goldenrod and the 4-H stone

Our lawn is already blanketed in orange leaves. Jim grew a little pumpkin patch that he and the kids are wholly smitten with, and summer is decidedly over, which is something of a relief for this camp family. Dylan's in first grade, James started up at a new pre-school in the afternoons, and it good to be back into fall rhythms again.

The end of the month means linking up with Leigh Kramer, whom I got to spend one delicious afternoon with in Nashville this summer. I've barely written here much at all lately, but I figured this was as good a time as any to dip my toes back in these waters again.


Preston Yancey's Tables In The Wilderness releases today. I'm gonna go ahead and admit that I was a little nervous to read Preston's book. He's a talented writer, as blog readers surely know, but he's young, and I just wasn't sure what to expect from this memoir, which largely covers his time in college.

I needn't have worried. What it is is an honest, warmly told coming-of-age story about growing into one's faith and finding the kinds of friends who help us to become our best selves. Preston's book writing is humble, and I appreciated the way he navigated finding a home in the Anglican tradition while honoring his roots. His is also the first and perhaps only evangelical book I've read to make a noticeable, concerted effort not to use masculine pronouns for God, which was a happy surprise.

I've got one hard copy of Preston's book to pass along. Just leave a comment below and I'll get it in the mail to one reader shortly.

Amy Turn Sharp's sexy little book of poetry is glorious.

Wendell Berry's A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997. Beauty.

I read this back in the summer, but Barbara Brown Taylor's Learning to Walk in the Dark is so thoughtful I might have to get my own copy and read it again. She reclaims literal and metaphorical darkness as inspiration for personal and spiritual growth, and it's haunted me in the best way ever since.

James and I read Joyce Sidman's and Pamela Zagarenski's Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors and were so charmed we requested everything else the library system had, and we've now got two more books of poems on deck. Our little library is a gem, and life finds us there two or three times a week.


I think Scandal and Parenthood are all I'm really watching, besides old episodes of Lie to Me on Netflix. I watched Mixology during a massive re-organization of the kids' rooms. I don't know really know anything about the new fall season.

Movies: Wish I Was Here, Divergent, That Awkward MomentThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Those are the only ones I can even remember seeing/liking, and that was definitely in August. Hashtag old.


Lots and lots of Bill Deasy and Gathering Field.


September has been something of a recovery month. Everything sort of gets away from us during summer camp, and in September we wrestle it back: family dinners, the house, the yard. Camp celebrated its centennial, and we got to see a bunch of old friends. Jim and I got dressed up and attended one of those schmancy fundraisers that people must invite us to because they perceive we need a night out (true), because it's surely not our deep pockets.

I finished a few writing projects. Started doing yoga again. We're trying to get a wood burning stove installed. (What's a farm house without one?) It's mostly been a month of quiet and ordinary work. Well, that and the lice. Parenting, man. Not for the faint of heart.

What are you reading, doing, cooking, listening to, raving about of late? Tell me something good.


the gift of ordinary time

Like the moon orders the tides, the horizon draws seekers to the shore’s edge each evening at sunset. The pull is magnetic and almost liturgical in its rhythm. From our vacation perch atop this tree-lined street, we watch the pilgrims flock. Neighbors appear on porches, cradling drinks, eyes trained westward. Kids abandon bikes where the sidewalk ends. Spilling out of cars and homes and on foot, they head for the sea, casting off shoes in the dunes. Where sand and sky kiss surf is holy ground. We pause together, bearing witness to the beauty which descends like clockwork and grace.
The sun is a dazzling ball of pink, with clouds aflame in orange and regal purple. Times Square’s yearly ritual has nothing on this globe’s daily descent into the Delaware Bay at dusk. Its regularity can’t diminish its magnificence, and I’m struck by how infrequently I honor this pause. The sun sets, of course, each night at home, but I barely realize it most nights in the shuffle of putting the kids to bed or getting dinner on the table.
My spirit awakens to the weekly rhythms of worship, prayer, and sacrament. I welcome the turn of the seasons in creation, church, and culture alike. Summer peaches. Back-to-school shoes. Fall festivals. Advent waiting. Christmas feasting. New Year promise. Winter quiet. Lenten fasts. Spring crocuses. Easter hope. Pentecost revival. Ordinary Time.
It’s the daily rituals my heart is missing lately, the ordinary ones, like stopping it all to watch the sun paint the sky amethyst and tangerine. A summer of travel and camp ministry has left me a bit adrift, and I’m longing for the anchor and stability of quotidian rhythms. A cup of coffee savored. Laundry folded and put away. Meals shared. Compline and kisses goodnight. Less hurry and distraction and more awareness of thin places.
“Every day, this One offers gifts–life, light, and hours in which to work and eat and love and rest–and invites humankind to join in the ongoing work of caring for creation and all who dwell therein. The same One also continues, each day, the work of new creation: the work of forgiving and reconciling and restoring wholeness. This too we are invited to enter, both as ones who stand in need of this divine work and as partners in it.
The Christian practice of receiving the day calls us to remember these truths with frequency and regularity. Forgetting them is costly. […] The practice of receiving the day is the cluster of activities that enable Christians to offer attention, daily, to the gracious presence and activity of God.”
Confident of mercies new each morning, we’ll pilgrimage together, hearts expectant of quiet beauty, deep need, and great grace.
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