Monday, December 14, 2020

Some more contemplation

 I have been awake for over an hour, earlier than I usually awake. But that happens sometimes in this state in my life. Because I am awake, I have been trying to understand a differing opinion than my own that I heard the other day. It may have just been yesterday, I honestly don't have the greatest concept of time in pandemic life. So here it goes anyway.

A person stated that their spiritual health is more important than their physical health because they will eventually die anyway. I am trying to comprehend this. I know as a Catholic, outward signs of inner graces are very important to one's faith. You have the Eucharist, Confession, baptism and just all the smells and bells that go along with Catholicism. Having Jesus present in these outward signs is amazing and not to be taken for granted or shoved out completely. I think where I am struggling with this type of statement about spiritual health is that it disregards other in these times of pandemic. That the second commandment that Jesus taught us somehow gets thrown out the window. 

Yes spiritual health is important. I am definitely not saying that it's not. But I think in these times its misconstrued. That sense of entitlement that one must have an all access pass at all times to all the sacraments. Perhaps we as a society don't even understand how our sense of individuality has colored how we think of spiritual health. That as long as I am good, then the rest doesn't matter. 

God is not a safe God, Yes, we know this. He challenges us to do dangerous things when its for the good of another, and perhaps at times for our own life. Perhaps though, there is somehow something skewed in our American pandemic spiritual health thinking. Is it instead possible to experience God in ways that are unknown to one? That prior to pandemic we became comfortable to having God one way, almost on our terms. Is it possible that we are being called to experience him in different ways right now? To maybe identify with those that don't get to have access to the sacraments daily or weekly or even monthly. Recently, I read a book on the life of Saint Damien of Mokolai. He was unable to participate in the sacrament of confession for long stretches of his life as he served the people of Mokolai. And at one point when he finally saw his superior bring out supplies to the island on which he was serving, he had to scream out his confession to God in another language than those around him knew. He so badly wanted to receive this grace. The one thing though was that he was patient with his circumstances. He knew he was doing hard things, things that were really tough, that his health would deteriorate, but he was doing it for another. 

Honestly, its a complicated thing this pandemic. Yes we should be keeping others well being a priority, Jesus said to love one another. There are many facets to what that includes. However, what is our motivation. Is it to make us feel better? Or is it because we really truly want to put another ahead of ourselves? There wasn't as much known about disease spread in earlier centuries. In times like the plague, when Kristin Lavransdatter fictionally existed, she went head first into caring for the sick and burying the dead without any precautions. They just didn't have them. When Saint Damien lived on Mokolai, they didn't have fresh running water so he had to make access, so disease was rampant. Saint Damien didn't risk others lives though, he risked his own. I honestly think that's a big distinction in these pandemic times. 

Doctors and dentists and clerks and teachers are risking their own lives for the greater good. But is the person that refuses to change up what they are doing and shouts "I will only live free", are they motivated by Jesus's love? Or are the motivated by there want for a sense of normalcy? Are they just trying to run away from suffering? Suffering is unavoidable, and ultimately it brings us closer to Jesus. When we hear the cries of those downtrodden do we ignore them and say this isn't what it used to be or we are past this, or do we listen and ask what do they need to feel loved? 

God is always there, perhaps remembering that can bring you through uncertainty. That in this week of joy in Advent, that maybe our joy is in that we are never alone even if people have abandoned us. That God is there, and perhaps calling us to make sacrifices for him and another, well that again is joy and perhaps we can rise to the occasion, not abandoning our spiritual health, but increasing it. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

How do you reconcile?

 I am not sure why Americans are so set on individualism and being right. Perhaps its our founding fathers, or the pioneers that were imperialists that saw those there before them as uncivilized instead of different. That somehow its still so highly prevalent in society to have non-collectivist thoughts. That we say we want to protect the most vulnerable and the supposed truly religious will fight every election for the rights of the unborn, but then absolutely turn their back on every other hurting most vulnerable group because it doesn't line up with their ideals. That somehow because they have lost their innocence in the world, somehow that makes them less vulnerable. Perhaps its that they are harder to deal with, scars and bumps and bruises and all. But how did they get those scars, from our own want to be right, to be in power, to be comfortable in what we know. It's absolutely difficult to truly want to get outside of one's comfort zone. We instead a lot of times will do the bare minimum to feel better about ourselves. And if someone does go above and beyond we think we could never do that or that they are crazy or just a Saint for doing so. Are we then actually trying to be Saints for Jesus, or are we just trying to get by in our comfy homes without distress?

I read the book Kristin Lavaransdatter about two years ago, and it still sticks with me. She was someone that struggled internally and externally with her choices and still felt it her duty to help the helpless and in the end she actually died from giving dignity to another. It's difficult for some of us to see our own sacrifices as something that is saint making, but instead we see them as maddening, and perhaps its because we are absolutely terrible at boundary setting. Yes, people are suffering other than with the actual disease of Covid-19 but is there some way we could actually see our discomfort as something that is life giving to another. That in some ways its an absolutely visible bit of redemptive suffering. I remember contemplating redemptive suffering for a while and trying to figure out why us as humans struggle with it so very much. I concluded that within it being doctrine, only Buddhists and Catholics attack the subject at all. Unfortunately, in America, we are absolutely very Protestant in our understanding of life, that even Buddhism and Catholicism take a cultural aspect Protestant of throwing out redemptive suffering. So we bicker and we argue that we are suffering too, and yes, yes we are so very are, but can we do something with that suffering, or does it just sit there?

I don't know what is going to reconcile us as a nation to heal all the wounds we have uncovered or highlighted this year. So much has been spewed at us that our brains are barely keeping up and for many, there is no longer the ability to discern what is truth. Perhaps we can start by setting those healthy boundaries of saying no to what is necessary to understand who God wants us to be and then to offer our own suffering for those more vulnerable than us. 

There is another part of this reconciliation that is way more vulnerable to me, but perhaps its for another day. This is what I can offer today. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

It's November

 I don't normally like November. It makes me sad with less daylight and cold rainy weather. And then there was a due date of a baby that was never born alive and a death of a grandmother in the mix. It is usually just a hard month. 

Is this November different? I think through all of what 2020 entails one thing is that I feel more aware of things this year. Like how when each tree changes color and how for a while it was all the oranges and the browns from the oaks with the purples mixed in there and then it was the yellows and then the reds. And there are still a few trees hanging on to their leaves, but most are done. We have enjoyed the leaf piles as most are more attentive to what's happening in their own yard. I think at one point an entire car was buried in leaves because there were so many collected in one spot. 

This November came with an election, and its been fascinatingly scary to see how the current administration refuses to acknowledge a loss. But then how many people are mobilizing for a coop. I think yesterday, there was super spreading coronavirus event with thousands of people marching together sans a mask and this was all to support the current president and deny the election results. 

It's fascinating to go back and look at how this amount of insanity has come about, perhaps in a crazy sad way. Many people back in 2008 thought that Obama was just a terrible person and they would spread these falsities about him. Then, when it came time to speak with their candidate they voiced them, Sen McCain debunked them every time. Somehow with Trump this hasn't happened and he has spread more nonsense, so the rumors have catalyzed into not understanding what is reality anymore. I've read many pieces trying to understand how this actually all happened. Why it's possible that someone who is of terrible character can still be the best person ever, and its just very sad. Somehow, we have forgotten what truth is and then we have forgotten about the dignity of the other. That black lives do matter and that immigrants at the border and in our communities do have value. And it is also so very hard to see the dignity of the other when they are spewing vitriol words at you or justifying killing someone because they weren't an honor student of life. 

It feels like for some reason because our country was founded on non-compliance, its just become a shouting match as we move further away from ties with other societies. We refuse to acknowledge that even if our intention wasn't to hurt another that we truly have hurt them. And even if we did intend to hurt them that we don't want to lose power or the sense of what we know to be because that's unraveling.  But as hard as it is to see the mistake in the sweater and know that it's not fixable without undoing all those stitches, those stitches need to be unraveled. The mistake needs to be acknowledged and corrected to move forward with a functioning sweater without holes. If the hole is there or the forgotten wrong, there is always chance for unraveling when you least expect it. At the very least, you need to go and sew in that loose stitch, secure it and make it feel acknowledged and cared about even if you cannot make up for the trauma it is experienced. 

No one wants to suffer willingly usually unless they are a willing martyr. We all try to run as far from it as possible, and we would rather be cushy in our homes and lives than acknowledge that the person two towns away can't feed her family because her job just doesn't pay enough to do it and to get government assistance, well that doesn't work either because she can't find the time among her responsibilities to be able to take the days off to fill out the paper work and sit in the lines for it. I was thinking the other day how the local hospital that is more accessible to those of less wealth and people of color on our side of town runs its psych department, that you have to show up for hours just to be evaluated to be paired with a counselor and it might not even happen that day, so you have to come back the next day. A struggling person doesn't have all that time, and yet that's the person that could use that person to gain perspective. 

I am sure I don't have the answers on how to solve all the things, but I will keep praying, trying to learn and see a person as a person and not a statistic. So, maybe this November is simply a take stock November for me and maybe for you too. It's certainly got a different feeling to it than the last one did. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Three is so much better this time around

I will start off by saying that not everyone needs many children. There is no one right family size. In this, I am simply going to give my own experience.

I have now had four 3 year olds. While there are times when we definitely bash heads and I genuinely enjoy this 3 year old so much more than I did the first couple of times around.  I think for me because everything was brand new the first time and each stage came one after another for a while, I never had time to process well, just react. I have no idea how my kids will turn out with their own free will being very present and I will try to guide them into adulthood, but somehow with each kid past the first while there are things that are way different with each kid, and loops are thrown, there are also moments that are that much sweeter. Those moments that I can actually recognize because I learned to pay attention. Perhaps I should have payed attention sooner, but it didn't happen.

Yesterday we did our half mile walk to our neighbor's coffee shop to get our weekly treat and sit outside in the glorious fall weather. It has been so glorious this week. I am a get outside in all weather type of person, but not having 40's and rain make it much easier to sit outside, and for that I am thankful. So S my current 3year old walked the whole way to and from the shop, I am proud of her because this doesn't happen all the time, many times we take the stroller because she will be tired and say her legs don't work being 3 and all. 

When we went to sit down, we pulled off our masks and S noticed my bloody nose, and well, I get a lot of bloody noses right now due to increased blood flow and changing weather. So S being S, she said "Mama, your nose has a little bit of blood on it. But that's okay, its okay to have a little bit of blood."  And she will say this in many different ways and gosh do I ever revel in the external assurance that I am doing okay. She can see me break something, and I am usually calm in a crisis, its just me, but she will again say, "It's okay. Sometimes things break. You are still a good Mama." It's amazing how God can use those little voices to keep you keeping on and know you are still that beloved child of God.

She will be very three at times, and one of the older siblings will get upset with her, and she will be so upset with it because in her mind its denying that she is a "Good Stella." And isn't this what we all struggle with at times. Or at least me, I struggle with this internally. I will mess up and think I am terrible and not worthy of love. We have been able to have multiple chats about sometimes we can do mean things or make bad choices and still be good. I am not sure how much a 3 year old really gets it, I think they are very black and white at this stage, but I love who she is. That she sees the goodness in everyone, even in their flaws. 

There are definitely those 3 year old moments though, times of misunderstanding. Times where I frustrate her so much because I have "done it wrong" and she will declare that I did it wrong. And honestly I love that too, because she knows what she wants and just isn't able to process it through and declare it perfectly and we have to be patient with each other. She can get ragey a bit in those times and we give a moment and then we can restart and understand a bit better. 

So 3 is still 3, but somehow it is so much better this time around. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Voting Day

 We already voted. Today feels a bit anti-climatic because of that. However, there are no results in so I think more than ever many of us are on edge about the results. Perhaps we have become such skeptics, due to unfolding events in this last year, about how everything is run. Especially for millennials, that people actually care about us and have our best interest in mind, when the things we see just don't add up. It feels like more and more that the grownups running this country have no freaking clue what they are doing and really more so if they do they are comfortable yet in their places where the rest of us see people hurting and all those Sunday school lessons, homilies and sermons sunk in and we want to help the suffering. 

We wonder how the generation before became complacent in its position with big houses separated from their neighbors just enough that they don't have to actually know them, and to be colorblind was the thing, but really we have seen that no one in this world is actually colorblind. So we are riding on that for this election to at the very least get some relief for the hurting populations in our Covid ridden, sadly racist societies. 

Ultimately, we know that one election isn't the end all be all, and that our actual actions mean something, but perhaps it raises our awareness that we can actually do something. That all of our protesting and learning and writing and praying and amplifying BIPOC voices to be heard actually did something. I hope at the end of the day if we get the narcissist out, that we don't just sit back but continue the work. Because there is a lot of work to be done. 

Even if we don't get that result, we need to do more work, it will just be harder to do it with the national guard on our backs and tear gassing in our neighborhoods. I think at one point I wanted out of this country because it made me so incredibly sad that so many people that I thought were Christ following people were actually swept up into this unrest is not okay and we are afraid and so police go take care of the scoundrels. But they are not scoundrels and there is no going back because ultimately it was us, white people, that did it to our Black neighbors, and we need to stop. We need to want the same things we want for our own selves and our own children. I am leaning into the my own trauma because I understand a bit how it is to calmly try to say that this isn't working, or this isn't kind, or you are hurting me and get no where. That after 20,000 times of saying those things in many different ways, sometimes you just have to do something to get attention, and even then you will be ignored because its outside the comfort zone of the other. Its so maddening, and to know that BIPOC and other disadvantaged groups get that from any angle at anytime, that's even harder. We need to step up with our privilege. We need to vote. So go and vote now! 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Car time

Sadly the pandemic still continues, and despite what some may here from higher political offices, its a thing and its a deadly thing or something that will cause complications later in life. Basically if you can avoid catching it, you should. With it being pandemic mode, my normal realm of writing has been eliminated. I used to go write in the mornings inside the coffee shop. We no longer have indoor coffee shops and honestly knowing what I know about air flow being a huge factor in getting Covid-19, I am trying stay outside as much as I can when it comes to eating outside my home. I keep saying that I am determined to be European in the sense that there is almost always outdoor dining and living in that continent. Knowing what I know just from normal viruses and the last 3 years of forest school, we are healthier if we stay outside more. The only tidbit that needs to be taken care of is proper clothing. And since we have been doing this for multiple years, I think we can do it, at least a bit more than we have already. 

But back to writing, where am I writing? Well from in my garage and the passenger seat of my one and only 16 year old van. Yesterday afternoon I worked out a plan with my therapist to figure out how I could actually get thoughts out of my head, I haven't been able to write and its been literally making me angry and I don't like angry me. I am sure she maybe thought I was slightly eccentric with needing all the things I need to get this writing thing going, but I need them. There is something about being in my home with awake children that doesn't allow writing to happen. I need space to distance myself from my responsibility there because I am there all the time. I love most of what I do, there are bad days with thrown dictionaries, but I enjoy teaching my children and being a grassroots recycling organizer and kind of running non-functioning pandemic forest school. 

I am here with my new to me giant pink headphones, I decided on giant ones because everything else is too easy to lose. I am that person that prefers to attach even her keys to her wallet so I won't lose those too. I just lose things, have I ever told you about losing my wedding and engagement ring set? No, well another time. And with Spotify playing the Rocket Summer, my happy band, and protein and bakery ( today that' a slice of Neutella bread) and tea, I am good to go.  It will not live up to Metropolitan Coffee bakery, but I can only do so much.  

So here I am back writing, and I would like to thank my therapist seeing my constant interruption even with a closed locked door and my anger and frustration for getting here. Well, I am sure there was grace in there too because God is working in everything, but nonetheless here we are. Enjoy.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Three Girl

My daughter paints in soap and lotion.

When she watches a movie, she's in constant motion

She can sing any tune

And always points out the moon.

She hates to get wet.

But give her a swing and she is set.

I wonder who she will grow to be

But right now she is only three.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Plastic Free Alternatives

I complied a list of things you can get without plastic involved. In our area of the country, we do not have glass recycling and plastic recycling is on its way out. We only have metal and paper recycling. Thus, I made a list of products and companies that offer alternatives, some are even tree free using bamboo. All packaging that the product comes in should be compostable, recyclable or reusable. Hope you find this helpful.

Plastic FREE PRODUCTS (zero waste, everything is compostable or recyclable)

Shampoo, conditioner and body wash 
Can return packaging for refills. 

Dishsoap, handsoap, multi purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner

Can just use own bottles and just start with refill packs

Cleancult- waxed milk jug containers

Kitchen Sponges
Silicon sponges like these -reusable, dishwasher friendly


Patch Bandages - Made from bamboo sold online or at target

If you don’t have teeth problems bamboo brushes are the way to go here. There are many companies that sell these, just do a search online

“Q-Tips” - Cotton Buds

Lip Balm
Many different companies selling lipbalm in compostable tubes, this is a small etsy seller doing it.

No good alternatives for actual wanting to clean your mouth well.
Best alternative found is David’s Natural Toothpaste, supposedly in an all metal recyclable container, not sure who would recycle it though.


Period care
Thinx underwear
Menstrual Cups
Reusable cloth pads and panty liners

Replacable blade razors (costly)

Baby Diapers: 
Alva Baby, Green Mountain Diapers
BumGenius, Fuzzi Buns, Charlie Banana 
(find through a buy nothing or local buy nothing group)

Loofah sponge

Laundry soap


Sheets laundry club

Ziplock bags
Various silicone washable bags can be found on Amazon or other smaller company sites

Plastic wrap
Bees wax wrap

Toilet paper 
Who gives a crap 
Grove co. 

Paper towels and tissues
Grove co.

Cupcake Liners:
Regular ones are compostable 
Silcone Ones are reusable

Companies that carry a lot of niche zero waste products

Package Free Shop

Well Earth Goods 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

What is okay to share

There's an absolute sense of vulnerability in my life currently that feels like I'm unable to share publicly. Andwhat does that really mean to share publicly? Does one have to bare one's heart to the world to be loved?
In raw pain I'm glad that people can find comfort in sharing. I don't have that in my life. In the hard things I've gone through I've been shut down or gaslit away from being able to feel them freely. It's led me to set up strict boundaries that just are hard because the people around me will never really know our understand what it's like to walk in my shoes. But some do have some empathy and for that I'm grateful.
In knowing all of this, I'm trying to lean into my own discomfort for the marginalized people in our country, the immigrants, BIPOC, and all the people who have to live in fear to be themselves. Because the God l know is full of love, so full he sees us when no one else does. And he says in our mess that he still loves us. And goodness is our nation a mess currently. I've seen in my own life that sometimes you absolutely have to break to be healed, but it's uncomfortable to do so and we often to resist it. I think we need to break as a nation, currently many are trying to cover everything up, but it's not working. It's just beating one's head against the wall over and over.
So if statues have to come down and protests have to carried out to be heard then we need to hear. We need to listen to the broken, because we too are broken and it's in our brokenness that we can find common ground and learn to love.

And yes, our God is bigger than a statue any day. 

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.