cheers

May 22, 2011

Congratulations to my beautiful sister, Lori Beth, for graduating high school!

To celebrate properly, I baked a variety of pies and tarts: a Lemon Cream Tart, Strawberry Cream Cheese Torte, Dark Chocolate Cream Tart, Blackberry Cream Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Pecan Pie, and Apple Pie. Most of the recipes I used were from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Home to Yours. I found them to all be lovely recipes, using classic French baking techniques paired with Dorie‘s expertise to create homey, inviting desserts. I also drew on my invaluable experiences baking alongside the family of Cuppies and Joe in Oklahoma City, of whom I will forever be indebted to for teaching me not only how to bake delicious desserts, but also how to serve them forth with love.

It was a joy to share these sweet comforts with friends and family alongside coffee and stories of our graduate.

Here’s to you, pretty girl.

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May 8, 2011

new year

January 1, 2011

 

Happy new year! A few photos from a moment of gold with my siblings in 2010 – full of the love and joy that I am hoping abound in 2011. A dear one in my life put it well, ‘today is the first day of a year of birth, of planting, of healing, of building, of laughing, of dancing, of gathering stones… a year of embrace, of search, of mend, of love, and of peace.’

May you find rest, wellness, and renewal in the hope of these cold January days.

Cheers!

 

all is calm, all is bright.

December 25, 2010

Christmas this year is quiet, small. It is appropriate that day-old snow covers the ground, and with it comes an eerie silence. I have enjoyed listening to the beautiful, haunting composition of Handel’s Messiah, reading Joshua Banner’s meditation on Isaiah 9, sharing our tradional Christmas Eve buffet, with a not so traditional tawny port, opening gifts so carefully crafted and thought through, reading the John 1 account, and crowding into historic Trinity Lutheran Church, Soulard, to sing the songs, and pray the prayers.

This morning, we sat around the table, with homemade cinnamon rolls, a french press, mimosas, and incredibly tender hearts. We lit the four candles of the advent wreath; the white Christ candle lit for the first day of Christmas. We shared words and songs, and decided to forgo our big Christmas lunch in order to just sit, rest, read our new books, and admire the snow. The cornish hens and pies and potatoes will wait until tomorrow. The movement towards a quiet togetherness is what this Christmas requires. There is much to think on, much to rest in, and much to be thankful for. It may not be the Amy Grant Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Christmas that we are accustomed to, with wrapping paper strewn about, rushing around to see family and cook and be merry. But that is okay, it is good.

It is a Silent Night sort of Christmas.

And it is my heart that everyone has much hope and light this day, many kisses and much love, delicious food and delightful conversation; that there is merriment and rejoicing.

Happy Christmas and much love.

peace

December 20, 2010

I flew into Saint Louis yesterday afternoon to spend the week of Christmas with my family. I was met with a bit of snow remaining on the ground, and news of the untimely death of a family friend. It is difficult to understand why these sort of things happen, but the truth is, we may never know. And we have to make peace somehow.

Growing up, whenever I asked my Mom or Dad what they wanted for Christmas, they always just replied, “Peace on earth.” Even if the response was in jest, it rings so much truth in my heart this year, as death and brokenness remain. Pray for peace, and look to the manger.

So it is with heavy, yet hopeful hearts that we look towards the week ahead. For the first time in a while it will be just us. And because we love each other so much and have so much to celebrate, we will cook, and bake, and drink, and be merry. Gifts to give, songs to sing, games to play. We will stop our lives and responsibilities, quiet our aches, and join together behind the red door on Seminary Terrace. We have so much. We have each other.

[photo credit: Lisa Lessing]

advent I

November 30, 2010

As autumn gives way to winter, and this week marks the beginning of Advent, I have found myself grappling with the definition of family and identity. It is good to stop, be quiet, let the cold bring life, and to remember what it means to wait for something good. I am beginning to invent new traditions and repurpose old ones this Advent, looking to both the distant memory of the ancient Christmas story, as well as the expectation that comes with the mystery of hope. And, I am making family out of whatever I have.

I have a home with a front porch, hard wood floors, and morning light. I have a kitchen with an oven, and flour, sugar, and butter. I have good people around me. I have a job and the warmth of it’s festive walls. I have a beating heart, and a sense of purpose.

It is with these things in my hands, I move toward the season with more quiet expectation than I have in along time. There is not the same grid this year. Everything seems new, and it is with these hands that I have to work to build new family, new tradition. The three foot cedar was cut down from outside of town. Twinkle lights everywhere. Iowa pine candle burning. Leftover pie for lunch. Hot tea. Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums. Haphazardly sewing stockings for each member of the household. It is in these small things, in these rhythms, that I begin to redefine and find meaning.

Peace, noel.

Pope Benedict XVI writes:

“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope….

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories if goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”

My prayer is that this Advent season, full of new and old, awakens memories of goodness, and transforms all that is lost into something of hope.

O Come O Come Emmanuel.

April 1, 2010

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;

And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year.

-Robert Frost

on going to the zoo

March 25, 2010

these days, things have been moving by at a quickening pace with less and less certainty. spring is trying to make its comeback in these parts; sun and snow. there are plenty of question marks about the future, seasons of life and comfortability coming to an and. love is difficult and optimism seem to cost. when just finishing what i started (namely school) seems a tall order, and paris feels like the only redemption. when i am running circles around myself in my head of what to do and not do, how to act, not act, what to love, who and how to love. engaging the little world of me and my to do list. how do i become better?

and on a wednesday afternoon, the white wine from the night before still lingering, grey clouds and single, fat drops of rain. with a gracious, unexpected chunk of time, my dear friend said, how about we go to the zoo?

okay.

i had no idea that $7 would provide me with one of the most delightful afternoons in recent history. it was not on the list. it was not part of the plan. it didn’t even feel like the guilty pleasures of formulated self care that i try to implement for balance.

it was a surprise. lots of surprises. the grace of the sealions as they come up for air. with britsh accents and old man whiskers they shared their wisdom. the meerkats stood guard. with a look so fierce on a creature so little all i could do was laugh. bison, birds, and a sincere wonder if the cougar would maul the man with the strange hat.

then there were the three gorillas. a species so close to our own. a cognitive connection. and there we were: the mama, papa, and son. the restlessness in the little one captivated me, as i felt that if it were socially acceptable, i might put a leaf on my head and beat my chest from time to time.

dear animals, though i only experienced you from a distance, you helped bring a bit of wonder and goodness to my life – if only for a moment. and for that i am thankful.

January 28, 2010

Directly upon finishing all my work for the Points of Departure show, I have been rewarded with a snow day! Grey skies have enveloped our little home and any sort of travel is unfit. This leaves me with a cup of ginger tea and new stack of cookbooks from the library. I hope to make a warm soup of sorts and knead out some bread dough. The quiet of the day is a gift, to read, draw, and cook.

where the wild things are

October 12, 2009

WTWTA_wp2_1024x768

Where the Wild Things Are in theaters on Friday!