Monday, April 21, 2008

beach trip pics

we had a wonderful six days by the atlantic ocean.  we had the pleasure of holiday-ing with ryan, jodie and asher.  we stayed at a place called ocean isle in north carolina.  it is a stunning beach home that belongs to Sherry's mum's cousin.  it was a little cool for ocean swimming (although geoff and ryan did take a dip) but each day was marked by walking and playing on the beach and relaxing and reading indoors.

here are a few pictures...if you like, you can see more at our flickr page (

koch/maddock beach trip

koch/maddock beach trip

koch/maddock beach trip

koch/maddock beach trip

another idea from isaac

so while we were at the beach, walking along and dreaming, isaac said to us "hey, i've got a great idea.  let's turn our house into a garden shop."  immediately i praised his creative idea and said he was very clever.  to this he responded, "yeah, i'm so much smarter than asher." (asher is our dear friends' son who just the other side of his first birthday).  not a very generous or smart thing for isaac to claim...

this morning, as isaac and i were cuddling in bed, i recounted to him how special he is.  i said "you are our only one, the one treasure god has given us.  we love you so much." 

he stuck his thumb in the air, quickly turning it thumbs down and said, "b-o-r-i-n-g."

our need for a garden

my friend sarah sent us this quote. 

Man, despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication and many accomplishments, owes the fact of his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains."   Anonymous

very humbling.  as we watch our garden appear with sweet spring warmth and rain we remember again about god's abundance and grace at every level of created order.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

another isaac laugh

so the young lad comes home from school the other day and announces that he will be marrying a young lady from his class.  "when is the big day" i asked.  his reply: "not soon.  i will get married when i become a man."

(long pause)

"a man of steel!"

good luck to him.


more than enough in a garden

"the lyric of abundance asserts that because the world is held in the hand of the generative, generous god, scarcity is not true...the claim of creation faith is that there is more than enough to share, and where there is sharing there is generativity of more, because as the fruitful instruments of creation notice the shalom of god enacted as sharing, they do in fact produce more."

- walter brueggeman, the covenanted self

truly inspiring reflection about the reality of the world and god's economic laws throughout.  it gives me great expectations for what a community garden can do, both seen and unseen.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

an ideas man

today geoff and i were negotiating our schedules and running through the upcoming weekend with schools for conversion (held in lexington by communality).  as we discussed a grocery list and breakfast food we need to prepare for our guests over the weekend, isaac interrupted and said - "i know, i have a great idea.  let's set up a stand in the front yard and sell eggs on toast."

we anticipate this weekend with real excitement but  leading up to it we are juggling alot, living by lists and competing for every last minute to get things done (community garden, n'hood assc meeting, non-profit work, odds and ends with krm, in addition to geoff's going to cincinnati tomorrow for homeland security fingerprints for citizenship).  we have meeting schedules at both ends of the day while the garden is constantly beckoning in the background (weeds and seedlings). 

at the end of all this is a trip to the beach.  once we get to sunday night we'll have only one thing ahead of us - five days of rest and solitude on the coast of north carolina with our friends the kochs.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

a living saint

as the memory of MLK pushes onward with the anniversary of 40 years since his assassination (apr 4, 1968), the 80th birthday of maya angelou is celebrated.  along with toni morrison, i think she is the most accomplished african american writer in recent history.  this morning, while cleaning a cabinet in the laundry room, i heard a beautiful, deeply moving interview with maya on NPR.  during this interview, she quoted the poetry of dunbar and st vincent millay, and even some of her own.  she sang a gospel song that resonated with the rich tenor of her voice.  she recollected her life as a dancer, singer, mother, activist and writer.  she recalled her great-grandmother as a slave, bringing a distant and tragic part of our history into the present. 

the interviewer inquired about her perspective on race relations and the current presidential campaign (including a woman and a black man), stating that many young people today don't feel like things are any better since MLK's death.  maya said the deaths of MLK, the kennedys, malcolm x and gandhi have all changed the world and that the world is a better place because these people lived and worked for justice.  ms angelou finished the interview with a proclamation of her faith and she claimed that, as a christian, she (at 80) is committed to live life to the fullest, to god's glory.

she is my very favorite author.  i first read her autobiographical work "i know why the caged bird sings"  during my last year at university.  it changed me forever and i went on to read everything she's written.  when i was a graduate student at wake forest university i had the privilege of hearing her read her inaugural poem "on the pulse of the morning."  she has a presence like no one i've ever seen or heard.  one day on campus i saw her at a distance (she is on  faculty at wake).  i ran to meet her and she greeted me so warmly.  i thanked her for her work and told her how much she had influenced me.  she told me that she hoped she made me laugh a lot too.

issues of race weigh heavy on me.  we live in a poor african american neighborhood and everyday we see great racial and socio-economic divides, and forms of segregation that are alive and well.  i recognize my own privilege and live with an uncertainty of how to redeem it.  i have been more discouraged than i have been hopeful about change and racial reconciliation.  hearing the testimony of this wise and experienced hero of mine brought me to tears and broke something in me that was waning.  her words, echoing back from an 80 year-old's vantage point, pulled me up and set my sights on a higher, lighter plane.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

chesterton on gratitude

"the modern world has had far too little understanding of the art of keeping young.  its notion of progress had been to pile one thing on top of another, without caring if each thing was crushed in turn.  people forgot that the human soul can enjoy a thing most when there is time to think about it and be thankful for it."

-g.k. chesterton

this quote inspired our family as we started the weekend.  together we will join others at the community garden for the first real start day (neighbors are signing up for plots), attend asher's first birthday party, dine with the kovacevics tonight and watch a little ncaa b'ball with the leffels. 

after traveling for six days (isaac and i), we are particularly grateful for our time together as a family and for the simple things we do.  we are so glad it is april.  we are so glad it is spring and our seeds are piercing the soil.  we are so glad our friends are like family to us and with them we celebrate life.

thoughts on love

this year our community of faith is wading through, wrestling with, being pounded by and enveloped in the beautiful passage of love from 1 cor. 13.

this is an excerpt about the economy of love from richard swenson's book on margin that i am reading (most) mornings:

"to have accepted the love of god is to be armed and disarmed at the same time.  no weapon is more powerful.  but in using such a weapon it is the user who is broken wide open.  this is a love that cannot rightly be kept in - it is a bursting-out love.  in its spilling out, it binds to others.  and when it binds to others, it heals, it knits hearts, it builds community, and it brings everything together in perfect unity (see col 3:14).

and at the end of the reflection, this is the prescription swenson gives: 

"invest in love.  yield to love.  be transformed by love.  allow nothing to stand in the way of your commitment to love.  don't use overload as an excuse, and don't spend your last moments on earth apologizing for your life.  set love in order, beginning today."

Friday, April 4, 2008

rising prices

we all recognize prices are up when we pull up at the gas station to fill up.  but what appears to be truly devastating on a global scale is the sharp increase in food prices (rice, corn, wheat).  as i was working at the computer this afternoon i listened to the radio in the background and heard a grave bbc report about the effects of the current cost of rice on the poorest nations.  in bangladesh they have a category of people which this report called the "ultra poor" - 15 million people the government is struggling to feed. 

i visited this country 10 years ago next month and it has left an indelible impression upon me.  it was so incredibly poor and overpopulated that i cannot imagine that it is now worse off because of economic and environmental circumstances.  apparently children are not only malnourished, but they must drop out of school as their parents choose between the cost of feeding them and sending them to school.  what are things coming to when a term must be created that includes "ultra" to aptly describe the severity of poverty?