Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All the Little Children

The cousins have arrived.

We now have two six year olds, in the house, one four year old, one three year old, one two year old, a nine month old baby and a four month old baby. But only two dogs and no cats.

I know many people live in houses with this number of children and more, but its the kind of thing one generally works up to, one baby at a time. We're all kind of reeling from the noise, toys and how do I say it? clutter? filth. Not filth, just stuff.

Yesterday we really celebrated R's birthday with cake, presence, party games, balloons, party hats. R was very angry about the state of the world today. 'NO' he shouted when presented with a beautifully hand made birthday pizza. 'No no no!'

'No no!' he shouted when asked if he would like to wear a hat and open a present. But he managed to swallow his displeasure and open all the packages anyway.

'No!' he shouted when offered candy. He was unable to stop shouting No! but he was able to work his way through a whole bag of chocolates anyway.

No! I could hear my patient long suffering mother in law (Mimi) shouting to herself when I asked her to help me sew a Mei Tai. 'Ok' she said out loud. It wasn't nice of me to ask. I don't know how to sew. I've never used a sewing machine. I can vaguely sew things by hand, but not anything that would impress anyone. We lugged all the children (only four, before the Cousins arrived) to the fabric store and looked for something heavy duty. I found a stripey canvas like something in blue and white as well as a magenta colored zipper for my skirt, vast fragments of ribbon for Emma to afix to a play dress in the hopes of turning into Cinderella and having many birds and mice come help her sew, and some orange thread so I can 'fix' something.

Then she (Mimi) stayed up long past her bedtime to watch me struggle to feed the material through the machine in a straight line. Stripes turned out to be a stroke of brilliance. She got her own back, though, by making me iron everything, knowing that in normal life I refuse to iron anything.

So now I am in the possession of a very fine Mei Tai. I would post pictures but I forgot the bring the little device that gets the pictures onto the computer, so you will have to wait. And, in case you needed the same inspiration I had, here it is.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Windsor Continuing: Reflections on Matt being at the place of my birth without me

Five years ago, or six, or four, or whatever it was, Matt and I came to the end of our first grueling year of parish ministry and were rewarded with a month of rest and rejuvenation with his family. We spent a week all together with his family, we spent two weeks with his parents, and the last week we went away together to a lonely place in the hill country of Texas. And, of course, we spent every spare second online watching the horror of General Convention 2003. It was clear what would be done. We watched in horror, hitting refresh desperately on Titusonenine. And now here we are at the next meeting, four babies later, 'long' years of parish experience behind us, a law suit in the works, this time spending our vacation time on two separate continents. There hasn't been a time in our married/family life when this crisis hasn't been in the fore of our lives, playing over our days like some big screen train wreck.

Matt has been raving about the scenery,the beautiful walks, the very good food, the immensity of Canterbury Cathedral. He had, I think, a fairly dismal view of England before he went. Americans always hear about the bad food and terrible driving (well, that turned out to be true).

Although more and more we hear about the appalling pervasive atheism on one hand and the rapid spread of Islam on the other-a toxic, to be honest, combination. In response to this, and to the rending of the world wide church, the Archbishop of Canterbury is having another meeting, another press conference, another n'daba moment, another time to reflect together, to dialogue, to respectfully listen.

I am, basically, a patient person. I'm becoming daily more patient with my children. I'm becoming excessively patient with the people I disciple week by week. I'm extraordinarily patient with Matt. We've been very patient with this mess. But its clear, from the Third Report of the Windsor Continuation Group that nothing is ever going to happen.

And why, you might ask, is nothing going to happen? Because the Archbishop of Canterbury, bless his heart, does not understand what is going on, does not see what is at stake. Or, if he does see, and he does understand, he isn't willing to do anything about it. Asking the Episcopal Church to do again what she doesn't want to do is a waste of all our time. Its time to think of something else to do.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

For the Grandparents

Matt's parents have very thoughtfully and graciously had time warner come and make their whole house wireless. So I am sitting here very comfortably next to my moaning and couch ridden son while he feels terrible. He has strep and an ear infection and now the pain and humiliation of a large shot in his little derrière.

This is new territory for me. It dawned on me, in the car ride home just now, that in 6 years of having 4 children and hitting season after of season of sickness and winter crud, I am the only one that ever gets ear infections and strep. They all have had the flu and a cold every year and that's it. My pediatrician, of course, would immediately attribute this robust health to my nursing all of them. But I'm pretty sure its mostly the grace and mercy of God who is always surrounding and protecting my babies.

I don't know what this says about me, as a mother, but before it occurred to me to take him to the doctor, I blessed some oil this morning and anointed his head and tummy and legs and hands. And my prayers were utterly answered because his fever didn't come down and we then immediately took him to the doctor and he is already on the mend.

a warrior at rest

Not to Interfere with the Anglican Communion or anything

But A is into his second day of a fever so in a few minutes, as soon as the two people who got to go to church get home, I'm going to take him to the doctor. And then home again, instead of a nice outing to the beach. Poor little guy.

Meanwhile his now two year old brother (that's right, R turned two yesterday) is running around on short fat legs kicking A with his big fat shoes.

Alright, the time warner people are here to make the whole house wireless so bye

Friday, July 25, 2008

Matt is Live Blogging

I'm trying to fend off the hoards while I refresh Matt's live blog. I don't think anything interesting is going to happen, its just a nice way to spend some 'time' with him, heh, in real time.

I'm raving with energy already this morning because we've all slept two nights in a row. Amazing what a little sleep will do. Today, hopefully, will be low key so the kiddos can gather their little emotional selves together and have some rest.

On that note, of gathering our emotional selves together, I am minute by minute more ashamed of the mess of this church. I am no longer satisfied with the excuse that we are 'not perfect' or that 'every church falls into error'. What is going on in Lambeth right now is a blot on Christian history. It is the culminating crown of embarrassment on an extraordinarily shameful period on the life of the Church. The whole idea that the Archbishop of Canterbury, of all people, would mess around with 'ndaba' groups, and unbiblical embarrassing marches in the street against hunger while the church shatters into a million pieces and the gospel is made a complete mess of, well. Mat God have mercy on us all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Airplane in Review

R is ecstatically running laps with a bottle hanging out of his mouth. The baby is standing on her grandmother shouting and pulling her hair. Outside the wind is whipping up, a little, and the rain is gently falling. We are trying to decide whether to drive to Corpus today, based on the heaviness of the rain.

Yesterday I wandered around in a stupor, vaguely looking over my history time line cards and trying to think of hand motions for them. Oh, and we went to a very fine pool-vast shallow end, small slide for small children, waterfall in the middle of it all, AND life vests for all my small children. We're in the process of learning to swim, but not all of us have gotten there yet. R went down the slide 100 times, at least, but had to be pushed each time, as he would never let go. And A, who has always been suspicious of any swimming activity, completely let himself go and ran and splashed, and 'swam' and put his head under and shouted. I was forced to sit in the pool, holding babies, catching R, swimming with my children. I kept getting frustrated and thinking, 'I should be doing work'. Finally, about 2 o'clock, it occurred to me that if God wanted me to work, he would have made it rain all day, not provided beautiful weather and a beautiful pool and that I had jolly well better relax for risk of disobeying my maker.

I don't want to relive our whole airplane ride, but there were a couple of fine moments that I don't want to loose. I generally go through life, well, my particular life, thinking everyone must completely disapprove. I mean, I've chosen such a Rebellious and Counter Cultural way of life (having lots of children, being a full time Christian, now homeschooling), and there are people who disapprove, but probably not as Many people as I assume. Not, for example, the whole airport. In fact, in this difficult age of terrorism and air travel, I think most people were amazed, impressed, and encouraged by us braving all the chaos to travel. And, let's face it, my children are a pleasure to look at, especially when they're clean, dressed nicely, and not shouting at each other.

We processed our way through the Security line, E and A standing up straight and holding hands, R and G in the stroller, smiling graciously at the crowds. E then impressed us all by carrying the baby through the booth (what is it called?) while I carried R. So helpful! So Well Behaved! Wow, she can carry the baby! It was like that all day.

But the crowning moment, for me, was sitting on the plane, behind my two oldest, listening to them talk to each other, to the very nice people who sat next to them, and to the flight attendants.
Nice Man (NM): And what is your name?
E: My name is E, and his name is A, and my littlest brother is named R, and my baby sister is G.
NM (visibly shaken and looking back to see the rest of us): Oh, wow.
E: And what is your name?
NM gave his name but I didn't hear it: And how old are you? Are you in kindergarten?
E: No, I am in first grade and I am going to learn at home.
NM (visibly shaken): Wow.

Later, on the second flight,
E: My name is E, what is your name?
NL (Nice Lady) gave her name and began to get out her computer.
E: We go to Church of the Good Shepherd. Where do you go to church?
NL: I go to St. Vincent's.
A: Where is that church? Is it near here?
NL: Well, its not near here, but it isn't too far from the airport.
E: We live very near our church, do you live near yours?
NL: Well, yes I do, I don't live too far at all.

In other words, I was deeply impressed that somewhere along the way they learned that it is polite to ask other people questions (I don't know about those particular questions but oh well), and answer themselves, and order juice and water politely, and sit and color without kicking the people in front of them. The babies were another story. They were very good but were in constant motion for 7 hours without a break. Mercifully, they didn't cry. Actually, R, sitting with his chubby legs stretched forth in front of him, drinking juice and eating one tiny peanut at a time, for a minute could have been mistaken for the perfect child Jesus, but then he got tired and started wiggling and the image was gone.

As soon as the flooding stops in Corpus and all the toilets are in working order, we'll get in the car and be on our way.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thank You For Praying

I am sitting in Matt's sister's beautifully vast comfortable living room, computer in lap, watching a hurricane roll in towards Brownsville on TV. We had planned to go swimming today but the skies are looking cloudy.

So you can see that we made it safely, with the cheerings and well-wishings of just about everybody who saw us (that would be two full airplanes of people, and many many people in the Baltimore airport and San Antonio). The children were golden.

Having said that, it was an extraordinarily long day.
I managed to sleep only one hour the night before. R, for some inexplicable reason, was restless and wakeful. So I watched the minutes and hours tick by on the clock, finally fell asleep at 3am, woke up at 4:30 and just got up. As a result, I forgot all our tooth brushes. And I was sleep walking all day.

And now, having started to tell you about it, I am falling asleep. So I'm going to conk out in this comfy chair while my children yell and twirl. Hopefully, upon awaking, I will be able to remember the last 24 hours.

Monday, July 21, 2008

all the things you can do instead of pack

I'll be packing all day.

I should have come home after church yesterday and packed, but instead I made bread and mango and apple hand pies, forgetting, then, to take them out of the oven and nonchalantly skipping out to Wegmans for baby food, Matt's power bars, and tea. I then spent a whole hour at Wegmans desperately trying to call Matt who refused to pick up the phone (because it wasn't ringing). I called Greg accidentally and asked him to email Matt. And finally I called Matt's mom who sensibly called the neighbor who came running across to get the bread out of the oven. All these people were supposed to tell Matt to Call Me to explain what kind of power bars he required, But for some inexplicable reason, he decided not to call. So I stood agonizingly in the power bar aisle for 35 minutes reading the back of every kind of bar.

So, I'll be packing all day.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Daily Devotional

I madly invented and wrote this up in the last two days for a few people I'm trying to keep tabs on and wanting to help. This is Very Basic. Not too much scripture. The 'Prayer each day' is really just the collect for Sunday. Enjoy!

Daily Devotional Instructions
1. Pray the prayer each day. Think carefully about each word that you are praying. Each day think especially about a particular word, I’ve written each focus word for each day.
2. Look up and read the Bible Passage for each day.
Write down your answers to the following questions each day.
A.Where did this happen?
B.Who is speaking?
C.Who is being spoken to?
D.What does this tell me about the character and nature of God?
E.What does this tell me about myself?
F.Is there anything I need to change about my life based on what I have read?
G.What steps will I take to make these changes?

3. Read my note to you each day
Only After you have done everything else.

4. Pray A. for yourself B. for your family C. For the church and world

5. Write out Three things you are thankful for
that God has done for you this day or the day before.

Prayer for 7/21-7/26
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday (7/21)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Fountain of all Wisdom
Scripture: Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
The word ‘fear’ here does not mean ‘afraid’ in the way that you are probably used to. It really means ‘awe’, ‘wonder’. It implies that God is bigger than you, that you cannot fully know him, and you don’t always know what he is going to do next, especially if your heart and mind are full of foolishness. When you begin to contemplate the vastness and greatness of God, you are entering the realm of wisdom, of understanding. This is hard work. Today, begin to do the ‘Hard Thing’. Put away foolishness. Quiet yourself before God so that he can teach you, so that you can become wise.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Tuesday (7/22)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Necessities
Scripture: Matthew 11:25-30
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
In the world, without the knowledge and love of Jesus, a person will work very hard, will bear the full measure of anxiety and worry, and be all on their own. If you begin to follow Jesus and to love him, more and more he will ask you to give him what you have. And what do you have to offer him? Wealth? Probably not. Brilliance? Maybe. Time? Not that much. No, you have yourself to give him—your sin, your anxiety, your worry, your busyness, your children, your relationships, your time, your interests, your work, your poverty, all the things that you hide from other people, and even sometimes from yourself. Give him all these things, and in return, he will give you his ‘burden’, which is his love, his work, his concerns, his wisdom, his vision. His ‘burden’ is much lighter and easier than yours.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Wednesday (7/23)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Ignorance
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:20-30
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
The world values very different things than God does. In the world, we must make our own way, we must work very hard to convince other people, and sometimes even ourselves, that we are intelligent, capable, interesting, and able to succeed. With God, we discover that we cannot do anything on our own, that in the light of His Glory, everything we have turns to a shadow. Our knowledge, our wisdom, our wealth is nothing compared to his. In fact, the greatest thing we have is Him. He gives us His wisdom when we are foolish. He gives us His love when we are lonely. He gives us His intelligence when we lack understanding. He gives us His strength when we are weak. In return, he receives the credit, the glory.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Thursday (7/24)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Compassion
Scripture: Matthew 9:35-38
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
When we see how patient and compassionate and merciful Jesus was, and is, it opens our eyes to the needs of so many around us. Rather than considering their behavior, the awful way that most people act on a daily basis, the compassion of Jesus can open our eyes to see what might cause people to be so difficult. They are like ‘sheep without a shepherd’, they are following their own hearts, rather than God. That is a difficult place to be. Jesus was patient with the crowds. Practice, today, being patient with those in your life who are wandering around directionless, unable to see what God is doing.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Friday (7/25)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Unworthiness
Scripture: Luke 15:11-32
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
At different moments in life, we might find ourselves standing in each place in the parable*. Initially, when we come to faith, we are in the place of the younger son, having run from home, having discovered that we need the Father, and then turning around to go back and meet him. That turning around is called Repentance. But after a while it is easy to find ourselves in the place of the older son—jealous, distrustful, not taking full advantage of life in the Father’s House. And even sometimes, when you seek to bring people into God’s House, you might find yourself in the place of the Father, heartbroken when someone you love walks away, but hopeful that they will repent and turn around. Ultimately, however, God is our Father, calling us day by day to turn and seek him, welcoming us when we repent and turn to him, rejoicing when we seek his face. (*This idea comes from Henry Nowen’s The Prodigal Son)
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Saturday (7/26)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Blindness
Scripture: Mark 10:46-52
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
Not very often do the people who were healed by Jesus get their names recorded in the Gospels. But for some reason Mark preserved this man’s name. Perhaps Bartimaeus was known in the Christian Community and Mark wanted people to know it was he who had been healed in this way. Notice how much Bartimaeus wants to be healed, how he is shouting out, how he leaps up, and even more, how Jesus hears him. So many things make us blind spiritually—sin, pride, unwillingness to do the hard thing that God is asking—all these things make our hearts hard. But with one word, Jesus can heal us and help us see him, his will, and his plans.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Prayer for 7/27-8/2
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday (7/27)

Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Protector
Scripture: Matthew 13:31-33,44-49
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
The Kingdom of Heaven, also called the Kingdom of God is God’s Reign on earth. It is an interesting place to abide. The Kingdom of God is something only we Christians know about. We know that Jesus, in living, dying, rising and ascending to the right hand of God, has won, has beat sin and death completely. We know the end of the story—that he is coming back to judge the world and gather us to himself. But for a while, we live in a world that doesn’t know this. In this way, the Kingdom of Heaven is hidden. You have to pay attention to see it and know it is there. If your eyes are open, if you are attentive, you will begin to see it all around you.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Monday (7/28)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Trust
Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
Try to memorize these two verses. Consider, then, what it means to trust someone, what makes them ‘trustworthy’. You wouldn’t want to depend on, or trust someone who has previously let you down. Look at the word ‘lean’. You might lean on someone when you need help walking. Spiritually, I have asked you sometimes to lean on me, to let me hold you up. But really, you need to lean on God, to trust him, rather than yourself. If you lean on yourself, you’re more than likely to fall over. Sometimes when you have leaned on me, you have still fallen over, because I haven’t always been able to hold you up. If you lean on God, you’re leaning on something solid, something that won’t give way.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Tuesday (7/29)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Strong
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
Paul is showing here how God turns our understanding of reality on its head. In the world physical strength, emotional strength, wealth and success are the most valuable things. We adore and admire, as a culture, those most strong, most beautiful, most ‘together’. But in the Kingdom of God, the only strong one is God himself. If we ever shift the focus or attention away from him, and on to ourselves, and if we are honest, we will find that we have nothing to brag about. In fact, when we are weakest, God’s glory shines the greatest because he is able to do so much in our lives. Paul uses himself as an example. God gave him a great vision, a transforming experience of himself, but at the same time, he allowed him to be afflicted, or hurt, and weak in his body so that Paul would have no reason to brag, or boast to anyone, having instead to depend every day on God for strength. Likewise, if you trust God, if you lean on him, he will take your weakness and use it to show the whole world his power and glory.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Wednesday (7/30)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Holy
Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-6
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
In the same way that Paul was ‘taken up into heaven’ Isaiah saw into heaven himself, had a glimpse if Good’s holiness. It is hard for us to understand the holiness of God because nothing in our life is free from trouble and sin, even the good and wonderful things of life (like having a baby) involve some level of difficulty and pain. But when you belong to Jesus and love him, he begins, slowly, to make you holy. He does this first by sharpening your conscience, the terrible feeling you have when you give in to temptation. Second, he gives you a new longing for and understanding of goodness. Someday, when Jesus comes back, we will see God’s holiness and beauty uncluttered by the sin and trouble of the world, but until then we long for it, and pray every day for God to continue to give us his perfect holiness.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Thursday (7/31)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Increase/Multiply
Scripture: 1 Kings 17:8-16
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
This is my favorite miracle in the whole Bible. Notice the resigned desperation of the widow. Notice the requirement of generosity—she had to take care of Elijah. Notice the way God provided for her at the most basic level. With God there is always enough. Sometimes he gives you more than you need, but not very often. When we have more than we need we tend to stop trusting him and so he gives us only what we need, when we need it, and no more. God does this with information as well. He doesn’t let us know about the future, because then we would try to control it. He doesn’t give us all the answers we want, because then we might take credit for that knowledge. He often doesn’t give us all the money we think we need, because we misuse it. He gives us Enough, because he loves us.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Friday (8/1)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Ruler/Guide
Scripture: Matthew 21:1-10
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
Jesus is really on his way to the cross, here, to die for all the people who are shouting and praising him now, but who will, in a few days, reject and despise him. Jesus accepts their praises, but when they turn against him, he doesn’t stop his plan, his purpose in going to the cross for us. He keeps going. It is easy to become weary in daily following Jesus, to feel like life isn’t getting better, or the glory that you once experienced, when you first met Jesus, is diminished and difficult to see. It is difficult to look at the suffering of the cross and see Jesus there as the King that he is. This happens to every Christian. It happened even to the disciples who were afraid and ran away at the most critical moment. But Jesus is patient, merciful, abounding in steadfast love. When you feel yourself drawn away, turn instead your steps back towards him. Ask him to guide you, to be King in your life.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Saturday (8/2)
Pray the Prayer
Meditate on the Focus Word: Temporal/Eternal
Scripture: Matthew 24:3-14
Answer the Questions
My Note to You
As Christians, members of the hidden Kingdom of Heaven, we live in an interesting time. Knowing already the end of the story—that Jesus has destroyed death and the grave, that he is coming again—we live with the knowledge and understanding of heaven already. Eternal life, living with Jesus forever, is already happening for us. Our daily lives become more and more heavenly the more we seek after Jesus and love him. But at the same time, we live in a world broken by sin, clouded by blindness and troubled by sorrow. Our daily lives are a cluttered mixture of God’s love and eternal action, and the limited and ‘temporal’, the passing work of our hands. We live with one foot in those things passing away, and the other foot in those things that will last forever. But as we go on, our lives should more and more be marked by things that will never pass away—by the sharing of our faith, by the investment in our children, by the love of Jesus permeating everything we do and say.
Close in Prayer and write your Thank You List

Sunday (8/3) Go to Church.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Don't wait to pray, Pray Now

In three days and a bit I'm going to wake up very early in the morning, dress my four tiny highly energetic children up in their best clothes, pack everything up into a very nice rented car driven by a good friend from church, and begin a Long Day of Travel and Anxiety. Well, I'm having the anxiety now so maybe the name of the day will change by then.

Why the anxiety? Because the day before Matt will be flying to London watch and write about the waste of a time Lambeth meeting that is currently in progress. So on one hand I'll be praying fervently and preoccupidely that he gets there safely, as well as luggage. And, on the other hand I'll be leading my little ones through a total of three airports, getting them on and off two airplanes, and through security one time.

We've been practicing Airport. R is having to learn to hold A's hand, much as they both Hate it. E is well adept at holding G. In this way I should be able to get stroller, computer, four carry ons, and five pairs of shoes on the belt, walk everybody through, and then recover it all on the other side Without loosing anyone.

I've also been collecting food-dried fruit, animal crackers, raisins, peanut butter and jelly roll ups, nutella roll ups, and muffins. I've carefully worked out our schedule so that I can buy milk on the other side of security, and water, and probably coffee because I'll really need it by then. I've mentally packed all the carry ons five or six times.

We're all dressing up so that people will be nice to us (don't you think its easier to be nice to good looking people? Isn't that awful?)

And, of course, I've been praying about all this for about a month, but I Request that you all pray for me as well, and to help you, I am providing a Detailed List right here.

Pray for the Kennedys
1. That Matt will travel safely and arrive safely in England
2. That he won't loose anything
3. That the children will sleep well Monday night and wake up cheerful
4. That they will attend to my every word
5. That we will Not Experience Any Delays
6. That the airline will treat us gently
7. That our luggage (containing important Bears) will arrive with us
8. That we will have a Fun time riding airplanes
9. That the children will enjoy each other and not bicker all day
10. That God will be glorified in some mysterious way by our traveling all over the world and America

I know that I don't need to worry, that God holds all things in his hand, including us, and that if he can care for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, surely he will care for us, However, air travel isn't what it once was. I just think it might help to remind God of these changes (heh). Or, you could pray that I will be reminded of God's sovereign grace. And, after you've prayed over my list, if you have time, you could pray for some kind of miracle to occur at Lambeth, particularly that the 'ndaba' groups fail miserably and they have an actual meeting where real things are decided.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flee, thou, from temptation

Wednesday appears to be the day to blog. I'm really supposed to be doing work (All Kinds of work, I'm feeling tempted to list it all but, as I just told my Bible Study, Scripture teaches us to flee from temptation) so blogging seems an obvious choice.

I'm sitting here in the library at church with a large inadequate lamp, a pot of tepid tea, ice cold milk, and a large cupcake. I shouldn't be sitting next to a cupcake. I'm trying to loose five pounds this week in advance of seeing Matt's mom and sister who I am always hoping to impress (they're both so much cooler than me, but I make the effort anyway).

And on the other side (away from the cupcake) I've got a nice fresh stack of CC books that arrived yesterday. Last night I watched the info video that came along (well, listened, but I had a vague feeling there was supposed to be a picture along with). I was so tired, lying there listening, and honestly, the only thing that sticks in my mind is that Leigh Bortins, while having a very soothing voice and important things to say, did not appear to be breathing and would come up for a big gasp of air every paragraph or so.

Alright, alright. Kelly is sitting here waiting for me to stop blogging so we can go work. Blast it all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


And you eat the Birthday Peanut Sauce over Rice (not instant weird American rice-basmati is most preferable).

And its also very nice accompanied by a green salad, with Mango Cobbler for dessert, if you're looking for a whole menu.

Birthday Peanut Sauce

I've just wasted the last half hour combing through my blog archives looking for my peanut sauce recipe. I can't believe I have never posted it. But apparently not. I know I promised to post this Sunday Night and I'm Very Sorry. I came home Sunday to recline lavishly on the couch and watch E open vast arrays of presents. She received many things I have always longed for. She already has An American Girl Doll from her last birthday so this year she needed a large cabinet to store all the clothes, plus new outfits. I could list everything but its making me tired thinking about where we're going to put it all.

So here's the Peanut Sauce (enough for 20, half adults, half children. If you want to serve less people half everything But, its worth making a big vat and freezing it in smaller containers because its So Delicious).

One jar creamy natural peanut butter (No Sugar added! No nothing added if possible). I use smuckers because that's what we can get.
2 large onions
2 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
grated or 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
6 to 8 fresh tomatoes or 1 large can chopped or crushed tomato (no seasoning added)
4 to 8 cups of stock, depending on how soupy you want it
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 packages chicken (I use thighs usually, or I buy a whole chicken and dismember it myself. You can cut the chicken very small if you're feeding a lot of people, or you can put in large pieces. I used to brown the chicken before I put it in, but lately I haven't taken the time, and honestly, I can't taste the difference.)
Optional: liberal squeeze of fresh lime at the end, liberal addition of cream

sweat the onions, garlic and ginger with oil or butter
add the peanut butter and coat the onion
add the tomato paste and fresh or canned tomato
let it all blend together. Season with salt and pepper (and red pepper if you're not feeding children). Add the chicken and stock. Bring it all to a boil and let it simmer until thick and glorious, re-seasoning as necessary. This time I ran out of stock and actually added some whole milk to make up the difference and it was almost my best batch ever. Basically you want it very liquid at first and let it simmer down, thickening as it goes. Obviously, if you reside in Africa and can get your hands on some Sumbala (sp?) that would be perfect, but I have no idea how you would do that in America.

If you're attempting to make this and something here is unclear please do comment or email. This is our favorite family food, all my kids eat it, but given that its 'foreign' you'd want to get it right or you might give up (which would be so sad). On Sunday most everyone was very skeptical but then I had about 1/2 a cup left over.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Birthday Eve

Today was the First Ever/Annual Good Shepherd Block Ice Cream Party. What an amazing day. Some very astute, organized and creative Good Shepherdites organized a Serious good time for the neighborhood. I would say (by my own rough estimate after counting tickets and eye balling it) no less than 300 kids, parents, grandparents, and assorted hangers on came by our blocked off street and rode the ponies, had their faces painted, ate vats of ice cream, drank endless cups of orange sugared soda pop, picked up a free bicycle helmet, had their blood pressure checked, stopped for prayer with Matt (especially after having their blood pressure checked), picked up a balloon from the nice (unscary) clown, did a craft, listened to a spot of music, got entered into the child safety fingerprint registry, and watched the super cool police dog find drugs (heh).

There were floating balloons and streamers. There were hundreds and hundreds of cup cakes. There were So Many Children! And I thought I had a lot of kids.

And it couldn't have been timed more beautifully. Our eldest lovely grown up E, ('Daddy! Say, Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys, Here comes my Daughter', Daddy obliges, wild applause, long ballad-like singing ensues) will be six in the morning. She has organized to wear a blue flowery dress that makes her skin glow, and red shoes, as will her doll. She will go to church and Sunday School and then eat Peanut Sauce and Rice, Strawberries and chocolate birthday cake baked in the shape of a princess carriage. For games she will play hide and seek and then Everyone will paint little wooden princess castles ('what if the boys want to paint something else' I asked. 'They won't', she said, 'they will like to paint a castle'.). And then she will come home to a vast array of packages that I will then have to find a place for (Thank You, Mimi!).

I won't lie, I'm feeling all weepy and nostalgic. This is my first baby, my very first everything. I went into labor on a very hot Friday afternoon after our very First Funeral-a woman we had never met. We weren't even priested yet, still greenhorn deacons. I was wearing a horribly hot blue scratchy too short pregnant dress and heels. Matt had some weird scooped necked vestment with puffed sleeves and a cut in waist. He had to preach about how this nice lady was 'probably' (of course he didn't say that) being welcomed into the arms of Jesus (how would we know, we never met her). And I had to do the bulletin. My mother, who was mercifully with us, played the organ. Not thinking about the heat or the heels, I sprinted up and down the church back steps no less than 4 times trying to organize the service (ushers, pall bearers, who knows what else) which sent me gently into labor. But I was a week overdue, so it was probably a reasonable thing to do.

And she was such a perfect baby, ivory white, flower like hands, dark dark hair standing up all over the place, deeply sarcastic big gray eyes. And now she is long and strong and has whole chapters of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle before bed. She put on a show tonight, clutching her fat pink baby sister (I said she was strong). 'Daddy, say, Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys, here come my Daughters!' Then she had to sit down and she sang, 'Now I am six and things have to change around here, we have to help out and take care of babies and go to bed at the Right Time, and be obedient.'

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Baking and Thinking

Thank You So much, to all of you who have responded so kindly and encouragingly. I am wading through my email now, hoping to write most all of you back personally, and trying to write biographically in my head as I clean and
Apple Muffin Fancy Breakfast
1 recipe Joy of Cooking full fat basic muffins
use 4 Tablespoons instead of 8 melted butter substituting apple sauce for the rest of the butter
liberally butter a square cake pan and fill it with the batter.
Carefully and lovingly lay paper thin slices of apple in even rows over the top,
liberally sprinkle brown sugar over the whole top
bake at 400
serve it with mounds of butter and Morning Prayer.

You can do this if your children are lithe and thin and not given over over to childhood obesity (we go easy on the butter with R, given the fatness of his stout legs and enormous tummy).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Women's Ordination-that's right, I'm being brave

I've been cleaning this wretched house over and over and over again for the last three days. Every time I make a little bit of progress it gets totally wrecked by the vast hoards of children roving over every available space. I want to take the opportunity to liken my wrecked house to the destruction that is currently taking place in the Anglican Communion. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about (and who are too lazy to click on the link), yesterday the Church of England voted, in Synod, to allow women into the episcopate (that means they're allowed to be bishop) without making any legal provision whatsoever for dissenting bishops, clergy and congregations.

I say this with deep sadness.
Many of you have asked me to talk more about Women's Ordination given my unique and uncomfortable position-I'm a woman, I'm ordained, I am therefore a continuing source of division in the church, a block to better ecumenical relationships with Rome and the Orthodox, a division within Conservative Anglicanism itself. Indeed, when we worship together with our friends and neighbors, Saint Andrew's Anglican down the street, Matt and I make sure that he celebrates, or Tony+ does, so as not to offend those of that congregation who do not believe that my orders are even possible. The finishing of that sentence has perhaps explained to you why I don't talk about it much. Indeed, why I don't even want to articulate the manner of my call. I have gone over it a thousand times in my mind, in prayer, in my heart trying to discover what on earth God is doing with me.

Furthermore, we conservative ordained women in Anglicanism are few and far between. And I can guarantee that we don't all agree with each other on every matter. I don't want, for one second, to compromise or make someone else's ordained life more difficult because of something thoughtless I wrote online while I am trying to work things out or speculate about this issue. Conservative Believing Anglican Women Priests are guaranteed to be criticized from the right (both from Evangelicals because of Scripture and Anglo Catholics because of, well, you probably all know how Anglo Catholics feel) and from the Left for picking the Gospel over the rights of women everywhere. Any careless word can and will be used against us.

To make it even more personal, as many of you know from Stand Firm, Matt is feeling daily more queasy about Women's Ordination in general, though, he assures me, not about me. 'Obviously you're called' he says.
'But' I say, 'if you don't believe that Women should be ordained, don't you think that would have an effect on me personally?'
Well, yes, he can see that. And he is not an inconsistent and illogical person. He is not making a personal exception that suits him (let's face it, I'm a good preacher and sometimes he needs a break). Rather, we have both been struggling and praying and seeking God and crying out for his will.

In light of this, I am going to write up how I came to be called by God to be a priest in his church. I am not going to post it here, but if you would like to read it, you can email me (see the bottom of my profile) and I will send it to you and be more than willing to discuss it on email. This will take me some time because I'm still writing up our day in Galilee and learning how to post slide shows. And, obviously, I should be cleaning my house. When I have it written, I will announce it here.

I am also, very trepidatiously and very carefully, going to try to write what I think God might be doing with Women's Ordination in the church. This also will be slow going because I'm going to write slowly and I'm going to send it to some people before I post it. In the meantime I ask that tonight you pray particularly for the Church of England and for those bishops and priests who have been utterly rejected by their colleagues, and have been essentially told that they are not needed in this church. However any of us feel about it. Trust and faith have been broken, the house is in ruins.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I have Just Posted three times. I could have spaced them out over many days, but I thought I'd overwhelm you all at once.

Also, I also received a Very Helpful email inquiring about the title of this blog. I think I wrote a vague post about it a long time ago but I'm going to write something more helpful soon and fix it permanently on the side. Keep watch.

Holy Sepulcher Part Two

I'm sorry to say that the following pictures are in no particular order. And, unfortunately, they are not very good because the flash on my camera was being difficult and the church was so dark that even when it did work, it wasn't amazing. I'm sure that there are better pictures of this online. I would go searching myself but then I would never actually post.

So here, first are two not very good pictures of the tomb, as it has been covered over. There was a long line to go in to the tomb and see where his body lay, but neither of us, for whatever reason, got in line. All the more reason to go back, just to make sure its empty.

The outside is this sort of wood structure on the front of which are many many candles and little icons. The floor is very uneven, and, I would say, dirty. The walls are black with insense and a thousand and more years of pilgrims.

I am sorry that the pictures are out of focus. You can't really see How covered over the outside is. Very ornamented. At this point, after seeing the stone slab, and now the tomb, I went into a solidly depressed daze. After the light soaring immensity of the temple, the holy holy worship of the conference, the carnival like impact of the Mount of Olives, to come into the place where Jesus died, was buried and then rose and to find that it looked like This, well. I lost my faith in the Church. As Matt said, going out, its like the church got together and deliberately did what Jesus commanded them not to do in his High Priestly Prayer. Which, of course, is the point. We, the church have been doing what Jesus said not to do for all these years. Its so interesting to me that the church all over the world is light, filled, growing, and this church is so dark. I was discouraged that we couldn't do something nicer with this place, and then I despaired over all of humanity. Jesus gave all himself, did the must humbling thing imaginable, and this was the human response.

Here is the Rock of Golgatha. Under the Rock is a little chapel and altar. You walk up stairs to see where the cross stood.

And here is a section of the rock covered over in glass as you walk along a corridor from all the individual chapels to the stone slab.

Much of the art all over the whole building is beautiful and decaying. This was painted on the wall up in an archway leading in to see where the cross stood.

Here is the altar over the place of the cross. There is a gold (it looked liked gold) encrusted statue of Jesus looming over the altar, flanked by gold encrusted Marys. There is an unnerving statue of Mary in a glass case with a sword sticking out of her chest next to the altar. And then, all over are thousands of candles and gold of every kind. My protestant soul came up into my throat at this vision.

Looking out the window, away from Golgatha, towards the city.

Here is where the cross stood. You walk by, kneel under the altar, and put your hand into the hole.

Leaving the church, we saw a bishop.

These were propped up at the entrance to the church, probably for processions. A fitting parting image.

I, obviously, have more pictures. So eventually, perhaps, there will be a Part Three. In the meantime I am going to hustle my children into bed. Tomorrow is a big day. Everybody, of course, wants to know about the trip, 'How was it!?' being the operative question. How, in a sentence or a word, or even a look can I communicate any of this. As for the past week, forefront in my mind is the Incomparable Mercy of God in taking on the humiliation, not just of the cross, but of the Incarnation itself. That God would choose to create, would choose to reveal himself, would choose to come down here, to be rejected, despised, all for what? Me. He would have done it even if I was the only one. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. I cannot attain to it.

Holy Sepulcher Part One

Thursday Matt, Baby and I went to visit the Holy Sepulcher. We had wanted to go the day before with the whole group, but in many ways it was probably better that we went quietly by our selves, even not knowing everything that we saw. It definitely bears going back to with a guide. Many of you will have noticed a blogging silence from me after Thursday. I made some unhelpful excuse whatever day I got back to my computer, but the truth is that I was profoundly undone after seeing this place. Matt will attest that I came unglued that night, on Friday, again on Saturday and that I left the Holy Land on Monday forlorn, despairing, overwrought, shaken. What other adjectives can I discover in the back of my head. I am still trying to discover what it was that undid me at that moment, in that place. I know enough to write a little here, but hopefully as the days and months go by I can discover more.

Here is the outside of the church. You come upon it suddenly through some souvenir street shops. I had added to the stress of the visit by insisting to myself that we had to do All our shopping of presents on our way out. For those of you who don't know, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is believed to be the place of Golgotha, or Calvary, the place where Jesus was crucified, and also the tomb, the place where he was buried. Many protestants rather believe that the Garden Tomb (never open when we happened to be walking by) is really the place Jesus was buried. From all I've heard, the Garden Tomb is a lovely place to go and you get a better sense of mission, the love of Jesus (etc. etc.) but historically, there is plenty of evidence that the Holy Sepulcher is where it all took place.

Here is the view looking up, right upon walking into the church. The church itself is large, dark, cavernous, rambling with no central lace of worshiping or saying mass. It is shared by Orthodox, Catholic, Armenians, Greek, Russian (I need to look this up). Every group has their own little altar.

If you look straight ahead instead of up, you see this beautiful fresco/mosaic (not sure, no guide book) of which I had a terrible time getting a good picture. There are probably nice one's online. It shows Jesus dying, being anointed, and then carried to the tomb.

As you walk in there is immediately a stone slab upon which pilgrims may lay anything they have bought that they want blessed. By virtue of laying whatever it is on the stone, it becomes holy (if you're Catholic, I guess). I let G pat her fat baby hands on it. This flat stone is where Jesus was laid as he was taken off the cross, where he was hastily anointed and wrapped for burial because of the encroaching Sabbath. If you remember the women went back to the tomb on Sunday morning because they hadn't been able to do it the way they wanted. So Jesus, broken and dead, was laid on this actual stone.

It was as I put G up onto this stone and let her pat it that I was seriously moved by the Historical Reality of the cross. This is so important to Christianity-that God really broke into history, that it is verifiable, that it is not some ephemeral spiritual weirdness. I've had this experience before, most of us have, where our heart knowledge of God finally intersects with our head knowledge of God and we Know on a whole new level.

And finally, these are little crosses carved into the walls of the church by the crusaders (so Matt tells me), a sort of ancient, spiritual graffiti.

Setting the Scene (long after the fact)

Here is the fabulous modern hotel where the conference was centered. Most of us were scattered around Jerusalem in other hotels. This hotel was the nicest and this lounge was actually Very comfortable, with helpful young ladies bringing endless rounds of coffee, tea, glasses of wine, and cake. Oh, and french fries. Here is Matt with his computer.

Here am I, with computer and baby.

Here is the shiny white piano which was played every night.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

As If I Had Time

This is totally off topic, but yesterday I laboriously compared our shopping bill with Amazon's Subscribe and Save program, having heard that one can really save on Diapers particularly. There were many great prices BUT, EVERYthing that we normally buy was still cheaper at Wegmans, especially the Wegman's brand (except for Olive Oil, but whatever brand we bought was still cheaper than on Amazon). I can imagine that if we didn't live with Wegman's in proximity it would be a good deal. Just wanted to share that with all of you.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Feet Back on the Ground

We've been lying flat practically all day. Let me revise that. We've felt like lying flat all day but instead we went on a much much much needed provisions trip, vacuumed up ten days worth of dog hair, cleaned out the fridge and began reinstating parental order and discipline. The two oldest just needed gentle reminders not to whine, to share, to be kind, to be obedient (ok, so maybe there was a big back slide), but with R, well, we're starting over from scratch. Somehow, in the last week, he came to the conclusion that he is King of the Universe-not a good situation for all of humanity.

I'm working through my pictures and hopefully tomorrow will post about our day in Galilee. In the meantime, its good to be home, messy as it is.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pictures the Ophel Gardens

On Wednesday evening the whole group made their way to the Ophel Gardens, the steps leading up to the Temple, for Worship and an official greeting from the Minister of Tourism. We had an excellent teaching about the steps themselves. They are the original steps of the Second Temple Period (boy I hope I am remembering this correctly) and it is believed that Jesus himself walked up them (at least the bottom ones, they may have been added to near the top) and into the temple, and that Peter preached from them at Pentecost, and very likely Paul spent time there as well. In other words, we gathered at the place the church was born at Pentecost. They are situated right above the ancient City of David and from them you can see the Mount of Olives and the hills of Judea.

That particular day we (Matt and I) had meant to go with the whole group to see the Holy Sepulcher and the Via Delarosa but we ended up in some horrible film like series of ridiculousness whereby we repeatedly missed each other over the course of a whole hour, and then we recriminated each other loudly and unpleasantly in front of Gadget Vicar and Ashley Noll (have I already posted on this?). We were forced to sit and have coffee/tea until the second bus. Turns out it would been been too exhausting for us to go with the whole group. God knows what we need most of all.

Hot Tired GAFCON Baby

Archbishop Akinola and the Israeli Minister of Tourism greeting each other. The assembled primates were all given a bible and certificates of pilgrimage. We all received certificates later.

A Mikveh (sp?) ceremonial cleansing bath. Several hundred have been excavated right there in the shadow of the temple but it is believed that at the time of Jesus more than 1000 were in use at that particular sight. After Peter preached at Pentecost and 3000 came to faith they were probably baptized in all the baths right there.

Young Muslim boy looking down from the Dome of the Rock while we all worship Jesus loudly and longly.

One thousand two hundred GAFCON pilgrims trying to organize into Provincial Groups for Pictures in less that 20 minutes against the backdrop of the temple.

View towards the Mount of Olives. Looks like a funeral is in progress.

Archbishop Akinola with serious Israeli security in tow.

The worship choir that led the singing all week.