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November 2013

Never Too Late to Relearn

I'll be turning 39 in a week and there are certain things I thought that I knew by now.  In fact, if asked about them I would have laughed then looked around for the hidden camera.  Of course, since I used the past tense "thought I knew", you know what's coming, right?

First - How old am I?  Oooh yes.  I got this one wrong twice in the last week.  And both times I said I was older than I am.  I have no explanation other than last year about this time I thought I was turning 40, which I wasn't that year either.  On the up side, by the time I am turning 40 it will feel old hat.

Second - How to make paper snowflakes.  I told you these were things that I thought I had down pat.  I did know the basics; you fold a piece of paper then make cuts along the folds.  What I didn't remember (or maybe never knew) is that you get more recognizably snowflake shapes if you fold the paper a particular way.  If you are now doubting your own paper snowflake making skills, I recommend the tutorial at HighHopes.com 

Third - How to tie shoes.  OK,  I'm oversimplifying a bit.  I was looking through the TED talks website and found a really short talk on how to tie shoes.  I thought it must be a joke, but the speaker actually had a minor change to the bow making process that made it slip proof.  This is especially helpful for shoes with round laces.  My walking boots (which I've switched to since the weather dipped below freezing) have round laces and used to drive me a bit crazy since it took knots on top of the bow to hold them tight.  I would be exaggerating if I said this new bow technique has changed my life, but it does make me smile each time I use it. 

  

Now to go learn something I know I don't know, like how to make english muffins from scratch.


Saying Good-bye

This is a post I've been meaning to write for nearly a month, because it was about that long ago that I took a deep breath and said good-bye.  I think each family has its rituals for marking the passing of the seasons.  In some families these may be well documented and anticipated events (the Soule family of the SouleMama blog do this beautifully).  In others they happen with no fanfare, aside from the occasional grumble while hanging plastic over the windows or removing fall's jetsam from the gutter. 

In my household, I know that spring has truly taken hold when my partner comes in from work and after the customary hellos announces "It's first day of no-socks!" with a smile on his face and a wiggle of his Birkenstocked feet.  At that point my sandals are usually already due for a wash, from being worn in New England's fifth season -  mud.  But Z's adoption of sandals is a sign that the warm weather is really and truly here to stay.  The woolens get washed and hung to dry  (like a reverse version of Christmas) and outdoor living moves into full swing.

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As summer gives way to fall, I see Z return to his beloved black socks without a backward glance.  I wait as long as I can to do the same (not just because I despise matching clean socks together, though that's part of it).  Finally the day comes when only a fool would subject their bare toes to such temperatures and into the sink my workhorse Tevas go.  Soaking in hot soapy water, they give up the dust from my garden, beach sand long trapped in the velcro, stains from popsicles that melted too quickly, as well as the scent of bug spray, chlorine and I'm sure plenty of sweat.  Now they're tucked away like woodchucks and chipmunks, waiting for the return of warm sun and green grass. 

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P.S. If you enjoy picture books (or have kids in your life who do) I recommend the book A Flock of Shoes by Sarah Tsiang. It's sweet and really funny. 


He Walked - A Guest Post from Daniel K. MacDonald

Today's post is  from my friend,  Daniel K. MacDonald the curate at St. Anne's in the Field's Episcopal Church in Lincoln, MA.  Religion is not normally a part of this blog, but I asked Daniel if I could share his essay because it is rich with images of walking, both literal and metaphorical.  The first time I read it, I appreciated the way it made me look at stories I'd heard a hundred times, through a new lens. Whether you're religious, spiritual or agnostic, I think there's something in here for you.

 

Jesus walked.  I mean, Jesus walked a lot.  Sure, he took an occasional boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, and of course, he rode on a donkey during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem but mostly, almost exclusively, he walked.  Walking from one town to another, from one region to the next.  That was the life of the itinerant prophet, the traveling teacher, the marginal 1st century Jew: walking.

But also, talking.  When Jesus walked, he attracted a crowd, and a dialogue ensued.  Jesus almost always walked with others.  Picture Jesus walking around Judea in the midst of a throng of curious followers: this is a defining image of the New Testament.  So many Gospel stories consist of Jesus teaching or healing after arriving - that is, having walked - to a new place.  Sometimes Jesus' fellow walkers were few in number.  In the story of the Transfiguration, Jesus takes a mere three - Peter, and James  and John - up the mountain.  But in other places, the Gospels describe crowds beyond number, as when Jesus had to get into a boat to teach, because his listeners were so many.

Whether few or many in number, walking with others invites conversation, as much today as it did for Jesus and his followers.  Something about walking opens us up to those with whom we are traveling.  Yet walking in company is also a space for silence and private reflection, a time to simply take in one's surroundings, God's good creation.

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On October 20th, 11 youth and 6 adults from St. Anne's walked together for 7 kilometers through crisp fall air and beneath many a bejewelled oak, raising money for hunger relief through the Concord Crop Walk.  The weather was glorious, but more importantly, we used the shared experience of going somewhere together to open ourselves up to our teammates who were walking the way with us. We walked and talked and laughed and shared and questioned, much as the first followers of Jesus must have done in the Judean countryside all those centuries ago.  Walking invites openness, and 7 kilometers after we began, with the finish line in sight, we all knew each other better than we had at the beginning.

We are happy to report that St. Anne's raised $1,655 for the Concord Crop Walk. Thank you to everyone who donated monet for this important effort.  If you did not support the Crop Walk, we still welcome your contribution.

But beyond the Crop Walk, God is inviting us on another walk.  Come walk this year with the people of St. Anne's to go deeper in faith, deeper in the life of our growing, thriving parish.  Actual walking can be a great spiritual resource, as we see from Jesus in the Gospels.  But we can walk spiritually, too, as a community of faith that is going somewhere.  Opportunities for spiritual growth and community engagement abound at our church this year.  So come, join the good people at St. Anne's as we follow Jesus, wherever he is walking next.

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