Falling for fall in 7 quick takes

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

(1) poem for your weekend

I taught my kids the entire poem when they were in preschool & kindergarten. I can hear their voices saying the words. sigh... You can download this free printable here.

I taught my kids the entire poem when they were in preschool & kindergarten. I can hear their voices saying the words. sigh...

You can download this free printable here.

You can see digital versions of some of my favorite poems on my Poems board on Pinterest.)


(2) Phoebe Wahl illustrations for Autumn

Apple Picking by Pheoebe Wahl

Apple Picking by Pheoebe Wahl

Cider Pressing by Phoebe Wahl

Cider Pressing by Phoebe Wahl


(3) books I'm reading right now

The End of Summer by Rosamunde Pilcher

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner


(4) photos from this past week


(5) blog posts from this week in the archives

2015 - Waiting for Our Next Step (In the words of Eugene Peterson, "We were ready for a congregation. But where?".)

2011 - Becoming Petition & Intercession ("...on one particularly troublesome day it dawned on me that we were holding back our requests for fear of asking too much...That to make fuzzy, vaguely spiritual requests of our God and through our prayer community was a form of unbelief.")

2010 - A Place for Rest ("Now, we come back to this Place after a long absence.  We find that we can take naps  any time we want.  It is a major difference and one that pleases us greatly.")

2009 - Study [disciplines for the inner life] ("Imagine, then, my delight at discovering that someone as wise and austere as a Wesley brother would connect trifling with a lack of reading!")

2007 - Good Medicine (One of my favorite posts I've ever written. We're all scattered now, but that sure was a fun weekend. )

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2 years ago

Milk & cookie party on first day of Natalie's senior year (at our house in Austin).



(7) Autumn-related links (My favorite time of year!)

See more beautiful ideas for fall at my Autumn Holidays & Occasions board on Pinterest.

10 Things to Do in Connecticut This Fall (No pressure!) - If you're new to Connecticut like us, this will be one of your favorite blog posts of all time. If you've lived here awhile, you might still might discover something new. If you don't live in Connecticut at all, you'll still get lots of ideas from this post. (Thanks to my friend Monica, for telling me about this blog!)  | via The Size of Connecticut

2017 Farmers' Markets (CT) - Alphabetized by town | via Connecticut Department of Agriculture

Farm Stands and Stores Listings by county (CT) | via Connecticut Department of Agriculture

5 Autumn Activities to Build Stronger Neighborhoods - #4 is an especially thoughtful idea! | via Strong Towns

Why Are There So Many Types of Apples? - Did you know there are over 7,500 known cultivars?!? A TedEd video for all ages. | via The Kid Should See This

The Best Spots For Apple Cider Across the Country - Is your favorite stand listed?  | via Country Living

Applesauce Season - I love these kinds of posts from my friend Erica. | via Liturgy of Life


May your weekend include shiny red apples and a good laugh, friends. Peace...

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!

7 quick takes

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

(1) poem for your weekend

Our church's reading group, aka Apostles Reads, is meeting on Sunday to discuss Wendell Berry's poetry collection, A Timbered Choir. It's one of my favorite collections, but doesn't include this beautiful poem, The Peace of Wild Things. 

Listen and love. (Also, you can see digital versions of some of my favorite poems on my Poems board on Pinterest.)


(2) podcasts I enjoyed this week

We Need a Blue-Collar Theology of Work - How the church can best spiritually support the majority of American workers. | Quick to Listen from CT

Alice Parker: Singing Is the Most Companionable of Arts - "She began as a young woman, studying conducting with Robert Shaw at Juilliard, and collaborated with him on arrangements of folksongs, spirituals, and hymns that are still performed around the world today. Alice Parker is also a gorgeous thinker and writer, a wise and joyful woman, about why singing is able to touch and join human beings in ways few other arts can." | via On Being with Krista Tippett


(3) photo-based links I couldn't resist

81 of Kate Middleton's Best Fashion Moments - | via Marie Claire

31 Rare Historical Photos - | via All That is Interesting

5 Weird Old Home Trends I'd Love to See Make a Comeback -  | via Apartment Therapy


(4) links I love on the subject of caring for the refugee and immigrant

Deporting my Iraqi-Christian dad would be a death sentence. That's why I'm praying for justice.      - "ICE agents pounded on our door at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning as we were getting ready to go to Mass. The agents said that they were doing a house check...My people are facing genocide by ISIS in Iraq because of our Christian faith." | via America Magazine

An Impossible Hope. - "Three men in Syria showed me what Jesus looks like." by Stephanie Saldaña | via Plough quarterly magazine

My Father Is Not a Powerful Man: Lessons from My Refugee People - "It does not take powerful men to live powerful lives." | via On Being blog

I Wake Close to the Morning - "Why do people keep asking to see / God’s identity papers / when the darkness opening into morning / is more than enough?" A poem by Mary Oliver. | via Tina Osterhouse blog

The Last Christians: Stories of Persecution, Flight, and Resilience in the Middle East - I've put this book written by Andreas Knapp and published by Plough onto my TBR list. You too? | via Plough


(5) blog posts from this week in the archives

2015 - Anyone want to read stories about staying married? (I'm asking for a friend...) (A few months before our 25th wedding anniversary, I wrote this as a response to a book about marriage that was good, but not great because of some key words the author avoided. Want to guess which words?)

2012 - Parenting Unrehearsed: It does take a village (Parenting advice that includes a story about one of the absolute scariest moments I've ever experienced as a mother.)

2011 - Mourning Friends (A poem-ish reflection on the ways friends have mourned with me, and I with them.)

2010 - Quick reflection re: "Christian" art (Long, long ago, in a land far, far away, I led a group of artists in our church. This post recalls one of the many times we discussed this topic of "Christian" art. It's a happy memory.)

2006 - The death of alone and unprotected (Perhaps the most vulnerable blog post I've ever written on one of the most healing realities of my life. Frankly, it's a little bit embarrassing to me that I ever wrote it, but my greater desire is to remember God's extravagant goodness to me. So the post stays, and every once in awhile, I share it again. )

2 Years Ago

At our house in Austin, a few months before our 25th wedding anniversary.


(6) photos from our time in and around Connecticut the past week

Bishop's Apple Orchard in Guilford, CT

Food trucks on Long Wharf, New Haven

A wedding on a boat in Lake George (NY)


(7) songs my sons & their friends wrote, produced, and performed

It's been a while since I've mentioned Where's Ulysses, and I've found myself telling our new friends in Connecticut about the band lately, so here's a refresher. (Also, click here to listen to their second EP, Surplus.)


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

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!

What I Read In August

A visit to Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore during our Kids' summer visit this month. It was also Andrew's birthday weekend, so a gift-Book win/win!

A visit to Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore during our Kids' summer visit this month. It was also Andrew's birthday weekend, so a gift-Book win/win!

 

See what I read in JanuaryFebruary & March/AprilMay/June, & July.

26. No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front In World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon Schuster, 1995. 761 pages.)

It's been a long, long time since I've read anything like this work from Doris Kearns Goodwin. Brian's read her acclaimed Team of Rivals, and I've read her memoir Wait Till Next Year. We respect her work, and that respect's only increased with this new title. I was originally inspired to read something on the Roosevelts after our friends visited from Texas this year, and made a point to visit Eleanor's home in Hyde Park. I also realized I only carried a fuzzy picture of Roosevelt's years in office , gathered from individual bits and pieces of school studies. It felt like a good time to better understand his influence on the twentieth century in the U.S. and across the world. Even more, I wanted to better understand Eleanor's relationship and influence on her husband and on the American landscape.

Kearns Goodwin is so skilled in creating a chronological narrative while threading informative background history, that I felt I was getting a whole picture without getting bogged down by too many asides. She weaves together so many primary sources while maintaining an accessible, compelling narrative structure that, at times, I felt like I was reading a novel rather than a history book. She also seems to use restraint in drawing her own conclusions on the unspoken motivations of the characters - primarily Eleanor & Franklin, whose relationship was so unusual it's almost impossible not to try to psychoanalyze them!

In the end, I feel like I better understand the United States' involvement (including the much-discussed delay in entering) in World War II. I have a bit more clarity on the complicated decisions that needed to be made to survive both the Depression and WWII; decisions that introduced progress in the areas of economic growth, labor disputes, and racial and gender equality. I also understand better the context (and continue to lament) for the ways the "win the war at all costs" mentality that introduced the military industrial complex and a nation that could never go back to the homes in quite the same way again. I lament the astonishing ways our nation, both actively and passively, betrayed the cause of democracy and the civic peace of Japanese Americans, Black Americans, and Jewish Europeans, even as they rallied every force for the cause of democracy. For every good result, there seems to be a corollary that broke our nation in ways we are still paying for today. I respect the great work of the WWII political, industrial, military, and civic generation, understand better the almost impossible hurdles they had to navigate, and at the same time, lament many of their choices. I applaud the incorrigible life of work of both Eleanor and Franklin, and at the same time, lament the ways they were unable to live out their own relationships with peace and love.

27.  Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (Grand Master Editions, 1985. 256 pages)

A sweet, lovely, and, sometimes, odd little novel - that reads a bit more like a collection of stories around the same characters in a little town in 1930's Illinois. Most of the stories are told through the eyes of two, imaginative and mischievous young brothers Douglas and Tom (which happen to be my own Dad and uncle's names). The best comparison I can think of is a less-cynical, equally-quirky version of Garrison Keillor's Lake Woebegon. Sweet bedtime reading.


28. A Ring of Endless Light: The Austin Family Chronicles by Madeleine L'Engle 

 My annual summer re-read since I was young. Here's what I wrote about it the first time I mentioned the book on the blog:  As for the Newberry Award winning book four, A Ring of Endless Light, all I can say is sigh.... 

I love this book so much I want to marry it -- or at least take it with me on the ever-threatening deserted island I may be stranded on with only one book and nothing else to read for the rest of my days. I joyfully suspend disbelief as I revel in Vickie Austin's ability to communicate telepathically with dolphins. I smell the salty air surrounding Grandfather's Cove and hear the back porch screen door slamming as the busy Austin family come in and out of the house and I wait alongside Grandfather's deathbed with the family and sense that this is such a right thing to do -- to wait with a loved one as he nears Eternity. 

There's more, but you'll have to discover it for yourself. For now, I keep shoving the books into my daughters' hands as soon as I finish reading...just like my own mother did years ago with me. (In fact, my eleven-year-old Natalie is sitting on the bed next to me reading Meet the Austins as I finish this post. She just rolled over and said, "I loveMadeline L'Engle." Ahhhh......) 


29. A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979 - 1997 by Wendell Berry (Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2002. 140 pages)

Another favorite re-read for summertime (at the top of the list of my Top 15 life-changing books I've read since beginning this blog in 2006). This year, I invited our church's reading group to join me. We're meeting on Sunday to discuss, and I'm looking forward to hearing about their experience.

Here's what I wrote about A Timbered Choir following my first read in 2011 (and also, how this collection of poems inspired a comparison to King Solomon's in Ecclesiastes).


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

Such a great journal. Such a great issue. I especially loved reading everything from Scott Teems in the issue, and discovering that he was a a director for a couple of episodes of Rectify, one of the most beautiful, heart-tugging television series Brian and I have watched in recent years. Along the same lines, it was a fun surprise to read the contribution of J. Smith-Cameron (along with so many other industry voices) in the Symposium feature centered around the question "The film that helps me live better". 


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!

7 Sunday evening quick takes

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

We are watching and praying for all of those recovering from natural disasters across the globe, and particularly, those in Florida this evening. Lord, have mercy. Make your goodness known in the midst of so much tragedy.

(1) television scene from this week

So You Think You Can Dance is one of our favorite reality shows (I am notoriously picky about this genre!). This year's contestants are so, so talented. I'm not sure I've ever seen a spoken word choreography piece in previous seasons, and, overall, it's not necessarily one of the best numbers ever performed. The cultural timing, though, and the absolute poetic ferocity of the Maya Angelou soundtrack puts this performance at the top of my favorites list.


(2) albums I've listened to on repeat this week

Steadfast: Live by Sandra McCracken (so, so good)from Archbishop Foley Beach

 

The Bird & The Rifle by Lori McKenna (A great recommendation of an excellent Nashville singer/songwriter from my friend, Laura!)


(3) of my recent favorite podcast episodes

Spiritual Direction in Prison - Episode 84 // Joshua Banner - Although I've not met him in person, Joshua Banner is a friend of a dear friend, and I've followed his ministry work for several years. This interview about the contemplative prayer outreach in prisons is stunningly beautiful. | via Renovaré podcast 

Cultivated Podcast: Audrey Assad - This podcast is new to me, but is produced and hosted by another arts ministry leader I've followed for years, Mike Cosper. I'm so glad my first episode was this warm, vulnerable, encouraging interview with musician Audrey Assad. I'm looking forward to catching on back episodes! I also listened to the pilot episode of another podcast venture Cosper produced last year, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. He articulates the humble journey his church has taken trying to be a good gift to their local arts community who welcome a church with mixed responses, including one devastating newspaper review that sent them all back to the ministry drawing board. | via Cultivated Podcast

Long Island Sound: August 29th on The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor - We live two blocks from the sound, so close I can hear the Long Island ferry whistle several times a day. Also, because Emma Lazarus.


(4) photos from a little Labor Day house project

Slowly, but surely, we're getting some order in our new place! 


(5) photos from praying the hours this past week

I've been posting prayer excerpts, photos, and other resources @a_sacramental_life on Instagram.

Morning Prayer at Seaside Park, Bridgeport (that's the Long Island Ferry)

Morning Prayer at Seaside Park, Bridgeport (that's the Long Island Ferry)

Mid-Day Prayer in my Living room with Phaedra Taylor's print ("CLasp Hands in times of Trouble")

Mid-Day Prayer in my Living room with Phaedra Taylor's print ("CLasp Hands in times of Trouble")

Vespers & Poetry at St. Mary's-by-the-Sea, Black Rock

Vespers & Poetry at St. Mary's-by-the-Sea, Black Rock

Vespers & Meal Delivery to a dear parishioner after her surgery

Vespers & Meal Delivery to a dear parishioner after her surgery

Compline walk with Brian and the dog to the UB soccer field.

Compline walk with Brian and the dog to the UB soccer field.


(6) blog posts from this week in the archives

2013 - 20 Conversation Prompts, or How Our Family Spent 60 Hours in a Mini-Van & Lived to Tell About It: 20 conversation prompts (During our 5 years in Austin, when we couldn't afford to fly everyone back to NY for visits, we got really, really skilled at roadtrips.)

2013 - 6 Roadtrip Playlists, or How Our Family Spent 60 Hours in a Mini-Van & Lived to Tell About It (Now that summer is over, I'm sharing tips for family road trips. Oh well...)

2011 - On Being Kingdom Culverts When All Others Have Crumbled (I began this blog in 2006, a couple of weeks before historic flooding hit our little hometown, requiring my family and all of our neighbors to be airlifted to dry ground. Our town (not our own home, thankfully) was devastated, but the memories of working together with our community are priceless. Just after we moved to Austin in 2011, an even greater flood hit our hometown again. From Austin, I wrote this post, hoping to encourage my family and friends who were facing, yet again, the heartbreaking work of clean up.)

2011 - Come, Home (A clunky, poem-ish reflection on the ache of leaving beloved community behind in order to respond to God's invitation and calling on our family.)

2010 - Pumpkin-chip Cookies on the First Day of School (The recipe my momma taught that became one of our family's most-loved traditions. Also my confession about only baking twice a year.)

2006 - There Are No Words (The post in which I try to process the flood that destroyed our little hometown in New York state.)

11 Years Ago

the summer we mucked out our flooded hometown - horrible circumstances, but beautiful memories


(7) books I'm reading for my certification as a Spiritual Director (I'll write about this more soon!)

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

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!

(7 Quick Takes) from the past couple of weeks

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

I spent a good part of August "unplugged", and have been putting this post together in bits and pieces for a few weeks. When I began writing it, we were all trying to process news about killing and acts of absolute racism in Charlottesville. This week, we're trying to make sense of Hurricane Harvey. May the Spirit of god lead us and guide us in discernment, prayer, and love for Him and for each other.

(1) "defining moment" sermon my husband preached

I was challenged, convicted, and comforted by the way Brian presented the "one side" of the Gospel response to the events in Charlottesville (and Boston). You can read his notes, and I recommend listening to the 25 minute presentation because you'll hear his heart on full display. I'm grateful to be a part of the congregation he shepherds.

Audio (25 minutes)

Note "On Current Events" (scroll to the August 23 post)


(2) statements on Charlottesville from U.S. Anglican leaders

On Charlottesville from Archbishop Foley Beach

The Charlottesville Statement from the Anglican Multiethnic Network


(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

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury


(4) words I want to describe me

"Honest and funny, gracious and provocative..."

That's what Brian prayed over me recently when I was struggling to meet a writing deadline and couldn't figure out how to say the right words. He prayed this over me, and I thought: "Ah! That's exactly how I want to be. I've been waiting 46 years to figure out how to describe the way I most want to be, and he just said it perfectly in this prayer!" 

Since then, I've put the words in a place where I see them often as a reminder of his blessing.

How about you? What four words best describe the person you hope to be(come)? 


(5) photos of the sweet staycation time we spent with 3 of our kids in August

Dinner at Captain's Cove Seaport, Bridgeport 

Dinner at Captain's Cove Seaport, Bridgeport 

Has any Dad ever looked happier with his daughters?

Has any Dad ever looked happier with his daughters?

Rainy day trip into Brooklyn - Greenlight Bookstore

Rainy day trip into Brooklyn - Greenlight Bookstore

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Andrew's 26th birthday dinner at Luigi's Italian in Fairfield

Andrew's 26th birthday dinner at Luigi's Italian in Fairfield


(6) blog posts from this week in the archives

2014 - My top 4 parenting epiphanies, OR My Child is Not My Property but My Guest (Each time one of my kids graduated from high school, I experienced the a few moments of parental clarity.)

2013 - What I'd Like My Son to Say to Me On His 22nd Birthday  (Kids' birthdays give me parenting clarity, as well.)

2013 - Oh Lord, you have searched me and known my love for thrift stores ("How does it feel to hear that God knows you through and through?" And, no joke, I think about thrift stores.)

2012 - Parenting Unrehearsed: Your kids were supposed to have perfect parents (aka, Your Kids Were Supposed to Have Perfect Parents. You Were Supposed to Have Perfect Kids. You're All Plain Out of Luck.)

2012 - Parenting Unrehearsed: You kids are not fragile (aka, "Your Worst Case Scenarios Make Room for Sturdy Grace and Steady Love)

2006 - There Are No Words (The post in which I try to process the flood that destroyed our little hometown in New York state.)

5 Years Ago

the time I wrote a bunch of posts about parenting even while I was still figuring it out.


(7) Race & Church & Media links

Untangling Race, Language and Culture in America by Anne Kennedy | via Preventing Grace at Patheos

So Much of the Privileged Life Is About Transcendence by Christina Cleveland | via On Being blog

On slavery: A time for atonement | via Aleteia

Reclaiming This Nation Begins With Reclaiming Our Attention by Courtney E. Martin  | via On Being blog

Make America Again by Langston Hughes | via Topology Magazine

On Monument Wars and On Monument Wars, Revisited  | via New City Commons

On Charlottesville - | via New City Commons


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

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!