Sunday, February 24, 2013

7 Quick Takes: greeting Emmett, Brian's playdate, Kendra's tu-tu, screaming goats and more!

--- 1 ---

Friday we enjoyed the surprise of spending the day with one of our favorite two-year-olds while her mother went into the hospital a week early to have a baby brother for Lucy.  We spent the day gleefully living the pace of a toddler.  Playing on the floor, reading books, napping on the couch during a Pixar movie, dancing to the Beatles.  

Don't tell anyone else, but Lucy pretty much wrapped Brian around her little finger.  Here's proof...

Did you happen to notice that the two reading pictures change from one side of the room to the other?  This is because the Lucy decided she'd prefer to sit in a chair and have Brian sit on the stool to read.  Oh, she charmed him alright!

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And then, we got to visit Lucy's new brother, Emmett.  Total perfection.

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Kendra was (only a little bit) disappointed that baby Emmett came early.  She'd been working on a blanket for him and had counted on this last week to complete it.

Since the little guy entered the world over 9 pounds, she's got a ways to go!

To be fair to her, it's not like she hasn't had other important projects to fill her time.  Aside from school, work, learning to drive, youth group, Young Life, running, and reading there's the serious business of crafting tu-tu's out of tulle for five-year-old birthday parties.

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So much good blog-writing this week:
  • Minor Revisions at Conversion Diary: I've failed to mention how much I enjoy the blog of our 7 Quick Takes host, Jennifer Fulwiler.  You might enjoy watching -- as I did -- the three episode reality series featuring the Fulwiler family and the story of Jen's conversion from atheism to Christianity.  As an extra bonus for me, the Fulwiler's also live in Austin.  (In fact parts of episode 2 take place in my very favorite Austin coffeeshop.)
  • Putting a Price On the Value of Art at BBC News Magazine: my friend Craig linked this article to Facebook this week and the content has been trolling around in my brain ever since.  Is the value of art to a particular city/geographic area quantifiable?  If so, what dangers or benefits might that produce?
  • The First Punch at Sober Boots (Heather Kopp): In the past several years I've had the privilege to pray together with many women grieving relational pain.  One subject that often comes up is if and how might we tell God our anger toward Him for our sense of being forgotten, overlooked, abandoned?  I think Heather Kopp tells it well in this post.
  • Praying Like the Devil at Simcha Fisher on National Catholic Register: Excellent insight into the Scriptural account of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness.  

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A few weeks back I showed you the way we decorated our chandelier with old children's book pages for a baby shower.  I was excited to figure out what to replace those with after the shower.  

I'd envisioned finding a bunch of old flashcards or maps but realized quickly this would be way too expensive because of the number of individual papers I needed to fill all the clips.  On a stroll through Uncommon Objects a few weeks back I discovered this incredibly preserved grocer's sales collection notebook from 1903 (!) for less than $15.

1903 Sales Collections notebook I found
at Uncommon Objects

I felt a bit bad for tearing out all the sheets of paper but my friend Krista encouraged me that these types of artifacts need to be seen.  What better way than hanging overhead a dinner table, full of stories and suggestions for conversation?

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Blog posts here at This Sacramental Life this week:

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I confess that during one of our candlelit Lenten prayertimes this week we could not move forward until we watched this video. Twice. And then we laughed about it the whole rest of the night.  Have you seen it?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

On having four kids in six years and THEN forming a theology for procreation....

This was the way my friend Micha Boyett (aka, Mama:Monk) promoted my guest post to her facebook friends.  I loved it.  
"My parents’ parents didn’t talk about sex. My parents began the conversation, but either they weren’t speaking above a whisper or I wasn’t listening. I managed to have my first son three days shy of nine months from the first time I ever had sex. When he was born I still wasn’t sure I’d ever had it. I didn’t care. I flew the kite of that beautiful baby boy for all the world to see." (read the rest)
I'm grateful for Micha's invitation to share my story as part of her weekly series: One Good Phrase.  She has a gift not only in sharing her own words, but in welcoming words from others.  I want to be like her  and have begun dreaming up my own ideas for welcoming your words here.

One Good Phrase: Tamara Hill Murphy (You trust God to keep you safe at night, but you still lock the doors.)

While you're visiting her don't miss the previous entries in the series:

One Good Phrase: God loves you and so do I (Christine Gough)

One Good Phrase: Daddy Loves You (Ed Cyzewski)

One Good Phrase: No Matter What (Joy Bennett)This post had special meaning for me as our kids enter adulthood and I get to practice some of the "no matter what" scenarios on a daily basis.

One Good Phrase: Peace of Christ be with you always (Seth Haines) 

Two little "appendices" to the story:

1.  I mentioned that honeymoon babies were "pretty much legendary" in my family. 

Here's the lineup of three generations:

  • My father was born 10 months and 10 days after his parents were married 
  • I was born 9 months and 4 days after my parents were married
  • Our son was born 3 days short of 9 months after we were married (to be fair he was four days early)

2.  I leave with you this 23-year-old treasure -- proving that during our engagement Brian and I probably spent more time thinking about our pictures for the newspaper than family planning . (and I certainly spent more time on my hair!)

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Retrieve Lament, Days 8 & 9 (art meditations + suggested resources for Lent 2013)

"Once, ritual lament would have been chanted; women would have been paid to beat their breasts and howl for you all night, when all is silent. Where can we find such customs now? So many have long since disappeared or been disowned.
That’s what you had to come for: to retrieve
the lament that we omitted."
 (Ranier Maria Rilke, from Requiem For A Friend)
During Lent I'll share almost-daily meditations of Scripture, hymns, and art reflecting this time of tension between dying and birth.

Won't you join me?

February 20 , Day 8

I've lost count the number of delicious childhood moments on a swing --  moments so good I can even remember the feeling the first time I learned how to stretch my legs high into the sky on the upswing and pump them hard underneath my seat on the down.  Maybe that felt so good because my Grandma quoted Robert Louis Stevenson so often, I felt like I was living the poem out in real life.  We lived in a little house when I was early elementary age -- one of the most painful seasons of our family history -- almost singularly redeemed by the presence of a bench swing on the deep front porch and an old tire swing in the side yard.

Somehow as I read back-to-back the two Hebrews passages yesterday and today, the image of a good swing came to mind.  While the two passages are formatted into two different chapters, they read as one persuasive essay toward entering God's rest.  The God who created rest along with the entire universe, who commanded Sabbath rest, invites us to enter His rest.  The author of the book quotes God's own fury with the Israelites who callously refused His welcome to rest with their hard hearts of unbelief.

Begone Unbelief is a hymn with special meaning to me for several years.  The photograph of the tree swing on the coast of Northern California captured my imagination, what a stunning vista looking out over the Pacific Ocean.  Somehow that contented perch looking over the land, resting in place seemed an antidote to the restless, wandering, unbelieving spirits of the wandering Hebrew children.  We wander too.  The second hymn and street installation swingset capture joy and playfulness, the childlike qualities of rest.  

May we grow young again, join our good Father in His rest, follow Him in obedient trust.  

Hebrews 3:12-19

Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. As it is said,

‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’

Now who were they who heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? But with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.


A hymn of response: Begone Unbelief from Indelible Grace

Click here for free lead sheet, chord chart and demo mp3

The Tree Swing
Northern California


Source: via Tamara on Pinterest

February 21,  Day 9

Hebrews 4:1-10

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

‘As in my anger I swore,
“They shall not enter my rest” ’,

though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.’ And again in this place it says, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’ Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day—‘today’—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,

‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.’

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labours as God did from his.

A hymn of response: Come Ye Souls, Michael Card

Come Ye Souls by Michael Card on Grooveshark

Click here for lyrics written by Joseph Swain

21 Balançoires (21 Swings) 
street installation project by Canadian design collective Daily Tous Les Jours,

Suggested Resources for Lent:
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Retrieve Lament, Day 7 (art meditations + suggested resources for Lent 2013)

"Once, ritual lament would have been chanted; women would have been paid to beat their breasts and howl for you all night, when all is silent. Where can we find such customs now? So many have long since disappeared or been disowned.
That’s what you had to come for: to retrieve
the lament that we omitted."
 (Ranier Maria Rilke, from Requiem For A Friend)
During Lent I'll share almost-daily meditations of Scripture, hymns, and art reflecting this time of tension between dying and birth.

Won't you join me?

February 19 , Day 7

Holy lament -- as grief -- can appear as holy anger.  In our fallen world, we seldom see holy anger but we have ancient images in Scripture reminding us that a holy God can not coexist with sin.  

All day as I pictured Moses in his holy ferocity breaking the stone tablets and Jesus in his righteous fury casting evil out of the temple, I thought of this stanza from the modern hymn In Christ Alone:
In Christ alone! who took on fleshFulness of God in helpless babe!This gift of love and righteousnessScorned by the ones he came to save:Till on that cross as Jesus died,The wrath of God was satisfied -For every sin on Him was laid;Here in the death of Christ I live.
Any time I've sung that song I can barely make it through the line "The wrath of God was satisfied".  When we shy away or explain away or run away from a wrathful God, we miss the miracle of the Gospel -- God took out His wrath on God.  

I think of that hymn and I think of a certain scene between Gandalf and Bilbo...

Deuteronomy 9:4-12

When the Lord your God thrusts them out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to occupy this land’; it is rather because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to occupy their land; but because of the wickedness of those nations that the Lord your God is dispossessing them before you, in order to fulfill the promise that the Lord made on oath to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

 Know, then, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to occupy because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people. Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; you have been rebellious against the Lord from the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place.

 Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you. When I went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, I remained on the mountain for forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water. And the Lord gave me the two stone tablets written with the finger of God; on them were all the words that the Lord had spoken to you at the mountain out of the fire on the day of the assembly. At the end of forty days and forty nights the Lord gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Get up, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have been quick to turn from the way that I commanded them; they have cast an image for themselves.’

Moses Indignant at the Golden Calf
William Blake, 1799 - 1800


Hebrews 3:1-11

Therefore, brothers and sisters,* holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also ‘was faithful in all* God’s* house.’ Yet Jesus* is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honour than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in
all God’s* house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. Christ, however, was faithful over God’s* house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm* the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.

 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
   as on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors put me to the test,
   though they had seen my works for forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
and I said, “They always go astray in their hearts,
   and they have not known my ways.”
As in my anger I swore,
   “They will not enter my rest.” ’ 


John 2:13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken

Jesus Cleansing the Temple
woodcut by Eric Gill, via Sacred Art Meditations

"Do not take me as some conjurer of cheap tricks.  I'm not trying to hurt you....I'm trying to help you."

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Retrieve Lament, Day 6 (art meditations + suggested resources for Lent 2013)

"Once, ritual lament would have been chanted; women would have been paid to beat their breasts and howl for you all night, when all is silent. Where can we find such customs now? So many have long since disappeared or been disowned.
That’s what you had to come for: to retrieve
the lament that we omitted."
 (Ranier Maria Rilke, from Requiem For A Friend)
During Lent I'll share almost-daily meditations of Scripture, hymns, and art reflecting this time of tension between dying and birth.

Won't you join me?

February 18 , Day 6

I'm using a daily lectionary email for my Lenten Scripture readings this year.  To be honest, I find the email overwhelming -- so much Scripture staring up at me from my inbox.  I gulp it down and hope for some word or phrase to get stuck in my throat, pester my imagination throughout the day.

Today it's Psalm 44, the first communal lament in the Psalter.  Prior to chapter 44 all the laments have been person, built around the poet's personal crisis (so says my study Bible). This Psalm written for the choirmaster, though, is a "community lament built around a national defeat."  The Psalm-writer frames his song in -- at times -- a subversive protest to the same God who has so often rescued and prospered His people.  Still, calamity visited his nation.  And the poet -- who knows better -- wonders how long His nation's God will sleep?

I couldn't think of better images for national lament than the Depression-era work of photojournalist Dorthea Lange.

And the re-tuned medley of camp chorus and classic hymn from  Page CXVI, Joy, reflects the weaving of praise and lament in this Psalm, the new melody arranged the night the composer's father died.

The lament that leads to a well soul.

Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God,
   our ancestors have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
   in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
   but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
   but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
   nor did their own arm give them victory;
but your right hand, and your arm,
   and the light of your countenance,
   for you delighted in them.

Near Douglas, Georgia. "You don't have to worriate so much 
and you've got time to raise somp'n to eat." 1938

You are my King and my God;
   you command victories for Jacob.
Through you we push down our foes;
   through your name we tread down our assailants.
For not in my bow do I trust,
   nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes,
   and have put to confusion those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
   and we will give thanks to your name for ever.

Yet you have rejected us and abased us,
   and have not gone out with our armies.
You made us turn back from the foe,
   and our enemies have taken spoil for themselves.
You have made us like sheep for slaughter,
   and have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for a trifle,
   demanding no high price for them.

Dorothea Lange

You have made us the taunt of our neighbours,
   the derision and scorn of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations,
   a laughing-stock* among the peoples.

All day long my disgrace is before me,
   and shame has covered my face
at the words of the taunters and revilers,
   at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.

All this has come upon us,
   yet we have not forgotten you,
   or been false to your covenant.
Our heart has not turned back,
   nor have our steps departed from your way,
yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals,
   and covered us with deep darkness.

Dorothea Lange:
1932, Great Depression, New York City, Unemployed men wait

If we had forgotten the name of our God,
   or spread out our hands to a strange god,
would not God discover this?
   For he knows the secrets of the heart.
Because of you we are being killed all day long,
   and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
   Awake, do not cast us off for ever!
Why do you hide your face?
   Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For we sink down to the dust;
   our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up, come to our help.
   Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

Dorothea Lange:
Migrant mother Florence Thompson, cotton 50-cents, 100 lbs

Joy, Page CXVI (if you're reading this post in an email, click through to see the video)


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