Wednesday, July 25, 2007

God Speaking

This is God talking. Pay attention! Read the poem. Put it next to your horoscope. Brezsny and Lerman: they know starfish. And their writing - juxtaposed? Well, let's just say that you are not going to get a more "practical manifestation of divine intelligence" that through these two. And remember: This is coming from me, the Creator of Divine Intelligence! I don't give you sure things like this that often. This poem, though, this Astrological writing: HooHa! Good stuff!
It's healthy for you to read and wonder and listen very closely. Good excercises for your soul. Your inkling to pay special attention to the trees and the bees and those flying baby birds --that's just like the star fish. Trust. You are lucky."

Poem: "Starfish" by Eleanor Lerman, from Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds. © Sarabande Books, 2005. Reprinted with permission.


This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.
Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life's way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won't give you smart or brave,
so you'll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.
So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

If this was 1700 and you lived in London or if it was 1800 and you lived in Philadelphia, I'd tell you, Go west, young man or young woman. The astrological omens imply that your most useful adventures lie in the direction the sun travels. But we could also interpret the oracular advice to "go west" not as a literal mandate to head out on the road, but rather as a metaphorical exhortation to follow the sun in your heart. So what does that expression mean to you? If you followed the sun in your heart, would you align yourself with a live-giving source of light and energy? Would you do something that fills you with warmth and vitality? Would you answer a call that's coming to you from the most practical manifestation of divine intelligence you know? Or all three?

--Rob Brezsny

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"Eat, Pray, Love": Colleen Berliner Responds to Mysterious Magnetic Forces at Work

The following response to yesterday's blog entitled, "Another Recipe for World Peace: Sorting this Love and Chemistry Business" is from my high school classmate, Colleen Berliner. She is writing from Ohio, and just the other side of a recent decision to take a new job - that pays nothing! except compensates her heart and spirit in deeply satisfying ways. I love her statement,
"I think about the mysterious magnet,
and I know that my happenstance decision to take this job was my heart pulling me in a direction I didn't know I wanted to go."
Enjoy! Read on!

It's funny you should send this. Of all of the book club books this
year, this one was my favorite. Mainly because I got to experience
the journey of a woman leaving behind what she thought she wanted just
at a time when my life was in transition. I'd lost my job, and I
realized it was a relief. But what to do next? I took a job at my
son's preschool/daycare because I thought it would get me through to
my next "career move."

And it turns out that this job...taking care of other people's something I'm more passionate about than I could have
ever imagined. I love it. It pays nothing, but I still love it.
There are neglected kids that I wish I could bring home with me, and
guilty conscience moms I wish I could comfort more. Every child makes
me smile in his or her own special way. Even the button pushers!

Every now and again, when I'm covered in drool and mashed bananas and
snot, I think about Elizabeth Gilbert's first nights alone, when she
was crying on the bathroom floor because she felt bad for being so
happy to be leaving her husband. I think about the mysterious magnet,
and I know that my happenstance decision to take this job was my heart
pulling me in a direction I didn't know I wanted to go.

I'm not a consistent responder to your contemplations, but this book
resonated so deeply with me, that I had to say something. Not because
I want to leave Jay...he's the love of my life!!!! But because I know
what it's like to stumble into your heart's journey rather than walk
confidently into it!

It's late on a Saturday, so I hope my ramblings make sense.

And I hope all is well with you in MN!

Peace Out!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another Recipe for World Peace: Sorting this Love and Chemistry Business.

Dearest Friends,

I"ve been sitting on top of this passage* from Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, "Eat, Pray, Love" for over a month now. (Yes, my "draft box" shows June 18th as the date that I typed up this excerpt from the book that speaks to my heart, spirit, loins, and all senses of divine longing!) But: What to write about this? How to create a precursory passage that honors the many ways these words inspire me?

Today, stumbling upon the Muslim, Christian, Jewish Prayer for world peace, (that I also blogged about) I had this thought: "How is really sweet love-making another recipe for world peace?" Of course I laughed. I think it's funny. And a question getting at a truth.

* * *
What would the world look like if we could honestly identify where the magnetic forces in us were located, and then honor them?

The beloved and amazing Ms. Gilbert has done her work toward this end. She got out of a marriage that wasn't good, and dedicated her life toward a peaceful existence - loving herself, praying and meditating daily, and paying attention to her callings. She wrote a sweet-a-- book that depicts all this. It's truly a gorgeous documentation of one woman's transformation of her life.

The following is a passage then that, for me, hits so squarely upon a human need to honor and sort this love and chemistry business. I mean here, Gilbert is talking about physical, sexual chemistry: that desire that comes straight out of the animal kingdom. As she notes, it either exists or it doesn't. Our job is to identify it, and then move on: embracing and honoring this vital thing that liberates us, or find out where it is and how we want to honor it. I'm passing this excerpt on, to underscore the beauty and truth of her words, and always: to extend them to all facets of our presences and purposes on the planet.

Where does chemistry live in us? What magnetic forces pull us forward? What inspires commitment and love and giggling, and triggers that knowing joy that comes in claiming our own emancipation? Think about how peaceful and awesome our homes would be if we embraced the freedom that is already present in our bodies? To claim that, is to claim the divine knowing in us, I do believe. And in doing so: we might get further down this path as lovers, love-makers, peace-negotiators - no matter what our station in life is.

Enjoy! Go out and buy Gilbert's Book! She rocks! She knows things. We are friends, even though we've never met. Smiles.


*From "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert
I tell him, "You, know, it's funny, but I'd been seriously thinking before I met you that I might be alone and celibate forever. I was thinking maybe I would live the life of a spiritual contemplative."
He says, "Contemplate this, darling....," and then proceeds to detail with careful specificity the first, second, third, fourth and fifth things he is planning to do with my body when he gets me alone in his bed again. I wobble away from the phone call a little woozy in the knees, amused and bamboozled by all this new passion.
* * *
When we return to Ubud, I go straight back to Felipe's house and don't leave his bedroom for approximately another month. This is only the faintest of exaggerations. I have never been loved and adored like this before by anyone, never with such pleasure and single-minded concentration. Never have I been so unpeeled, revealed, unfurled and hurled through the event of lovemaking.
One thing I do know about intimacy is that there are certain natural laws which govern the sexual experience of two people, and that these laws cannot be budged any more than gravity can be negotiated with. To feel physically comfortable with someone else's body is not a decision you can make. It has very little to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not. When it isn't there (as I have learned in the past, with heartbreaking clarity) you can no more force it to exist than a surgeon can force a patient's body to accept a kidney from the wrong donor. My friend Annie says it all comes down to one simple question, "Do you want your belly pressed against this person's belly forever -- or not?"
Chapters 98 and 99; pages 292 -294

Tiny Assignment for World Peace (or at least a possible moment for happiness within.)

Cleaning my house this morning, and I came across this prayer, printed by Pax Christi USA: A Muslim, Jewish, Christian Prayer for Peace. I like it a lot. Turning then to words from Henri Nouwen, that arrive so faithfully in my email box every day, I'm struck by how beautifully these prayerful thoughts speak to one another.
I'm copying them below with this assignment: Cross the street, a border, a river, an ocean: and shake hands with someone new. Smile at them. Believe and trust in your heart that they are from God, created by Love, and that they have hopes and dreams, wants and needs, just like you.


Muslim, Jewish, Christian Prayer for Peace

O God, you are the source of
life and peace.
Praised be your name forever.
We know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace.
Hear our prayer in this time of war.
Your power changes hearts.
Muslims, Christians and Jews remember,
and profoundly affirm,
that they are followers of the one God,
children of Abraham, brothers and sisters;
enemies begin to speak to one another;
those who were estranged
join hands in friendship;
nations seek the way of peace together.
Strengthen our resolve to give witness
to these truths by the way we live.
Give to us:
Understanding that puts an end to strife;
Mercy that quenches hatred, and
Forgiveness that overcomes vengeance.
Empower all people to live in your law of love.

Crossing the Road for One Another

We become neighbours when we are willing to cross the road for one another. There is so much separation and segregation: between black people and white people, between gay people and straight people, between young people and old people, between sick people and healthy people, between prisoners and free people, between Jews and Gentiles, Muslims and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, Greek Catholics and Latin Catholics.

There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the street once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might become neighbours.
- Fr. Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!/ Reflecting on his "Cape of Good Hope"

(Birthday party for Mandela in Sandton, South Africa.

Photo taken July 18, 2004)

It's the birthday of Nelson Mandela (books by this author), born in Cape of Good Hope, South Africa (1918). His father was the chief of the Tembu tribe.*

What a good guy!

And isn't that the understatement of the day, year? (Perhaps a bit like me saying, "That Ghandi was so peaceful!" Or "Buddha, man: what a good meditator.")

Writing that makes me giggle. ;-)

I'm drawn to the name of Mandela's birth place, offered here by Garrison in today's Writer's Almanac*: the CAPE OF GOOD HOPE?! Hmmm......Auspicious name for an auspicious beginning, don't you think?

Makes me ask myself all sorts of questions:

Where is this cape?

Why "good" hope? Is there such a thing as "bad" hope? What is false hope?

What if a person could WEAR a cape of good hope? What would our world look like then? Would Mandela have more comrades as peaceful, loving revolutionaries? ("Warriors of non-aggression" is what my Buddhist friend Pema refers to these kinds of people as.)

Can someone please design a cape of good hope? One of my arts friends, perhaps? I'm sure there's a market for them....

What would a cape of good hope look like? Would we dance in them? Wear them to weddings and baptisms? To funerals, as well, (especially to those of friend's whom we might be overly concerned for in the afterlife?!)

And then: will someone please write and tell me if they know any members of the Tembu tribe. I'd like to meet a chief one of these days. Yes. That would be really lovely, following on the heels of all of my African-alliances of late. Yes.

Hope you are all having a good day, no matter where this email or posting finds you!

Kisses to Mandela!

Blessings to all!




Saturday, July 14, 2007

La Vie en Rose: See this!

My goodness! Who knew Edith Piaf could so kick my ass?

Dear People, I've just come from the Edina Movie theater where I saw this French (?) film about the French singer who was told that her voice was the "soul of Paris." I've heard one other singer/performer/poet/artist that I believe had a voice that originated in the soul of the universe: Ms. Mankwe Ndosi. I love experiencing others' work about which this kind of comment can be made. Seems sort of rare, a privilege, and like Angels or God is standing before me.

No joke.

Go see this movie. You'll be moved. ...I can't even imagine what state I'd be in now if I understood a lick of French. Doesn't matter. The music and story are universal, tragic, and overwhelmingly, woefully beautiful.

Here's a clip:

Peace, Love,
Melissa B

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

At Marianna's: Finding a Wild Paradise within and all around

I had the overwhelming pleasure of traveling up north last weekend to spend time with my beloved Hungarian Fire Fighting Friend: Ms. Marianna. The following is an excerpt from my journal as I woke and wrote on Saturday morning. Accompanying the entry are photos of the beautiful, remote acreage she owns on the Snake River, near Isle, MN.

Saturday, July 7, 2007:

Visiting Marianna's paradise, is journeying into the physical landscape that seems to mirror my own interior wild. These rock flowers, this roped off sanctuary, this shade garden, this space for lounging, this shrine to a beloved who has passed.
I know this land. I know the effort and energy it requires to maintain it. I observe Marianna, in her exercise gear, having had her coffee, she vacuums. She washes. She makes the dish-doing an artform: What all can she cram/ balance into one tin container where the laundered pottery is stacked in perfection?

Yes. Here: everything is artform. The ground covering planted beneath the swing. When you rub your hand or bare feet over it, a sweet perfume is released. The home brewed beer. The cajun-spiced-fish fried in the-home-brew-beer-batter!

Where is each of these locations in my own being? Can I refer to the garden of my heart? The shrine of loss and love wrapping round my lungs? The hammock in my restful, but awake mind? The patio eyes and lips where exposure, sun, is had, received.

Here: the birds can be heard. Constant music it is. The divine.

I am happy here.

She knows my gratitude for this retreat and mini-vacation. When you see her, just ask!


View Pulling in drive..

Luizi there to greet me!

And then there is Bullou (Sounds like Buh-lue - like the color?!)
Carefully hidden gas meter?!

Swing facing gardens

Fire pit

The Tofu and veggie lunch laid out at my arrival!

Where her beloved dog T-Bag is buried!

Rock Sculptures in Shrine

More sculpture shots

Love the lattice!View from inside, looking out...

Paradise in this hammock!

Where the salads all came from...

Marianna is a master chef!
And little Billy Girl (dog numero tres) accompanies the cooking. This is what I'm talking about! Thanks to my dad for the fresh walleye!


Before Dinner table settingYummy!

One of the my reading selections for the weekend:
Dostoyevsky ROCKS!

Down her daily path to the River with the dogs....

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ambassador Report: Putting a Price Tag on Relationship-Building

Over a month has passed since my dear friend and South African mentor departed for home, but here I am, sitting on top of some of the most powerful experiences in relationship building, and likewise asking myself,

"How did this all come to be?
What did it take for Mo and I to live and travel and connect?
What did we set out to do?
What actually happened?
What relationships got born?
What resources were required to make this month happen?
Is it possible to do a cost/benefits analysis on the work of God?
Can we put a price tag on ambassadorial duties, on peace, on love?"
As a teacher, and as a Catholic interested in the radical social justice teachings of Christ, this whole business of relationship is CENTRAL to my call in participating in the transformation of lives. For anyone that knows me, you have heard me preach the words of Dr. James Comer, "No significant learning occurs outside of significant relationship." With that as a central tenet or philosophy to my work and call on this planet, I have set out to educate by intentionally creating safe spaces where all voices and ideas can be heard, risks taken, LOVE is at work, and RELATIONSHIPS happen!

And so enter Ms. Maureen Dabula into my life. Enter this opportunity to host my dear friend and mentor for a month with the goal of seeing what God may lead us to do, in the name of Love, in the name of relationship- building, in the name of surfacing the invisibles in our world, and noting how the ills and joys of our society go hand in hand, whether we are in South Africa, or Stateside.

Yes, enter two different women who love God and are coming together with basically only their faith guiding them, and asking, "Umm, how we going to do this?! What exactly are we supposed to do?"

Maureen showed up needing some serious sleep and a retreat from the hectic-ness of her daily life (doing AIDS/ HIV outreach work and leading the 1,500 women in the Mother's Union) in and around East London, South Africa. And Melissa had just eased into her own sort of retreat and retirement from the work of Arts Administration and Education Reform.

So: with their achy bodies and woeful spirits, what the heck happened?
And how did any of it truly go down?

Well as many of you know or witnessed, none of these answers were really up to us! For the period preceding Mo's trip, and certainly daily while she was here: we leaned on God to show us what our tasks were.

And boy was it a ride! It still is!

As Mo likes to say, "spending a month with one other person in their home is no child's play." She's absolutely right: this business of inviting someone into your home to live for an extended time is not an easy job. It's down right staggering even at times to contemplate what this can mean financially and resources wise:
Who is going to shop for food?
How will things get paid for?
What is the salary of a retired teacher who is only 38?
What kind of funds does a South African pensioner draw from?
How do we even TALK about financing this?
Is money going to stop what feels like something ordained to be completed?

People! There are so many questions as I reflect on this month, and marvel at how we did anything rubbing our nickels together. Aha!

But therein, I must expose some of the mystery! Because if anyone wants to attempt to try this on their own, you might want to know what it cost to travel, connect, pray, connect, eat, connect, party, connect, pray, connect, and attempt to build and further solidify this bridge of relationships between the United States and South Africa.

We must work together to make visible the invisible.

So here it is. A basic financial report of sorts - what it cost us, and what we did, and where the cash came from to support us in our ambassadorial shenanigans.

BIG BLESSINGS ON STEVE and BETH BORGMANN! WERE IT NOT FOR MY PARENTS, and the "Trust Melissa with Love and Relationships Fund" that they didn't even know they started, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED!!!

Week 1: Rochester, Bemidji, Minneapolis: $410
Week 2: Boston: $514
Week 3: St. Paul, Minneapolis: $222
Week 4: Cabin and Home in Nebraska: $300
Total $1776

Steve and Beth Borgmann - $776
Auntie Mo - $450
Two Betty Income - $200
CSJ Sisters - $20
Total $1776

TRAVEL and CONNECTIONS: The People and Places who embraced Aunt Mo and Melissa:

Perpich Center for Arts Education, Arts and Schools as Partners Workshop, Barbara Cox and Company.
Assisi Heights - Franciscan Sisters, Sr. Rafael Tilton;
Aubrey and Barbara Nkomo - Retired United Nations Diplomats; Jeff Nelson, MPR Producer; Alisa Blackwood, Freelance Writer, Doula; Dr. Vuyisile Nkomo, Mayo Clinic;
Nomathemba Mazaleni -Chief of Party, Integrated Primary Health Care Project; Management Scienes for Health/ South Africa -- Connected through Nkomo's;
Mayo Clinic (Tour);
Visitation Convent (Retreat);
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet: Mary, Patrice, Agatha;
Michele Perkins, HIV AIDS Worker, Tanzania;
Colette DeHarpporte, Landmark Forum;
Brian Mogren, Graphic Designer for Target Corp.; Social Entrepreneur, North Minneapolis;
Westin University Theology Students: Zac Willette and Co.;
Bellarmine House in Cambridge, Massachusetts'
Amy Baione, Harvard Project Zero Researcher;
Heller School for Social Policy and Management Ph.D. people at Brandeis University - Lead by Margaret Post;
Lisa McDonagh, Teacher;
Beth and Steve Borgmann, Parents;
Fr. Dave Liewer, Catholic Priest;
Brother Mickey, Artist;
Church of St. Philips, North Minneapolis, lead by Fr. Pat Griffin and Pastoral Associate Cindy Boggs;
Peace Across the North side: Peace Foundation folks, partners;
University of MN, Writing Project, Co-Directed by Muriel Thompson and Kirsten Jamsen;
Linda and Jan Willette, Retired Farm Couple, Global Travelers;
Church of St. Philips Faith Members and Choir: The Benhams, Ann Shallbetter, Toni Bennaars, Jody Tigges, Judy Chapman, Karen Stewart, Betty Lou Miller, Cece Ryan.

Additional Perks:
Two free airline tickets awarded when Mo and I were booted from an oversold Boston Flight

Final note: this report is a basic attempt at making this process of hosting as transparent as possible. What I've not done is count the time to coordinate any of this, nor included my monthly living expenses that I'd be paying, regardless of Maureen's stay.

God Is Good!
(How's that for the "bottom line" of this report?!)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Yea John and Paul!

Garrison, or his peeps, sent this* out. It tickles part of my fancy. That part that wonders about who or what he might write about in any of our lives as we go to parties. Have we had our auspicious meeting with a partner, friend, that resulted in the equivalent of THE BEATLES?


Love, Giggles,

*It was on this day in 1957 that two teenagers named John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met at a church dance in Liverpool, England. Lennon was performing at the dance with his band and McCartney was in the audience. McCartney was impressed by John's singing, so he introduced himself after the performance. They didn't hit it off until Paul mentioned that he played guitar, and he knew how to tune one. John was even more impressed that Paul knew the lyrics of recent rock and roll songs. John could never remember lyrics, which was why he often made up new ones while he was singing. Paul volunteered to write out the lyrics for the song "Be Bop a Lula" for John, and the two became fast friends. By 1959, they were calling themselves The Beatles.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Thomas and I are sorta like Twins: A reflection for this Holiday celebrating Freedom and LIberation!

I love this Gospel reading about "the doubting Thomas" and just had to post it as a way to celebrate my own understanding of "Freedom and Liberation" this 4th of July week.

How stuck and trapped are we, if we must have PROOF and EVIDENCE of the "TRUTH" at all times?!

(Please, friends: know I write this question from my own prison of anger, frustration, and recently identified rage against my own incomplete knowledge and understanding of God!)

Check out the disciple Thomas here in the Gospel of John. He's heard this tale from his friends about Jesus walking around after the guy died. And what's he do? He asks for proof! Who wouldn't question this life-after-death-tale, right?

"Umm, excuse me, people, but I was there when they laid him in the tomb. Dead man for sure. No breathing happening. And yeah, that rock rolled out of the way and his body was gone a couple days later, but what's that? More drama as far as I'm concerned. I love Jesus because He taught me a lot of good stuff.... Shoot, I feel like my love for my family and friends has changed for the better. And those random guys on the corner, the beggar and the leper and tax collector, I am even having love for them these days. Plus, I quit feeling so judgmental about prostitutes. But: this business of Jesus walking around AFTER HE DIED? Come on! Let's draw the sanity line someplace, PLEASE!"
I get where Thomas is coming from. I can even imagine us throwing back a couple of beers, watching the fireworks tomorrow night, and having ourselves a good laugh about this notion of resurrection.
"Jesus walking around?! How ludicrous! Those other disciples must have been smoking some serious crack to think that they saw Jesus after that bloody death of His!"
But the story doesn't go like this. Because Thomas lived back then. And Thomas said he needed proof. And Christ showed up, as the story goes, and let this doubting disciple touch His resurrected body, let our guy Tommy put his fingers into those wounds.

Yowza! And there are some serious fireworks! Yeah....For me: the red, white, blue, purple, orange, green explosions I get the biggest bang out of: are these sorts of stories happening NOW! Liberation flowing from a reconciliation of our own doubts, our own fears, our own struggles, our own worries of God, the Divine in our midst.

I'm belly deep in these contemplations of late, wrestling with my own anger and doubt of God's existence, wanting proof already of His Love and Passion! And here is this great little story from back in the day, that is a sweet balm, blessing to my wandering, wanting spirit.

I Love Thomas! I am thankful for this tale and his utter humanity and that this got included in the bible.


Jn 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
But Thomas said to them,
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Coming Home: A 20th Year Reunion of NCHS in Pictures

Friends, Classmates, Family, Interested Peeps:

The following are pictures from this past weekend's reunion of the Norfolk Catholic Class of 1987. Hmmm....Good times! Great reconnecting! Conversations! Reminiscing! Stories! Some tears, a lot of giggling, and fair amount of family, marriage, and faith musings over a bit of flowing alcohol-- all part and parcel of our Catholic-Nebraska-Culture-Style-Homecoming, eh?!

According to Terry Heimes' RSVP spreadsheet report: 74% of our class was in attendance.
So, of the 33 who matriculated in May of 1987, there were 24 of us there! High Fives! And BIG UPS to the people responsible for bringing us back together. It was no small task to gather us in from as far away as Madrid, Spain! Gracias Terry and Mark! Kathy, I know you were part of this behind-the-scenes-work, by virtue of marriage, and presence during those Surprise Awards. Colleen: without your website work, ( I dare say this reunion turn out would have fared closer to the 50% mark?! And Darin: what would we have drank without your tequila run from recent border crossings?

Enjoy this LIMITED Pictoral report of Friday and Saturday nights in Norfolk, Nebraska. At the bottom, find a prayer from Dutch Priest and Psychologist, Henri Nouwen that arrived in my email box as I came to post this. It's much more sober than the tone of most of these pictures, but offers a kind of contemplative close for all of us as we continue in our journey as graduates of this tiny Catholic school and community.


Norfolk Catholic Today: tripling/ quadrupling in size from our one-hallway days.

Friday night in Parish Hall:
Back Row, From Left to Right (pre-partnered names):
Mark Vrbka, Mitch Wallace, Darin Koch, Shaw Wattier
Middle: Kathy Sheets, Danetta Soukup, Suzann Stover, Ann Wullschleger, Tricia Sock, Erin Crowley, Anne Dostal, Melissa Borgmann
Front: Sonsoles Unzurrunzaga, Stephanie Leu

All the way from Spain and Colorado: Sonso and Ann!

Tricia and Winner-of-Trouper-Spouse Award, Herman!

The Sock Farm at Night....
Path to Friday night's Post-All-School Reunion-Party...

Early arrivals: Note Erin is still such a modest lady!

Another angle of the early crew. (Gotta give Crowley side-shot props.)

I just thought these were cool pix depicting the Sock-Farm-Landscape.
Swing and full moon...

A Contemplative Mary...

Juxtapose all that tranquility with the Beyond the Border Tequila...

Our own Homeland Security Agent: Darin Kock posed in center of Sonso and Sas.

Fuller Circle - People found their way to the rural, country-side gathering spot!
Ummm....a metaphor for NCHS, Class of '87 community?

Pre-Saturday night shenanigans:
Self-portrait with Fife, Sas, myself.

Kevin and Candace, Bally and wife Cindy all hooking up at the Borgmann's.

Entrance Pix with Bally's and surprise arrival, Jeanne Pfiefer Guta.
(Big Thanks to Husband Chris for getting Jeanne back home!)

We like to hug and kiss and welcome one another!

Shawn points out the Clinch-ster to Bobby in that all-class bus-shot (en route to having our all-class photo taken.)

God bless us! Cody Waite returns from Sacred Heart Days.
Here, shaking hands with Mr. Matt (beau of Jennifer Tullis)

Kathy, Colleen, Danetta, Tricia

More slideshow musings:
Prom King Shawn: Now and Then!

Who all can you identify in this pix?
Dos, Jen Tullis, Ann, Mark, Darin

Another returning Sacred Heart Sweetheart: Ms. Jane Tibbles

Cody married a hottie!
(Giving the peace sign next to his lovely bride, and our own hot Jen and Ann!)

Steph and Sonny look at old photos from the class of 87 year book.

Terry and Mark's table:
Can you identify the Norfolk Catholic alumni that became married couples?

Ann W. D. tells some tale.
Do you spot Clincher and the beautiful with-babe bride of Shawn, (Ms. Amy)?
Aghh! Apologies to Mark Quinn and wife Michelle! I think this is the only kinda-close photo I have of the two. And it's Michelle's back! Losiento Mucho...

Another table of visiting folks. (Including the upcoming winner of "Longest Married Couple")

Award Ceremony Time!

As I alluded to before, Longest Married Couple: Danetta and Jim Jensen,
hitched for (I think) 18 years.

Question: What happened to the Prize for being Single the Longest?!
Nofolk Country Club Patio Conversation. Lots of the day's golfers gathered.
(Chris and Missy Kay with backs to us.)

More Jenn and Matt and Colleen-sans-husband-and-son-from Ohio.

Class photo!!!

Funny Class Photo!!!
What's up with the groping hands?! Guys got jokes!

Directions from Norfolk Country Club to Borgmann home.
(It's the teacher/ artist/ public person in me, with the support of Amy and her sidewalk chalk! We can't be having people get lost on way to post-party Party!)

Starting from NCC....
Somber signposts from 20 years ago.

Down Hwy 81 to Prospect...

Past Skyview Lake and Firework set up....

To my mom and dad's...

2303 Prospect
Mixing up Margaritas...
(Nebraska party culture borrows from many long-standing traditions,
honoring festivities and spirit of families we are all from...!?*&%$#@!)

Bally generously breaks open the Silver Patron to share with all...




Post-Firework-show: moving from front lawn....

To Basement

Sharing Photos and Stories...

Till the late-night, early morning departure....
A Lifelong Journey

Going home is a lifelong journey. There are always parts of ourselves that wander off in dissipation or get stuck in resentment. Before we know it we are lost in lustful fantasies or angry ruminations. Our night dreams and daydreams often remind us of our lostness.

Spiritual disciplines such as praying, fasting and caring are ways to help us return home. As we walk home we often realise how long the way is. But let us not be discouraged. Jesus walks with us and speaks to us on the road. When we listen carefully we discover that we are already home while on the way.