The entire essay here.

"Because we must surround ourselves with people who have surrendered to the surprising power of grief and grace. We must insist on building marriages and families and friendships and communities
in which the mess is embraced instead of ignored,
in which blame is subordinated to hope,
in which fault is exchanged for fixing,
and in which repair and redemption become the universal language spoken by all.
Life is broken and messy. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, may we join each other, and point them onward."
-Kelly Flanagan

After a loss the previous night, (Wednesday) at a venue 20ish miles away,
G's volleyball season officially ended  after the second round of playoffs.
Last night parents and the team celebrated with a pizza party.
While Steve would have normally enjoyed doing his Kramer-dominating-the-dojo routine at the parents vs daughters volleyball game--
his 10th and last day of hunting got in the way.
I thank the elk of Colorado for keeping the 13 year olds safe from a spike to the face.

All is well.





Quick Thought For The Evening

"...Our pain is not a threat, and our pleasure is not a promise." ~Frank Berliner


I Have Other Back Stories To Finish Writing About But First Things First:

Yesterday was Sunday.
Before heading out for more volleyball (G's team made it to the playoffs), we went to church at  11 AM at the Oratory.
The chapel was full--standing room only--and it is a small chapel--it seats about 100 people.
The priest was standing in the back waiting to march down the aisle.
His position was creating a bit of a human quagmire for the rest of us standing near him.
One woman seemed particularly anxious to get around me--but I could not move until the priest processed.
She kind of bumped me, not meanly, but clearly intent on getting somewhere.
It sort of reminded me of being in a mall in Manila.
As soon as the priest started moving forward, I was able to get out of the woman's way.
She scurried and scooched herself into a pew.
"Ah." I said to myself.
"She had her eye on a spot and was determined to nab it."
"No wonder she was bulldozing anything in her path."
Just as I was getting ready to launch a full blown irritated thought attack directed at the woman, a funny thing happened.
The woman suddenly turned around to face me and motioned for me to sit beside her.
(she actually somewhat bump-slid the people in her pew with her butt to make room for me. I smiled at her and declined.)

I was taken aback.
First of all, I didn't even know that she was aware of me--
and secondly, her gesturing to me and thoughtfully making more space stopped my negative thinking instantly and allowed me to focus on the mass.

This morning I was pondering that interesting experience and realized a couple of things.

1. I've read numerous times that what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves.
And that everyone we meet is our mirror. That the traits that we don't care for in others is usually something we don't like about ourselves. (there are exceptions to this of course: animal torture, child abuse, murder, etc...I am pretty sure do not fall under this heading)
The good news is, supposedly the fact that we get annoyed is a sign that this buried down trait has bubbled to the surface and is ready to be healed. And it can be healed if we are honest about it and ready to let go of that trait.
So here I am accepting that I have a personality trait that can bulldoze things in my path to get what I want. I am hoping that I won't be that way anymore.

2. Our thoughts are all very connected. I am pretty sure that I was not the only person the woman bumped to get to where she was going--however, perhaps I was the only one that got irritated.
That she singled me out and offered me a seat makes me remember just how powerful thoughts and vibes are. Thoughts are our prayers. This is why we should think kindly.  The universe hears our thoughts and responds accordingly. God is in everyone, yes even in annoying people.


Don't Dread, Don't Dwell: Just Do It.

Yesterday I got up at 5 AM and walked Pax. I had a long day ahead of me.
The Diocesan.
G's big race up a big hill 45 miles away.
Once the dreary forecast seemed imminent, I actually drove out of my radius last friday night (a Walmart not near my house) and bought two large camping tents to help keep the runners warm and dry. I also made sure to pack umbrellas.

(Instant camping tents by Ozark Trail)
Product Review: These tents are so easy to set up! I'm a believer! I can do an infomercial on them! And they are incredibly reasonably priced compared to my tent from REI.

It was very windy, rainy, and cold.
The tents withstood the elements but unfortunately, not my umbrella.
It got so windy at some point that my umbrella actually disintegrated. Frame snapped off the thingy.
So I had to throw it away, mid-rain. I'm laughing right now, just remembering it.

I was so uncomfortably cold that I don't really remember all the details of the day.
But I did make a conscious effort not to complain about the cold.
Not complaining is like taking the medication Versed. You feel the pain but you don't remember it after it's done.
The children did well (G got 27th place!) and they all seemed to have fun.

Did I mention that it was muddy? I broke down the camp after over 6 hours out there.
Do you know that despite how easy it was to take down my Instant Camping Tent by Ozark Trail, it is not so easy to put it back in its carrying case when it is wet and muddy?
I did not know this.
So I just stuffed the tents  into my little car in all its muddy glory.
Not complaining made the packing up go smoothly.

Before we parted ways after the Diocesan, the parents presented JB and me with some really thoughtful presents. They were very nice gifts, that I unexpectedly teared up after receiving it.
It was, by far, the mother-of-all-coaching-presents.
I think the cold and wet conditions made me emotional.
Anyhow, feeling appreciated as a coach reminds me how important it is to always express my appreciation to others.

We left the Diocesan and I drove like a mad woman to get back home to  change out of my damp  clothes, unload the muddy tents, and let the dog take a bathroom break before heading out again.
This time we were on our way to meet CK and company.
They had invited us to go zip lining.

I was still tired and cold when we jumped back into the car.
It was drizzling.
I texted CK: Rain or shine?
(I was secretly hoping she would cancel because I was exhausted)
I should have known that her simple response would be: yes.

None of us had any idea of what to expect with the local Boy Scouts sponsored Zip line.
It was at a camp ground that I had no idea existed 5 miles from my house.
Camp Guyasuta.
The low budget signs advertising the event made us think that it might be for little children.
We were pleasantly surprised as
It was not a lame zip line.
1000 feet long, 130 feet high was not lame at all.
(Will mark my calendar for October 17, 2015 because we plan to do this again.)

After being unexpectedly pushed out of our comfort zone, we had dinner at CK's.
We did not get home until 11 pm.
In total I drove 100 miles yesterday.
This is so unlike me to double book myself because I always factor in cocoon time in between commitments, whenever possible.
After a really great evening I realize how important it is to just ALLOW LIFE TO HAPPEN.


4 AM Thoughts

Maglilimang araw lamang ang nakalipas na nalaman naming na ang anak na babae ng aming kaibigan dito ay ginahasa ng kaniyang kakilala.
Siya ay labing anim na taon.
Umiinom sila ng alak.
Nangyari ito sa isang bahay kung saan ang mga magulang ay hindi nakabantay.

Ang mga pamilyang apektado ay nakapagusap na.
At sinusubukan nilang gawin ang pinakamabuti para sa dalawang bata.

(I had to somehow get this out of my head and will write more about this when it is not so raw.)



photo credit: MM

8th grade recognition for G's volleyball season.
For some reason, I've never particularly enjoyed these.
I've always felt awkward.
This night was awkward.
In fact, at the very moment this photo is being taken, G is actually saying:
"this is awkward."

So awkward that:
a) I actually burst a blood vessel in my left eye at some point during the evening.
b) While manning the clock in between games, I actually did not hear the buzzer going off--even if I was sitting amidst the din.

The only saving grace is that this year's 8th grade recognition conflicted with Steve's trip to Colorado to go Elk hunting for 10 days. He did not have to experience awk with us because he left today.

(It was supposed to be the last game of the season.
But I've written this post on 10/20/14 and can add that they have since made it to the play-offs.
SL says that I will laugh about this one day.)

(Edited on 10/24/14 to add: while Steve was packing up and preparing for his long drive home,
The volleyball season officially ended with a pizza party and parents vs daughters game.)


Occupational Therapy II

I was asked to make nine souvenir posters for G's team for their 8th grade recognition night.  I made them last year for the 8th graders on G's team. I did not want to make them this year. But I was asked. As it turns out, it ended up being occupational therapy for me as I processed and prayed my way through a disturbing event that has hit my community.