Weekend Daybook: the evil, tragedy, memorials, and common grace edition

A week of collecting what I've been up to lately: places, people, books, podcasts, music, links & more for your weekend downtime.

You can consider this late from last week or early for next! We’ll be gone for the next couple of weeks and I look forward to catching back up with you in September, friends!

(1) photo from this week

A common grace found in Kennebunk, Maine: The MOST delicious lobster roll I’ve ever eaten + fresh squeezed lemonade. I will never forget this meal.

A common grace found in Kennebunk, Maine: The MOST delicious lobster roll I’ve ever eaten + fresh squeezed lemonade. I will never forget this meal.


(2) helpful podcasts covering the subject of gun control

As with most other important policies, gun control is complicated. It feels hopeful we may finally move to more common sense in regulation, but we need wise governance to navigate all the complexities. These two podcasts helped me think through this issue with more knowledge and nuance.

  1. Trump Says He’s Ready For Gun Measures | via KCRW’s Left, Right, and Center

  2. Constitutional Primers: Second Amendment | via Pantsuit Politics


(3) links remembering Toni Morrison

I’ve not yet had the courage to read her work. I keep waiting for the “right moment” to engage emotionally and intellectually. In the meantime, I’m grateful especially to one of my favorite writing peers, Allison Backous Troy, for pointing toward Morrison as “a powerful witness, Toni Morrison's God Help the Child brings us into the work of reconciliation, the work of the Cross.”

  1. Toni Morrison – Remembering the Award-winning Novelist [NPR] | via Englewood Review of Books

  2. The withering witness of Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child and The rough redemption of Toni Morrison’s Home by Allison Backous Troy | via Think Christian

  3. How Toni Morrison Countered the Canon by Karen Swallow Prior | via Think Christian


(4) beautiful examples of the Church responding to evil and tragedy in Dayton and El Paso

Slowly, slowly - and, sadly, too late for many - a few voices from the American Church are more clearly demonstrating a public response that sounds like what Jarvis J. Williams and Curtis A. Woods describe in the CT piece linked below : “We believe in a Savior who redeems, a Spirit who reconciles, and a gospel that is the antithesis of white supremacy.”

  1. Context for El Paso mass shooting from Sami DiPasquale, Executive Director of Ciudad Neuva

  2. Returning to the Lord in Times of Evil and Tragedy by Fr. Peter Coelho, Church of the Cross, Austin, TX

  3. A Litany of Lament and Repentance For Our Treatment of Immigrants and Refugees | via Caminemos Juntos

  4. Jesus, Deliver Us from This Racist Evil Age by Jarvis J. Williams and Curtis A. Woods | via CT


(5) remembrances on the 5th anniversary of Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson

Jemar Tisby’s piece reminded me that it was not only Michael Brown’s death and the subsequent protests in Ferguson that began to wake me up to my own racist complicity, but more specifically a question I asked an Intervarsity leader friend of mine after he returned from Urbana ‘15. I heard my own racism more clearly than ever and began to confess, repent and hope for reconciliation with my Black neighbors.

  1. Michael Brown Jr.’s Sisters Remember Their Brother on the Fifth Anniversary of His Police Shooting Death | via StoryCorps

  2. Five Years Later, Two Ferguson Protestors Reflect on the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photo that Captured their Anguish — and Connection | via StoryCorps

  3. How Ferguson widened an enormous rift between black Christians and white evangelicals by Jemar Tisby | via Washington Post

  4. I’m a Shooting Survivor. If You’re Going to Pray for Us, Here’s How. by Taylor Schumann | via CT

  5. Ferguson Mother of God: Our Lady against all Gun Violence, 2015 by Mark Dukes

Ferguson Mother of God: Our Lady against all Gun Violence, Mark Dukes   Source

Ferguson Mother of God: Our Lady against all Gun Violence, Mark Dukes

Source


(6) photos from my first week participating in #AugustBreak2019

I’m always ready by August for a little daily prompt to keep paying attention to the beauty of summer, aren’t you?

There is much to be cynical about—and it is a good answer if there has not been an incarnation. But if that has happened, if the Word did become flesh, and if there are men and women who in and through their own vocations imitate the vocation of God, then sometimes and in some places the world becomes something more like the way it ought to be.
— Steven Garber, Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good

(7) links featuring first-person narratives expanding our understanding of the Imago Dei

I hope you’ll take the time to read through this list I’ve curated. It covers an expanse of people and places, held together by the thread of society’s outliers. May reading the words translate into real-life noticing in our everyday lives.

  1. Confessing My Racism by Anna Broadway via Amy Julia Becker’s Thin Places at CT | How forgiveness could transform us all: “But insofar as we can call racism a blind spot (by which I don't in any way mean to absolve people of responsibility), Jesus taught a very different process for correction: start with your own sin.”

  2. Introducing: Mockingbird, History Lessons For Adults via Black Coffee with White Friends | "What if, all those years ago, when I asked Mrs. Jacka, “what should I be,” she’d been able to tell me, “Well, your people were the great pharaohs who were already here. They were from distant lands like Egypt and they arrived with gold spears to trade with the indigenous people who allowed them to stay and exchanged land for goods”? See a sample lesson here: Gimme shelter

  3. Christ in the Camps by Caitlin Flanagan via The Atlantic | Migrant children are suffering. Christians need to help: “But the Beatitudes come at you sideways sometimes, and that’s when you’re really in trouble. It occurred to me this morning that maybe as a Christian I’m also supposed to be meek.”

  4. My time with Jean Vanier and his mom, the grandmother of L’Arche by Ellen Rahner via America Magazine | "My time with Jean Vanier and his mom, the grandmother of L’Arche."

  5. The Fruits of Your Suffering: A Letter to My Refugee Mom by Adrienne Minh-Chau Le via On Being | "I have grown up so comfortably eating the fruits of your suffering."

  6. Going Home with Wendell Berry by Amanda Petrusich via The New Yorker | The writer and farmer on local knowledge, embracing limits, and the exploitation of rural America.

  7. The McDonald's Test by Chris Arnade via Plough | Learning to Love Back Row America


May your weekend include some rest and some fun with friends and family. 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!

Weekend Daybook: the Engagement edition

A week of collecting what I've been up to lately: places, people, books, podcasts, music, links & more for your weekend downtime.

(1) photo from this week

Our daughter Kendra got engaged! We’re so happy for her and her fiance, Jordan, and we loved celebrating with them this past week!  Many more photos and exclamation marks to come!

Our daughter Kendra got engaged! We’re so happy for her and her fiance, Jordan, and we loved celebrating with them this past week!

Many more photos and exclamation marks to come!


(2)-part article published for The Telos Collective

We live in a culture of workism where people both define themselves by their work and struggle to find its meaning and purpose. In this two-part series, I explored a missional approach to the areas of identity and vocation.

  1. In Part 1, she shares how listening to the 9-to-5 stories of her community has opened a path for blessing and connection: Why Am I Here?”: A Missional Approach to Identity and Vocation

  2. In Part 2 of her blog series on vocation and mission, Tamara Hill Murphy of Church of the Apostles shares firsthand experience that offices can double as confessionals and work-related prayers as benedictions: The Workplace: America’s New Church?


(3) sweet videos about fathers and sons

  1. Can’t get enough of this adorable father-son conversation.

  2. This son reminds his dad and the rest of us what matters most!

  3. Negative Space is an Oscar-nominated short film animation that depicts a father-and-son relationship through the art of packing a suitcase.


(4) rubrics for a Christian political imagination

  1. The Grey Area is Holy Ground by Marilyn McEntyre via Comment Magazine | "The bottom line for great compromisers: "It's not that simple."

  2. The Christian Mandate to Subvert Tribalism by Judy Wu Dominick via CT | From 2017 and more important to read than ever: "Our call to pursue nuance, a love-infused, subversive force."

  3. Against Nationalism: A Reading List for Christians via Englewood Review of Books | “How do we balance our biblical call to love, care for, and seek the welfare of our neighbors with our identity as followers of Jesus, whose reign was not of this world?”

  4. The Economics of Love by Peter Mommsen via Plough | Beyond Capitalism – and Socialism


(5) books I’m reading right now

  1. One Blood:Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love by John Perkins - Hearts & Minds Bookstore | IndieBound | | Amazon

  2. A Place in Time: Twenty Stories of the Port William Membership by Wendell Berry - Hearts & Minds Bookstore | IndieBound | | Amazon

  3. The Heart’s Necessities: Life in Poetry by Jane Tyson Clement with Becca Stevens - Plough | Hearts & Minds Bookstore | Amazon

  4. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri - Hearts & Minds Bookstore | IndieBound | | Amazon

  5. Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth - Hearts & Minds Bookstore | IndieBound | | Amazon


(6) posts from the archives

  1. 2017 - All Who Enter Here [writing at Art House America] (This is an essay I keep writing and re-writing, and it feels meaningful again this year as my Grandfather’s health steadily declines. “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… underneath Grandpa’s homemade picnic pavilion, eating Grandma’s macaroni and potato salads.”)

  2. 2014 - Orange (August is a good time for paying attention to the daily things, don't you think? Sometimes these prompts feel a little self-indulgent for me, but I think it’s a really good time to participate with #AugustBreak2019 again!)

  3. 2012 - My life as a rabbit (“People called me, emailed me and sought me out after church to share great part-time job ideas: personally assist a speaker and life trainer, copywriter for a sales company, provide childcare. All I wanted to do was to get paid for reading books all day.”)

  4. 2011 - Saying good-bye hurts like hell OR How My Husband's Personal Trainer Taught Me About Love (“When talking with people about this fact, my husband has taken to quoting a well-loved line from Christmas Vacation, " If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.")

  5. 2011 - Farewell Gifts (“We're still licking our wounds a bit, I'll admit. Still in mourning over lost dreams. Still shaking our heads at the lunacy of leaving behind these once-in-a-lifetime kind of friendships.”)

Natalie at camp.jpg

4 years ago

2015 - Natalie the fire-keeper. This will always be one of my favorites!


(7+) photos from our little celebration for Kendra & Jordan’s engagement!


May your weekend include some rest and some fun with friends and family. 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!

Weekend Daybook: Candlemas & TGIFebruary edition

Seven days of collecting what I've been up to lately: places, people, books, podcasts, music, links & more for your weekend downtime.

Before the links, here’s a happy reminder that today is Candlemas, also known as the Feast of the Presentation! Several years ago I wrote a brief essay about the prophetess Anna, and it’s been one of my favorite Scriptural figures ever since: Anna’s Advent Prepares Her For A Glorious Epiphany.

Here’s a lovely write-up from The Homely Hours about the meaning of Candlemas and a family liturgy printable for Candlemas. Don’t miss the enchanting Candlemas gift at this post!

And it wouldn’t be a feast day without a playlist!


(1) photo from this week*

*January’s been rough! Except for this sweet weekend Alex and Rebekah visited from Texas, one or the other of us has been sick since Christmas. I prepared this post last week and then never published it. It’s a week late, but still full of goodness. Hope you enjoy!

Alex & Bekah visited us from Austin! We spent one afternoon traipsing through New Haven & Yale campus in freezing temps.

Alex & Bekah visited us from Austin! We spent one afternoon traipsing through New Haven & Yale campus in freezing temps.


(2) of my favorite tributes to the poetic gifts of the late Mary Oliver

  1. Mary Oliver: The Gift of the Word Despair by Allison Backous Troy via Image Journal | “But in my case, as for the millions who have read “Wild Geese,” the poem popped up in my life at a time where what I needed to hear was that I was heard, and known, beyond what I could say, and that the world was not simply what I had known it to be–a flatland of concrete strip malls and familial anger–but something exciting, something that called out to me, lonely and unloved as I had felt.”

  2. With Thanks to Mary Oliver by Nancy Nordenson | “Reading her was like having a friend next to me, urging me on to pay attention, to pause, to look, to wonder, to praise.”


(3) podcasts I enjoyed recently

  1. How Does One Remember God? Christian Wiman with Krista Tippett via OnBeing | “The poet Christian Wiman is giving voice to the hunger and challenge of being religious now. He had a charismatic Texas Christian upbringing, and was later agnostic. He became actively religious again as he found love in his mid 30s, and was diagnosed with cancer. He's written, "How does one remember God, reach for God, realize God in the midst of one's life if one is constantly being overwhelmed by that life?"

  2. Ira Glass: The Man Who Launched a Thousand Podcasts via Without Fail, Gimlet Media | “On this episode, host Alex Blumberg sits down with his mentor and former boss to talk about the early days at This American Life, what Ira taught Alex, and how being a good boss means learning to set people free.”

  3. Think Christian has a podcast! Here’s Episode 1 - Heroes and Humanism (Stan Lee, Doctor Who) | “Both the Doctor Who franchise and the superheroes created by the late Stan Lee are rooted in secular humanism. How might Christian humanism relate?”


(4) photos from Alex & Rebekah’s visit earlier this month

  1. We spent an afternoon walking around Yale Campus and eating delicious Cuban food in New Haven.

  2. Also shopping at bookstores.

  3. Alex & Kendra led worship for us on Sunday and it was such a sweet gift! At one point, Brian was on the platform with just Alex, Kendra and Jordan (Kendra’s wonderful boyfriend). I snapped this photo and thought “What a blessed man!”

  4. Sunday afternoon naps are still our favorite way to hang out together. It’s Juliet’s favorite, too.


(5) links about current events in peacemaking and reconciliation

  1. We See What We Believe by Propaganda (Jason Petty) via Preemptive Love Organization | “Listen, I have no desire to adjudicate this moment. Even with the myriad of videos, no video can discern the heart of man. I am here to give commentary about us, the onlookers.”

  2. The pro-life movement has always been pro-women. Our priorities should reflect that. via America Magazine | “We should be passionate about making sure that the rest of the world can see our respect for women as well.”

  3. What It’s Like for Secular, Liberal Pro-lifers at the March for Life by Ashley Fetters via The Atlantic | “Though some describe themselves as the “counterculture within the movement,” many members of nonreligious and left-leaning pro-life groups feel welcome at the largely Christian, conservative event.”

  4. A Long Road From ‘Come by here’ to ‘Kumbaya’ by Samuel G. Freedman via New York Times | “Robert Winslow Gordon, below in 1928 and at the Library of Congress with his wax cylinders, captured the sound of someone named H. Wylie singing a lilting spiritual in the key of A.”

  5. Freedom’s Ring via Stanford University | Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech animated. This is an excellently crafted multi-media experience.


(6) links reflecting on the values of minimalism, simplicity, and tidying up

  1. Holy Clutter by Matt Miller via Comment Magazine | “Our stuff isn’t just for private joy; we have things to share.”

  2. Liturgies of Less … and More by Tish Harrison Warren with Sarah Hamersma via Comment Magazine | “There’s nothing in the Anglican liturgy that is explicit about simplicity. That’s different, maybe, from the Quaker tradition or certainly the Amish tradition. That said … I think being intentional about liturgy itself can be a practice of simplicity, in the sense that there is a kind of consumeristic impulse in evangelicalism that makes every church service novel, every church service entertaining, every church service ramping up—“This is going to be different than anything you’ve seen before.”

  3. Minimalism By Design by Bob Hamersma via Comment Magazine | “I was at peace with the realization that I would be forever changed, bereft of not only material goods but also physical abilities to do almost anything.”

  4. We Were Wrong About Marie Kondo by Lisa-Jo Baker and Christie Purifoy via Out of the Ordinary podcast | “This is the story of the secret shame we all carry about our houses. And the one thing that can free you from it.”

  5. Simplicity by Erin Ware via Tend podcast | “The spiritual discipline of simplicity is often tied up with money or belongings, and specifically the idea that, if we are to follow Christ, then we have to give up everything we own (at least the good stuff!) In this episode we talk about how that is not really it. It's far deeper and much more simple.”

  6. The Reasonably Clean House via Like Mother, Like Daughter | “The Reasonably Clean, Fairly Neat, and Comfortably Tidy House: Start Here for the Plan.”


(7) blog posts from this week in the archives

  1. 2018 - Encountering Christ in Chiquila, Mexico {Walking Epiphany 2018 series} (We first met Amy at Church of the Apostles and is one of the mightiest encouragers I've ever met. Through her, we met Adiel, and together they shared with us through their stories and their work with Hands Offering Hope their great love Adiel's hometown of Chiquilá. Since our very first conversation around our kitchen table, I've been excited for the day I get to visit Chiquilá for myself. )

    You can see more from this series that published this time of the year: WALKING EPIPHANY in Juneau, AK: neighborhood notes from Wendy Wall.

  2. 2018 - 8 books our church read together last year {Apostles Reads} (I'm happy to look back on our first year reading together and see that the Apostles Reads group has been up to the challenge. They have responded to each title - from the martyrs and apostates in Endo's 17th-century Japan to the four lonely children rummaging through a wardrobe into Narnia -  with grace, humility, empathy, and intellectual curiosity.)

  3. 2016 - Next in the Series of Fortunate Events, the Rehearsal Dinner {pretty, happy, funny, real series} (The pretty, happy, funny and real photos from the Rehearsal Dinner we hosted for Alex & Rebekah's wedding party and families on New Year's Day.)

  4. 2013 - Parenting Unrehearsed: Family liturgies for Christmas and my mama's rule for feasting (And so we're learning to order our days and seasons as a liturgy. We do our best with the truth we know -- pray together as often as possible, giggle at ourselves when we fall asleep on the couch watching Home Alone instead.  We revel in the permission to both feed the hungry homeless as well as the four children grazing at the refrigerator in our own kitchen.  We take delight in the pantry bulging with ingredients for the feast that arrives on Christmas Day.)

  5. 2012 - 7 quick takes: a photo diary (A photo diary from our first January in Austin.)

  6. 2010 - IAM Reader's Guild review: Silence by Shusaku Endo (Endo masterfully depicts a stark and silent world -- in the subtle descriptions of buzzing insects, withering heat and rotten food, dark water and crimson blood stains on dusty courtyards.  His storytelling had a sobering effect on us all and we were grateful for the chance to come in from the cold January evening and cheer each other with brisk conversation, merlot and gummy fish. It was a good evening and we are looking forward to gathering again.)

  7. 2008 - Once (I love, love, love this movie and this is where it all began.)

9 years ago

January 2010: hiking through Sarah P. Duke Gardens on the campus of Duke University, NC. I still have the pinecones I gathered on this walk. (Also, back when I lied about my hair color!)


May your weekend include some rest and some fun with friends and family. 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!

Weekend recap: parents tour Texas + links I love

Reviving the weekly post in which I share my favorite (and, sometimes, not-so-favorite) moments from the week and links from the web. 

-- 1 --

On April 10, this blog turned 11 years old. Crazy, right? I feel like I've lived 3 or 4 lifetimes since 2006. I've lived in 6 different houses in 3 different states, worked about 5 different jobs, attended 4 of my kid's high school graduations, 2 college graduations, and 1 wedding.

In the 11 years I've been writing at this blog, I've figured out several important life questions, and asked a whole lot more. We've worked and served in 3 different churches, become confirmed in the Anglican communion, and celebrated my husband's ordination into the priesthood. 

I've quit blogging 537 times, but somehow never stopped publishing new posts. It's been a consistent space in a season of unpredictable highs and lows. Even this week I quit the blog, yet here I am typing new words onto a white space. And here you are, reading them. 

Thank you. 

In the past 11 years, I've met more new in-real-life friends than any one person deserves. I've also learned the deep sadness of moving thousands of miles away from people, given the choice, I'd pick as my next-door neighbors for the rest of my life. It probably doesn't take a therapist to analyze the reason I value the relationships I've begun or maintained through this digital space. I know it can never take the place of face-to-face connection, yet it does provide a kind of connection that is also meaningful.

So Happy Birthday, blog!  And thank you, friend, for participating, affirming and connecting with me through this intermediary platform.  I'm forever grateful. 


-- 2 --

April brought our first Eastertide in Connecticut (which was lovely in so many ways), and our first trip back to Texas to see our kids and as many other people we could collect on the way. 


-- 3 -- 

We celebrate a family tradition of giving our children an additional middle name at the time of their 21st birthday. We hope to bless qualities we've seen grow and develop throughout their life, and give them a name to point them toward their future. We also hope to acquaint them with a hero of the faith as a reminder of their heritage within the communion of saints. 


This was the first time we saw Kendra since she turned 21 in March, and were so excited to reveal her new name: Kendra Jenee Edel Murphy, after Edel Quinn

We bless you, Kendra, for your fiercely tenacious, lovably persuasive, exceedingly capable, mystically devoted, churchly oriented, nations championing, friendship nurturing life. Godspeed into this beautiful and terrifying world, KJEM. We are always for you, and Christ is always with you.


-- 4 -- 

Favorite sights, sounds and reads from the internet this week:

  • Bono & David Taylor: Beyond the Psalms - Last year, Brian and I had the privilege to support this project behind the scenes. The latest releases are examples of great conversation and craftsmanship. Excellent. | via Fuller Studio
“We don’t have to please God in any other way than to be brutally honest; that is the root not only to a relationship with God but the root to a great song . . . or any work of art of merit.” —Bono
  • In Venezuala, the Catholic church endures among the revolution's ruins - One of my former co-workers in Austin was born in and still has family members living in Venezuala. I've been following the links he's posted on social media to try to understand the current turmoil.  This post helped give me some historical and religious perspective. Lord, have mercy. | via America Magazine
"When the state becomes predatory, the defenders of the faith are called upon to point people in the right direction, away from the violence of the authorities and back to God. Reminding the people he is still there; he is still looking; he is still caring."

 

  • Rewrite Radio, the podcast from the Festival of Faith & Writing - A year ago, I attend the festival for the first time. It was a game-changer for me, even though, at the time, it felt awkward and lonely. If you love writing, reading or just listening to interesting speakers, check out the archives of previous festivals in this new podcast series. If nothing else, listen to episode #10 featuring Frederick Buechener from the very first festival in 1993. | via Calvin.edu

 

"I think of how often God's messengers and Jesus himself urged, "Be not afraid." Both comfort and command, those words suggest that taking that full look at the worst is exactly what the Spirit equips us to do—to have eyes willing to see, and ears willing to hear, and hearts willing to participate wherever we can in redressing injustice and fostering the kind of community we were called to by the Holy One who made us stewards and called us friends." -- Marilyn McEntyre
 

-- 5 --

We're headed into the third week of Eastertide. I hope you're still celebrating - maybe even with champagne for breakfast, as N.T. Wright recommends!  On the blog, I'll be sharing a Sunday post each week, highlighting the Gospel accounts, great visual art, and some of my favorite literary quotations on the theme of resurrection life. I'm also excited to kick off the annual weekly Practice Resurrection photo contributions from friends all around the country (and globe). 

In the meantime, here's 271 of my favorite songs on the theme of Gospel resurrection. Enjoy!  


May you enjoy a weekend full of worship, love, and beauty, friends. Maybe even, champagne!

{pretty, happy, funny, real} birthdays, office lunches, Texas small towns and more!

| a weekly capturing of contentment in everyday life |

A few photos to practice contentment this week

| pretty |

Friends' Daytrip to Hye, Texas

Our dear friends, Shaun & Katie, celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary last weekend by inviting us to join them for a deliciously delightful afternoon in charming Hye, Texas.  I spent the day regretting I'd ever said Texas wasn't beautiful because this day was prettier than most I've seen in my life.  The temperature, was perfect - with no humidity or bugs. The company, food and wine impeccable. The Hye Market is located in the historic Hye Post Office (still operating).  The food was good, but being surrounded by all the marvelous old wood and tin was even better.  And the winery! Totally charming, relaxed, hospitable.  We enjoyed live music and hours of sweet conversation.  Totally our kind of day.  (Thanks, friends. A long & blessed marriage to you!)

| happy |

I had a birthday

Hello, my name is Tamara.  I am 45 years old.  I want to go to Ireland before I die (or this summer, whichever comes first.) I am kind of happy to be this age, but not entirely sure.  I'll keep you posted.  

| fun(ny) |

Kendra has a birthday

This is my daughter Kendra, who for the last 20 years has celebrated her birthday the day after her momma.  We try to make it special and her own.  We told her we'd have a special dinner for her when she got home for spring break and asked if she'd like to invite a few friends.  

She said that, yes, she would.  They were more than happy to come and celebrate with us.  (see below for Kendra and some of her BFFs)

Party games included dollhouses, skateboarding and hanging out in the ENO we gave Kendra for her birthday.  And it was a delightful party, indeed.

| real |

I left work just as Sixth Street was gearing up for SXSW. Providential timing?

Snapped this pic on my way out of the lobby of my office building my last day

(being admired, apparently, by a SXSW tourist)

This and a few photos of my kids were all I brought home from my desk: a hearty succulent I hardly ever watered, a Princess Buttercup bobble-head and my signature letter T.

My last day of working in downtown Austin For two-and-a-half years I've worked at a digital marketing agency in downtown Austin.  I probably will always giggle when I say that because, honestly, it's not a place (city or company) I ever imagined working.  When I drove away Wednesday afternoon, I started crying instead.  Tears of pure gratitude.  Living in this city is expensive, and we landed here at a financially vulnerable time with four kids in the college years. It took me awhile to find someone in Austin who would believe that I could do good work.  And, this company filled with mostly twenty-something, urban-savvy media geniuses welcomed my grey-hair, Bible-reading, Jesus-living momma type.

Before moving here, I wouldn't have guessed that some of my best friends in this city would be people with such different social, educational, religious and political backgrounds as myself. I told them that I could write a book from all the things they taught me (the stuff I'm able to repeat in polite society, anyway).  I told them that they had become so dear to me, and that I'd be praying for them.  And I will.

They sent me out with the same kind of hospitality in which they'd received me: free lunch, a couple of beers, breakfast tacos and Austin-famous doughnuts.  I hope I can be as kind to the people I meet in Connecticut as they have been to me. At the same time, I sincerely hope to not have to work the 9-to-5 life ever again.  I'd love to go out with this happy ending.

Have YOU captured any contentment this week? 

 I'd love to hear about it!

| Join in at P,H,F,R to see other wonderful people practicing contentment. |