Burt’s Bees Ad: #LOVEYOURNATURE, “Silence”

pain let's the light in for all of us

I stumbled on, of all things, a lipstick ad that really speaks to this experience of adjusting to not singing in tune…and now occasionally right on task. I’ve never been a professional in music – but I dreamed of it as a girl. And, as far as coping with life goes, hitting all of the notes, especially in church, was a fail safe relief for almost all of my first forty some years. It wasn’t funny after a while when my kids had to break it to me that I was not just singing too loud in church, but I was way off key, more times than not. I rely on their honesty. But, it’s hard to explain how quickly I, for the most part, got over my fears about the fact that I may lose most of or all of my hearing at some point in time in my later life. Losing some or all of my ability to accurately hear music? That’s a tough one too, but this year I’ve learned to watch and listen and just enjoy. It’s less work anyway.

But, feeling left out, experiencing exile – it’s tough no matter how, or why, or for how long. It’s tough.

about exile.jpg

(photo credit: Beth A. Richardson – thanks Beth 🙂 )

The closed captions are not totally accurate on the lipstick ad that I mentioned so here is a transcript. It is SO beautiful. You don’t have to be thinking about anything other than that life can be challenging to appreciate it – it just happens to also be about the Deaf experience and the joy of singing music in key.

Here is a link to the ad: #LOVEYOURNATURE “Silence”

Burt’s Bees “Silence” ad re: #LoveYourNature

Closed Caption Transcript

(Violin music)

 

In life you have a lot of barriers and you have two choices: you can allow yourself to stay stuck and do nothing, or you can find your way around and experience life.

 

I started performing when I was about four and I was always the singer, but I had problems with my hearing so, losing my hearing was always my biggest fear.

 

When I was in music school I started noticing that I couldn’t understand my teachers. Everything just got quieter and more muddled, and it was just….

 

“poof”…..

 

it was gone.

 

I lost all of my dreams.

 

I lost everything that makes sense.

 

I could have stayed angry and fearful, but I made a choice to face my fears and find happiness again.

(musical tuning sounds)

 

I had to start small, so…I wanted to find the notes.

I started on a journey of feeling vibrations. Through the floor I could feel the drums. And, the bass, I can feel through my chest, and the high frequencies I can feel on my skin, my arms, my face.

(Mandy to accompanist) “I can’t tell if you are playing lower or just louder, so I just kind of want to look. (finger snaps, 1-2-3-4 followed by music). Pull back just a little.”

 

Before I was just terrified to actually sing in front of people, but losing my hearing was my biggest fear. So, now I don’t have that fear holding me back and I just enjoy singing.

Now I feel the music, like I am a part of it, even though I can’t hear it.

 

And….I love that about myself.”

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An Initial Reflection: Son to College, Niece Wedding, and Memorial Anniversary

I knew that celebrating the 9th anniversary of my mother’s passing in the same week that my son moves out and my niece gets married would be intense, but I didn’t know it would look like this:

me, mike em by barn

and the night before like this:

me em rehearsal dinner

Because it used to be like this:

em 3 yo sunflower

 

Mom Jeannie drive way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank God I refound some of the words of Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver last week. We drove many miles and packed a variety of supercharged dynamics, memories, transitions, and situations into a brief few hours, over just a couple of days. A year ago – I would have crumbled…before, during, and particularly after these events and while returning to the complicated and messy day-to-day world that I’ve created of late.

And, somehow, the image of Berry’s “ancient faith” that I posted last week kept me from feeling alone. I kept either a buckeye from Ohio or a shell from my trip to the beach this summer in my pocket at all times. When I had to go with out a pocket on the day of the wedding, I let my mind stick like velcro to a mantra I made up. I needed something besides sugar and coffee to keep me from behaving poorly or thinking tragically.

I went with Mary Oliver:

You don’t have to be good

(with a mental emphasis on the word have)

and added:

but Kate, you have got to be patient.

 

And when I had the sense to exhale, I could try to trust Berry’s advise that

what we need is here.

 

So…easy the weekend wasn’t, but lovely beyond anything, anyone, who is here (as in woke up this morning), could ever dream or create.

And how incredibly funny is it to me that while I’m typing this..from her honey moon…that little sprite of a gal is lighting up my cell phone screen with texts along the line of: “Aunt Kate! It was like a dream! Everything was perfect! Thank You! I love You!”

I’m getting texts from the honeymoon suite..that is so outstandingly adorable and comforting.

I hope she always needs me, because I sure do need her…both of them. All three of us: Me, Mom and our girl Em.

I think it’s time to do the laundry now….

 

 

 

 

 

Found a quote about Fortitude

asl love hands

(artist and source on the internet unknown. Please leave a comment with information if you know who did this awesome work.)

I just came back from breakfast with a new friend.

I am so thankful to be settling in even further into our new community.

We mostly talked about trying to get into shape so that we can enjoy our respective jobs for as long as possible. Somehow the topic of forgiveness came up though, and I just now found this quote that I had jotted in my “get healthy” journal:

“You will always be
the bread
and

the knife,

not to mention the crystal

and-

somehow-

the wine.”

(by poet Billy Collins.

I made the line breaks up myself – something that is a big no, no in the world of poetry…but in the interest of time…there you go.

p.s. I think when I did research on the poem a while ago I found out that he wrote it either because of a painful divorce, or to make fun of sappy break up poetry that is not good literature. I can’t remember which and my son is currently banging a basketball against the wall, so I’d better not dilly dally at the keyboard.

Why Mr. Collins wrote it and what it meant to him at the time does matter… but I like it today because it reminds me of communion and Catholic prayers about the Communion of the Saints.

And I like cheese, and I like wine.)

Reflections from an old Zoo Keeper

Image

More from the book Hannah’s Dream by Diane Hammond that I finished last weekend:

An elderly zoo keeper to her to the man

she entrusts as an elephant caretaker:

” ‘ I’ve lived a long time, Mr. Brown, longer than most. I should be grateful – indeed, I am grateful. And yet, I would give everything, everything, to do it all again.’ …

Max Biedleman stood sihlouetted in the parlor window, silent. Finally she said, ‘Do you know what I’ve been thinking lately? I’ve been thinking that we’re animals, like any others-we senesce, we sink into decrepitude just as they do. But I’ve wondered if it isn’t our special hell that we are able to register the swift passage of time, the lightening speed of it all, and the absoluteness with which it is gone…

indeed, the world is a finer place

when one sees it from the back of an elephant.‘ “

My Family Brought Me Home From the Beach

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Oh.

And this is what they got me for Mother’s Day 2013. I call my sweet new to us ride:

“Monsieur Percy PanFromage”.

In English that means

“Mr. Bread Cheese”.

Don’t tell anyone, but our first trip “to the store” was an accidental side trip to Le Claire, Iowa.

We got a pizza on the way home.

Safe travels to all.

Easter Blessings

I started celebrating Easter last night. This is actually a big NoNo in the Catholic world of me…but it was time.

The good news: cataract #1 is gone and other eye stuff is starting to get better.

Frustrating news: it’s still hard to write.

Have you ever read this line from a poem?

Less infuriating news: reading is getting easier each day.

@goodreads: “You will always be the bread and the knife, not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.”

Couldn’t have been more appropriate to my Palm Sunday and this particular Lent.

It is from a poem, I don’t know the title, by, I think, Billy Collins.

I don’t know who was talking to who, but for me, it was my mom sending me a big lenten and post eye surgery #3 comfort basket.

“As in, it’s okay. Seriously. I am set up to have tea with St.Lucia (patron saint for vision) this afternoon at three o’clock, and we recommend that you wear red to that meeting you have next week. You can do this…you’ve climbed some higher hills than trying to find the bread (which by the way, you did leave a bag full at the bakery, but that’s no problem either).

Oh. Excuse me dear, ‘yes? no. Of course not! I don’t take that kind of sugar in my tea.’ Sorry, I need to go now and work with a weather disaster which could be approaching MOMA. Good luck dear.”

When Truth is Met by Kindness

knittingYesterday I was trying to make it to after school pick up and a very interesting broadcast came on the radio. I only caught a part of it, so I’d like to archive it HERE to be able to listen to or read the full podcast later.

The broadcast was an interview about memory loss.

I wondered if the show would depress me and I considered changing channels. I’m a sucker for a good radio voice and got hooked on the good neuroscience that was being laid out in regular person words.

I dashed into the library to get what I thought was a large print version of The Sun Also Rises by E. Hemingway. To my delight, I’d also accidentally put a hand-held MP3 player on hold that is loaded with the same book. I almost hugged the librarian. I lost my library whisper manners and sort of gushed that she had made my day.

Here’s why:

The truth is this: I found out last week that there is an increased possibility that I have glaucoma. We find out more during this week to come.

In The World According to Mr. Rogers, Fred reminds us that:

“There is no

normal life

that is free of pain.

It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the

impetus for our growth.”

If by chance I do have glaucoma, and am healthy enough to live to be elderly, I could therefore end up blind in one or both eyes when I am well into my grandmothering years. At a minimum, I have  a worrisome few years ahead as they come up with a plan to convince my eyes to be a more cooperative duo.

This is quite dramatic and scary news, agreed?BBbGXzPCAAACd-4

I have multiple vision issues, so of course the hope is that I only have unique peepers that will always be a pain.

“Debbie Downer” that I often am, I’ve been trying hard to reframe my thinking and am trying to focus on the good news that the “all that” and inexpensive eyeglass frames I found last week will rock my world.

About the radio interview: still stoked on a successful half an hour of flopping back and forth in a swimming lane at the Y, back to the van I went with my library goodies. I was excited to report my gadget findings to the friend who recommended the Hemingway book.

Thankfully, that library chore gave me exactly twelve minuteslaundry of pretending that having crappy eyesight that may become UltraCrappy, is just a day in the life.

Those of you on the genetically and fervently pessimistic side of my universe should be proud that I reframed my thinking for even that quarter of an hour. Get this though:

I had five more minutes to kill and turned the radio back on, only to hear a man who just last week was diagnosed with some sort of memory affliction. He was crying uncontrollably. He was loving, and intelligent, and, devastated by this reality, even in its infant stage. He was due to find out more about his test results this week, and I am due to find out more about my test results this week. Since the show was live, I find that interesting.The angst he was crying about wasn’t over himself at all; it was guilt.

He was crying because he might miss out on his golden years, but more so because he didn’t want to confuse or harm his young grandchildren if and when he can’t see them any longer in his own mind’s eye.

What a beautiful man, and a three star grandpa to even think of these things despite, and in the midst of his own impending loss.

“Last month a thirteen-year-old boy abducted an eight-year-old girl; and when people asked him why, he said he learned about it on TV.

 

‘Something different to try’ he said. ‘Life’s cheap; what does it matter?’

 

Well, life isn’t cheap.

 

It’s the greatest mystery of any millennium…

But how do we made our goodness attractive?

By doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own.”

~ Fred Rogers

So, thankfully, kindness and truth met in that fortunate five minutes before I barreled down the city streets to gather my son. The courageous confession of guilt on the radio, even if a projected reality, made me feel less alone in my worries. Even if we work to be the most gracious and diligent patients in the world, there is no way at all to predict how able we will be to manage the impact of our illness on our relationships.

If we can’t predict the illness, how could we possibly predict the impact on our family or our ability to maintain healthy relationships?

sniksjoe25

I really, really value that this sweet man followed his heart and just put his pain and sadness out there for millions of us to hear and feel along with him. My hope is that he is rewarded by good news from his care team, and reassurance from his family that they will not abandon him when the time comes that it is him that needs company, rather than the other way around.

When I woke a few minutes ago, anxious to finish this post, this song came to mind (click here) and I’m hoping that I can have even a portion of the brave attitude that I heard from this gentleman who adores his grandchildren with such intensity.

Prayers for a good week to come for all of us,

Kate

Lucky Girl am I

family 005

Psalm 96:7-10
New International Version (NIV)

7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.

The next couple of weeks mark a couple of important anniversaries for me. The first one is that today is my mother’s birthday. The other is that our youngest son was born eleven years ago, as of this month.

This youngest son asks frequently which ancestor he is more “like.” He has so many great shoes to fill, so I try to down play the question when I can and apply the “Free to Be You and Me” values that my brother and I were raised by:

(Hedging what I’m really thinking) :

 

“Well, let’s see. When Uncle Mike was your age he would have been complaining just like you did a minute ago about only having a hand full over friends over to play rather than the entire dah – gum neighborhood. Go get dressed, we’ll talk about this later”.

What I often think when this one

behaves, misbehaves, entertains and confounds me is:

“Good Lord this one reminds me so much of mom.”

Here is where I’m coming from: outlandish, outspoken, gregarious to a fault most days, ready to debate to the death if it is an issue they value, and expansive at a minimum. They both are, and were the kind of smart that frustrates a kid because he is, and she was the type of child who stays in constant motion. I don’t mean hyper energy as often as the kind which is about finding a personal dance groove while the rest of the world is saying “line up time.”

As a matter of fact just yesterday after school he was relieved about the ending of another school week and was doing a little shimmy in the front seat of the van and telling me to watch, but not really watch. (“Like it or not mom, I’m a preteen now.”)

Payback for having gained those sort of “watching while not watching” skills with his brothers was that after we got home, out there kind of guy that he is, he called me aside to showed me the exact dance move that he used in gym yesterday. I was impressed actually. He also said that they are currently doing basketball, so I said a quick Hail Mary for his young gym teacher and went back to wandering in circles around unfinished chores.

Just a minute ago, while grabbing some food for same said kid, I got to thinking:

Maybe it’s not that they are so much alike, although they are…

maybe it’s that this youngest son and my favorite mom draw me out of myself in the same way.

 

Both of their high fives tend to be all enthusiasm and not very critical. When they feel successful in getting me out “there,” wherever “there” may be – they tend to have a party of their own in the wings so I get a quick “woo hoo” and off they go.

I like that.

The photo above is of me and our neighbor. Pretty gal isn’t she? Lucky girl was, and still am I. Agreed?

Ahh Choo! bless you Mr.President

Corrections! I was a bit over excited and published this post early this morning with a statement that Mr Marrapodi is the pastor appointed by the White House for a benediction – he is one of the journalists I read twitter linked articles about this inaugural controversy. Apologies!

Eric Marrapodi, a CNN belief writer posted this about the pastor who just pulled out of a firestorm:

Giglio represents a new type of evangelical leader who “doesn’t like to get involved in the culture war because it blurs the larger points he wants to make,” said Michael Cromartie, the vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

“What I want to remind his critics is he’s not being named to a Cabinet position,” Cromartie said. “He was being asked to deliver a prayer. All sorts of people deliver prayers who we don’t agree with on a number of issues.”

According to a flurry of twitter posts that twerped to me last night at witching hour (after school and dinner prep) , Mr. Giglio was the pastor recommended and chosen to give a benediction prayer for President Obama in a few weeks at the inauguration. As it turns out, the chosen minister has anti-gay opinions and makes it clear that he feels backed up by God on his moral stand. This is no longer true and is what the chirp fest was about on Twitter. Conversations popped up about who should give this prayer. “Who do YOU want now?” popped up and I immediately suggested a long and funky list of ministry friends and theologians I look up to from afar.

I could really go on a tangent now about how silly that statement from the White House sounds, but I’m not. Religion is not at the heart of culture wars and researching where a person stands on one of the hottest contested ethical debates of the year is not a worthy task?

At any rate. What I’m going to do is ask you to stop reading this post and go find something to drum roll on, because this flurry of online excitement has me hopeful that Mr.President might listen to my pastoral replacement ideas for this wayward bloke. And. I have settled on my decision.

I’m not joking. Get ready to pound because you might hate my choice.

Ready? Okay. Thanks for cooperating.

Wait! If you could, please hold on while I listen one more time to Eva Cassidy singing “People Get Ready.”

oh my GOODNess, yes? You sometimes get goofy happy when you listen to that song too? I knew there was a reason we were friends.

I am too excited to finish this post right now. If that song doesn’t make you want to get up and run to work I won’t hold it against you. I will gather my wits, at least some of them, and

“God willing and the creek don’t rise,” I’ll get some more time to write later today.

(p.S. please get a flu shot – it’s not too late and will likely not make you even sneeze afterwards)