lunch ladies and pool honeys

my heart longs to write but words do not come.  or they tangle in a maze and i delete.  how do you rekindle creativity when embers fade coal black?  what helps you find your groove again?


tonight jim is giving a presentation on group dynamics and team building to seventy local school food service workers.  i've had adam sandler in my head all day long:


i had my own adventures with another all-lady crew.  this was me today:

{image source}
well, i didn't rock the hat, but there were weights and a floaty belt involved, and a pool comprised largely  of elderly women.

it was kind of awesome.

as it turns out, water aerobics is a really good work out--especially this one and a half hour class. the instructor brought her A game, a generous smile and fierce looking arms.  i didn't understand why she was wearing a sports bra under her suit until we really got going.

the women adapted her moves as they wanted.  the eldest among us merely bobbed about cheerfully, conversing with friends as we criss-crossed about.

"you are all so beautiful!" the teacher beamed.

she meant every word.


and just for fun, i leave you with wendy peffercorn:


a shore thing

dirty jersey isn't, no matter what (e)MpTV says.  she what i did there?  empty!  this ocean town is nearly perfect, from tiny shells to wraparound porches and five short blocks to the beach.

we don helmets and give our bike trailer a work-out, greeting every dog, scarecrow (hayman!)  and occasional parrot:

there's too little sun and too much fall tv, but it is vacation, so we inhale mugs brimful of chocolate mousse and pour that second glass of wine.

it's a rare occasion that we're all together, so we drink it in.  every last drop.

maybe all i need is a shot in the arm

may i brag about my husband for a bit?

jim received an award tonight from our local american red cross chapter for the work he has done to bring wilderness first aid medicine to this region.  they praised his passion and service and more than that, his character.

jim is a man who is generous, who pursues excellence always and is an asset to any team because of his skill set and leadership gifts.  he never seeks credit and his efforts can go unnoticed--but not tonight.

my eyes welled with tears to see him affirmed.  it does a wife's heart good to see her man's life and work celebrated.

but i felt the ache of conviction, too.  the truth is that i've begrudged the work jim has done for them.  the hours and weekends away--and there weren't even that many!  my goodness, several individuals tonight received awards for thousands of hours served this year alone!

jim and i have been in vocational ministry throughout our entire marriage:  at church, christian school, and for the last 6+ years at camp.  we serve because we love it.  it is a real blessing to feel passionate about one's work, and to impact the Kingdom of God in tangible ways--and get paid for it--is an honor we don't take for granted.  we've never made much money, but our needs are always met, and to get to see God's hand at work in the lives of hundreds of people is an awesome and beautiful thing.

but ministry hours can be long:  stupid-long in the summer, and jim works most weekends throughout the year.  when summer camp and its wild schedules wane, i guard our family time fiercely.  volunteer obligations that eat up precious evenings and weekends without adding income are not my favorite.  the honest truth is that they piss me off, and i hate that, because being against volunteerism is like hating rainbows and goodness and puppies and america, and what, should we only love on the clock?

but when your work is serving, you can get a little served out--at least i can.  i'm projecting.  jim rarely feels like that, but i get jealous of his time away from us.  it's a vocational ministry hazard, i suppose, or perhaps one faced by all the helping professions.  our family will continue to wrestle with the balance, but in the meantime, i'm grateful that tonight was a shot in arm.  it turns out, a little civic engagement can chase away a cloud of cynicism.

tonight was especially poignant as the human toll of flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, and 9/11 have all been in all our hearts and prayers.  the red cross honored local companies who give furniture to fire victims and fund disaster relief at home and abroad. we honored people who leave their families to travel out of state when flood or hurricanes ravage and aid is desperately needed.  we honored citizens who give sacrificially so that hospitals have blood, and supplies, comfort and relief are available in emergencies.

we honored my husband, whose vision and work are expanding the reach of red cross service.  it's Kingdom work, too--on earth as it is in heaven.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ's compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
-St. Teresa of Avila 

{image source}


lost and found

we mourn the lost.

death is a gaping wound that fifty years won't heal
this side of heaven.
time never warmed a bed or walked a daughter down the aisle.

innocence lost, too
and we mourn that.  it may be the rose-colored glasses, but did we
love each other better then, before we knew how different we were? 
{are we really all that different?}

civility lost. best selves exchanged
for caricatures, battle axes, and an unholy anger that divides

this grief is not a cry for war:
not the war of words domestic or the missiles dropped abroad.
there's many lost but tell me who has won?

bind up the brokenhearted
let us rebuild ancient ruins.
turn our mourning into gladness
that we might work for peace

{with appreciation for the prophetic voices of U2 and isaiah}


out in the rain, everything changed


dylan had her very first day of school today.

she was a wee thing just a breath ago, and now she's going to pre-school by herself.  pretty soon she'll be doing audacious things like turning four.  (she's been talking about her november birthday for weeks.)

but dylan has other things on her mind, too.  her teacher fastened her back into her car seat after school, and the very first thing out of her mouth was about kindergarten.  where she will go in two years.

dylan talks often of college and working at camp as a wrangler.  nevermind that it's three years before she's even old enough to be a bitty baby camper at two-night mini-camp.  girlfriend, please.  everyone knows that being on staff is where it's at!

it'll be here before i'm ready, and i don't want to miss a moment's grace or opportunity to give thanks.

an ongoing record of God's goodness, #313-338

special delivery doughnuts to mark a special day
rain day means rain jacket!
hand-me-down pink chucks, as cute as can be
a tutu that's not just for dress-up
a pink backpack, just her size

a thirst for learning
a love of adventure
the independent confidence of a well-attached child
working out at the Y
browsing the library with a little man happy for the one-on-one with mama

finding a family rhythm after camp
bike trips through town
jim's knee healing, even slowly

adventures in grape-picking
and jelly-making

james not wanting jim to miss a thing:  DAda! DAda!
brother-sister love and laughter

a face shot of both kids, smiling
true labor day rest:  three days off from work and both sets of grandparents in town
books and snuggles and "look at this!" and happy, happy grandbabies
garden bounty and soup from scratch
the goose jim shot of the sky on friday, wrestled from a snapping turtle--in a canoe, no less!--marinated, grilled, and served up on saturday

an afternoon away for errands and dinner, just the two of us
waterproof hikers bought in the nick of time--one day before the entire yard, driveway, and most of the garden went underwater
that our vacation is both coming up (!!) and not this wet week of autumn chills and hot tea

a brand new year and fresh start


the smitten word | 9.3.11

{good reads shared}

who is my shelter? from steph (in)dialogue:

“My heart was hardened on Trenton Street,” she said to me, a young girl with a baby curving her stomach, staring vacantly out the window at the gathering storm.
in which i am a woman, not a girl from emerging mummy:
I am not seeking my youth anymore, not taking my cues from the teenagers or the perpetually young. I am not satisfied with the bread and circuses of our youth-obsessed culture. I want the fruit of the Spirit, the bread of Life, the crimson wine and the humility to pull out the seat next to me, inviting Wisdom to sit down for a spell.
who told you from jamie the very worst missionary:
I love the story of Adam and Eve, in Genesis. It always gives me pause when I get to the part where it says they were 'naked and unashamed'. Mmhmm, bare-assed and unashamed at the core of our creation. It's not until later that we get all mortified to see that our junk is showing.
hogging the details from misty at un vase fragile:
he lies between us at night, but really, he's still all mine--mine to let down milk and mine to curve a "c" around in groggy half-awakes. the world is ours at 3 a.m., though neither of us sees beyond the other. he drifts back into milky sleep, my starry child, and i claim the details exclusively: don't grow up yet.
after class, skimpy equality from the new york times:
what are we to make of the fact that lessons of equality, respect and self-worth have been heard when it comes to the classroom, but lost somewhere on the way to the clubs? Why has the pendulum swung back to a feeling that sexualization of women is fun and funny rather than insulting and uncomfortable? Why are so many women O.K. with that?
the lovely elizabeth esther hosts the saturday evening blog post highlighting monthly favorites and asks readers to share their own writing as well.  (check out her post i know the bible too well for great thoughts on knowlege vs. love.) for july, i linked my post on gay bullying, which received the most traffic i've ever had.  it's a conversation that i hope the Church continues to have--and change.  for august, my best writing is actually this re-post: the sacrament of the ordinary on breastfeeding and fully- embodied living that honors our Creator. 

what are you reading, listening to, or thinking about of late?


there remains, then, a sabbath-rest

my body, mind, and spirit are ready for vacation. for sand, surf, and hopefully, sun.  for family time away.  for an entire week without camp.

living here is a tremendous blessing.  our farmhouse is bigger than our first two apartments combined, and the babes have insane amounts of green space to explore.  eight chickens wouldn't exactly have fit in our third floor walk-ups;)

when james stepped on glass this afternoon, i called jim at work and he was down the hill in a golf cart in under three minutes.  but if we're sitting down to dinner and his radio bellows, he can be up the hill just as fast.  it's hard to escape the demands of ministry, and it's even harder to rest when you can't get away.

but we are getting away--soon.  not soon enough for my impatient taste, but we are.

i'm gonna kick off my flip-flops, race toward the foamy waves, and remember what weightless is like.

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

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