I Have a Lenten Plan…..

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(image from This Quiet Lady by Anita Loebel

In a flurry of trying to call in sick to work and the college class I’m taking, two of the texts I got back said:

1: Yikes!

and the other:

2: Feel better.

I’ve decide that these three words are going to somehow become my theme for this year’s Lenten observance. I’m not sure what will come of these thoughts. But, one of the good things about having bursts of unthinkable busyness is that it gives something to reflect on when those calendar pages are done and turned.

If life were different I would challenge myself to blog along the way to this Easter.

My intuition tells me to stay focused on the marathon spring ahead for our family, and enjoy that circus until school’s end.

A teaching mentor and dear friend who held me on his shoulders when I was a wee lass sets those boundaries to prevent total exhaustion. Creative juices go wild in the summer. This was my mother’s creative calendar too now that I think of it…

In any case. I miss the solitude of connecting with others and the spirit while writing and posting, yet am so thankful for the way life has fallen together for me and interrupted my blogging journal tool.

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Grace is God’s Unmerited Favor

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“Grace is God’s unmerited favor.”

I’m going to go ahead and claim that I wrote that sentence, even though it is part of my six month old scribbled notes that I made while on Wikki (of all places). I was working on a tab for this blog which explains why I would pick an often uncute theme: grace.

Wait! Red light! Am I tiptoeing around the stickiest theological debate of all time – for me anyway: Exactly where do toil and grace meet?

Know what I mean (jellybean)?

And…who, how, when and where is grace found? And why…of course we ask over and over, is toil and suffering so often what we associate with the experience of God being in our midst?

Let’s just put that on the chalkboard for now:

“Def.: Grace = God in our midst.”

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So, let me explain

Tangent: here’s why I’m bogging down your computer with huge photos:

 

I just want to.

Want to bog mine down anyway. I was lucky enough to have scored a job for a couple of months at the end of the school year and that was a really wonderful experience. My title was “Communication Coach” for a Kindergarten student who is hard of hearing.

If I can get back into a routine to blog more often, I’d love to share more about my experience. It was just what I didn’t know I was praying for.

The huge pictures in this post? Because as soon as I signed my contract, I treated myself to a new printer that has a scanner so that I can try and organize old photos.

So far, what I have is an office and moving boxes that are a jumble of…

a jumble. In a room with stinky carpet.

(insert music or images that lead you to toil and suffer,

if my friend, you are on my side…)

I am still committed to try and not write more than a few hundred words per post, but for now, as I brush away some midlife cobwebs, I need to see these snippets in biggie size. Image

“Oh, you weak, beautiful people who give up on such grace.

What you need is

someone to take hold of you –

gently, with love,

and hand your life back to you.”

 

~ Tennessee Williams

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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.

Last Minute Sign Language Photos, and a Link to My Girl Natalie

No more A-Z blogging for April 2012! Sun’s up, day is rolling and darn fast, and May is here.

I came in at the last minute with my last three letters of the alphabet and was too tired to find some sign language examples from the alphabet…so, I’m throwing ’em in here, and adding a link to a song that I’m adding to a prayer CD that I’m making for a grieving friend…

See you next year Blogging A-Z!

 

“v” for victory at last! The challenge is done.
this is a “w” in sign language – try it – it feels good to stretch those piggies.
go ahead…scrunch that inde *X*
“Y” ? Because I said so darn it!
That index in the air, and you have done the whole alphabet – good job!

 

click here for a link to a youtube slide show of the best Easter song of all,

King of May by Natalie Merchant….

 

Happy Easter Everyone…honest…

Saturday and the Letter G: Don’t Peek!

Sign Language "g" from the back...

Raise the roof for a "g" to the front!

(this post is meant for Saturday, April 7th, a day when I will be on a famorama duty of one sort or the other and away from the desk)

Made up word of the day: GrannyBird

GrannyBird (proper noun): A grandmother of unique design.

Eg: GrannyBird chased the kids out of the kitchen so that she could finish the rainbow jello-mold dessert.

Don’t Peek Until Thursday! Blogging from A-Z: The Letter “E”

"e"

Another sign language "e" for those who need a neck roll to the left.

(This post is meant for Thursday April 5, when I will be on the road!)

EggCited!

Made up word of the day: EggCited

Definition: A moment during Holy Week when it occurs to the Easter Bunny that coffee will soon come in the form of marshmallow eggs (hopefully delivered in those cool fake egg cartons, IMHO).

Eg:The mom with a baby in a pumpkin seat, a toddler in the shopping cart, and the preschooler laying on the floor of the cereal aisle, closed her eyes, and imagined her EggCited children on Easter day.

Worried Wednesday: Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

This week for my worried Wednesday post, I’m going to just make a random list of little moments of grace that have gotten me through a springy, busy couple of days as I prepare to celebrate Easter in Ohio.

  • I found a blouse for myself at a consignment shop that looks much like jelly beans – they are colorful circles in primary colors. When I called my niece (the one that is 5) she approved.
  • Said niece also got on the phone and it is getting easier to understand what she is saying in her high-pitched voice. She got her ears pierced, and she had the choice, she said, between gold or diamond, “and I got diamonds Aunt Kate.”
  • ‘s my girl.
  • My mother in law – “big grandma” to my children (even though she is quite short), sent me birthday money last month, and after a long search, I went with some classy low pumps that are called “Angel Pumps.”
  • I just threw away some old and unflattering sandles and am feeling the glow of purging stinky foot smell.

If you are a reader from the species called “boy,” I really doubt that you will understand the work, joy or importance of these decisions. I take my mother (who died several years ago) with me shopping with any important task such as this, and we have a grand time by way of the Holy Spirit.

Easter can’t come soon enough.

Moving On From this week’s “Worried Wednesday”

Sigh.

Okay, the good news from my little window is that I popped by our youngest son’s school for Mass yesterday, and brought with me a huge load of adult anger and worry about what has popped up on the news of late in Florida.

Thursday is supposed to be my day to move on from my worried Wednesday and point out good things to myself and via this post, but up something, or

some

things

that will get me, or not…to Forgiveness Friday.

Fine thing #1: Those who hate open windows are off to work and school for two days in a row – WHOOSH go the curtains I said!

Fine thing #2: Florida’s best guy (that would be my dad) has the whole thing under control. After a very long talk, I think he may have heard my voice and is bringing and extra $10 to poker night next week.

Fine thing #3: Florida’s second best guy (that would be my uncle) is out on his three-mile walk right now, and has the alligators in his realm under control.

Fine thing #4: What has been one of the longer Lenten seasons that I can remember , yet it seems to be going by faster than I realized, and soon I will be raiding preparing a couple of baskets.

Not fine thing: the news. I am not sure how to describe where I was coming from yesterday as I was trying to process a bit and made my comment about a realization I’m working on about whether or not the world is, or is not “going to Hell in a hand basket”.

Honestly though, by the end of the day yesterday it was a relief to have gotten some of these thoughts down and I realized, that as a Lent goer, doer, lady…whatever you want to name it, I realized that I was doing what I’m supposed to during Lent:

giving myself permission to look at what Royally Sucks in and around my world.

There isn’t the Christmas pressure of joy and happiness that is an odd and complex mix. It’s Lent – it’s okay and we are expected to bravely take a more quiet, a more paced, and a deeper look at, well,

what Royally Sucks in and around my world.

And as the mom of two men and a boy, and Godmother to two men and a boy, and Aunt to two women and a girl, and…and…and….

that’s where, this week anyway, the news story about yet another young male being murdered over Skittles has hit me.

I think I shared in a post a few days back that part of my Lenten “grand” plan was to send the best fan mail letter that illustrator Maurice Sendak has ever received.

This week I remembered too, that Lent is “supposed” to be a time of quiet and gentle reflection, so I’ve downgraded my goal to,

just send him a lovely birthday card, as I just read that he will be turning 88 sometime around when my card should arrive.

Happy Third Day of Spring to Each of Us,

Kate