Monday, June 30, 2008

Being Good People....

In case you have not yet visited Operation Shantis new blog site....which by the way is in the right hand column of my links.....Today's post was especially meaningful and I wanted to re-post it here for you all to take in....

Being good people
On Sunday, Anu, a volunteer who lives in Mysore, visited the kids with a purpose in mind---to have an interactive conversation with them about life. They first sang a few songs and danced a bit, and then she asked them how things are going at Karunya Mane and at school. The kids said that they are happy at KM. They like school and the hitting by the teachers seems to have subsided a bit. And, they love the food that our cook Lakshmi makes for them.Anu then told them that KM is their home and will be their home for a long, long time. Anu asked the kids who the elders are at KM who take care of them---the kids named Ramesh, Saroja, the cook, and the other ladies staying at KM. When she asked the kids how they should behave with the adults, the kids said that adults should be respected and that they (the kids) should not be rude but should be gentle with them, and should listen to their elders. Why? Because, Anu explained, they have seen so much of life and have more experience that they do.The conversation was interactive and the kids understood the right answers.Anu then talked to them about how they should treat each other, emphasizing that KM is one big happy family with parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. While sisters assist brothers in day-to-day life and shower them with affection, brothers pledge to protect their sisters and care for them. Anu asked the kids if they will fight with one another, and they all shouted "no, never!!!" Anu then told them that fighting is not wrong, and all brothers and sisters fight---but, to say bad things to each other and to use bad language is wrong, and although they will fight with each other at times, they should care for and support each other all the time.They then talked about one of the Indian festivals, Raksha Bhandan, celebrating the relationship between brothers and sisters, and which falls on August 16 this year. On that day, a sister ties a silken thread (a rahki) onto her brother's wrist and pledges to love and cherish him, while the brother gives his sister gifts and pledges to protect her from harm throughout her life.Amusingly, the former street boys used to sell rahki on the street during the festival, but they did not know its meaning.Anu then explained to the kids that they are provided for by many generous people from all over the world, and that their own moms and dads are busy working and earning enough just to support themselves. Their school fees, food, clothing, medicines, and everything provided at KM is free to them.However, Anu went on, just as their benefactors show their responsibility by supporting the kids, the kids also have a responsibility. She explained that this is like "sala"---the Kannada word for "loan." When you take a loan, you have to pay it back, only this loan is not about returning money. Paying back this loan is in the form of becoming responsible students, graduating from school and college, getting jobs, becoming good citizens and making good names for themselves, and---most importantly---taking on the highest form of repayment and responsibility---helping the needy, as others are helping them.Sreenevasa then stood up and summarized the kids' responsibilities from now until they become independent. Anu then asked them, "Do you promise?" and they all responded, "we promise!!!" loudly and heartily, while falling all over Anu with big hugs.The conversation lasted a good 45 minutes, at the end of which a first-time observer noted, "Wow, look at these kids, they sat quietly the whole time. I can't believe they were street kids."At Operation Shanti, we have had so many good starts, like Sunday. And, we have a long way to go.
Stay with us as we grow and learn with our kids, and you may learn something about yourself in the process.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

birthdays and glitter!

This morning while I was checking in on Operation Shantis Blog...I clicked on "calendar", and I noticed all of the birthdays that are coming up for the children of Karunya Mane...and I had this idea~ Make Birthday cards for the kids and send them in a big envelope once a month!! I have SO many bottles of powered glitter..and rubber stamps and stickers and...well, you get the picture, I have everything needed to create many wonderful, fun cards for the kids! So I sat down and went back into Mays calendar so that no one would be left out..and I made 6 glittery, fun birthday cards! This will be my new monthly tradition for the children of Karunya Mane and I had a special store bought one for my dear Manjula as well!
They are on their way as of Monday!! Happy Birthday to the children of Karunya Mane!!!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

and change it did!

my neighbor is Home! Yes, he is home and recovering quite nicely~ so you see...if you can just Believe and say a little prayer or two...you just might get that Miracle!
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

in a moment everything can change

our next door neighbor is this very athletic man...a personal fitness trainer/bicyclist/contractor...
Very active and on the move. His wife and he just returned from a trip where they played lots of golf and had the time of their lives together. They love life and live it to the fullest.

Yesterday he fell from a 10 foot deck onto his head. Things are not looking good for him. His wife is in utter disbelief and complete shock, as are all of his neighbors.....

we are all praying for him, miracles can and DO happen, but it just brings it home for us...because one moment all is beautiful..and the next it isn't.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Balance and serenity
This is a time of inner peace and balance. You have the serenity to look into yourself and come to a deeper understanding of what you want, what you need and how you should go about getting it. You try to live through your feelings as well as your intellect, and you communicate with others at both levels. Since you understand your own moods and feelings so well today, you are also in a good position to assist others in understanding themselves. Through your relationships, particularly those with your partner, you will come to know yourself better than at most other times. Since this is a time of balance and equilibrium, you should study your personal life and find out how to correct any misunderstandings and difficulties with other people. Today you are able to make the compromises necessary to getting along with others.

Friday, June 20, 2008

i am seeing a similarity here...

maybe i just worked out too long today...maybe just not enough proper rest...or Maybe there IS a similarity here....is there not? My long lost twin perhaps...hmmmm...I need to think about this for awhile, I mean how many times am I out and about and someone comes up to me and tells me they think they know me..I look like someone they have met before...could it be..Christian Siriano they are thinking of??? Gosh, I really hope not...But I mean, oh, never mind...carry on with what you were doing!
I need to go lie down~

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

on adoption....

Father’s day this year will have a lasting impression on Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Demarcus Ware.
The Pro linebacker and his wife Taniqua adopted their three-month old daughter Marley after three failed pregnancies, just in time for fathers’ day.
After the stillbirth of their son Omar Ware in 2006, the Ware’s at one time felt defeated :

“That was the low point, to go to the hospital and give birth and coming home with nothing. You don’t know how to react. You’re angry, hurt, upset.”
The Ware’s finally decided to adopt this year and with the help of a friend, they were able to welcome daughter Marley, named after Demarcus’ favorite reggae artist Bob Marley, into their home.
The Wares plan to try to conceive again and have talked about becoming foster parents. In the Meantime, Demarcus and Taniqua are working with a local adoption agency for which Demarcus hopes to become a spokesman.
This is such a beautiful story...in which I can relate VERY deeply with~as I am an adpoted child as well~oh, and my darling grandson was named after the same reggae artist as well!
Love it..love it all!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

nothing better

than getting emails from the friends you made while away in another country!
It brings all of the fun times back to the surface again~
the walk around the lake with sista shree (regina)..and sitting upstairs in the most beautiful evening air of mysore listening to sista chanting mantras by candle light while the accompanying drummer beats time to her beautiful chanting voice...then taking a stroll down the street with my friends on my way back home to anus house.
having liz give me a rickshaw ride to harinis house to get my massage..and then being picked up again and us hunting around for a copy machine to have some things run off for her...and sitting on my big bed in a rented room for the night with liz and anu by candle light (again) and talking for hours...and then again sitting in anus room with her mom and sister in law and liz, laughing our heads off over a "purse, inside of a purse, inside of a purse"(you just HAD to be there to understand!!) right liz and anu??!!!! having friends like that...Priceless!
I simply adore you women! and I can hardly wait to do it again one day~

Thursday, June 12, 2008

when one door closes....

another one opens...so they say.
But I am here to tell you that it is true....a door has opened for us, that we never could have imagined...and our dreams are coming true! One little step at a time...it's happening for us~
I always believed that "the more you give, the more you get" WOW...how VERY true that is as well!! Not too awfully long ago, we were afraid because of the way the economy was headed..but we held tight and persevered and what a "Bright Shiny Day" it is today!!! We have been visited by the Goddess Lakshmi so to speak~~~~the Goddess of Beauty and Abundance~~~and we are SO thankful and SO blessed..life sometimes surprises you, this time it took our breath away!

and remember this as well~
Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it! :0)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

sweet dreams charles

an unexpected phone call turned my sweet husbands world upside down yesterday and we say sweet dreams to his father....
may you be at peace where you are charles, you were a buddha and a gift of knowledge to all who sat and spoke with you...
sometimes it wasn't easy, when is it always ever Easy? but we do the best with what we are taught, and what we learn along the way.
you were loved, and we thank you for your presence in this lifetime..
soon you will be on "Fine Lake" and all will be as it should....
Good Bye sweet man~

Friday, June 6, 2008

on the airplane to India in January this year, I sat next to a most interesting gentleman. He was a Pediatrician, who happened to live about 20 miles from where I live...and he was from Pakistan..
he was on his way there to visit his parents and meet up with his wife and three children. He would be spending three months in Pakistan..with his family. We had some pretty interesting conversations...it was a long flight! But we both agreed when we parted in Singapore that being seated next to one another was a very special treat and we both agreed it made the trip so much more enjoyable.
He resembled the musician "Yanni" so much so that I just felt I had to tell him this..to which he gave a sweet smile and nodded his head telling me that the girls at the grocery store call him Yanni~
He was impressed with the fact that I was so drawn to be in India..and that I was bringing a suitcase filled with children's shoes at that. He asked me many questions and I him...we both came from different upbringings, and worlds apart, but the fact that we were able to connect so deeply just in conversation and thoughts made me realize that we are all so connected in this life. We are all ONE...if we can just learn to look at others and see what lies beneath the surface.
He took such good care of me on that flight..knowing how much I was missing my husband and that this was my very first trip "solo" back to my beloved India.
He told me about how I should look into the possibility of perhaps finding a way to have my trips "Paid For" by Doctors and those who wish to donate supplies to the different cities in India..in which I would be taking them over for them...I was all for it! But didn't have a clue on how to go about it all...
I would love to do that one day..even be a volunteer for an organization that does work in India...
that is my dream, until I one day will live there. But just the thought of helping the less fortunate and making their lives just a little bit better by bringing them things that would help them live a better more healthy and comfortable life..Excites me to the bone!
I wish that I had some of the money that many people are so fortunate to have so that I could use it to make the lives of the children and families in India easier and better...
One of my dreams that I have is this~
Whenever I am in Mysore I pass by schools..and they have these huge dirt playgrounds and I see all of the children outside during recess playing with a ball...and what I envision for them is some playground equipment to play on during their breaks.
I know it seems impossible to have that equipment shipped over there...but it's what I see when I walk by those schools, and I see all of those children on the dirt playing with a ball.
I know I think about things like this a lot of the time..as we have so much here..that we most of the time just take for granted...but I can't ever get the image of the children walking down the street with a stick and an old tire and that is what they have to play with.
Oh, one day..maybe I can do more!
OM Shanti~

Thursday, June 5, 2008

bragging rights!

my son Oliver has completed the 11th grade~ and he has so many credits that he will be graduating from high school in January of 2009...he was right when he asked me to home school him. I was petrified when he approached my husband and I a very long time ago in 6th grade..and Begged us to Home School him. But we listened to him and we found a wonderful Charter School for him to attend and he has grown by leaps and bounds! He is a straight A student and his teacher and our family could not be prouder! It really pays to truly listen to your children when they tell you school isn't working for them...for him it just was not working! So basically he has about 4 months left of school and then he will graduate! WoW! Both of my children are all grown up...where did the time go....
He is volunteering at the Neighborhood center for the Arts this summer, as well as attending the community college nearby..both places are within walking distance of our home...Perfect! No driving... :0) No paying for High Gas prices!!!! Awesome!
Looks like it's going to be a great summer for him. I am so happy and proud...it's a nice feeling when you know your kids are on the right track. My older son just bought a Robeks Juice in Morgan Hill...so he is now a business owner..OMG. Wow...mind blowing...So proud!
So, life goes on and we watch our children grow and become the person they were meant to become and we just smile and think "How Blessed" we truly are~

Monday, June 2, 2008

could it ever be

this photo brings back such good memories for me...
it was taken in Fort Cochin, in the south of India..the place where I will be living one day.
My husband and I were out walking yesterday with our dogs, and we were discussing the difference between India and the US, and the price you pay to be at peace...
well, I don't think I will go into that in depth, because if you haven't experienced the actual Peace that I am referring to IN India..well, you just won't "Get It"
We are born into this "Hurry Up"..."Quick".."Get there Faster"..."What's the Fastest Way"...sort of mentality here in the US and frankly..I can''t WAIT until I no longer have to be a part of it all.
There is a calmness, a s...l...o...w...e...r way of doing everything and just of everyday life in India, that you just will Never see here. I have never felt more at Peace and just this serenity that fills me up as I do when I am back "home" in India.
I so wish we had just a tiny piece of that here....but we don't. People have no idea of how to even comprehend being slower and relaxing. Its so unfortunate really...
I long for the day when it will be my everyday life. I try to bring it home with me..in all of my trips to Asia...I have tried each and everytime to just "keep that" with me, and sure enough within a month tops..I am back into the crazy everyday life of an average american...and I don't like it. Not one bit. It's the reason for all the
Heart Attacks, Strokes, Depression...etc. that many of americans suffer from...way sad...
Oh well..enough of my lecture for tonight...my lesson on life and being relaxed so to speak~~~~
Om Shanti!