Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Table is Full...

Since moving to Memphis 7 months ago, our supper table has been full many nights, full of vibrant conversation, hearty laughter, and good food (courtesy of my hubby, Jeff, the best chef in this-here neck of the woods.) Just last night we had our new neighbors over, who just moved in down the street from Nashville. Newlyweds, void of cellphones and too many vehicles, they have after only a couple of visits in one-week's time, proved to be easy to begin to get to know. Never could I have imagined having this many people around the dinner table! It is quite joyous. If your dinner table is empty, I encourage you to fill it up...

I begin reading Richard Foster's 'Freedom of Simplicity' today, something that has been on my reading list for quite some time. Appropriately, I am refraining from reading 3 or 4 books at one time (as I so often do) while I read his thoughts. This is, after all, a book about simplicity of the heart and the home, so why clutter it up with multiple reads? I may, however, have to have two books going at the same time, as my new friend let me borrow a book about a family who challenged themselves to one year of eating and buying locally, with lots of recipes and gardening advice weaved through the pages. Exciting! The tomatoes on our front porch are, sadly, proof that I do indeed need to read this book.

This Fall will most surely be full of new dinner guests and become very familiar with a few constant faces. If you plan on coming for a visit, be ready for Indian food and new conversation. We invite you to our table...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

just give me room to breathe...

sometimes it feels like suffocating, this place that I am in. Reading Josh's blog earlier I longed for the space to question and speak frustrations and joys and doubts; room to be who I am, while still exploring who I'm becoming; a place to laugh and wiggle and not always be so sure about everything, to not have everything figured out; room to breathe. I think most of us long for that; I do every day in this season of my life.

working in the church is good and important and hard. what an important and often trying place! the lessons I am learning... they are valuable and timely. but oh how sometimes it feels hard to breathe.

but I am reminded just now that my brothers and sisters here do give me that, Ashok and Neha give me that space, Matthew gives me that space. Thank you for that, my dear family. But I still feel suffocation some days, a sense of out-of-place-ness.

I don't think my mind and heart and gifts were built for strategies and plans and business models; my heart and mind seem to be all over the place most of the time, and I like it that way.

I miss you, brothers and sisters who give me room. At this moment, I'm thankful the dinner tables and firesides that have let me breathe freely, and I long for them once again.

room to breathe; I need room to breathe.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Much has happened since I've last found some words to put down. Jeff and I celebrated our one year anniversary on August 11, while having dinners and laughs with Heather, Braden, Laura, and Casey in Nashvilla. Ah, it's always great to see a new city! It's also great to celebrate good things, like anniversaries. We thawed the wedding cake, which suprisingly, was still pretty tasty. Maybe the better your first year of marriage, the better your cake tastes. Hmmm. It was definitely a good year...

And a BIG YEAR. We changed cities, states, jobs, restaurant choices, and front porch views. We gained new friends and kept good, good "old" ones (and might I add, you discover depth of friendships by the ones who end up on your doorstep and at your dinner table from hundreds of miles away!) We've been in Memphis for almost 7 months now, and it's been wonderful and hard. Living in the same city as Larry Ray Reed, Kim Perry, and Ashok & Neha is certainly a good, good thing. But it's also hard living in a place with so much need and despair and division. I've written enough blogs on this, so no need to go into it here. But I'll keep reminding us...

Beauty is best when it is born out of brokenness.

We've been back from Zambia for almost 2 weeks now. It was terrific and fun and tiring and difficult. I was struck by the simplicity and the sunsets and the potholes (and they were definitely serious potholes!) We learned a lot about flexibility and patience. We learned something about hunger, though nothing compared to those who know what starving is. We worshipped and prayed in different languages, but in the same Spirit. We added to the beauty, together. The story I love telling best is this one.

As we were watching "the Jesus film" one night, this little girl of 5 or 6 sat next to me. She spoke Tonga; I spoke English. So basically, we didn't speak at all. but at the end of the film, when the Zambians begin to sing and worship, she reached over nonchalantly and took my hand, clasped it, sometimes clapping with it, but mostly holding it, and just held it for what seemed like forever. No big gushy production. We just sat under the African sky, stars beaming, holding hands and worshipping in Tonga. Simple and incredible.

I saw what I saw and I can't forget it
I heard what I heard and I can't go back
I know what I know and I can't deny it

something on the road, cut me to the soul....

your pain has changed me
your dream inspires
your face a memory
your hope a fire
your courage asks me what I'm afraid of
and what I know of love...

[sara groves]

yes, words just get in the way.