Here’s a link to a Free Jesuit Retreat

There is a great summer resource out there for those who want toCaringAndCourageousKids website, part of bday project reconnect or be introduced to the Society of Jesus prayer structure that comes from St. Ignatius.

In my case, I’ve packed my July with hopes and to-do’s because I am hopeful that another teaching job will come our way when school opens again on August 12.

Therefore, I’m on the speedy (15 minutes or so a day), reconnect tour of reading a few sentences or paragraphs about the spiritual exercises of Ignatius. The plan is to grab a quick break each day of this July.

Here is the link:


My husband and I both have emotional and spiritual ties to the Jesuits by way of The Milford (Ohio) Retreat Center and Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio). We’ve both dreamt of a month alone at a retreat house on silent retreat.

At which point the laundry dryer sound goes off or a basketball hits the side of the house and we are reminded that our current life phase is in no way monastic.

the first fifteen minutes of this online mini retreat included the suggestion that with each basketball slam, or burned hamburger, we could choose to just think or say,”God is here.”

Have a great day and weekend, talk to you on Monday,

~ Kate

p.s. The tree photo is from a Facebook page I follow called “Caring and Couragous Kids,” a site that advocates healthy name calling.


Does the Mad Pace Get To You as Well?

Have you ever had one of those conversations with yourself that go like this:?

Centered Self: “You’ve never been one that gains energy from multitasking. Be gentle.”

Berater Self: “I am a Lazy. Butt. Just saw SusieQ. I know for a fact she already worked forty hours this week. She handled the Veteran’s day popcorn distribution for the whole school on her day off. She looked like a million bucks, and the more I get to know her, it’s true. She is sincerely nice. Not lazy.”

Gentle Self: “People really enjoy your smile because it comes out of your eyes more than your crooked tooth smile. Not every face can pull that off.”

Angry Self: “I hate traffic. I hate vegetables. I hate luke warm coffee. I hate dirty dishes. I hate kitchen sink scum. I hate mohawks. I hate mullets. I hate Talbots. I hate Dillard’s. I hate malls. I hate shopping. I hate shoppers. I hate people who smile. I hate people who smile while they shop. I hate mall shoppers who smile on the way into Talbots. I hate Talbot loving mall shoppers who smile because they think their sink scum is better than mine.

Wait…think their scum is less than mine is the correct syntax perhaps. I don’t care. I hate them!” 

Prayerful self: “Stop it! Listen!

hear that?

It was your muscle popping loose. Nope. Sit still a little longer. Rewind the song. Nope. Reheat the coffee in a bit.


Rewind the song (Alexi Murdoch, “Song For You”).

You’re so tired, you don’t sleep at night
As your heart is trying to mend
You keep it quiet but you think you might
disappear before the end

And its strange that you cannot find
Any strength to even try
To find a voice to speak your mind…

Feeling Better Self: “Oh the strings in that song. So beautiful. I’m not so alone after all. 

Earth Wind and Fire Throw Back!

I Forgot that I jacked up my playlist. Nice!”

I’ve already growled at my family twice, And you?

So many of us in the U.S.  may be feeling like my two oldest sons (who are now men!) did on that 4th of July years ago. I woke up this morning both elated that Election 2012 is finally here, and a bit miserable as well. 

I have been exchanging anxious messages with a college friend on Twitter, and thankfully a second friend has joined us this week. She doesn’t get quite as over excited as my other friend and I, so she is doing a good job of diverting our mouse clicking with some silly conversation as well.

It’s only 8:00 and I’ve already growled at my family twice, so this could be a long day. To that end, I’m making myself listen to the full 21 minutes of prayer by Benedictine nuns. I think it is from Erie, which makes it at least near a chapel that I went to retreat in as a teenager from Meadville PA. I find it odd that at age 45 I’m far less able to sit still that long. I’ve had to restart the podcast twice already. I suppose it could be that my rebellious years have just begun.

How is everyone else doing so far this morning? Let me know.

@kateocoop on Twitter,

or the comment box below.  : )

I doubt that I am alone in my excitement and worry today. This is how I spent the afternoon trying to Get Out the Vote yesterday. ( YouTube by trial and error )

St. Anthony Prayer for Grace when life becomes quite noisy

Prayer for Help from the Holy Spirit

O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive,

into my mind that I may remember,


and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness,

tenderness and mercy.

Teach, guide and

direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end.

May your grace ever help and correct me,

and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy.     Amen.

~Saint Anthony of Padua

Isn’t that a lovely prayer? I found it just now while looking for another that a friend has been using to pray for me. I sent a text to her last week saying something to the effect of:

“having 87a*^& difficult time transition men all back to school. no sleep. bloody internet down again. pray asap plz.”

Her reply was something to the effect of:

“On our way to family conference. Issuing Deliverance Prayer immediately and will continue to take all to Jesus.”

This particular best friend of mine was raised by a huge Irish Catholic family on the capes in New Jersey, and continues to worship in a similar traditional Irish fashion.

Selfishly, this reality has many benefits for me.

My mom was also raised in a large Irish Catholic family, but in the Bronx. This makes my brother and I fourth generation straight off the boats of County Cork – I did the research and it’s true! I even found immigration papers. Every single one of our great-grandparents  came from County Cork,  (“counties” in Ireland are like “states” here in the U.S.) by way of a village named Mill Street.

The friend that I sent a text plea to continues to help describe to me how my mother was raised. By way of these memorized prayers and traditional Catholic rituals I can know much about corners of my family world that my mother, by necessity, had to set clear boundaries against when leaving the east coast to join my father.

My friend and I met while doing graduate work toward a degree in Pastoral Ministry at the University Dayton and it was one of those best friends in five minutes type of gifts that one gets only a few times in a life time. By hook or crook we’ve maintained this friendship for well over twenty years now, if not in conversation and visits, by way of prayer amidst our busy and increasingly complicated lives as moms and spouses.


Since I rarely ask for help like in that text, particularly for specific prayer, she knew, I’m guessing, that I really meant that I was too pooped to pray.

Asking this gal pal to take a knee is a bit like asking that fellow Bolt to run to the store for milk – it happens fast, furious and with more focus than my hard wire would ever hope to achieve without distraction.

And, it worked.

The clogs of stress about the first week of school for my men seem to be starting to give way for now.

And, oddly enough, last night I switched a plug and suddenly the computer and internet are working, saving us anywhere from a range of $100 to $800 to keep me on the grid.

This is good.

Grand as a matter of fact.

How do you like the photo of my low alto voice being formed in utero while my brother listens to, I’d say, Ella Fitzgerald or The Weavers?

Forgiveness Friday: A Little Band of Angels

“ Then a voice came from Heaven.

‘I will show myself. And I will do it again!’ ”

(John 12: 24-25, 32-33)

Okay. It’s good that I went for a walk.

Here’s the bottom line of my past couple of weeks based on a 20 minute cruise around the block:

1: I’m Homesick

2: I’m Scared

As it should be, there is media frenzy in the United States about one of the many murders of a young black man that have happened in the past few weeks. I’m struggling to respond to both the frenzy and the brutal loss of life.

Over most of my last, say, ten Lents that I’ve observed, I’ve found myself needing to give up some or all forms of media that include the news. I’ve always been a hater of news that frightens.

I’m tempted to blame it on the press and my memories of war footage during dinner meals as a little girl. For now, I’m taking the easy way out and blaming it on my brother. That’s what siblings are for, right? Hopefully he’s not still angry that I cracked the code for his little 12” square safe when he was out playing in the yard back in 1970 whatever.

Nah. Can’t blame him for even the price of tea in China…he’s the bestOof the Pesto and he didn’t turn my t.v. set on when I watched too much news. I did. Right?

Last year I tried to give up sarcasm for Lent. It was a good idea – “say what you mean and mean what you say.” Unfortunately, I only lasted 48 hours.


This year my plan was to give up Facebook, and do for others as I read about and pray for illustrator Maurice Sendak.

The Facebook thing has been fairly easy as I find myself bored and confused there most days of late, but gave into peeking and full out looking by last week as I was waiting to hear if a friend’s baby had been born in Ohio.

Done! Hudson made it to the world safe and sound so my temptation to peek is gone and done.

So, yes.

That’s the homesick part. This is my first Spring West of the Mississip’ and I’m giving myself a reprieve. Patiently waiting for baby photos is a good and healthy thing.

It’s funny isn’t it?

Homesickness, I’m realizing, is no different from grief. It’s all about: “Daaang, I’m miss that <enter place, time, person, food item, grandpa, special tree with the handmade swing…etc, and et cetera>


I wish I could remember which friend or family member was checking on me a few months back about our transition from one state to next. I was trying to explain that what stinks about the level of change in our family in the past year is that moments of sadness pass and at my age, I can’t exactly remember which <enter place, time, person, food item, grandpa, special tree with the handmade swing…etc, and et cetera> I am missing.

Ha! Like just now! I just finished closing my eyes for a second to remember what I was going to type next and a crow went screaming by outside. As I started a nano doze I must have been thinking of – jeepers, who knows, but it jolted my eyes back open.

“Whoah!” My tired and adult mind says – “Wake up. You’ve been hearing crows for 45 years now. Bzzzzzzzdt. No times for a nap dearie. In just a bit you need to conquer the urban sprawl and get to the store.”


So, my Forgiveness Friday post is this:

Grace, for me in the past 24 hours or so, arrived in my kitchen a few hours ago in the form of Eric Clapton’s version of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

It was 5:40 a.m. or some such and I’d just sent one son off to track practice (gotta’ run when it’s cool), and turned around to see the Jordan River, and this is what it looked like:

Though as a first world mom I am inordinately thankful for a dishwasher, the drama queen in me wanted to fall to the tile and weep.

I know. I’m not the only woman living near the Mississippi or Jordan rivers with lots of worry or weary on this fine spring morning. Dishes to need to be done and boys are being murdered on both sides of the planet as we speak. Scary stuff. I guess I was feeling like I needed to solve both problems by noon.

Enter our boy Clapton….I stood there at the sink for a second and tried to get my bearings and found my self jamming out to my sweet little BandOfAngels sink shelf for a couple of minutes. I went over to the window and looked at the sun that was just up.

I remembered that one of our boys has a new best friend in said house, took a deep breath, and went back to my Sticky Note plans for at least today.

If you too need a little Clampton to get you to noon…here’s a link: Swing Low.

Pax, Kate