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Bakery Run

With a half day of school, it was the right opportunity to make one last trip to Jenny Cakes in Kensington, MD. I used to work next door, and how tempting it always was to stop over for a sweet treat. For every birthday in the last years, it’s been a must stop. We still haven’t found anything near us to rival JennyCakes since moving far afield two years ago. So, when I heard that the shop would be closing at the end of this week, I was determined to get once trip in.

I trooped with the kids down to Kensington and didn’t hold back with 12 cupcakes! and a cake to freeze for my daughter’s fall birthday. And two of those peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kisses on top for good measure…It was good to see Jenny herself–someone I have admired for running her own business and doing so with such cheer and community engagement. The difficulty of pandemic no doubt has required so much stretching and uncertainty– what it must mean for small business owners to keep things afloat and support their workers.

How delicious each bite has been as a reminder of days past. And perhaps, too, a sweetness still possible in days ahead as my kids licked every drop of icing off of wrappers. And one little boy was so full of all that goodness, that he slept soundly. With this growing little guy always in motion, I soaked in the moment as he slept–no doubt dreaming of dessert.

First Day

First Day 9.8.20

I don’t know a parent that isn’t conflicted about their decision making this school year. Most are going virtual with their learning. We’ve had an opportunity to send both kids to a small school with in person learning–not a decision everyone could or would choose. This is the decision that we have made as a family alongside a school with great attentiveness to the circumstances of this moment and great precautions taken. For the last two months this decision has dominated our family thought and discernment.

And so, as school arrives this week, I receive the roller coaster emotions that comes with new routines. My in-laws were here last week from many states away. Their presence reminded us of the space that comes when other loving adults pour energy and love into caregiving. Their dedication prepared me for the reality to have more stretches of work time and to release them into places of new learning outside our home. Our kids have already been taking in with joy the sights of classrooms and teachers. They share the names of the new friends they are making.

I still wrestle with our new reality, recognizing how much of my head and heart space has been wrapped up into their daily activities. I recognize the fear that comes with the pandemic. Parents are juggling big demands and difficult decisions each day. I see the relief that I am supposed to feel with my kids in a new setting, and I can see the possible pathway to get there. I am still weary in my spirit.

Today, we sent in a family photo to my son’s class- so that he can show his family to his new friends, and I am sure so that it can be added to the family photo board in the classroom. I think also to my daughter’s creative place setting this past week as her critters set down to share a meal. We’ve shared so many meals together, the four of us.

For now, I am admitting the grayness when no choice feels like a great one. I am sizing up the joy that I can eventually embrace as we move forward. I am lamenting the ways in which we are still facing dishevelment. My thanks reside in the place settings as family. For all that we mean to each other, I give thanks. For teachers and administrators. For all that others will be to us, we give thanks. For the school year ahead with its messiness and opportunity, we lift our hope. For our friends who have faced and made different decisions, we share our complete understanding and love.

8.22.20 Our Rounds

Rachel Carson. We are continuing to learn about her life and legacy. We had visited a small inlet named in her honor in Maine last summer. Little did we know, she has a trail named in her honor nearby our home. We tromped out Friday morning and visited the edge of this Greenway of Brookeville, Maryland. We can’t wait to return to find the stream and delight in the woods named for this powerful scientist and nature writer. I wasn’t able to capture via photo the gorgeous monarch butterflies that led us along, but we did spy a horse and rider taking advantage of the equestrian trails.

On our return drive, we happened on the Brighton Dam Azalea Garden. While the flowers weren’t in bloom this time of year, we enjoyed a short time in the gazebo by the dam and found some stairs fit for a giant.

Who knew? We didn’t have to travel far for adventure. As soon as we returned home, my daughter grabbed a chair and took it to the front yard where she could get a good view of the landscaping across the street. Complete with a front loader, the landscapers had my kids’ full attention for a good half hour.

Enjoying the view.

Otherwise, our driveway has been full this week with big town and country happenings. My daughter mapped out an entire village and city landscape. I was able to contribute some buildings to town. We drew a row dedicated to different houses of worship.

She insisted that instead of a White House, she would sketch an “Everybody’s House” welcome to all. I made sure we included a big Post Office (the biggest building in town!) with a discussion about how important it is for us an everyone to receive mail.

I followed up with a little action to our local Post Office where folks were gathered today. As my husband said, “Mom’s going to represent us.” As I made my humble box sign, I kept thinking of my great-grandfather, once the postmaster general of a Mississippi county. I’m thinking especially of the postal employees today–of the support and funding necessary for their work and of the need to keep the the postal service as a funded and trusted vehicle for all to utilize. A bonus was running into church members and learning that I was standing next to neighbors .

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night (nor pandemic and its awful fright) stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds…” Thank you.

8.15.20 Island

We were able to get away. My parents drove 16 hours from Tennessee to join us in Chincoteague. In COVID times, this was a supreme gift. The week was spent spying wild ponies, making sand creatures, and swatting away mosquitoes! The opportunity to be in another setting for a week was welcome.

How important to take in other scenes in to enlarge the view! How wily the spirit of love is galloping in alternative spaces. Joy that comes after long hours with the waves. Laughter that comes over the Scrabble board when the kids are tucked in bed.

Here were the three ponies my son named “Sea Desert,” “Winter Desert,” and “Hot Desert.” Quite a trinity.

And my daughter lost her first tooth on the way home in a milk carton! A sign that time chugs on. That the days are marked in road trips, in visits from loved ones, in our bodies evolving.

And now back to the days at home trotting out only occasionally for necessities and to drink in the nature that is nearby. Giving thanks for the lighthouses towering beside the sea inviting us to visit when we can getaway. For the bald eagles that alight in trees cawing out for us to “Come again!”

See in the upper left. A bald eagle perched.

8.7.20 Inching Along

My son was riding his bike and insisted that I come and see the butterfly on the road. My first instinct was to avoid it– for any butterfly so long landed was surely dead. I finally went over and was captivated by the beauty of this fallen creature. So still and so fragile. She was so stuck that she could not be moved without fragmenting.

Such a different image awaited us the next morning when we emerged from the house. My daughter was on the driveway and noticed that there were dozens of caterpillars all over the concrete and yard. We both spied some falling from trees. It felt like we were being overrun (by what I later discovered are oakworms?). They seemed to be a part of some big transition. They inched around all over the walkways until they found their way into the earth. What was it about this day that called these critters forth into their next stage? Mating? Life cycles of death and new life crawling.

In the evening, we saw the familiar doe and her two fauns–this time not across the green, but right outside our window. While it did distract us from our dinner, I couldn’t resist watching the deer munching their supper. So often I feel in concert with this mama shepherding her two young ones. How the kids have grown in these months!

All the time life is unfolding. Sometimes we have a front row seat. And despite the ongoing fatigue and uncertainty, I give thanks for this up close season with my family. Don’t get me wrong, often it feels like I am flailing. But nature seems to minister to us when we don’t even know we need it. I received news that my best friend has had her baby and my heart leaps. And the sadness only comes as I know it will be so long before I get to hold this dear boy.

And I ache for all those in the virus’ path. My heart is heavy for those within my community who are most weighed down by loneliness, lack of social supports, as well as addiction and/or depression. I think of the butterfly and her fragile wings. I pray this evening that many I know may have the strength yet to rest and rise. May they remember the love flowing. May they experience it up close as we all inch into transitions.

7.31.20 Good Trouble

Snapshots from July’s Last Week…when we passed the midway point of summer’s peak. When the world felt hot like our driveway, when mosquitoes nested in the Sacred Garden’s pond abutting our United States. As we could feel the biting energy of pandemic across the nation.

And found respite by the inflatable pool. We rowed our way with rake oars, across the outstretched lands of long days to arrive at John Lewis’ Funeral. We heard the charge of “good trouble” and the always powerful words of Rev. James Lawson.

Two years ago, I was there in my hometown of Memphis as he moved about the city for MLK50. On several occasions I got to hear Rev. Lawson speak, energized then–and perhaps more so now at 91. We don’t watch screens at the dinner table, but it was the exception.

Rev. James Lawson speaks at Rep. John Lewis’ funeral.

And we watched the tree trimmers who came to prune back the branches. A big view from our window as they reminded us that things can’t grow while the wilted limbs remain.

Perhaps the tree and Rev. Lawson were preaching the same invitation–that my children may look out and see something more than I have yet seen. Maybe the earth spies it with new glasses and announces an opening from sea to shining sea. There is a trouble brewing. Good and long going and yet longer to go past the summer’s reach.

7.22.20 Interplanetary Prayer

When you go visit prayers stations in the midst of space week…

We’ve been busy cutting out our planets to create the solar system on the dining room wall. Sadly, the seascape came down. My son lamented that the poor octopus was “so sad” to be replaced.

There is a time and season for everything. The Prayer stations Wednesday at Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Laurel were a good reminder of the emotional stopovers we take. After visiting the “Anger Zone,” my daughter and I had a talk about the fact that anger comes every day in some way. Some days are more frustrating that others.

Next, my daughter enjoyed the chance to write: “Love is peace,” she scrawled on a heart and strung it to a tree. We all liked standing under the umbrella, appreciating the momentary chance to gather in the protective space. And there was the well where we held rocks and thought about what we hold onto when we are hurt, and the invitation to let go or forgive.

And then of course, the “Silly Walk Zone.” We are old pros after creating several ourselves this summer. We got dizzy following the rainbow. We then walked the length of the cemetery. We talked of dying; I read from the tombstones as we passed. I remembered also that there was a sign on the front of the church with number of Howard County COVID19 deaths: 96. There was the grieving tree. We wrote Cousin Debby’s name on a ribbon and my daughter tied it to the tree. Debby died this week suddenly. So heartbreaking.

Lastly, there was the little labyrinth at the path’s end. The kids both bounced along eager to reach the middle.

The summer sun was heating up on this earth and who knows where else in the solar system. It flared into another day of living and dying. The Spirit shone with it, into our heaviness and our healing. And we felt our prayers stretch so far beyond what we can see, past what we can imagine, to the bounds of the universe. Flung from the third rock from the sun, we balled our anger, joys, laments, and laughter together. And we were encircled by the host of saints who have gone before. A brightness bigger than our fear.

Thank you, Emmanuel UMC.

7.16.20 For the Birds

I looked out from the computer and saw a big black bird of prey circling overhead. There are always so many birds visible from our home. Earlier we saw both a male and female bluebird out front. Cardinals and goldfinches regularly alight at our feeder. A woodpecker with little red tufts pecks at our aging birch. Afternoons like these are envious ones in pandemic. As I see them soar to the skies. I’ve never understood where they really go. Their nests are most often invisible. I’ve wondered where they tuck away before they forage and take flight. They make their varied nests of mud, and of sticks, of trash or their own feathers.

The bird of prey feels ominous. I later log on and see the news that my county’s schools will have virtual learning at least until January. There was already a lot swirling about hybrid learning models and uncertainty. No doubt the latest increase in COVID-19 cases in the state and country are the driving factors as school admins try to weigh all the countless factors involved in keeping kids, teachers, and school workers safe.

In addition to understanding why they have made this decision–I am also flattened. After four months home, I can’t quite process how it is that we will take our seemingly impossible steps into the months to come. Yet, we will like the millions of parents. And what of the families that will struggle mightily for access? We recognize the lucky places of our journey. I also recognize a weariness in my eyes that doesn’t go away. Where do the birds go before the earliness of the morning calls them forward, before their little ones cheap their hunger for food, instruction, and love?

Wednesday we went over to the Sacred Garden at the Church and chalked a whole flock of feathery friends. This post is for you if you, too, have had a flightless stretch of days imagining into the unknowns of the time ahead. Perhaps you also hold anger, looking around and wishing that all were being addressed in this country with more compassion, scientific trust, and collaboration. For the sake of our children. For the sake of everyone. Thank you, Mary Oliver, for words that soar with hope into a day yet to come.

Cardinals and Starlings and Remembering When | I Might Need A Nap

7.10.20 The Farmer Takes a Wife

We’ve entered into “Summer Camp” at my house. My daughter helped me chart some themes for this month to help guide our activities. We launched into farm time, focusing on pigs, horses, cows, and tractors. A little bit of focus can go a long way.

Logic puzzles. How to hide the three pigs under the houses?
A train circles our little farm–complete with unicorns.

A socially distanced trip to Clark’s Elioak Farm meant that we got to take a hay ride (minus the hay) pulled by a tractor, feed goats, and visit the Enchanted Forest.

It was hot as blazes, but we made it with frequent trips to the shade. One thing I wasn’t expecting was to start psychoanalyzing nursery rhymes. Among the play scenes was “Peter, Peter, Punkin Eater.” You may recall he “had a wife but could not keep her.” He “Put her in a pumpkin shell. There he kept her very well.”

Here is a photo of my kids peering into the pumpkin shell where the wife is all dressed up and looking in the mirror. After reciting the poem, I didn’t have a good explanation truly about why she was in the pumpkin shell.

Warning: this is about to get morbid.

Peter, Peter

When I looked up possible origin stories, none of them were awesome. I found this on Bustle: “The wife that “couldn’t be kept” in this rhyme didn’t keep running away or anything — rather, she was supposedly a prostitute. Historians believe that Peter the pumpkin-eater tired of his wife’s extra-curricular activities, then murdered her and hid her body in a pumpkin. An even more outrageous interpretation is that it’s about the 13th century English King John, who famously bricked a rebellious noble’s wife into a wall to starve to death.” 

Interesting what story and songs pass generationally. Perhaps the narrating of history is just as garbled and often as sinister as the rhymes and fairy stories of centuries past. At a time when I am thinking seriously about miseducation and the whitewashing of history, it doesn’t hurt to take a critical lens at the most seemingly elementary of entry points.

What is this pumpkin story communicating today? Why would a women be caged away in an absurd cell? Likely even murdered and dumped there. In the origin story it describes her as being a cheater ala “Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater,” but we might also suppose that a woman can be engaged in all kinds of things that need to be suppressed. Voting? Seeking a living wage? Running away from enslavement? Decrying domestic abuse? Speaking one’s mind? Immigrating? Protesting? I won’t link stories of women thus slain, but they are out there in abundance.

A sobering thought to navigate the patriarchal pumpkin shell! I’ll have to figure out a way one day to talk more candidly about Peter, Peter’s intentions. Keeping my eyes open to the messages that enchant us.

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,      Had a wife but couldn't keep her;      He put her in a pumpkin shell      And there he kept her very well.

7.2.20 Spills

It feels like lifetimes pass with each day. We had a chance to be away last week. My kids buried my husband in the sand. We ate more birthday cake, we laughed, we took a week away from our home. This was the first week off together since Thanksgiving.

Coming back was hard. Landing back at home to unpack all the stuff, do the laundry, and face a reentry into the long days of parenting in pandemic. How wonderful to get away. How challenging to return to the ongoing uncertainties–especially as we look out to fall schooling.

And so, we’ve muddled through this week. Today was full of spills. First, the tiny beads by my son bouncing all over the kitchen floor. I was first miffed by his desire to re-sort them all, but gave in. There was something about the control of being able to put each little thing in its place that turned out to be appealing!

There were later the goldfish that fell all over the porch. And there was the tumbling of cups of water. And there was my frustrations that kept spilling over–especially when I was trying to have phone calls and my kids became particularly attention-seeking. I lost track of how many times my son announced: “I’m hungry!” today.

It seems that so much felt empty. Maybe he could sense the depletion in me, and that made it all the more pressing that he would want to be filled. And so we ate upteen snacks. And we got out the sprinkler and let it saturate into the dry patches of grass and hearts.

And there were the bright spots this week. The car parade at my daughter’s school as we celebrated the official end of her year. Creating Thurgood Marshall Airport on the driveway. Putting together planes that zoomed across the yard. Mixing together fake snow.

And the gift of taking the kids by the church where new signs are posted.

While I can’t say I feel fully filled, I can feel the grace of looking up with hope into a newly dressed window. I can tap into last week’s renewal and recall the waves that made my son belly laugh. I can give thanks that it is not up to me to hold everything all together. It is one bead at a time finding its place. It is one plane a day coming in for a chalky landing on our driveway. It is the knowing that we can be enough for one another for now. And I am thankful for all those on the other side of the phone, and letters, and Zoom who are our heart fillers.

6.17.20 Birthday Week

We are smack dab in the midst of birthday week over here. My husband and I have a week between our birthdays and so we find that the celebrations blend together. We got some time away at a remote cabin this past weekend. What a gift to explore waterfalls with our children. A gift to take in scenes away from our immediate community for a couple of days. A gift to sleep on hard mattresses that make us appreciate the comforts of home again.

Here are some snapshots from our journey in West Virginia and back. Thanks to our church family who not only sang at the end of worship, but who showed up with mid-week cake. The kids sang to us as we soaked it all in. My kids tried to eat each and every sprinkle that fell from this two-layered treat. They like to squeeze all the celebration out of these days, too.

Yesterday we picked as many strawberries as would fit in our big farm box. And we recall what it is to eat fruit from the vine. We recall what it is to give thanks for those who are regularly harvesting our food.

This all amidst the ongoing challenges and rally cries that resound now. We have all kinds of wishes for resistance and joy in the year to come. Right alongside the new butterflies up at the church corner, we believe in transformation. May it be so.

6.10.20 Jump

We aren’t quite three months there, but it more than feels it. Three months of safer at home. Three months of chalk drawings. Always looking for new ways to etch into the sidewalk the love we also yearn to feel ourselves. In these days, perhaps as my children also feel my stress and strain, I am looking for the best means to focus my energies, keep showing up, and navigate tough conversations and prayers.

My daughter decided to do another “Silly Walk” in the Sacred Garden at our church. I was struck this time that she started on it, but it became a “Jump” instead. She demonstrated, with considerably more effort than a walk invites, what it is to jump into each next step. I felt the truth sink in for me: walking is not enough.

She then drew a deer and then a rabbit, making their custom footprints for each would-be jumper to follow. I think it is fitting, in these important leaping times, to consider the surges necessary to see to each new article, action, and step of advocacy. To consider what it is to see another’s footprint on the pathway of history. To step as they would lead into the next leaps needed. To listen to, help amplify, and to fall in line behind others.

As my son and I brushed teeth last night, I noticed he was playing with one of his favorite cartoon characters–a police dog, one among a fleet of canine characters in construction, recycling, sky, and sea rescue vocations. He was also wearing a lone pair of emergency vehicle pajamas. He had asked recently because of the conversations we’ve had, “The police are good, right?” I struggled for words, “Many are, but they can also do really not good things. Remember when we were talking about George Floyd…?” “But our police are good, right?”

Lord, I hope so. Conversation will continue and continue about the role of police. Systemic legacies of racism. He and I have a lot to learn. Defund police for a better allocation of public spending. Depopulate the toy bin? Talk about how Chase the Police Dog functions on a team as they work justly with their community?


May you have love, hope, energy, and courage to do the work.

6.7.20 Statement of Solidarity, Resolve, and Love

Howard County Clergy Alliance | June 2020


The Howard County Clergy Alliance, founded in 2018, is a monthly gathering to build relationships and interfaith understanding. We do not claim to speak for all faith leaders in our county. However, we hold key values in common for the
collective welfare of our nation. As a diverse group of faith leaders, one value that often binds us together is the power of love to heal and overcome even the most deep-seated hatred. We condemn, and deeply grieve, the systemic hatred
permeating our culture which results in the repeated devaluing and destruction of Black lives.

On May 25, the world watched the callous murder of George Floyd in horror. An African American human being was mercilessly crushed under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. This terrible event called full attention, once
again, to the frequency of such deaths. We witness daily unfolding of more aggression, and violence, against people of all colors, young people, elders, faith leaders—anyone who comes in contact with unrestrained police, military, or governmental power. All taking place amidst a remarkably persistent and hopeful uprising in communities across our country.

The immigrant colonizers of the Americas imported a white supremacy framework that has intensified over time. Native peoples were originally subjugated, and the geographic richness of the United States is on lands forcibly seized from those tribes. The wealth and power of the U.S. comes from the blood, sweat and tears of African peoples forcibly brought here to be sold into chattel slavery. We have profited from the culture, labor, and criminalization of Black people.

White supremacy thinking is codified and normalized into systems over time. With each generation, powerful people use distortion, disregard, and hatred to dominate cultural and institutional landscapes. Many Euro-Caucasian peoples have
forgotten, even willfully denied, America’s foundation in inequity and violence. We see the tragic results acted out in recent events in Howard County, our region, and throughout this nation.

At this pivotal moment in history we are presented with a sacred opportunity. The destruction of Black communities, culture, and the blatant disregard for the value of Black lives, have risen to the surface for all to see. There are no valid excuses for turning a blind eye. There never have been. The profound evil of racism, and the Black lives lost to white supremacy systems and violence in this country, must be seen and the cost perceived.

The time has come to unequivocally stand against the dehumanizing and lethal injustice that has destroyed Black lives, again and again. We act in solidarity with our siblings of all colors. We come from a variety of global wisdom traditions that uplift love, not hatred.

Let us continue seeing, repairing, and healing. We must act on the love that unites us, in Howard County and this nation.

Rev. Patricia Abell
Rev. Brian Akers
Rev. Gayle Annis-Forder
Rabbi Craig Axler
Rev. Susan Beck
Rev. Philip Curran
Rev. Tyrone Jones
Rev. Paige Getty
Rev. Louise Green
Rabbi Susan Grossman
Rev. Mary Ka Kanahan
Shehlla Khan
Rev. Claire Matheny
Rev. Ann Ritonia
Rev. Jane Smith
Rabbi Sonya Starr
Rev. Csaba Szilagyi
Rev. Robert Turner
Rev. Ostein B. Truitt
Rev. John West

Contact: Rev. Louise Green, Clergy Alliance Convener,

PDF Version available here

Vigil and March for Black Lives led by Young Adults of Howard County, June 2, 2020

6.5.20 Resistance

Today is my parents’ forty-ninth wedding anniversary. We gave them a quick call tonight in the chaotic moments before the pizza had finished baking. They moved to Memphis in 1971 just after they were married. My parents have both been leading churches, building community, and showing up even now into retirement. I was heartened to see a post of him with other Memphis faith leaders this week with so much happening in my hometown. Protests are continuing each day following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Even now as I type late this evening, I see live feed from some in Memphis about a car purposely driving into a crowd of teenage protesters.

Following a MICAH (Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope) Press Conference in Memphis. My dad is in the light shirt, seated.

Here in Columbia, MD, Tuesday was the Vigil and March for Black Lives organized and facilitated by students and activists. They asked that clergy leaders show up visibly. Just the night before peaceful protesters, including some of my colleagues, in were cleared with tear gas for the now infamous presidential photo op in front of a St. John’s Episcopal Church in D.C. These images were on my mind as I walked to the Columbia Mall with the buzz of media helicopters overhead.

It was strange to be out of the house so little over the course of three months and then to be circulating in a large crowd. I was impressed with the speed at which people snaked the parking lot, lining for the short walk over to the Lakefront. Thousands gathered, risking exposure in order to press home the importance of the message. People shouted the way forward: “No Justice, No Peace. No Racist Police.” “Black Lives Matter.” The masks added to starkness of the protest signs and words of George Floyd: “I can’t breathe.”

Prior to the Vigil, my daughter had helped me make signs. We had talked about the couple of protests that she has been to in her lifetime. After I put on my clergy collar and mask, I kissed my son and daughter and headed up our street on foot. Two men in a white pick-up sneered and laughed at me along my walk. It was strange walking the suburban streets wondering about my neighbors in these pandemic times. Would more people be funneling the walkways if we weren’t socially isolated?

Chalk the Walk

I peer into my own anesthetized spirit and see what embers of Pentecost are inflamed. I pray the strength to do the work that is necessary by me and white people, the strength to carry the torch of my parents and their parents. Fall in line behind BlPOC leaders. As I think to the stretched energy and time that comes with pastoring and parenting in pandemic, how can I prioritize so that my anti-racism factors more centrally in my ministry and mothering? Sitting with this framework as I consider the stage of my white identity.

It’s not just about the several books I have long had stacked at my nightstand. It’s about making sure that decisions are lined with values. That I better know who the political operatives are in my County. That I understand better how the laws affect policing and the funding affects inequity in health care, housing, and education. That I occupy the lanes where I can affect change.

That I stay attentive in my conversation with congregants and community members as we talk white fragility, gradualism, and silence. That I restore and meditate.That I don’t allow the news cycle to pass with a reversion into tacit action. What are your lanes?

Post below by Lindsey Young on Twitter. Her poetry website here.

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'lizzobeeating @Lindss_tastic Resistance is NOT a one lane highway. Maybe your lane is protesting, maybe your lane is organizing, maybe your lane is counseling, maybe your lane is art activism, maybe your lane is surviving the day. Do NOT feel guilty for not occupying every lane. We need all of them.'

5.31.20 May’s Last Days

A long week. Zoom meetings each night mean less time to reflect and to post. Fewer moments to take in the day’s wisdom. This has been a hard stretch to find joy in. Between the death of George Floyd and the ongoing realities of pandemic, I’m grateful for a few moments at the last of May to pause with thanks for these moments with my children.

Know that in the midst of these activities were hard conversations with my daughter about both the virus and the violence unfolding in our country. I continue to plot which books will be in our online cart next. I consider whether I can go to the peaceful protest next week with #blacklivesmatter of Columbia as we social distance. I brainstorm which things I can tackle and how to pray deeply while wide-eyed in front of screens. Praying you find place of peace in the wind down of this week.

On our way to a Labyrinth
We set up a picnic in the middle.
Step on each letter to make a word. My daughter loved this to no end. My son loved interrupting us.
Sea creatures in the style of Eric Carle. This scene was long in the making. Watch out for that shark!
Obligatory pre-haircut pic.
Mom somehow wielded the clippers. We’ll ignore the minor bald patches.

5.21.20 The Skipper

Throughout the course of the last many months, I give thanks for the kindly family and friends that have logged an hour here and there with our kids via Zoom. It has been a gift for the kids to see other folks (not just us!) and to learn about all manner of things from pet care to origami.

Up today: sailboats. Mr. Bob of our congregation met with us a month or so back to talk about his big trip to Antarctica. My son loves Mr. Bob and hearing about all of his big adventures. Mr. Bob had made him the most awesome video of his journey that my son still wants to watch at least once a week.

It was a grumpy morning at my house with my daughter trying to opt to stay in bed for hours in her pajamas and my son waking us up too early with the hungry announcement: “I’m all dresssssssed!!!”

By the time the appointed Zoom with Mr. Bob rolled around, I was pretty spent. And that was only 9:30 a.m. From the moment he was on the screen, the kids were at attention and loved hearing about all the sailboats that Mr. Bob had helped design.

My son announced: “As soon as the virus is over we are going to come sail with you, Mr. Bob!” The generous instructor didn’t miss a beat: “That’s right! And let me show you the kind of boat we’ll ride on!”

The kids soaked it all in and so did I. The tides changed in our house from there. We maneuvered outside, gathering weeds and chalking down to the nubbins. In anticipation of our call, earlier this week we had sketched out a little thank you for Mr. Bob. Later, we added a random assortment of sea creatures.

To all the people out there helping to ease the days of parents by talking nautical engineering, reading stories, or offering singing lessons, thank you. You can turn a string of mushy days into magic.

To Mr. Bob: thank you for serving as one of our vital skippers on the S.S. Pandemic. We cherish our joy-filled expeditions.