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We are Kept in a Common Place

We sometimes forget that Jesus was born in a barn, not a church, and that the God of the Incarnation is as much about kitchen tables as ecclesial altars. God is as much domestic as monastic. This is important to keep in mind as we try to understand the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the body...

A Feast For All Saints

A couple of weeks ago I took the kids to our favorite garden for fall photos. I've been doing this since they could walk. We have a history of images all taken in this familiar setting, chronologically recording their monumental growth. But it's not just any garden. It's a quiet garden, a memorial garden. A...

Tradition And Experimentation: A Few Good Eats This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Thinking back on my childhood, I can't recall a single Thanksgiving that we spent with just our small family of five. It seemed we always spent the day with someone, whether they were blood relatives, or friends. The company of others was always more important than the menu. The more, the merrier was the philosophy we lived. We had our traditions, of course....

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We are Kept in a Common Place

We sometimes forget that Jesus was born in a barn, not a church, and that the God of the Incarnation is as much about kitchen tables as ecclesial altars. God is as much domestic as monastic. This is important to keep in mind as we try to understand the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the body of Christ, a continuation of the Incarnation, and, like Jesus’ birth, is meant to bring...

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That Time I Thought I Was Generous

Two years ago I invited a stranger to live with us. It was a normal Saturday, and our paths crossed unexpectedly. Well, so I thought. Our conversation began at the surface but took a turn, she didn’t have to say much for me to notice the layers beneath her joyful façade. Suddenly I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit. I tried to ignore it’s prompting, but it hijacked the...

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The Spiritual Discipline of Eating Pancakes

Opening eyes from where I’m lying in bed, I analyze the rustic wood beams overhead, captivated by the contrast of dark wood against a white painted A-frame ceiling. Through the opening of a small, square window, I glimpse a bowl of blue sky. Assurance that the sun is shining and plans for a morning swim in the heated pool will materialize. Bees buzz about the bedroom, a reminder that I...

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Queen of the Kitchen, Princess of the Pie, and You

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. Elsa Schiaparelli My mother-in-love is one of the best cooks on the planet. I learned that the first time I met her. Then, a college student sustained mostly by starchy, mysterious, dining hall fare, I devoured everything she put on the table; even squash casserole, a subversive compliment to her. I remember her telling me she was glad I was the...

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The Generous Table with a Southern Staple

The frozen bananas on a stick were the straw that broke my pre-pubescent back. After sharing several Thanksgiving meals over the years with family friends, I’d resigned myself to celebrating with dehydrated potatoes whipped up from a box and various side dishes poured from a can. But fruit masquerading as a dessert? This was too far for a kid whose mom made every dessert, right down to the piecrust, from...

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Where to Find the Bread: on generous hospitality

Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found the bread. ~D.T. Niles "I think that’s my friend’s husband over there." My own husband takes a drink of his sweet tea and follows the line of my vision ending on a black-haired gentleman having lunch a few tables over from ours. We both watch this young man for a moment waiting for me to be certain. "You sure do have...

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A Feast For All Saints

A couple of weeks ago I took the kids to our favorite garden for fall photos. I've been doing this since they could walk. We have a history of images all taken in this familiar setting, chronologically recording their monumental growth. But it's not just any garden. It's a quiet garden, a memorial garden. A place where people can come to remember the saints who have died. We wander the...

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Trusting in the Work of Time

The woods are wild in the late German summer. Grass inches toward the road, creeps over the pavement, reaching for the concrete. Trees grow into each other from opposites sides of the road. Shades of green are everywhere. Deep, dark fir, jade vines, brighter chartreuse on bushes, celery-colored leaves. It looks overrun, like the gardener took a vacation and didn't have anyone to cut back the growth while he was...

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Saying No in Order to Make Room

It should be fall now. The weather should be cooling down to being crisp and fresh. The leaves should be turning into shades of fire. I should be relishing cardigans and scarves and hot drinks to keep me warm. But it’s 100 degrees outside and 90 degrees inside since our house isn’t blessed with air conditioning. The Santa Ana winds are being rude, blowing hot air into our faces and...

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