Online Lenten Guide: The Ignatian Solidarity Network

“Following Jesus means to incarnate an attitude, a disposition, an openness,

and a receptivity to the divine offer of grace actuated in loving service;

it means taking up a new way of being in the world for God and for

the flourishing of all God’s creation.” ~ M. Shawn Copeland

Found in The Ignation Solidarity Network Blog



In Time I Will Fear Not the Day

“You find me where I can’t be seen…


(my Granny)


before you I’m fallin’,

if it weren’t for your wings I’d be gone…

to grow my own wings I have tried….

merton worthy



in time I will not fear the day…take me to where I can go.” ~ Kate Rusby, Falling

Jason Listman and “You’ll Be Okay” by A Great Big World

“Early morning singing signals to other birds

about the strength and vitality of the singer.

Singing is an essential part of bird life,

but it’s costly in terms of time and energy.

CND path

Singing loud and proud first thing in the morning

tells everyone within hearing distance that you were strong and healthy enough to

survive the night.”

~ Mary Bates, “Why Do Birds Sing in the Morning?”

Yesterday one of my best friends, one of two college roommates, posted a phenomenal music video to her high school American Sign Language students. She happens to have been hearing until age three, and Deaf ever since. I happen to have been fully hearing until of late and I’m proudly heading toward my fifties. She and I both took dance lessons for many years prior to college. But, with a huge buffet of academic and arts choices available when we arrived at college, she tended to study what she had always loved, and I tried to branch out. She majored in English and if I remember right she also enjoyed environmental science. I majored in Communication Arts/Theater and attempted to branch as far as my credits would allow into religion and all other performing and visual arts. We both still took dance classes most semesters and I enjoyed learning a little bit about choreography. One of my best memories was a final project in which she graciously put up with me trying to choreograph a dance for both she and I. I’m not sure what music we used other than wind chimes. Did I have a classmate read a story or poem? Could be. I don’t remember.

No matter. It was so fun and she raised the roof with applause at every student performance in which she performed.

Hmmm. That makes me wonder, did we think to tell her how loud the audience was hooting? Doesn’t matter now – we had a great time and our friendship is still solid.

So, this week I’ve been putting up with some most annoying ear pain that feels like infection. They took a peek and the insides look perfectly healthy. A few weeks ago the ENT said the same thing – “everything looks perfectly healthy…we don’t know why this discomfort happens.” I wasn’t in a questioning mood that day, but I managed to get an appointment again in a few weeks and I need to let him know that I have an inquiring mind and I won’t rest until he at least gives me some “it could be” scenarios.

After a good bit of research I think he is going to tell me that this discomfort is likely hypercusis : sound intolerance, frequently accompanied by tinnitus. If I do have otosclerosis  as suspected I will have won a prize in comparison to other hearing loss conditions because hearing aids, a specific surgery called a stapedectomy and sometimes cochlear implants are all practiced options to possibly restore some or a lot of hearing. I also have the choice to just let it go, which I consider a fine option as well. The trick is that I’m not yet sure if any of the hearing aid or surgical options treat the symptoms and some can make them worse.

Which stinks.

I am patient and my life is blessed though, and to some this will seem strange, to others it will really resonate:

What is bothering me right now is the realization that I’m losing my voice. Literally.

People more frequently say “huh?” and tell me that I pronounced one thing when it was another, or look at me all wonky about the sound of my voice.

I also can hit all the right notes of a song very, very rarely. It had been hurting my pride a bit for a while. Now that I understand why, I’m relieved to be able to kind of grieve the loss of a cherished companion. From my college years, graduate years, baby raising years (two out of three – the youngest hated lullabies) up until about 5 or 10 years ago I could hit almost every note, almost every time. And since performance isn’t the career I chose, harmonizing with James Taylor without effort was and is respite care – not grocery money.

Good things are happening though – I am learning to listen and let others sing for me because I certainly can hear the chords and technology gives me the option to look up the words if needed. JT hasn’t given up on me and I can still hit our harmonies if I am alone, rested, relaxed and hydrated.

And there is this – the video that my college Deaf bestie shared – it’s phenomenal in every single way. The performer is a professional video director, Deaf, and studied college at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Here you go, enjoy. And happy Remembrance Day: Jason Listman in

“You’ll Be Okay” by a Great Big World in American Sign Language with lyrics.


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)

Defining Grace One: Kind and Generous

Okay class, let’s define the theological meaning of grace…


Excellent answers! Yes, all of the scholars agree that grace is 1) an amazing experience because it is undeserved and overwhelming.


and 2) meant to be fun and joy filled.

My Goodness. Quite an October we are having. You as well?

Last week, I became overwhelmed while working on getting an anniversary gift at Sam’s Club and had to call and text my friend in Pittsburgh multiple times. She and I both struggle with insomnia more than the average bear.

The season change (ahh-choo), changing sun patterns, and worry about national leadership to get our youngest into adulthood had been keeping me up for several days in a row.

A couple of weeks prior, she had been having some tricky waters and after 25 years of both of us not caring a hoot to talk politics, we are suddenly planning odd campaign tactics that involve kittens with press passes and gummy bears by the pound.

I honestly can’t remember what we were going to do with the gummies.


the wonder of text slowed me down and I asked her while pushing a trolly down aisle 23:

12 or 6 lbs of gummies?

she said:

Six. Fer Sure.

copyright free, care of FotoSearch

The calm of having her friendship and an additionally silly text conversation with my niece who is in baking school, I traded six lbs of Gourmet Gummy Candy and a case of something for a big white board. My hope is to manage some of this “ain’t got no time to even jot blog outlines” tap dance I was doing with debit card in hand, while the sticky notes of household needs were long lost.

A few days later I carved out an hour to do some white boarding of some of these definitions of grace packed in my noggin, and I have about five of them to start. There are five songs that go with each definition as well.

The first definition is the imaginary classroom chat above:

The experience of grace is not something we earn, it is overwhelming, and almost always fun. ~

K. Cooper, M.A.

The song “Kind and Generous”as sung by Natalie Merchant is my go

Natalie Merchant, photo source unknown

to song that guts out this particular feeling that something huge

(in a good way,

like being snagged by a handsome young graduate student twenty years ago this fall,

or seeing your child wake up in a recovery room,

or hearing from two seperate friends that an organ donation had finally arrived,

or…you tell me! I’d love to hear an example from your life as well).

You Tube the song if you like – Ms. Merchant is a lovely dancer and funky dresser as well.

Happy Autumn ~ Kate.

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…

Surviving Desolation: Two Artists

This morning, in between the second or third hit of the snooze button on our alarm, I had a dream that my husband and I ran into a friend that we’ve not seen in a few years. “Kate!” our friend Jim said, “Did you check out that video I sent you? Isn’t it wonderful?” Of course, off to the computer I skipped.

Indeed, I’d not looked at a video he had sent quite a while ago. Before looking at what Jim had sent, “by chance,” I stumbled on an equally interesting story that was right up my friend’s alley of intrigue. Some say that “there are no accidents.”

I’d like to share links with you to both stories, but I’ll warn you, I’ve been reading up on both of these guys for almost two hours, and could read more. It’s that interesting.

Assuming time only allows you a few minutes, I’d recommend at least looking at the first video that I will link you in each of these inspirational stories of men who survive desolation by connecting to others with their art.

Ara : Photographer and Chef

“It always strikes me, and it is very peculiar, that when we see the image of indescribably and unutterable desolation – loneliness, of poverty and misery, the end of all thing, or their extreme – then rises in our mind the thought of God.”

~ Vincent Van Gogh, painter

Though I admit to having my assumption that the hot, dusty parts of America are God forsaken, I am glad to be proven wrong. I was looking at photographs on Alive Now, and found myself drawn into the story and art of a fellow named Ara. Following the loss of his son to cancer, Ara and his dog named Spirit set out on a journey by motorcycle. This effort toward healing and reconciliation is chronicled on his website name The Oasis of My Soul. I find this site and fellow so interesting! His combination of photos, journalism and links to recipes are hopeful and bright.

If you only have a few minutes, don’t miss this video, it’s only 2 ½ minutes long.

If you want to see more of Ara’s photos, click HERE.

If you want to know more about Ara’s One Pan Recipes, click HERE.

Much peace on your travels Ara and Spirit,

Kate (and her dogs Lenny and Paul)

Doug Smith: Piano Player

“My desolation does begin to make a better life.”

~William Shakespeare, Writer

I mentioned that my husband and I haven’t seen this friend in a few years. One of the last times I did visit with him, he flopped down at the table I was at and said “Look at this, isn’t it beautiful!” It was photographs of men wrestling cattle in Texas, where our friend was moving. I tried not to snarl, but I don’t think I did a swell job at hiding my disdain. Wow! Do I stand corrected, as this video that he sent me is simply the loveliest thing that I have seen in a very, very long time.

It is embedded in the website of piano player Doug Smith, a Texan whose life career as a musician was nearly ended by paralysis that resulted from a car accident a few years ago. The video, amazingly, is his first composition since his accident. The accompanying photography is incredible. Check out the VIDEO.

I found myself wanting to read more on this fellow, and found links to a great article that includes two video clips where Doug explains why he considers his paralysis a blessing. If you want to check them out, click HERE. I also found a link to what looks like a great documentary of his development as an artist. See what you think by clicking HERE.

I think what inspires me the most about what I saw and read of this man’s story, is that by being true to his creative voice, even after the accident, his life is saved even more significantly than the neurosurgery that initially kept him from death. What is more, by sharing his joy, strangers and friends alike, get a window seat view to the truth which is that God wants us to experience life, no matter how dark, bright, soft or prickly.

Prayers for continued healing Doug,


Alison Krauss Sings Be Thou My Vision

Mountain in County Cork, Ireland:

I found myself feeling very discouraged last night.

Raising children, well, it’s…

it’s umm.

Yeah. I found myself feeling very discouraged last night.

Thankfully, no one was clamoring for the computer, so I YouTubed myself through the whole Taylor family – James, along with his children Ben and Sally.

At some point, I ended up on replay with Alison Krauss singing:

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

My children are, of course, heart of my own heart.

Interested in some history from Cyber Lyrics: on this lovely song? Here you are dearie:

Words: At­trib­ut­ed to Dal­lan For­gaill, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Com­di cri­de); trans­lat­ed from an­cient Ir­ish to Eng­lish by Ma­ry E. Byrne, in “Eriú,” Jour­nal of the School of Ir­ish Learn­ing, 1905, and versed by El­ea­nor H. Hull, 1912, alt.

Music: Slane, of Ir­ish folk or­i­gin (MI­DI, score). Slane Hill is about ten miles from Ta­ra in Coun­ty Meath. It was on Slane Hill around 433 AD that St. Pat­rick de­fied a roy­al edict by light­ing can­dles on East­er Eve. High King Lo­gaire of Ta­ra had de­creed that no one could light a fire be­fore Lo­gaire be­gan the pa­gan spring fes­ti­val by light­ing a fire on Ta­ra Hill. Lo­gaire was so im­pressed by Pat­rick’s de­vo­tion that, de­spite his de­fi­ance (or per­haps be­cause of it­), he let him con­tin­ue his mis­sion­ary work. The rest is his­to­ry.

On Grandpa Telling me to Get to Work

Well now.

That was unexpected.

Despite my efforts to plot out today’s first few hours by way of learning the magic of Google Calendar, this photo and post was not what I had in mind.

Have I mentioned how excited I am to be working on a plan to get paid to write?

For many reasons, I am actually smart to be feeling afraid. (self patting shoulder)

But, fear and creativity is a whole list of other blog postings. Maybe a book, definitely some articles.

Anyhoo, before I pushed them out the door, both my husband and teen were teasing me with some shock at my perky approach to the day.

“Look guys! I’m dressed, ready for work.” (Self mumble: “Get along little doggies.”)

Newspaper comes in, back pack gets found, lost and refound, explanation of what a turnabout dance is gets explained, puppy eats Nerf bullet, argument about if we are having puffy coat weather or fleece ensues, garbage day is remembered, waffles devoured…

how am I doing with painting you into this picture?

Other distractions as I looked forward having quiet and computer access to finish several posts for this week included:

  • opening the poetry magnets I got for Christmas and searching out metal to play on
  • cracking open the two books that I’ve wanted for a long while that came in the same package
  • noticing that I can’t see
  • making notes to find a few more local doc’s
  • taking out said garbage to curb

and..sweetness of sweetness, meeting my neighbor’s new mini dachshund puppy named Daisy.

The unexpected? When things are well, I have a prayer routine that I stick to which is to listen to a twenty-minute music playlist that I’ve made fairly randomly. These short playlists turn out to be what I need to hear, every day, for at least a couple of months.

Yesterday I was so wound up that I had to replay some of the songs a few times because I was up and down from the chair, stretching, sorting dog toys, and web searching interesting medical definitions.

All of which is fine, but today I managed to sit still, cuddle puppy Paul, and replace my computer screen image from Gonzo the Muppet to, randomly, the photo above.

That’s my grandpa Overmyer. He was a writer by profession, and among hobbies he wrote limericks for friends and family.

I’m not sure how old I am in that photo…very new born to be sure. Don’t I look so warm and curious?

The unexpected part? I’d not listened closely to this new song I’d been enjoying. No need to because the melody was nice for cold winter days and the first words are

“Let my love light, shine on…”

something, something.

Guess what? It’s a song about a dad, (or Uncle, or grandpa, or…) who is on the moon with pride on the way to the hospital to see a newborn.

At least that’s what I heard.


Now I’m hearing my grandfather encouraging me to get to work.

Yes sir!

(P.S. Here is a link to the lyrics of I was listening to by Tony Lucca, click on what is highlighted blue , if you want, and have a good day. )

(P.P.S. And, a random link that came up in the search box, but don’t dare buck the ‘ole German work ethic much further: )

(P.P.P.S.) I tested the link to the lyrics and it is some other song. So. Much. Cool. Stuff.