Thursday, May 21, 2020

Pandemic poem

We knew it wasn't sustainable.
This lifestyle and world we were living in.
It couldn't cycle through another,"but this is the way things have always been."
It had to break at some point.
But who would have thought this would be it.
A pandemic.
Yet it is it.
There are so many things that needed to break.
And there are so many people hurting.
But perhaps this is the world's chance at redemptive suffering.
If they will let it in.
It will be hard, to grow and learn.
It always is.
Tears will be shed.
Overwhelm will happen.
Through it, though, it can't be avoided.
And it's not all for naught.
We can still find joy among the sadness.
But it is still sad.
Sad that the good had to stop with the bad.
Finding little bits of joy will keep you going.
Knowing that you matter, that the cancer patient down the street matters.
The 85 year old neighbor matters, and the narcissist, he still matters, though perhaps should be not in the forefront.
This time in pandemic isn't a wash.
So how do we learn from the broken.
How do we grow in the darkness.
Step outside the fear perhaps?
Search for creativity.
Take a step back and soak it all in.
See the forest among the trees.
Go with kindness, even in the hard things.
We can learn while broken.
We can shine brightly again.
But perhaps we need to hope.
Hope in something greater than us.
That hope will get us through.
To the other side.
We will sing again.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Little things in the wrong places.

This week has had a few little things in odd places, places where they shouldn't have been.

The first one was a 1X1 green Lego brick. I was attempting to close the dishwasher and for some reason I couldn't get it to close. It would not physically fit where it was supposed to and I had no idea why. My honest go to is to shove something into place to make it work, but it honestly wouldn't go here. And so I called down my husband telling him that the dishwasher was broken. I was convinced that somehow the counters had swelled and warped. Newsflash, they did not. But the dishwasher would not close. So Keith examined it further and it happened that a tiny Lego brick found its way into the crack between the door and the rest of the washer. I didn't see it, it was small, but Keith found it and the dishwasher worked again.

The second one was a toothpick. Apparently, Keith was fixing our breaking dining room table with toothpicks and wood glue. All the screws were coming plum out so Keith was trying to make the holes more sticky and smaller. So somehow a toothpick traveled upstairs to our bedroom carpet and lodged itself in the carpet. I was in the act of collecting books for our local chapter of forest school's remote circle time that day. I went to reach down for Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and felt a sharp pain in my foot. I exclaimed my pain and then tried to figure out what it was that my foot had encountered. Whatever it was, had gone straight through my sock into the ball of my foot. When I looked at it, it was a stick of wood, a half toothpick to be exact. So I had Keith play immediate surgeon, and he pulled out some of it. But then part was still stuck, so I got brave and took it out myself. I cleaned the wound and bandaged it.  It was pretty sore to walk on for the rest of the day but is much better since then.

The last one was an ear bud cap. I had been using an old pair of headphones, because I haven't found a my newer set and there is no way I would trust myself with Airpods. So I have been listening to audio books as background noise to learn something and feel like people are around me. This requires my phone to be attached, so one time it fell straight to the ground and the headphone ripped right out of my ear. I saw it in pieces and thought, well, I guess I will just throw these out now. I went drop off food to a new mama and went about my day. Much later in the day, Helena exclaimed that I had a really weird earring in my ear. And I had no idea what she was talking about. But I asked her what ear, and apparently she was right, I had the outside covering to the earbud stuck right in my ear. I had no idea!

So hopefully these stories make you cry, laugh or think I'm crazy. Any of the above or outside this range of reaction is totally acceptable. I hope you have a great May Day tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Existential Crisis Mode

I miss my life. I miss Forest School and community building. I miss making Little Free Libraries for people and teaching at co-op. I miss it. I miss Jesus and Sunday church community.

I am feeling like I have no purpose, because it just feels like I can't do the things I want to do and I am so ready to do things again. I guess instead I have to be creative and do them differently, and I have been. But then it comes back to the hard things, the things that I have always struggled with and those things are so hard. That it feels like there is an inability to fit in and that I will never been good enough to feel proud of myself. That I am totally terrified of what others think of my heart projects. That maybe, I am just that terrible at English that I can't write a children's book anyway.

And today there was the conversation that made me feel like I didn't belong, everyone else agreed that the world should take into account population control to solve climate change, and its just not true. Instead we have to go and make the big players change their policies. If the little guys can only change the climate by 6 percent, then we definitely need to adjust how the big players see it. My dear husband told me that a lot of excess energy is spent on military operations, and yet a lot of things are not necessary to be what they are.

I do think that scientists are trying, even if sometimes the headlines for the masses may blow up a small finding as huge. I do think we care about this planet, but also we need to care about our people. There's no use having people die in Malawi and then tell them the solution to their problems is to live a westernized way when that's not even on their radar and doesn't allow them to be them.

I was reading the Encountering the Saints Series book on Saint Issac Jogues, and man was he ever tortured. It's hard to think about how the colonizers interacted with the natives with a clear head, knowing what we know now. But at the same time, its really not respecting another human to bite off his thumb or club him in a gauntlet. I remember from the baptists of being told to meet people where they are at when trying to share the gospel with them. I think they tried, but yet they were so different and also associated with their enemies that they just had different ways of thinking about a non native.

I want to be able to approach topics that are hard, that I disagree with others without wanting to say you are dumb for thinking that, because that's not respectful either. I think perhaps its hard though when it attacks your core, and a core that you are unsure of yourself in a way that plays at your weaknesses. I for one do not like to rock the boat, because anytime I have done so, its had major consequences. However, if something is blatantly false, how do I approach someone with dignity but also say you should look at this through a different angle.

I also like books, but most folks don't like to read books that challenge you to think deeply. Most adult fiction is written at a 6th grade level of reading, no higher. Why do you think that is?

So here I am, in existential crisis mode wondering why I will never get over not wanting to be praised and liked. That I will fail here and now and this will make me stronger, even if I don't like it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

But why? For the Pandemic

But why? For the Pandemic

By Kiera Kurak

Why can’t I play with my friends?

Why can’t I play on the slide?

Why can’t I give my grandma a hug? 

Why can’t I go to the store with you?

Why can’t we go to church?

Why do I have to wash my hands again?

Why can’t I go to the zoo? 

But why is this so hard?

Because it is hard,  little one. 

But you can do hard things. 

And in doing hard things you are showing your love for another.

Maybe you have never met them, 

But they are just as important to and loved by someone else as you are to me.

So, we spread love in our sidewalk messages.

And our window decorations.

And in our waves from across the street.

And by staying home doing our part with school and chores

and by playing with mom and dad.

We keep us and others safe this way. 

And it will be okay. God is bigger than this.

And he doesn’t forget us ever.

We will give hugs again soon. 

But right now it’s a lot of patience, waiting and praying, and you can do this. 

We can do this together, little one.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

In hopes of being truthful -A story of Keith

In hopes of being truthful to my hopes of being a published children's book author, I decided that I will put out stories that I write on here. These will not be ones that I am not trying to get published at the moment, but have been helpful along the way. And I will help with context, as there are no pictures, by telling you a little about them prior to the post.

This first one is "The Story of Keith Kurak", which happens to be my husband. I was playing around with picture book biographies a bit because I absolutely love them and they have absolutely captivated me many times. Anyone read Mo Willems "Because"? This is the type of book I am talking about here. Or has anyone read "Star Stuff" by Stephanie Roth Sisson, a biography about Carl Sagan. If you haven't read either of these, you probably should. And this is the light that I wrote this next bit.

The Story of Keith Kurak

by Kiera Kurak

There was a little boy named Keith.

Keith liked to play with cars and blocks. In it he could pretend he was in his own world. 

As Keith grew he would enter in his own world in other ways.

With his friends, he built forts in the common woods behind his house.

He would often find himself lost inside video game. 

He loved everything about the worlds that he would enter into in these places.

It always let his imagination soar.

Someday he knew he’d like to create something on a computer for someone.

As Keith got older he studied computer science.

He programmed computers for an industrial company for a while, but it wasn’t what he really enjoyed.

One day a friend asked him if he would like to make a mobile application with his company.

He said yes.

Now Keith makes a mobile apps to help people, and still enjoys a good round in the imaginary world of computer games.

Especially when he gets to play games with his kids, and help their imaginations soar too.

The End

Perhaps I will upgrade this someday with little drawing photos, but here it is for now, keeping me honest.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Creative struggle in pandemic times

I am struggling to create. I am wanting to try and create. And perhaps I am creating little bits here and there, but the anxiety of the coronavirus epidemic going on is getting the best of me. I don't like not having freedom. I don't even use all the institutions like most people do. We homeschool, my husband works from home, we usually just go outside for our social interaction. We do weekly or more go to church. Overall, it is still hard, all the information and misinformation make me a little crazy. I just shouted at my husband yesterday because it was too much for me, this new way of life. And really I realize our lives are probably only 20% different.
In my mind I was going to do all these things I wanted to get done, but my brain cannot get there most days. It feels shut down and in panic mode. Maybe, just maybe it is coming out of it. I no longer have panic attacks every night and hearing that a dear friend's family caught the virus but still got through it. They had seven people in their family with kids ages 2mos to 12yrs old and they got through it. And not that they are an example of everyone in our world, but it feels like it gives a bit of hope for me. That we can do this.
But also I think that I feel like this is calling to mind how we as a society view death. It seems everyone is afraid of death. And perhaps we are afraid of our securities going away. We are afraid. And maybe we need to look to the Saints, and see how they got through these things. Maybe its harder in our instant digital age. Maybe we just want this to be over and it can't be. Not yet they say, and they don't have an end date known.
I do think we need to find a new sense of normalcy in this mess. Have a call a day with a friend or family member. Do something that helps your community. Do something that brings you closer to God. Do something that helps your stress be less, get exercise and go outside. These are all things that I have found helpful.
But still I can only create in small bits, and I think I will get there, but pray for me that I will be able to create more as we stay isolated and therefore healthy. Creating is how I stabilize myself among the chaos. I will keep you all in my prayers too.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

To my Helena Girl

I wrote this awhile back. I write when I need to process something that was terrible. I want to make it something good. At lot of times, Helena is my muse. She's a wonderful person and I love seeing her grow. And yes, we do have our hard moments, but she is truly a unique irreplaceable person and I try to be daily thankful to the gift that is her. And as she turned a year older on Saturday, I thought I would share a poem sequence that I wrote about her this past summer.

"Mama, How do You Love Me?"

by Kiera Kurak

"Mama, how do you love me?"

I love you to the moon and back.

I love you wherever you go.

I love you whatever you do.

I love you through big messes.

I love you when you snuggle with hugs and kisses.

I love you when you're being brave.

I love you when you are being silly.

I love you when you are sad or mad.

And I love you just because you are you.


Happy 6th Birthday, Helena girl!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Putting memories into an actual book

A very good friend upon receiving our Christmas card and letter said that I should put all of our Christmas letters together in a book with our photo from that year and then bring it out every so often to read to the kids. Perhaps this should have been intuitive to me but it wasn't. Instead I hemmed and hawed how I would do it. There were a lot of how will I go and find all the things I need for this. And actually our printer decided to not print every other page I printed, but its coming together. And the first time I read a letter to the children and then were miniature stars of their current selves they loved it. I now have found all the letters and am working on retrieving the photos from the year, as I have them hidden in pockets around the house ( I am very organized until I am not.).

I'll leave you with this gem though from 2014,

"Ben’s passion for his friends and family in Tennessee is only eclipsed by his passion for plain pasta. On the way home, when dad went to pay the bill at the Polaris Skyline Chili, Ben followed behind him with carryout, as in, he was carrying out two fistfuls full of noodles in his bare hands. And, really, when I think of the most important thing we learned this year, it was this: when life gives you noodles and nothing to put them in, take the noodles anyway. Or ask your server for a box. Or was it to grab the oyster crackers, as well?"

Sunday, January 12, 2020


Today's homily was about true humility. And man is that a hard one, because I come from a long line of prideful people that don't like to be fixed, or admit they are broken. And yet we all are. I think for me to admit that I have to let something go, and to not be able to fix it. To just sit and trust, that is humbling and so very hard. But this is where I am and if I remember that Jesus is always with me, I am okay.