Category Archives: Family

Hibernate – Activate

This blog has been hibernating.  A season of change since we were in Florence unfolded across our lives like a map to the pirates’ trove.  Ben and I have found treasure, challenge, and new life in the intermission.   All the while, I questioned the validity of this blog.  Lacking a clear focus, the default subject becomes my moods, my life observations.  I dislike self-publishing as a vehicle to vent, or to sing my own praises, so when I’m feeling insecure or über-excited, or too busy to reflect on what I’m up to, I just want to stay quiet.  But in the apparent quell, I’ve been an active dreamer.

Dreams–those subconscious goals and desires of the heart–arrest the dreamer.  Though she sleeps, insight dawns.  In hibernation mode, this blog cried out with the original intent: but what color is love?  Artist Marc Chagall knew that love is a color of hope and vivacity, a color that triumphs despite pain, evil regimes, and cruel death.  Ever my hero, Chagall’s words remind me to press through the indecision.  Weave the story.  Hook the reader.  Edify the hearts.  Any of you who write, paint, compose or choreograph know what I’m talking about.  Your art form will compel you to awaken once again.  Your mission will resurface.  Your dreams will direct you to complete the path you started.

Sometimes delay – whether caused by hibernation, procrastination, or the vagaries of life – is the path.  It is key to the mission and lends depth to the message.  A bear hibernates to conserve energy.  At the threat of life’s “winters,” humans prioritize.  A new baby demands our full-time care.  A husband’s career requires relocating and reorienting.  A step-child needs to be schlepped hither and thither.  Someone is ill.  Financial pressure puts us in survival mode.  Whatever the cause, delay happens.  But the dream will not stay dormant forever.

This past weekend we celebrated a full-circle story.  It was the story of a women who dreamed of becoming an artist.  A beautiful girl who married young, loved much, and birthed three amazing people into the world.  A lady so skilled with her hands she can weave tapestry, craft intricate jewelry and cleverly cook up almost any cuisine.  All in one day.  Her paintings adorn our home and countless others.  Oversized watercolors that speak of skill and secret knowing as she has honed her artist’s eye for many years.

On the wall of my bedroom, one of her recent works tells of Aaron our son, me his mother, and the interwoven lines of a 16th century Da Vinci drawing.  The image inspires me constantly.  A visual reminder that we are surrounded by a cloud of unseen witnesses.  An emblem of the spiritual strength we can impart to others younger than us, and receive from those who’ve gone before.  It’s a portrait of generational blessing, of tenderness and fortitude.

Watercolor by Mindy Faubion, 2013

Watercolor by Mindy Faubion, 2013

The artist, the heroine of this story, is my husband’s mother Melinda.  I am indebted to her for choosing the delay of her art-school dream, in order to care for her firstborn Ben.  If it wasn’t for her choice, perhaps Ben and I would never have met.  Interestingly my own mother also took about 30 years to complete her art degree, finishing in 2004 at the Laguna College of Art and Design.  My mom’s choice, like Mindy’s, became key to the story of how I met my true love.  Adding depth to the delay, theirs was the fruitfulness of apparent dormancy.   New generations and restorations arose from their journey.

If Ben and I are about anything in common, it is our conviction about art, faith and creativity.  We were raised by women who imparted their dream despite the delays.  As a result, the dream multiplied.  Now there are children, grandchildren and spouses who each love art and creativity in their own way.  Writers, photographers, a cosmetologist, entrepreneurs, painters, educators, tech-design artists, musicians.

Ben and his mom, Mindy, during Ben's BFA program at LCAD

Ben and his mom, Mindy, during Ben’s BFA program at LCAD

We are creative mothers and fathers ourselves now.  Passing on the legacy of our brave moms and dads.  Like them, we carry the seeds of our dreams on life paths that may seem indirect.  Wisdom prompts us not to judge success or failure too early.  Let the journey unfold.  Embrace the twists and turns.  And no matter what, don’t bury the treasure of your dreams.  But even if you do, trust that God has a map to guide you back.  As they say, X marks the spot.

Shalom.  Merry Christmas.  With lots and lots of love, in whatever color you feel it.

 

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Gnocchi and Valentines

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Valentines Day.  Most people take firm sides of either loving or hating this classic holiday.  I’m one who falls massively on the love side of the scale.  A whole day dedicated to expressing affection! What could be more ‘Becca-like?  As a kid I delighted in the endless pile of tiny envelopes you got to open, always hopeful for the ones containing a foil wrapped chocolate or powder coated message-candy.  And while I greatly admired my classmates who managed to make 31 handmade valentines, the store bought variety with Winnie the Pooh or Snoopy or Cinderella handing out hearts and balloons were just fine by me too.

This year I think my delight meter burst in the red over St. V’s day…not surprisingly the Bebe had some part to play.  But actually the most expansive part of this past Tuesday was that several people–old friends from college, my dear Mummy, gals from my Bible study group and my former boss–all made efforts to say hello and express love in some special way.  It was like a grown-up version of what I so enjoyed in elementary school: Valentines Day is for everybody, not just lovers.

Of course the romantic, make-sure-you-have-a-date pressure of Valentine’s Day can be a major drag.  When you are single, V-Day can feel like the day of dire desperation or sinking cynicism. One year I got so befuddled I actually tried to find an ex-boyfriend who had since moved to New York to pursue acting, and ended up leaving a needy-sounding message on the machine of some dude with the same name.  Yep, that was me.

What I decided to do this year was surprise my husband with a home-cooked dinner and an intriguingly romantic and creative atmosphere.  So I made meyer-lemon gnocchi (from scratch no less!) while baby sat in his bouncy seat wondering what I was up to.  And Ben surprised me with a hand made garland of origami hearts, each one containing a promised outing, adventure, or gift.   Smashing dahling!  This is a year to remember!

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Healing Hands

 

Jessica Day is a friend of mine who's got the healing touch

He touched their eyes and then He said, according to your faith be it done unto you. (Matthew 9:29)

I’ve been pondering the significance of touch lately.  On the natural plane, I’ve noticed that my son Aaron responds so well to massage as a pain relief method.  I got the idea from my childbirth preparation classes.  Jackie, the instructor, emphasized the importance of touch and/or massage from a loved one and I can say from experience that it really did help me manage the pain of labor.  Similarly, since Aaron has started teething, I find that sometimes the best remedy is distraction via massage on his legs, arms, or tummy.  I notice that he responds to the loving intent of this touch as well.  As if healing energy were indeed being transmitted.  As if the human touch was a form of prayer.

This made me think about Jesus, walking around in Judea back in the day.  Constantly reaching out and healing people with the laying on of hands.  All people: good men, bad men, rich men, poor men, women and children.

With the lens of being a new mom, I see Jesus’ compassion more viscerally.  He was getting His holy hands dirty, wiping away people’s pain.  He didn’t distance himself.  He came close.   He reached out and combined the Words from the Father’s heart with the flesh of His human hands.

Twice last week I received prayer and both times, it came with laying on of hands.  The warmth of human touch.  But there was something else as well.  Each time, the words spoken were healing even as the energy that flowed through the hands.   Each time I experienced the compassion of Christ shining through the eyes of His people as if He really were right there, guiding the time of prayer.  And each time I went away changed – perhaps not with the immediacy of a “miracle,”  but with the evidence of inner peace and courage within.  So if nothing else today I want to encourage everyone who prays to know that you are making a difference, for your relationship with God is shining through when you pray.  And your hands become holy hands of Love when you reach out to lift the burden of another and bring it to God.

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A Song of Ascents

Every once in awhile a prayer rises within me and it’s so wholehearted I know the origin is deeper than self-will.  It’s more like a groan of the Spirit, pulling at every sinew and blood vessel with an unexplained longing.  Maybe that is what Jesus meant when He told us that anything we ask for in His name He will do for us (John 14:14).   The prayer rises up like a bird beating against our chest, longing to be free.  In such cases you know it is His initiative.

My prayer was this: to be set free from depression, envy and all the junk that can emotionally annihilate me at Christmastime.   For love to pour out where in the past there’s been a lot of bitterness and blockage.  I wanted to genuinely connect with my dad and step mom up in Santa Cruz, even if it was only over the phone.  I wanted my mom in Laguna Beach and my brothers far and wide to know how amazing I think they are, and how invaluable their love is to me.  I wanted to be fully present with my in-laws in Dallas.  To feel comfortable just being myself and at the same time open to getting to know them on a deeper level.

By mid-December things began to line up.  A good friend shared with me how it feels to be a step mom and constantly rejected by your husband’s children.  I thought about how fruitless it is to hold one another hostage for being human and having messy family trees.  It’s not like anyone fantasizes about being a “broken home” or a “second wife” or an older single person.   It isn’t anyone’s first choice.  But every day we have a choice whether or not to forgive one another.  Every day we have a choice whether or not to receive the Love of our Creator and let Him re-create us in wholeness. It’s a wild ride if we choose to take it; freedom beckons on the other side.

This year, it seems the freedom ride chose me.  Throughout the holidays I found more and more connection with the people in my family, both on my side and my husband’s.  In the past the holidays have shrouded me in sadness, sense of lack, envy and unforgiveness.  But this year, pretty much all I could feel was whole.  It was like sitting in a circle of people and this golden light falling on everything, making it beautiful and soft and transcendent.

Which brings me to the Psalms of Ascents.  While in Dallas I kept thinking about Psalm 133 which speaks of a kind of family connectedness, a spirit of unity which is truly God-breathed.   I asked my father-in-law Allen about the wording.  Why the oil dripping from Aaron’s beard?  Allen, a pastor and Biblical scholar, broke it down for me this way:

What does oil signify?  Anointing.  Blessing.  Consecration.  Aaron’s role as high priest, the mediator between God and man.   Psalm 133 is the image of the oil being so thick it is pouring off Aaron’s beard and his clothes.  It’s a picture of the place where God’s blessing has saturated the atmosphere and people are in harmony with each other because of it.

Allen explained further that Psalm 133 is a Psalm of Ascent, part of a group of psalms about spiritual pilgrimage.  Part of the journey of Ascent is coming into your identity which involves aligning with those you’re supposed to be connected with in the Lord.

I loved this interpretation because it confirmed my experience.  Where there had been subtle but significant road blocks in my sense of unity with the people in my family, suddenly I was experiencing breakthrough.  And it really did feel like an atmospheric change.  Like finding myself in a place where the “oil” of reconciliation was raining down in abundance.  What is so awesome about this is that without the “oil dripping down from Aaron’s beard,” I often miss the opportunity to truly connect.  Potentially vital relationships stay surface-level.  And without this God-breathed unity, I won’t know how to fulfill my destiny.   I can’t quite make the ascent.   Our traveling companions, so to speak, are all around us, but we need this heavenly anointing to release the truth.

Behold how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to sit together in unity

It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard,

Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes (Psalm 133:1-2)

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Sle-e-ep in Heav-en-ly Peace

A week or so before Christmas I was pondering my purpose in life.  I was disappointed with the reality that no matter how hard I try to be efficient, I just can’t seem to get much done besides being Mamma.  Some days, just getting a load of laundry completely through, or getting the dishes from table to dishwasher feels heroic.  The interruptions of baby Aaron are frequent and imperative.  Not that I’m complaining.  Being a mother trumps any experience or achievement real or imagined in my life so far.  Just holding him is a sweet reward.  Yet I persist in wavering between pure surrender to the fleeting moments of motherhood and the voice of the self-critic that says I’m not doing enough to validate my freedom, my time, my education, etc. etc.

So, while nursing the wee babe I decided to journal.  I figured by asking the question: “what am I supposed to be doing with my time right now” the answer would manifest.  I wanted to search the Scriptures for answers, but my Bible is unwieldy.  Too big for balancing with the baby on my lap, especially when he’s focused on his all-important task of eating.  Meanwhile the good hormones released by breastfeeding had begun to work a marvelous calm in me.  When Aaron finished eating I decided to lay him down on my bed and sleep next to him for 15 minutes or so.  My face was right next to the baby, so we were looking eye to eye, so focused I could see my own reflection in the blue-black of his iris and pupil.

We both fought sleep in order to keep staring, but it was a losing battle.  Aaron succumbed first.  Sleep washed over him like a soft wave and I admired how his wide lids and long lashes are so perfectly formed.  Cheeks full and flushed with life.  Lips slightly open.  I could feel cool air on my face and looked up thinking it was the ceiling fan, but the fan was off.  It was the breath from baby’s nostrils.  And then he reached with his hand, still so hard for him to control, and it landed like a gentle smack across my nose.  Palm to Palm is holy palmer’s kiss (Romeo & Juliet, Act 1 scene 5).  Smack to the nose is baby Aaron’s kiss.

I got to thinking the intimacy between us as mother and son was so seasonally appropriate.  The image of Madonna and Child–an icon of Christmas–is kind of an ordinary event.  A portrait of a woman holding her child and contemplating the mystery and the miracle of his life.  For us as women it is also an expression of Emmanuel.  Just as the Spirit hovered over Mary, God-is-with-us, dignifying, sancifying and blessing our everyday acts of love toward our children and other family members.  Mary had prophesied over herself: “henceforth all generations shall call me blessed“; I believe she was also symbolically prophesying over all womankind.  We too are blessed to be agents of heavenly peace.   We carry this Peace when we welcome the love of God for us and within us, allowing that Love to spill over into the lives of the people around us.

Thank You Aaron, for being my son.  Thank You Jesus, for coming as a helpless baby.  Thank You Father, for sending Him to us in this way and affirming forever the dignity of every mother’s work.  Thank You for the blessing of this sacred time in my life, when I am called to contemplate the peaceful face of an infant and even to see through his tender eyes a new image of myself.  Thank You for this beautiful portion of Heavenly Peace.

 

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Natural Talent

talent  (ˈtælənt)— n
1. innate ability, aptitude, or faculty, esp when unspecified; above average ability: a talent for cooking ; a child with talent
2. a person or persons possessing such ability
3. any of various ancient units of weight and money
4. informal  members of the opposite sex collectively, esp those living in a particular place: the local talent
5. an obsolete word for inclination

[Old English talente,  from Latin talenta,  pl of talentum  sum of money, from Greek talanton  unit of money or weight; in Medieval Latin the sense was extended to ability through the influence of the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14–30)]


There is a quality of egoless perfection in a person exercising their talent.  Egoless because they are so full of joy in doing what they were designed to do that there is very little self-consciousness or striving.   This is how I felt when I watched my beautiful sister-in-law Emilie help take care of my son Aaron.  She has rare talent for care-giving, whether it be of animals or of little people.  It’s as if she can sense what they need and patiently she responds to that need with beautiful skill.  A talent, I think, often overlooked in our society, but never more urgently needed.

I suppose most talents are visible early on in life.  Take Alexa Richter, for example.  She is 4 and a half years old, and already it is clear she has a keen sensitivity to infants.  She was so helpful with Aaron when she was visiting us for Thanksgiving, expressing both a capacity for learning about how to care for him, as well as great intuition about what he might need.  I look forward to seeing her talent come into full bloom as she grows up!

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Calm Evening

I love you Ben Faubion (my husband, best friend, counselor, creative partner, fellow traveler, muse)!  Tonight after Aaron went to sleep we listened to a few chapters of A Tale of Two Cities on Audible.  We’re debating whether to get a TV…on one hand it would be nice to see Netflix on a screen larger than our iPad or laptops; on the other hand, not having the big screen forces us to be more creative with our down time…listening to great literature or to Ben’s latest Blues riff on the guitar, for example.

I suppose the bigger issue is how to maintain and cultivate an atmosphere of calm creativity in our home.  As Aaron grows up, I want him to be a kid who knows how to use all of his senses, especially his sense of imagination.  I want him to know how to entertain himself and his friends via his own creativity, as well as having the capacity to sit back and enjoy media created by our society.

This means Ben and I need to continue to model it.  How do we spend our free hours?  Are we engaged in meaningful dialogue with each other?  Have we made our home an environment that reflects both of our styles and interests, but nonetheless harmonizes in a satisfying way?  Do we spend our time productively, challenging each other to grow past our fears and insecurities and truly live out our calling?  Do we know how to rest together and just be?

Giving Thanks

This year I have so much to be grateful for, it is hard to know where to begin.  By far, the biggest blessing is our son Aaron.  As Ben and I look at him, we can’t believe we’ve been entrusted with something so pure.  It’s a sacred trust, according to my good friend Judith Montgomery.  The life-giving energy of a new baby is so profound, it reaches back into your past and changes the way you view the future.  I see my mother and father with a newfound gratitude, a sense of overwhelming love. It’s like this sweet grace poured out over all of our human shortcomings, because in spite of them, a new life has come forth, through us.

This year we celebrated with our dear friend Irena Polic, her adorable and rambunctious twin 4-year olds, my mom Bobbi, and my big brother Jesse. Irena lived with my family when she was a senior in high school (I was a freshman), and we’ve been crazy about her ever since.  She is Croatian, beautiful, brilliant and a fabulous example of a woman who balances career and motherhood.  It’s amazing to look at us, just teenagers when we first met, and here we are, both moms of sweet young children.

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