11 November 2014

Catching Up....Has it really been Six Months?

What?  Is it really November already and have I truly not posted since May???  That's, like, six months! How can that be?  It's crazy how time has just flown by, but I guess it's true.  I took a break, but life didn't.  And during all these weeks that have flown by, I want you to know that I seriously did give my blog and my podcast thought.  I wanted to post and record,  but I was looking for that perfect time - the time to just sit down at my computer, collect my thoughts, and reconnect, but it just never came.  And so this morning....this beautiful morning, with last week's craft show behind me, and regrouting our kitchen sink ahead of me, I decided to put the brakes on and well, here I am!

So much has happened since we were together last.  It's hard to put it all in order, but I'll try. The
most amazing, and wonderful, and life-changing thing that has happened is that I am now Medzig to our new baby grandson, Arek!  My daughter and son-in-law were blessed with a beautiful little boy on Labor Day, September 1...and then we, in turn, were blessed as well!  And life, as we know it, has changed.  I am in love with my grandson.   My cell phone is overloaded with photos of him, and I can now understand Mamajan's (my mom's) obsession with taking photos of us all.  They are what I look at between visits with my grandbaby.  What a blessing.  He is 10 weeks old, and when he smiles at me, it just melts my heart.  

Smiling for Medzig!!!
I had always heard about the joys of being a grandparent, but until you're here, you don't understand it. I'm the one in the crowd holding my cellphone ready to show pictures of Arek to anyone and everyone.   Complete strangers even!  And although I get it....not everyone shares my excitement,.. it's hard to contain. My heart is just overflowing with love.

But it's not only about having a grandson, but there's another huge factor in this happiness:  It's  about our children.  When your child is born, you pray to God for His protection, wisdom and blessings on them.  When Ani was still pregnant, we were talking about her worries about labor, delivery, motherhood.  It's all fear of the unknown, right?  I told her not to worry (that part was totally normal) but to pray, and have faith.  And then I realized something pretty profound:  Since the day I found out I was pregnant with Ani, and since the day we knew about the possibility of adopting Nareg,  I have prayed for them EVERY DAY!  I can honestly say that other than waking up in the morning, there is not ONE thing that I can say I have done every single day other than pray and give thanks for my children.  That's a lot of prayers!!!   If you are parents of faith, you know what I'm talking about right?  Praying for our families, our children, is a daily thing....even several times a day sometimes.  We give thanks for them, we pray for their safety going to and from school, we pray that God give them the needed wisdom to focus on a test, or that they choose the right friends, make the right decisions.  We pray for their health, we give thanks for the sticky hugs and kisses.  And we pray for openness to accept God's will for them, whatever that may be.  

And miraculously, it all comes together.  It was just yesterday that I blogged about the two of them getting married, and now Ani and Eric are parents!.  There's a joy that fills my heart when I see them with their new baby.  So caring, so loving.  In just the short couple of months that have gone by since Arek was born they can't imagine their lives without him.  I had gone over for a visit (seriously, I can't go more than 3 days without my Arek fix).  Eric and Ani were sharing about their past trip to Italy and how beautiful it was.  I told them that they would just need to go back in a few years.  And that they could leave Arek with us.  And I really loved what Eric shared with me. He shared that growing up, his parents never went on vacation without them.  That his greatest childhood memories were of those vacations together.  Sitting around campfires, or traveling together.  And that's what he and Ani hoped to do with their children too.  It was beautiful to see how full circle we had come. Thinking back to when our kids were young, it was the same way with my parents when we were young.  Our modest camping vacations or trips to local beaches and mountains hold the best memories.  Collecting shells, climbing tide pools, building sandcastle, finding colorful fall leaves and acorns.  Simple things that glue us together with beautiful memories.  Needless to say I'm so proud of them both. Arek is a lucky little boy! 

But I have been blessed with two children, and I am equally as proud of my son Nareg.  Recently his girlfriend brought to my attention that this past Sunday, November 9 was World Adoption Day.  How beautiful.  A day where we acknowledge adoption and families that are made possible because of it. As I was going through my past photos, looking for pictures to share of my son and I, I couldn't help but think about Nareg through the years and how far he had come.  How much he has grown, and how rich our lives are because of the decision to adopt.  Last year I shared with you the Story of Nareg and how we were blessed with our son.  It was 24 years ago that he joined our family.  And since that day he has brought his positive energy, love, and inner joy to our family despite the adversities he has faced.  Just the other day, he had found a little school picture of himself.  I think it was his 6th grade photo so it would have been about 2 years after he was adopted.  There he was with a little gel in his wavy hair, his always warm smile.  I flashed back to him on his bike when he did a daredevil ride down the Wilkie's steep driveway and crashed into the fence across the street, or the time I got a call from the neighbor that he was setting leaves on fire in their back yard, or that he had turned trashcans over one street up.  And then i remembered the day in the kitchen when he was just our foster child prior to the adoption, when he asked us if we would adopt him.  Going to his jazz band concerts, basketball games, the uncanny way he would memorize baseball stats, I remembered all those things, but mostly his loving nature. That little boy i the picture is still in there, he's just all grown up on the outside now.  Anyways, I wanted to just share a little with you about how blessed we have been to have adopted Nareg.  He grew in my heart, and I am so blessed and fortunate to be able to call myself his mom.

I almost forgot one other big reason why I haven't been here.  Prior to Arek's birth, about 2
Panel from my new book showing the priest pouring the
holy muron into the baptismal font
months prior, I was commissioned again by the Armenian Church Eastern Diocese to illustrate my second book!  This time the book is about baptism in the Armenian church.  The format of the book will be the same, The only stipulation of my acceptance of the job was that they wanted all the illustrations done by September...and it was the end of June when they contacted me.  That's not a lot of time when you have a full time day job, have family responsibilities and want to spend time helping your expectant daughter, but I said yes!

My first book, "When I Go To Church" was illustrated with colored pencil and pen and ink. I've always worked in pencil, doing a lot of layering of colors to get the right color saturation.  This time around I used a new medium....Prismacolor markers, and it just made the job so much easier, brighter and faster...and therefore, more FUN! It was an intense couple of months but I was able to get the illustrations done on time.  Arek was born, and I had just a week to get the illustrations shipped out to New York, but I did it!   The book is off to the printer now, and I'm told it will be published in time for Christmas this year!  I'll definitely let you know when it's available.

And then another exciting thing (see, I'm filled with all kinds of exciting stuff, right?)  I had been struggling for the past few  years about my job in the insurance world.  I came into this job out of necessity.  It's not a creative job.  And for me, it's been very stifling in an "energy suck" sort of way.  After months of feeling stuck I thought of a plan: what if I worked 4 days a week and used one day to work on my jewelry and art?  It sounded good but I was sure my boss wouldn't go for it.  Another consideration was my benefits.  Given all my health and cancer issues, I was afraid of losing my health insurance.  Anyways, I just prayed about it....all the time telling myself they weren't going to go for it but at the same time asking God to please make something happen for me.   Along with my unhappiness, my attitude just kept getting  worse and worse.  I would go to work early in the morning, come home drained, deal with home and family, no creative outlet...I felt like that part of me was dying.  I had to do something.  And I did.

One morning, God gave me the courage to go in and talk to my boss.  I told her how I was feeling. Surprisingly, she was actually supportive.  She told me she didn't want to lose me and so if this was what I needed to do, that she would see what we could do to make it work.  Imagine that.  Working a 10 hour day wouldn't work because of overtime issues, but we figured out how many hours I would need to work in order to keep my benefits.  And she made it happen.  So I'm now working a 4 day work week.  And it's really amazing how just getting that extra day to be creative has helped change my attitude for the better.  The weekends have always been so full of chores and family, church and catching up.  So having that extra day has been just what I needed.  I've been able to focus my energy on making new designs in my jewelry and drawings.  And having that creative outlet has really helped my productivity at my job too.  Though my hours are longer, I try to get everything done in four days rather than five and come Friday, I am so happy to be done for the week with 3 days ahead of me.

So, take it from me, don't be afraid to dream and make it happen.  I was so sure that this was not going to be something that would be happening for me.  I had worked out every scenario in my head as to what my boss was going to say as to why my plan wouldn't work.  That was all fear.  Through prayer I got the courage to act and when the time was right, it happened.

Last month's homeless outreach, my sister
Susan and I working the sundae bar for
the residents there!!! Would you like
whipped cream with that??
Let's see, what else?  Our homeless outreach is still happening on a monthly basis.  We'll be at Ascencia, Glendale's homeless shelter this coming Thursday evening. We've been faithfully serving our homeless brothers and sisters there each month, and we are seeing more families with children.  This month is no exception.  Sadly. Want to get involved?   I'm sure there is a shelter in your local area. I'd like to encourage all of you to give them a call and see how you can get involved.  This time of year, I'm sure their needs are even greater as the holidays are approaching the weather is getting colder.  You can offer to serve a meal there, or organize your friends/family to cook dinner for the residents.  You could take it a step further and consider adopting a needy family for the holidays by providing clothing and toys for them for Christmas.  If nothing more, maybe you can drop of yused clothing or canned goods or some furniture for families in transition, I'm sure your help will be welcomed and greatly appreciated.  And if you'd like to donate to our In His Shoes Homeless outreach, please email me directly, and let me know:  anushnoor@gmail.com

This coming Saturday, our In His Shoes outreach group will be walking to raise awareness at Home Walk L.A., and annual event held to raise money and awareness for the homeless in our city.  This year, everything that we raise will be matched, so a $10 donation is like $20!  $50 is $100!  If you'd like to donate, I'll include the link to my donation page on today's show (or click this link!) . 
Our In His Shoes Team of Walkers at Home Walk L.A. 2013
Walking to end homelessness!

And finally, Given that we're in the month of November, and it's the month of Thanksgiving, I'm going to be adding something to be thankful for every day of this month....and I'll share part of it list with you next week....and we'll just keep it going for the month of November, and maybe even beyond!
Share with me!  Leave a comment on my blog about what you're thankful for.

We have so much.  We're so blessed.

1 comment:

Bruce Burr said...

so many memories and great words!!!