Sunday, July 20, 2014

I belong with you, you belong with me

Another beautiful week for three generations to rest and play together. We sorely missed those who couldn't be with us this year. To put it in the words of my 11-year-old nephew, "People in this family keep disappearing." 

I tried to tell him that's part of family -- the ebb and flow of our lives coming together and apart for seasons of time. Neither one of us was too happy with that answer. 

Still, I am grateful.  

HFV2014 by Slidely Slideshow

"I think it is a very important thing to pray for a vacation that will help year by year to keep the family close together and to make a reality of something to share. It is not just the physical, psychological, and emotional rest that is needed, it is a great help in discovering gaps in our relationships which need mending or real loneliness that is growing because of never having time to talk about certain things or to make discoveries together. To play together in sand, swim together, discover new fish together, hike in the mountains together, read books in strange and new places together, eat strange foods in new surroundings together, bicycle through winding roads together, walk through old city streets together -- whatever it is you like to do gives an atmosphere which will melt away some of the "scratchy places" in your relationships, and which will remove you from some of the ordinary irritations of day-by-day life. But don't expect too much! If you expect perfection, then a vacation can be the most dismally disappointing time of the year."
- p. 195, What Is A Family? by Edith Schaeffer

Thursday, July 03, 2014

5 Favorites: make, do, listen, watch & read on 4th of July + other great links from this week

before the list, here's a a favorite image from our week

Our first day of vacation!  Running into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Saint Simons Island, GA after too many years of not seeing it, my daughter and I squealed "We're just East coast girls!"  Also, from the photo, can you tell which one of us works in an office all day and which one works outdoors at summer camps??

5 favorites: celebrate 4th of July 

-- 1 --



-- 2 --


This Land is Your Landa Woody Guthrie cover from Jason Harrod

-- 3 -- 


John Adams from HBO (on Amazon prime)

Brian and I love this mini-series based on David McCullough's Pulitzer-prize winning book and the life of one our nation's most passionate founders.  It helps that we also love the actors Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail.  

I've mentioned before that one of my favorite sentences from this man is his confession "I have no talent for politics."  And whatever is or isn't true about the stories we tell about our nation's infancy and those who gave it birth, it's impossible to deny a certain nobility we'd do well to imitate.  (Not to mention the beautiful marriage partnership between John and Abigail.)

Even if you only watch the first two episodes around the time of Independence Day, it'll be well worth your time.

-- 4 --




Other good vacation-related words I found online 

  • Shipping Out: on the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise by David Foster Wallace: "I have now seen sucrose beaches and water a very bright blue. I have seen an all-red leisure suit with flared lapels. I have smelled suntan lotion spread over 2,100 pounds of hot flesh. I have been addressed as "Mon" in three different nations. I have seen 500 upscale Americans dance the Electric Slide. I have seen sunsets that looked computer-enhanced. I have (very briefly) joined a conga line."  A wickedly funny read.

      and, on the subject of roadtrips...
          • Walker Percy and the Recovery of Place at Front Porch Republic: "We are adept at identifying points of interest, but pay scant attention to the importance of our approaches to exploring them... What Percy’s strategies aim to do, in part, is to put the traveler into a state of willingness and hunger to encounter the world as it is, to discover the great sights with the freshness, the newness, that is so much of what we seek from them."

          • Airbnb CEO: Cities Are Becoming Villages at  "At the most macro level, I think we're going to go back to the village, and cities will become communities again," he added. "I'm not saying they're not communities now, but I think that we'll have this real sensibility and everything will be small. You're not going to have big chain restaurants. We're starting to see farmers' markets, and small restaurants, and food trucks. But pretty soon, restaurants will be in people's living rooms."


          A celebration-filled weekend for us all, dear ones. 

          Tuesday, July 01, 2014

          The 14th Annual Epic Family Tradition

          I made a "best of" post from our annual epic family fest of a vacation. First an excerpt from a post I wrote in 2009 then a highlight reel from 2013 and then some "best of" photos and links from previous years:  ...............................

          2013 - Canandaigua Lake
          From 2009:

          For thirty-eight years I have relished the few days of summer carved out to be with my family. Away from the normal spaces and tasks of life. We have shacked up in a variety of lodgings (most of them cheap...except for the few years some of us were making money) and whittled away the daily hours with all sorts of activities. 

          There are, however, a few constants: a body of water (everything from the Atlantic Ocean to the Saint Lawrence River to Stump Pond), a cornucopia of food (everything from steak and shrimp to hot dogs over the fire and, always, a macaroni salad), and hours upon hours of togetherness (thirty-eight years ago it was just me and my parents and now there are nineteen of us!)

          At times, I think we have been guilty of idolizing this togetherness. Propping it up as a cardboard cut-out of giddy glee over top of hidden shame and dysfunction. I'm sure that in the next thirty-eight years that will occasionally be true again. For myself, I feel like I am in one of the healthiest places ever to genuinely enjoy this annual festival of our family --without hanging out at one or the other extreme of idolizing or despising.

          That does not mean the temptation no longer exists. Even feel like a Jekyll and Hyde tug-of-war several times a day during the time that we are together. Happily, I find myself now more able to be present in the moment, aware of what I am feeling and why and free to enjoy the time as a whole person standing tall in the secure love of a perfect Father.

          This togetherness marks us and marks our years. We remember vacations as the year Young-Mee was seven months pregnant with Ethan or the year Ryan had to work in Virginia and couldn't join us or the year Wes' back was out and he had to lay on the floor most of the time

          The very act of planning our times together marks our personal and family histories: do our activities accommodate the very pregnant? how can we afford a beach house when three of us have been out of work this year? what date will we pick that fits around the ebb and flow of work and travel and college schedules?

          When we were little we planned our days around each other's soccer games and shower preferences. Now we discover we still have more to learn about compromise and selflessness. Coordinating the group to value three generations of individuals is a task of large proportions. Also a great joy.

          If someone were to ask me, I'd say that we still have a ways to go in this learning of family as a whole and as individuals. As a divine excuse to huddle in together outside the world and harsh reality. As a place to know and be known. As a place to honor and respect. Also laugh out loud at ourselves. Even if this glorious celebration of family each summer winds down to just one beautiful meal under a picnic pavilion on a July day playing horseshoes, looking at aging photo albums and eating macaroni salad I hope it takes us at least another thirty-eight years to figure out what family means.
          Father, please let the Hill family vacation always reflect lives soaked in prayer and centered in Jesus. Let us always keep in mind that we are flawed and allow us to laugh often and easily at ourselves and any creeping pretensions of "holiness." Please help us to trust always in letting ourselves be loved by God as more important than loving God in some kind of mechanical way. Please help our family to never distort the face of a beautiful God. (adapted from a prayer written by Brennan Manning)
          2013 vacation video: In Three Words

          2006: Bethany Beach, DE

          Family bonding

          2007: Sodus Bay of Lake Ontario, NY

          2008: Stay-cation in Newark Valley, NY

          2009:  Camping in Ithaca, NY

          2010:  PA, in the Poconos

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