Shoes and Honor and Sage Advice and Yardwork and Sweet Potatoes and Children of Hope!!!
It was great seeing you and Lance at the AAIM event. Your performance was awesome, as usual. And then-to give away the Carlos Santana pair of heels for a live auction—you’re too much. Why Kevin #1 (the older one) bought them is beyond me. (see photo). I thought maybe it was just go give more money to AAIM. No, it’s the fabuous shoes. He’s been walking around the house all day in those things! (kidding! They’re too small).
Last Thursday, AAIM (Austin Area Interreligious Ministries) hosted it’s annual “Hope Awards” at St. David’s Church, downtown Austin. And what a gorgeous, gorgeous day/evening to have the event on. We started with a pre-party reception downstairs in the garden area, complete with vines and cactus and beautiful nooks of plants everywhere. Above us, nestled quietly in a nest, was a gray dove, sittng on her eggs. I thought that was very symbolic—the bird of peace hovering over people of many faiths, hoping to help bring a new dawn to understanding and community!
Dr. Patricia Hayes was a terrific emcee, self-deprecating and quick-witted; Tom Spencer, our new CEO/ED shared an inspiring reflection in a poem about his father and growing up on acres of beautiful upstate New York farmland, and Joyce Beck delivered words of welcome! The Hope Award Committee – Felora Derakhshani, who led us in prayer, was gracious, as always, and Nahid Khataw beautified our tables and stage with flowers and bright, spring colors… Cathy Casey, who helped publicize the event and Lu, who does so much on behalf of ESL, all these women with their effervescent smiles…completely committed to making the world a better place. Our Hope Award presenters (and fellow board of directors) Sarah Currie and Lynda Lieberman Baker did terrific overviews and introductions of our Hope Award Honorees, Rabbi Steven Folberg of Congregation Beth Israel, and the United Methodist Women of the Austin District…My gift was to share music and love to tie it all together. And, as you can see, I was inspired to auction off my brand new Carlos Santana shoes—heels with hand beading on orange silk—because I realized I am, truly, a tomboy at heart, and even though I like shiny things, I just can’t keep them on my feet for long! So, thanks to Kevin for buying them! Oh, and thanks to Chef Ray and his team for the incredibly yummy food!
By the way, it was last year at the Hope Awards that I was inspired by the speaker to write “The One”, in honor of Cho’s mother….It was there I found the connection of what I yearned to say, but did not think of until I heard about how Cho’s mother was suffering emotionally, and that she needed our love and compassion.
FRIDAY—was going to meet my new friend, Amanda, the wife of an old boyfriend, but our lines got crossed and by the time we spoke, she was already in route to the airport…Prepped for the ACT event I would be doing Saturday morning…
Later that afternoon, had friends over for homemade lasagna (vegetarian….iolana and I have been vegetarians for over two weeks now, so I’ve been changing up our kitchen drastically!), fresh bread and salad/fruit, where we all sat outside in the breezy spring sunset under our giant sycamore tree….laughing and sharing stories and enjoying one anothers’ company.
SATURDAY—Up early while the family was sleeping, got dressed, grabbed my guitar and some cds and headed over to St. Edwards for the ACT Women and Girls’ Spiritual Conference…I was singing
during the opening ceremony and then led a break out session on “Compassion, Creativity and Your Community”, working with a room of about 35 girls on how they can use their natural gifts (drawing, singing, writing, dancing, etc.) to go into the community and make a difference. These were all girls who have already done miraculous things, but we had a good time talking about ideas, journaling, writing out where we want to go in this world, our goals, our ideals, etc.
Then I had to skedaddle home, and asked the family to go out to the Serendipity Festival at a montessori school in Georgetown, so we all hopped in the car, and, again, just a breathtaking day, and we found this beautiful farmland that has been converted into a school with gardens, many, many trees, a wonderful park like area in the middle of the school buildings (which look like barns and
farm houses…all very comforting!)….sang on the deck of a cool fort like house, and watched with delight as parents and children sang and danced along. Meanwhile, Lance and the girls were checking out the glassblower, meeting Enzo (Enzoology!): a 8 year old boy who hosts his own webisodes about all thinks animals and science and is being courted by National Geographic and Disney!., made some pottery and enjoyed the day….
Afterwards, we hopped over to Ikea for a new drawer set for io and dinner for all of us. Very relaxing, rewarding day with lots of joy!
After some spring cleaning (which we had spread out over the week so as not to overwhelm ourselves), we hosted the Care Communities Volunteer Appreciation Day event at our home, again, out in the front yard. About 115 people, talking and eating and relaxing in the sunshine, a miniature photo gallery of different volunteers set up in our pop-up gazebo like tent, flowers everywhere, smiles
Drove to Round Rock Library to visit Janette Johnson and crew where they were filming a new puppet video with Joe McDermott (my favorite kids musician in the WORLD!), and I got to be in it because I had sung on Joe’s song, “Celebrate!”, the new Texas Library Theme Song. So, there I was, singing with an alligator/T-Rex puppet, a turtle and a bear, all wearing “50th Birthday!” birthday hats on their tiny heads!
Then headed right back to Austin where I had a fabulous belated birthday lunch with my dear friend, Margaret, at Castle Hill, where we caught up on our lives, our work, our men, our futures…
I like when birthdays just go on and on!
I had so much catching up to do!!! It seems for every email I send out, there are 50 that come in. Ay yi yi. Ok, maybe the internet makes us more connected, but really, it is an octopus! A slippery, smart octopus that has the capacity to just entangle you in more and more to do until you have to rip yourself away and say, “Enough! Today…I surf!” and then you just run outside and breathe in the air and re-connect with the realness of it all. And lay down in the grass and just lay there, breathing, staring at the sky, until your yard man shows up and asks, “Miss Hickman, are you ok?” and then you start to talk about all the worries in the world (Juarez! It is such poverty! The death penalty! What will we do! War! Child abuse! Education…who is going to fix that??!) and your yard man looks at you kindly, as if you have gone mad but just can’t see it cuz you are you and he is he, and he gently reminds you, “Miss Hickman, you do enough. You can just let it go. You do just what God wants you to do. So be at peace with that…” and then you grab your lawn man, and as you are hugging him with great gratitude, you say, “Jose, you are right. Thank you for being such a great human being!” And you remember Jose is a fireman AND a yardman, and you ask him how he does it, and he replies, “I do the yards because it is my chance to be outside, to keep in shape, to smell the air. I don’t need to do yardwork. I just ENJOY it! And the Good Lord helps me with the rest!” And then you head down the path of how fireman help, what they do in the community, and before you know it, you’re relaxed and smiling…and then, as Jose is pulling away from your yard, you think….”I’m gonna get my hands in the earth!” And you walk inside and get some clippers and head back to the mess that is the corner of your yard and start cleaning out all the dead remainders of winter, clearing out old scruff and brush, enjoying the sun on your back, when who do you see, but HENRY, another fantastic yard man, and he walks over from Fran’s house, and you have ANOTHER fabulous conversation, this time about architecture and taxes and children and then Henry says he can take all the scruff you have piled in a pile, and you just feel grateful for the day, for the people God has placed in your path, and you think that octopus drove you outside and you are GLAD ABOUT IT!
About then, it is time for tea. So I went and met my friend, Sandy, over at Tea Embassy, and walk into a wonderland, no, a CORNUCOPIA! of teas and teapots and teacups and tea spoons and tea teddy bears and tea stationary and tea magazines and tea table clothes and tea tea tea TEA whoo-whee! It is all so fascinating and so I bought a few squares of chocolate, and two cups of tea, and Sandy and I sat outside on the front porch and enjoyed our tea and talked of adventure, her ranch, horses, a walking path, Alaska, our children and grandchildren (well, I don’t have any grandchildren yet…!) and then I realize that grapefruit in tea is really just lovelylicious yum and I must bring my girls back for the same.
Back home to the yard, where I threw a little ball with my youngest, and then our neighbor, Ivan, came down and we were throwing the ball around. Boy oh boy, I love putting a glove on my hand!
I love pitching! I love catching! We had a great time….
7:30 AAIM board meeting at Congregation Beth Israel….man on man, I really can not say enough about how HONORED and HAPPY I am to be on this board. It is a board that is making change in the Austin Community, and for that I am really grateful, proud, encouraged, delighted, and ready and willing to help!
10 am Ran some morning errands….stopped by Central Market and purchased a lot of vegetables, fruits, vegetarian soups, fresh bread….
12: 30 Trish Murphy came over and we wrote a song. I love Trish! We had such excellent conversation and bonding on our drive to and home from Houston for the “Music For Life” event she so graciously performed at. We have so many things in common, but most especially questions and anxieties and wonder over the music business, changes in it, our places in it, how we write, what we sing about, etc. It was a VERY gratifying moment to have another woman I could talk to about these things!
So, she came to the house and we wrong a song that I will not tell you about but you will hear in person somewhere down the road. Think Keith Richards meets Lucinda Williams meets Eric Clapton meets Trish Murphy and Sara Hickman in a double drop D tuning. Oh, yea, baby!
Then I made some dinner…homemade mashed sweet potatoes, green peas, veggie burgers, salad, grapes and mandarin oranges…and Lance had made a smoothie so we ate up, taking a plate for iolana because she was at band practice at Natural Ear Music, and we drove over to pick her up and headed out to Round Rock to see the Hope Children’s Choir from Africa at the Methodist church.
WOW! I was crying within minutes of sitting down in the pews because on the overhead screens, they were projecting the photographs and stories of these children, these amazing, beautiful African children, and reading how they had become orphans was heartbreaking. Some of you know I have spoken out about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and all the atrocities they are committing, most especially in how they kidnap, torture and force children into servitude to become child soldiers of unbelievably horrific deeds….some of these children had lost their parents to the LRA, but thank God, they had been saved by this fantastic group that takes the children in, keeps them safe and gives them this place to grow and be nurtured, spiritually and physically and mentally.
These kids sang and smiled like rainbows, with the energy of a thousand suns, radiating from the church stage, joy in every movement, every step, every clap of the hand and sway of the hip.
They sang of Africa being saved, they sang about Jesus, they sang about the River of God, they sang of hope for the world and for every child….
I am glad my girls and Lance were able to witness what song and love can bring to a life……..and I am hoping someday I can do more to help children in some greater way. Maybe I will get to be an ambassador of Love and Grace for Austin. And I can start with getting healthcare, food, education, harmony and love on behalf of every Austin child.
You may say I’m a dreamer……!