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Showing posts from 2009

5 years ago: An Adoption Story - Meeting My Brother for the First Time

Just over 5 years ago (July 26, 2004 to be exact), I met my brother Brent for the first time. Probably sounds odd for that to be the case.
Brent is 12 years older than me. My parents were young, unmarried and my dad was in Seminary in Oklahoma when they became pregnant with him. From both families' perspectives, adoption was the only option.

My parents moved, had Brent. He was adopted and that was that. I knew nothing of it until Christmas 2003, when my mom (and then my dad one day later) told my brother Kyle and I about Brent (although at that time we didn't know his name).
The following Spring, my mother filled out the Indiana state paperwork, which Brent had filled out many years before. Brent received notice of his mother (my mother) and called her. From there, a flurry of phone calls began: mom to me, mom to Kyle, Kyle to me, Brent to Kyle, Brent to me, etc., etc.

Brent lived in Chicago. Kyle's band, Rainer Maria, was playing a show in Chicago. Brent got a stand-b…

Pregnancy & Meditation

One of my favorite evening meditations for the baby is a derivative of a Thich Naht Hanh meditation from his amazing book, True Love: A Practice of Awakening the Heart.

It is a simple meditation where you pick a single focal point (usually within oneself -- your heart, for example) and say as you breath in - I am aware of my heart, and as you breath out - I smile at my heart.

My take on this meditation is to put both of my hands on my belly, breath in and communicate with the baby -- "Baby, I know that you are there" and as I breath out -- "Baby, I am smiling at you."
It might seem odd to some people, but I know the baby feels it and experiences it. I often feel the baby moving inside of me during these meditations and it definitely leads me (and baby) into a calm and peaceful sleep. It's amazing how simple and yet effective it is. I've struggled with meditation in the past (due to a distracted mind), but most nights this meditation comes to me very easily.

And…

Ten - An Egyptian Retrospective

It was almost exactly 10 years ago that I moved to Cairo, Egypt (6 weeks before my study abroad program would begin) and had my first encounter/experience with the Middle East. Please enjoy a list of 10 ways this experience/decision influenced my life:

10. The experience expanded my world-view and allowed me to gain a better understanding of the complexity and universality of the world.
9. I fell undeniably in love with travel and exploration and haven’t been able to stop venturing abroad since.
8. I experienced generosity and hospitality at an amazing level, which taught me to be more giving.
7. I saw first-hand the possibility that peace can exist (and has and does exist) between Israelis and Palestinians as Ramon and I celebrated Christmas in Bethlehem alongside Israelis, Palestinians, Germans, Africans and so many others from around the world, who celebrated together in an atmosphere of love and hope.
6. I gained confidence and strength as I journeyed through various parts of the Mi…