Thursday, February 26, 2009

lent begins

ash wed 09

we gathered together to celebrate ash wednesday last night.  lent has been an important time for us as a couple to renew our commitment to the kingdom and to be reminded of our mortality.  last night we remembered that "from dust we came and to dust we shall return."  in reading this remarkable book last week i was overwhelmed by the fact that we are 'dusty' beings - creatures with limits and reliant every minute on the gift of life from our creator.  the scriptures say that, "YHWH formed the human being, (adam) dust from the fertile soil (adama)." (gen 2:7) indeed we are dusty people.  humans from humus.

lent is a time for pondering the darkness in the hope that we will be shaped into the kind of people that will properly receive the light of a resurrected Lord.  we hope you will take this season to consider your mortality and your limits.  to employ fasting in such a way as to be freshly reminded that it is God who provides for us.

ash wed 09

Sunday, February 22, 2009

death, the hamster, and mlk

isaac and i were driving to pick up a few things at Lowes today when we had a conversation about his school.  he was telling me about how things go there and the various chores for which the children are responsible.  after a brief pause (always brief when chatting with isaac) he told me of the death of their class hamster.  here's the funny dialogue that followed:

geoff - oh no, i'm sorry to hear about that.  how did he die?

isaac - he was just old.  when hamsters get old they die.

geoff - oh.


isaac - he didn't die like martin luther king, no one shot him.  he just died of old age.  hamsters are like people...when they get too old they die.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

anxious for spring to arrive

this afternoon, which was delightfully warm and sunny, isaac and i did a brief tour of the garden in search of signs of spring.  within a few minutes, we discovered fresh verdant life poking through the soil.  from the ground and through damp rotting leaves, we found leaves of lenten roses, tips of tulips, tightly wound hyacinth, tender tarragon sprouts, new bits of bergamot and hollyhock, and buds all over our cherry tree and lilac bushes.  my heart lurched.  i hadn't expected such a thing following a recent and frigid ice storm.  but there it was.  nature cycling through into a new season.  those sweet bits of chartreuse restored my soul.  and isaac was pretty pleased too.

for dinner, i made a delicious pasta sauce (not so much due to my cooking skills as the fine ingredients).  we had homemade feta in the fridge (thanks to my talented, generous neighbor).  i made a creamy sauce with olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh cream (from our local dairy farm) and spinach.  isaac ate his simple bowl of noodles with parmesan as geoff and i slurped down our yummy spaghetti.  isaac watched long enough to say "when i'm finished with mine, i'd like some of those long strings but without the leaves."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

sunny saturday

our family was so happy to start the weekend.  as we read the paper in the bed this morning, isaac sat at the end of our bed at the touch screen computer playing a chess game.  he logged into our music catalog and cleverly put on the beatles, specifically their well-loved song "here comes the sun."  after such nasty and bitter weather, this saturday will bring us much warmer temperatures and some sun.

it is a good day for temperate weather because later this afternoon we will gather with some others to nut out the details of an urban orchard in our neighborhood.  a neighbor and good friend has been working on this project with me for half a year since we first hatched this idea back in the warm months of summer.  since that time we were graced with grants (including one from the city) and we've planned a three site orchard within one block of our home.  this idea was inspired by in boston who have 20 years experience putting fruit trees in urban space (

today, we will have a well-known local grower consult with us on this effort.  his family owns an orchard - reed valley orchard - where we pick fruit in season (pears, apples, blueberries, blackberries).  they also sell their produce at our local farmer's market.   yesterday, rona and i were giddy at thought of this all coming together - a sweet dream of neighborhood fruit and nut trees born on their porch swing last july.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

the magic pudding

isaac loves the magic pudding.  we read the classic aussie tale to him a couple of months ago and then dear grandma and poppa from melbourne sent the dvd cartoon movie to us.  we were making pancakes for breakfast this morning and isaac did this impromptu impersonation of that bombastic magic pudding.

the magic pudding impersonation

and here's the real pudding (with bunyip bluegum the koala).  pretty good likeness.

and here's isaac with the 'pudding owners collective' at the royal botanical gardens when we were in melbourne in '07.


the trouble with paris

just read this fantastic book from aussie missionary Mark Sayers.  Mark writes of our enslavement in 'hyperreality' where "everything has become shopping" (p.51).  as supershoppers we are always looking out for a better deal and end up unable and unwilling to commit - to relationships, homes, places, gods.  why commit when there might be a better deal around the corner?

Mark writes with a very gracious style.  he is never shrill or self righteous....easy ways to be when critiquing our consumer culture.  after identifying the tyranny of hyperreality Mark offers a way out.  the path towards God's reality is marked by honesty, commitment, missional spirituality, countercultural community, redemptive living, and, last but not least, Jesus.  in short, mark suggests that the remedy for the everyday distractions of hyperreality is an intentional care for everyday christian ethics.  these six keys form a matrix in which everyday faithfulness is possible and sustainable.

i recommend this book very highly as a creative and piercing description of the mess we have made with our faith in the west.  his brief discussion of folk religion should peak the interest of anyone interested in a missiology for pluralistic western cultures. 

i was delighted to find a copy of this book at the public will be returned and up for grabs as of tomorrow :)

on a side note, i have met mark a couple of times and heard him speak in australia on numerous occasions.  he is a most kind and passionate communicator and he is one of the sharpest missional thinkers going around at the moment...and best of all, his insights are drawn from and rooted in the streets and life of his city and community.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the not so winter blues

again we have bitter, blustery winter weather here.  after a week of life being shut down by an ice storm, we have big, fluffy snow piling up outside and temperatures (with wind chill) dipping into negative numbers.

lexington winter storm jan 09

i spent the afternoon at the house of a friend working on a lot of loose ends with projects and talking, very productively, through some issues for which i needed counsel.  i walked home at dusk, with snow blowing around me like a dust storm, to a warm house.  my darling husband had managed to make a chinese lantern with isaac, bake a loaf of bread, pressure cook beans, and make a huge pot of soup for our wednesday evening gathering. 

the three of us had dinner and talked about the day's event.  over a dessert of ice cream and chocolate sauce, geoff and isaac played chess as i read the local paper.

these winter storms are incredibly inconvenient,  proving to be quite dangerous and even lethal.  but, they are not all that bad.  nature's rhythm forces us to slow and we find time we didn't think we had.  it puts us close together indoors and this cold feels like it slows our heart rates and puts us to bed early.  for those of us who have our electricity, what a welcome change of pace.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

more of the cold

lexington winter storm 09it is still an icy tundra here but the temp is expected to rise above freezing today so we might need to prepare for the big melt.

here are some pics taken on our street yesterday as the sun came out.

lexington winter storm 09

lexington winter storm 09

lexington winter storm 09