7 quick & flowery takes

What I've been up to lately: places, people, books, podcasts, music, links & more for your weekend downtime.

(1) playlist for Spring

Oh my goodness, spring has sprung! Here's some favorite tunes about flowers, birds, rain, and love. Enjoy!

Spring on Spotify


(2) links to celebrate May flowers

  1. 21 Fresh Cut Spring Flower Arrangements and Bouquets: Love these!
  2. All Things New (A Springtime Giveaway): Christie Purifoy makes beauty with words and with flowers, and I follow her blog, newsletter, and all of her Instagram feeds religiously. With the help of a delightful illustrator, Christie's giving a free download (what she calls four pages from the "book of her dreams"). On a related note, read Christie's real-life book, which I found beautiful and inspiring: Roots & Sky: A Journey Home In Four Seasons

"We participate in spring. 

When our hearts are broken, when our eyes are open, we don’t simply wait for spring. We join in. We dig our shovels into the dirt, and we help to release rivers of justice and peace. When the flood finally comes, I like to think we will turn to our Jesus and say, we made things new, didn’t we?" (Christie Purifoy)


(3) podcast episodes I've enjoyed lately

  1. Introducing the On Being Project | On Being: I find these sorts of conversations fascinating, and so helpful in my understanding of what spirituality means in our culture - particularly for those who are younger than me."What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? Who will we be to each other? These questions have been at the heart of On Being from the start — as it grew from a radio project into a thriving public space for delving into the big questions of our lives together."   FYI, you can read some of my thoughts about the gracious, if not altogether orthodox, content of this excellent podcast in this piece I wrote for Think ChristianOn Being with Krista Tippett—and Jesus?
  2. Duplass Brothers On Working Together And Growing Apart: 'We Are Ex-Soulmates' | Fresh Air: When two brothers who love making art and spending time together very, very much they sometimes end up making something that gets our attention. I couldn't help but think of my kids' relationships and creative endeavors as I listened.

  3. Burning For Justice: Exploring the work of...Martín Espada | Poetry Off the Shelf: A couple of months ago I attended a conversation of artists at our former home church in Austin. Our friend Rachel, a poet, read aloud Martín Espada's profound "Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World" for the community of Newtown, Connecticut, where twenty students and six educators lost their lives to a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. I'd been stunned to hear the poem for the first time, and to realize that our church meets once a month in the very same building that Mr. Espada describes in the poem ("Listen to the bells in a town with a flagpole on Main Street, / a rooster weathervane keeping watch atop the Meeting House...") With all of that in mind, I enjoyed hearing more about Martín Espada's life and work in this interview-format episode. The interview doesn't include the Newtown poem, but you can listen to the poet read it here.

(4) farewell photos

Last Saturday, our youngest daughter Natalie made the big move to Austin. She's been living with us for the past year and a half, and we've covered a lot of emotional ground together as she navigated post-high-school life decisions and we settled into our new home and work in Connecticut. She joked a lot that her only friends were all under the age of 8, but the truth is that her work as a babysitter brought her so much joy. It seemed fitting that the crew of kiddos and parents would be our guests at Natalie's farewell party. (Thanks also to the Dominguez Duo for sharing their spectacular backyard with us!) We prayed that these months of participating in the daily lives of children would not be an incidental speed bump on Natalie's journey, but rather a lifetime reminder that children lead us into the kingdom of Jesus. 

Also, there's a couple of photos of Natalie's last day worshiping with us at Church of the Apostles. A sweet congregant caught Natalie and me during the closing song. 

(5) links re: EJI's new lynching memorial

Since reading Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy, I've been following his organization the Equal Justice Initiative. I am moved by the photos and video footage of the new monument the organization spearheaded in Montgomery, Alabama. I can't even imagine what it's feel like to visit in person. Some day I hope to do that. In the meantime, here's a brief list of links related to the work.

  1. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice | EJI's website

  2. New Lynching Memorial Is A Space 'To Talk About All Of That Anguish' | NPR

  3. In Apology For Decades-Old Lynching, Police Chief Aims To 'Interrupt The Past' | NPR

  4. Communion, a Counter-Monument | Missio Alliance ("Communion as a monument against White Supremacy.")

  5. Why Build A Lynching Memorial? | EJI

(6) flowering photos from our town

After dropping Natalie at the airport last weekend, I spent some time trying to capture the beauty of the flowering trees dotting the roadways toward home. These represent two favorite scenes in Southport and in Bridgeport (a couple of blocks from our home.)

When I shared the photos with a friend, she reminded me of this lovely line from one of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's journals. 

Miracles, indeed.

After all, I don’t see why I am always asking
for private, individual, selfish miracles
when every year there are miracles like ... dogwood.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

(7) blog posts from the archives

2017: S-Town's Limited Understanding of Empathy [sharing at Think Christian today] - My feelings haven't changed about this review one bit. "Yet as Reed gets spun into the story as a character invested in the lives of the people he encounters, his empathy morphs into a voyeuristic pity, one that fails to intervene for the truest good of those he’s encountered."

2016 & 2015: Murphy people updates in a season of Fortunate Events & 7 quick family update takes - We're just said good-bye to one daughter, and are getting ready to welcome one of our kids back home for the summer. Sort of like in 2016. "In the meantime, we're going to soak up as much time together as we can in the coming weeks - drinking morning coffee, packing suitcases, fighting over the bathroom, and thinking deep thoughts. God bless us, every one."

2015: Book Pile - I mentioned last week that I'm way behind in updating my book posts for 2018, and thought it might be a good time to point out the page I've got devoted to everything I've read for the past 12 years as cataloged on the blog. Phew! "When I first started this blog in 2006 one of my goals was to nurture a forum that kept me accountable for the cultural goods I consume."

2013: A poem and a playlist for my dear momma - In honor of Mother's Day, some of the best words and songs I could come up to tell my own mom how much I love her.

2012: Landing on our knees - I've been thinking lately how much my personality dislikes transition. For example, the weeks of the year between seasons when one day is hot and the next cold. Or the part of the day that isn't quite evening but no longer afternoon. I've been thinking about it because I feel like our family has been in a non-stop transition season for about eight years, and it's taken a huge emotional and physical toll. I wouldn't trade any of it, really, but I'm also a bit wrung out. In 2012 when I wrote this post, I was only just beginning to understand. "I could swear I've been holding my breath for 9 months and am just now coming up for air. Gulping in God-beauty, warbling out grateful worship."

2011: Tuesday is for Hospitality: did not our hearts burn within us? - Still my favorite post-resurrection story, and the older I get the more I realize God's invitation to my own calling is embedded in these biblical account. "I love this God who refuses to be pinned down to one method of revelation. This God who knocks Saul off his horse in a blinding light on the Damascus Road is the same God who dimmed Himself, trudging along with the disheartened disciples on the Emmaus Road."

2010: Liturgy of a Laity Lodge retreat [the word, part 2] - Speaking of naming and vocation, this post is calling me louder now than it did eight years ago! "But, of course, this retreat conversation was much more than etymology -- derivations and the like - - it was about ontology, about our is-ness. Naming as soulish, Adamic, dusty work. Naming and being named represents our first God-given task, and, it seems, we've all but lost the instinct to do the job. We're walking around as a great unnamed mass, attaching self-adhesive tags to ourselves like dimestore trinkets, so hungry are we for this ancient rite."

Alex & Bekah.5.jpg

3 years ago!










Alexander & Rebekah got engaged during a private tour of the White House Rose Garden. 

May your week ahead include true, good, and beautiful things, friends!


7 Quick January Takes {weekend links}

What I've been up to lately: places, people, books, podcasts, music, links & more for your weekend downtime.

(1) Netflix series we binge-watched this week

Somebody Feed Phil

Fun, funny, fascinating, beautiful, occasionally tear-jerking - food, travel, human connections, and a really funny TV writer/producer (Everyone Loves Raymond) turned travel guide. Two thumbs up!

(2) short and sweet stories from my blog feed this week


Dr. Weaver remembers integrating his high school football team in Knoxville, Tennessee  - It's hard to believe, and so good for us to hear. |  via StoryCorps

Two very curious brothers ask their Dad some outlandish questions - I also love this little audio peek into a relationship between a good Dad and his hilarious sons. 

(3) books I'm reading

Make A List: How A Simple Practice Can Change Our Lives and Open Our Hearts by Marilyn McEntyre - This great little book releases February 27, 2018. I was able to read a preview copy for the next Englewood Review of Books issue

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi - My Mom gave me this book ages ago, and I'm so glad to finally be reading it!

Chicago by Brian Doyle - This is the next title - for the season of Epiphanytide - we've chosen for our reading group at church (Apostles Reads).

(4) vintage winter nature books on my wish list

(5) links in honor of MLK Day

Martin Luther King, Jr - Reading ListThere have been hundreds of books about MLK published in recent decades. Here are some of the best of them. via Englewood Review of Books

Martin Luther King, Jr. – His Prophetic Faith in 15 Quotes - Mainstream American culture tends to have a narrow view of King’s work, limited primarily to his leadership in the Civil Rights movement. However, King’s vision was rooted in the desire for a beloved community in which not only were all people equal but in which all violence, poverty, and injustice were abolished — a vision that flowed from King’s deep faith in the life and teachings of Jesus. | via Englewood Review of Books

Frederick Douglas, American - An excerpt adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College on May 12, 2017, at the dedication of a statue of Frederick Douglass on the College’s Liberty Walk. | via Imprimis

MLK speeches and songs - An excellent collection of links to speeches, music, poems and reflections in honor of Dr. King. | via Global Christian Worship

Embracing the Whole Martin Luther King Jr by Bill Wiser - "As we remember his Dream, let's not fail the man or his message. Only by realizing the gravity of our position and making those hard, but liberating choices can we truly honor The Dream and march beyond it as Martin Luther King did." | via Plough

(6) photos from Christmas with our kids

May your week ahead include true, good, and beautiful things, friends!



UPDATED: Our favorite Advent & Christmas books (for all ages)


Each year we try to repack our Christmas decorations in the order we'll need to get them back out the beginning of next Advent.  It looks something like this:  nativities, Advent wreaths, Advent calendar, ALL THE BOOKS, everything else.

Little by little over the years, I've added a book here and there to be brought out and enjoyed for a short season.  Admittedly, much of my collection has been selected by what's available at the thrift store and library sales.  Every once in awhile, though, I find a book so lovely and beloved, it's worth purchasing retail!

I hope you enjoy this little peek into our Advent & Christmas bookshelves.  I'd love to hear what books you enjoy this time of year!

(Also, p.s. there are all kinds of affiliate links in this post because I'm trying to be a good steward, and when you buy something through one of these links you don't pay more money, but in some magical twist of capitalism we get a little pocket change. Thanks!)

The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas: An Austin Family Story by Madeleine L'Engle

*This is far and away my all-time favorite Advent story - probably because my mother read it to us when we were little.  Also, because Madeleine L'Engle is dear to me.

*I've often thought it would be fun to make a companion Advent calendar to go along with the story, matching the Austin family's daily Advent activity.

*It just now occurs to me that the Austin family probably lives in Connecticut (thus, the December blizzard).  That makes me love the story even more.

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

* I discovered this delightful story a few years back, and every year find someone - anyone - who will let me read it out loud to them.

*If you've ever had the quirky privilege of gathering with a large, loud, multigenerational family at a holiday, you should pretty much be able to recognize each character in this story.

Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

*What a wonderful, imaginative man, dear Tolkien.  And, of course, his love for Father Christmas reminds me of his writing friend's depiction in Narnia.

*For more than 40 years now, my own father hand writes a Santa letter (including the same sort of disguised shaky writing as Tolkien's).  For more than 20 years, my husband has done the same.  Somehow, someway I want to hunt down those letters and make our own family book.

*Tolkien's illustrations are priceless.

All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings by Gayle Boss

  • I ordered this book from the wonderful Hearts & Minds booksellers after reading about it in Byron Borger's Advent Booknotes. Take some time to peruse his suggested reads. I'm learning that I totally trust his recommendations!
  • The illustrations and concept of this book is just plain gorgeous. "In twenty-five portraits depicting how wild animals of the northern hemisphere ingeniously adapt when darkness and cold descend, we see and hear as if for the first time the ancient wisdom of Advent:  The dark is not an end but the way a new beginning comes."
  • Beautiful for all ages!

Home For Christmas: Stories For Young and Old by various authors including Henry Van Dyke, Pearl S. Buck, Elizabeth Goudge, Madeleine L'Engle and more

*I'm a huge fan of Plough's anthologies.  

*So many favorite authors in one place. So many good stories.

The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean 

*We've never done a Jesse Tree as part of our family Advent, but I think we would have if I'd known about it when the kids were little.  This is the way I've made up for that omission.

*The illustrations!

A King James Christmas: Biblical Selections with Illustrations from Around the World edited by Catherine Schuon & Michael Fitzgerald

*I picked this up one year at Book People, Austin's perfectly wonderful book store.  The illustrations are gorgeous.

*Excerpts from the Gospels are woven together to form a seamless and easy-to-follow story of Jesus’ birth and infancy, including the Annunciation, the Visitation, the adoration of the Magi, the presentation of Jesus in the temple, and the flight into Egypt. Fully illustrated with reproductions of paintings, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, and stained glass windows from around the world.

The Spirit of Christmas: Stories, Poems & Essays by G.K. Chesterton

*This book is new for us this year, and it is almost impossible to find.  We were fortunate to find it from an online used book seller.  I'm only including it in the list for you to keep your eyes open at used book stores and library sales throughout the year.

*Chesterton famously adores Christmas. Each year for over thirty years, G.K. Chesterton would write at least five or six articles on Christmas, along with one or two poems and some other odd piece, that would be spread among the journals for which he was a regular contributor and Yuletide issues of other journals for which he was not.  This is a collection of some his best and brightest from all he wrote on the subject.

Shepherds Abiding (A Mitford Story) by Jan Karon

*I haven't read this yet, but my mother gave me the book during a recent visit and promised I would love it.  I don't doubt her one bit!

What the Land Already Knows: Winter's Sacred Days (Stories from the Farm in Lucy) by Phyllis Tickle

  • I just discovered this charming little trilogy of books for the liturgical year from the religion section of our library book sale. I knew Phyllis Tickle's work in the Divine Hours prayer manuals, but had no idea she was a long-time columnist and wrote such lovely prose.
  • I also had no idea that Mrs. Tickle was mother to seven children, 5 of whom she and her husband Sam moved to a Tennessee farm when they wanted to recover their own childhood rural roots. Each brief, engaging story in the book is taken from the family's escapades making life work on the farm.
  • My favorite story in this volume? The pregnant cow stuck on the ice. It's epic.

Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury by Jan Brett

*It's all about the warm, sweet, earthy illustrations.  I never get tired of Jan Brett.

The Bird's Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin 

*This Victorian-era story certainly falls into the oeuvre of Christmas tearjerkers.  I don't care. I love the story.  Probably again, because my mother read it to us as kids.  

*I recently learned that Kate Douglas Wiggin originally published the book to help fund the Silver Street Free Kindergarten, which she founded in 1878. That makes me like it all the more.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

*You'll laugh and you'll cry.  

*A perfect read-aloud, if you can find anyone to listen.  And they'll be glad they did.

*We love this story so much, we performed it as a pageant in our church years ago.  So much fun.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (picture book edition) (Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis

*The story that includes the world in mourning that "It's always winter, but never Christmas." And then Father Christmas comes!  Well, there's the Gospel, friends.

A Christmas Carol: The Original Manuscript Edition by Charles Dickens

*One of the best depictions in literature of Gospel repentance, set in the perfectly appropriate season of Advent and Christmas.  We watch every version, look at ever illustration.  We never want to be too sophisticated to tire of this tale.

Sounding the Seasons: Seventy sonnets for Christian year by Malcolm Guite

  • While this collection of sonnets from the Anglican priest/poet/troubadour covers the entire year, his Advent (the O Antiphons) and Christmastide are stunning.

Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation by Luci Shaw

  • It's no secret that I've been a long-time fan of Luci Shaw's poetry. She does Advent especially well.  

The Glorious Impossible [Illustrated with Frescoes from the Scrovegni Chapel by Giotto] by Madeleine L'Engle

*Madeleine L'Engle's simple poignancy illuminated by Giotto's glorious frescoes from the Scrovegni chapel in Padua (full color throughout, with gold washed edges). Perfection.

What are some of your favorite Advent and Christmas stories?  Tell me about them below!

7 celebratory quick takes

As we move back into the liturgical calendar with the season of Advent, this will (probably) be my last 7 Quick Takes post for the year. Thanks for reading along through the archives (and the rest of the internet!) with me each week, friends.

(1) Alex & Rebekah visit!

We just had a lovely visit with Alex & Bekah. We hadn't seen them since April, and they hadn't been to our new place yet so we squeezed in a 3 day visit over the weekend. They seem to be doing well, and it's always so good to just be able to hug them. Natalie and I have been in a bit of mourning since they left Sunday afternoon, but Christmas will be here soon. Between now and Christmas, though, both Alex and Natalie will celebrate birthdays.

(2) Farewell to Audrey

We said good-bye to a dear friend last week. In our short time in Connecticut Audrey Gilbertie endeared herself to us in so many ways (as has her whole family). I continue to be amazed at the way those who are close to death are able to persevere in relationship - in both giving and receiving acts of love - up until their last moment in this life. Audrey was like that, and Brian enjoyed each pastoral visit with her. On Tuesday, her family eulogized her so beautifully, and I was reminded that it's the small and tangible acts our family will recall when we are gone: the hugs, laughter, shared meals, and stories we tell that make up the most substantial part of our legacy. 

Farewell, Audrey. We will meet you again soon.

 Brian's last visit with Audrey.

Brian's last visit with Audrey.

(3) Thanksgiving Day in Binghamton (and the rest of our kids in Austin)

Thanksgiving posts in the archives:

2016 - Thanksgiving Daybook: Hallelujah, the bounty has come

2014 - Thanksgiving party-in-a-post

2012 - Thanksgiving party in a post

2011 - the sacrament of the unnecessary &  mostly grateful & 7 quick takes! (preparing for our first Thanksgiving away from our NY family)

2008 - all is safely gathered in

(4) Our 27th Anniversary

Our anniversary gift to each other this year was a photo session with our friend Adiel Dominguez Photography. He helped us feel a bit more comfortable than we generally do in front of a camera, and we ended up having so much fun traipsing in the Connecticut woods. We tried to recreate one of my favorite wedding day photos from 27 years ago. (Brian has a much better haircut this time!)





Here's a few more of the photos from Adiel:

Anniversary posts from the blog archives:

2014 - Paying Attention (22): celebrating monotonous monogamy

2011 - twenty-one

2010 - I'm going to stop blogging for awhile because I need.... (a sappy photo slide show for our 20th)

2009 - i wanna marry you all over again & recession-proof romance

2007 - a delicious taste of the Big Apple; moving; Dot Rama's big lesson (Celebrating our 17th in NYC)

2006 - respite (Our 16th - exhausted - anniversary.)

(5) Christ the King Sunday

Tomorrow marks the final Sunday in the Church calendar. I hope I never stop delighting in the profound meaning of beginning the year with Christ in the womb, and ending the year celebrating His entire rule and reign over every square inch of the universe. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Here are some previous meditations from the archive:

(6) Advent is coming!


Advent begins on Sunday, December 3 is the first day of Advent this year, which makes it a shorter season than other years. (Don't tell anybody I said this, but it also means we get a full week between Thanksgiving and Advent to watch some of our favorite Christmas movies before entering the contemplative weeks of Advent!)

As in the previous few years, I'll be sharing a daily meditation of art, music, Scripture, and spiritual practice. It also means you'll see my name show up more often in your inbox or blog feed (every day through the 12 days of Christmas). I hope that I'll be an encouragement to you as we enter into the waiting of the Christ who has come and will come again. Please feel free to let me know if there's any way I can improve the Advent Daybook series for you.

In the meantime,  I've written quite a lot about Advent in the archives!

2016 - A few simple ways to decorate for Advent

2016 - Our favorite TV episodes during Advent

2016 - Our favorite Advent & Christmas books (for all ages)

2016 - Our favorite Advent music (for all ages)

2013 - You're not too late: five ways to celebrate Advent starting anytime

2012 - Parenting Unrehearsed: Family liturgies for Advent and a confession from an exhausted Dad at Christmas

2010 - Advent gifts from the church, ancient and contemporary & uneasy Advent

2009 - we are expecting! 

2008 - anguish

(7) links re: liturgy, art, and relationships

An End to 'Realistic' Love: Real love requires real imagination by Aarik Danielson - A beautiful, insightful piece by a new writing colleague. "Love is specific. No bumper-sticker theology—even the greatest, truest bumper sticker you can think of—can convey what it means to be for someone else. Only presence can do that. Only tenderness working from the inside out." | via Fathom Magazine

Every Moment Holy: New liturgies for daily life - Added to the top of my Christmas wish list! The good crew at the Rabbit Room have collected 100 of McElvey's prayers for everyday realities and occasions into a book that can be ordered here. | via The Rabbit Room

Episode 11: The Art of Criticism with Alissa Wilkinson - Grateful for the work Allissa is doing in the world of film criticism, and enjoyed this conversation so much! | via Image Journal podcast

Advent Readings from a Modern Martyr (Óscar Romero) - 25 excerpts from Plough's free ebook The Violence of Love. | via Plough

Responding to sexual abuse will take years—and it should -  "The process of taking care of problems that have been avoided for decades will itself take decades." | via America Magazine

Krista Tippett - Top 10 episodes of On Being! - In honor of Ms. Tippett's Birthday. Many of ERB's picks overlap with my own. | via Englewood Review of Books

What Flannery O'Connor's College Journal Reveals - Published for the first time in the current issue of Image, an arts and faith quarterly—[the journal] covers just 40 days from December 1943 through February 1944, and was written during O’Connor’s sophomore year at what was then Georgia State College for Women.| via Atlantic Magazine

May your week ahead include true, good, and beautiful things.

p.s. This post may contain affiliate links because I'm trying to be a good steward, and when you buy something through one of these links you don't pay more money, but in some magical twist of capitalism we get a little pocket change. Thanks!

 See other bloggers' 7 Quick Takes posts  here .

See other bloggers' 7 Quick Takes posts here.

7 thankful quick takes

(1) seasonal The Kid Should See This video

(2) Spotify playlists for this week

Autumn Worship

(3) photos from my Spiritual Direction training weekend

I wanted to share a bit of happy news that's kind of taken me by surprise even though it is an answer to a long-prayed prayer.  For a few years, as we've neared the point when Brian would be done with seminary and ordination and our kids would be finished with high school, we've been praying intentionally for discernment about next steps in my own vocational calling. Certainly, no bit of learning or experience or suffering is wasted, and I've been delighted (sometimes more than others) to be using my gifts, skills and passion in many ways all along the way. But we'd set apart this season to ask God to reveal a few more specifics regarding ongoing learning and development for me.  

One clear answer was for me to apply and be accepted into the Selah Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction. If you aren't familiar, here's a brief descriptionSpiritual Direction is a "one-to-one" ministry of coming alongside others to help them pay attention, become curious, and move toward the ongoing invitations of God to experience freedom, and enjoy life to the fullest as beloved sons and daughters in the Kingdom. The Selah Certificate Program is a two-year, cohort-based, low-residency course that will prepare me to offer trained spiritual direction vocationally and ministerially among our local church as well as those the Holy Spirit connects with me from around the world. The program begins in June 2017 and completes in spring 2019.

I don't think there's been a process more formational for Brian and me than the process of discerning vocation. For us, it's always felt a little bit backwards and slog-gish with then a sudden whoosh of "THIS IS IT!". This was the case for this decision as well. As I've been praying about further education, skill development and deeper formation in the faith, this is the opportunity like a road that rose up to meet me through the prescient invitation of a new friend and ministry leader. Of course, there's a trail of help along the way through relationship with many others. 

Last weekend I attend my second residency, held at a retreat center in Richmond, VA. Blog friends, I'd love for more prayer as I keep growing up into Christ and into a fuller expression of my true self, and for all the time, energy and financial resource needed for this endeavor. Pray also that Brian and I will continue to be used by God as a good gift in Southwest Connecticut.

Three quick things:

1. I've been working on a web page here. Please feel free to read and share with friends. 

2. A few friends and family have helped out with the cost of my tuition via a fundraising page. If that's something that interests you, you can read about it here.

3. Here's a few photos from my time in Richmond last weekend.

(4) fun Thanksgiving links

8 reasons Thanksgiving is the best holiday by Natalie Murphy | via Mac Shield online

Feast: A Thanksgiving tribute to images of food on film by Matt Zoller Seitz | via Museum of Moving Images

Thanksgiving party-in-a-post (including Lincoln's Historic Proclamation of Thanksgiving of 1863 and Classic parlor games with a modern twist )

Thanksgiving Mad Libs printables for kids | via Happiness is Homemade

(5) autumnal paintings by Grant Wood

Grant DeVolson Wood (February 13, 1891 – February 12, 1942) was an American painter best known for his paintings depicting the rural American Midwest, particularly American Gothic, an iconic painting of the 20th century.

(7) decades of Thanksgiving covers of the New Yorker

May your weekend include something true, something good, and something beautiful.

p.s. This post may contain affiliate links because I'm trying to be a good steward, and when you buy something through one of these links you don't pay more money, but in some magical twist of capitalism we get a little pocket change. Thanks!