a lot of tears were shed

Friday, August 31, 2012

In case you’re feeling emotional, or even if you aren’t, here are five posts I read over this past week that absolutely wrecked me. I won’t share snippets, because I don’t want to ruin them for you, but please, please take the time to read these. The beauty contained in these pieces is awe-inspiring. (I put them in order of amount of tears shed in case you’re running low on time and want that sort of delineation.)

1) 2. - Guy Martin Delcambre

2) Sky: A Woman of Valor - Jonathan C. at Rachel Held Evans's blog

3) i'm not sure i'm a christian (but i want to be) - emily wierenga

4) On Being Made Real - Five Kids is a Lot of Kids

5) Ok, so this is old and not actually a blog post. It did, however, cause me to cry. A different sort of tears.
This is possibly my favorite YouTube clip of all time. It definitely makes the top five. If you’ve seen it, which I’m sure you have since there’s something like 12 million views, then you’ll want to watch it again. If you haven’t seen it? Well. Watch it right now. Funny every single time.

and I do not lose heart

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In the relative darkness of this past week, I sat beside my youngest daughter’s bed at naptime on a particularly bad day. I covered her up with her ‘Aunt Katie’ blanket, a weighted gem of a gift, calming her frenetic movements. I held her hand through the crib bars while her classical music CD played. Soothing words, calming touches, and it was more than 45 minutes before she could quiet herself.

In the previous two weeks of Sundays, I’ve had to leave church services both times. Once to bring a reluctant and hurting child home to sit him down on his bean bag and do a Theraplay session, swallowing my pride and hurt feelings as I did. It seems like, as an adult, I should be bigger than my five-year-old’s feelings, and yet it took everything within me at that moment to do the hard work to help him heal. I wish it paid more dividends than it does, but the healing comes slow and steady these days rather than in bursts like it did at first. The following Sunday, however, he made through a stressful, overwhelming, unfamiliar large-church scenario only to melt into my lap towards the end, bruising my arms with his intensity, whispering in my ear, “I’m super scared, Mama. I just want to hug you.”

Trying to fit therapy and any kind of normal routine into our daily lives has been a struggle the whole summer long. Throw in a huge emotional trigger, a parental vacation, a couple of huge family events, the inevitable back-to-school adjustment, and we are in full-on kid crisis mode here. Compound that by a mama who is over-tired, struggling with her health, grieving a Very Big Loss of her own, and just feeling all-around discouraged and you have a recipe for a house that is in desperate need of some stability and encouragement.

We’re all in this together, fortunately, so the things that help one of us end up trickling down to the others as well. When I make the time to do at-home therapy with Brenden, I remember that helping him to feel positively about me helps me to feel positively about him. When my toddler is dysregulated and I help her gain control, we both feel like we’re winning. When I sit and listen to Maggie’s never-ending stories about her day, we both feel less lonely. When my Ben greets me at the door after school with a tight hug, then I feel more treasured and less tired, and he knows he’s home where he’s completely safe and supported.

This job of mine - it’s my ministry, my calling. I don’t get sick days. If I’m feeling lonely, I still have to show my kids they’re not alone in this great big world. If I’m grieving a loss, I get to model to my kids how to work through sadness. If I’m feeling misunderstood, I can extend grace to my kids, work to understand their own feelings. If I’m feeling tired, then I need to teach my kids how to rest when we need it. When I’m feeling unloved, I need to not hold back, I need to give love.

My home is a sacred space.
My job is holy work.
I. do. not. lose. heart.

Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart…But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:1, 7-9

the whole-brain child (chapter 4)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The intro post for this series can be found here.
Read along and give your opinions!

Chapter 4 helps us begin to focus on integrating our children’s memories for growth and healing. Especially if your children are from hard places, memories are one of the primary battlegrounds of the mind. The chapter begins by debunking a couple of the myths surrounding this battleground. Memories are filed away by association, and they are not exact. According to the authors, when memory retrieval occurs, our brain activates a neural cluster that is similar to, but not identical with, the one created at the time of encoding. Memories are distorted – slightly or greatly – even though you believe you are being accurate.

Some memories are explicit – a conscious recollection of a past experience, and some are implicit – where past experiences influence your behavior in the present without any conscious realization that your memory has been triggered. (This is how we ‘remember’ how to do things that we’ve done before.) Teaching our kids to integrate the implicit and explicit memories can help them turn even painful experiences into sources of power and understanding.

 

Strategy #6 – Use the Remote of the Mind: Replaying Memories
This strategy is quite simple. It’s just about helping our children to retell their painful and hard memories. By encouraging them to re-tell it, it enables us, as parents, to help them work through the implicit memories that are involved while they remember the explicit ones. Pause at important points to offer them control over their story.

My own take-away: As a parent, I need to help my kids’ implicit memories become explicit ones so that they become aware of both the facts of the event and the big feelings behind those facts. When they’re aware, I can help them deal with experiences intentionally. I also need to be careful to not mythologize every negative thing that’s happening in my child’s life. The authors offer a helpful acronym to deal with different situations – HALT. Before I assume this is about some sort of gigantic implicit memory, I need to ask myself, is my child simply hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? If so, I can fix those problems. If not, then I have this new powerful strategy at my disposal to help get to the root of what’s going on.

Strategy #7 – Remember to Remember: Making Recollection a Part of your Family’s Daily Life
Take the time to talk with your children about what’s happened in their day, at special events, during holidays, etc. Do it as a matter of course, just in everyday conversation. Talk through the details, whether it’s a simple re-telling of their day or a more complex memory from several Christmases ago.

My own take-away: I can encourage my kids who write to start journaling. They already do a bit of this at school, but a more structured time at home would be good for them too. We already play the High/Low game at dinner, and this year, we’re adding an ‘act of kindness’ portion to try not just to get the kids to think through their own days, but also pay attention to others. I’ll continue to show pictures, make videos, and save memorabilia.

 

What about you? What was your take-away from this chapter? Do you have any good ideas for building memory-recollection into your kids’ days?

sunday [21]

Sunday, August 26, 2012

“Our God, from your sacred home you take care of orphans and protect widows.
You find families for those who are lonely…”
Psalm 68:5-6a

amy grant saturday

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I’ve been on an Amy kick for days. This one’s my favorite from the very first album of hers I ever owned. (On cassette. Played in my yellow cassette player in my windowsill. With an entire choreography set and a hairbrush microphone to boot.) Love me some Amy Grant…

one year ago today…

Friday, August 24, 2012

heart wordle adoption…with all the people we love the most, we legally became a family.

We’re home.
Together.
One year later, trust is still a precious commodity.
Hurts are still being healed.
Broken people are still broken.
But we’re all learning together that we’re not alone.
This is home.

abandonment revisited

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This week, I find myself again parenting some sad, scared little children. It seems no matter how long things go, I can’t build enough trust in my own two littles to overcome their fears. It seems that even after nearly 6 months with us, I can’t take the place of his true mama in a little baby’s heart.

So I’ll spend the week trying to rebuild lost relationships. Changing pair after pair of my daughter’s soiled underwear, cajoling a reluctant little boy to make eye contact and forgive me for abandoning him for a couple days, and holding a small baby close while he weeps with grief, even though he tries to push me away.

Parenting traumatized children is a learning curve, to be sure, and fear and grief manifest differently in each of them. Seeing those hurts, feeling the effects of them – the soul aches with the depth of their past and their pain. It is unimaginable that children hurt so deeply, but even so, we move forward, sometimes with a pull, sometimes a push. We teach them that they are more than their past, than their feelings. That they are valuable beyond measure, that they are loved, that they are chosen, that they are precious. It’s a work in progress, but we keep on…

back-to-school

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Today’s the first day of school here, and I wish I was taking the day off in celebration. Instead, I have two kids to get dressed, lunches packed, on the bus a little earlier than normal, and off a little later than normal (cause that’s how the busses roll on the first day). I have to drop the baby to see his mommy and then head to therapy with the youngest son. Not to mention after-school snacks, filling out 800 back-to-school forms, and making supper while managing all of that because Wendell’s at work. Ugh. I’m tired just writing about my day. Now that that’s done, here are a couple of favorite links I’ve been enjoying lately – click through to read the whole article!

 
Favorite theological link: Gender, race, and Pentecost: the world has moved on. - Jonathan Martin
In the global body of Christ, we have seen a remarkable shift in the balance of power.  Those of us in the west in general and North America in particular are used to being in the seat of power and influence; we are used to being those who shape global conversation in the Church….We did not notice that the world has already moved on.  We didn’t notice that the wind of the Spirit left us, and that there is a new world coming in Latin America and Africa and Asia that rendered us inconsequential.  We enjoyed our time in the mainstream well enough to forget that the move of God always comes from the margins.

 

Favorite sermon: Sermon about Mary Magdalen, the massacre in our town, and defiant alleluias - Nadia Bolz-Weber
Because to be disciples like Mary Magdalen is to show up.  It is to be a people who stand – who stand at the cross and stand in the midst of evil and violence and even if we are uncertain we are still unafraid to be present to all of it….Because to sing to God amidst all of this is to defiantly proclaim like Mary Magdalen did to the apostles, that death is simply not the final word. To defiantly say that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness can not will not shall not overcome it.  And so, evil be damned, because even as we go to the grave, still we make our song Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Amen.

the whole-brain child (chapter 3)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The intro post for this series can be found here.
Read along and give your opinions!

Chapter 3 is titled “Building the Staircase of the Mind – Integrating the Upstairs and Downstairs Brain”. We’re learning about the instinctual part of the brain versus the one capable of higher thought processes. The downstairs part of the brain is the primitive part that allows us to quickly process and express emotions, particularly anger and fear. It allows us to act before thinking - a necessary part of our survival. This part of the brain houses the amygdala – what the authors like to refer to as the ‘baby gate’ of the brain. Sometimes, the amygdala fires up even when it’s not a life or death scenario and blocks the imaginary staircase between this emotional part and the upstairs part which is capable of more intricate thinking, imagining, analytical planning, and emotional regulation. (It’s important to remember that this upstairs part of our brains isn’t even fully mature until the mid-twenties.)

A tantrum is a great vehicle to observe the differences in how the upstairs and downstairs brain functions. If you’re a parent, you’ve almost certainly experienced an ‘upstairs’ tantrum. You know the ones – your kid looks at the situation, looks at you, and basically decides to throw a fit. There’s really only one way to deal with an upstairs tantrum – never negotiate with a terrorist. The more you are consistent with not giving in, the less tantrums there will be because your child quickly learns it’s an ineffective strategy to get what they want. Unfortunately, this was the only kind of tantrum I was ever taught about until we started training with foster care. The standard advice for tantrums is ‘just ignore it’ and they will eventually cease. If I had known more about childhood brain function, the early years of my parenting would have been far easier.

There is also another kind of tantrum – the ‘downstairs’ one. This tantrum occurs when your child literally cannot control his or her emotions. That amygdala has fired up, and stress has completely taken over. There is no negotiating with this kind of tantrum, and the standard of just ignoring it is also ineffective. Our children need us to help them mature into functional adults, thus they need us to help them learn to self-regulate and conquer the primal, emotional part of their brains when it takes over. The response to this kind of tantrum is always nurturing and comforting. First you connect, then you use logic and reason – the strategies that help us figure out how to develop and engage our children’s upstairs brains.

 

Strategy #3 – Engage, don’t Enrage: Appealing to the Upstairs Brain
This is about simple awareness of brain function which can have a direct effect on how we parent. We are watching out for whether our actions will trigger the downstairs brain function further or if they are actually engaging the upstairs part.

My own takeaway: As a parent, I can command and demand from my children, but if I am wise, I should look for opportunities to engage my children instead. Sometimes there is no opportunity for negotiation; there are occasions where my interactions with my children are quite simple: I am the authority. More often than not, however, there is an opportunity for me to teach my children that our relationship is also about connection, communication, and compromise. There is often a place for negotiation in the moment, but I still need to address misbehavior at an appropriate time.

Strategy #4 – Use It or Lose It: Exercising the Upstairs Brain
Give kids opportunities to practice using their higher thinking part of the brain through sound decision making, controlling emotions and their body, learning self-understanding, empathy, and morality.

My own takeaway: I need to give my children more chances to make appropriate choices. Sometimes it’s more work for me to allow my children a choice, but I need to remember how important it is for their development. I need to focus more on teaching them appropriate outlets for anger, encouraging them to talk or write out their feelings more regularly, and developing their empathy by teaching them to watch and listen to others’ reactions in different situations.

Strategy #5 – Move It or Lose It: Moving the Body to Avoid Losing the Mind
When our kids lose touch, the best thing to help them bring it all back together is exercise. Easy as that.

My own takeaway: We already use the trampoline as an outlet for self-regulation, but one thing that I would like to integrate more is walks together. The exercise will help them, and I can encourage conversations that help them work on their own emotional regulation, their decision making, and expressing their feelings.

 

The biggest takeaway from this chapter for me was the part that focused on my skills as a parent to integrate these parts of my own brain. There are so many moments in my day where I can (and sometimes do) just allow my emotions to take over instead of making an appropriate decision. The tactics the authors put forth are as follows:

1) Do no harm: Close your mouth. Hands behind your back.
2) Remove yourself from the situation and collect yourself. (Move it or lose it)
3) Repair. Reconnect. Apologize as necessary.

I think these three steps are going to be in frequent use around these parts as we begin new schedules, focus on different parts of life as we head into a school year, and continue our work on healing.

 

What are your takeaways from this chapter? Anything new you learned or that you’re thinking about integrating into your parenting routine? Anything you disagreed with?

count it all joy

Monday, August 20, 2012

I came home from three days away to a home thrown into immediate turmoil because of angry, scared children, heightened excitement over changes in schedules, and with fewer highlights than I had hoped for. It’s only fitting that today, at the beginning of a fresh week, I can count gifts instead of thinking on everything that felt wrong. Choosing to focus on the things that bring me joy…

Jeni’s ice cream…every day…queen city cayenne, salty caramel, sweet corn and black and raspberry, black coffee, Riesling poached pear, brambleberry crisp
Barcelona - the best dining experience we have ever had
a beautiful restaurant patio in the perfect weather
seared scallops that cut like butter
espresso crème brulee
walking down cobblestones
Shakespeare in the park
a very quiet, historic hotel
nice sheets
Moonrise Kingdom – best movie I’ve seen for many years
pilfering the complimentary toiletries from the hotel for the delight of our children
visiting with old friends
chatting in the park
Nida’s Pad Thai
the happiest of happy babies rejoining our family
swallowing my pride to help heal my son
a quiet evening alone

the whole-brain child (chapter 2)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The intro post for this series can be found here.
Read along and give your opinions!

Chapter 2 is titled “Two Brains are Better than One: Integrating the Left and Right Brain”. I don’t know about you, but I feel like this is the part of the brain that I am most familiar with. We use ‘left-brain’ and ‘right-brain’ terminology in a variety of settings, so I already knew the left brain means logical, linguistic, and literal (all L-words, alliteration courtesy of the book). I knew the right-brain was the emotional, nonverbal, experiential, autobiographical side. (Also, the side that doesn’t care those words don’t begin with the same letter – thanks Drs. Siegel and Bryson for that amusing reminder.)

I also knew from experience that young children are right-hemisphere dominant (especially up to age three), but it helped to have that explicitly stated in this chapter. The question really is, how do I get my children to not allow their lives to be ruled completely by emotion and experience, but instead to use words and logic to help them learn and grow from those emotions and experiences? That’s where the strategies come in:

Strategy #1 – Connect and Redirect: Surfing Emotional Waves
Step 1 is to connect with the right brain. Often logic will not work at all until we have responded to our children’s emotional needs. One of the main things I’ve learned as a parent is that once my children hit a certain non-rational, highly-emotional point, there is no amount of discipline or talking that will reach them until I help calm them down or allow them the space to calm down on their own. It doesn’t mean that I don’t eventually address the irrationality of the situation and the need for something logical to occur, but unless I spend some time calming and nurturing, the situation will never be remedied, or at least not effectively. Once I’ve connected with them, then I can move to step 2 – redirect with the left brain. Now’s the point you deal with the logic and perhaps discipline of the situation. This isn’t an excuse for inappropriate behavior, but a recognition of the fact that inappropriate behavior can’t be dealt with effectively unless you engage your child’s whole brain.

My own takeaway: This is a huge challenge for me since my natural tendency is to discipline or use logic before I connect emotionally. I can easily see the ineffectiveness of this approach – my kids don’t respond well, I don’t respond well, often behaviors aren’t changed, and everyone just ends up more upset and in a worse place than when we began. I have to make a conscious effort to implement this strategy more consistently.

Strategy #2 – Name It to Tame It: Telling Stories to Calm Big Emotions
Retelling the stories of hurtful, traumatic, important, highly emotional events allow us to help our children connect the facts (left-brain) with the feelings (right-brain). Kids need someone to help them make sense of their lives and their stories. Sometimes feelings can seem so big and overwhelming that children lose sight of what the story actually is. This strategy allows us to guide our kids in retelling their stories, integrating the logic and facts as they do so.

My own takeaway: The reminder for me is that I need to facilitate my children’s stories. My adult left-hemisphere logic is quick to dismiss the big feelings as misplaced, forgetting that to my children, it’s all they see and comprehend. Especially with my kids from hard places, I need to allow them the freedom to retell their whole story, even if I don’t think it’s factual, so that I can help them overcome those big feelings with an integrated brain, allowing them the space to heal as they process.

 

What did you learn about the brain from this chapter or my summary of it? Is there one of these strategies that you’ve tried or that seems more difficult to you? Do you have any suggestions for how to integrate these strategies more fully into your/my parenting? I’m eager to hear your feedback.

every good thing

Monday, August 13, 2012

Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

This past week, I spent a lot of time feeling like I couldn’t do it. No matter what ‘it’ was, I felt like I wasn’t enough. I can’t solve my children’s problems. I can’t heal their hurts. So many things are out of my control – my family, my friends, my health. I don’t have enough in me to do it all.

Truth is, I’m not enough. There’s humility in that, sure, but there’s also freedom. I can quit trying to do it on my own. I’ve prayed these huge prayers; I’ve stepped out in faith, even when it’s with my eyes shut because I’m so scared. I’ve continually surrendered my plans, my control, my life, and I continue to lay it all down because I know that’s when God picks all those broken, not quite finished pieces and somehow, some way, they fit. When I feel like I’m not enough and I can’t do it, I look to Him. He has equipped me for all I need. He does all that needs to be done - even the miracle resurrection stuff – through the power of Jesus. Every good thing. It’s all through Him.

 


 

beyond 1000 gifts:
shopping days with my girlie
well-behaved children
misbehaved children
turkey sandwiches, smeared with pesto, toasted with cheese
roasted vegetable chickpea salad
fresh, firm, salty Feta
patio seating
relaxing on my couch, Chopin playing, hot tea in one hand, a good book in another
fresh days and fresh starts
apologies
my newest sweet niece, weeks old, and oh, so snuggly
”you’re my fa-rite color, Mama” from my not-so-little anymore girlie
heavy blankets, bringing peaceful slumber to a fitful little girl
safe travels for the far-away grandparents who get to spend some weeks close by
excitement for a new school year
possibilities of an answered prayer – because I was brave enough to ask
vacation anticipation

 

 

saturday prayers

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Today – this:

So take my flesh and fix my eyes…

But I’ll kneel down, wait for now
I’ll kneel down, know my ground

Raise my hands
Paint my spirit gold and bow my head
Keep my heart slow

Cause I will wait, I will wait for you

late-night friday foodie five

Friday, August 10, 2012

Squeezing in five foodie things I’m loving this week before Friday is gone, and the weekend is in full bloom:

1) Olive, an Urban Dive – My sisters, my mom, and my mom’s best friend went to this great little restaurant in the old Wympee burger diner, and it was simply delicious. Not only did they keep the integrity of a well-known Dayton building; they completely transformed the inside to something modern with fresh, local, and seasonal offerings. Grass fed beef, vegan and paleo options, BYOB, it’s a great little restaurant that we will definitely frequent again.

2) Cheese – My husband’s latest obsession is learning to make his own cheese; he’s been sourcing this site quite a bit. An endeavor that I can fully get behind as long as he can produce some Gruyere. (Actually, if he could just decrease our feta bill, we might be in good shape.)

3) Roasted vegetable chickpea salad from Annie’s Eats – I made this earlier this week and then proceeded to eat it for three days straight. LOVED it. I highly recommend using some of your fresh veggies and giving this salad a go.

4) Basil Lemon Syrup – I’ve had an abundance of basil in our CSA box, and this is one way I used up a bunch of it this week. You can turn this into lemonade or vodka gimlets or put it in iced tea. It is just so fresh and lovely.

5) Planning where to eat on our vacation (six days away!!) – I’ve asked our foodie friends, gotten recommendations from several sources, but there is nothing I love more than researching good local places to eat. Reading online menus gives me great joy. Here are three places I’d love to try while we’re in Columbus: Barcelona, Knead, and Cap City Diner. Know anything about any of them? Any other recommendations you’d like to make if you’re familiar with the area?

the whole-brain child

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sarah Bessey’s 10 Books a Day for a Week series dramatically increased my to-read list. I have something like twenty books out from the library right now, which I recognize to be a bit ambitious, but I didn’t actually think through the fact that they would all come in immediately when I initially reserved them. I started with one that I’d been wanting to read even before the 10 Books week, so I was pleased to see it on the list of several of the commenters.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, M.D.

I have a new-found passion for learning about child development, particularly that of the brain, since we started fostering. This book has been on my reading list for awhile; at the Tapestry site, they recently concluded a series based on this very book.

Most people lack even a basic understanding of the brain and how it works, so it is no wonder that we have so much trouble with different aspects of parenting our children. This particular book aims to remedy that situation. By understanding our child’s developing brains, we are better able to make decisions to make our parenting easier as well as more successful for our kids. This is a continual struggle for me in parenting. I’m constantly evaluating if my own standards and lack of understanding and empathy for their development is making it harder for them to succeed. I want to set my children up, not for failure, but for success. This book has been so helpful in giving me some concrete ideas on how to do that. The other thing I’m loving about it so far is the tender way it addresses parenting as well as the plain-language explanations of more complicated scientific data and terms.

In the opening chapter, I found this gem: “The moments you are just trying to survive are actually opportunities to help your child thrive.” As a mama who spends much of her time frustrated with her own limitations, her children’s limitations, and the struggles to make the right decisions when parenting, that statement put me at ease immediately. (and I love a book that puts me at ease.)

In case you are interested and want to read along, I’d love to discuss this with you as I chronicle my own thoughts and light-bulb moments: a parenting book club of sorts. I’d love to discuss my take-aways from the book even if you can’t read it yourself. I love the sharpening of skills that comes from discussing parenting with other mamas.

I’m planning to post every Tuesday. Tentative schedule (subject to change if I need to spend more time with a particular strategy):
August 14 – Chapter 2: Strategies 1 and 2
August 21 – Chapter 3: Strategies 3, 4, and 5
August 28 – Chapter 4: Strategies 6 and 7
September 4 – Chapter 5: Strategies 8, 9, and 10
September 11 – Chapter 6: Strategies 11 and 12

Let me know if you’re planning to read along or if you have questions. To start off, do you have a good understanding of child development, particularly that of the brain? I was really surprised by how much I didn’t know when we started off with foster parent training and especially when I started seriously researching and reading about this stuff. I took the standard Psych courses in high school and college, and while they gave me basic knowledge, it definitely wasn’t geared towards children. Now I run the risk of becoming some sort of militant child development Nazi. Balance in all things…                                                                                               

have mercy

Monday, August 6, 2012

Still reeling over the sad news from Milwaukee yesterday, that of families and a community of faith torn apart by a senseless act of violence and pure evil, I sought answers last night in the only place I knew, falling at the feet of Jesus in tears and grief. As if the tragedy in Aurora a couple weeks wasn’t bad enough, for terrorism to strike at a place of worship, the utmost place of safety and peace, is nearly unthinkable. Today, I’m praying. Praying for the mourning families of the lost. Praying for a faith community that is now shattered. Praying for the grace and mercy of our Father to visit us in this unbearably broken world.

Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us.
Grant us peace.

For the unbearable toil of our sinful world,
we plead for remission.
For the terror of absence from our beloved,
we plead for your comfort.
For the scandalous presence of death in your creation,
we plead for the resurrection.

Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us.
Grant us peace.
Come, Holy Spirit, and heal all that is broken in our lives, in our streets, and in our world. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

-an occasional prayer - Death of Someone killed in the Neighborhood from Common Prayer by Shane Claiborne, Jonathon Wilson, Enuma Okoro


well past 1000 gifts…
evenings shared with friends
my little boy’s love for a grown-up boy who sees his heart
anticipation of new life
building new relationships
cornmeal crusted pizza crust
brief reprieve from a conversation we weren’t ready for
happy baby giggles when he sees his mama
fresh grilled vegetables
lemon basil syrup, ready for lemonade
new school shoes
freshly made applesauce, still warm, topped with cinnamon
brown sugar sauce, fragrant with cinnamon, dripping down the side of a still-steaming apple dumpling
healing families
the beauty of sport
victories – both from the underdogs and from the best in the world
late nights with my Olympics obsessed son, watching the wonder and excitement in his face, remembering my own from Olympics past
watching the lone female athlete from Afghanistan run a race, not just for her country, but for oppressed women everywhere
the inspiration to live better and stronger

sunday [20]

Sunday, August 5, 2012

IMG_2073
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28-30

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