I Will Be Seeing Birds this Weekend. You?

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(I found this on Pintrest, not managing to find a link to the artist)

My friend and I are celebrating her birthday today. We’ve just now decided that our party needs to become a weekend long event. Originally, my idea was that we would go for a walk in our respected cities at some point today, July the 19th. I thought we could then report back to each other. Last week I got confused about which Friday of this month is her “real” birthday, and this gave me an extra week to look forward to the event.

Then, while cleaning out and reorganizing our small home office, I found two empty packages that were addressed to my birthday pal 74695_10151704767788810_1935768133_nand one to a common best friend who is a bird watcher as well. I felt terrible. The package intentions were to make three copies of some great music as a token of my regret that our friend’s brother had died very unexpectedly.

Clearly, I never even sent him a card.

So, on my desk was a sealed and ready to mail birthday card that included a cute cow finger puppet and some raspberry flavored dark chocolate. A sad reminder of the mounting grief of each of our adult lives: the music-less and card-less packages are from, I’d guess, a year ago.

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(copyright protected image by Kathy Hare, which can be found on Pintrest or at www.moongazinghareillustration.blogspot.com)

The news is good despite my failed condolence effort. Along with the birthday card, I sent quick and goofy birthday party invitations to both friends inviting them to try and do some birdwatching today as a sort of global birthday effort. I spoke with our friend yesterday when he called confused and said, basically: “Kate…what are the two of you up to now?” and, “you are inviting me to do what? when? are you sure that….”1044995_10151704769978810_2086162894_n

It was great. I’d not heard his voice in well over 25 years and the friendship dynamics are the same as when we were teenagers: he is sweet and a bit wary of our complicated and some times outlandish ideas for a fun time, and she and I just go about our merry way and laugh at what a job it can be at to distract him from his tasks at hand.

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For me, sweet memories of being the age of my young adult sons are experiencing now, is condolence enough. I should be so lucky that, despite the gaping hole of time and life which has kept the three of us from a lazy evening together watching a sunset on Lake Erie, cliff swallows will certainly swarm back to their nest holes this evening. Even better, we each remain nature lovers in our respectively hectic households.

While I am not at all positive that any of our three work and family lives will allow more than a brief stroll, or a few moments of window gazing today,

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I have faith that in her wisdom, the Holy Spirit will interrupt our day, and hopefully weekend, with some lovely and surprising bird sightings, and a moment of laughter to preserve the moment. This I believe.

Is Joy Deeper Than Happiness?

The Davenport Iowa River Bandits Rally in the Rear of the Game with a Home Run powered by cheers from their best fan Joe!

“Joy, deeper than happiness, is a virtue that finds its foundation in the knowledge that we are loved by God.”

~ Fr. James Martin, SJ,

from  Between Heaven and Mirth

Forgiveness Friday: Speaking for Myself, ‘I did that.’

“Give yourself grace,

but also hold yourself accountable.” ~ Jeff Goins

I just put my pen down from a little bit of journaling, and guess what I just realized?

I’ve mentioned that my husband and I moved with two of our three sons to Iowa. Actually we’ve, this week I think, hit our one year anniversary of living in our new house and town. We also successfully moved our oldest son to Dayton Ohio to an apartment about three hours north of our small town and country home and rural life.

The realization? I’ve not written here about how this career opportunity for my husband landed several of us smack in the middle of our personal field of dreams. Nor have I explained the extreme transition from country to city. I think it’s been more of a mention in passing.

After a year, I know that now.

As one of my son’s friends would say: “We live close to the field, for realzies.”

No. Really. The mom of this kid who is a dynamite athlete on Joe’s little league team told us that the farm that was the set for the movie Field of Dreams is about two hours from here.

So, I say myself, to me and I: “How’s come? If this blog is supposed to be about grace and you were struggling with the transition when you started this writing project, why not write about the baby foxes and magical dew on your porch? Why not go on about the early morning sound of metal scrapping the road as a cattle trailer drags down your one lane road? About how cool it was to say, with eyes closed, ‘Yup, Cluxtons are going by. Must have some calves.’ Or about how joyful it was to know that spring had come and the winter mud would soon dry?”

I couldn’t.

I just couldn’t.

I think I can now. Now our family of five has made it through a year of transition. We still have all of our limbs, the sky hasn’t yet fallen in, and apparently our entire hearts didn’t break with the fear and sadness, just little parts. Even the little parts of broken heart seem to be healing for each of us as we settle into the corners of our individual field of dreams.

Speaking for myself,

I did that.

I did that work of grief that is almost all about personal accountability. It’s like how our son who is a runner quickly dropped his mile per minute time last summer and fall. He’d not met a soul. And yet, Will didn’t do it by just meeting some cool guys and cute gals that ran with him. It certainly wasn’t the hundreds of dollars that running shoes demand. It’s not like other sports. Runners don’t run plays or pass balls on the running trail.

They run.

I can start to wax sentimental about what I was sure for years, 20 years actually, that I could never leave behind.

I can now, because I got up and ran my mom miles this spring. I can look back on some unexpected difficult trail turns and say, “I did that.” Pardon a brief brag, but you know, I didn’t make it through this particular spring with my eyes closed. Our youngest son seemingly suddenly, started having some transition troubles at school. It created, for me, yet another (thankfully temporary) heartbreak.

For me as a mom, it was like what I would guess a trail runner would feel if when on an unfamiliar trail, just when you start to get some relief in the form of an end of the run high, suddenly a unicorn butt pops up in the form of crappy mud mile.

When our little guy Joe started having some hard days coping at school this spring, I was on the verge of getting my “I’m a writer” badge in gear. I joined a local writing group, announced to the budget committee that mom is going to writing camp this summer, started writing two books, and generally said to myself,

alrighty then, here I am. Game on.

Did I resent and whine and groan that my needs and dreams had to go on the shelf again over the needs of one of the kids, for, I didn’t know how long?

Does Kevin Costner still make many America’s middle age women say meow? Umm. Yes. They do.

So, yeah.

It took a lot of work, but last night when our little guy was kicking up dust after the game I was glued to the chair with exhaustion, it was okay.  He was with new Iowa best friend #3, after having played for a bit with former bests friends #1 and #2, and with potential other neighborhood best friends #4 and #5.

And I’m not sure. But I think I agreed to let them all come over this afternoon to play.

Game on.

Declare

I find this

Celibacy and Gay Priests

article to be very interesting. I’ve not time to watch the video right now, but am a fan of Jesuit priest and writer Fr. James Martin.

I came across him and his perspective, actually, about things relating to mental health and humor in videos with psychology and spirituality writer Therese J. Borchard.

This article is not about, nor I’m certain, meant to spur humorous conversation.

I could go on, but baseball practice is in two shakes of a lambs tail, so for now, I’ll say that if wishes were beggars I’d ride on a nice long email exchange with Fr. Martin about an imaginary battle, debate, conversation with Pope Benedict XIV.

The writing challenge by Jeff Goins I’ve entered suggests on day one to write a “manifesto” that I am a writer, and to either have a real conversation or send it to someone that would make me nervous.

His one word advise is to DECLARE, not justify, that I am a writer.

So, because of time limitations, I am messaging this post to Fr. Martin on FB, bringing my knitting to baseball, and continuing my imaginary discourse with the Holy Father on why I refuse, thus far, to say “grievous” in Church for the time being. (The vatican under Pope Benedict has made some word changes in our Mass which seem to be a great blessing to some, and great frustration to others).

This guy (Fr. Martin) is, like, pretty famous among famous Catholic writers. So, yeah, even sending the guy a tweet makes me a little bit nervous.

I do declare tho, what the heck, yes?

 

Weddings and Plumbers

continue to be amazed that the toilet repair a few weeks ago was $300

Check

Get new purse, dress and sticky note to try and remember new lipstick for next weekend and fall weddings for our ring bearer and flower girl #3

check        check

Lose much sleep in the past week with such worries and amazements at the number of young adult rites of passages and dwell on the cost and confusion of such ruminations.

check

Forget to take the puppy out and notice, while belly laughing about goofy plumbers with a friend whose family set and life is approximately exactly the same stress load, that my fuzzy darling has just emptied his bladder all over son’s bed….

grunt.

Traveling home, recieving visitors and juggling lots of camps and baseball in the month of June.

phew (wipes the sweat of family joy and life from brow)

Funny Things that I’ve Heard from Nine Year Olds This Week

Wow!!

It is like, SO, spring here in the Midwest dude…beautiful to see, but always makes me, yawn, tired.

Okay…here are some funny quotes that I’ve heard from nine-year olds this week, mostly on the theme of boy vs. girl.

man/boy/baseball chatter chatter….then…

“…and the thing is that I think it’s not fair that Disney only makes girly movies because, boys are half the world’s population!”

on Justin Bieber and a Twitter thing this week where he is apparently trying to gain the nickname “Bielieber”…

“Me??? Heck no I’m not a belieber…” yada chat, chat…looks in mirror at fresh crew cut…

“yeah, he is ONLY popular from the second grade on down because he so medialicious” (which is not a good thing…I think, though that sounds like a good milkshake title to me)…

More chatter about something or another that is, sports vs. not sports and women/girls vs. men/boys….(I was trying to look like I was still listening, but was really trying to remember if I had turned on the crock pot)…which ended up in a comment or question related to girls or women and our

habitats.

The funniest chuckle was at Great Clips where a family with a grandpa, dad, boy, and girl were getting hair cuts for dad and boy. Grandpa and girl (looked 9 to me) were chatting and she was doing some prancing in the lobby, not to get attention, but because it is spring.

When the brother, (12 or so), came back and took her phone, etc as older sibs do, she completely owned him and the rest of the fam by just TOUCHING his head and saying

“hmm. well YOU are all wrinkly now.”

Sometimes texture just rules, you know?