Monday, March 19, 2012

Totally Nemo...

These two pictures completely sum up my daughter right now. We call this the "scrunch face" and it usually means she is delighted with life or trying to get a laugh. Her daddy loves this face and she'll often give him a couple of nose sniffs just to get a smile. She's also figured out what the camera is and ofter responds to my lens pointed in her direction with this face. And she is usually rewarded with laughter from everyone around her. 

Nemo's into everything right now, she's busy exploring her surroundings. So much so that she's developed some selective hearing, as in she will only respond to her name if she feels like stopping what she is doing. This is made worse when we are outside navigating the yard!. She can sign a few words but only says mama, dada and nigh-nigh out loud. More to come in the words department soon I'm sure. 

She's also developing some attitude. When she doesn't get her way she's started letting you know that she's unhappy with a few screams and perhaps some throwing of her body onto the floor. I struggle not to laugh out loud at her tiny meltdown over losing her grip on some insignificant object. Most of the time she is a delight to be around laughing, smiling and generally happy to see anyone she encounters. But I see a bit of her own free will starting to exert itself as she gains more mastery over her little world. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Here If You Need Me, 2007

A much as I love fiction, I have a weakness for a clear, compelling nonfiction piece. This book was a good fit that. Kate Braestrup is a Unitarian Universalist minister who works for the Maine forestry service. She is basically a Chaplin to game wardens. She chronicles her process of choosing this career and walks the reader through what her experience is like on a day to day basis. She has two primary roles, first to minister to families and loved ones when someone goes missing or dies in the Maine woods and second to minister to the game wardens as they go about their days.

How she goes into this profession is a large part of her story, her husband dies tragically and she sort of takes on the mantle of what he had planned to do. While this experience shaped her personally and professionally, I was actually more captivated by her stories of being with the wardens themselves. Her job is basically to be present physically and emotionally in all types of situations. She serves them by just being there. Which I suppose is where she got the title for the book. I think her process spoke to me because it seemed so similar to what I do as a therapist. In many moments it seems like just bearing witness to people's pain and joy is a sacred act. Yes, there is a science to psychology that I'm not dismissing that. The science is real and useful in a number of ways. And yet there is still the unexplained power of a simple human connection and feels much more spiritual in nature. This author seems to capture the essence of that relationship in her work. Reading the book feels like you are a silent passenger throughout her many interactions and encounters with people. You listen, observe and occasionally pray, all the while trusting God to handle the rest.

She has a quote in the preface that sums up the book for me. She is discussing the meaning of the Greek word, Logos, which can mean: word, discourse, speech, message, theory, motive, reason, wisdom, and story. She then places it in the context of John's gospel "In the beginning was the story, and the story was with God, and story was God."