Life Ramblings (and pictures of the wonderful people I get to work with!)

The last six (going on seven) weeks have been a blur of cooking over a fire, gardening, office work, feeding kittens, herding children, sleeping under the stars, more office work, fixing a kitten cage, leading hikes, lifeguarding on a river, hauling who knows what, and reading Writing Grant Proposals for Dummies. In between those things, I’m jumping through hoops to get my North Dakota teaching license and find an apartment. It’s been two years since I moved to London, a year since I moved back to Minnesota to work at my church and substitute teach, and now I’m halfway done with another summer of ministry at Good Earth Village. Where did this time go?!

Look! I learned how to garden! Told you I was busy.

Look! I learned how to garden! Told you I was busy.

My emotions are rather scattered right now, but the best feeling I can use to describe them is homesick. I miss Peckham and all of the generous people who offered me hospitality and friendship across the United Kingdom. I miss Concordia College and my friends who are now scattered across North America and beyond. I miss my previous summers at Good Earth Village and friends who have moved on to other vocations. I’m missing some loved ones I’ve lost in the last few years. A lot of my “free” time must be spent on logistics for my upcoming move to North Dakota in about a month…so I’m feeling a bit homesick for the present moment as well. Sheesh! Emotions make life complicated. 😀

As I contemplate my next steps, I’m struggling with the contradictions of the people and experiences I’ve come to call home. I love the green, the trees, the creek, the starry night sky of Good Earth, the torrential rain peppered with booming thunder as I write this post, and yet I miss the crowded, concrete cacophony and variety of London. I loved the perks that came with moving back to the affluent Saint Paul, like our gorgeous library, terrific schools, clean and spacious parks, while also feeling frustration and shame coming from a family that lived on the poorer end of things for so long in this context. I’m reminded that being white, Lutheran, English speaker with a Minnesota heritage help me “fit in” at a predominantly white, Lutheran summer camp in rural Minnesota…and yet these were the very traits that set me apart in an inner-city London neighborhood filled with mostly Caribbean and West African people, in addition to migrants from nearly continent. I love belonging, but I miss the diversity and constant privilege-checking that London offered. Is having everything and everyone I want in my life too much to ask of the universe? (just kidding…kind of.)

We have the coolest. Mostly because we're really weird.

We have the coolest staff. Mostly because we’re really weird…

Why NOT dance in a conga line?!

…see?!

I’m struggling with how to live with Christ-like simplicity in the First World, America especially, where it’s necessary to own a car and more stuff than I need as an individual, because I don’t always know who will be there to provide for me in the adult world when I can’t provide for myself (although camp offers one way to live in a strong community in the First World, which is a reason I love it so much.) I’m struggling with how our outdoor ministry staff may or may not be able to talk with our campers about the recent racially driven acts of violence in Charleston and elsewhere, as well as the Supreme Court ruling to lift the bans on same-gender marriage in all fifty states, when we don’t know the political and cultural flavors that permeate the other spheres of these kids’ lives. The way my own family acknowledges how race, class, religion, sexuality, and political leanings play a role in our daily lives can cause enough negative feelings from all parties involved that we revert to the age-old Minnesota method of only talking about weather, since even sports can turn sour depending on how the Vikings are doing or if a cousin started dating a Packer fan. 😉

We also visited Luther Seminary and used a selfie stick to prove it to the rest of you.

We also visited Luther Seminary and used a selfie stick to prove it to the rest of you. Ha!

Now I’ve got a new adventure awaiting me – teaching Fourth Grade to young members of the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota. I’m excited. Nervous, too. Fort Totten will be the opposite of London in a lot of ways, but I think remarkably similar in some others. This context is going to check my privilege a lot like Peckham did. Facing up to the oppressive systems that benefit me is always hard, but I’m missing the face-to-face relationships that put more context into what I don’t understand. I might be biased as a schoolteacher, but “Learning is good for you!”

In the meantime, I love it here at Good Earth Village, and as hard as what I’ve been calling “grownup world logistics” are, I am truly grateful for the here and now when I’m working. We have an amazing staff who challenge me to grow every day, and I have the honor of seeing them grow as well. I can be ridiculous and responsible at the same time, and I am so so SO blessed “do” and “be” and “give” and “receive” ministry (all nuances included) in this beautiful and unique context of “home.”

...and the informal.

…and the informal.

The formal...

The formal…

Peace to you, my friends, on whatever road you’re travelling.

Much love,

Emily

May the Fourth (Be With You)

In honor of May the Fourth (be with you), I would like to share a Star Wars dream I had a few months ago. Nothing deep, reflective, or Earth shattering. It simply started off as a Facebook post among friends, and then got too long.

Here we go! Ahem.

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So I’m in my mom’s basement, and there is a portal to the Star Wars universe in the laundry room (’cause that’s not weird.) I’m in the middle of doing laundry, when out of the portal stumbles Luke Skywalker…but he looks pixelated, as if he had to be converted into digital information, travel through some kind of computer system, and then be magically spit back out via the mystical laundry room portal. (In real life, I’d been watching A LOT of Digimon while working out at the gym if that explains anything…)

Well, ok. Fine then. I will take time from my laundry to help Luke Skywalker, whose image is becoming sharper now, although he’s still in a daze and stumbling around. Just as he’s leaning on me so I can guide him to the family room, Qui-Gon comes through next. Wait…how are you two alive at the same time? But before I can get an answer out of either of the pixelated men, DARTH MAUL COMES THROUGH THE PORTAL.

Luke and Qui-Gon are still no help within their pixelated confusion, so I leave them to stumble to the living room. I realize I have Princess Leia’s blaster in my hand (where did this…?) NOPE. No time for questions, so I shoot Darth Maul with the blaster. It doesn’t work, but Darth Maul, it turns out, is just as confused as Luke and Qui-Gon. I can work with this! Maybe if I shove him back through the portal…

Just kidding, here come Han Solo, cursing as he’s tripping over laundry baskets, waving his gun and yelling for Chewie, whom I can hear bellowing from somewhere inside the portal. The Han and Chewie chaos pushes Darth Maul and I aside…and Darth Maul ends up pushed inside the washing machine. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?! I slam the lid down, set the machine to spin cycle and wait to see what happens, while yelling at Han and the Walking Carpet to get out of my way and into the family room, so I can deal with the Sith in the peace.

After a couple minutes, I open the washing machine door, Darth Maul falls out, even more pixelated and unformed than before, and I blast him. And he’s gone! I think he was vaporized? No time to think through this one though, because out of the portal comes Obi Wan, Lando, …and John Smith from Disney’s Pocahontas? That’s a bit weird (because the rest of these laundry interruptions aren’t.)

I lead all three men out to my family room, where Luke, Qui-Gon, and Han are lounging on the couches, and Chewie is attempting to use the elliptical machine. Obi Wan and Lando sit on the couches with their fellow Star Wars men, but John Smith commences to wander around the room and say things like, “Ah! So THIS is what America looks like” as he plays with the Scotch tape on the computer desk.

I run back into the laundry room when I hear a crash and find none other than the Emperor. Seriously, DARTH SIDIOUS IS IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM!!! I thought Vader had killed him, but no! He’s here with his eyes, and his cloak, and his lightning and I absolutely cannot let him just leave to wander down my street (I know I’ve complained about the suburbs feeling boring, but this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.)

Fortunately, Darth Sidious is still confused and tripping over a pile of towels at the moment. So I drop my blaster, grab him with both hands, and with all my strength throw him into the washing machine. He tries to struggle out, but I slam the lid, set it on spin cycle, wait a few moments, open the door and blast him. Darth Sidious pretty much exploded with a flash of lightning that shook the entire house. Emily Kimball has vanquished the Emperor!! I run out to the family room to celebrate, where I am congratulated by much sharper images of characters who are feeling less woozy now. Chewie is still on the elliptical machine, and John Smith has now moved on to conversing with Wes’ elementary school painting of a mallard duck, and saying things like, “What is it like to be wildlife here in America?” And then I woke up.
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My conclusions:
1. It’s not that women can’t have light sabers, it’s that we don’t need them. (Did the male Jedi invent them to keep up with us?)

2. I’m not the biggest fan of the Star Wars prequels, so I’m a bit nervous about Episode VII coming out. But if the next movie is anything like my dream, I’m sure it can’t be that bad.

A Sense of Home

“I feel with certainty that everything follows from place, that place makes us who we are, that landscape carves out a certain character and community, and that ultimately the places in which we choose to live govern the unfolding our lives.” – Renée Askins, Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild

 

So, here I am. I am sitting on my bed  in my house in Eagan, Minnesota (the upper Midwest region of the USA for those of you not familiar with American geography.) Over my laptop, I can see out the window – the cul-de-sac, the neighbors’ lawns, a few parked cars. In general, it looks the same since looking out my window a year ago.

I want to say that my life has been changed forever, that I will never be the same way again since living and serving in London. Indeed, it has. However, I also need to add that no matter what I had done in the last 12 months, I would have changed anyway. We’re always growing and learning things as we stumble along the paths ahead of us. In fact, you would need to be a ridiculously stubborn person to get through any steps of life without gaining at least a bit of wisdom. 😉

I’m not sitting here feeling acutely changed. Yet there have been several occasions since my arrival a week and a day ago that I have begun sentences with “You know, in London, I…” or “At All Saints worship, we…” or “I could really go for a cuppa right now!” There’s nothing profound to  report from this side of the pond…but I think I must still be stressed about the change judging by my exhaustion from jet lag, climate, American food, and being with people in general. I’ve been coping by getting rid of all the stuff I don’t need (after a year of living out of a suitcase), going on walks, reading a lot, and having the occasional cuppa (sadly, with the microwave since I don’t have a kettle…yet.)

What am I doing next? Well, I’ve applied for a part time children’s ministry job at my home church, and then I can apply for substitute teacher jobs once my Minnesota teacher license is processed. In a more abstract sense, I’m only beginning to sort out the contrasts between white, wealthy, suburban Eagan, compared to Peckham with all of its socioeconomic, cultural, and racial diversity. I’m hoping to continue this blog as a way to externally process and share some of my thoughts on the places I call home, including Peckham and Eagan.

However, both places have people I love dearly living in community, feeling a sense of normalcy within the environments that have been handed to them. As a Christian who can call both Peckham and Eagan home, I am called to see God at work in these places. I’m still learning the reciprocity we have with our homes, how we shape each other. May we be hands and feet of healing. May we also have the humility to admit that we need healing in ourselves. May we be aware of how our homes create us, and how we create our homes in return.

 

 

 

Word Power

So I’m sitting in my usual Friday morning lesson with six-year-old *Lanae. I’m reading Lanae’s phonic sounds for her to write on the whiteboard (honestly, this is the boring ‘check up’ part of the lesson before we do the interesting things.) Then the following conversation begins:

 

 

Me: Ok Lanae, the next sound is ‘p.’

L: [silently writes down the sound, with her tongue sticking out between her front teeth…Lanae’s normal “thinking” look.]

Me: Good! Now, can you write down all the ‘k’ sounds? You know those.

L: I do know those! [Writes a ‘c’ and a ‘k’ and a ‘kc’]

Me: Hold on Lanae. Look at that sneaky letter c at the end! It’s trying to budge in line and get in front of the letter k in ‘ck.’

L: Sneaky letter c. Wait your turn! [raises her voice and shakes her index finger at the alphabetical delinquent, commencing to rub out the ‘kc’ and rewrite it as ‘ck’]

Me: Great focus, Lanae. Can you write the ‘th’ sound for…

L: Why do I come to Springboard?

Me: Sorry, what?

L: Emily, why do I come to Springboard?

Me: Well, because you need practice reading and writing.

L: But I KNOW how to read and write! See? Look at all the sounds I wrote! ‘a’ and ‘qu’ and ‘th’ [writes ‘th’ for me to see.]

Me: Yes, of course you know those, but…

L: And I know the really tricky ones like ‘igh’ and ‘ear’ and ‘air.’ I practice those!

Me: Oh Lanae, I am so proud of you! You have worked really hard this year. Just think of all the sounds you got better at since we first started hanging out and reading together.

L: Emily, I have learned a lot.

Me: Yes, you have, Lanae! But you’re here because there are still more sounds to learn.

L: REALLY?! More sounds?

Me: Yes, we’ve got even more sounds to learn, and there are always more words to learn, too. You see [I lean in to whisper for dramatic emphasis] some words break the rules and say different sounds than the ones we practice.

L: [gasp] WHAT?? Words break the rules? Naughty words!

Me: Yeah they do! No one really knows why. It’s up to us to learn which words are the naughty ones so we can surprise them by saying them right! But don’t worry, it’s not like all your new words will break the rules. Some words follow a lot of the rules, but they’re really long and take more time to learn. I’m a grownup, and I read and write a lot…but I still get to learn new words every day because there are so many!

L: You mean long, grownup words like ‘because?’

Me: Oh, even longer Lanae.

L: Like what?! [Lanae is beaming ear to ear at this point]

M: Hmmm. [trying to think of a complex word that could capture the attention of this curious little person] Have you ever heard of the word ‘defenestration?’

L: [gapes at me for a moment] Def…en…shuh?

Me : De-fen-e-stra-tion. This is how you spell it. [I write ‘defenestration’ on the whiteboard] How many letters are in ‘defenestration?’

L: [Lanae counts the letters one by one with her index finger] Fourteen!

Me: Lanae, that word has more letters than half the alphabet. ‘Defenestration’ is a long word, and there are a lot of grownups who haven’t even heard of it or know what it means. Do you know what it means?

L: No. What?

Me: ‘Defenestration’ means to throw something out a window. Not through a door, or over a tree. Out a window. So if I took this rubber [rubber is the British word for eraser, so all you Americans can get the giggles out now and change your mental image 😉 ] and that window right in front of us was open, I could throw the rubber out the window. I could defenestrate the rubber.

L: [Lanae stares at me, mouth wide open. Her eyes meet mine, then they flit to the rubber, back to my eyes, back to the rubber. Then her hand reaches and snatches the rubber out of my hand, safely enfolding it in her palm. She uses her other hand to wag a finger at me.] That’s naughty, Emily! Don’t defenestrate the rubber! You could hit someone on the head!

Me: Okay Lanae, I promise never to defenestrate the rubber. Promise. Now, what sound were we at? Oh that’s right, you just wrote the ‘th’ sound for me. Lovely – now show me the ‘sh’ sound…

 

To all of you concerned adults…I promise I teach your children more than the technical terms for injury causes among unsuspecting pedestrians. However, the children may or may not be able to say some of these terms correctly in full sentences AND teach ethics lessons to an adult. Happy Friday to you, too.

May you only defenestrate things with great love…and probably some caution!

Emily

*names have been changed to protect the privacy of the students

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An example of Lanae’s story writing – this one’s about the toy unicorn we found whom Lanae has named Trixie:
Trixie’s Adventure
Trixie wants to go on a trip. She wanted see other unicorns so pack up her stuff then flew away. Happy ever after.

Moved by Wonder

“So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going.” — Forrest Gump

I just got back from a run – it’s about 5 miles, or about 8 kilometers, to run from my flat to the Tower Bridge and back. According to Google Maps, this is the exact same roundtrip distance between my mom’s house and Target in Eagan, MN.

Let that sink in for a moment…going to the Tower Bridge is at my fingertips like Target is to my mom in her current sphere. And for my family in Southwestern Minnesota reading this…it is a shorter roundtrip run between my flat to nearly every Central London tourist trap than it is to go one way from Welcome to Fairmont. 😉

Is this real life? YES. Yes it is. And honestly, I don’t even feel that tired!

Running, and general physical activity, have always been more enjoyable for me when imagination, creativity, and exercising my brain get to be involved in the process. This is why organized sports in gym class bored me to tears as a child, but pretending to be a dog or a forest-princess-with-a-unicorn kept me running around outside all day. Running in London lets me use my imagination in a very similar way. I’ve run along the Thames in Central London, hidden neighborhoods farther out, main roads, side streets, through beautiful parks, grungy industrial spots, and have stopped at a coffee shop or gallery every once in a while just because I can.

Exploring the streets of London is fascinating! I get all of the magnificent stereotypical London views in person, and dodging London traffic provides an adrenaline rush and that is evidence for it near extreme sport status. However, I also get the not-so-beautiful things – litter, catcalls from strange men, ambulance sirens, air pollution, and lack of snuggly green spaces where I can stretch in peace. I mostly miss being able to kick off my shoes and walk around barefoot – I’ve been privileged in the cleanliness and safety of my past neighborhoods (so I’m grateful for the barefoot running shoes I got myself last summer…not quite as good as nothing, but very therapeutic given my running environment.) Running without music also keeps me engaged with the environment around me – I can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel a plethora of stories. Wonder keeps me going.

The physicality of running gives motion to some of the thoughts that get stuck otherwise. I’m a very outdoor creature, and living as an outdoor creature in a mostly indoor city is a lifestyle I’m still learning to live with. The best and worst of the same world are all wrapped up in the same run each time I go out. It gives my mind a lot to chew on as I reflect on my experiences living here, what drains me, what re-charges me, what I love, what I merely tolerate, and what could be around the next corner.

Even though my volunteer placement is a time and space for me to serve others, my overall lifestyle here has been surprisingly individualistic. It still feels a little odd to me to have whole evenings day after day, week after week, and now month after month, in which I get to make these decisions for myself about how to spend my time. Yet these opportunities to do unorganized exploration based on my own whims is liberating and reminds me of what it was like to be a kid.

This post was longer than I intended it to be, but I hope it was a good read nonetheless. I’ll try to give you updates more often. My mom has told me she knows that if she doesn’t hear from me, she simply knows I’m busy exploring, talking to strangers, and trying new things. The last few months have been full of these opportunities. 🙂

Love from London,

Emily

P.S. I’ve discovered that when my environment can keep me interested, I can run up to 10 miles, and I keep getting better. I might do the London 10k this summer to support the literacy charity for which I work, something I NEVER imagined would be part of my year. NO ONE is more surprised than me. YAGM, what are you doing to me??

Long List of Life Updates

Happy almost Christmas everyone!

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A view from one of the Springboard for Children centres in Peckham.

I originally wrote this as an obnoxiously long post on Facebook – it’s a list of various life tidbits I think you’ll enjoy (since many of you have told me you like living vicariously through my stories and photos.) So at the request of my dear friends and parental figures living vicariously through me, HERE IS A LIST. Nine very short descriptions of experiences I want to share. So much love to all of you, and THANK YOU for all the support from far away.

1. I now own 6 of the 7 Harry Potter books in British English, including 2 hardcover first editions. I have distinct memories of buying each one…for example, I bought Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone at a market in Greenwich while some jovial British men older than my parents danced and sang along to Doris Day on a record player. 

2. I love choir. And Christmas carols. And singing British carols in London in a beautiful Anglican church is lovely indeed, especially when our choir led the carol service last night. LET THERE BE LIGHT! So many candles. 

3. I’m spending Christmas with an amazing supervisor and her family in the Cotswolds. Google it for some beautiful, quintessential British scenery.

4. I get to help plan ARTS AND CRAFTS FOR TEENAGERS (huzzah!!!) for a New Years event at a friend’s church much further north of London…

5. …and then I get to spend a few days exploring York! Just booked the train tickets for the New Year’s and post New Year’s holiday.  THERE IS A VIKING MUSEUM IN YORK. Apparently, there used to be incredibly violent tension between my Norwegian and British ancestors (invasions, pillaging, etc.)…but then they moved to North America, took up farming, married each other, and voila! Here I am. International family dysfunction with eye-catching displays in a museum.

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The beautiful architecture and festive decorations at King’s Cross Station on the day I went to buy my rail card.

6. One of my students wrote a story and drew a picture about a pig who walked down the road wearing a jumper (sweater, for you Americans.) “Sean” said the pig is going to a party, where there is another pig wearing a jumper. The two pigs are in love and will always live happily ever after with lots of hugs and floating hearts. In their jumpers. The end.

7. When I get homesick, I just watch an episode of X-Men (the 90s American cartoon) or Star Trek: Next Generation. And then I feel instantly better.

8. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is slowly becoming one of my new favourite books. It’s about these British children who travel to a different dimension called Whangdoodleland with this eccentric British professor. Julie Andrews wrote it. Yes, you read that right. Julie Andrews (aka Mary Poppins, Maria Von Trapp.) Because she is that amazing. Thank you, baby brother Wesley Crusher, for the graduation gift. 

9. I have been going on 8 mile runs. 8 miles?! REALLY??!! Yes. No one is more surprised than me about my body’s new found stamina. I can run from my flat past the Shard, past St Paul’s Cathedral, along the Thames, past Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Then back to my flat to stretch and relax with a cuppa (cup of tea.) No big deal.  And I’ll probably run the London 10K to raise money for Springboard for Children in July.

 

More to come soon! (my flatmates took pictures of me singing in the Christmas caroling service, and Christmas celebrations and New Year’s will happen SOON!) Let me know if there are specific things you want me to share on Facebook or in my blog. 

With love,

Emily

Local Wisdom: Advent is Countercultural

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The humble beginnings of Christmas decorations in our flat – a tree and Advent candles. More decorations (and pictures to show you!) coming soon.

Hello friends!

I love the Christmas season – I always have. I’m sure it’s combination of things: food, music, gifts, decorations, snow, everyone being slightly more pleasant than normal. I am guilty of singing Christmas songs year round, and it’s a bit of a relief when I can start singing them in public without weird looks from everybody else. There’s nothing quite like the look you get from a stranger in the grocery store when you’re caught singing “O Come Emmanuel” in July. 😉

But in recent years I’ve started to dread the actual day of Christmas, as if I have to brace myself for all the things we have to prepare and what MIGHT GO WRONG if we’re not ready for everything.

I’m sure all of you who celebrate Christmas can relate. There is so much junk that gets in the way of understanding the relevance of the Christmas story. Now is the time of year when we scramble to finish things before deadlines at work and school before we can take a few days off. Ads convincing us to shop for the latest and greatest plastic things infiltrate even the most intimate of spaces – personal relationships and social settings become opportunities for us to be judged on our hospitality and generosity based on what we’ve bought.  This is especially maddening when the normal life things like illness, unemployment, challenging relationships, and the loss of loved ones get overshadowed by the “Christmas cheer” via plastic, electronics, and overexertion of our bodies’ energy stores.

WHAT THE HECK.

Moving to London has helped me START sorting out cultural expectations for Christmas from the genuine theological implications of the Advent season.

Before I moved here, I was excited to experience Christmas in London (so many of my favorite Christmas pop culture images come from stories set in Victorian England…and the Muppets…and Doctor Who.) But now the ways businesses use these images to hook people into buying “stuff” is less romantic than when I first came. The shops’ Christmas season began at the end of September since Halloween isn’t popular here, and Thanksgiving doesn’t exist (but this is essentially same period of time for the Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas shopping time frame in the US.) The cultural expectation to celebrate by buying is overwhelming.

To honor Jesus’ story in Advent, I would like lift up three individuals’ messages on this first Sunday of Advent. Some local wisdom to counter the advertisements’ messages:

  1. Mary and Joseph were literally the first people in history to accept Jesus into their lives. We can learn valuable lessons from them – living with the stigma of Mary’s extra-marital pregnancy, fleeing as political refugees when King Herod killed countless baby boys to find this other king he’d heard rumors of, and their REPEATED calls to obey God in raising this little person who would grow up to save the world. Following Christ is a lifestyle that will cost us the respect of other worldly forces, but it is SO FULL of love and joy.  – Andy Barnett in his message “Learning from a couple called Joseph and Mary” this morning at All Saints Church in Peckham
  2. We may feel like we have to “brace ourselves” for Advent, but the reality is that Jesus comes to us today as he did on that night long ago. He comes humbly, simply, quietly in the night when no one is paying attention. The opposite of us keeping life under control, Advent is about letting God surprise us with love, without fear of being imperfect. Jesus is the definition of God loving us in our mess. – Jenny Dawkins, the curate at All Saints Church in Peckham
  3. As Christians, we are called to enter into the story that God writes with people’s lives. There is always light and dark present on this Earth. From a British perspective with Celtic roots, Advent is a time to practice trust and hope in God even as nights grow longer and days grow colder. It is a time to pay attention to creation as it settles into the dormancy of winter. Even in a bustling city like London, it is a time to listen to the deeper resonances of creation’s power, and God’s power within creation – to the intimate songs and whispers that can transform our hearts as we journey together. – Janet Morley; poet, editor, Christian aid worker who spoke on her Advent poetry anthology, haphazard by starlight, today in St. Paul’s Cathedral

Advent is a time to wait and prepare. But it’s also a reminder of the kind of waiting and preparing for God we should be doing year-round anyway. How can I prepare the way for God today? In this conversation? With this meal? How can I be more gracious with myself? With others?  How can I be more aware of creation?  How can we prepare the way for God in community? How can we still let God surprise us? How can I do all of this when my life is insane, I have laundry to do, dinner to cook, and a family gathering to get to before they start lunch without us???

Blessings on all our journeys as we navigate the world in Advent…and all the other times of the year. 😉

Peace!

Emily