Love people even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
--Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
This is my road that I get to drive up every time I go home now. I'm in love with the light through the maple boughs. Everything on the left of the road is our property.
Also, I'm reading this amazing book called Everything Belongs, by Richard Rohr, about contemplative prayer. It is one of those books that makes you look at everything differently. This Dostoyevsky quote is one of the chapter headings, and I thought it perfectly matched this photograph.
I don't know if I'm really going to make it all thirty days here, but even though I haven't been keeping up with posting, I have continued taking pictures, and I might continue sharing summer photos even as the weather turns cooler. This shot is simple: It captures my delight in summer--fresh flowers from the garden and fresh Sun Gold cherry tomatoes from the farm stand! I feel like I'm drinking in the vibrant colors of summer, even as the landscape here is already preparing for the subduing of autumn.
It's hard to believe that it's already nearly fall, and time to start making plans for the Common Ground Fair. Considering this was one of the major family highlights of last year, and we only did it as a day trip, we're going to the fair for the whole weekend this time around! The question is, who else is in? We would be tickled to meet up with any and all of you for a weekend of camping and fair-going! I'll probably be sending out an e-mail soon to drum up commitment, but I thought I'd post this preliminary "teaser" to get you excited! Be there or be square...
Friends, I am not a Democrat (I'm more of a left-leaning Independent...) but I am excited about the candidacy of Barack Obama. Let me explain...
I often feel somewhat uncomfortable with and out of place in the context of what it means to most Americans to "be American". As a Christian my highest allegiance is not to the United States, but to the Beloved Community that is all of God's children on this glorious planet. For me, I don't care about America being "#1" in the world, and while I think our flag is beautiful, it is not where my hope lies. I struggle on a daily basis to live faithfully in a culture that places so much of it's identity in consumption, image, individualism and an unsustainable wealth. I get a little uncomfortable in crowds of flag wavers because I can't help but think of all the injustice that has and continues to be the basis of so many of our "freedoms." That being said, I do love this country and while I reject the dichotomy of "love it or leave it" I love it and try to make it better. And so it was with great excitement and tears in my eyes that I watched a black man raised by a single mother accept the Democratic nomination for the United States of America. Now this is an example of the American Dream that I can get into! The whole "American Dream = home ownership, 2.2 kids and money to spend at the mall" thing doesn't work for me, but I do get excited about the American Spirit that Obama was talking about, one that dreams of a better world for our children, reaching out in mutual aid for our neighbors in need, and creatively meeting the problems that we face today, many that we have created over the past few decades as our nation has collectively refused to face the results of our own actions. As Obama said tonight, George Bush didn't create all of the problems that we face today, but his government failed to respond appropriately to many of them. Government isn't the solution to our problems, we the people are, but government has the responsibility to facilitate justice and order among citizens. I am ready for a president who will not invite us to shop in the face of adversity (yup, it's true!), but to come together and take responsibility not only for ourselves, but for one another. Obama reminds us of what we all share in common, and the need to treat one another with basic human dignity. There is so much division, hurt and animosity in our country right now, and I don't think anything but the love of God can heal that, but I do think that Obama is someone who can bring people together and unite people under a common vision.
Okay, a moment of honesty.... My original post got eaten by typepad, and it's now so late that I can't type straight, but I just had to share my excitement after watching Obama's speech. I am so ready for a poitician who can inspire us to be better together. His speech was not all about getting people excited--in fact it was sobering and laying out a picture of the work we have ahead of us. But evoking the spirit of MLK, he challenged us press on and not give up, because the work we have to is GOOD WORK. Fourty-five years ago Martin Luther King gave his famous "I have a dream" speech in the midst of the evils of segregation. In those days black people where hosed down with fire hoses, brutally beaten and lynched. And today a black man stands poised to be the next president of the United States. We really have come a long way, and while we still have a long way to go, for the first time in a long time I feel a rising sense of hope for the future of this country. Go Obama!
You can read about his speech and the Convention here, and if you're really serious, read the text of his speech here. But for the full effect, you really have to watch it, which you can do when I find a link tomorrow!
Hi folks. Don't give up on me... I'm currently swamped with moving and all the work that is involved with buying an old house! I will have internet access up at the farm starting later this week, so look for a blog post this weekend some time. In the mean time, eat a lot of tomatoes and enjoy summer!
One of the defining aspects of this summer has been my sister's pregnancy. We've marveled at her changing body, discussed minute details of baby care, swam in lakes on sweltering hot days, mulled over the set-up of the nursery, and, of course, tried in vain to imagine what the birth would be like. Since Little C was delivered via emergency c-section while I was feverish and drugged, I don't really feel like I "gave birth," and therefore felt ill-prepared to help her get ready. But since natural birth is a passion of mine, and she and her husband had heard positive reports from friends on the use of a doula, they asked if I would join them at the hospital for their child's birth. And so on Saturday I was honored and thrilled beyond words to attend the birth of my first nephew, a beautiful and healthy 9 lb. little boy. It was a very difficult labor, 36 hours of back labor, 19 of which were hard labor, but my sister and her husband were an amazing team, and she handled it all so beautifully. It was so incredible to be there and assist them in whatever way I could. Mostly I helped by providing counter-pressure to her lower back, wiping her face with cold washcloths, and repeating "It's almost over, honey" and "What a beautiful day to be born! Just think about holding that little boy!" ad nauseam. Watching my sister go deep into herself for the final stages of pushing is an experience I will never forget. When that baby emerged at 7:49 pm, it was nothing short of a miracle.
So that's my big excuse for being absent from this space for the past number of days! That, and the fact that we're moving (Yes! Everything worked out with the house! Thanks for your prayers!) and in the middle of a family reunion. But more on all that later... For now, I'm just basking in the baby glow! :)
usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But
I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air,
but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we
don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the
black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle. --Thich Naht Hahn
We had a wonderful visit from Papa D's parents last weekend. Little C adores them and we always have a lot of fun together. They flew up to help us move, but of course, we couldn't move, so they just encouraged us, took us out to dinner, enjoyed seeing the farm for the first time, played with Little C, that sort of thing. These pictures are from a walk that we took together on the rail trail behind our house in the village here. Little C and I walk along what was the tracks down along the river to the old covered bridge most mornings. It's a nice way to start the day, though it's been too rainy the last few days to do it.
These two quotes on the pictures are from Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen monk and teacher who is in exile. Over the years I'd read pithy quotes by him, but it wasn't until Dave and I listened to this episode of Speaking of Faith (one of my favorite NPR shows) that I really came to a deeper appreciation of his wisdom. (You can download the podcast of this and any other Speaking of Faith show for free from their website--I'm addicted!) I've since read his small but powerful book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, which I highly recommend.
There is something truly incredible about friends who like your kids. I mean, not everyone is a "kid person," and that's fine, but it is so much fun to have friends who genuinely enjoy spending time with your kids as well as you. I am aware of social circles that exist with kids only on the periphery, if at all (for example, lots of friends have gotten invited to weddings where kids were not allowed). I feel richly blessed, however, to exist in very child-friendly circles. I mean, I know its important to have "adult conversation" sometimes, but usually I'd rather be hanging out at the kid table! So thanks, Kat, for being one of those folks who likes our kid, and thanks to so many of you, dear readers, who are a part of that "club" as well! ________________________________________________________________ On a newsy note, our moving date has been delayed indefinitely while some issues get resolved with our soon-to-be house. The home inspection turned up severe mold on the second floor (our sleeping space) and unsafe bacteria counts in the well water, as well as a rotting sill. We are trying to wait patiently, but it's hard. At the same time our two cars are in the shop needing fairly expensive repairs, and my dear husband (who brings home the bacon as a self-employed carpenter) hurt his back tonight, and I don't know if he'll be able to work tomorrow. I am trying not to add these things up to a "the universe is conspiring against me" theory, but it's challenging. We would appreciate your supporting thoughts and, if you're the praying type, prayers. Peace be with you.