sometimes i can't tell the difference

i never want this to be a shiny sort of space.  a picture of perfection, a place for "right" answers.

yes, i post pictures of the life bucolic and love the vistas, but the truth is also that wide open spaces isolate.

it's a strange thing, this writing-life-online.  it connects and it severs, and sometimes i can't tell the difference.

i haven't felt this lonely since high school--lonely and yet almost never alone.  the semi-solitary life of parenting littles isolates me from both the community and solitude for which i long.

my feet need to move, but i'm stuck deep in muck that holds fast and reeks of decay.

my heart cries out for a new song.

to one by one forever be

nine years and the betters
outweigh the worse by far.
love and laughter, tears and struggle,
a bit more poor than rich, but that's ministry.
we wouldn't trade our lavish stories for fuller pockets
because our eyes have seen God's very hand at work

from third floor walk-ups, baristas and bike messengers, to
summer camp, backyard chickens, and the two beautiful babes our love made,
it's been quite a ride.

did you think we'd be young forever, too?

but we've grown up, figuring out this
life faith marriage parenting thing together.
love grows
and we're learning as we go:

speaking truth in love
the grace of forgiveness
the beauty of a humble spirit
(yours speaks volumes, love)

an outpost in a peaceable Kingdom can be
a lonely place, but
home is wherever i'm with you

i'm ever-grateful for the one we've built together

shared with emily and imperfect prose.  even though this was not a five minute post, i'm linking with the gypsy mama because her prompt "older" was just so fitting.


streams make glad


the sun shines warm and crisp air suggests a sweater, just in case
so i oblige, tucking one into the stroller.  our walk becomes
an off-road scramble and full tilt creek hike before long.  careful gazes
admire the millipede, darting fish and shimmered stones below,
and feathered webs atop the canopy of trees.  silt-stained legs and
soaked shirts evidence exploratory missions deep. 
the current laps greedily after tiny sandaled toes, but
resistance is mighty and babes prevail!

mama, i love it here.  better than our house.

it's holy ground, it is.  they know it, too.
i touch the tops of tousled heads, thanking
God for muddied feet pattering the
path alongside mine.

hosted by melissa: peanut butter in my hair


tail lights, stickshifts and safetybelts

the last campers left yesterday, and most summer staff are gone, except for those staying to work the deluge of clients coming for high ropes, team-building, and fall retreats.  it's still busy--and will be for a while--but it's a different sort of busy, and a significant chapter has closed.

on this day eleven years ago, another chapter opened.  this guy and i declared our love for one another:
i should probably caption this, huh?  fourth of july parade, canoeing atop a float

he was twenty one and i was twenty.  the end of summer camp was the start of a long distance love.  we weren't the first and i doubt we'll be the last.

two years later we married (here at camp) and somehow ended up back where we began.

i love you more today than ever, and i won't let you forget i told you first;)


begin the begin

summer camp ends on saturday.  last songs will be sung; dodge balls and tie-dye boxed up and put away.  staff will break bread and share stories and prayers one last time before tail lights fade and our babes and chickens are left alone to tread their paths across the fields.

it's the end, but it's also the beginning.  a commencement of sorts.  the start of something new:  jim's five day work week.  evenings together as a family and meals shared at home.  preschool for dylan (who is beside herself with excitement.)  reconnecting with communities we've been absent from for months.

fall and back-to-school signal a fresh start.  new shoes and pencils.  new teachers and friends.  learning and change.

i can't always see it.  nothing feels new yet, but it's coming 'round the corner and i trust the Spirit-working like was promised:

Forget the former things;
   do not dwell on the past.
 See, I am doing a new thing!
   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
   and streams in the wasteland.

 ~Isaiah 43:18-19

this weary heart gives thanks.

shared with the gypsy mama's five minute friday.  prompt: new.

she walks in beauty

it's amazing how a good fitting bra and a summer dress can lift a mood.

or a flirty smile from the young cashier handing over the frozen mocha.

maybe it's vain to admit, but being noticed felt good to this mama of two.  it's good to remember every now and again that despite the tee shirts smudged by tiny hands, i'm not only somebody's mother.

i'm a woman.  i'm still me.


my daughter is a beautiful little girl.  her long limbs dance and eyes twinkle like sea glass, but i want her to know that her value is not wrapped up in her appearance.

(i want to know that my value is not wrapped up in my appearance.)

so we talk much of the beauty of a thankful heart and of kindness.  of cultivating the kind of beauty that lasts.

the beauty that transforms sharp and broken pieces into something whole and holy.

the beauty of a Servant-King, with nothing in his appearance to attract us to him, who is Love.

the One in whose glorious image we are made.

linking with the gypsy mama's five minute friday prompt: beauty.


a worship deeply rooted & reaching heavenward

i remember the first time anyone offered me pot.  i was hanging out with friends one night in junior high, and i vividly remember considering the decision in my head: 

if my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, i probably shouldn't smoke weed, since i do want to honor God with my body and all.

that was seriously my train of thought.  it wasn't fear of my parents or the cops or health class or "this is your brain" PSAs that convinced me to "just say no."  i knew enough of the bible at fourteen to apply it to my life's context and remember that God was calling me to live another way.

i didn't grow up in a raise-your-hands-type church.  our services were designed more to nurture an intellect than stir a spirit, and i don't mean that as a criticism.  different faith communities meet different needs, and in many ways it met mine (though i longed to worship anywhere else with kids my own age.)

my hymn-singing church (and family, certainly) helped to root my faith in something real, and i'm grateful--even though growing up i never once set an alarm for a sunday, hoping against hope that my parents would forget to wake us and we could skip.

they never did. not even once.


at summer camp and youth group, i fell more in love with Jesus through the practice of praise and the kind of music that makes you dance or close your eyes or lift your hands.  worship songs (and cute christian boys with guitars, natch) kept me coming to college fellowship groups when i could have been a dozen other places.  my first job after graduation was at a church with a wonderful music ministry.  as an adult, i was finally experiencing God at church in the way my heart longed for growing up.

then we moved away.


this morning, like most summer sundays, our family tucked in behind the back row of campers.  scripture was read and prayers prayed.  a visiting band led worship, and with voices and hands, our community lifted high the name of Christ.

my spirit rejoiced in God my Savior. 

it is a powerful thing to see the Spirit move, to watch teens and twenty-somethings forget themselves--for even a moment--and incline their hearts toward the throne of grace.

i miss that kind of corporate praise.  our local church has great preaching, beautiful liturgy, and none of the music that evokes that worshipful response in the core of who i am.


we have a tendency to be dismissive of "emotional" worship experiences, don't we?

it's not about a feeling!  you can't live on the mountain top!

and that's true, to an extent.  worship is about praising God for who he is; it's not about style or preference or feelings or me at all.

the essence of faith is not emotion but neither is it a well-crafted message or the nuances of ancient greek.  God calls us to love him with all that we are:  heart, soul, mind, and strength.  worship is an active response to God in and through every aspect of our lives:  domestic chores, scholarly pursuits, recreation, service, prayer, everything.

we misunderstand worship when we speak of it exclusively as music, but it is music certainly, insomuch as worship is any position of a heart oriented toward the Lord.

my heart longs to give the intellectual side of my faith a rest and step into the presence of God, not just alone but alongside sisters and brothers.  to remember that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.  to experience that foretaste of the Kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven.

i want to lift up my hands in the sanctuary again.

praising God with not-kids my own age (and my kids' ages) would be kinda great, too.


you belong in a boat out at sea

we extricated ourselves from camp and made a mad dash out of state to jim's family's cottage on the lake.

last year, lack of sleep and peril on the sea made us cut our getaway short, but what a difference a year makes!  the sun shone, the babes played, and yesterday the four of us slept in until an unprecedented ten o'clock in the morning.

we saw eagles and herons up close.  we fed the carp (and ducks and seagulls.)  we swam in the lake, without concrete or current, which just may be the perfect place for the tiny set.

it was a lovely non-weekend weekend and a real treat during a summer when otherwise jim works long hours six days a week.

we could get used to the life aquatic (and ten o'clock wake up calls, but i'm not holding my breath:)


the sacrament of the ordinary {embodied prayer}

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I'm re-posting this story from last summer.  

On a rare afternoon away from camp, our family was able to attend the baptism of the first child of new friends.  The service began at the entrance to the Basilica, symbolic of Miss Zoe Abigail's entrance into the family of God.  Every liturgical detail was meaningful, and we were thankful to be there in support.

After the priest baptized the baby, her parents dressed her in an ornamental white gown, a fitting symbol of new life in Christ.  (Zoe's sweet name even means "life.")  Anyone who's ever dressed a newborn knows how tricksy a maneuver it can be under the best of circumstances, which the day's decidedly weren't.  The gown was no cotton onesie; it was about 90 degrees; and there was, of course, the matter of the assembled congregants pressed in closely to watch the sacrament.  After being woken, doused with holy water, and clumsily dressed, predictably, the baby started to scream.  Unpredictably, my friend put the babe to her breast without skipping a beat.

It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Here was a brand-new mom, who has only been nursing a few short weeks.  All eyes were on her and her baby, yet she felt confident enough--at the baptismal font, no less!-- to put caring for her child ahead of worrying about whether the assembled congregants would approve.  She gave her daughter exactly what she needed at that moment, and throughout the rest of the service--blessing, prayers, and even pictures--Zoe nursed contentedly and quietly, completely at peace.

Breastfeeding is a natural, nurturing, beautiful thing, designed by the One who spoke the universe into being and created us in his image.  Cheers to not hiding it away in fear or shame, but celebrating, worshipping, and living a fully-embodied, God-honoring life, wherever we are.
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands."  (Isaiah 46:15-16)

Related links to make you think:
Sorta Crunchy with
breastfeeding as worship 
Jesus Needs New PR with 'i don't want to see your boobs!'

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