Cellos Can Bring More Hope

11054444_817268375005618_6549938944609850678_nSo, some my Google searches this past couple of weeks have included words and phrases such as:

  • Boston
  • Cheap travel tips in Boston
  • Whale Watching
  • Meneiers Disease
  • Vertigo
  • How to Use a Paint Roller
  • Painless IT Band Stretches
  • Paint Color Philosophy
  • Yo Yo Ma
  • Jon Stewart
  • How to Write a Mission Statement
  • Is it true that you can pay the State of South Carolina money to have a confederate flag on your license plate?
  • Cute puppies running in circles videos

I’m in the middle of a serious waffle making chore so my thoughts are pretty scattered…but I want to pass on a link to what a minister friend of mine sent this morning: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/18/jon-stewart-charleston-no-jokes_n_7618110.html . Can you imagine the pressure on a Friday morning in America if your job is to preach this coming Sunday? In a Methodist church no less?


I asked a friend who is a professional musician for some good cello music this morning. My ENT wasn’t up for explaining why violin music is starting to cause my skin to crawl. Someone suggest trying cello and it worked. Lower frequency I guess? Who knows. So, on the topic of confederate flags and hypercusis my friend sent me this cello video: https://youtu.be/we2PPUxMMlo .

Amazing. Just four strings.

So. What is on your websearch list?

Reminders from Thomas Merton and St. Francis and a Mute Button about Small Favors

popeILY“My mom’s home care nurse called. She was having distressed breathing. Her pulse ox level was 83 which is poor. She was struggling to breath. Having pain. Ambulance was called…I am beside myself….

Gracie’s pain is being managed to the best they think we can do without surgical intervention….

Today we will be discharged…we will be making (her 90th brain) surgery date in the next few days. Grace has had a wonderful spirit through all of this. She just wants to not have pain anymore. Team Amazing Grace needs prayers for wisdom and peace…

Please pray for. Grace we are turning back to go to the. ER … I am over an hour out and she is. 10 pain. She is not well…”

Those are just a few of the frantic Facebook status updates that a friend of mine has been putting up in the past two weeks as she asks for prayer from her huge circle of online friends. She is one of a small handful of women that I’ve tried to keep in touch with for almost fifteen years on the internet. I met them while looking for information about adoption before our youngest was born. Lately contact with them has dwindled to a lot of clicking of Facebook “likes” or these cute cartoons that have a bit more flare in a response and “save time” for a “real” response. Two of us have been going in a new directions – one as a writer and me with my American Sign Language studies. One of us has been doing a lot of elder care and is busting out all over with pride as her daughter is stepping into her own skin and singing like no other all over her town.

In this small group of friends two of us, the mom whose status updates I quoted and another mom – have during that 15 years buried three children. One child took his own life and two other boys died from genetic illness. Another mom’s child has been diagnosed with a lot of maybes – but a “probably” that he is struggling with neuro sensory issues that are along the lines of autism. He is a complicated puzzle of emotions. He is a delight and she sometimes shares quotes of what he is saying out loud that are at times hysterical. Other times his quotes are heart wrenching observations about the world that should be coming from an old man, not a Ninja Turtle who is barely old enough to read chapter books.

What I appreciate about this group of friends that I have never met is that because we’ve grieved together with prayer for those three sons that died – we don’t, well I don’t anyway, always necessarily explain what prayer is being asked for when one of us requests an all out bended knee effort. And we And I feel comfortable with not always having the time to explain the details of what is going on with me or my kids when I share with any one of this small bunch – I have sort of a code phrase that is about the song “row, row, row your boat.” If I make a swing by comment about that song it means either that I know that their mom heart is in a state of worry, or it’s a general announcement that I’m in a bind and don’t have time or space to explain why I am a ball of nerves and doubt.

merton worthy

I have to share something really cool that just happened…but I promised my husband I would do an important chore in a few minutes, so forgive me if I don’t make sense.

Early this morning I read what could be a day old status update that my friend’s daughter is needing her 90th brain surgery to help with hydrocephalus – I started looking for some music to send her way. Her oldest child is a wonderful musician. And I went with a liturgical dance video that I found yesterday while looking for videos of church sign language interpreting.

But…as I mentioned in my last post, music sometimes hurts my ears of late – especially violin or high pitched vocals. I read a recommendation to listen to cello music because the frequency is lower.

So, I’m watching the liturgical dance video and wondering if I should share it, got cranky that the music was ruining the video for me, and clicked off the sound button on the video itself.

I had forgotten that I had Pandora running at the same time and an instrumental song called “Expression” was being played by Helen Jane Long. (The link I attached to her name is not the same song – but just as pretty).

Here is the amazing thing: the instrumental song, when I replayed it in the background, but watched to video in front of it (remember now, the actual music that was being used in the video was turned off) – when I paired the instrumental words with the St. Francis prayer dance – they were PERFECTLY in step – seriously. Don’t quote me but I think it was in 3/4 time – and in any case, there are a few moments of silence after the song finishes and she finishes her dance prayer.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find that 15 minutes of my day much more interesting than the day of chores I have ahead. And I may not be able to to check in on my friend and her little girl until tomorrow – but I firmly believe that the music, and the dance video, and my friend’s pain, and my sadness about singing out of key- all of it – got a really, very, super nice fifteen minute reprieve.

We can’t do it all, can we now?

But every once in a while, we get a deep breath from out of what seems like no where at all.

Thank God for small favors, eh?

Don’t Panic. Get Your Flu shot.

Rosie Red card

Please listen closely as I need to be very blunt and clear about something that is on my mind.

(Good morning by the way and to those who may have missed my postings, not to worry Life is good and I’m loving my studies :)  ).

Okay – back to asking you to use your listening eyes as you read my minirant. I refuse, now and perhaps forever more, to panic about the Ebola epidemic on the continent of Africa and the potential crisis that Europe, and America and all of the other corners of the globe will be facing as the experts scramble to try to confine and treat this strange virus.

Yes, I know this is big, but

I would like us to, for the most part, to shut up and let the experts work their magic on the topic.

Please don’t leave comments in my box or anywhere in my life that are political or argumentative on this topic.

I will delete them without a blink and perhaps even block your ability to comment ever again on my blog.

Let me explain….

Sports are not my skill or interest, but smart is my skill. In addition, kids and language are my thing.

Worry and panic and anxiety are, unfortunately, a daily shadow in my world and that of many of my family members. In my case these tendencies are somewhat due to genetics, yet more so because I am a sensitive soul, very introverted, and a creative thinker.

But I am not now, or hopefully ever going to go into a full panic about Ebola.

Please, please know that I understand why people – media, friends, family, strangers – are fantastically concerned. It is a reasonable concern. America hasn’t had a plague in a while.

But here’s what is making me angry at the moment on the topic. In a nutshell…

A few weeks ago I started hearing my son and his friends converse about Ebola. They were also trying to beat Brazil at soccer on a video game and I started overhearing what I think may have been the beginnings of sorting through predjudicial comments at school tied to the topic. For sure, they were talking in boy code about how frightening the Ebola news is on top of figuring out how to avoid acne. At one point they started argueing a bit about what country is where on the globe. In true boy form though, two seconds later they were teasing about who’s family came from a stronger and taller ethnic background. I had to kind of laugh when I heard them consoling each other saying – “Bro, don’t worry, it’s just in South Africa and that’s pretty far from Iowa.”

This was a real consolation – I heard that for sure. It was a quick, “let’s just wash our hands and not worry about it guys” plan of action.

The other day they stopped back over and I caught them in the back yard using far too many garage tools to create some sort of back yard civil war reenactment or something along those lines. I found food and soon they were inside and back at international soccer competition by way of XBox.

Thank God my oldest son was doing most of the cooking because I was exhausted. I was siting in the BigSoftChair and trying to do homework and one of the guys launched into a list of who is your favorite “XYZ” sports figure questions and I was proud to have one for each sport listed. (Kareem, Pele, William “Dummy” Hoy and Derrick Coleman). If they had asked about golf I would have said Uncle Norm.

Anyway – it was a good time. They asked me to teach them some sign language and enjoyed a minute of bragging to me about all they had conquered in middle school thus far. I hadn’t seen these two kids in several months and was a little bit floored by some sprouting facial hair and nearly six-foot status. Impressive at barely twelve years old.

But – back to reality – is it appropriate for Twelve year old boys, changing voices or not, to be exposed to more than what is reasonable concern about Ebola?


A million no’s.

Should I have done what was my instinct when I was finishing up the meal and heard some comments that seemed prejudicial about “them” at school? I felt like dropping the salad bowl to the floor and launching into teacher mode. Had to really try and hold back and not be an embarassing cranky mom.

My ears weren’t hearing all that they were saying and my stomach was growling like a mountain lion at the time, but I’m certain I heard a “them” comment from the kids. It was some how on the tail of another Ebola chat and seemed to refer to African-American kids in their school. Again – it could have been that they were talking about how short girls have cooties and bright orange tube socks are the new black, but still. My anntena perked up.

My youngest son is passionate about a lot of things, but diversity and equality is at the top of his list (along with dogs, basketball and BBQ ribs). His dad and I both love history – his dad more than I, and we do a lot of pondering in terms of African-American history. We are white, but grew up in small towns that were stations on the Underground Railroad. As a result, this son is a history and civil war buff and has already been known to wrangle on diversity topics with his peers.

I’ve had a packed several weeks as my studies to become an American Sign Language Interpreter or an advocate for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has ramped up and become a challenge. This is a good thing. I have fallen back in love with a language that used to be a constant on my brain. I haven’t had time, or to be honest patience, with Facebook threads on anything other than photos of my nieces and nephews.


this week, right around when I was trying to sort out if I should follow-up and ask my son if there is school smack talk about Ebola and ethnicity that is getting on his nerves or….

just roll with his reports about basketball season that has just started,

I started to see Facebook Memes and commentaries that are not funny about Ebola. I assumed that stupid comments would soon be flooding social media about my all time favorite presidential first lady who OWNs her awesome waistline, but jokes about intentionally funneling an epidemic into the Whitehouse?

No. Back off. Hold the phone.

And no. I won’t tolerate that.


Abe selfie

Yes. I know. I’ve been told. There are a million and one ways to create the perfect Facebook filter – block this person, hide that feed, unfriend, refriend, IM, hide and filter my stuff.

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

(that thingy above Abe is an antique hearing aid by the way).

I’m trying to keep up with all of my options and create the most calming yet informative feed possible.

Once again though, like many of us, I feel like just leaving Facebook altogether. I do need to stay connected to family and all of the supplemental readings for my classes are shared videos in a private FB group, so I need to stay connected there on some level.

I’m being told that there are ways to not go through the drama of “unfriending” and just hide someone’s posts and then still have the ablitiy to stop by their page and check on their photos or have a quick instant message chat.

But, you mess with my sons and you mess with me, and I am already fed up on this particular side spread of predjudice and political garbage as a result of this immunology international concern.

At any rate. That is my rant.

And here is my recommendation if you aren’t sure what to do about this news that is in our every headline:


get a FLU SHOT.

Go GET a flu shot!!!

(and read this great article sent to me by a cherished friend who is a lauded expert in Pediatric immunology and related international concerns:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/15/opinion/frank-bruni-scarier-than-ebola.html?_r=0 )

We all have immune deficiant folks in our lives. Grandma, new babies, a friend with cancer or arthritis. Did you know that viruses are one of the top causes of hearing loss? Quite often the loss can be profound and permanent. Strange eh?

So spend the 25 bucks and reduce all of our worries please. CVS is currently giving a huge coupon along with it and our grocery store is giving away free gasoline.

And then do whatever it is that you do to try and manage stress and anxiety. Two minutes of kitchen dancing, an hour of screaming at the Steelers (against them preferably and in favor of the Bengals) , a triple scoop of ice cream – do it every once and a while. But when you are done, I ask you kindly to think long and hard about what you are saying in front of young children about Ebola and African plagues and immigration. I’m talking about in your house, AND in the grocery line of strangers.

This generation has enough going on as it is.

Don’t pity them that “this” is their world –

please protect them by managing your anxiety

privately amongst adults

or in your journal or with your pastor or,

Yoga instructor or Family Physician.

If you have stuck with me thus far on my ramble, thanks. I feel better now. A lot better. I miss having time to blog! It is fun for me.

As a token of my appreciation check out this adorable video about the excitement of the start of school :


Or this one about a little girl named Tamara who loves her mom to the moon and back again:


Have a great weekend. Peace! Kate

Moving On From this week’s “Worried Wednesday”


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



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,


Shame on You and Your Racism Judge Cebull

One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as

complex human beings. 

~Franklin Thomas

Sorry Franklin, we ain’t there yet.

In response to an article I just read in the Huffington Post about disgusting and outrageous racism against our black President Barak Obama, (Richard Cebull, Montana Federal Judge, Admits Forwarding Racist Obama Email) here are some quotes that reflect the reality that we are not much further than when we began.

Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity. 

~Desmond Tutu

Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.  ~Author Unknown

The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.  As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash. 

~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

If a white man falls off a chair drunk, it’s just a drunk.  If a Negro does, it’s the whole damn Negro race. 

~Bill Cosby

Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught.  I have a two-year-old son.  You know what he hates?  Naps!  End of list. 

~Dennis Leary