Reflections from an old Zoo Keeper

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More from the book Hannah’s Dream by Diane Hammond that I finished last weekend:

An elderly zoo keeper to her to the man

she entrusts as an elephant caretaker:

” ‘ I’ve lived a long time, Mr. Brown, longer than most. I should be grateful – indeed, I am grateful. And yet, I would give everything, everything, to do it all again.’ …

Max Biedleman stood sihlouetted in the parlor window, silent. Finally she said, ‘Do you know what I’ve been thinking lately? I’ve been thinking that we’re animals, like any others-we senesce, we sink into decrepitude just as they do. But I’ve wondered if it isn’t our special hell that we are able to register the swift passage of time, the lightening speed of it all, and the absoluteness with which it is gone…

indeed, the world is a finer place

when one sees it from the back of an elephant.‘ “

My New Favorite Twitter Hashtag is: #YouRule

Dear supporters of my blog,

Last fall I mentioned in a couple of posts that I lost my temper mightily during the US presidential debate season. It went sort of like this story that my friend just sent me about getting her daughter to bed last night:

She is generally unflappable, but tonight I went too far. Forgetting it was her turn to blow out the dinner candles, I blew them out and said,
“Come on sweetie time for a bath.”Her eyes widened in shock/dismay, then narrowed in anger:
“Mom ! How could you do this to me?”
“What ?!”
“It was my turn to blow out the candles!”
“Oops sorry honey. You can do it next time. Now go upstairs for your bath.”
She then huffed toward the stairs and mumbled:
” I do not like any of this one bit! I hope this never happens again!
This stomp is for you !!”
 
She proceeded to garuff up the steps. I just giggled. What else was I going to do Kate?!
 
I’m not four any more, but chatting with some family friends during this Christmas break has me remembering being on the shoulders of one of the college students that followed my father home after class. So, yeah. I totally get what this little gal is talking about, and it is exactly what happened when the PBS debate jokes starting flitting around the globe a very few weeks ago.
 
Again, the theme of this blog is spirituality, and my prayers are of a Catholic base. Last night I’d bet that my friend’s little spitfire gal with curly hair was blowing out Advent Candles. The reason that this curly-haired 45-year-old couldn’t find the candle ring this year could be that I was stomping so much in our laundry room. That is where that decorations are now stored, so maybe the candle ring got smooshed and tossed.
 
This storage corner is also where our youngest son, inspired by the NBA and the St. Ambrose Bees men’s basketball team, keeps trying to set up a personal arena.
 
Regulation sized basketballs. PILES of sorted laundry. Stacks of unopened moving boxes. And one, large and enthusiastic fifth grade child.
 
It’s a lot some days. But usually the hard work pays off in a very, very fun manner.
 
(Note to self: Send another thank you note to MissTNT of the Harlem Globetrotters and pray that she tweets me a recommendation to have a Nerf hoop corner somewhere in his life.)
 
As I was saying about the debates last fall: I also lost my temper at comments and discussion about how many teachers are safe and recommended per classroom (I used to teach), and continue to be floored at the lack of religious tolerance and common sense among my fellow and gal Americans (I met my husband while training to become a pastoral minister).
 
Here is the good news: there is a fair chance, a very fair chance,
that I am going to rock  the
Greatest Harlem Girl Globetrotter Fan of the Quad City USA award
in just 74 hours or so.
 
Did you know that there have been now, not just one, but twelve women on the team schooling the likes of Kareem and Meadowlark?
 
I know my posts ramble, which I apologize for.  Yet, I need to continue my effort to get said fifth grader to the Moline Illinois arena, which requires getting his CoachDad to work, so I don’t have time to hyper proof this particular blog post.
 
This stomp is for you patient readers…I so appreciate your support. Happy New Year: #YouRule.
 
Yours,
 
Kate

Photo by Linda Douglas, Ripley Ohio

Photo by Linda Douglas, Ripley Ohio

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

riverhills90@gmail.com

@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 )

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.

Thankfully,

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.

Recently, City Life Was strEssfuL

until our youngest son, along with his dad and I, exhaled into a pew just on time for mass last weekend.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that getting ready for the new school year was a bit intense this year for one reason and another.

image: art parts clip art

As part of his warm welcome back to campus sermon, the college chaplain repeated a phrase from one of the gospels that said something to the effect of:

“Come in here.”

My brain was still buzzing with post week one of elementary and high school forgotten or screwed up back to school purchases, so this repeated phrase was all I could gather from that hour of rest.

“Come in here.”

Kate’s brain: “JesusMaryandJoseph where are those stupid receipts?”

I did manage to hear Fr. Chuck say,

“As a chaplain, I’d love to have a big sandwich board sign out front that says just that:

 

‘Come in here.’ “

It felt so incredibly good to sit still, yet my two adult sons were at work and rest, so it was a three person attendance.

That was a little bittersweet.

And,

rather than feeling sad that the college students we sat with are the

same age as our older sons, somehow,

my mind started to wander about this theme of signage and coming in and out of various doors.

Which led to a series of odd, I admit, but calming images about turnstiles and revolving doors.

Here goes one about revolving doors. (I won’t bore you with my communion service turnstile idea):

Being a parent is like being a fancy hotel guy with a gilded cap who says “good afternoon” as stressed and giddy folks push through a revolving door. Our off spring, their friends, our nieces and nephews, and a host of others, come through our doors,

hour after year,

after, “was that day ago, or did I lose my 2nd cup of coffee again?”.

I can think of at least 10 doors that belong to houses that we’ve been in as a family that have seen such action.

Yet, unlike the gilded door guy,

parents don’t get a paycheck for politeness.

Or a raise for anxiety and stress management.

Or a maintenance crew to keep the thing flowing and unfogged.

Or a secret panic button that will hail Super Grover to save another day.

But, we do get invited back. To church, to the gym, to the dog park, a knit n’ gripe group, an over the fence chat with a neighbor. The list is pretty darn long of the spots where faith in a Good God dwells.

I do miss Super Grover every so often though. 

From Sesame Street Workshop press archive. I told you the guy was cool. He has press agents.

Stinkin’ cute you must admit.

(p.s. If you have an extra 4 minutes and 32 seconds, click above on the blue JesusMaryandJoseph for a very sweet Irish back to school YouTube video)

David Prays About Shame

King David Action Figure

Reflections and comments from Larry Broding in his lectionary site named Word-Sunday.

Psalm 25

The Path of the Lord

By David.

1 To you, YHWH, do I lift up my soul.
2 My God, I have trusted in you.
Don’t let me be shamed.
Don’t let my enemies triumph over me.
3 Yes, no one who waits for you shall be shamed.
They shall be shamed who deal treacherously without cause.
4 Show me your ways, YHWH.
Teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth, and teach me,
For you are the God of my salvation,
I wait for you all day long.
6 YHWH, remember your tender mercies and your loving kindness,
for they are from old times.
7 Don’t remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions.
Remember me according to your loving kindness,
for your goodness’ sake, YHWH.
8 Good and upright is YHWH,
therefore he will instruct sinners in the way.
9 He will guide the humble in justice.
He will teach the humble his way.
10 All the paths of YHWH are loving kindness and truth
to such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For your name’s sake, YHWH,
pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12 What man is he who fears YHWH?
He shall instruct him in the way that he shall choose.
13 His soul shall dwell at ease.
His seed shall inherit the land.
14 The friendship of YHWH is with those who fear him.
He will show them his covenant.
15 My eyes are ever on YHWH,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me, and have mercy on me,
for I am desolate and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged.
Oh bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my travail.
Forgive all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies, for they are many.
They hate me with cruel hatred.
20 Oh keep my soul, and deliver me.
Let me not be disappointed, for I take refuge in you.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.
22 Redeem Israel, God,
out all of his troubles

How smooth or rough has your spiritual path been over the past year?

Psalm 25 presents us with a different tack on the spiritual life. As Christians, most of our spiritual focus is on the afterlife. Yet, God meant his life to be realized in the present. In other words, the struggle of the spiritual life has its own rewards in this realm. As we walk the path of the Lord, let us realize (and enjoy)… faithfulness and love, for (God) is with us now.

How do you feed your spirit every day? How have your efforts given you comfort, even in the tough times?