This week I had difficulty choosing between two photos, so I decided to use both of them.
The first: Caleb enjoying flinging sand on the beach yesterday.
The second: The sunrise I saw as I left the house this morning. Awesome.
Monthly Archives: September 2011
This week I had difficulty choosing between two photos, so I decided to use both of them.
Today we enjoyed an amazing Fall day as we took a trip with Nonna and Papa (Dan’s parents) to Peaks Island – one of the Casco Bay Islands in Portland, Maine.
We took a small ferry ride (about 20 minutes) to Peaks Island and took some time walking the breadth of the island. When we reached the other side we decided for a quick bite to eat at an overlook. Ceara saw the rocks below because the tide was out, and as she wrapped up her sandwich and chips she asked to eat “down there.” We climbed down and sat among the rocks tempting the seagulls with our sandwiches and potato chips. Ceara had a blast playing among the stones and watching the waves. We had a blast watching her enjoy Creation.
Today is a few days past the 10th Anniversary of Sept.11th, yet I still wanted to post these thoughts because they have been going round and round inside my head over the past week.
I (Dan) have a few (maybe more) quirks – anyone who knows me can testify to that fact. 🙂 One of them is exploring different coffee shops with my uncle whenever I visit him or he visits me. Another one is hoping the plane is overbooked so I can stay a free night and get a flight voucher. (Although this quirk has waned since traveling with children.)
In August 2001 I planned a trip from Santa Cruz, CA where I was working to Boston, MA to visit my Aunt Jeanne, Uncle Sonny, and cousins. I called American Airlines to book a round-trip ticket from San Francisco to Boston. I asked the reservation lady on the phone to have me return on Tuesday, September 11th. She asked how early I wanted to leave Boston because she had one connecting through Los Angeles and one connecting through Denver to San Francisco. I paused for two reasons. One I told her and one I didn’t. The one I told her was I wanted to go into Boston with my uncle and get a cappuccino at a bakery he knew downtown because he teaches dentistry at a university downtown on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I wanted to make sure I could sit for a few minutes and enjoy another “chapter in the book of memories,” as my uncle says, before I raced off to Logan. Yet the other reason I paused is because in the back of my mind I had thought to get a flight connecting through Denver in the hopes that the leg from Denver to San Francisco would be overbooked earning me a flight voucher and free layover in Denver. I know that sounds odd, but I was a hopeless romantic and thought this would give me a chance to see a girl in whom I had an interest. So, with these two reasons in my mind, I turned down the direct flight and asked the lady to book me on the one an hour later with a layover in Denver.
A few weeks later on 11 September 2001 I made it to the airport, but I never made it on my flight as the FAA started grounding all flights because two planes from Boston had just been hijacked. Oh, and the earlier flight offered to me – the one I turned down for coffee, my uncle, and a girl – was one of the two flights hijacked and flown into the Twin Towers.
On the plane the other day both of us mentioned how much we crave routine right now. We have tried to establish a bit of routine for Ceara and Caleb amidst the transition and traveling of these past few weeks, yet we have struggled to do so for ourselves. One reason I began to write again while at Stony Point for three weeks was because I started to have a bit of a consistent schedule and a bit of a routine.
Yet more than routine – the same old day-in day-out monotony – we want to embrace habits of faithfulness in even deeper ways. Consistent prayer, consistent reading, consistent communication with dear friends – all of these can help to provide some groundedness during continual change.
Courtney and I cannot wait to get the boxes unpacked – part of which entails filling boxes for Goodwill or rummage sales. We want simplify, which can be a bit difficult task for sentimental people who have a story attached to almost everything we own.
The waves are consistent. One thing we LOVE about our new location is that you can always hear them. They remind us of the rhythms of life. We hope that in listening to them that they will help us to live habitually and faithfully.
As we drove from Nellysford, VA to Charlotte, NC the other day to catch our flight back to Maine I missed a turn. Now the route I was following didn’t change, yet to continue following the route meant I needed to exit, while going in the same direction meant I was on two new routes. I noticed it about 20 minutes after the fact. I don’t know if I was daydreaming or what, but I knew that I had to go a different way.
I got re-routed (thank you, Google maps), and eventually returned to the right route. While driving the new directions down small country roads I looked intently for signs to tell me I needed to go in a new direction, which I hadn’t done when I was comfortable on the “main” road. It made me think of four Hebrew words I put in a place that I would see often.
“Shema, Shuv, Shevet, Shabbat.”
This is what they mean for me. (Before I go on I must acknowledge that I am incredibly indebted to Ellen Davis, Phil and Martha Berg, Trey Hulsey, Thomas Rumph, David Greenknockle, and Mark Graves for helping me understand and live into these in deeper ways.)
The first word means “hear,” and it is the beginning of a prayer from Deuteronomy (ch.6 v.4). “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One, and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart, your soul, and your strength…” I have written about this prayer before in other posts, I think, so i won’t go into detail here. Briefly, I need to pray this prayer frequently, as it centers me and reminds me who I am, whose I am, and why I am living life.
The next three words are different, yet they share a similar root word, and, therefore, can be linked. They can be translated “turn around” (it is also commonly translated in English as “repent,” but “turn around” captures the meaning a bit better, “sit/dwell,” and “rest and worship.” im not feeling too articulate this morning, yet I hope to link these together for you as they have been linked together for me.
Often when going in many directions or even just comfortable in one way – whether physically, mentally, or emotionally – it is easy to switch into auto-pilot mode and not pay attention to the signs. And even if i feel that i am paying attention I can get off-track sometimes. I need to remember that it is okay to “turn around.”
Once we’re headed in the right direction it becomes important to dwell in the place and the habits that help us to pay attention and hear properly. A vital aspect of this entails community – sweeping together and helping each other to hear and to remember.
And this dwelling together can lead to worship, and this remembering can help return us to Shabbat – Sabbath – a gift of restoration and joy given to us by God at creation.
When I started these ideas seemed more coherent in my mind, as they drizzled on the page, though… Anyway, I hope these musings can be helpful for you in some way as they have been helpful for me to stumble over them this morning.
This past weekend we traveled to Nellysford, Virginia so that Courtney could preside over the wedding of a good family friend. While we took some pictures of the wedding, I think one of the best shots of the weekend occurred when Caleb wanted to climb up with the bags overhead on the airplane. It added some fun and levity for people during the boarding process.
As we moved this past week I came across some photos I had not looked at in a while. About this time ten years ago I started to feel a certain pull to serve in Afghanistan and help with the disaster response and relief effort. I took this photo during a distribution of emergency food. The bag into which the girl peers holds 50 kilograms of beans (about 110 pounds), and it should sustain a family for three months. Notice her foot slightly off the ground, the worn elbow of her sweater, the dusty feet… This picture speaks volumes to me. I hope you find meaning in it, too.
We observe Friday as our day of rest, rejuvenation, and rejoicing. Today marks the first one in the rental we have for this winter (September to mid-June). When the landlady heard that Courtney served a church in the area she gave us a good deal on rent – about the same as we paid at our other apartment.
As I listened to the waves outside, I decided to take a short video and post it – hoping to convey a bit of the peacefulness we have already experienced in the past 24 hours and hope to experience these next few months.
This link should take you to the YouTube link where I posted the video:
(you may have to copy and paste the address into a new browser window)