Saturday, February 7, 2015
"Still far away
From where I belong
But it's always darkest
Before the dawn
..But I know
No matter what it takes
I'm coming home
I'm coming home
Tell the world that I'm coming home..."
Praying my two beautiful children will come home soon, and the pain of yesterday will be washed away. Mommy loves you always. I thank God for you both, and pray He will bring you home soon. I am so sorry we have to be apart. I will never stop fighting for you. And never stop loving you.
Tu es mi corazon. xoxox Mommy xoxox
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Every little girl dreams of her fairy tale ending... The grass and mud splattered across her jeans were an attempt to catch the frog that hopped into the long grass with a rude croak; he was not destined to be her prince.
Every little girl has a bedroom filled with dolls of all sizes and shapes, each one given a name and the unconditional love of a child who dreams of one day being a "mommy" that will hold a real baby. Sometimes she dreams of being a school teacher or a nurse, and on the best days she is a rock star. Her dolls are always there--as pupil, patients and adoring fans.
And sometimes...those dreams of happily-ever-after don't always turn out the way you wanted or the way you thought they would.
My daughter (and son) is growing up without a mother. I did not leave my children. In fact I had no choice at all. An unjust court ruling, and a vindictive ex stole my children away. The love for my children never leaves my heart. I pray for them every day. And when I go to the store, they are with me when I shop for meals they will never eat.. or wander in the toy section imagining what toys they like to play with. They are with me in the empty rooms, as dust gathers on their toys. I have dreams too...dreams that they will one day my children will come home, and our family will be reunited.
I am posting this video to say... keep hope alive. Your dreams may not turn out the way you want, life may have its twists and turns but one thing is for sure and that is real, unconditional love.
-- Daylen Swift
"The Fork" https://www.feeln.com/films/thefork
Saturday, January 24, 2015
No one is complete without a family
Family is the basic role of our world,
every person's deepest need
is a good and established
so make your family strong and happy
and be rich with memories.
Source: "I Love My Family" post: https://plus.google.com/105527436782871369678/posts/H8iBg8rhGZC?pid=6107869669511711346&oid=105527436782871369678
Sunday, December 21, 2014
This song reminds me of my amazing firstborn son, Bear. He is kinda eccentric like this song. And very tender-hearted. I love that Bear holds my hand when we go shopping at the Mall. And he still curls up in my lap and asks me about "the gold in his hair" - a story I made up for him as a child. Bear you are a blessing, and I am so proud of you!! xoxo Mommy xoxox
The first gift of Christmas was a simple gift given by a father to all his children, to us. He gave us His son, the Christ. He is the gift. This Christmas season, how will you share the gift?
One of the clients (my job is home health care) I work with is Polish, and knowing of my own Polish heritage, she enjoys sharing with me stories of the traditional Polish customs. She also speaks Polish fluently, and shares songs and prayers.
One of the stories she shared with me is the Polish tradition of sharing of the Oplatek (op-wa-tek) or Christmas wafer, which is done on Christmas Eve. The tradition dates back hundreds of years, and was passed from my client's ancestors to own her family, who lived on a farm in the rural Midwest.
Christmas Eve or Wigilia, marks the end of Advent for Polish families, and is usually a day of fasting so the meal would not include meat. Advent is a time to remember the real reason for Christmas, people try not to have an excess of anything and give up their favorite foods and drinks. Typical foods served for Advent in Polish families include dumplings, beetroot soup, gingerbread and fish.
Advent also is a time when families begin to thoroughly clean their home to prepare for Christmas. My Mom also did this--disinfecting the floor with lemon cleaner, scrubbing cupboards, and arranging the Nativity scene to be displayed prominently in the center of our living room were some of her cleaning activities. Cleaning was a festive time because Mom would sing and dance to Christmas music while cleaning--her favorite was Motown Christmas, and "Christmas on Sesame Street" for my brother and I. There was a large, oval woven rug in the middle of the living room floor that I clearly remember Mom dancing on, often she picked up our cat Hooper as her dance partner, swaying to the music. My brother and I were given Advent calendars to remind us of the holiness of the season, and mark the passage to Christmas. Also, in my own family, Christmas Eve was a time for a family reunion and celebration. My Mom comes from a large family and we always gather on Christmas Eve, and later in the evening, attend Mass.
My client says that on Christmas Eve her family would gather at the table for a meal, and before they ate they would say grace then pass the oplatek around the table. The oplatek is a thin, flavorless wafer made of flour and water. The oplatek is rectangular in shape and embossed with images of the Holy Family or the Nativity Scene. The oplatek is shared with one family member to another, who breaks then offers a blessing or asks for forgiveness. It is a time to tell family members that you love them, or ask for forgiveness and make peace.The oplatek is shared around the table until every member has shared it. When the oplatek is eaten, it is a sign that the blessing or forgiveness has been accepted. My client said that when her children grew older, they would break the oplatek then go in a private room to talk, catching up on recent events or laughing over memories shared.
What a beautiful tradition! I am so thankful my client shared this with me, I am excited to begin this tradition with my own children, and rekindle our connection to our Polish heritage.
~ Daylen Swift, 2014
"Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That is Oh So Sweet" by Sarah Zielinski: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/12/19/167650665/polish-christmas-wafer-a-flavorless-tradition-that-s-oh-so-sweet
"Catholic Activity: Oplatek, Old Polish Custom" by Catholic Culture.org: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=283
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Sea turtles live in almost every ocean, all around the world. Loggerhead sea turtles have been on Earth for 250 million years and are related to the dinosaurs. “Loggerhead” sea turtles are known for their big, clunky head and large beak. The Loggerhead shell is golden brown, like honey, and their skin ranges in color from yellow to brown.
After birth, Loggerhead sea turtles head into the sea, where they spend most of their life. Sea turtles spend their day eating and resting. Sea turtles can sleep under water, curled up under rocks or in reefs. Or, they float on top of the water with their fins pulled back, and laying against their shell.
Sea turtles spend most of their lives alone, but there are short periods of time where turtles “date”. A female Loggerhead is usually ready to breed after 30 years (can you imagine if your parents made you wait that long to date! Haha – kidding). Sometimes male turtles fight over a female turtle they really like. Dating for a turtle involves play fighting—a turtle may gently bite another or bump shells (kinda like bumping fists!).
After this, the male stays at sea while the female goes to land to build a nest and lay eggs.
Loggerhead sea turtles are known to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles from its feeding ground to its nesting place, this is called “migration”. Scientists are not sure how sea turtles map their migration but guess that sea turtles may be able to read the Earth’s electromagnetic fields, and use that to find their way. Zzap!
When a Loggerhead is ready to build her nest, there is only one place she will go—back to the very same beach she was born! After 30 years, the Loggerhead will somehow know, over thousands of miles of endless blue sea, how to find the way back home. At night, Loggerhead will leave the water to make a nest on land, which she makes by digging a hole in the sand with her flippers. The female Loggerhead will lay between 50-200 eggs, each the size of a golf ball, and then hide her nest to keep it safe. The sea turtles are very fragile animals so out of the many eggs hatched, few turtles actually survive.
After two months, the eggs hatch and the baby Loggerheads make their way back to the sea (this happens when temperatures are cool, between the time the sun goes down, until it comes up again). The baby Loggerheads wait until the sun goes down then use the light of the stars and moon shining off the water to find their way into the sea. The baby Loggerheads will swim back into the sea and will drift on the currents for many years, eating and resting and growing.
- Daylen Swift
Sea Turtle Conservancy: http://www.conserveturtles.org
(Greek Island Sea Turtles) Zante Carretta Caretta Loggerhead Turtles: http://www.explore-zakynthos.com/zakynthos_caretta_caretta_loggerhead_turtles_zante.htm