Friday, May 22, 2015

your Practice Resurrection photo stories [2015, vol. 4]


via: Lent & Beyond


This is our last week of photo stories as we near Pentecost.  I am so grateful to rehearse the reality of Christ's gift of "life that trumps death" with some beautiful contributions this weekThank you to everyone who shared photos and stories this year. You made Eastertide a brighter, more joyful season for us!  

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"Loved."  (Paul & Lisa Van Allen, Austin, TX)

Read this post Henri's dad shared during the waiting and mourning of Holy Week.  We're so glad to welcome this beautiful boy during the celebration of life in Eastertide.


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This photo looks past our little front porch and the cultivated flower beds to the sea of wildflowers (Indian blanket) that adamantly take over each spring nearly obscuring our front path. Knowing that it will all likely be toasty brown in a few months under the Texas sun makes me want to soak in the spring fervor just like our soil is gulping this blessed rain." 



"While looking for some fencing in a neglected pile this week, I discovered that the brambly dewberries growing wild around our property were finally having a productive year due to the rains we've been receiving. So it just seemed worthwhile to celebrate that abundance and wander around the edges of the wild areas of our land to see what I could find. What a delight to easily pick a decent amount of fruit (for two of us)! So I also had to pick a child's handful of meadow pinks, those charming pink wildflowers which have an indescribable sweet fragrance and last surprisingly well in a vase." (Jan Horn, Bastrop County, TX)
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"To be honest, there have been moments when I've felt a little overwhelmed by it all. I have even wished that I had more time for remembering and celebrating Easter with the boys, but when I think of what we are gaining as we plant and tend and I am reminded that the celebration of new life is part of Eastertide, I'm very grateful for this land and these hens we've been given to care for.  Alleluia!" (Emily Watkins, blogging from Richmond, VA at Wondering Through the Year)

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"The rain trickled, and soon poured over us in sheets.  Then thunderous giggles ensued."  (Kim Akel, Austin, TX)

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"A quick coffee run at the local deli turned into forty minutes of Evy singing with these guys. It was such and unexpected surprise. Evidently every Friday morning, whoever can make it gets together for a jam session. Including this lady shaking her maraca with all her heart.  I love NY." (Cheryl Mango, New York, NY) 

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"Here we are, over a year after the stroke. I continue to be both incredibly sad for Renee's losses and at the same time filled with admiration for her ability to keep going forward despite them.  She hasn't given up. Her desire is to be able to run again; which by the way, she has started doing in therapy -- and through our kitchen.  It's almost unbelievable to watch." (Les & Renee Aylesworth, Owego, NY)

Read this mourning story Les shared in Holy Week.  We're so glad to welcome this beautiful boy during the celebration of life in Eastertide.

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"Despite the seizures, we were excited to announce the pregnancy! A week later we'd be making a much darker announcement -- the seizures were caused by a malignant brain tumor. The anticipation of our son was overshadowed by doctors, hospitals and multiple surgeries. We kept pushing forward. In the end, the tumor was downgraded and our son was born healthy.  It was a miracle." (Earl, Florrie and Alastair Barnett, LaGrange, GA)

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I took my first class in Seminary in 2006. It was a mission’s class called Perspectives that I took with two colleagues. We stayed at a Christian retreat for ten days, learned about each other, learned about Jesus' love for all peoples.  I received 3 hours of seminary credit toward a master’s degree for the effort. 

That was nine years ago.


Yesterday, I graduated from Redeemer Seminary in Austin. Seminary was hard for me. I am 15 years older than the 11 of the 12 other guys I graduated with. I was the only Anglican, and I am not a scholar in the classic sense of the word. 


Seminary was so hard for me that I considered not walking in my graduation ceremony. Following the advice of my wife and friends, I walked and received my diploma in front of my wife, children, pastor, and my fellow graduates. And my perspective changed.


Rather than remembering the hard times over the past nine years, I remembered all of the people who helped me achieve this goal. I remember how my wife routinely showed me the graciousness and strength of Jesus. I remembered how the fine people of Christ Church supported me with resources and words of encouragement.


Rather than recalling the frustration that I often felt, I rehearsed the joy from the great friendships that I forged these past nine years; the confidence I gained from sitting under Godly professors; and the honor I feel from being invited to serve the Redeemer and Restorer of all creation.


There is an old joke that calls “seminary” “cemetery”. I used to use the lingo in my most frustrated times. But after walking into the graduation ceremony last evening singing “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name”, I think that I will call my experience 
“resurrection life” instead.   (Brian Murphy, Austin, TX )


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Thursday, May 21, 2015

{pretty, funny, happy, real}

a weekly capturing the contentment in everyday life 



| pretty |



Fragrant, elegant Mother's Day flowers and Kendra's stir fry on a Tuesday night.


| happy |











BRIAN GRADUATED SEMINARY!  He earned his Master's of Arts and Religion from Redeemer Seminary with the first graduating class at the Austin campus.  Thanks be to God forever and ever, amen.


| funny |




Both of our college students came back home from school this week.  Alex got one step inside the gate and knelt to kiss the ground.  I actually don't think he was joking.  


| real |

Leo can't get to his bed either.

This is our laundry room/home office/guest room. This is what a room first looks like when 2 college students return home, making 5 people in a house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom for 1 summer.  Thanks to Kendra's tremendous organizational skills, the room didn't stay this way for too long. Hopefully someday we'll be able to have a more proper place for our children to come home to, but for now we embrace cozy living.  




| Join in at P,H,F,R to see other wonderful people practicing contentment. |


Monday, May 18, 2015

Easter daybook, week 7: Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

An Easter daybook for these 7 weeks of Alleluia! Join me, won't you? 

(see all Easter daybook 2015 posts here)

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look


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read

John 17:11: And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. source

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listen


Alleluia, Sing to Jesus 
Urban Doxology


Listen to my Resurrection playlist here

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do


download a copy by using this link: 
http://www.christchurchofaustin.org/sites/default/files/cc-eastertide-devotional-2015.pdf

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

What I'm Into - February-April edition



my first Wyldewood Show in April

The pace of life since Christmas (last fall, actually) just bowled me over and I've been barely keeping up with reading, writing, and other cultural pursuits -- let alone have time to blog about them.  We've made some difficult decisions about our schedule in order to give me back some windows of time to write, blog, read, cook, clean, exercise and the rest of those glorious mundane things. I'd say the "last straw" on our current lifestyle happened when Brian gave me a stomach bug for my birthday.  I spent much of my sick in bed time figuring out where he and I could drive that would still feel like we'd gone somewhere beautiful (no offense, Texas!).  We ended up in a charming airbnb about an hour north of Santa Fe and spent a lot of time talking about our lives -- what's working, what's not.  More to come on that soon.  For now, here's a few notes about what I've seen, heard, tasted and enjoyed the past couple of months! 

what I’m watching

We've made it Season 6 of the Waltons.  Just can't stop watching.  We've made it through some of the episodes I remember viscerally from my childhood -- the house fire where Elizabeth drops her cloth doll, Grandpa's heart attack, Curt and Mary Ellen's wedding.  I haven't been disappointed yet.  I have a feeling I'll be writing a whole post about it sometime soon.  We also watched the new season of Foyle's War and Broadchurch.  I didn't like either of them as much as their predecessor, but British drama all the same!

In February we caught up on a few of the 2014 films we'd missed at the theatre:  The Overnighters, God's Pocket, Into the Storm and Calvary. We didn't go to the theatre during Lent so haven't seen many new films yet this year. Earlier in April when Natalie and I had an evening to ourselves we went to Cinderella.  Just sweet and quite lovely.  By far my favorite part were the costumes.  Cinderella's wedding dress (spoiler alert: she marries Prince Charming) was absolutely stunning.



what I’m reading
This year, I'm using a fun challenge checklist with a Facebook group of friends (and sisters!).  You can find the checklist here:  Take Our Ultimate Reading Challenge  If you'd like to join our Reading Challenge 2015 group on Facebook, let me know and I'll send you an invite! 


in my ears

Audio streaming anything makes the daily mundane of my life better:  albums, playlists, podcasts, sermons, live concerts, your kids saying cute stuff on Facebook. On rare occasions (rarer than I'd like) the sound comes alive in a concert or house show or public reading. Here's some of what I heard and enjoyed in the past few months.



home and garden 

The Art of Simple Food:  One thing (of many) I re-learned during Lent is my almost-infantile reaction to self denial. I gave up certain food, beverages and activities and before long took most of them back up again. By Easter my body was convinced of its mortality. I guess that's point of Lent, but didn't feel very holy. In the brightness I begin again.  And I start with Alice Waters.
Simple Easter Place Settings. This simple little post I'd pinned inspired my quick place settings for Easter Sunday dinner. 

around  Austin

Black Star Co-Op (off North Lamar near Crestview Station) It kind of started out as an accident, but then became one of the highlights of our small group this year.  When we couldn't meet at our house, for some reason, we'd head over to the Black Star Co-Op and spend hours eating, drinking and swapping stories.  It's the world's first cooperatively-owned and worker self-managed brewpub. They are owned by a community of more than 3,000 individuals and organizations, and they're democratically managed.  Plus, their home brewed beer is good!
Cenote. (East Austin, Cesar Chavez) There's a whole bunch of reasons to be excited that Christ Church has purchased a property in downtown Austin, but near the top of the list is the proximity to this delicious and groovy "patio cafe".  The Cobb Salad is my new fave; Brian votes for the Brussels Sprouts plate.
Wyldewood Shows. (Southwest Austin, off Brodie Lane) Sometime during our first year here, a couple different people (wish I could remember who!) recommended this laid-back live music venue.  The trick -- they all warned -- was to get on the mailing list and get a reservation before a show sold out.  Well, it took me almost 4 years, but I finally did it.  And that's even after I couldn't get on the email list because it was too full.  The FB page did the trick, though, and I was able to snag 2 RSVP's for the Will Kimbrough show in April.  As it turned out, it was the 100th show in the hospitable backyard of the well-named Murphys (husband's name?  Andrew!).  My friend Katie and I enjoyed an evening in the green backyward, listening to live music while the sun set and the kids (other people's kids!) ran through the yard chasing fireflies.  Completely heavenly.  Going to try another show this year, but already missed out on 1 that sold out in 2 hours! (by the way, it's a suggested donation of $10 per guest, with all money going to the artist)

best online discoveries 

Giants & Pilgrims. Every once in awhile I discover a new blog that delights me completely.  This is true of Giants & Pilgrims, aka Tim and Betony Coons in Greeley, CO.  Their love for curating beauty in the everyday gifts of art, family and seasons make me feel like we're blog twins separated at birth.  Except they can actually write music and paint pictures, and I can only appreciate people who do such things.  I've been listening to Tim's music on repeat (which you'll have noticed if you've been following my Resurrection playlist), sharing their Abacus project with any of my friends planning to homeschool their littles and downloading the monthly orginal art wallpaper for my desktop and iphone. Check 'em out for yourself!  (and, thanks to Shannon Newby for the recommendation.  Spot on, friend!) 
Wiki-Art. Maybe all of you already know about this online encyclopedia of art, ala Wikipedia?  There's over 100,000 of public domain, historically important artwork.  This has become my new go-to source for my daybook posts.  I've lost myself so many times just enjoying image after image of beautiful work. 
Revised Common Lectionary: a service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library. The Vanderbilt Divinity Library has created a beautiful, easy to use resource linking the Lectionary, art, prayer and suggested hymns for each week of the liturgical year. In addition, all three years of the RCL are available for pdf download to use in a variety of worship contexts.  Thorough, quality, beautiful work.   
Fly Lady. 9It's a little known truth that I do clean my house.  I try to keep it on the downlow in case my kids and husband think I can do it on my own.  I find all my little secret, housecleaning tasks at this old faithful site.  I don't do the whole system, although throughout the years when things have gone to heck and I need a place to start I've been known to go back to the beginning with the Fly Lady's Control Journal downloads.  Otherwise I try to do a little 15 minute mission every day or so.  It always feels good -- when the rest of my life might be going bust, to enjoy a shiny sink, say, or cobweb-free bedroom ceiling fan.  It's the little things, friends. 

On the blog

Lent daybook series. Look, Read, Pray, Listen and Do for the 40 days of prayer.
Retreive Lament: 7 mourning stories during Holy WeekEach year during Holy Week I ask friends to share a mourning story from their own life as a way to help us see Crhsti in the midst of suffering. Each story reflects on one phrase of Jesus' dying words and gives me a real-time glimpse into the suffering of Christ.

Easter daybook, 2015. Look, Read, Pray, Listen, Do for the 7 weeks of Alleluia!

Practice Resurrection: your photo stories for 2015. One of my favorite blog series ever.  Simple, beautiful, joyous mini-stories of the ways you practice life every day.  Thank you, friends!

What were you into in February, March or April?
Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately. 
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