3 days later

Today I got up at 4 to grade papers. Then I taught from 8-12. I had lunch with a friend, went to the church to work on the newsletter and bulletin, and went to another friend’s house for salad and to work out some details about Sunday’s bulletin. I got home after 8 and am trying to write a blog post. Hmmm…

Tomorrow I pick up the young adult neighbor and his girlfriend (at 3:45) and take them to the airport, park, and then go myself.

So… I have failed at NaBloPoMo, but I still need to pack and who knows how I’ll do visiting the in-laws, so here it is or isn’t.

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coffee date

IMG_0057Coffee with a young friend at a hip coffee joint where they make patterns with the foam.

A far-reaching conversation about life and death and friends and two literature people reaching to teach expository writing and feeling alone (should’ve had coffee 2 months ago) and church and spouses and parents and children and possibilities and dreams deferred.

When we arrived there were only communal tables left. I think the man at the end of the table working on his laptop was grateful when an individual table opened up and he was able to move.

Coffee and conversation and Christ in the midst of us. It doesn’t get much better than that (though the conversation was at moments quite heavy and grief filled; it was shared and that is half-way there).

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friday fun day

I have a whole lot to do between now and when I get on a plane for my in-laws in Idaho Wednesday early morning, so I thought I would get a bunch of stuff done today. But as he was leaving this morning, the boy child assured me that I would get to see his song because “we are performing it for parents so you’ll be there.” The kids get all next week off, so today was both their annual running laps “Rocket Races” fundraiser and Thanksgiving Feasts.

I tried. I pretended I was working for about an hour. And then I gave up. I got to the school to see the girl child’s Rocket Races (first time in 4 years) and help out at the Boy Child’s Thanksgiving Feast. He didn’t actually sing the song, but I got to see all his friends sing?!? (He has a nice voice, but he gets shy. Or something. He is proud of his friends, though.)

I have missed things I would normally do (Field Trips! Awards Assemblies!) because I am teaching this quarter. Today I was just Mom. It was fun. I’m glad I gave up and went. But I still have a lot of stuff to do between now and the rosy-fingered-dawn of Wednesday.

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doves and streamers

NaBloPoMo Day 19: Best liturgical holiday.

I am taking the “favorite” meaning of best.

PENTECOST 2012I love Pentecost with its orange and red and yellow and streamers flung around the sanctuary and the doves (pigeons) released at the end and the emphasis on the Spirit who abides among and within us. Pentecost may be the freest liturgical holiday in our congregation because it does not have the expectations or freight of Christmas and Easter (or even Reformation Sunday, a Big Deal in our context) with all the visiting family members + C&E(&R) members and memories of Christmases, Easters, Reformation Sundays past. We get to be ourselves and throw streamers and read Acts.

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rising strong

People like MaryAnn have been writing about Brené Brown’s newest book, Rising Strong. In it, she asks, “do you think people are doing the best they can with the tools they have?” She says there are two distinct answers, a resounding absolutely not or a qualified yes.

We’ve had an issue with soccer this season. The AYSO (all volunteer organization) changed fields. The new contract with the new field has been problematic, and AYSO has been moved off the field in favor of Club teams, making our league miss game after game. It has been messy and frustrating. People are talking about how they are just going to sign up for the next town over’s league next season. I get it, but here’s the thing:

I think they’re doing the best they can. Yes, there have been unexpected problems and it has been frustrating. Yes, I wonder why they switched from a field they had to themselves to a busy field. But I truly believe they have our best interests at heart and thought they were doing the best thing they could. And, I’m not enough of a sports’ person to care. If my kids are practicing with a team and getting exercise and learning a game and getting to play sometimes, if I don’t have to spend quite as many Saturdays on the field, I might just be okay with that. (But don’t tell anyone.)

But this and my students this quarter have kind of made me realize that I do believe people are doing the best they can with the tools they have. To believe that is how I was raised, and it’s in my personality. It’s not that I don’t think we all can learn to do better, but I think most of us are trying hard, doing the best we can.

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horizontal and vertical

NaBloPoMo Day 17: Let’s join up with Laura Stephens-Reed:
Write about a spiritual practice that keeps you connected to God and to others.

I have my PC(USA) Daily Prayer App, and in some ways that is just between God and me except that I know other people who use the app or the book, and so there is a kind of connection in knowing other people are reading the same things I am reading, praying the same prayers I am praying. It’s kind of like When a few of us used to read the Bible through every every year. We had the same things in our heads and while we din’t get together to specifically discuss it, if someone said something we knew where she was coming from.

For years I met at church on Tuesdays for a small group lectio divina practice. We drifted off a few months ago. It had become, for me, more of a duty than a privilege. I am wondering though, about trying to reconnect this Advent. I’m not ready to jump back into Lectio, but someone posted on the RevGal FB Advent thread about already created contemplative prayer liturgies with coloring pages. So I am pondering offering to bring those in for Tuesdays during Advent and seeing if anyone is interested.

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this kid of mine

We’re in minimum day, parent conference, awards assembly week.

We saw the boy child get his mathematics award today. Math and music (another post), that’s who he is. We need to work on the reading part. Him, I get. He does what he wants to do, and where he excels, he does.

Tomorrow, the girl will get her English Language Arts, Spanish Language Arts, and Mathematics award. I teased her, “But I thought you’d have a student of the month in there, too.” She said, “Oh, I do. For September. The paper’s in my folder.” So. There it is.

3 years out of 4, she has been student of the month in September, the first month they give the award, the first student her teachers choose. Who is she, this child of mine? We didn’t have such awards, but teachers did not like me this much. I think they did like her father like this. He casually talks about the awards he was given, student of the year and such. He did not have the grades, but they loved him. I got the academic awards when they were available, but not the personable ones.

I won’t be there; I’m teaching, and that is wrenching me. I am unutterably proud of this child of mine. She is loved and validated, not just by us, but by the whole system. And then I start wondering about the kids who aren’t, but today I won’t go there. I will just be proud of my kid. (Honestly, I think her brother was as proud of that single award in math (as were we) as she was of her multitude, so maybe I don’t need to worry so much about the kids who aren’t. They might, in fact, be okay exactly as they are.)

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