Kaiya

Nice sound.  Unusual even in our culture of made-up names and family twists with last for first.

Kaiya.

My daughter-in-law, step mother to first grandchildren, is a small human with an amazing capacity for instinct and intuition.  She gets that concept of ‘mindfulness’ and she follows through standing so much taller than her physical stature.

During those times when we all struggle for words, Kaiya speaks with silence and strength.  That famous extra-mile gives way to her constant determination to do what is helpful.

Kaiya.   A tribute word.

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Sisters

Family and friends often commented that my sisters and I were found in some Kansas City, Kansas cabbage-patches.  Both sister had snapping dark eyes, olive skin and brown/black hair. My Casper eyes are blue-to-pale and blue doesn’t snap. Both sisters had reserved front row choir places, crystal, on-key and just the right height.

Off keys singers were told to lip sync and bean poles shared the back row. My ticket was double punched.

My youngest sister is a fashion champion, always put together in the latest styles.  The middle sister was an outstanding basketball guard and excellent at most sports.  I share none of these talents.

Recently, one of my sisters and I attended a meeting together. Someone at the meeting commented how much we are alike…mannerisms, faces and voices. Our telephone selves were indistinguishable.

Benjamin Button inside-out? Aging into duplicates because aging is lines, wrinkles, grayness and a chink in the vocal cords? All babies look alike so all old people follow a backward pattern?
Maybe not.

Maybe years have allowed us a smattering of the best of one another, honed by the blessings of our lives. Time might be reflecting the women we worked towards becoming, allowing a softening into heads/tails…alike/different…a reflection of the a life time of sibling affection.

Journaling at The K…Keeler’s Women’s Center

Keeler  Women’s Center, Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas

Find the time.  Visit the website. Visit the center.  Meet the women of Keeler, Benedictine Sisters and volunteers.  Consider your time, talent and treasure.  I love this place.  You will love this place.

Pat Callaghan is the true expert, trained to facilitate classes in journaling.   Some months ago, she welcomed my participation in a teaching experience  at Donnelly College.  Today we began an ongoing journaling experience at Keeler Women’ Center.

Sister Carol Ann approved our request for time and space.  She, Sister Barbara and Sister Bridget offer gracious acceptance to everyone at Keeler.  They have the gift of validation.  Martha is typical of the strong connection that volunteers feel for The Center where she has worked every Monday for six years.  In addition, Martha volunteers as literacy teacher through a program facilitated at Keeler.

It was a privilege to share the journaling hour.   Our group was small but my learning was great.  These women have wisdom to share, insights to enrich.  Though the group originally scheduled to meet once a month,  the decision to gather every two weeks came easily today.

Our group is informal.  We welcome and encourage both regular participation and drop-in participants.  Check your calendars for 9:30 to 10:30 on the second and fourth Monday of the month.   Communication is a truly fantastic tool for personal growth.

A Scrap of Paper

“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.”
Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler

Found this quote on one of my mini-mountains of paper–those scraps where I scribble random thoughts.  Other scraps told me that I was thinking about evolution when I started clipping these bits together.

Evolution in the natural world created the perfect match of trumpet flower and hummingbird. The giraffes’ size and neck allow the animal to eat what other animals can not reach. Adaptations of the physical world–adaptations that are ‘finding voice’ of survival.

Finding our emotional and spiritual voice is more difficult. Finding that voice is a level of self-direction, of becoming our own ideal. Matching behavior with the values we want to emulate is a daily challenge and, like Anne Tyler’s character, we might turn into the wrong person..

Our lives take us into places we had not imagined, with people we would not choose and in we ways we could not have predicted. The becoming is the challenge. Our evolution can get bogged by the weight of circumstance.

With will and spirit, we choose self-direction, supported by a circle of friends, enriching one another with strength of purpose and the courage of truth. Finding the group that nourishes where we hunger can help us become the right person–the person we choose to be.

Facets Of My Prism

Never met a half full glass that didn’t belong to me.  Those half empty ones are not on my table…well, most of time anyway.

If you visit with me often, you know that perception is a major player here.  Each of us can twist the kaleidoscope by emotion.  The facets of the prism change.  One persons ho-hum turns to another’s oh-no.

Bordering on half empty is the flashing blue light in the rear view mirror of my ’99 Buick granny-mobile.  The important back story is that I am the single most annoying slow driver in this state, never giving myself the 5 mile over leeway.  The speedometer needle is right on the mark.

Bob and I complain about the 55 to 65 mph drivers that stir the dust on our 30 mph country road.  Recently added intersection double roundabouts have added to the number of cars breaking the law on my turf.

And now?  Now I am among that number thanks to a very efficient and friendly Platte County Sheriff Officer who forgot the first rule of efficient and friendly treatment of old women in granny-mobiles…the warning ticket.  This citation is the real deal. I can never say never again.

Carpe Diem still possible?  It is.

A Man I Know, unemployed for over a year, phoned to say that the first day on the new job was great.  Why?  Because every worker seemed to have a work ethic that got the job done with care and efficiency…no slackers, no one hiding from work.  Rather, this was a group of blue-collar men doing this job without complaint.  That glass is brim full.

Not a total vegetarian, I tend to avoid meat if possible.  Yesterday, seizing the day required eating a hamburger simply because a gentle old man handed me this gift of his generosity, saying “No mustard.  No catsup.  Didn’t know what you like.”  Thank you, Jake.

Finally, my prism includes Missy, an email correspondent.  We connected through a mutual friend and I shared information requested.  The generosity of her response reminded me of important issues.

We, women, need/treasure one another.  We slip in those moments of grace in the 1,000 ways we seize each day, Carpe Diem.  When we take the time, develop the trust, share illumination through our stories we validate the ordinary to an extraordinary level.  Thank you, Missy.

The facets of my prism are pretty amazing.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness:  a sensitivity beyond the obvious.

I like that.

That overwhelming awareness that happens when the phone rings just as you are thinking about a distant loved one.

Or when you dial the phone because you absolutely know that someone needs your ability to listen with your heart.

Or when your turn to catch the eye of a stranger who seems to need a response–a nod, a smile, an acknowledgment of their presence.

Or the moment that you hold your silence because there are no words.

Or that moment when you realize that asking, “How are you?” will open the gates–because someone  needs to tell you how they are.  You  listen.

Mindfulness.  I like that.

A Conundrum? The Feminist Movement

Webster’s Dictionary  Conundrum:  an intricate and difficult problem, a problem having only a conjectural answer.

The mystery begins with the why of it.  What, other than brute strength, seeded the belief in male superiority?  After Neanderthals gave way to evolutionary human up-ticks what, other than brute strength, perpetuated the belief?  Churches, of course, played a trump with the verse about women being subject to their husbands.

Can you imagine God dictating that line?  I cannot.  That male dominated culture persists.

Feminism is such an odd journey marked by visible but the relatively less significant issues–long cumbersome  layers of fabric give way to bra burning…side saddle riding to extreme sports… genteel speech to mucking with the language…sun shaded skin to body tatoos…young men  exploring sexuality and young woman being tagged by other labels–the bling and not the heart of feminism.

Enfranchisement, equal education opportunities, equal pay touched the heart of the matter, vital to any definition of equality of the sexes.  We vote.  We have access to education.  Equal pay has not been fully reached in all employment.

Something deeper needs to be cut away, something  reflected in every issue–every layer of the struggle for equality.  And that is the freedom of personality that has been the right of males and the suppression of females.  The right to be.    The right to be the mirror and not the reflection.   The right of freedom of personality.

And we are not there yet.   Progress is measurable, but, too often, we continue to allow ourselves to be reflected.   Why is that?  What saber-tooth lurks outside the door?