Friday, March 28, 2008


Love the freckles!

Oh, those eyes!

Skiing, if you must clever are these two? Perfect love!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Continuing to read....

We're springing forth with a new look....time to bring on the green of the season! Enjoy!
You would think that I had stopped reading altogether, by my silence on recently finished books. This is not the case, though, and merely reflects that I'm not taking the time to blog about it! Given that Matt is embroiled in some conflict between the kids (one that started with the two of them fighting each other, and resulted in Kyra shouting, "HELP ME, LUCAS!" as Matt took something away from her--the switch between siblings from arch enemies to staunch loyalists never ceases to amaze me...), I'm going to catch up my list!

I was privileged to attend a leadership workshop at Andover Newton with Diana Butler Bass and a roomful of engaging pastors and lay leaders back in February. At the time, I had only read about a third of the book on which the workshop was based, so it's as though my eventual reading came with a highly detailed introduction/orientation from the author herself. Having written a spiritual memoir that revealed a number of vital, solid, and even growing mainline congregations in her personal past, Diana set out to refute the media-driven message about the death of mainline religion by studying and profiling congregations that indicated new life, rather than death. The book provided me with a lens--a series of Christian practices (e.g., hospitality, theological reflection)--whereby I consider my own church experience now. I found myself extremely hopeful about our capacity to change, grow and be part of the emerging world after both the book and the workshop.

The last time I read The Bluest Eye, I was in college, I suspect. I'm sure I appreciated the book then, but now, as someone with children, with much more rich encounters with people of color, and with a more sophisticated eye toward writing, I loved indulging in Toni Morrison once again. The occasion was a visit to Lydia Diamond's adaptation of the play for the stage. With a group of 25 from the university attending together, I invited a faculty member who writes frequently on the novel to facilitate a conversation with us ahead of time. She brought us below the layers of Pecola, Claudia, Frieda, and the rest, to the intentionality of Morrison's choices--the deliberateness of her every word. I was reminded why I will never be a novelist. The good news? I don't need to be. I'm gifted enough by Morrison and others!

Sara Miles was an unlikely Christian, having grown up with atheist parents, and living in leftist communities that eschewed Christianity as being a property and product of the conservative religious right. But one day she wandered into an alternative Episcopalian community, received communion at their open-to-all table, and realized she had just eaten Jesus. Sara beautifully describes her passage both before and after her astonishing conversion, and challenges anyone who calls him or herself "Christian" to follow the example of Christ in as credible and authentic a manner. I'm still pages from the end, savoring every bite of this yeast-laden book. It's a meal I don't want to end.

I read for class, I touch every page of "The Christian Century," and still I long for more time! What a wonderful life!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lottery ticket, anyone?

For years, I insisted to Matt that I believe lottery winnings would only ruin us. While the majority of me still believes this, on days when I'm home, I wonder.... We are such different people--such different parents--and our kids are so well-served by these differences. I wish there was a way that both of us could have more time with them, and they with us. After Matt sacrificed that time for years with a more demanding (and higher paying!) job, it is now my turn to give in to the demands in the interest of the family-supporting paycheck. I'm good at my work, and I receive a great deal of affirmation for what I do. It can be easy for me to believe the lines I put out there for the world: "The kids are better off being home with Matt. He's the fun parent. I'm the 'let's clean the toilets for fun' kind of parent who worries more about folding laundry than getting out there in the yard." While there's truth in this, on days like today, when I am home with the kids, I realize I am as good at home as I am at work.

Matt's away with his parents for a few days, and I'm working from home in order to care for the kids and not blow all my vacation days. By noon, I had already managed to walk Kyra to school, accomplish some of that must-be-done work, arrange an afterschool visit from a friend of Kyra's (promising to bring home a neighbor's child, too!), dig into the homemade zucchini bread we made yesterday with lovable Lucas (frozen zucchini from last year's garden--can't wait for the growing season to begin!), dust and spot clean the house, finish the laundry, and go through all of Lucas's clothes, weeding out three bags for Freecycle. Had I managed to play with Lucas? Does it count if he played near me? You get the picture!

The same drive I bring to work appears when I am home, and long-lingering projects are accomplished in minutes. While there's different satisfaction in my work, there's something satisfying about creating a happy home for the kids, too. Though I am likely the parent who needs to set a timer to remember to get down on the floor and play for 20 minutes a day, there is a benefit to attending to the environment in which they play with such gusto and satisfaction.

Later in the day, as I meandered down the woodsy path from school with Kyra's friend's mom and the six kids we had between us, I realized there are other gifts I give to my children--I link them to the world. I bring friends into their lives. I'm fortunate--in every time period of my life, every home I've lived in, I've had a circle of close friends. Meeting people and engaging them is something I do with relative ease (hence some of the praise at work). Matt would be the first to admit that this is not his gift. Add to that the awkwardness of being the one dad in a sea of moms, and it's not surprising that the kids are mainly home with him rather than surrounded by friends and playmates. (My hat is off to him for one day taking Lucas to meet not one, but two moms and their kids at a nearby indoor playspace!) In recognizing my strengths, I remembered what fun it can be to be here. We played basketball outside in the yard. We dreamed with Kyra's friend about all the future times we'll play together. And even as I'm having that fun and dreaming aloud with her mom, I realize that it is not my season to be home. The fun we will share will not likely be on my watch. This week is an exception.

And now we've arrived back to that lottery ticket. I don't mind working. In fact, I think parents who work outside the home bring unique outlooks to parenting. Having a wider circle of meaning alleviates pressure for the kids. They are not my sole accomplishments--and perhaps not "accomplishments" at all, and because of this, I can revel in their individuality. I can enjoy them without needing them to somehow be something that states my meaning to the world. That is established in other times and other places. But a little bit less work would be good. More balance would bring joy, I suspect. And those choices are always linked to money--having enough, knowing how to get enough, and somehow surviving on enough.

At one point Lucas locked himself in our bedroom, and the door handle, perpetually threatening to break, finally did just break. There was no unlocking that door. As I soothed myself (more than him) with calming words, shuffling around for a screwdriver with which to remove the handle, I was reminded of the work it can be to be home. And perhaps if I have too many more "locked in the bedroom" moments with both kids home for three early release days, I might go running back to the office by the end of the week. At this moment, though, I'm wishing for just a little more time.... They are so precious to me.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

March 6

Until my father reminded me earlier this week, this date wasn't much on my mind. Some years it is fresh and vivid--this awful day when we learned my mother was dying--and other years, it is a kind of background noise or energy that doesn't break through to the surface. It was fifteen years ago that she died, April 6th, 1993, and in those early years, March 6th ushered in a host of memories: leaving my college roommate and close friend behind for what I presumed to be a weekend trip to Boston, moving the tag on my RA door card from "in" to "away for the day," and the long, uncertain drive to Boston with dear family friends. Some years the images would cascade in vivid succession as I tried to put one foot in front of the other, certain that this anniversary day was the worst day in my life.

This year, it feels different. The sun is shining, I was able to walk my smiling daughter to school, and though the news is full of the devastating reality that March 6th is becoming "the worst day in life" for many, many people around the world, it no longer seems to be least not this year. It has become a day for noticing--the frozen tracks of footprints in the mud on the wooded path to school, the fall leaves left unraked, visible once again in their clumps of matted brown. There are buds on the trees, too, and though snow is certainly going to fall once again, spring is clearly in the air. Blessings abound--I'm even trying to feel fortune in coming to work! Miracles appear at every turn, and even as I remember this day when earthly, bodily healing was denied my mother, I know I can look at the healing beyond, within, and all-around. There were miracles, even then, and I'm grateful to see them now.