Saturday, December 16, 2017

Advent is About Waiting

Per Wikipedia, "Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning "coming"." 

Advent is about waiting.

Advent 2013 meant waiting for a baby to eat on his own, not through a tube. Waiting for a biopsy and a surgery and an oncologist.  Meeting in a NICU room on Christmas Eve with doctors waiting for a daily update for the 3 lb infant Joseph and a prognosis for my wife who was holding him.

2016 Advent meant waiting for a gift to arrive, cookies to bake, sitters to come and celebration at church. It meant having the time and luxury of crying when the tenor hit the high note in Oh Holy night and celebrating that we had the energy to make it this far. It meant giving the toddler who couldn't eat on his own three years ago an extra gingerbread cookie just because you can, and both of you feeling so happy because he can eat it and ask for more and you can share that moment..... because you're all alive.

2017 This year it's the comfort of having made it to a place where the decorations are up, the kids are surrounded with fun traditions like elf on the shelf and advent calendars, and celebrating Advent the way I grew up, with candles in a wreath.  It's about waiting with joy for parties and knowing that our children are having memories of a fun advent season with both of their parents.

This year the discomfort of waiting isn't mine.  This year it's feeling heaviness for a friend who had to evacuate fires in California, had to pull her child, wife, and parents away from their home, and had to remain connected to her physical church and church flock during waiting with the hope of returning home to a house and church with smoke-filled air, in hopes of preparing for Jesus before he arrives on Christmas night.

Advent is about waiting. And being alive through the comfort and discomfort of the season. 

Wishing you peace through whatever form of waiting you're in. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Letter to the Boy Scouts of America

July 26, 2017

Dear Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Leaders,
I’ve spent 25 years (off and on – no exaggeration) discerning whether I would have my sons attend BSA or not, and whether I would want to give of my family’s time, talent, and treasure to support you. In the past few years I’ve concluded that I would.
When you re-open your office tomorrow morning, what are you going to tell me, and countless other parents, about your reflections from President Trump’s speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree? What are you going to tell me about your values and morals that would make me want to sign on with BSA?
Your initial response to President Trump’s speech was unacceptable and underwhelming.
Tomorrow morning pretend you’re a minister on Easter Sunday or Christmas Eve. Pretend that you have an important message to get across. Pretend that your organizations future depends on it. Why? Because it does.
Tomorrow morning, before your staff and volunteers open the BSA doors again and get slaughtered, make a statement that informs us, impresses us, and brings back our faith that you’re the strong organization with good values that you’ve proven to be for so many people.
Kind regards,
A Concerned Mom of Two Future Scouts

Friday, May 5, 2017

Face the Music

A friend shared this song with me 10 days after my youngest son was born and right when my spouse was diagnosed with cancer.  I told her I'd listen to it when I could listen to music without getting son is 3 1/2.....and I listened to the song this morning.

I couldn't listen to music for a while after my mom died back in 97. Even going to church, especially going to church, was a crap shoot. I'd hear one of her favorite hymns, get choked up, and the tears would start rolling. Within a few years I worked myself back to music...and back to church....and had a good season of listening, performing, practicing, etc. I even took a few fiddle lessons.

So I went through a musical drought again three years ago.  In the last few months I've been listening to music, we added a piano to our home - in order to keep the music growing - and I've been playing the violin as part of my stand up comedy gigs - another new thing.

Today I'm excited to wake up to the fact that I've come through the drought, my ears and heart are open, and I'm facing the music without even thinking about it.

As Mary Chapin Carpenter says,
"I'm not running
I'm not hiding
I'm not reaching
I'm just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in
And I'm almost home."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Going Viral

I haven't posted a blog for a long time - in fact it's been so long that I've gotten married and I have two boys - one of whom is 5-years-old.  That sort of long time.  So what's worthy of a post now?


On Sept. 27, 2016, I created a graphic celebrating Banned Books Week.  I made a point to include authors on an ALA banned list that were popular – either for the classics they have written or their contemporary appeal. I hoped that it would catch people’s attention and provide some education surrounding challenged and banned books.

The image went viral.  Not viral like I wipe my nose on my sleeve, my kid takes a booger to school, and 20 others catch a cold, viral as in close to three and a half million people have seen the post.

Here are the statistics: Since Sept. 27:   

3,480,319 people have seen the post. 
There are 3.3 thousand “likes” on the post.
Eight hundred people have commented on it. 
Thirty thousand people have shared the post.
The number of people who have “liked” the FTRF Facebook page has gone up 3,831 to reach over 11,000

What does this mean?  It does not mean that I’ve cracked the Facebook algorithm (at least I doubt it – we’ll see) and it doesn’t mean I’ll have this much response every time I post on behalf of FTRF.  It does give me and our staff and board members a better sense of what engages people, it tells us that there is a huge information gap when it comes to people understanding that books are still challenged and removed from library shelves, and it means that we have work to do.

What’s the plan now?  We have the attention (even if it’s a momentary blip in their FB feed) of 3,831 new people.  We have an opportunity to educate.  We have an opportunity to share information through posts, webinars, promotion of FTRF grants and programs.

I’m excited about this opportunity!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beware of Flashers

I had an amusing drive to work the other day.  The cop several cars in front of me wreaked havoc by leaving on his vehicle flashers.

Have you ever been a tad annoyed when the person in front of you forgets to turn off their turn signal? At every street you slow down in anticipation of their sudden turn.This was like that, and on a grand scale!

First the driver of a semi truck pulled into a gas station thinking he was being pulled over.  He found a way to park in the small station lot, got out of his truck, waited for the cop, hopped on his cell phone and started pacing. The cop just drove coolly through the intersection (flashing all along) and kept going.  Poor semi driver!

Then, at an intersection, the traffic lights were acting strange as they are set to be timed with the flashing cop car lights. Drivers were confused and didn't want to get ahead of the police vehicle, so we sat at the light and waited. . . and waited some more. . . . you get the idea.

Finally we're all following this fellow like a funeral procession, and perhaps he doesn't get why people in front of him are slowly turning off onto side streets, and I'm just about at the street where I turn off at work, (perhaps 2 or 3 miles down the road, which runs through a residential area - it really was a slow ride) he figures it out.

Poor fellow. I'm guessing he received more grief at the police station than I did when I walked in to work five minutes late.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Green Thumb Not Required

Please note: This is not a scientific article – in fact, it falls in that category of  “I think it therefore it’s true."

Shortly after my mom died, my dad took a look at her Christmas Cactus, which had graced our home for as long as I could remember, and said, "I suppose we should throw this away - I don't know what to do with it." Well. . . this seemed like a sad idea, and the plant was in great health and had what seemed to be a perfect plant home on a nice windowsill with just the right amount of light. I suggested that maybe between the two of us we could give it some water on occasion and see how it would do. My father wasn't so optimistic about his ability to be left alone with a plant and have it not die. As he put it, "your mother always kept these alive, I've never done anything with a plant."

Well. . . that plant made a go of it for years. I eventually gave it to one of our neighbors when my dad moved out of his own apartment. It made a go of it without being regularly watered. It didn’t get a lot of attention, I could go on and on about the things that plant didn't get. What did it have? Great genetics. It was a hearty plant, and came into our lives after years of living with someone who had “a green thumb. “ While my dad wasn’t a “plant guy” or any sort of gardener, he managed to enjoy that plant, and see it bloom, for a number of years.
This morning I asked a co-worker if I could take a cut from his spider plant in order to start a new one. The plant is impressive. It's green, spilling over his desk, and seems to have great pep. He was more than happy to let me have a clipping and informed me that he got it from another woman in our department who is known for having an amazing garden and happy plants. As he said, "It's the best type of plant, I water it once a week and then leave it alone." He credited the original owner with the success of the plant.

Finally, a friend of mine came over when I moved into a new home. She brought three beautiful plants that she got from her sister who is a master gardener for a state known for it's beautiful plants and produce. Those three plants are thriving. They get very little attention, are regularly munched on by a cat, yet they bloom, and shine and keep growing.

I am convinced that a green thumb is not required. . . just good plant genetics and a bit of appreciation.

If you have a similar story feel free to share.  Perhaps the "real" green thumbs out there will rise up against my theory.

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Daily Inspiration Comes to You from Yoda ~ And My Brother

. . . do or do not, there is no try

I put that quote on my tagline today.  A while after doing that, I realized it’s not too different from the one I’ve had on my work tagline for some time, “sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul,” Edward Abbey.

Living these quotes is sometimes a challenge, but I’m proud to have seen a great example of someone putting them into action today.

This morning .  .  . very, very, early this morning, my brother stood in a field with some spray paint.  He didn’t say he would “try” to get up. He just got up  . . . at 4 a.m.

He was there to make sure the labyrinth he was making would have perfect solar alignment.   The people who walk through it, or attend a workshop about its’ purpose and how it was made, will be able to appreciate the fact that it faces perfect East. 

When he first told me of this plan, I had a moment where I thought, why not sleep in and have it facing a more ‘general’ East direction?  Then I reconsidered.  What if the Native Americans had decided to sleep in when they needed to draw a line through a petroglyph marking a new year? Or the ancient mariners had been given inaccurate coordinates or charts when someone failed to record a sunrise or sunset?

While I rely on my digital clock, gps unit, and phone that changes time zones whenever I drive across an invisible line, there is still something comforting about good, old-fashioned, orienteering.

There are so many things that I’m thankful people just do.  There is no try.
The beautiful end result