Volunteer to Die is .99 this week!

This is your opportunity to buy Volunteer to Die for only .99 this week: November 12th-18th!

 

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A lesson about flags

Continuing on my adventure on this route, an exchange student now lives with me. The story is a familiar one. I am a sucker and it is a little convoluted, but all you need to know is that I have an exchange student living with me and my child. She is a high school junior and from Thailand. She is lovely.

I have been thrilled to watch her learn about our culture. I have enjoyed her observations and learning about her culture. My child likes having an older sibling. Things are working out.

Over these last few weeks, we have visited area museums. We have tried to take her to local events like parades and football games. I took her to church. I want to expose her to life in the United States.

This past week, I was driving her to school and chatting. She pointed to the American Flag in front on the high school and asked why it was like it was, at half mast. I thought for a moment and then replied: “Because a man walked into the church and killed or maimed everyone there. It seems to happen a lot here.”

She was just quiet. Suddenly I felt very self-conscious. Mass shootings/killings do seem to happen here a lot. This is one part of American culture I wish I did not have to share. I wish I could hide it, but how can I when the flag is at half mast?

 

Homework

My daughter now has homework. Things are getting real. Like, really real.

They are testing constantly. The work comes back with red pen on it. There is a folder, and I need a brown paper bag to breathe in and out of.

I am taking this super seriously and freaking out a little bit. We need to do this work, now! My daughter, on the other hand, wants to pretend to be a cat. This is when my forehead makes contact with the kitchen table.

I believe in homework. I know this is important. I am competitive. She must be able to prove what she knows on paper. She must!

Then she walks up to me and says something like: “I will be your superhero and I will change your heart.” Then I know. She is the smartest one in the house, in my world. She proves to me just how silly homework and tests can be. It might be hard for a superhero to prove who they are on paper, after all, they need to maintain their secret identity. She doesn’t have to prove a thing. She is a superhero.

Stepping out

Around 7:45 AM, I have been walking at a local park in town with a mile track. I try to go twice around, if I have the time. I started this when my daughter started school about a few weeks ago. I think it is going well.

Some days the track is pretty full of walkers and joggers. Some chat with each other. Some keep their eyes focused forward listening to their headphones. Some are fast and some are slow. Each makes his or her way around the track.

The mornings are cool and there is plenty of shade. It is quiet and green. Off to one side you can see a creek rush past. In that quiet, I can think.

I look around and I think. I think about my plans for the day. I wonder how my daughter is doing. I check-in with my inner calendar. Then suddenly, I might catch a whiff of some plant or a squirrel runs past, as if to say: “Pay attention.”

I try to pay attention. I then pray. I walk and I pray, saying thank you for the day.

Remembering on the Route

Next week we are doing something new at All Saints’ Episcopal Church. We will host our very own Memory Cafe on September 13th at 10 AM until 12 PM. This event is for those who have Alzheimer’s or Dementia and their caregivers. The program is fun, music, support and snacks in a hospitable environment. We are hosting this event in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association and Integris Hospital.

The idea emerged from a need that one of our parishioners experienced. She and her husband had cared for family members with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The care was meaningful and difficult. She realized that she could have used some help, not from a hospital, but encouragement and support. How do we offer support to those with memory issues and their family members? Could we make a space for people to come, relax and perhaps have a special time that has no agenda other than support for those who really need it? Remembering on the Route was born!

On Wednesday, September 13th at 10 AM, we hope to meet some new friends who might be struggling with these memory issues and those who care for them.

Something I am learning, on the Route, is how important it is that ministry match the needs of a community. This parishioner saw a need, a need even for herself and now we have ministry! Ministry is a meaningful and thoughtful response to need. That is what we will try to do next Wednesday.

The lost art of letter writing

Each Monday a little group of parishioners gather to plan our upcoming Centennial Celebration at All Saints in 2018. At this time, we talk about our hopes for this celebration and All Saints. We are working on a fundraising campaign and what events should occur in 2018.

One of our group is scanning all the photos and articles about All Saints that we have, years and years of scrapbooks. In one, she discovered a letter from 2005. Written in magnificent small script, a man wrote about his time worshiping at All Saints’ Church as a young RAF pilot who was training in Miami in the early 1940s.

The letter is beautiful. His deep faith is evident. His words came alive while one of group read his letter aloud. We all commented on that lost art of writing a beautiful letter. How powerful those words were, a simple reflection on his time in Miami during the 1940s.

I would like to meet him and actually I am trying to determine if that is even possible. So, I sent my message on Facebook to what may be his church. I emailed the Royal Air Force. I also called. Those were quick messages. They did not really hold the same beauty of his message.

Still, I will keep looking. Perhaps I will make contact and learn more about this lost art.

What if?

Last night I put my daughter to bed after a long negotiation. How many books would we read? Would the dog sleep near her head or at her feet? Nightlight on or off? Finally, tucked in, she fell asleep.

I am completely unbiased. She is a beautiful child. She really is! She is also even more beautiful when she is asleep. She looks like a little angel. Once again, I am totally unbiased.

I relish that time when she has just fallen asleep. At that moment, the worries of the day fade and I am reminded of every sweet thing she does. The world seems peaceful.

Of course, the world is not peaceful. News is filled with nastiness. You and I will be disappointed again and again by those we thought of as heroes. Is there anything good left in this world?

Yes, there is good left in this world. In fact, there is a lot of good to go around. Good in unexpected places, from unexpected and complicated people. Perhaps what is good in this world is you and me.

What if we saw ourselves as what was good in this world? We are the ambassadors of good, what would we share about our culture of good? How would others know that they too belong to the kind of kindness? How do we tell them?

Being good, participating in kindness is not a denial of evil or the pain of the world. It is the healing of the world. That is what we do, who we are, and what shall be.