think they look very Christmas-y so I'm hoping to have them finished by the end of the year.
My own hand-dyed sock yarn!
The weather has been very mild up to this point. There were a few days where it got close to freezing but then it's been in the 60's since then. That means that wool sock wearing is probably not going to happen until after the 1st of the new year. It usually gets coldest here in Georgia in January and February.

This next week is shaping up to be very busy. I've picked up 7 new clients plus taken on most of the initial assessments coming in to the office. My schedule is so full! Praying that it stays that way for the next few weeks though. I'd rather it be a little crazy and busy before Christmas than to come home to it after I get back from Romania.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Just finished up a very busy weekend! Friday after work I went to an event at my brother and sister-in-law's church called Beyond Fair Trade. The event helps women in impoverished nations earn a living by selling handmade jewelry, bags, aprons, Christmas ornaments, and much more. I picked up a little owl keychain for myself and a Christmas gift for my best friend (which I'm not putting up a picture of because it's a secret).

Saturday I was at my aunt and uncle's helping my littlest cousin, Bennett, celebrate his 1st birthday. I've always been very close to my cousins and with twin uncles who are only 7 years older than me I feel like their boys are more my nephews than cousins. That only makes our bond even more special.
Today (Sunday) was a little odd for me. For the first time in a long while I missed church even though I was in town. That was because we had our annual Stewart Family Christmas Party/Reunion. My second cousin once removed (I think that's the relationship...we share a great grandparent in common but are from different generations...anyways, it's complicated), Will, sold some handmade wooden crosses to help me raise money for my trip to Romania. He ended up making $360! And some of my other relatives are coming together to help get supplies for my trip. They were able to give me some of them today. I got 13 pairs of gloves and 24 tubes of travel toothpaste! It was such a day of blessings!
Some of the gloves and toothpaste that I got.
I had really planned to work on some paperwork for my internship this weekend but it's just so hard when you have full days like the last ones have been. I'm a little sad that tomorrow is Monday. It was just starting to feel like a vacation!

P.S. Can ya'll send good thoughts/prayers for my computer. It's been running super slow lately and taking a long time to load things. I'm getting the spin-y rainbow beach ball a lot. I know this is an odd thing to ask for but I depend upon my computer A LOT. Especially because of grad school. And right now I don't have the money for an external hard drive or new computer. If this one can just hold out for a few more months then (hopefully) I will have a paying job at that point and can work towards a new laptop. This one has been faithful to me for a long time and I desperately need it to hold out just a little longer. Thanks everyone!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Happy 1st day of December! This is the time that we celebrate the closing of another year and the starting of another one. A time when we reflect on our purpose. I love the feeling of being around family and friends at this time of year as well as the promise that right around the corner is another year to accomplish our calling. I like thinking back on the year and thinking ahead to the next. In some ways this is a tough time of the year. I miss my boys in Romania a lot during this time because I want them to experience the fun that families have together. It pains me to know that they will spend Christmas and New Years at the orphanage instead of being shuffled from relative's house to relative's house and back again. That they won't get to rip open presents on Christmas Day or eat until they bust. I do find comfort in the fact that I will be seeing them again in just 25 more days!
It is also a very exciting time of the year. In just a few short weeks I will be completing all my coursework for my graduate degree in clinical and counseling psychology! Then, just after the 1st part of January I will finish my internship and be officially finished with my degree! Graduation should come shortly thereafter though I don't think I'll get the chance to fly to California for the actual ceremony (because my school is online the actual graduation ceremonies take place in various locations around the country).

This is also the time of the year when I get really into knitting. I'd been so busy over the last few weeks with my internship that I hadn't gotten much knitting done. I was getting stressed and missing it though so I'm trying to make more time for my hobby. I was able to finish a blanket that I'd been working on over the last several months.
It's made from scraps of yarn held together and is a pattern from the Big Book of Quick Knit Afghans. It turned out really large and I love the way that the colors worked together. Basically I put all my scraps into big totes, closed my eyes, and grabbed out a ball when I needed a new one. I've already started a new afghan from this book (even though I need to finish weaving in the ends of the afghan that I just did). And I'm working on some socks for myself.

My final goal for the last month of 2012 is to think about my diet and exercise. Since moving about 6 months ago my exercise habits have been the best they ever have. I just want to tweak a few things as far as eating. I eat better now (fast food or restaurant food less than 4 times a month, hardly any prepackaged or pre-made foods) but I want to eat healthier (more fruits and veggies, less red meat, etc.). Oh, and add a few more supplements to my regimen. Just little things and nothing major.