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2013. Day One.

January 1, 2013

So- what is this year’s recipe for self improvement?

Some of us can’t resist the turning of the year as an offering of another chance… a clean slate… an opportunity to commit to some life changes that will bring us ever closer to being the person we want to be.

Some of these things- the recipe ingredients, if you will-  are trivial… and yet, so hard to maintain:

  • floss every day.
  • put down the computer and pick up that book.
  • get back into the routine of daily Morning Prayer.
  • put down the book and pick up the cello.

Those things shouldn’t be that hard to do. Theoretically, I like playing the cello. Even if the pieces get harder and harder and harder the longer that I stick with it (ten years, now.)  Morning Prayer always makes me feel so good.  Not because of the rote prayers and the same lectionary readings, year after year… but because of the benefit it affords me thoughout the rest of the day- giving me a gentleness and a grace that could only be God-given.  Reading new material and spending time as a student is one of the best ways that I know to grow, intellectually… and so, why wouldn’t I want to click that red X in the upper right hand corner of my monitor… and turn away from the triviality of FaceBook… to something that promises to expand my mind?  And flossing?  Well, duh.  That’s just a given, but faced with the rest of the long list of things to accomplish in my busy morning, brushing one’s teeth in the shower (hygiene multitasking) and slapping on some face cream is about the best I seem to manage for a beauty routine.

And then there’ s the diet and exercise thing.  If I could make ONE resolution there, it would be to just Figure out how to eat and exercise in a way that does not require plans and lists and programs on one hand… or complete abandonment of all reason and measure, on the other hand.  I’m GREAT when I’ve got a program to follow….. and a chocolate mess ( literally) when I don’t.  This is more than a simple New year’s Resolution can accomplish of course- and maybe someday I’ll nail it down.

In the meantime, there’s a Florida marathon that I’m heading to in ten days… and a beautiful new kitchen of my dreams under construction in the back of the house… and an amazing group of colleagues who challenge me professionally every day, and a Church to walk with through these exciting and tumultous times, and three children to watch, and a husband to love and some friends who are very patient with me, and lots and lots to do.

We’ll see how we roll together, 2013.  So far- one five mile run down, a hot shower,  brushed and flossed teeth, and a sensible breakfast of Kashi cereal and almond milk is getting us off to a good start.

here we go.




Delight and Joy

March 2, 2011

…some days, these feel elusive:  delight and joy.

This winter, with its amazing and consistent onslaught of snow, ice, snow and…. snow has tested us all in the Northeast.  Appointments have been cancelled and re-scheduled, backs have been strained hefting snow, and cabin- fever has abounded.

It has been a time to dwell on what does bring us delight and joy… in the midst of  cold and slush.

Delight and Joy:

a warm summer afternoon spent reading on a blanket in the grass.

a night at home… with no meetings, homework or assignments to do.

listening to a wonderful piece of music… or watching a fabulous dance, performed onstage.

a warm, dark chocolate souffle

the thrill of a difficult challenge met … the satisfaction of an accomplishment

and, the greatest delight of all:  seeing one’s children happy and at peace.

What moments have brought you delight and joy, lately?

What is in your great well of reserve- your memories- that buoys you up on a difficult day?

Share some answers here for the benefit of our community!

Running on Ice

January 20, 2011

I am a commited runner. My physique doesn’t show it because I am also a commited ice-cream eater…. but I am a happy slave to a running program.  Each week I follow a structured program that tells me how many runs I need to accomplish for the week…and how many miles I need to log.  It helps me to stay aerobically fit…and following a program takes the guess work out  of it all.

The tricky part, though, is that I don’t belong to a gym.  I used to… but florescent lights and 10 tvs bolted to the wall, each offering their own version of the morning news… not my thing.  I prefer the moon for my light… and to catch up on the ‘news’ by running through the town and seeing for myself what is going on.

Now… this all works out great… until it snows and ices.

This morning, I ran 4 miles on the ice.

I stayed on the road as much as possible, dodging cars and praying that my red flashing light ( thanks, Jon) and headlamp ( thanks, Glenn) would signal my presence… but there were the unavoidable stretches of road and sidewalk where I had to run on the ice.

As I ran -slipped- along,  it struck me that running on ice is an apt metaphor for parenting.

There is that fine sheet of black ice which can be successfully traversed if we step very lightly.  Trying to gain any purchase on black ice is foolish.  One only slips and looks like the Roadrunner cartoon, legs spinning wildly out of control under a motionless body.  Instead, to run on black ice- thin, smooth, glassy ice- you must lift your legs high and just prance over it.  Dance over the ice.

Haven’t we had moments like this in parenting when we know that the best approach to a situation is to go lightly… to step gently… and not to come crashing down with parental authority?  I wonder if some of you can think of times when this ‘light touch’ worked best?  My husband seems to have it mastered.

There are other times, though… other icy spots that require a different step.  You know when the sidewalk gets all slushy and the snow is broken up… and then… it freezes?  The edges are jagged… the terrain is rough… and there are ruts in the path.  That kind of ice, friends, requires a different tread:  a firm, stomping crunch. A gait that says ” I mean business.”  If we dance too lightly over this ice, we risk rolling an ankle.  Not fun.

I can think of plenty of times when I have seen the layers of a problem in my childrens’ lives building up… getting all ‘slushy.’  And then, one day, it is frozen and the kid is stuck.  That’s when the parent with the big foot can come in and extract the child… get out of the frozen mess.  There are times, I believe, when some good parental authority is called for.  Taking the reins every once in a while, can be a good thing,

When do you dance?  When do you, as a parent, crunch into a  place of parental authority?

We can’t stay in bed.  Our parenting roles call us to get out there in all sorts of weather.  Running on the ice… it’s a skill.

please support Rhythms of Grace with this 10 Question Survey

January 18, 2011

For those of you who have been reading the blog and receiving print materials at our Rhythms of Grace services, PLEASE lend a hand and take this super-quick survey.  It will help me as I discern the value of this work…

please link to this confidential survey page:

Thank you.  Audrey

They (we) are Weak… but he is Strong?!?

January 18, 2011



Jesus loves me this I know,

For the Bible tells me so,

Little ones to Him belong,

They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me,

The Bible tells me so.


At Rhythms on Sunday, we explored the story of the Baptism of Jesus.  We acted out the story shaking long swaths of blue cloth to resemble the  water in the River Jordan…. we had a giant foam-core dove that came out of the heavens and alighted on our heads… and we all played the part of God, the Father, booming:  ‘This is my son.  I love him. In him I am well pleased.”

We baptized baby dolls, glued feathers onto cardboard doves and played in the water table with shells.

We colored paper dolls to resemble ourselves and taped us all in a cardboard church…  It was a good day.

We  had communion.  At the end of the service, we always sing “Jesus loves me.”  Now, I have mixed feelings about this song.

For example:  don’t you think that we should have other reasons to believe that Jesus loves us other than the fact that “the Bible tells me (us) so?”  What about Anglican discernment and Reason?

The second and third verses are worse- hardly children’s fodder- they dwell deeply in the theology of atonement with neat rhymes: ” On the cross you died for me/ I will try to live for thee.”  The text to this hymn was written by Anne B. Warner, sometime in the late 19th c. when children were treated like miniature adults.  The theology of atonement, when understood quite simply, is nothing short of gory:  God sent Jesus to earth on purpose to be tortured so that we might benefit, somehow…”… and to pretty it up with a quaint tune and words that rhyme and feed it to children seems… wrong.  Thetheology of the atonement deserves some deep reflection and study and prayer.  Otherwise, it is dangerous, I think.  Especially for children who do not make the subtle distinctions that adults do in discerning Truth.

Anyway- we didn’t even get through the first verse before one of our Rhythms kids stopped us for a mini-theological discussion.

You see, she understands that Jesus is strong, but takes exception to being labeled “weak.” 

“I am strong, you know,”  she explained.

I agreed, that she probably was strong… and that was good.  Jesus, too, is strong… and sometimes we need to depend on him for some of his strength when we need it.

It is essential that our Rhythms kids- all of us, really– feel that we have some of our own strength.  We should not sit around and wait for Jesus to do all  the heavy lifting in our lives.   Working our muscles, no matter how puny at first, builds more muscles.  With our muscles comes a sense of competence and empowerment.  Don’t we all  need that?

I love the sweet time that we have singing our closing song each month.  But maybe it’s time for a new one.


January 17, 2011

… is wonderful when we have mastered it.

Yesterday at our Rhythms of Grace service we talked about this blog and its sister, the new message board at  Seems that folks are reading the blog… but not commenting ( ‘posting’ in blog-speak) for a number of reasons:

1.  don’t feel a need to post.  Enjoy reading it and reflecting on it but not called to respond.

2.  shy to be the first to respond.

3. too confusing to log on /join/sign up… questions about cost/security

4. one person said that they like reading it, but they haven’t commented because they are  not the parent of a child with (identified) Special Needs.

I am glad to have heard these comments.  I am glad that folks are reading the blog, but, as I said to one of my friends in the morning:  sometimes I feel like I am talking to myself….

I want to encourage people to respond… it is not too hard to negotiate the ‘log on/sign up’ maze… and doing so does not cost anything or commit you to any product of any kind.

As far as not being the parent of a child with Special Needs… this blog and its original intention was/is to serve parents of Rhythms’ kids… to form an on-line community of sorts for spiritual support.  That doesn’t seems to be happening.  What IS happening, though, is that through this blog the community of Rhythms of Grace is being extended and broadened.  Those who come to a Rhythms service can derive meaning from this blog… but others can, as well.  The Rhythms program is less, in its maturity, a program that serves those with Special Needs ( a program that ministers “to” folks) as much as it is an alternative worshiping community… an alternative eucharistic community.  All are welcome to attend-  in person and on-line- and to share the benefit of each other’s joys and struggles.  Rhythms of Grace has become a program of celebration and ministry WITH each other… not “to” or “for” a specific population.

What do you think about that?

I know that this blog is set up for Yahoo! and Facebook alerts… so… if you’re out there, give a holla!  What do you think of this blog?  the on-line community?  Take a leap of faith… comment.

Welcome to the Family

January 15, 2011

At one of my churches tomorrow, we will be baptizing two children.  Sisters.  Aged 2 and 5.

In our Tuesday playgroup, I have been working to explain what Baptism is… why we do it, and what it means.  Good luck with that, right?

I ‘ve shied away from long doctrinal discussions of  being washed of (our)original sin.  (-:

I have refrained from the image of ‘dying with Christ to be born to eternal life.’  Too confusing.

And…. what we’ve landed on… that makes sense to the kids- is the idea of belonging to a family.

Instead, I’ve explained that, tomorrow, these two will gain a whole bunch of new brothers and sisters… in Christ.

I love baptism days.  One of my favorite parts is when the congregation stands and affirm their role in the whole process;  that they will “support these persons in their lives in Christ.” 

God does not ask us to go it alone.  We enter the Christian walk with brothers and sisters at our side… helping to carry the load when it gets heavy… and there to dance with us when it is time for rejoicing.

I hope that Rhythms of Grace yields some of those feelings, too, for our parents and kids.

We do not walk alone.  We are there for each other… and always, in the presence of God’s abiding love.

At Rhythms of Grace we can be ourselves- sharing our struggles and our triumphs, and finding that the Church offers us a whole new family that loves and supports us.

Come to Rhythms tomorrow- we meet in Plainville ( CT) at Our Saviour (115 W. Main St) at 1 PM.

Come join the family.