1 + 1 = 3

It's been announced to family and friends, it's been announced on Facebook, and you've probably already heard, so it's high time it's announced here:

Jonathan and I are prego with a boy and expecting in April :)

With the prego state comes a prego future. In just a few shorts months, our life will give birth to unimaginable fun, stress, laughter, tears, and change.

BIG change.

"Aren't you excited?"

These were often the first words out of the mouths of friends and family when they found out about Baby K. Admittedly, I also used the word "excited" when people asked how Jonathan and I were feeling. But at the end of Thanksgiving weekend, as I was driving us back on Hwy 5 from Bend, OR where we had spent the holiday with Jonathan's cousin and family, Jonathan watched a movie and I finally took advantage of the quiet to process the life ahead of us. I realized that "excited" doesn't quite sum it up.

I think a new baby is one of, if not THE biggest life changes, anyone can experience. At certain times, yes, I'm excited. At other times, I'm skeptical of our decision to get into this in the first place. Sometimes I'm nervous, sometimes I'm curious, sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I'm stressed. Normally I'm the type of person that adapts to change well, so it's not just the fact that it's a change. For me, it's the fact that it's a wild frontier of unknowns. Getting into the change of marriage was easy for me. I knew Jonathan. We had talked a lot about expectations and living habits and spent a good deal of time together before getting marriage. Again, I knew Jonathan. But a baby? We don't know this baby. For all intensive purposes, this baby is a stranger. A complete stranger! We have no idea what kind of personality this baby has, how he'll sleep, how he'll interact with us, if he'll have special needs, how he'll develop... many times throughout the past few months I've stepped back from it all in awe, struck by the oddness of person and family creation. One day, in the very near looming future, we will leave our house and life a twosome, and come home a threesome.

So how can "excited" describe a future that is, for the most part, one long horizon of unknowns? It's sort of like getting pregnancy advice from women who have been pregnant. Every woman who's been pregnant feels like she can tell you how your pregnancy will go--what symptoms you'll have, how you'll carry and how that determines if it's a boy or a girl, how your labor will feel, etc. But every pregnancy is different. So is having a baby. It's not just a baby; it's a tiny person. God is entrusting a tiny person into our care to know and nourish and love, and every person is different from the next. Every tiny person is an adventure--no one has ever loved and raised that tiny person before, and no one but God knows what's best for that tiny person. So all we can do is give him back to God and ask God for wisdom.

So maybe"excited" isn't the most precise word. But I would say I'm contentedly expectant. My hands are open. I'm ready to receive.


Fantastical Conference

Two weekends ago Jonathan and I went to this. It was truly fantastical. And ridiculous, to use one of David Crowder's other favorite adjectives. It was essentially a laboratory of experimental church music from bands that formed to create music unique to their faith community--faith communities being everything from house churches in Denver to church plants in Brooklyn to mega-churches in London.

Here's what I loved. Besides the fantastical music (favorites include The Welcome Wagon, Gungor, The Civil Wars, Mike Crawford and His Secret Siblings, BioFrost Arts, etc.) the general session speakers, workshops, panels, etc. inspired so much creativity and thought. I especially was liberated by their encouragement: to be sensitive to my own faith community's language and experience, making it uniquely ours; to be resourceful and creative with the vocals and musicians we've been given; and to RELAX... our goal is not to be a polished, perfect performance, but to provide a truthful, spirit-filled place where people can worship. This last one is key where I am right now.

As mentioned before, one of the groups that played was Mike Crawford and His Secret Siblings from Jacob's Well in Kansas City. I loved the lyrics to their song "Words to Build a Life On." Because of the more repetitive nature of the melody, it takes on a very Psalm-like quality, but with the building dynamics it becomes a powerful anthem. Thought I'd share the words here (and you can click the above link to listen).

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine

Blessed are the poor
Blessed are the weak
Blessed are the ones
Who can barely speak

Blessed in your hurt
Blessed in your pain
Blessed when your teardrops
Are falling down like rain

Blessed when you’re broken
Blessed when you’re blind
Blessed when you’re fragile
When you have lost your mind

Blessed when you’re desperate
Blessed when you’re scared
Blessed when you’re lonely
Blessed when you’ve failed

Blessed when you’re beat up
Blessed when you’re bruised
Blessed when you’re tore down
Blessed when you’re used

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine

Blessed when you’re heartbroke

Blessed when you’re fired

Blessed when you’re choked up
Blessed when you’re tired

Blessed when the plans
That you so carefully laid
End up in the junkyard
With all the trash you made

Blessed when you feel like
Giving up the ghost
Blessed when your loved ones
Are the ones who hurt you most

Blessed when you lose your
Own identity
Then blessed when you find it
And it has been redeemed

Blessed when you see what
Your friends can never be
Blessed with your eyes closed
Then blessed you see Me

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine

Blessed when you’re hungry
Blessed when you thirst
Cause that’s when you will eat of
The bread that matters most

Blessed when you’re put down

Because of me you’re dissed
Because of me you’re kicked out
They take you off their list

You know you’re on the mark
You know you’ve got it right
You are to be my salt
You are to be my light

So bring out all the flavor
In the feast of this My world
And light up all the colors
Let the banner be unfurled

Shout it from the rooftops
Let the trumpets ring
Sing your freaking lungs out
Jesus Christ is King!

Jesus is my Savior
Jesus is divine
Jesus is my answer
Jesus is my life

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine

Give us ears that we may hear them
voice that we may sing them
life that we may live them
hope that we may give them
hearts that we can feel them
eyes that we can see them
thoughts that we may think them
tongues that we may speak Your words


Addendum II

For inquiring bakers, I present an image of a tart pan:
Although I don't own one myself. I prefer to use a baking stone and just roll out the pastry like a pizza and fold over the edges. I like the rustic look of it.


Addendum to Tart

A friend kindly pointed out to me that I had left off the rest of the directions for the tart pastry recipe I posted--quite a long time ago now, unfortunately. When I get busy all I seem to want to write about is food. And our garden. But technically our garden also falls under the food category because we don't have much in the floral department... I guess food is my comfort topic?

Anyway, back to the important topic of tarts...

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place peach mixture on tart (I spiraled them out to make them pretty) and make sure to leave a 2 inch border for the crust. Once you've put all the peaches on, bring the pastry edge toward the center, overlapping on the peaches as necessary. Bake for 25-30 min or until the crust is golden brown and the peaches are soft. Serve with vanilla ice cream or vanilla greek yogurt.


Tart Pastry

Jonathan and I are housesitting this week for the same family we did last year. While enjoying an orange sunset over the lake at dinner, it occurred to me that the thing I like best about this beautiful place is the make-believe games we can play. We can pretend to be anywhere (anywhere with grapevines, that is)--Tuscany, Provence, The Peloponnesian Penninsula...the list could go on. I like pretending sometimes.

Partly inspired by a book I'm reading, A Year in Provence, I decided to pretend I was a french baker last night. I seasoned some fresh peach slices with lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar and found a tart pastry recipe in a French cookbook. It came out of the oven flaky and melt-in-your-mouth buttery and tasted delicious with the simple peaches. Jonathan wished I had made it with apples, but when it comes to pies and tarts, I say there's no better fruit than peaches. They have the most refreshing flavor and texture.


TART (unsweetened) PASTRY

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2-3 tsp ice water
2/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 egg yolk

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs (or a food processor works really well). Add the egg yolk and cold water and mix with a food processor or flexible bladed knife until the dough just starts to come together. Bring the dough together with your hands and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry into a circle on a lightly floured surface and use to line a tart pan, as directed in the recipe. Trim the edge and pinch around the pastry edge to make an even border raised slightly above the rim of the pan. Slide onto a baking sheet and put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.


My So Called May

Start new job.
Plan for and prepare Mother's Day chocolate buffet.
Confirmation parties.
Fundraiser BBQ for National Youth Gathering.
Housewarming party with 72 people in my house.
Graduation parties.
Decide to take on a "weekend" (ha!) cosmetic make-over for our kitchen.
Tear down wallpaper.
Senior high retreat in the mountains.
More tape.
More paint.
Coordinate all church picnic.
Drive to SF to see London musician friend Greg Holden and his gf Katie Costello play at Hotel Utah.
Paint! Paint! Paint!

Tomorrow... college roomie visits from Nebraska and we take a MUCH NEEDED trip to the coast.



Fresh Expressions in the Church

One of my favorite bloggers, TallSkinnyKiwi, posted this article from the London Times about a new movement in the Church of England. The concept isn't new--it's been happening organically for a couple of decades (at least in England... the U.S. has been a little slow to catch on). But what I find interesting and encouraging is that it's only just now being sanctioned by the upper-powers.

It reminds me of how English developed in Great Britain. It wasn't the wealthy and nobles who established English as the main language, because they were few and far between and therefore, had weak influence. Instead it began as the speech of the peasants and gradually built up momentum because of the large numbers. Then it became the language of the people.

From what I've seen, certain change cannot be commanded; it can only grow from a grassroots movement--especially in the Church. We limit our resources, and therefore mission, if the only ideas come from the uppers. We also limit our mission if we underestimate the power of personal "referrals" and word-of-mouth "advertising". So much depends on the bottom-up stream of change.



While I'm enjoying a few of Trader Joe's potstickers before a meeting I have tonight I thought I'd post a link to a fabulous new website I found. Colorjive is one of those websites that I invented in my head and then thought someone must have already thought of it so I googled it and it turned out someone had (this also happened with Bookswim).

In essence, upload a photo of a room and digi-paint it! Get an idea of how the room will look in any color you choose. I did our living room and kitchen. You can see it's a bit smudgy, but not half bad at all when you're just trying to get an idea of how the room will look. As you'll see in the living room picture, I was even able to try out the red curtains.

Paint away!


Help for the CD COW

This is me, the CD COW (or maybe a cow somewhere in Ireland).
I've never been very good about asking for help. I'd rather risk time, energy and sanity than bother someone with a question or request. Why? It's probably too late to ask "why". What is important is that I get over it because after three years of bumming around in a Masters course and one short-term full-time job and sporadic freelance work, I recently piled a mound of job descriptions on my flimsy plate and I've just now realized it's about to fall through.

This past Monday, I started working full-time as a Creative Director of Communications, Outreach and Worship at my church. Yes. The acronym for my job title is CD COW. That's sort of funny... but not entirely funny when I remember that I over-estimated my superwoman capabilities and underestimated my fatal flaws and miscalculated the number of hours in a week. This new job + freelance copywriting gigs + playing for worship for our band-led and the occasional classic praise service + small group leadership promoting responsibilities + my own small group I'd like to get going + youth group activities + new house projects adds up to an interesting situation if I don't start asking for help.

I'm trying to be realistic at the outset. I know that I'll give 100% to my jobs, and that will leave nothing for my family. That will leave nothing for my friends and community. That also leaves nothing for my writing goals that I've slowly let go over the past few months. I wonder what else I would sacrifice?

What have you sacrificed because you haven't asked for help?


And Another Link (Iceland Volcanic Ash Pictures)

These pictures are unbelievable... and beautiful. I know my scientific mind is infinitely too minute to fathom most physical realities, but I'm in awe that one volcano is responsible for shutting down all of Europe. It just goes to show--


I don't know. It just goes to show, I guess.

20 Catalysts for Creativity

So this is funny. I'm posting a link to a blog post about creativity because I don't have anything creative to say. Eh. We have a world wide web of resources so why not use em?


where's the f** in church?

We've been in an odd season in our church recently. The words "disillusioning", "hopeful", "frustrating" and "confusing" also come to mind. I haven't been able to write about it, which is another oddity because I'm usually able to work through my thoughts better when I write them down.

Every week I feel differently about our future, and today I came to a completely new realization. I'm beginning to wonder if we (speaking generally of Christians) sometimes take church a little too seriously. By church I don't mean faith or God or our relationship with God. I'm talking about our relationships with each other. The first thing Jesus did in ministry was gather a group of friends around him. Would you consider the people in your church to be friends? You may worship with them and pray with them, but...

what else?

Do you hang out with them outside of church "meetings"?

Do you go to them for advice?

Do you eat together? laugh together? have fun together? do life together?

When I look at our church and a few others I've been a part of, I wonder if I struggle because it seems like all the fun has been taken out of it. We've created rules about what we should do when we hang out. We've decided that we need to be governed. We've gotten all beaurocratic about it and completely forgotten about the relationship aspect. It's like if I invited you over to my house one night and handed you a list of house rules and a program for the evening and told you to sit in uncomfortable chairs and we all sat around staring at each other and forgot how to talk.

Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. But I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that at one time or another, most people have viewed church as a chore.

So what can we do to put the fun back into church?