Tag Archives: Philadelphia

In praise of the weekend

It was an invigorating, pedal-to-the-metal kind of a week, full of early mornings, course planning, expectations, connections, and preparations.  

The weather finally turned cold over here in NJ: I took a run in the freezing temperatures on Friday morning feeling quite at home, and yet I’ve also relished the opportunity to rest inside while the wind swirls outside this weekend.

This weather calls for stew, about which my husband, thankfully, knows plenty!
This weather calls for stew, about which my husband, thankfully, knows plenty!

What have you been up to?

I’ve been contemplating these words about doing less, these from the always wise and timely Anne Lamott, and wondering how I can make a visit to this amazing sounding coffee shop sometime in my future?

On Saturday morning I grabbed coffee with a seminary alumnus friend for some good, hearty conversation about academia, life, and faith.  Yesterday afternoon I combed the UPenn Anthropology museum with some friends and then went to a lovely cocktail party to celebrate another friend’s birthday down in Philly.


Finally, this morning, Evan and I attended church and got to listen to reflections on faith and history.  The pastor read from Dr. King’s “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech which he gave the day before he died.  You can listen to it here.  His words are on my heart and my mind as we honor his memory and his dreams tomorrow.

I’ve been praying for wisdom as I begin to teach, for China, and for grace.  I keep hearing from other wise voices and God’s that I need to continue to let go and live into the harmony of the present, embracing and remaining open to what can and will be.

I’ve been missing walks in the village, the families I grew close to, even the misty sweltering Southwest China weather as of late!  But I am comforted when I see God’s hand in leading me back to this concept of harmony, so woven throughout the fabric of Chinese life and morality.

Guangxi foster family friends.
Guangxi foster family friends.

Could it be that God weaves a harmony in our lives that we are created to crave but in our sinfulness also so easily dismiss?  And could it be that fulfillment and life-giving transformation often involve minute acts of yielding to God’s harmonic rhythm rather than moving boulders, mountains, or dreams with our own two hands?

I hope your Sabbath has been restful…may you yield to God’s perfect harmony this week and give God praise for mountaintops, dreams, and the present. 


Minor delays and major miracles

So here’s what happened on the way home: we checked in at Tucson only to find our flight to Chicago was delayed, so we went out to lunch and got back to the airport only to find as we were boarding our flight to Chicago that our flight from Chicago to Philly had been cancelled.  So Tucson rebooked us on another flight to Philly via Minneapolis.  Then we waited in Minneapolis for at least five hours, finally got into Philly, and home to Princeton around 3 am, all without our bag of Christmas goodies, which is currently lost somewhere in the continental United States.

We were a little grumpy and a lot tired today, but the whole saga gave us an excuse to sleep in, to hunker down in our little apartment, to reacclimatize to real world issues–investments, insurance, and bag searching (it’s still MIA…hmmm)–and gain some perspective.

Sunset above the earth.  Photo by Evan Schneider.
Sunset above the earth. Photo by Evan Schneider.

Here’s the perspective I was granted today…

“It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season—like all the other seasons—is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them.” —Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal

As I sat in church on Christmas Eve and heard the scriptures read, especially the one from Luke where Mary and Elizabeth greet one another, where we get the first glimpses of the savior of the world by way of two humble women gathering together, I got another sense of how miraculous this age old story is and how lowly, ragamuffin, and misfit its origins–the pregnant, engaged couple, likely late with their legal registration, put out in the barn for their social sin, yet called Holy by angels, God, and today, humanity.

In the midst of the sorrow and the brokenness of this world, too, there must be miracles enough for all of us.  

When we pause, or we’re granted a pause to collect these miracles, to ponder them like Mary, in our hearts, I think we’d do well to name them and give God glory for not only the major miracles but also the minor delays which make them visible.

What about you?  Are there miracles in your midst this season?  Will you ponder them, name them, and glorify God?