God Bless This Feast

Easter

 

There is an  online literary magazine  that I subscribe to, and LOVE, whose latest issue is about feasting. Reading the poems and prose in this issue has brought back a lot of memories from Wisconsin. Some days I really miss our community dinner crew. Now that there is some distance and time between all of us I feel I have this perspective of how profound and simple our meals together were. I’m pleased to hear that they are all still meeting together, being a loving community, eating and making good food and raising children together. I’m sad we aren’t a part of that anymore and some days I long for another ‘group’ to feast with.

We cooked lamb and drank red wine on a Thursday.

In the Springtime we roasted asparagus and made fresh bread to hold our cured meat.

There was a small farm which gave us ribs and raw milk.

Manuel fried crepes, Brandy tried her luck at her first turkey, Sarah gave us her culture infused into spring rolls and spicy noodles. Tiffany’s desserts….bliss. Something I always looked forward to. Chocolate spread over a sponge cake, silky and brown. I remember the Passover that was our gift from David and the nan and chorizo from Danielle.

Red wine, mojitos and summer ales. Fire side chats, swatting mosquitos while our skin sweated and our hair frizzed in the humidity. We talked about politics, art, children, culture, missions, movies, music, and our own personal spiritual journeys of faith.

What came out of our times together was the sweet smell of feasting. Enjoying and savoring rather than consuming and rushing. Five years of feasting together,  taking time to slow cook the ribs from the freshly killed pig off the Trautman farm. Rolling out the dough by hand. Picking the herbs from our hand grown gardens. Juicing the watermelon to make the adult, summer drinks. Cranking out the noodles made from floury, pale dough and gooey, yellow eggs yolks. While others may eat out of the can, standing over the sink, we wanted it slow, together. Grabbing a snickers bar while you drive is normal these days but the flavor of real food, enjoyed by friends who laugh and yawn together as the night stretches out is rare.

Thank you, old friends for the feasting. I see cast iron skillets and think of you. Red wine reminds me of our winter nights and pork on a stick over the fire makes me think of our summers together. Enjoy the late nights together still. Bon Appetit and God Bless your feast!

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Can beauty save the world?

Now THIS is a book I want to read. I am so intrigued by the title alone and the concept is something I have been thinking about for months now. Not really that EXACT concept (saving the world and all) but mainly that art, in a variety of its forms, and the dignity of beauty for beauty’s sake are slowing dying in our Western culture, being replaced by stoic ideologies and political blah, blah, blah. I have been thinking tons about education since….another drum roll….we are sending the boy back to school again this year (more about that later) and as Matt and I have been considering the environment which he will spend a good portion of his day (another topic I have LOTS of opinions on) we have researched school after school. The one we are sending him to has a strong focus on nurturing the arts and literature in little kids while most schools these days are freaking out that our kids are failing math and science. “We’re behind China for the love of GOD!” We also only speak one language by and large so sorry, researchers, we’re behind on languages too.

I’ve been thinking a bit how science is not separate from art and math is an art in itself rather than a series of absolutes that must be memorized and regurgitated in order to make it into a good college. I have a lot of great talks with Naomi about college and education and the empire it’s become. We shed sad tears that apprenticeships are a thing of the past. But there is just something about the arts that cause us to ponder, to ruminate (one of my favorite words), to create solutions for difficult problems and there’s a place where we experience the dynamics of faith in the presence of the arts. Faith isn’t just a set of ‘things’ that you do or that we are, it’s beauty, fluid and graceful. It’s profound and transforming and because we are all so wildly unique, faith really is swooning with beauty.

Lately I have been too worried about how my kids are going to turn out based on the education I will provide for them (homeschool, private, public) and it’s just driving me crazy.  Even my own life has been wrought with stress because I feel such a pull towards justice and it’s killing my insides to think of all that things to be done alongside with everything I’m not able to do right now, or will ever be able to do. But there is something calming about fixing the worlds problems through civility and creativity, through beauty. Yes, I believe it but I am trying to slow down and live like it’s true.

If anyone has already read this then I would love to hear a review.

Finding the time to create

Daisies in my garden

 

Today I came across this article  by Carey Wallace on making time to create art. In this article he’s talking about writing, which I feel a strong connection to but feel like I’m utterly dropping the ball since I just can’t seem to find/make time these days. I even commented on his article in that I was encouraged and discouraged in the same breath. In some ways I do believe it’s easier to make time for things when you are either single or sans little children.  I do find there are a lot of mommy bloggers out there who write for fun (that just sounds so ‘cute’-they write for fun), maybe write because it’s a passion is a better way to phrase it. Then there are some who write to try to make money off their blogging. I understanding why the latter would carve out significant slots of time if they are trying to be home with kids and make some serious cash from their writing.

It’s the former, the ones who make time to write because it’s their passion, that just kills me. Maybe it’s the season I am in, life with three small children who have a lot of needs. I have a one year old who is just learning to walk for goodness sake! There are days where I feel like I’ve completely failed in making time to write, take photos or read and I really don’t understand how these women who stay home with kids do it. Maybe it will mellow once mine get just a titch older “and then (she says) I’ll find the time to make art” (end quotes). Or maybe I just need to bite down and carve out some serious time to create the things I want to create. I miss telling stories with my photos and getting out the stuff that’s in my head. Lord knows there is a ton in there these days. I feel I’ve been going through some major life transitions in the past six months and there is so much swirling around in there that wants to come out. Not that I need to write so people will read but there is something about the process that helps me to learn and to decompress a bit. It’s the creative process that we all need to churn in ourselves to feel we are spinning properly, like the cog that drives the wheel (thanks for the definition, Biker Husband).

 

Personally I was born to communicate in a variety of forms so when I spend most of my day answering what the difference is between a bunny and a rabbit (which, by the way, I really don’t know) I feel deflated and tired in the end, if that’s all I have done. If I haven’t engaged in something that makes me also feel alive as a unique human with a unique expression of life I feel like I lost a bit of the day. I’ve felt this way for months now. This is why, I think, a lot of stay at home moms struggle with depression, addictions, and horrible loneliness.

 

This excerpt, which hopeful isn’t breaking some sort of copywrite, is incredibly profound to me and seems to strip away a lot of my excuses for not making time to create, whatever it is that I need to create:

 

“This is what undergirds my discipline in my best moments: the dazzling beauty and variety of the things God wants to speak into this world, the honour of being able to repeat some of them in my own voice, and the shortness of my life relative to the size of the task. It requires discipline to stay tuned to these truths in the crush and noise of each day, but when the division between creative and spiritual disciplines is removed, the reward becomes not just another page written, or another lonely hour stared down, but a meeting with God himself, who restores us even as He leads us on.”

– Carey Wallace