Sunday, December 18


A new Advent season.  Reading our recently old posts, I can report that we have indeed "minimized," moving to a 2 bedrm apartment and rediscovering what is "essential."  I want to get back to writing, but the deployment and repeated moving needs-based survival schedule took over.  So, I guess I haven't actually simplified enough if there's still no time for what I used to think was most important.  Maybe re-ordered priorities happened in the process.

Thursday, April 28

Moving Day

The time has come to say goodbye to our old house and make our way into the new. With the help of our church family and friends, we are able to pack it all up in a timely manner and make the transition with the comfort of their presence. I'm looking forward to the new neighbors we'll meet, even as we will miss our good, good old neighbors. I'm looking forward to the new things O can do since we'll be within walking distance of ice cream cafes, library and his favorite playgrounds. With many tears through our thanksgiving, it's good to have a time of leaving one's "old life" behind and pressing forward into a new.

[disclaimer: the house in the background is not ours]

Wednesday, March 9

Ash Wednesday

As we wait expectantly for the new life that comes with the Springtime,

our inner man is under reconstruction,

and we are ready for ashes and confession.

Lord, come quickly!  Amen.

Tuesday, March 1

Listing one's Thanks

Ann Voskamp's new book, One Thousand Gifts, made it into our house and is challenging a very small group of discontents to make that list of things one is thankful for, to list the things we thought were ugly and mere distractions from "real life"as the things that help refine our hearts.  It sounds way too simple, and perhaps like wishful, positive brainwashing, but the exercise of giving thanks is akin to weight lifting and squats--small intense movements that produce long term, major effects.  There's a way of understanding the common, everyday things that we miss in the blindness of a perspective of mundanity.

Our morning toast is a gift of someone else's labor, therefore we owe thanks.

The cream cheese on my bagel is a gift of produce from a creature of the earth, therefore I am indebted and render thanks.

And tea--what would the day be without it?!--a gift that travelled far and through many hands to reach us, thus multiple layers of thanks is offered for this one cup.  

I am impressed, upon thinking about the things I'm thankful for, what a debtor I am.

Monday, February 7

living in light of joy

For our friends who are trudging through the nitty gritty red tape of adoption; I read this poem and thought of you.

Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace.  That we may reap,
Great work is done while we're asleep.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.

Wendell Berry, A Timbered Choir

Friday, January 28

Learning to read

"For most of us it takes years and years and years to exchange our dream world for the real world of grace and mercy, sacrifice and love, freedom and joy."

In Eugene Peterson's book, Eat This Book, I am studying to read again.

Tuesday, January 25

on occasion

What's the one household chore one can do while in labor (with child) and recovering from violent illness? Laundry, of course.  The exertion is minimal, the industrious hum of the dryer and washer, and the reward of fresh diapers, towels and socks that need no immediate folding are a satisfying way to make oneself feel not entirely useless even when gravely weak.

My latest FlyLady habit to practice is a load a day.  Before one goes downstairs for the day, grab an armload of dirty clothes, and fill the washer to the brim.  But only one load.  I admit to cheating sometimes,   calling diapers that extra load that's more it's own project than regular laundry.

Laundry Room.  Not something we commonly take pictures of of think too much about!

Wednesday, January 19

Snow day!

In the recent snowfall, we bounded outside before the hidden sun disappeared completely.  We bundled O in his rainbow fleece suit, layered on socks, and grabbed the camera.  While Herbie ran wild around the neighbors' yard, chasing cats, and the children next door dragged out their round sleds, Eric got the ball rolling for the snowman, carefully stacked and defended from O, who wanted to attack and topple the little snow guy.    

After a while, the cold became too much for even rainbow fleece suits.  O was becoming a grumpy snowman by the time we hauled him back in for dinner....

And eating at the table is always fun time, especially when aunts give you vest-like bibs with patches!

Monday, January 17

This Year's Theme: Minimize

You know that seasonal feeling of cleaning out the closet, the pantry, or the garage?  Well, this year Kelly and I have felt that same feeling not just as a seasonal feeling, but as a general life calling.  Why?  I am really not sure.  I wish I knew.

Sure, we are up for orders this year, but in all reality we will propably just stay here.  True, we have put our house on the rental market in order to move from a lovely home in the suburbs to a small loft or home in the middle of the city, but we could still fit most of our stuff in there if we wanted to.  So why?  Why would I want to get rid of so much of our "stuff" and live with as small a footprint as possible?  Am I running from something?  Are we having a mid-life crisis already?

To be sure, I am not sure.  But I would say that this idea of minimizing is in response to a feeling of the heart.  Ok, so maybe feeling is not the right word, but pressure may be.  I have met more people over the past year who have seemed to be light posts on a dark and lonely road. . . and they have all felt the same thing.  Over Christmas, I was talking with a friend and he said "if I could put a word to what we are doing this year, it would be minimize."

Christ Himself was all about minimizing.  All He asked us to do was take up our cross and follow Him.  Maybe that is the key.  Maybe I am finally just learning to live as a Christian.  At least that is what I would like to think is true.  Perhaps I want my identity to be more tied up in who Christ is and what He wants me to do with my "stuff" than tied up in just my "stuff."

Regardless, the urge and desire is there.  Our prayer is just that we would be wise to follow the desire with discretion and follow wherever He may lead.