summers are for seeing family

on sunday after the baptism, carloads of family headed back to philly, brooklyn, and ohio, but jim's sister christie and her kids hung out another two nights for some good play time before heading back to nashville.

james and jessica are only a few weeks apart, and it was fun listening to them out dinosaur-roar one another:)

we caught an outdoor concert, spent an evening at the local kids' amusement park, and ristow and dylan even got to ride horses.  last summer, dylan was still my baby, and now she's doing such big kid stuff!  she is fearless, and she loved every minute with her cousins.

linked to wordful wednesday at seven clown circus.


the eternal priesthood

we've only been episcopal for a few years, but it didn't take long to fall in love with the liturgy.  james was baptized sunday, and the service was beautiful.  i love that at each baptism, the congregation renews its own baptismal vows and agrees to help the child grow in faith.  it is such a fantastic picture of how the body of Christ should function.  having both of our families, friends, and so many faces from camp at the baptism standing in support of james was an incredible blessing.

jim and i presented james, along with dann and nancy, the kids' godparents; we renounced sin and and affirmed our faith on james' behalf.  the congregation read a responsive liturgy reaffirming faith as well, that is a mix of the nicene creed and vows to continue in love, fellowship, repentence, service, envangelism, justice, and peace, answering, "i will. with God's help."  the  whole thing is powerful, and i thought i'd share a bit here:

Leader      Deliver him, O Lord, from the way of sin and death.
People      Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader      Open his heart to your grace and truth.
People      Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader      Fill him with your holy and life-giving Spirit.
People      Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader      Keep him in the faith and communion of your holy Church.
People     Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader      Teach him to love others in the power of the Spirit.
People      Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader      Send him into the world in witness to your love.
People       Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader      Bring him to the fullness of your peace and glory.
People       Lord, hear our prayer.

The Celebrant says
Grant, O Lord, that all who are baptized into the death of Jesus Christ your Son may live in the power of his resurrection and look for him to come again in glory; who lives and reigns now and forever. Amen.

Thanksgiving over the Water
We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life. We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

At the following words, the Celebrant touches the water

Now sanctify this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that those who here are cleansed from sin and born again may continue for ever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Savior. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

The Baptism
James Edward, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon this your servant the forgiveness of sin, and have raised him to the new life of grace. Sustain him, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give him an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.

James, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever. Amen.
Let us welcome the newly baptized.

 Celebrant and People
We receive you into the household of God. Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood.


yes, Lord.  let it be so. 

jim's side of the family: aunt christie, ristow, poppy, jessica, and grammy 
(a bunch of photos were snapped, but unfortunately not on my camera.  
i don't even have a great shot of james!)

 aunt b and d

we don't have any family nearby, and the kids' godparents live out in brooklyn.  having everyone together this weekend to celebrate was really wonderful.
image credit

have a story to share of life along the journey?  read more about the idea behind ShoutLaughLove here, and link up a post every tuesday.

so much shouting, so much laughter


biotech, bono, and boobs

it was a good week for monsanto, the thuggish biotech company that is the leading producer of genetically modified seed as well as bovine growth hormone.  they are also the illustrious company that brought us DDT and agent orange.  this week, the supreme court overruled a lower court's ban on genetically modified alfalpha--even though cross contamination (even with organic seed) is inevitable.

in the US, it is not required that companies disclose that foods are genetically modified organisms (GMOs.)  this is CRAZY.  companies like monsanto introduce animal or bacteria strains into seeds to make them resistant to herbicides or pesticide.  we don't know the long term consequences of this practice, and monsanto doesn't exactly have a great track record on health, safety, land protection, or playing fair.

monsanto was also in the news for donating hybrid seed to haiti, but that donation carries a hefty price tag for local agriculture.  10,000 protesting haitian farmers don't want anything to do with monsanto seed (which cannot be saved from year to year and threatens indigenous varietals). worst.

(find more about monsanto in the book in defense of food or the movies the corporation or food inc.)

those of you who know me know i love all things u2.  on facebook this week a friend linked to this vintage article from christianity today about the u2 frontman's faith, with excerpts from bono: in conversation with michka assayasit's a good read.


finally, reality tv star kim kardashian thinks public breastfeeding is gross. she tweeted:
"EWW Im at lunch,the woman at the table next 2 me is breast feeding her baby w no coverup."
you cannot open a magazine, walk down a street, or turn on the tv without being bombarded by hyper-sexualized images of women's bodies, but God forbid a woman use her breasts to nourish a child.

would kim really rather hear a hungry baby wail in a restaurant? 

her bad mother has a valuable take on the whole thing titled "i've looked at boobs from both sides now."
reducing debates about public breastfeeding to ‘Smart Feminists And Noble Mothers Against Scantily Dressed [...] Who Don’t Realize They’re Oppressed By Their Heaving Cleavage’ obscures what’s really at stake in this issue: our right and freedom to define the terms and practices of our own womanhood, and to not only resist but reject such false, culturally-imposed dichotomies as Madonna/Whore, Smarty-Pants Feminist/Unthinking Tart, Dutiful Asexual Mom/Lusty Young Woman. Because I don’t know about you, but I’m much more complicated than that. And I like my boobs in a whole variety of ways, that includes their life-sustaining baby-feeding superpower but also their pleasing appearance...And I worry that when these discussions get oversimplified...we promote a discourse that does exactly that. Sexy Boobs Bad; Nursing Boobs Good. Nursing Mom Good; Cleavage-Barer Bad. Babies On Boobs Good; Tight T-Shirt On Boobs, Bad. Why can’t all those things be good?"
i appreciate the point she's making about honoring women's agency to inhabit their bodies in varied and nuance ways. what do you think?


ShoutLaughLove: frayed

the other day, my stove caught fire.  i don't know what was in the burner, but i turned it on to cook eggs, and flames blazed eight inches high.  thankfully, i keep baking soda all over my house and smothered it fast, but it was still unsettling.

if i'm being honest, my anger flares just as quickly and often leaves as big a mess.

things that ought to be minor annoyances set me off fast:  i stub my toe.  there are no baby wipes.  he's crying.  she's whining.  jim is still not home.

i curse like a trucker in my head.

my edges fray.  sometime it feels like i might completely unravel with the tiniest tug of a thread.

i am impatient.  i yell, and my heart breaks.  i don't want to be an angry mom.

i apologize:  "i am sorry for yelling, dylan.  mommy shouldn't have yelled."

mere words often fall flat.

dylan is testing us with defiance right now.  it's a battle, and a lot of days, it feels like she's winning.  she's always so quick to apologize:  "sorry mommy!"  but they're just words.

i tell her, "i don't want to hear that you're sorry again.  i want you to stop disobeying!"

the refrain makes little impression on my two year-old, but they cut to my own heart. 

how repentant am i really if i continue responding in anger?
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because our anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."  James 1:19-20
my anger is not producing the righteousness that God desires.  that i desire.  O Lord, how i long for righteousness!

yet, still i shy away from His throne.  like eve, i hide from His presence.  i try to manage my sin on my own, fail miserably, and feel even more broken and frayed.

but God calls me near again.  i hear His voice.  i come.  i listen.

i remember the promises:

i am His delight.  i am a new creation.  i am God's workmanship.  i am forgiven.

and slowly, i am being transformed.

image credit 

have a story to share of life along the journey?  read more about the idea behind ShoutLaughLove here, and link up a post every tuesday.

so much shouting, so much laughter


find the good and praise God

"find the good and praise it."  that was the message at our baccalaureate service, and eight years after graduation, i still remember the charge.

yet somehow, it is still so easy to forget.

i neglect the work of cultivating thankfulness.  i complain and dwell on frustration and disappointment.  i choose bitterness over joy.

forgive me, Lord, for my idol of self and for withholding praise.

even in the midst of a season that overwhelms and tries my patience, God is good and gracious and generous beyond measure.

just like you've always been.  give me eyes to see, and open my lips that i may return thanks.  renew a right spirit within me.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  -James 1:17

an ongoing record of the riches of God's blessings:

1.  my sister is done with chemo!!!

2.  my father's quiet faith, work ethic, and laughing eyes

3.  seeing the kids light up when jim comes home

4.  snuggled close, napping with dylan in her daisy bed

5.  orange bursting tiger lilies and d's cheerful announcing of each new bloom

6.  childlike wonder and an eye for detail

7.  craigslist deals and impromptu trips through winding country roads

8.  corralling four escaped chickens with minimal effort and much laughter

9.  my happy, backwards crawling boy

10.  picking crisp snow peas, still warm from sunshine

11.  backseat baby belly laughs make car rides light

12.  a season pass and the promise of community

13.  the graces of marriage and forgiveness and the blessing of adult conversation

14.  a sabbath for jim and much needed family time

15.  the return of the horses and seeing them from our yard

16.  the start of camp and the excitement of what God will do this summer in the lives of nearly 2000 campers and staff

16.  trees alight with thousands of fireflies and jim home and dylan up to appreciate it.  (even croup provides moments of sweetness.)

thank you, Lord, for these precious gifts.

ShoutLaughLove starts tomorrow.  i hope you'll come back and link a story of life along the way:)

holy experience


grass-fed and local

since jim hit the ground running on june 1st with summer camp training, we haven't exactly  enjoyed much family time.  he leaves before the kids wake and comes home long after they're asleep.  we try to make it up to camp for meals, but we don't exactly get his undivided attention up there.  it won't always be this intense, but orientation is truly mad.

so when we were able to steal jim away to carol and dave's roadhouse for a dinner out on sunday night, it was a definite treat.  we ate on their deck, no fits were thrown, and jim and i enjoyed burgers from the grass-fed-and-finished beef from the kananga farm, which is adjacent to camp.

after i ordered (in a blur of juggling bibs, high chair straps, and sippy cups),  i realized that if i'd given more than a cursory look a the menu, i could have had a dinner with the kind of vegetables not served in the dining hall, but camp is definitely not serving up grass-fed beef, and these burgers were tasty.

more and more restaurants in our area are sourcing meat, eggs, and produce from local farms, and i love it.  i love knowing that my dollar is supporting not only a local business but a local farm.  i love knowing that the animals were pastured or the produce was not treated with pesticides.  i love that my burger journeyed to my plate from the farm in my backyard instead of being shipped who knows how far from a seedy factory farm.

if restaurants know that customers care about where their meals come from, they will source more local and organic ingredients.  the local food movement is definitely growing in my small town because of consumer interest.  i got an email this week from the ivy cafe saying they had veal on their new summer menu from a local farm where the cows were all pastured and not confined.  i have never ordered veal because of the awful conditions they are conventionally raised in, but i could definitely order veal from a local farm that i could trust and even visit.

when restaurants source ingredients locally and craft menus from what is in season, it's good for local economies and so much better for our health.  businesses will listen if they know that's what consumers want.  money talks, and we truly can cast votes with our dollars for better, locally-sourced food.

how important is buying local food to you?  do you have a favorite source for local food?

quest for real food is hosting a conversation on local eating, and the local cook has an interesting series on the intersection of faith and eating with a challenge about supporting local farmers.  check them out:)  this post is also linked to works for me wednesday.



because there is value in hearing one another's perspectives, i'm launching ShoutLaughLove, a weekly carnival where you can link your story of life along the way.

it's good to know that others have muddied their shoes hiking the trail before us and that fellow pilgrims walk the path we thought we tread alone.

when i starting writing here, i knew it would be a great way to stay connected with people i love, but i didn't realize that blogging would introduce me to to others whose voices and encouragement i appreciate so much.  my goal for ShoutLaughLove is to grow that community and to offer a platform to hear other writers' experiences.

i'm casting the net pretty wide:  your post can pretty much be anything that shares your perspective and voice, whether life at the moment is delightful or difficult.  share a funny story, a rant, or a post about anything you're learning, celebrating, or wrestling.  if it's real and true, it's fair game.

we'll kick it off next tuesday june 22, and i hope you'll come here every tuesday to link up and read along.  you can read more details at the ShoutLaughLove tab below my header.

i hope you'll join me on this little writing adventure, and i look forward to reading your stories!


pigtails and puddles

when i was pregnant with james, a surprising number of people warned me  that there wouldn't be nearly as many/enough pictures of my second child.

this is true.

what i didn't realize was that dylan would continue to dominate the few pictures that i manage to snap, because i only think about it or have hands free when james is in the sling (as in these photos) or napping.

sorry, j.  by the time you're walking, i promise to have more pics of you.  i'll even try to get a few good shots before then, especially if you start sitting up better on your own.  please don't feel bad or hold it against me thirty years from now.  i don't have any good recent face shots of your sister, either.  mama just isn't a photographer.

(two posts in one day!  i couldn't leave you all hanging with a depressing current events post.  hence my sweet girl splashing away in her itty bitty size 4-5 crocs:)

BP and consumer responsibility

i realize that when it comes to Big Oil, there are no saintly players, but we do have choices where we gas up, and there's no need for us to continue to line BP's deep, reckless, and irresponsible pockets with our hard-earned cash.

(other BP brands include Castrol, Arco, Aral, am/pm, Amoco, Safeway gas, and Wild Bean Cafe.)

we caught a fascinating and depressing piece not long ago on Democracy Now! about the gulf spill clean-up:

"The use of dispersants is relied on mainly to keep the oil from running ashore. It’s a tradeoff that’s often used in oil spills to essentially keep the oil from spreading in two directions on the surface of the water and send it in three directions, where it can go down into the water column and remain underwater."

The oil doesn't ever really get cleaned up. It just get mixed with chemicals, spread out, and pushed deeper underwater.

awesome, right? it gets worse.

BP is using a toxic chemical dispersant that is wishfully named corexit. it's been banned for years in Britain, and BP can't guarantee its safety because a majority of the ingredients are regarded as trade secret. the EPA asked them to use something else and they said no. (BP also conveniently owns most of the supply of corexit.)

apparently, BP does whatever the junk it wants and the EPA has no spine.

on top of the 25,000-30,000 barrels of oil that are gushing into the gulf daily, corexit is pumped in, too, in a scope never seen previously, causing untold damage to marine life and making at least 86 people sick.  BP's CEO, however, claims they all just got food poisoning, even though exposure to corexit has been linked to neurological disorders, headaches, skin rashes, and tumors.

i'm feeling sick just writing about all of this.

(image credit. thanks to my friend megan who shared on FB.)


dimly lit days

parenting small children is an emotional roller coaster.  the highs are high, but the lows can be equally extreme, and for whatever reason, that remains a little acknowledged secret about motherhood.

will you think i'm a bad mom if i tell you that every day at home i wrestle with anger, loneliness, frustration, and stress?

will you think i'm a bad christian if i admit that being a mother doesn't fulfill my every longing for purpose?

the isolation, tantrums, crying, public defiance, power struggles, and poo-splosions are emotionally exhausting, and they bring me to my knees.  i wish i could say in prayer, but many days, it's more like defeat.  my inability to complete the simplest of tasks is overwhelming.  grocery shopping and getting dinner on the table are often bigger challenges than i feel equipped for.

i love my children, and i do love being home with them.  many days are filled with remarkable joy, and i'm thankful for the privilege of raising them. i don't think the grass is greener for working moms:  each choice has its trade-offs.  though i miss the intellectual challenges and adult interaction of professional life, i know my heart would ache not to be present for all the fleeting moments of my kids' childhood.

i'm glad i chose this path, but that doesn't mean it is an easy journey to walk.  bedtime battles, jim's working until 10 or 11, and an extremely defiant two-year-old have made for a rocky week.  my short temper and edginess are constant reminders of my own sinfulness, but even in the midst of a dark season, light bursts through the broken cracks.

the other day, i hit my head so hard it doubled me over in pain.  dylan stopped what she was doing and rushed to my side.

"mommy, are you ok?" she asked.

i told her i bumped my head and hurt myself.

"do you want me to kiss it?"

i had to smile, despite the blazing pain.  of course i wanted a kiss from two tiny, perfect lips.

"do you want me to sing 'you are my sunshine'?"

my eyes brimmed with tears from her sweet kindness.

despite my failings, i must be doing something right.  or more accurately, God is doing something right, creating a beautiful mosaic out of the broken pieces of my sinful life.

trusting this promise today, for myself and my family:

"he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"  (philippians 1:6).

You say you want a living sacrifice
Well I am a burnt offering
Crawling off the altar and
Back in to the fire

And with my smoke-filled lungs
I cry out for freedom
While locking and chaining myself
To my rotting desires

And I hate the stench,
But I swallow the key
And with it stuck in my throat
Can you hear me, can you hear me

I'm coming home, I'm coming home
I'm coming home, I'm coming home,
but I'm still a long way off

I am shelled-shocked, and I have walked
Through the trenches full of tears
With the mortars of memory
Exploding in my burning ears

You stripped the trees of Lebanon
And now you're stripping me
Of the bark of false morality
And the bite of selfish greed
Can you hear me?

Will you run to me?
Will you come to me?
Will you meet me, will you greet me
Will you drag me home 'cause I'm still a long way off

--Coming Home by Caedmon's Call

thank you, Lord, for grace-filled moments and glimpses of your goodness.  thank you for your faithfulness.  thank you that even though i am still a long way off, it is you who runs to me.  i am incapable of getting where i want to be on my own.  thank you that by your grace, i don't have to.

image credit


clinging to the promise

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
       the bitterness and the gall.  
I well remember them,
       and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
       and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
       for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
       great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
       therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
       to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
       for the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
       while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence,
       for the LORD has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
       there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
       and let him be filled with disgrace.
For men are not cast off
       by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
       so great is his unfailing love.
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
       that both calamities and good things come?
Why should any living man complain
       when punished for his sins?
Let us examine our ways and test them,
       and let us return to the LORD.
                                                                --Lamentations 3:19-32, 38-40


let the wild rumpus start!

you know that 80s synth-pop classic, "if you leave", from the pretty in pink soundtrack?

If you leave I won't cry
I won't waste one single day
But if you leave don't look back
I'll be running the other way
Seven years went under the bridge
Like time was standing still
Heaven knows what happens now
You’ve got to, You’ve got to say you will

I touch you once, I touch you twice
I won't let go at any price
I need you now like I needed you then
You always said we'd meet again someday

that song ALWAYS reminded me of this song:

In January it's so nice
While slipping on the sliding ice
To sip hot chicken soup with rice
Sipping once, sipping twice
Sipping chicken soup with rice

that's probaby just me, though.  does anyone else even know that song?  it was recorded by carole king for the 1975 animated tv special "really rosie." it aired five years before i was born, and to my knowledge, i've never seen it, yet somehow, "chicken soup with rice" persistently clings to a corner of my memory, taking up space that might be better utilized by more helpful information, like the birthday of anyone i didn't grow up with or the ever-morphing location of my camera.

today, i heard the song on dylan's where the wild things are dvd of animated maurice sendak stories.  like the book, the disc is much enjoyed, but its origins remain a mystery.  months ago, it appeared in the mail independent of any birthdays or holidays.  thank you to our mysterious gift-giver!

i don't think dylan knows that the book is called where the wild things are, and it's one of those things that is just too funny to correct.  we were at the grocery store not long ago, and as we passed a red box movie kiosk, dylan got really excited:

"wild rumpus start!  wild rumpus start!"

it took me a few seconds to realize that dylan had seen an image for the where the wild things are movie. 

today at camp, the wild rumpus indeed starts.  for the next three weeks, staff will be arriving for training, and then the first of about two thousand six to eighteen year-olds will come to play and sing and sweat and run and climb and learn about Jesus.

let the wild rumpus start!
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