Sunday, October 14, 2012

capturing serenity

...amidst utter chaos.

It is 4 oclockish on a Sunday afternoon. I normally turn off electronics on Sunday. But right now I am in work crunch-mode, so I thought I would take some time to play.

So here I sit in my tshirt and jeans, laptop in hand. It is warm- toasty actually.  I am in awe at the sense of peace I feel as I just sit and listen to the rhythm of the locusts in the cyprus trees...interspersed with the sound of distant motorcycles on the highway. The constant hum of the airconditioner serves as a backdrop to all.

 And I watch. There is not even a breeze. No movement in the trees that line the river..but butterflies? Butterflies everywhere. It is a butterfly invasion. It is absolutely beautiful.

 I am reminded of the importance of catching our breath in nature. To center ourselves amidst the chaos.

October is a crazy month, and I have started it not so gracefully. Actually, I started it by sticking my newish cell phone in a cup of coffee. I usually charge my phone on the way home from work. My cord for the charger has been a bit temperamental. So most evenings I wrap the cord around my phone and place the phone in my empty coffee cup where it won't jiggle too much. So I did just that. Upon arriving in Bandera, I pick up the phone to call Big B. (we were supposed to meet for tacos) As I put the phone against my ear I can feel  cold coffee running down my face! Then? A very weak ringtone..I can barely make out my phone singing..I feel so close to you right is Big B.

 I try to answer. My screen goes blank. I say hello, know, like a crazy person. But there is only silence. The phone sings again..I feel so close to you right now... hello, hello? Again silence. And again. This time I am trying a different tactic. I speak into the silence.. I killed my phone. I can't hear you. Meet me at the taco place. Silence. Then..the ringtone again. I send a text saying my phone is dying a slow death..please meet me for tacos.

 Then I drive to the taco place and sit in the car and try to disassemble my phone and dry it.

Brian meets me for tacos. Cody joins us. Cody attempts to resurect the now deceased phone. (you know..since I kept using it after I soaked it in coffee for over 30 minutes!). The next morning Cody informs me it is a lost cause. He loans me his (which I can use to answer and sendtext messages..but I can't retrieve the voice mail) until my new one arrives.

And that is the type of October I am having..

This week I am actually taking a few days off of work to serve on a Via De Cristo team..and Big B is attending. It is the first time we have been on this type of weekend together. Ever.

 It should be interesting.

Via De Cristo is followed by a week of Halloween prep. The teens are running a haunted house and we are hosting a lock-in on the Friday before Halloween. So..essentially...the staff are moving into the Club for apx. 48 hours. Then? Big B is picking me up and we are off to a short jaunt to the beach to meet some friends!

On our return is a very short breather (like enough to do laundry) then off to Kairos for a week. Only, this time, I am still it is to work, drive to Kairos, drive to work, drive to Kairos. Austen is serving on the outside team for this Kairos weekend. It will be his first weekend of this sort, also. More interesting;) On the not so cool side..with two of us serving on the team? Austen and I are responsible for baking and bringing 100 dozen cookies! So if anyone wants to bake some cookies? I will be happy to take them off your hands!

In the meantime..I am taking today and tomorrow to enjoy the quiet. Sort-of. Levi seems to have other plans. Like, I don't know. Behaving like a tornado!

He and I have been baking cookies. Yup. Baking cookies with a two-year old. What can I say? In 7 hours we have successfully baked 12 dozen cookies.  We've made lots of interesting concoctions though...and I have been spared a day of Shrek...or even Shrek 2? Why? Because baby bug boy has discovered NASCAR racing!

 Yet another reason I am enjoying this glimpse of temporary serenity. The sounds and scenery of my backyard.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Smart Girls

 Smart rock band?

What can I say? I'm becoming hooked on Rock Band!

Smart Girls is  a program we run at the Center. It is meant to be held is small groups where young women can get to really know and support each other through the difficulties of adolescence. And so it is through Smart Girls that I remember many of these skill myself.

So I want to take a moment to talk about my mid-week group. There are 6 young women ages 13-18 in this group. We meet in the Art room or the kitchen..armed with popcorn, lucas and a bulletin board that is filled with pictures of women. Women like Delores Huerta, Indira Ghandi,  Naomi Shihab Nye, Nancy Pelosi, Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama, Audrey Hepburn (that was my choice!)...the list goes on.

And each week we discuss the lives of these women as we discuss various topics for the afternoon. We start with respect. We look at the women on the board and break down components of respect...personal boundaries, compassion, telling our own truth, etc. And we these women do this? Do we do this?

We discuss beauty. We wear fake mustaches as we discuss what beauty is. We dissolve into giggles when my ringtone (a whistle) whistles in the midst of a deep conversation on beauty. One of the teens looks up and says.."it's my mustache..I know it. No one can resist my beauty in this mustache" ..and then another "But who was it? Who whistled at us?" "It's the fish", I respond. We bust into laughter

They have granted me permission to tell this story and to post their picture in all their beauty.

So now when my phone whistles midweek. The girls in my group glance across the room at each other..they get a sly grin..they sit up a little taller. They are imagining the fish whistling at them as they sit in a circle of peers in their fake mustaches.

Yesterday we cooked spaghetti  as we discussed the importance of self-awareness. We created "I Am" poems. The girls took these poems to heart. They have asked me to print them and frame them so we can hang them on the wall to my room.
They have asked me to post my own poem. So, ladies, here it is.

I am passionate.
I am reckless.
I am a musician.
I am Nicole

I am quiet dis-chord.
with a revolutionary crescendo
Resolving in that singular clear tone
of a pure harmonic.
I am strong.

I am easily spooked.
I am often scared.
I am brave.
I am Nicole.

I am a binge reader
..a lazy writer
I am a lousy cook
..a fierce scrabble player.

A daydreamer.
I am intense.
I am loyal.
I am fun.

I am compassionate..
I am learning to trust,
by becoming trustworthy.
I am learning to be 
reliably real.

I am Nicole.