Nov 30, 2006

Miranda's lullabies (part 1)

I've started singing Miranda to sleep at naptime and bedtime. Wasn't sure if it would work, but she seems to enjoy it. And I've been thinking about the songs I've chosen to sing to her. For some reason, I've been on a John McCutcheon kick these last few weeks, and she's been hearing the same two songs over and over.

I was introduced to John McCutcheon during my first year at ASP, and it's stayed with me pretty powerfully ever since. I heard this song in concert, and learned it was written for his uncle's funeral. His uncle had only one arm and for that reason was not allowed his dream of entering the Catholic priesthood, yet had a life filled with love, family, and vocation. I think the song speaks powerfully about the value of a life well-lived, even (especially?) in its simplicity. I hope that someday Miranda and I can talk about why I sang it to her.

One humble shoemaker
From a small Polish town
One of twelve German children
His life seemed so small
One heart rent with sorrow
As the Church closed its door
“A priest needs two hands
to embrace all the poor”

One last child at home now
He watched them all go
Nursing mother and father
As their health stumbled so
Quiet voice in the parlor
Reading Grandma the news
Giving sight to her darkness
I saw visions, too

One strong arm to hold you
One firm hand to shake
One clear voice to guide you
One good heart to break

As a child I remember
His back bent with toil
Over sick beds, shoe forms
Children and soil
Tending roses and loved ones
The family business at hand
Tending one nephew longing
To be such a man

One strong arm to hold you
One firm hand to shake
One clear voice to guide you
One young life to shape

One form in the screen door
His eyes dancing with glee
With a single red rose
That he’s cut just for me
My sons sees his first birthday
As I reach for the phone
Takes his first stumbling steps
As his Uncle’s called home

One strong arm to hold you
One firm hand to grasp
One clear voice to guide you
One good life to last

One humble shoemaker
From a small Polish town
We are all lifted up
As we lower him down

Nov 21, 2006

Thankfulness, 3rd installment

Last week, I realized that I'm very, very thankful for one particular thing (among many, but this one stood out). When I arrived home from the library one afternoon, I entered the mudroom and was taking off my shoes when I heard the most delightful sound -- Miranda squealing with laughter, and giggling, and laughing again. That's a great, great sound to hear upon coming home.

So today, I want to say a big THANK YOU to our sweet babysitter (aka best friend to Miranda), Marie. She is truly one of the lights of Miranda's life. When she arrives, Miranda pushes me out of the way to get to her. I know that when she's there, Miranda is safe and happy. And that is one of the best gifts we could ever receive.

Nov 20, 2006

What we're into these days

I realized that this blog tends to focus primarily upon my life with Miranda. However, there are lots of other things going on in our lives and in our community. I need to post more about the PhD journey, but today I thought I'd share some of the ways our community is involved in Lexington and the world at large.

  • Our friend Sarah Brown successfully managed the campaign for Andrea James, the councilwoman-elect for Lexington's 1st District. In January, she'll become Andrea's council aide and work fulltime in the council office.
  • Billy and some other folks from Communality went to the Wiconi Missio Dei gathering in Nashville earlier this month.
  • Several women (Sherry, Laura, Jen, Jodie, Lisa, Miranda and myself) had a nice evening at the Bluegrass Women Unite event. We are hoping to get one of our ladies on the board and be able to participate at a deeper level. Miranda almost broke about 100 pricey items, and was less than impressed with the baked Brie.
  • We are hosting a Cool Cities discussion network at the High Street House.
  • Five ladies from our community, myself included, are traveling to Evanston, IL next month for a School for Conversion in the New Monasticism network. We're hosting one here at Communality in March, so we're going to Illinois to participate and get a feel for how they run. (I wrote a chapter on hospitality for this book that has emerged from the network.)
  • Some of our folks are hosting the local Soulforce network at the High Street House.
  • We hosted a prayer breakfast last week for the Jubilee: Drop the Debt network.
  • People from our community have written three chapters in the upcoming book The Emergent Manifesto.
  • I am participating in BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action) and hoping to involve Communality at a larger level. It will be alerting the city government to problems it deems especially significant and asking them to address these problems in a substantial way. This year, we're focusing upon affordable housing and affordable healthcare.

I know this list is incomplete and sketchy, but hopefully it sheds some light into the things with which we're involved. You can also get another, probably more complete look at our community's life over at our blog, the ashram. No need to reinvent the wheel, right?

Nov 17, 2006

Thankfulness, 2nd installment

  • being able to sleep late because Miranda is at her aunt's house for a few days
  • Miranda having an aunt and cousins who love her and want to keep her for a few days
  • Friday night date night! (lots of culture on the lineup)
  • possiblity of a new home (pics to follow when decision is final)
  • upcoming wedding of a good friend in Colorado, with a reunion of lots of friends from the Appalachia Service Project days

Nov 15, 2006

Crayon Magic Trick

No, don't tell me... let me guess... I see... I see, the color... RED.

Nov 13, 2006

More random pics

Here are some good pics of the Wee Wunchie from the last month or two. We seem to take so many with the camaraphone, but getting them onto the computer (much less the blog) is another matter!

Taking a nap in Mommy's lap. Actually, she varied between snuggling into my shoulder and stretching out as seen below. Billy claims that I'll use any excuse to nap, sleep, or snuggle with her, and he's right.

Another unconventional nap position. We'd just finished an excellent and very filling brunch at the house down the street, and Miranda began to glaze over (possibly a food coma from the eggs, ham, cheese, bacon, biscuit, avocado, tomato, banana, cantaloupe, and pancake she consumed). I supported her little head with my hand, and she fell right off. I even managed to get her into the stroller without her waking up.

Billy titled this one "Wompa Read" in honor of the fabulous wompa boots she received from Grandmommie. Those boots are my favorite, although she kicks them off at every opportunity.

Nothing so refreshing as a quick morning rinse after a brisk debate over the cough medicine.

Is this where I should give Mommy a kiss???

Yes, that's the place!

Thankfulness (aka stealing Lisa's good idea)

My friend Lisa Samson had the great idea to chronicle some of the things for which she's offering thanksgiving this fall season. I'm just a big fat copycat, so here's my first installment.

  • every autumn, the first smell of leaves and woodsmoke
  • Pomegranate Pizzazz tea -- just discovered it
  • Sunday evening potluck at Communality -- always good, creative food
  • finding a really good pair of jeans, that really fit! (I bought 2 pairs)
  • sharing a burger with Miranda at Buffalo Wild Wings last weekend when Billy was out of town, and watching her enjoy the excitement of a sports bar on Saturday night and cheer with everyone!

Nov 6, 2006

On bringing nature closer

A few years ago, Billy and I (actually my mom, my sister and I) planted a flowering crabapple tree outside our bedroom window. It's pretty small, and it's probably too close to the house, but it was my hope that it would encourage various birds to light there, enjoying the shelter and food. However, I find that I often forget about it, just seeing it as part of the landscape.

I was brushing my teeth this morning when a flutter of color caught my eye. I glanced out the window and saw one -- two -- three male cardinals in the branches of my little tree, snacking on the fruit and peacably coexisting. For the next few minutes, they flitted in and out of the branches, joined by their mates and a couple of sparrows, while a red-headed woodpecker rat-tat-tatted on the nearby elm. He even discouraged a bushy squirrel from descending the tree; he turned tail and hopped across the garage roof.

Billy brought Miranda to the window, where the red of the cardinals caught her eye and captivated her for a minute or two. Then she banged her miniature pumpkin against the glass, and our friends took flight.