Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Sunday Pub Dance

The pub down the street has live music and Appalachian cloggers once a month.  Bea is big fan of the  Nicolas Brothers' tap dancing moves and before bedtime there is often a kitchen dance party featuring the extremely talented duo.  Watching the boundless joy of her movement is the essence of happiness.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Joy of Today

Before we start in on dinner each night, we stop and say what we are grateful for.  Today I am grateful for the sunshine streaming through our windows and for the color in their paintings--brighter against the bright white snow, which I am also grateful for.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Begin Again

I have been mostly absent from this space for years and I feel it is time to try to return here.  A partner to a hardworking, strong-loving man and father and a mom of two littles, today I feel like I have life under control (there are leftovers ready for dinner.) Tomorrow I may not, but I want to try and be present inside my mind every day, or at least a few times a week.  I want to record the things my children say and do in these rapidly passing days, because I know I will not remember them.

Lorraine, my second, sweet girl, has the joy of her namesake, Great-Grandma in her soul.  She is strong and outgoing like her too.  Bea astounds me constantly, she is a creative original, independent and full of love.  I am so lucky, to have these girls--these powerful girls to help lead me into a better world, a better time.

I have often said that I was born in the wrong decade.  I love domesticity.  I love to knit, to sew, to bake, to garden.  But I am wrong and so fortunate to be alive to be in place where my gender is gaining ground towards equality every day.  My interests are my hobbies, my rights are my freedom.  I have daughters.  I wish for them.  I wish for them to feel equal to others--all others, because they are.  No one is better than they are, they are not better than anyone else.  Thank you Cathrine Johnson for this gift of a beautifully simple lesson to give them, and to give myself as well.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


I hear Bea kicking her mattress in her crib with her right foot.  We call her Thumper, she has busted holes in almost all of her sleepers in just the right toe, her kicking foot.  I know she's awake, just up from a nap.  But right now she is quiet (except for the thumping) content to be by herself, waking in her ever new world, happy to slowly explore it.  Happy right where she is.  I am learning so much from my 7 month old.  The world is new to me each day too.  If only I can be quiet enough.  Go slow enough.  Wake to it, to take it in, learn, and be in awe of it, as much as I can.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to live.

From the time I was very young, I knew I was beautiful and I knew I was smart. I knew this because Grandma told me every chance she had. I grew up confident. “Hey there you beautiful girl!” She would exclaim as I walked in the door as a little girl, an awkward adolescent, and as a grown woman. Always in awe of how clever she felt I was, I heard nothing but praise from her. I know that I was not the sole recipient of these proclamations, I shared them with my sisters, my cousins, my parents, my aunts, with anyone and everyone that Grandma loved. And she loved so many, she made friends so quickly. Her sweet uplifting remarks were always genuine though, no matter how often or for whom they were made. Grandma saw the beauty in people and she rejoiced in it.
She was hardworking farm girl who was grateful for and generous with what she had. She and Grandpa were constantly feeding people, always baking and keeping the pantry well stocked, always caring for and nourishing others in body and soul. Grandma had the quickest wit, pulling jokes out of nowhere. She was a wonderful storyteller and shared her history with us. She loved a game of cards, loved the banter, loved to table talk, loved to remind us that if you’re not going to have any fun you might as well stay home, and heck, most of the time that’s pretty fun too. She was always right about that, because she knew the secret—you make your own fun. You revel in every moment this life gives you.
As my daughter begins her life, we say a heart breaking good-bye to her Great-Grandma Raether, inspired by her, a woman who lived life better than anyone I know. Her days filled with joy, laughter, friendship and generosity. She embodied love and happiness. There is so much she has taught me that I will share with my beautiful girl Bea. She has given us this greatest gift, to see life for all the beauty it holds, to find that beauty in others, and to give it back to them.
With the biggest smile she would toast us “Here’s hoping you live forever, and I never die.” Your vibrant spirit will live on forever—we will share that special part of us that is you with everyone we meet.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Almost 2 Years

So much can happen in 2 years.  So much GOOD.

It starts with this guy.  One year ago tomorrow, on February 16th, 2013, (my older sister's birthday) we decided to get married.
Around this time I was accepted to the University of Minnesota's Masters of Public Health program, with a focus on Community Health Promotion.

I found an urban farm to work at this past summer.

In June of 2013, we bought a lovely Minneapolis bungalow.

 We lost Buster the previous May to heart failure and we miss him dearly.  Shortly we moved in to the new house, we decided to share our home again with a furry friend, and we adopted a kitten which we named Ivan. 

My newest niece, Miss Ellie Jean (my little bean) was born to my younger sister and brother, in August.

And she's wonderful, just like her cousin Lexi.

Who is getting so big, and will be a fantastic big sister this spring when her baby brothers arrive.

October 12th, 2013.  We made our promises in front of the people we love.
I became Mrs. Kara Guerra.  A lucky to lady to have this man and a fun new rhyming name.

And NOW.... We are excited to meet this little sprout of ours this August, 2014.

SO much GOOD.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Switching Gears.

I ride my bike around town a lot. Coasting downhills, easing up them, looking all around me... --as needed, I switch gears... it's freedom.

I stopped writing at the end of October. I was about to move to the farm. And I did. I moved. ...I started to.

I started to move to my family farm and something happened in me, --something that had been building in me for weeks. I was so lost, --trying to follow conflicting emotions in turn --at such a loss for direction. Those last weeks of my farm internship, this dream of mine was being realized --but I wasn't sure it was my dream anymore. I left work on Halloween night from one farm for the other. I was to spend my first night in my new home. My Grandparent's farmhouse waited empty for me. I was excited as I left, car full.

As a I drove through the sunsetting landscape, my excitement sank with the light. Driving into town, a place I loved to visit--where family was close by, friendly faces, memories, history, nostalgia, the farm, my dreams--all that brought me there. But what I felt was alone, unprepared and lost. This was a wonderful place and I was lucky to be there--but, as it turned out, I didn't believe it was where I belonged.

It was a difficult decision to make, and easy when I really listened to my feelings--the move didn't feel right. I couldn't help but feel the guilt and the failure. Ever lucky me though, I had/(have) the world's best-EVER support system. And with those truly amazing people and a little time, I found a path.

I've found home again in Minneapolis. I'm working towards a new kind of work for me, something I believe in. I will always grow things, I will always make things, and though you can take the girl out of Wisconsin, you can't take the Wisconsin out of the girl--I will always and forever be from Wisconsin-- but our neighbor, Minnesota, has found its own place in my heart (excepting their sports teams.) I have love here. And I have community that I've built here. And brand, shiny new dreams....

"For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

So here are a few things that I've been up to:

being--with family.
watching her grow--so fast.
skiing. Birkie #2 --and surprising myself.
catching my first ever, trout --magical.

And of course,
I just finished these lovely, reversible (I hope, super functional) dresses for some VERY special small ladies. (One has even yet to arrive!) The pattern is so fun and quick--I think I'll be making more soon as I know many deserving little ones. The Pattern is from Owly Baby, the Emma Dress.

I will sign off with a video that graces us with a way of thinking that makes me feel like nothing that can happen can be so bad... --if we just embrace gratitude...
I hope, --and I'm grateful.

May All Beings Be Happy

In safety and in bliss, may all beings be happy.
Whatever beings there may be, be they weak or strong,
Excepting none; short, tall or middle sized,
Large or small, seen or unseen,
Dwelling far or near, born or yet to be born,
May they all be happy.

- a Buddhist prayer