And there was rain.

Rain, glorious rain! I’ve hoped for some for quite a while, mostly just so our water bill would not be so high from watering our enormous and rather yellowish lawn, but also just for a change of scenery, and the smell of water on hot pavement and dust that I’d been craving. I love hot, sunny days in summer, but welcome are breaks like these, complete with thunder and lightning. (It even feels like we have air-conditioning in our house right now!)

I have taken lots of pictures that haven’t made their way onto the computer yet. The heat has mostly been to blame for this, since the desktop computer is upstairs, where it is too stifling to stay for more than two minutes at a time, and the laptop doesn’t have Photoshop. And I’m pretty much helpless without my Photoshop. If tomorrow is as mild as this evening, though, I might have some new photos up and ready to share. We’ll see.

I made a cake with marshmallow fondant icing today. It was a ridiculous thing to do with a 3-year-old and 1-year-old wanting to involve themselves in the process, but it was done, not without lots of powdered sugar getting all over everything and everybody. I think everyone has reached their monthly sugar quota as well. The cake turned out just all right for a first attempt. If it had been done by someone about 15 years younger, it might be impressive. As it is, I need practice.

We watched “Enchanted” tonight as a family. I was surprised to see Antonio watching so intently, as he usually completely ignores the TV unless it’s Backyardigans or Blue’s Clues, which will keep about 1 minute of his attention. At the end of the movie, I asked Kyrie, “So, did you like it?” She answered, “No…I loved it!” And so they both continue to grow up at alarmingly fast rates. :(

Kids are asleep, house is half-messy, half-clean, Rick’s clothes for tomorrow are in the washer, and the fan is blowing the fresh, cool night air over to me. I’m debating between picking up The Jungle and reading from where I left off, or going to bed. I will probably regret it if I start to read, because I have a hard time stopping, especially when there are no cries or pleas coming from little people who always surround me. And then I’ll stay up too late, and pay for it in the morning. But…just one more chapter.

I need to escape…

...into a good book. I haven’t read anything of substance for such a long time, and right now I’m feeling like it would be really helpful if I could just dive into a book and not think about anything else, for maybe an hour a day (haha, yeah right). What is a really good book you’ve read recently that you think is good enough to recommend to someone else? Fiction or non-fiction, though I’d prefer fiction, not too light or fluffy, but not too dry or slow.

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Thankful

I was just listening to Rebecca St. James and Todd Agnew sing “Our Great God,” and it just reminded me how thankful I feel right now.

We’ve had a ton of bills lately with the new table (we outgrew the old one), computer (it died), washer and dryer (they were dying together), computer, midwife, doula, tuition, and visits from family. God has provided a lot of money to meet those bills. I mean a lot. Close to $10,000 in the last three weeks. (I broke a Black Friday sales record and received my overload pay from teaching all in the last three weeks.) That almost covers everything (yeah, they add up). What would normally have been a stressful time has not been that bad.

I have a beautiful new son. The birth was incredible. It couldn’t have gone any more perfectly. The doula was incredible when it came to supporting Rachel. The whole time Rachel was in labor, I kept thanking God for her. The midwife was great too, but let the doula pretty much handle things.

My daughter continues to grow in her relationship to Christ. She amazes me sometimes.

I’m glad to be in a church where we can chant, receive communion every week, feel loved, and our children can commune. We’ve actually been able to develop a relationship with a fellow congregation member (though in its early stages, it’s nice to be able to connect to someone other than the pastor and his family). The lady is a bit older than us, but her youngest son is close to Kyrie’s age.

My class this semester will be taught by Reggie Kidd, and it’s on my favorite subject. How great is that? I’ve been able to finish most of the books (I saved the best ones for last, so woohoo).

I’ve had off of work for three straight days. I don’t think I’ve had more than one day in a row off since August (and even then I was usually working on my day off). It’s been a time of healing and rest (though I must say I am wiped out from all the work I am doing—but it’s different work, so in a big way, it’s restful).

We have family coming to visit. Forrest and Rebekah will be here in less than two weeks. The Enloe family also plans to come by. Mommy and daddy plan on coming in February. It will be so nice to have company again, and it’s nice to have a table that will fit everyone (tightly though!).

I love how all of our close friends’ families are growing. Exponential growth is nice when it involves friends.

We are planning to stay our entire summer in Spokane, if possible. Actually, it would be nice to just move up there, so maybe a job can fall in our laps (pretty please!).

It’s Advent. The long green season is fully over.

Oh, Lord remind us once again of your wonderful works. Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God.

1984 and Airport Messages

Have you ever been walking through an airport and thought, “Wow, this is just like 1984“?

Think about the phrases you hear over the intercom. You get messages like these:

“The Department of Homeland Security has raised the Terror Alert to orange…”

“For your own protection…”

...intersprinkled with happy messages like,

“We thank you once again for choosing Northwest Airlines…”

“Welcome to Memphis International Airport…”

and they’re all in the same creepy, robotic voice. Every time I am in an airport, I can’t help feel like I am in 1984 or Brave New World or Alas, Babylon or some other dystopia novel.

David Middleton recommendation

My rector lent me a copy of David Middleton’s “Beyond the Chandeleurs” (LSU Press) on Sunday, and I must say, it is incredibly good. Middleton was a member of my rector’s church when he was in Thibodaux. If you’re looking for a good Southern Anglican, he’s your guy. Middleton teaches at Nicholls State and is the poetry editor of the Anglican Theological Review, the Classical Outlook, and the Louisiana English Journal.

Most of the poetry is on Confederate battles, Louisiana, family, and religion (not in that order) or a combination of all of them. My favorite is called “A Quiet Reply,” which is from the perspective of an older mother whose kids are out of the house, and her husband is on the verge of dying.

Nathan and Brad, this is a must read for you guys.

Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Church

I received a copy of this book, edited by Bob Webber, last night. I just finished it, and here’s my recommendation: Skip Mark Driscoll, John Burke, and Dan Kimball and go straight to Doug Pagitt and Karen Ward. That’s where it gets juicy.

Driscoll is Reformed, Burke is your post-emotional-evangelical, and Kimball is your post-traditional-evangelical. Pagitt…I’m not sure what I’d call him (Driscoll opts for “liberal” and “heretic”), but it’s an interesting read full of insight. Ward is a post-liberal turned communal abbess. Both Pagitt and Ward embrace a postmodern way of thinking and writing. The others seem a bit too modern to be interesting (especially Driscoll). Anyway, save yourself some time and do exactly what I say. :-)

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Sickness, sleep, and avocados (or Random thoughts 9,163)

So, as Rachel mentioned a few days ago, we were struck by the plague. I was bowing my knees a few days ago, a couple days after Rachel was sick. Everyone else was sick yesterday, and we’re all starting to feel better now. I think the sickness has mostly passed, but we’re all weak, and I think my digestive system is still out of whack because food just feels like it sits in my stomach forever.

I think my digestive system is always out of whack when we come up here anyway. When we’re at home, we eat mostly vegetables and whole grains. We don’t eat a lot of white flour carbs (any really) and we’ve cut most of the meat out of our diets. Black bean tacos became a favorite in the fall, and I mentioned them to Rachel before I fell asleep last night, which made her mad at me, because then she started craving them. I was craving a avocado, tomato, and swiss sandwich from Sparky’s. (Speaking of Sparky’s, I’ll get a free sandwich after I buy two more. Yessss.)

I’m also in the mood for some wild berry sparkling cider.

Kyrie drank her wine today at church before I noticed she hadn’t eaten her bread. Today was the first day back in Salem’s sanctuary since the fire 11 months ago. Kyrie was delighted with the stained glass and banners.

I was exhausted after church (eventhough we were in bed by 11:30), and then we went to Red Robin for lunch (which sealed the deal), and Kyrie and I both went down for two hour naps.

It’s kinda jolting to go from 60-70 hour work weeks to a really long vacation. Despite my sickness, I was still able to polish off three books this week. Yet, I’m still too lazy to update my sidebar book widget. The only real benefit to that widget is that it adds color to the blog.

The Real Mary

Scot McKnight has written a new book, The Real Mary. It will be coming out in January, about a month after the new movie, “The Nativity Story.” You can read a sample chapter here. Also be sure to check out all the great offerings from Paraclete Press.

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Sacrificial crisis

I haven’t read anything on Doug Wilson’s written in months, but I have him in my feed reader, and I saw the title of a post about sacrificial crisis. Great quote:

“The sacrificial crisis, that is, the disappearance of the sacrificial rites, coincides with the disappearance of the difference between impure violence and purifying violence” (Girard, Violence and the Sacred, p. 49).

I’ve spent this whole semester talking about sacrificial crisis and scapegoats in my Western Lit. class. It’s all throughout the Greek tragedies that we’ve read. Oedipus, Antigone, The Bacchae, The New Testament. You all really need to pick up this book (along with the rest of Girard’s books).

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