Mid-vacation takes (7 Quick Takes)

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

(1) movie we watched

Dunkirk, directed by Christopher Nolan - 2 thumbs way up. (Once again, Josh Larsen describes best what we loved about this movie: Dunkirk and Our Deep Need to be Rescued)


(1) thing I published

On Being with Krista Tippett -- and Jesus? at Think Christian


(3) books I'm reading

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin (This selection was inspired by my friend Krista's recent visit to Eleanor's home in Hyde Park, NY)

Life in the Dark: the Film Issue of Image Journal, Issue 93 guest edited by Gareth Higgins and Scott Teems

A Ring of Endless Light: The Austin Family Chronicles, Book 4 by Madeleine L'Engle(My annual summer vacation re-read!)


(4) photos of our new home & neighborhood

Finding some beautiful spots among the chaos of unpacking.

Finding some beautiful spots among the chaos of unpacking.

We live in a renovated corset factory. Yes, you read that right. And I love telling people that! The building numbers are my favorite.

We live in a renovated corset factory. Yes, you read that right. And I love telling people that! The building numbers are my favorite.

Sometimes I feel like we moved to my childhood imagination of Sesame Street.

Sometimes I feel like we moved to my childhood imagination of Sesame Street.

Walking the dog in Seaside Park two blocks away from our new apartment.

Walking the dog in Seaside Park two blocks away from our new apartment.


(5) photos showing why I love NY in summer

Whenever I travel outside of New York state, and try to explain that upstate is not urban like the city, but pastoral, these are the scenes I have in mind. I took all of them during vacation in Canandaigua with my parents and siblings last week.


(6+) blog posts from this week in the archives

2015 - {pretty, happy, funny, real} contentment (A little slice of life from 2 summers ago, when we were on the verge of a whole lot of celebrating.)

2013 - Upon 2 Years in Austin (We first rolled in Austin on August 11, 2011 - 4 kids, 2 parents, 1 frazzled doggie.)

2012 - My Life As A Rabbit (The things we do to bring in income....)

2012 - Upon One Year in Austin

2011 - Murphys Take Austin, a family collaborated series 

Saying good-bye hurts like hell OR How My Husband's Personal Trainer Taught Me About Love (by me)

Farewell Gifts (from our NY Tribe)

Murphys Take Austin: Day 1 (from the road, by me again)

Days 2 & 3 (a photo diary)

Murphys Take Austin: Saying good-bye (from Stump Pond, by Andrew)

Days 3 & 4 (from Endicott to Cincinnati, A trip diary in which I make the infamous observation: "our desire to feel like we're on a great adventure and our desire to curl up in a ball in our old bedrooms and watch Spongebob ran smack dab into each other.")

Day 5 (from Louisville, by Brian)

Day 6 (from Memphis, by Kendra)

Day 7 (from Arkansas to Austin, by Alex)

Settling In (a photo diary from our first week in Austin, by Natalie)


6 years ago

 

 

 

 

               Our kids on a rooftop in Memphis, on our way to our new home in Austin. Craziest, most adventurous 6 years of my life. I'm so proud of us!

 

(7) Summer & Vacation-related links I love

Some links I've recently added to my Pinterest board about living and loving the communities where we live, worship, and work: Summer Holidays & Occasions

Dancing Fireflies at Dusk - "Filmed at dusk on in July, when thunderstorms cleared and a mist was rising against the mountains - some of the first fireflies of the season lit up the fields with their magic." | via YouTube

Sitting On the Porch. "Before air conditioning, television, and automobiles, and a number of other household-changing technologies, people were practically driven outside on a summer evening." | via Bacon From Acorns

Summer Music Festival with James Taylor and Lucinda Williams. Fun! Listen to 2 great American songwriter segments:  "James Taylor will teach you guitar" and Lucinda Williams talking about God, Flannery O'Connor, and her journey through the music industry. | via The New Yorker Radio Hour

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver.  One of my favorites, one of her best. "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" | via Library of Congress

The Cheapest Way to Travel With Your Kids: Children's Summer Reading List. Stories that connect kids' hearts to the world. | via IMB

In the Garden by Bobby Bostic.  "Like the garden that dies in the winter and revives in the springtime, I got a new life. It is time to revive myself. " | via Plough

Robert Moses' Jones Beach.  I have vague, but happy memories of playing on this beach when I was a little girl and our family visited family friends in Long Island. This article gives a brief description of the history of the architect's vision in all the complexity of its value to the area. | via Curbed


May your weekend include sunshine, beauty and a good laugh, friends. Peace...

p.s. This post contains 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!

On Being with Krista Tippett—and Jesus? [sharing at Think Christian this week]

read the whole article at Think Christian

If you’ve followed faith podcasts for any length of time, you’ve heard of the award-winning On Being with Krista Tippett.Depending on your comfort level with discussions of religion in general, you’ve responded to the show with appreciation or apprehension. I swing back and forth between the two.

I’m grateful that in a post-Christian world, someone provides a public space for discussions of “faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.” And I’m grateful for Tippett’s hospitable approach to the lived experiences of her guests, who represent various faith backgrounds. At the same time, I long for the Gospel of Christ to be presented with a grace that is unafraid of difficult differences yet remains faithful to the truth of Scripture and creed. Tippett consistently models one part of this equation beautifully; the other is more difficult to pin down.

Since 2001, first as a radio program and now as a podcast, Tippett has interviewed a wide range of people representing art, science, academia, religion, and social action. Whether her guests have professed any faith tradition or none, from Danah Boyd to the Dalai LamaMiroslav Volf to Maya Angelou, Tippett’s opening question remains the same: “What was the religious or spiritual background to your childhood?”

Tippett’s own faith background is rooted in the Christian tradition influenced most notably by her grandfather, a Southern Baptist preacher in Oklahoma. In various interviews and in her bestselling books, Tippett tells the story of growing up in a religion-soaked culture that contrasted starkly with the environment she encountered in her post-university work in the 1980s in Cold War Europe. In the mid-1990s, disillusioned by the limits of political and journalistic work to address what it means to be human, she returned to the United States to study theology at Yale Divinity school. She wanted her work to offer a response to the “black hole where intelligent coverage of religion should be” and to the political presence of conservative Christians she felt had distorted the rhetoric of faith.

An exchange during a recent episode provides an excellent summary of what motivates her work.

read the whole article at Think Christian


Bonus feature

My top five favorite On Being episodes:

1. Where Does It Hurt?: RUBY SALES

2. Spirituality of Imagination: MARTIN SHEEN

3. Listening to the World: MARY OLIVER

4. How Trauma Lodges in the Body: BESSEL VAN DER KOLK

5. Humor as A Tool for Survival: SAM SANDERS, TERRY MCMILLAN, LINDY WEST, ET AL

Last, but not least, if I were able to ask Krista Tippett 2 questions, here they are (in no particular order):

1. Who do you most wish you could have interviewed from history?

2. Has anyone ever mentioned you look like Bonnie Raitt?

Krista Tippett, Interviewer goddess

Krista Tippett, Interviewer goddess

Bonnie Raitt, Rock & Hair goddess

Bonnie Raitt, Rock & Hair goddess

What I Read In July

June.house.JPG

 

See what I read in JanuaryFebruary & March/April, & May/June.

22. Commonwealth: A Novel by Ann Patchett (Harper Perennial, 2017. 336 pages.)

Compelling and complex characters, interesting settings (LA and Virginia), exquisite description (I want very much to own an orange tree in my backyard for the purpose of mixing party cocktails), and heartbreaking plotlines made this one of my favorite books recommended in the Summer Reading Guide Anne Bogel publishes each year.  

23.  Chicago: A Novel by Brian Doyle (Thomas Dunne Books, 2016. 320 pages)

A uniquely constructed novel that felt like it might be mostly memoir. I began to believe Edward, the beloved dog, could actually talk and summon neighborhood meetings. This novel by the gone-too-soon Brian Doyle was a complete joy to read. It's one I'll come back to and probably recommend to anyone who asks. It made me want to know my neighbors and my city better (and even my dog).


24. The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, 2016. 320 pages)

 "In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom." (Amazon summary)

Here's what I realized. Other than being aware that such a thing as a metaphorical underground railroad existed in the U.S., I knew hardly any actual facts about it. So much so, that I'm not 100% positive I would have realized that Colson Whitehead's novel could be described as "fantastical". Embarrassing, but true. In either case, this was another novel I had a hard time putting down this month. That's either because the reading's been really good or because I'm highly motivated to PROCRASTINATE house packing and cleaning

One other note: I read this book because of a reader personality quiz I took at Modern Mrs. Darcy in which it was determined by their algorithm that I am the sort of reader considered an INSIDER. 

If you're an insider, your reading list is full of contemporary literary fiction—you pay attention to what's coming out of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and which hot new authors are on NPR these days. Your friends see you as the one who's “in the know” about what's happening in publishing. You pay attention to what the critics say, but you read to please yourself.

Not sure if the "hot new authors" part is completely accurate since I'm still making up for many lost years of reading, but I'll take it. 


25. God Is Love: Essays from Portland Magazine by Brian Doyle (Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2002. 140 pages)

Like the novel, Chicago, I found this title when I read about Brian Doyle's death and searched my local library for everything they had in their stacks. This is a collection of essays published in the University of Portland's publication, Portland Magazine, edited by Doyle. Reflecting the university's Catholic roots, the essays cover topics of spirituality from a variety of faith backgrounds. I love essays with a deep and abiding love, but for some reason rarely read them in the anthology format. I think, in part, the reason is that anthologies often feel inconsistent in their selections. This particular collection was of high quality, and I enjoyed almost every title. Still, my favorite part was the Introduction and selections written by Doyle, himself. I can't believe I'd never heard of him before this summer. Highly recommend!


Go to my reading lists page to see my reading lists from 2016 and previous years.

Here's my Goodreads page. Let's be friends!

I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!  

What are you reading these days? 

#

p.s. This post includes 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!

All Who Enter Here [writing at Art House America this week]

My cousin Megan shared this gorgeous photo with me. It's a perfect view of the incorrigibly named, Stump Pond.

My cousin Megan shared this gorgeous photo with me. It's a perfect view of the incorrigibly named, Stump Pond.

 

We have walked so many times, my boy,
over these fields given up
to thicket, have thought
and spoken of their possibilities,
theirs and ours, ours and theirs the same,
so many times, that now when I walk here
alone, the thought of you goes with me;
my mind reaches toward yours
across the distance and through time.

— Wendell Berry, from Sabbaths, part II

The date I’m writing this is July 2007. My husband and I have brought our four children to vacation under the rooftop of a tiny, red-shingled cabin on the curve of a sparkling spot of water named, incorrigibly, Stump Pond. Today, my husband and I are taking the long woodsy walk up Forshee Road, across the street from the family land. Midsummer wildflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, black-eyed Susan, purpled chicory, and dried Timothy grass wind the stony roadway, reminding me of the countless grubby bouquets we’d shoved in plastic cups on Grandma’s kitchen table. 

As we hike, we get an occasional glimpse of the blue sky and white clouds through the leafy canopy, inviting us to keep trudging upward to the top where we’ll stop long enough to witness again the panoramic view of fields full of goldenrod and blackberry bushes, and to revisit a hallowed ancient tree that stands at the highest point on the hill overlooking a neighboring lake. This is the tree that propped me up after this same walk during so many angst-ridden adolescent summers, the tree that can be seen from almost any spot walking around the lake below, the tree that serves as a path-marker fingering the country sky.

When I was younger I came to this plot of land for years—almost 25 in a row—roaming the grassy shoreline, rowing around lily pads and tree stumps poking through the pond water, and running sweaty laps up and down Forshee Road. As an adolescent, I bloomed in the sensual soil of this place. I thrived during weeks like this one now, when I was the child vacationing here with my parents, brothers, and sisters. Year by year, we formed a kind of family liturgy, a joyful way of being together that transcended the reality of the modest little cabin and weedy pond. The liturgy expanded to jubilation during picnics with relatives, commemorating patriotic holidays or celebrating the birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries of three generations underneath Grandpa’s homemade picnic pavilion, eating Grandma’s macaroni and potato salads. 

I say almost 25 years because, late in my teen years, the cottage as a haven for relatives crumbled under the weight of a family split.read the whole story at Art House America blog

photo credit: Megan Hill Glennon (my wonderful cousin)

photo credit: Megan Hill Glennon (my wonderful cousin)

BONUS FEATURES!

Previous posts inspired by the beloved cottage:

2014 - gorgeous autumn at Stump Pond courtesy of another wonderful cousin, Kelcy

2011 - a teary farewell weekend at the cottage before we moved to Austin, photo credit this time to my sister-in-law Young-Mee. And here's my son Andrew's post on that weekend, which includes a heart-wrenching photo of all of us trying to smile through our tears: Saying good-bye.

2010 - A place for rest [Imperfect Prose]

And since I missed the chance to post photos of my kids when they were babies because, well, I barely even knew what email was back then, I'll take this chance to post a photo of my daughter (approx. 4 mos.) enjoying the shade during our family vacation at the cottage.

Summer 1996, Kendra 

Summer 1996, Kendra 


What places hold family memories - good or painful - for you?

TGIWeekend! (7 Quick Takes)

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

(1) movie I watched this week

Paterson, starring Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani (If you love understated films that include both art & quirk, you'll like this movie! Here's a good review at Larsen on Film.)


(2) things I wrote published this week (both are rather personal - yikes!)

All Who Enter Here at Art House America

Catastrophe's Refreshingly Ancient Take on Marriage at Think Christian


(3) books I'm reading

The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

God Is Love: Essays from Portland Magazine by Brian Doyle

A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 by Wendell Berry (An Ordinary Time selection for our church's reading group.)


(4) television shows we're recording this summer

Turn: Washington's Spies on AMC (previous seasons on Amazon)

Broadchurch, season 3 at BBC America  (previous seasons on Amazon)

So You Think You Can Dance, season 14 on Fox

The Great British Baking Show, season 4 on PBS (previous seasons on Amazon)


(5) recent photos from our church community

We're so grateful to live and serve among this beautiful community of people (and, yes, we're a bit biased about our kids!)


(6) blog posts from this week in the archives

2016 - Ireland! (A year ago on July 14th we returned from our month in Ireland. All the posts with all the photos.)

2015 - Monday morning thoughts: Dancing bear act, crash helmets, and a Doxology (a stream-of-consciousness meditation on the Anglican liturgy)

2012 - 5 pieces of art inspired by the great American road trip

2010 - "Sometimes we have to change jobs in order to maintain our vocation." - Eugene Peterson (If I'd known in 2010 we were on the brink of so much change, I probably wouldn't have believed it. A prophetic post...)

2008 - Transforming Culture Symposium #1: THE GOSPEL (Andy Crouch) (You could also title this series The Origins of Tamara's Mind Blown.)

2006 - The summer our town flooded - here, here, and here (another life-changing event, captured in the earliest days of this blog)


July.Loft.jpg

View from our week. 

 

Have I mentioned we are moving? Just across town this time. See first link below. In case you're wondering, there's 5 steps to get in the door and 19 to get into the apartment. Lord, have mercy.

 

(7) Cities, Towns, & Neighborhoods links I love

Some links I've recently added to my Pinterest board about living and loving the communities where we live, worship, and work: Cities, Towns, and Neighborhoods

25 Things You Should Know About Bridgeport, Connecticut. Connecticut is a web of neighboring small towns with an occasional larger urban area thrown in. Our church is based in Fairfield, and is bordered on one side by Westport (the 22nd richest place in America) and on the other by Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut with one of the highest crime rates and lowest median incomes in the country. When we came to Church of the Apostles we drove between both, and felt strongly that we were called to love and serve both Westport and Bridgeport and everyone between. For now, we are also called to live in Bridgeport, and I'll write more about that soon. | via Mental Floss

Protective Hospitality. Jayme Reaves writes about creating safety amidst violent conflict, in two of the most infamous  neighborhoods in Northern Ireland, reminding me of the Bogside murals in Derry/Londonderry and our bus tour through Belfast las summer. It's also an intriguing perspective on what walls can mean. | via The Porch Magazine

Why America Can't Make Up Its Mind About Housing. "We are, in conclusion, profoundly conflicted as a nation when it comes to housing: we want it to be affordable, but we also want its prices to rise fast enough to be valuable as a financial investment. That’s a contradiction we need to acknowledge if our housing policy debate—and, ultimately, our housing policy—is going to be coherent and constructive." | via Strong Towns

Small is Beautiful (Except When It Isn't).   | via Comment Magazine

Stop Shoehorning Suburbia Into Walkable Places.  "All we need is the common sense to improve these areas without destroying them." | via Strong Towns

Can City Design Help End Street Harassment?   "One study shows that 87 percent of American women have experienced physical or sexual harassment in public by a male stranger ... there’s absolutely nothing we can do to stop it. Or is there?" | via Strong Towns

Robert Moses' Jones Beach.  I have vague, but happy memories of playing on this beach when I was a little girl and our family visited family friends in Long Island. This article gives a brief description of the history of the architect's vision in all the complexity of its value to the area. | via Curbed


May your weekend include sunshine, beauty and a good laugh, friends. Peace...

p.s. This post contains 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!