1st Grade Sit-in

Our younger daughter has ups and downs with distance learning so far. Our other children, too. Maybe most kids do.

Not made easier by the two-way bilingual dynamic for the program she’s in.

Recently I sat with our six year old as she began her school day.

“Mariana Mariana…” the kids repeat.

I sit quietly on the side with my earbuds plugged into my daughter’s pink headset.

She’s a bit of a sleepy head right now. Deep into the week, a little earlier to bed might help. There’s a lot of yawning, a lot of fidgeting. And it’s only been 15 minutes.

Pandemic Life doesn’t make the kids’ days any easier. Bad air from surrounding wildfires don’t help.

I wonder how much these circumstances effect her experience. I bet a lot. A WHOLE lot. But that’s not the last word, either.

The situation isn’t ideal, but that’s life. Supporting through it, that’s God’s Grace in action.

Please work through me, Lord.

Lyrics Post: “Ants Marching”

This song wasn’t the first I heard by Dave Matthews, but it probably was the one that hooked me to his music.

“He wakes up in the morning

Does his teeth bite to eat and he’s rolling

Never changes a thing

The week ends the week begins

She thinks, we look at each other

Wondering what the other is thinking

But we never say a thing

These crimes between us grow deeper

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die

Goes to visit his mommy

She feeds him well his concerns

He forgets them

And remembers being small

Playing under the table and dreaming

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die

Driving in on this highway

All these cars end up on the sidewalk

People in every direction

No words exchanged

No time to exchange

And all the little ants are marching

Red and black antennas waving

They all do it the same

They all do it the same way

Candyman tempting the thoughts of a

Sweet tooth tortured by the weight loss

Program cutting the corners

Loose end, loose end, cut, cut

On the fence, could not to offend

Cut, cut, cut, cut

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die

Lights down, you up and die”

All Houses Shake

Let’s start this way, from the Book of Luke, Chapter 6.

“I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground
without a foundation.
When the river burst against it,
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”

Here’s what I know. I’ve worked to keep my house on rock all my life. Overall. But there have definitely been times, plenty of times, when I’ve struggled; in my worst moments, ideals have gone out the door due to matters that proved to much for me in the moment.

This verse from the Book of Luke is one of my favorites. It calls us to strive for what we know is right, to heed the wise words we hear, to build our house on rock, to fortify against the inevitable dangers, struggles, floods of difficulty that come along in life.

We’re called to trust in the foundation we’ve laid, and do what we know is right and correct in each moment in those most difficult times. In this way, the high river waters of life’s most challenging moments will not sweep you away; your house will stand firm.

All houses shake. But in the flood, yours can, yours will, stand firm. Let it be so.

Milkshake!

Weekend here, walks in the door, just four little days, felt it felt it, felt like more.

Smoke in the skies, COVID all around, bump through the days, count them down.

Weekend’s here, marked by a shake-up, hoops on the screen, play-doh milkshake, after supper snack offered in the wake,

Wake of a week we’ll repeat after two,

Days off, shake it off, go off, do it again. Do it all again,

Play-doh milkshake, for the win!

Fire In The Sky

It’s been quite a crazy year, this 2020.

We’ve got the Global COVID Pandemic, over 7,000 wild fires in the Western US so far, and sequester life and distance learning and so much wrapped up in between.

A weird year filled with uncertainty and many unsettling things.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area where fires are burning on three sides it seems, the sky was gray, then later dark orange-red.

The kids were saying it was something like a movie maybe, living on Mars.

SURREAL.

Looking out into the strange orange hue, I can’t help but think, “Carry On.” “Keep going. Do what you can. Stay connected. Don’t give up.”

Even as there is fire in the sky waiting to rain down, PERSEVERE.

Do what you have to do to adjust and protect yourself and your people. And don’t let up. PERSEVERE.

Through the pandemic and challenges at work and home, enduring fire from the sky, the orange red time of many unknowns, PERSEVERE.

Lyrics Post: “Candela”

Quite a risque song, if you find the translation. Or better yet, check out the Youtube video at the end, with the English translation embedded. Listen and enjoy the song, the beat, the performance, the play.

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemo aé
Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemo aé

Puso un baile un jutía para una gran diversión
De timbalero un ratón que alegraba el campo un día
Un gato también venía elegante y placentero
“Buenas noches, compañero,” siempre dijo así el timbal

“Para alguien aquí poder tocar para descansar un poco
Salió el ratón medio loco también voy a descansar”
Y el gato en su buen bailar, bailaba un danzón liviano
El ratón se subió al guano y dice bien placentero
“Y ahora si quieren bailar, búsquense otro timbalero”

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé
Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé
Oye, Faustino Orama’ y sus compañeros
Necesito que me apaguen el fuego

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé
Margarita llama pronto a los bomberos
Para que vengan a apagar el fuego

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé
Oye, si estás perdida llama a los siete ceros
Y así vendrán más pronto los bomberos

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé
Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemo aé, mamá

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé

Ay candela, candela
Candela, me quemó aé

Me quemó aé
Me quemó aé

Tilán, tilán (me quemó aé)
Didilán, didilán (me quemó aé)
Tilán, tilán (me quemó aé)
Didilán, didilán, didilán (me quemó aé)

Tilán, tilán (me quemó aé)
Didilán, didilán, didilán (me quemó aé)
Tilán, tilán (me quemó aé)
Didilán, didilán, didilán (me quemó aé)

Margarita que me quemo, yo quiero seguir gozando
La candela me está llevando, me gusta seguir guarachando
Esta tarde venimo’ acabando, como quiera venimo’ tocando
La mujer cuando se agacha, se le abre el entendimiento

La mujer cuando se agacha, se le abre el entendimiento
Y el hombre cuando la mira, se le para el pensamiento
De ti me gusta una cosa sin que me cueste trabajo
De ti me gusta una cosa sin que me cueste trabajo

De la barriga pa’ arriba, de la cintura pa’ abajo
Mira se quema, se quema, mamá, mira se quema, se quema, oye
Mira mamá que me quema, mira llama pronto a los bomberos
Para que vengan a apagar el fuego, mira que el fuego me está quemando

Y yo quiero seguir guarachando, mira se quema Báyamo
Mira que Songo está que arde, mira se quema La Maya
Mira ese pito que suena, Malaguën está que corta mamá
Santiago de Cuba está que te mete en llamas se quema, se quema, se quema, oye

Mira me quemo, me quemo, mira que me quemo, oye, yo quiero seguir guarachando
Mira mamá que yo vengo quemando, Faustino Orama’ tú está acabando
Mira se quema, se quema pero mira mi mami se quema, oye se quema, se quema

Youtube, Buena Vista Social Club, Live in Amsterdam:

Back At It

A little longer stretch, a little gentler start as we kick back into the “new normal” after the three-day weekend capped by the Labor Day holiday. The kids back to distance learning. The adults back to work-from-home. Easy does it.

I think about the riders in the Tour de France, entering their second week of the three-week race. They’re racing a 170 km on Tuesday. Their already in one of the biggest, longest, most grueling races in the world. A Grinder, to be sure. Add COVID protocols, all the more challenging. It’s been a tough race so far, with plenty of crashes, and some riders already crashing out.

So when I think about heading back to work, to the daily grind here at home…well, while it’s all relative, I, we’ve got it pretty good. Help ourselves start the day with the right attitude. Help the kids do the same. Stay hydrated. Stay invigorated.

Now, if these fires in the area would subside, and the heat-wave would break…then I might call it…wait for it…it’s really no surprise…GOOD.

Lists Inspired

We can find inspiration everywhere, really. Some people, like me, find power and energy in reminders, lists of things that specify what we think, strive for, believe.

One list.

The list above? Not even sure where I found it. Nonetheless, it’s a good collection of things to strive for; these things, well-practiced, might just make life a little better.

Then there’s “Desiderata”. It was in my house growing up. I recall this wood plaque on the wall in my parents’ house. I looked at that thing for years thinking it was too lofty for me. As the decades have gone by the words ring more and more true.

Then of course there are our to-do lists. On notepads or post-it’s or digital of any variety, lists help keep us focused, on-track.

Whatever the type, whether lofty or mundane, allow the list to speak, to inspire you. Sometimes it will be that very list that gets you through the hour, the day, inspired.

Another List: “Desiderata”

Lyrics Post: “Everyday Glory”

You might be thinking, “RUSH must be this guy’s pandemic band…” not so.

In fact, this band has buoyed me for the better part of my life. Here’s another great lyric from a more recent tune by these guys, so true, seeking every day glory.

Enjoy.

“In the house where nobody laughs

And nobody sleeps

In the house where love lies dying

And the shadows creep

A little girl hides shaking

With her hands on her ears

Pushing back the tears

‘Til the pain disappears

Mama says some ugly words

Daddy pounds the wall

They can fight about their little girl later

Right now they don’t care at all

No matter what they say…

No matter what they say…

No matter what they say…

No matter what they say…

Everyday people

Everyday shame

Everyday promise shot down in flames

Everyday sunrise

Another everyday story

Rise from the ashes and blaze

In everyday glory

In the city where nobody smiles

And nobody dreams

In the city where desperation

Drives the bored to extremes

Just one spark of decency

Against a starless night

One glow of hope and dignity

A child can follow the light

No matter what they say…

No matter what they say…

No matter what they say…

No matter what they say…

Everyday people

Everyday shame

Everyday promise shot down in flames

Everyday sunrise

Another everyday story

Rise from the ashes and blaze

In everyday glory

If the future’s looking dark

We’re the ones who have to shine

If there’s no one in control

We’re the ones who draw the line

Though we live in trying times

We’re the ones who have to try

Though we know that time has wings

We’re the ones who have to fly…”

Writer(s): Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart