Friday, December 19, 2008

consistently good recipes

during the last month it has been a joy to return to cooking/baking more regularly and to try out the always good recipes from cook's illustrated.  i posted two recipes on the side that i have made multiple times and they are outstanding.  this morning, within the time it takes to make simple, straightforward biscuits, i made these scones for geoff to take to a meeting.  unbelievably good for such little effort.   i cannot take much credit as a good cook with these things.  the recipes that the cooks illustrated folks produce have been tested to perfection and they lead the most novice of cooks to success.  based on my penchant for cookbooks and foodie magazines that borders on pathological, i find that the cook's illustrated publications are truly worth buying.  in particular, the 2008 holiday issue promises lasting delight.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

our kitchen table

particularly in winter, i find our kitchen table to be the warmest place in house.  several years ago i would have never recognized it as such a sweet space of hospitality and inclusion.  this small, square pine table belonged to my grandmother (my mother's mother) and because she died when i was young it is a prized item in my life.  it sits by a window with a lamp on it and offers us a perfect view of the garden in the back. 

yesterday was dank and dark and the ground was still covered from a recent snow fall.  we had a neighbor to dinner, our friend ms. dee, and she arrived just after 4 p.m.  while i worked on the meal, i could hear eruptions of laughter from the living room as she and isaac made up funny names for one another.  they played happily for quite some time.  geoff came in dirty and wet from his work with construction. 

shortly after five (and truly after dark) the four of us sat around the table for dinner (enjoying the jarred fragrances of summer thanks to some tomato sauce from the sleeths).  while ms dee is a regular guest in our home, for some reason last night i was acutely aware of the joy she brings us and of the rightness of  extended family god's way.  expanded table fellowship resulting in new ways of belonging to one another might be one of the sweetest fringe benefits of this life in mission.  there is certainly alot of unseen value in a table.

Friday, December 12, 2008

an interest in vikings

since the time when isaac was just toddling, we've taken him to the downtown public library.  early on he could only play with the wooden puzzles and the puppets in the corner.  over time, he learned where the classic comics of superman and batman are shelved.   he went through a phase during which he obsessed over human anatomy.  he would run through the stacks right to the books about the body.  as a family, we have a long history with the library

today, while doing a few errands, isaac asked me seven times if we would make it to the library.  we raced in briefly (as a gentle, late afternoon  snow fell outside) in search of information on the vikings.   i was finishing up a phone call with my father as isaac ran ahead, trailing the librarian, and i heard him say to her, "i'd just like to know more about the vikings." 

the words brought my heart great pleasure.  i felt liked we'd arrived as a family - that three of us share a passion and a joy for books.  our little one, at one time too small to read or pick up books, declared his interest in a specific subject and pulled books from the shelf to check out.  such a parental delight.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

memphis weekend

last weekend we participated in an emergent village gig in memphis which featured phyllis tickle and her book "the great emergence."  several folks from communality attended.  we had the joy of traveling with our friends will and lisa samson and laughing more than i have in years.  the trip down and back was almost as good as the time in between. 

during a pre-conference event, geoff and i joined jonathan wilson-hartgrove in leading a seminar on new monasticism.  we enjoyed the chance to talk with small group of people about god's work through this movement and life together in our particular communities.

the great emergence event was put on in a  grand cathedral.  i found phyllis tickle to be an astoundingly good teacher and communicator, especially since i hadn't read her book.  she suggests that we are a part of this "great emergence" - a cyclical experience of the people of god about every 500 years (the last time being the great reformation).  some valid critics take issue with this.  i just thought she was extremely clever and swept through history and culture in a gifted manner.  i took alot away from it.

the good stuff of the weekend was seeing old friends and folks from the emergent network.  we spent some sweet time with our friend joey (he and his family were a part of communality for a significant part of our existence) and nathan and his wife (nathan lived with geoff and billy during our first year of real life together in the city).  the time together with these dear ones reminded us of what we so easily forget - god's faithful, consistent, and colorful work in our lives.  unearthing good, funny, painful memories prodded us to remember that the story-richness of our lives is such a treasure.

thanks to the darling ryan, jodie, asher family who hosted isaac, we had a lovely time away and some mental energy and margin to think, connect, and laugh and laugh.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

local food concerns

increasingly, as missionaries in a particular neighborhood (the east end of downtown lexington), we are concerned with issues of food availability, food quality and central questions of justice for the poor. part of our groundbreaking into this has involved community gardens and sharing the stuff from our own patch (although the tiniest drop in the bucket, it has truly helped us to build relationships). but there are much deeper issues at work that must be addressed - transportation, wages, food costs, the wider u.s. food system, access to fresh and local produce, etc.

slowly we are building relationships with city officials, activists, and researchers at the university of kentucky who care about this stuff. with that comes hope, dreams, and the potential for some exciting projects based on a future with a local economy in our neighborhood - green jobs and food growing around us. it is our prayer that innovation could come to this place first instead of last. see this article in lexington's local business paper about this local food issue - here's just a bit of what the u.k. folks are finding and we think it is the very thing christians should concern themselves with -

"...Over the course of the research, Mooney discovered that there is a dearth of food stores in the poorest areas of Lexington. This can be especially crippling in areas where many residents don't own cars. Stores in those areas, though classified as groceries by the health department, often are merely corner stores that carry bread, milk and occasionally eggs. Of the 18 stores surveyed by Tanaka's 2006 class, 16 had no apples or other fresh produce."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

freedom tunes

last week, geoff watched a documentary from the library about the life and work of pete seeger.  it inspired him to dig back into this man's music.  our house is filled with the sounds of "we shall overcome..." and "oh mary don't you weep don't you moan."  isaac absolutely relishes it.  he picks up a harmonica that my mom just sent him and he goes to town, stringing together notes and letting himself be moved by the songs.  from the kitchen, i can't help but smile and rejoice that even at his age, these tunes of liberation appeal to his soul and sweep him up.