muffins and friends.

yesterday was a full day. aside from all the photos i took and posted, chris and i biked to the library and checked out some books. i checked out falling leaves by adeline yen mah. looks good. then i made some strawberry rhubarb muffins with leftover, frozen rhubarb from earlier this summer. the recipe can be found on soulemama. i used lemon peel instead of orange - i'd recommend not using lemon. but they were still yummy.

and this week is our community's 5 yr. anniversary of being together and in camden! so last night we celebrated with the people at our church who have taken good care of us. i read an excerpt from jean vanier's community and growth that at least is a good basis for what i believe community is.

"'my people' are my community, which is both the small community, those who live together, and the larger community which surrounds it and for which it is there. 'my people' are those who are written in my flesh as i am in theirs. whether we are near each other or far away, my brothers and sisters remain written within me. i carry them, and they, me; we recognize each other again when we meet. to call them my people doesn't mean that i feel superior to them, or that i am their shepherd or that i look after them. it means that they are mine as i am theirs. there is a solidarity between us. what touches them, touches me. and when i say 'my people', i don't imply that there are others i reject. my people is my community, made up of those who know me and carry me. they are a springboard towards all humanity. i cannot be a universal brother or sister unless i first love 'my people'."

these 5 yrs. have been so formative, so wonderful, so difficult. they have given me a trust in god's provision that i doubt i would have found elsewhere. they have given me a love for liturgy and the seasons and south jersey (!). and they have made me question over and over again if i was meant for community.
it was a great night of pictures and stories.


just a few things i love about being home.

i love sleeping in my bed. i love my neighbors and my plants and bicycle. i love making dinner and looking through cook books. i love watching movies on my little laptop screen.

in other news chris and i are going to meet another dog soon named nellie. i don't know if i'm ready yet to give my love to another animal but i find myself spending time on petfinder.com nonetheless. we'll keep you posted.

here are some photos i took today.



i can't believe we are on our way home now. i'm amazed we've made it this far and it appears we will make it home (knock on wood).

in the last couple of days we visited the raleigh/durham area and had a great event. we met more mennonites than I've ever seen in one group and we spent time with very good friends, jonathan and leah and their little guy, ja'michael. i got to talk a bit with one of their community members, sarah, who has an 18 month old and another on the way. it was good to hear from folks with small kids in community - i think i gained some good insight.

then we made our way to richmond, va and had probably our smallest crowd yet. but that small crowd got really into it. it seemed meaningful for them. we stayed at a catholic worker house there last night and really enjoyed those folks. it was interesting to talk with them about the process of becoming a catholic worker house. i've known plenty but never asked how you go about becoming official. in case you're wondering, you don't go about becoming official! i guess with the history of anarchism it would be kind of against the philosophy to have criteria for something like that. and yet, most of the CW houses i've met are full of quality, hard-working, loving people.

and now we're going north on 95 and should be home in about 4 hours. i wish lucy was waiting for us but i'm glad at least our bed is. we've been gone long enough to form a habit - i wonder if it will be hard to break it. maybe i won't be able to sleep unless i'm in a moving vehicle or maybe i'll crave the rank smell of used veggie oil. not sure.

if anyone reads this from the philly area our last event is at broad street ministries (315 broad street) on saturday, july 26th. it begins at 5pm with a small ministry/organization fair and amy wilson and tamber (!!) playing (they're amazing). at 6 is a big dinner, all are welcome. and at 7pm is our event. i think we've worked out most of the kinks so if you come you'll be getting the best we have to offer.

hope to see you there!


the divine liturgy of the exiles

i spent today in the bus listening intently to the psalters cd, the divine liturgy of the exiles. i've listened to it before but i've never given it the time it deserves. i read every lyric and listened to every note and i come away amazed, mystified, fearful and in awe. kind of dramatic language, yes, but it's kind of a dramatic look into what i believe, is the heart of god. their songs are hopeful and joyful but they are also piercing and honestly, scary. they sing scripture so raw - the anger of god towards us, those who, as one of their songs says, are 'peace-talkers with hearts of war' is very clear. but so is god's love and the admonition of the church to care for those around us, especially the least of these. for most of us these ideas are not new and yet their music makes them new and makes them urgently imperative. they say they are singing and playing the music for and of the refugees, of those in exile, which includes the church, aliens in a strange land. they want to make more clear the connection between worshipping god and being people of justice.

we are very blessed to be traveling with scott and jay (2 of the many members of psalters) and i really am so excited about the talent in their voices, in their instruments, in their lyrics, in their vision.

please visit them at: psalters.org and myspace and do buy their music and do tell them what you think.

checking in....

a lot has happened since i last wrote.

1) texas. wow. texas is one big state. our first stop in texas was lubbock where we saw our old housemate, barrett. it was nice to connect with him and see a bit of his world. we had a big crowd that night and a good show. had some tex-mex too. yum .
we drove through the night to dallas and arrived at 4am. i rode with the camera crew in their car, the bus came to dallas in the early afternoon. now, sarah and steve perkins had one of the most comfortable set-ups for us. it was just like coming home, except with a pool, air conditioning, and lots of food and space. at that point we really needed some good rest time and their hospitality made resting very easy. (thanks!)

i will say one more thing about texas. big bugs. we stopped at a rest stop and i went into the bathroom only to be greeted by, seriously, the largest insect i have ever seen. so, of course i ran out afraid that they were all going to think i'm such a baby. turns out no one could bring themselves to go near it. no one except scott a. he saved the day.

2) after texas we headed to atlanta. this was a great crowd. we had so many volunteers and helpers from various churches and communities and the audience really loved the presentation, southern style. i felt like i was watching it with new eyes through them. it was so hot, though. wow. i think that was our most packed out show. it was good to see leroy and donna again too. i loved what they do and who they are. i feel privileged to know them. we also got to eat at a fairly new, local south food restaurant called 'sweet potatoes'. so good.

3) we left ATL the next morning at 6am and headed to orlando. it just keeps getting hotter and hotter. but everything in orlando is air conditioned so it was a good show. there were between 1400 and 2000 people who came and this church was a well oiled machine. i even got to wear a head set while i did the power point so i could cue the cameras. (!) crazy. that night we stayed with some guys who have some of the most creative decorating ideas i've seen. a couple fake stuffed deer, a framed pictures of babies, massive owl lamps, country style birdhouse wallpaper etc. it was amazing. we got some drinks and frozen pizza and hung in their house until the wee hours of the night.

4) so that brings me to now. we left orlando this morning on our way to raleigh/durham for our show tomorrow. we just stopped off at flagler beach and swam in the ocean and laid on the sand. lovely. i'd say it's a bit different from the jersey shore i'm used to! i even talked the boys into getting a hotel room tonight!!!! it's just sooo hot at night on the bus and no one sleeps. so then we're out of it for the next presentation. i look forward to that shower and that bed.


the barrenness and beauty of the desert.

we had a great time in ventura - it was an excited crowd and we saw our good friend CJ and his wife (wish i had gotten a picture!). we had a wonderful snack time and breakfast the next morning with Joel Hickenbottom's family. Mr. Hickenbottom gave us veggies straight from his garden which we made into a healthful and yummy pasta sauce that night. we got to take a break at the beach (brrr! but the water was warm) and sleep on the sand. it was all very californian. :)

we then headed through arizona to new mexico. this has, by far, been my favorite landscape of the whole trip. i don't think i have ever felt as hot as i did in arizona. all the windows were open in the bus but i was chewing through ice cubes like a crazy person. it was barren but it really was beautiful. i've always touted myself as being a lover of the desert but i found myself questioning this in arizona. near the border of new mexico, however, the weather dropped nearly 15 degrees and the landscape became more like the desert with which i find my affinity. cactus started appearing and small mountains of rocks. we slept in a parking lot right outside of the petrified forest and the next morning at 7am we went to see what all the fuss was about. wow. it's amazing what nature does. it's mysterious and miraculous. that's what i love about creation - i'm not saying i don't believe in supernatural miracles but we have all the miracles we need outside in the outdoors. i felt small and insignificant in the midst of rocks and trees (now rocks) that are millions and millions of years old. imagining dinosaurs roaming around really seemed possible there. beautiful.

but we were on a schedule so i made us rush through and get to Albuquerque. i have loved all of our stops for they each offered something unique and special but i have to say, this stop, this place, has bewitched me. the hot days and cool nights, the desert and flowers and people... it was hard to leave this morning. the planning team for our event was the most organized and on top of things of any of the events. we actually had time to sit around for a bit because everything was done! this event was our first bi-lingual one, being translated into spanish for folks. i loved it. we had a folky group called the alyssa yarber band and a hip hop artist called JC Represent play our intermission time. they were both fantastic and really excited about being a part of this project.

but the best part was the group of folks we stayed with! lynn and john, and john's dad Bob, from casa shalom were so hospitable and welcoming. they are doing really good work opening up their homes to strangers. they live in a cooperative housing complex surrounding a courtyard with old growth trees (hard to find anywhere, let along in the desert!). about 15 families live in this complex teaching each other english and spanish, sharing meals and carrying each other's joys and burdens. out of all the communities i know (many of which excite me quite a bit) casa shalom really seems to be embodying the love and subversive hope of christ. i hope they visit us and that we can visit them again.

i'm literally sitting in the bus near to tears because i've been so moved by these people and this place. it could also be that i slept a total of 5 1/2 hours last night and not much more the night before... and we're driving through the night tonight!

i'll leave you with some pictures of the desert and my traveling companions and of our stop in NM.

Here is Jay eating tiny cookies


california love.

san francisco - love that city. we hung out with good friends and family: darin, meeghan, justice, gwen, tim, andrea, stacey and others. we had philz coffee and walked around china town. very nice.

fresno - hot but friendly. this stop had the most enthusiastic crowd we've had so far! we stayed with some great people in the lowell community and got to hang out with the folks, especially beth, at the pink house. i spent some of my growing up not far from fresno, in stockton. fresno seemed really similar to stockton. california is a nice place to visit but i don't think i'd want to live there. thats good, i'm knocking places off my list. it helps me make decisions, knowing what i'm missing.

we are now heading to ventura and are hoping to spend a little time at the beach. after that the boys are trying mighty hard to get me to let us take a detour to the grand canyon and rent donkeys to take us down into it's depths. seems a little expensive and time consuming to me but they are wearing me down little by little. (don't tell them that)

here's a photo of beth in front of the pink-ish house. i'm bad at documenting our trip - i'm going to do better.

tomorrow: more on how ventura was, with pictures.



so i'm in the airport dreading my flight to san francisco. yes, i hate flying. i've realized that it's an unlikely scenario, me plummeting to the ground in a huge mass of metal, but nonetheless i don't like it.

i did have a great time in colorado with my fam though. we had dinner with chris' sister and brother-in-law (who are pregnant!), i hung out with lib and some friends, conor, alyssa and kristen, and spent a lot of time my good 'ol mom. this morning we went to red rocks and walked around, then had ice cream in morrison. here are some pictures.

we've spent a lot of time with other dogs on this trip. they make me miss lucy so much. they also make me hope to have another dog soon.

now i'm off to join the tour in san fran. there we also have wonderful friends who i'm looking forward to seeing.


aahhh. cornerstone. one more year in attendance. granted, only for one day and night but the familiar joys and frustrations met me there. it is such a place of dichotomy. you have these christians who look so radical and consider themselves so outside of the mainstream church but the only thing that seems different is their hair color or how dirty they are willing to get. their beliefs and theology and lifestyle is much like the brothers and sisters they want to separate from. i do appreciate the diversity of cornerstone - there are folks still hanging on hoping for change within the christian culture, for community and simple living in the midst of booths advertising for christian television (no kidding) and christian jewelry and christian clothing - christian everything. and so therefore nothing is christian anymore. but still, there's a part of me that loves going.

but that's not what is most on my mind right now. you'd think that night after night of the same ideas would bore me or annoy me but i have to say, night after night i am convicted. i am moved towards jesus and embarrassed about my life. i find myself longing to be a part of a faithful body of christ, to sacrifice and follow and lay down my sword to pick up the cross. now, i'm not the most "christian" christian you'll ever meet. i usually let chris do the soul searching for the both of us (i do see the problem in that, of course) and i hate to make big promises i won't be able to keep but i sense a revival in me and it's reminding me of some of the earlier desires of my heart. it's making me question the things i care about, the course of our lives in this little family. i'm thinking a lot about how i want to raise my kids and what values i want to offer them, and how i want to order our lives.

we've been talking a lot about the holidays of the church. you know, like pentecost is the day of the birth of the church, not the fourth of july. christmas is the day of the arrival of our savior, not columbus day. i'm hoping to incorporate more of the holy days of church into my life as we start to loosen our grip on the holidays of the state. re-ordering our lives. good stuff.

in other news we made it to colo-radical and are now relaxing.


time off....

i feel so relaxed right now... almost bored (shhh). it's a great feeling. we've been hanging out at chris' mom and dad's house for the last day and a half with good food, good sleep, good conversation and big trees. it's sunny but breezy. it's slow and happy.

i've had time to answer emails and to read my book (i'm actually kind of reading 3!).

jeffrey eugenides' "middlesex: a novel"

david sedaris' "when you are engulfed in flames"

greg mortenson and david oliver relin's "three cups of tea"

i've had time to check out some of my favorite blogs. one of which i've told you to visit before but i'll remind you again, soulemama.

she is so inspiring. now, i'm not terribly crafty so when i have kids it'll be a stretch to be as creative as she is. but i'm going to try.

what else have i done with my time off? showered (i haven't been this clean in 2 weeks!) and shamelessly watched internet tv. i'm not telling you which tv show though, because everyone makes fun of me.

i'm also preparing to leave tomorrow for a festival of 30,000 people. deep breathes and centering prayer.

denver is our next stop after that. i'm ready for that dry heat and my mom.