the lazy, crazy days of summer

summer around here follows camp's predictable rhythms:

wake up, eat breakfast, play in the yard.  catch up with jim at camp for lunch.  get ready for naps and quiet time. play a bit more before dinner in the dining hall.  we tag along with the all-camp game, water the garden, or squeeze in a last trip down the slide or romp in the sandbox before bed.

we fit in a library class, errands, pbs kids, or time with friends here and there, but our days tend toward the simple and familiar.  on the one day that jim takes a sabbath, we still keep it laid-back, but we try to stay away from camp (and remember how to feed ourselves.)

somehow, in the middle of that ordinary, this week had a side of crazy:

we introduced five chicks to our backyard flock.
this has not been without incident. our hens, as it turns out, are vicious!  we're still working on that peaceable kingdom...

camp gutted our upstairs bathroom to begin a complete remodel.
toiletries buried in buckets, water raining though the dining room, and weighing the benefits of bathing babes outside with the hose will all be worth it when we have a carpet-less(!) bathroom and nice tub.

we gave away our dog, sydney.
open doors and tiny hands just couldn't keep her from running away.  without a fence and with horses about and camp in session, we couldn't figure how to make it work.  the kids seem fine (and you know i'm not a dog person), but jim is having a harder time. they were buds.

in the crazy-fun category, there was our quick trip to DC, and this: a great company is sponsoring my trip to the Relevant blogging conference this fall.
there's some goodies in it for you, too--we've got some giveaways in the works, including one soon for a natural product that our family loves.

what are your summers like?  laid-back or chock-full of crazy?  do you get away for vacation or plan a fun "staycation"?  any special summer rituals you honor?


department of fun

years ago, when my sister was in college, i took a trip to new york city to visit and bought a pretty red dress.  i wore it to a summer wedding way back then and again this weekend to my college roommate's wedding in DC.

i could see how one might think, in seven years, have you never purchased another wedding-worthy summer dress?

and to that, i would say, no, friend. i have not, unless you count maternity dresses.  which i won't.

i would also say, perhaps you are missing the point of my story:  after two kids, i can still fit into said dress!

jim and i got away for one night without kids--our first since, well, we had kids three and half years ago.  my parents graciously drove out from philly and stayed the night so we could go to DC and celebrate our friend's marriage.  she was gorgeous, the site spectacular, and a night of dancing with best college friends, priceless.  i don't think i've danced so much since our wedding.

we needed it desperately:  time away, among grown-ups.  a quiet car and conversation.  time to remember what it's like to be Jim and Suzannah and not just Dad and Mama or Camp Director and Spouse.

speaking of which, at dinner when people shared what kind of work they did, eyes grew wide when jim said he builds ropes courses and directs an adventure program at camp.

amazing, one said.  all i ever meet are bureaucrats!

we told them jim works at the Department of Fun.

many thanks to my parents for letting us get away and blessings to justine and sean on your life together.  we love you.


shabbat shalom


digging this poem out of the archives:  my favorite bigger picture moment of the year.
happy birthday, bigger picture blogs.

On the seventh day He rested.

Did it take a toll,
the crafting of creation
calling forth Something
out of Nothing?

Did You rest to show us How
Or was it Why?

To pause.

to revel in the work of Your Hands
to delight in the Good and the Very Good.

On the seventh day we rest, as well.

Babies and garden need tending still
but many hands make such care light.
we revel in the work of our hands
(and Yours)

We pause.

we tarry over breakfast:
eggs fresh, jam sweet, coffee hot.

we load bags and bikes and country-drive
the day is cool, path straight
through bridges high and forest green

rain falls softy, misting skin 'neath canopy of trees

Baby giggles, silly songs
"faster, daddy, faster!"
wheels spin, pedals push
river rushes, muffling rafters' joyful cheers

Four wide eyes peer out from trailer window
sibling smiles spread to passers-by
mushrooms spiral trees and tiny
frogs play hopscotch in our path

Rhododendron and rain
perfume the air.  inhale the quiet
drink deeply from the fountain of Rest

this recreation {re-creation!}
is Good
the very Shalom of God.


the day of dad


he tries to make it home for bedtime

for baths and brushing,
songs and snuggles, stories and
full-hearted prayers from tiny lips.
they soak in daddy time:

nighttime ritual and meals shared
amidst the din of the dining hall.
masterpieces in chalk, scribbled on concrete
moments stolen between dinner and Gold Rush.

but today,
all day long (and tonight, too!)
is the Day of Dad:

four in a bed on a lazy thursday
giggles and smiles
made-up games and baby laughter
watered chickens and fresh-picked eggs

to the bakery
for breakfast sandwiches and raspberry rolls
packed in a cooler to
share at the loveliest park

tucked behind a cluster of trees
a stone's throw from the divided highway
hidden in plain sight,
the fisherman's treasure

and ours.

pulling this one out of the vault in honor of fathers' day.  love to you, babe--and my dad, and poppy, too!  you are good, godly men, and we are so thankful for you every day. xo


restless for Home

this summer marks seven lived at camp, and in so many ways, camp is home. i grew up coming here, as my mother and grandmother did before me.  i met my husband on these hills.  i fell in love with Jesus here, too, in the arms of this Kingdom-minded community.

campfires and wildflowers and rain will always smell like home, but camp only lasts the summer.  despite years of living here year-round, this town still feels foreign. 

or rather, i do.  deep roots are so very hard to grow.

no matter how hard i search and long, i know deep down that my heart is made for a journey to Somewhere Else.

until then, home isn't so much a place as it is three people:  one giggling boy-babe, a bright beauty, and my big-hearted love whose strong arms pull us all close.

and i remind my restless heart to seek rest in the One who breathed in life.

shared with five minute friday at the gypsy mama. prompt: home.


the smitten word | 6.17.11

we've been rather occupied, in the best sorts of ways.

sand sculpting, horse petting, bunny chasing, garden watering, dining hall eating, staff greeting, grammy snuggling, yard playing, slide slipping: our days are full in the life-giving manner that summer's rhythms lend themselves to naturally.

i don't have many words to fill this space.  as we spend more time out of doors, i imagine that i'll continue to type fewer words here. 

it's as it should be in this season.

but i would like to link to a few reads that are staying with me of late:

In which I am speaking life [My Practices of Mothering] from Emerging Mummy:
in my heart, I see my life - and the lives of my tinies - as fertile ground. And the words I scatter so carelessly around me can take root in the hearts and minds of us all, giving a narrative deep in the core about ourselves, the God we love, each other and our world. I am conscious of sowing words that give life in and about my tinies and my husband.
A letter to Christianity (from Creativity) from Jesus Needs New PR.  calling out the Church for our taste in substandard art--are we not made in the image of a creative God?

Why women shouldn’t get epidurals, and men should farm by hand. by New Ways Forward. gender roles, sin, the fall: mason poses some worthy questions.

Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts.  (Jonathan Franzen, New York Times). technology, consumerism, narcissism, apathy, despair, real love--this brief essay packs a punch.
as our markets discover and respond to what consumers most want, our technology has become extremely adept at creating products that correspond to our fantasy ideal of an erotic relationship, in which the beloved object asks for nothing and gives everything, instantly
this one my dad passed along:   Mr. Roger's Legacy: 895 Episodes of Lessons. (Jonathan V. Last, Philadelphia Inquirer.)
Part of Mr. Rogers' mission seems to have been to honor people who work with their hands. In nearly every episode he toured some workplace - a metalworking plant, a factory making rain slickers, a mushroom farm, a paper mill. He approached the workers as though they were artisans, performing interesting and valuable work. Which, of course, they were.
tell me, what are you reading?  articles, books, blogs, something you share.


doMESStic fail: sartorial edition

hypothetically, if someone had an outdoor wedding nine years ago and never got her dress dry cleaned, what the junk should she do with said dress now?

you know, hypothetically.

i pulled it out of my closet and actually wore it not too long ago.  unzipped, y'all. i haven't been a size six in a while.  dylan and i got a lil fancy to view the royal wedding with friends.  there were tea, pastries, white gloves, the works.  it was quite the affair.

(i wish i'd known about the hats!  next time we'll don crazy hats for sure.)

however many week later, the dress (and veil. and shawl. and crinolines) are all in a state of disarray in our bedroom because i can't bring myself to put it back in the closet dirty.  but you can't exactly give a dirty dress away, and i don't necessarily want to fork out $50 or however much it costs to clean a wedding dress.

so i need your advice:  what does one do with a dirty wedding dress from 2002?

if i cleaned it, i suppose i could sell it. it's not designer or anything, but it's pretty, and the lines are classic.

does dirt even come out of white after nine years? and could i ever get back more than i'd pay for the dry cleaning?  (i don't really care that much about preserving it for posterity or anything.  i'd rather find it a new home.)

help a girl out, please!

much love, your friend,
the doMESStic goddess


for when you just don't feel happy of yourself

{click through to see the video if viewing feed . you'll be glad you did.}

thumbs up, everybody, for rock and roll.


fragile {the days are long}

the days are long.
chickens peck 'til almost nine, and i put babes to bed
before the sun.

my eyes, light-starved from dreary winter-spring,
soak in summer hungrily.  something about wild green grass feels
holy:  we take off shoes (and track mud across the kitchen).
irises bloom, seedlings grow, children dig.
i sip my coffee on the porch.

but the days are long.  camp life whirs frenetic as
regular life slows to a crawl.  the periphery is always
an awkward perch.  some days
i want to kick something. i want to punch it real hard.

i'd settle for a lock on the bathroom door.


everyday menagerie

you see that tiny little bunny?

i almost stepped on it tonight.

it coulda been a bad scene--me in my orange rain boots, hurrying off the porch in the dark to close up chickens for the night--but the little guy hopped under the deck to safety just in the nick of time.

the weirdest thing about it is that it's not even that weird.  chickens steal sandwiches from kids' hands at lunch, and we sit and laugh at painted turtles in the grass in the afternoons (when we're not dodging them on the driveway.)  the bunnies make the dog crazy and delight the rest of us, so long as they don't sneak into the garden.  if they get into our lettuce, so help me, i'm not afraid to go mr. mcgregor on 'em...

every day life is a regular menagerie.

it's better than tv by far.

let's call him "waldo"

chicken on the left? that's a stolen pretzel stick.
michele and bunny. good talk.
joining the party

TOO MUCH! bunny OUT.

shared with the gypsy mama's five minute friday. prompt: every day
my Noonday Collection fair trade jewelry giveaway ends tonight--you're gonna like this one:)


a great cloud of witnesses

it's my extroverted kids' favorite time of year:  the arrival of camp summer staff.

there will be well over one hundred teens and twenty-somethings serving God here this summer.  they'll play guitar and run the zipline, lead creek hikes, build campfires, and introduce campers to Jesus during this sweat-drenched, laughter-soaked summer of Kingdom ministry.

my kids are pretty sure that all staff come just for their benefit:  they are tall friends here for the sole purpose of hearing their stories, cheering their tiny antics, and pulling them up onto shoulders high enough for a great view of whatever crazy ensues.

i know the truth:  our staff are so much more than strong arms, kind smiles, and backpacks full of toys.  they didn't come for money or resume padding but because they love God and desire a summer of service and sacrifice more than hours logged at the beach or in some fancy office.

to my kids--and nearly two thousand other sons and daughters--our staff represent Jesus.  their love is his Love, their kindness his kindness.  with every unselfish, attentive gesture, they point kids to the risen Christ and reveal that faith is so much deeper than words and bigger than something mom and dad are into.

a living, breathing, working, healthy model of the Body of Christ exists in our own backyard.  the broken, beautiful Church has some fight in her yet, and she is doing a mighty work in the lives of real people everyday--even twenty-six pound tinies:)

see those hands?  they bear the King's fingerprints.

this mama's heart could burst.
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