Wednesday, September 26, 2007

dowtown living

we are glad to be back into life as it unfolds from inside a city (such as it is).  we are back onto our bikes and enjoyed attending the first lexington bike summit....a gathering of elected officials, bike retailers, bike enthusiasts and advocates, and university officials.  after the summit we wandered around the art galleries downtown as part of the 'gallery hop.'


the next day isaac, inspired by our friends gallery hop performance (jeremy joybomb is the guiy with the guitar),


launched into a show that was worth capturing...



Sunday, September 16, 2007

the best coffee shop

lexington has a weekly entertainment paper that gives annual awards of  the "best of..." to local shops, businesses, art, restaurants, etc.  this year we celebrated with pat at third st coffee for winning best coffee shop in lexington.  it is good to be home and return to the familiar and yet see with fresh eyes.  third street is a critical space in our lives (located in our neighborhood and across from isaac's new school) as a place to meet up, gather, and go to get work done.  since being home, pat (the owner) and the staff have welcomed us back so generously.  as we've spent time at this beloved place catching up with other people, we've observed how it serves as a crossroads.  we've seen parents from sayre, teachers, old workmates, and friends we know throughout lexington.  pat is a model business owner, an involved citizen and a committed activist.  she is also an artist that loves kids.


as i was looking for a link, i found this article from the u. of kentucky campus paper and it actually has us in the picture (see james, lisa, me, maria, seamus, and jen).  this photo was taken last december while we were hosting a letter-writing campaign at the coffee shop.  we chose a different issue for each week of advent and prepared letters to our legislators.  pat was very much in support of our using third street to do it.   

sweet music

thanks to the invitation from our friend jodie, isaac and i enjoyed some delightful music at university of kentucky on friday.  a band called the carolina chocolate drops played for an hour at lunch time.  they are an african-american string band from the piedmont of north carolina preserving fantastic banjo and fiddle music from the past.  isaac only lasted for a portion of the performance, but what i heard was outstanding.   they are worth seeing live and/or getting a hold of their music - see the link above.

Friday, September 14, 2007

bike boy

isaac loved buying a new helmet from BF at the bike shop this week.  he knew right away he wanted the one "with fire on it." here we are road-testing it on our street.



and here's a couple of shots from our late-summer garden.



Wednesday, September 12, 2007

restored to the garden

yesterday, for the first time since we arrived home 12 days ago, i ventured in the garden for some work and therapy.  in our absence, laura planted a colorful, diverse garden that has thrived all summer and brought joy to many, particularly our neighbors.  we returned home to be deeply blessed by the blooms and the veggies.

phlox and hydrangea

as i gardened, i heard the hourly sound of the city bus stopping by our house.  this is a sound that often recalibrates me, convicts me and reminds me of what is.  i can't help but hear it and remember that many in our neighborhood do not have the freedom of their own transportation. many who use it live behind us in small, subsidized apartments.  i paused and i was overwhelmed by the privilege of working the soil and growing food.  i thought about "dominion" (the unadulterated sense of the word), that is, the god-granted right to care for the land, to cultivate it as a good steward and to participate in the natural processes of the life of plants.

having only just returned to the garden after months, i was acutely aware that i am only a guest to this and yet it is the very place god meant for me to be.

Monday, September 10, 2007

the blessing of daniel

last night we gathered for our weekly fellowship meeting.  for us, it was a pleasure just to be there, to be reunited with our family of faith.  it was a special night however because as a group we joined the leffel family in praying for and sending out their son daniel.  today he leaves for the peace corp.  he'll be serving two years in senegal, africa.  he completed his studies at uni of kentucky and he will use his studies in language (french), economics and political science to assist in micro-enterprise where it is much-needed.

as we joined together to pray for him, two things were profoundly obvious.  the first was the power of the sacrifice of one life.  we've watched daniel grow into an adult over the last ten years.  he is bright and gifted and he is giving his future and his occupation over to the purposes of god.  i could not help but be deeply inspired.  the second was the unity.  for those moments, the room was filled with love and commitment as we stood before god in faith and entrusted daniel to god.  there were hands on my back and my hands touch and held those of others.  i didn't know who was around me and it didn't matter.  the space was shared and it was sacred.  i could not help but be deeply encouraged.

we will continue together to pray for daniel, his work and his family here.  and by god's grace and the faithfulness of the spirit we will be unified.  blessings daniel.

Friday, September 7, 2007

feeling at home

it has been a good week so is great to be home and as the dust settles we are feeling more and more oriented.  part of this re-orientation has been walking around downtown and visiting the places that we love to spend time.  one of these places is 3rd st coffee where we were thrilled to be welcomed back with a sign (see pic below).  pat, the owner of the coffee shop, is a brilliant artist we are glad to call a friend.  she made this sign and warmly welcomed us back.


isaac has been getting into the rhythm of attending pre-school (montessori) and, despite some anxiety about being left by us, is benefiting from two fantastic teachers and 17 friendly class mates.  here he is reclining with his mum at a picnic after a school.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

finally home

although entirely surreal, it feels very good to write our first blog from lexington.  we arrived on the evening of the last day of august to a hot and dried up kentucky.  after two marvelous weeks in london with our dear friends, the turners, we returned home via a long london taxi ride, two flights (through the dreaded jfk) to meet my parents at the cincinnati airport.


the following morning (saturday), our family celebrated isaac's fourth birthday.  along with my parents, my sister and her son marc were here and it made his day.  amid all the boxes and suitcases we ate spongebob cake.

sunday evening we attended our first communality gathering in almost eight months.  it was sweet and comforting, like anything deeply familiar, with a bit of twilight zone mixed in.  so clearly things had changed - some gone, some new - very alive and well.

on labor day, the last holiday of the summer, we attended a delightful b'bque hosted by the samsons.  with the temperature above 90, we enjoyed great local fare and the thrill of long-awaited reunion with others. 

we also visited our close friends, aida and dino.  his parents are here from bosnia and he has not seen them for over three years.  we talked and laughed as they served my parents and me turkish-style coffee and a shot of a special "moonshine" from bosnia.  i was reminded again that there is no better hospitality.  aida told me she has waited eight months to have mexican food with me again. 

we find ourselves reeling with the joy of homecoming, the return of many things forgotten, the rush of new things and a small dose of jetlag.  our brains are working hard to translate back to what we know and recall long-stored data.   we hear the noisy street, the familiar sounds particular to our neighborhood and we treasure the view from our kitchen window of our beloved  thriving garden (thanks to laura) and we step outside and smell kentuckywith a sharpened sense of this place .  we are giddy and lightheaded and fully grounded at once. 

it is good to be home.