Saturday morning was the last stretch of “workweek” to get through before J and I could be reunited.  After a week of working nights, John was asleep in our bed, tangled in covers and unaffected by my early rising.

A few hours of side work doing some of what I love to do, and I was home, delighted, and in bed again.  We ate a small breakfast and brewed our coffee, sipping slowly as we planned out the day.  Slight smiles and soft speaking back-lit the white comfort of the steam.

We enjoy buying our groceries together.  We went out to the Farmer’s Market and purchased an eggplant, peaches, 2 heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple and German Johnson), fresh eggs, and a $2 pint of blueberries.  We rounded it out with a few Whole Foods selections – salmon, bacon, and prairie bread.

There is nothing like the provision of great food.  It is a shadow of the riches of heaven.


Birthday Weekend

millions of peaches

June 7-June 9, 2013

On my desk sits a glass milk bottle housing a simple, lovely bouquet from the weekend.  A vibrant orange Lilly in full bloom, orange Gerbera daisies, and deep pink roses that may have seen better days but are still providing their understated beauty.

It reminds me of the sweet relationships that I have with those in my community – those who live closely with me, but are not my immediate family.  People who see my choices, who pray for things that perhaps even I do not see, who I know have understanding and grace for me because they believe what God believes about me.

It  whispers that I am deeply loved and cared for.

They called for nasty storms this weekend – we prayed for at least one  beautiful day, and got two!  I woke up to the smell of bacon and pancakes on Saturday, my 26th birthday.  We sat and ate slowly in our pajamas, the door open to welcome morning and let morning welcome us.  I always enjoy breakfasts that end with my cheeks wet with tears, looking over at my husband, realizing all over again that this life is beautiful and it is a gift, always to be thankful for and humbled by.  And there was laughter – lots of laughter.




From May to June

May 31st – June 2nd

We have hit a good stride recently, John and I, with being able to fully enjoy our free time together – because our free time is free.  We have made loose plans and let the rest depend on what needs and what wants to be done in those moments.  It has been a lovely shift from the down-to-the-minute-to-get-it-all-done plan (even planning the “fun” moments – which kind of thieves all the fun away), and the over-commitment we are accustomed to (re: “Yes” to everything asked of us lest I feel guilty, or I fear of what people think of our answer.)

Lately there has been a flag waving over my heart and my life – We cannot be all things to all people.  Only One can!  That has been a freedom for me, a gentle song softening the tough way I measure myself.  Perfection is not required of me.  Dependence is, like a little kid. 

I am learning the delicate dance of balancing a strong hand to protect, and an open hand to give away.  Both are beautiful and needed it their time, and it’s been a growing point to listen with John.  What is God saying?  What is the Father telling us to do?

Saturday morning, John made us wheat pancakes topped with fruit (my request – Saturdays are the best days for breakfast!)  We were sitting at the table with our PJs and our food, and I prayed.  I took a moment to cover our friend Billy who sells his roasted coffee at the Saturday mid-town market.  “Let him sell the most bags he has ever sold today.”  Amen, and we ate, enjoying the quiet Saturday morning, the open sliding-glass door, and each other’s company.  

One hour before the market closed, John and Billy had sold only 20-some bags of coffee – not really a banner day.  They prayed.  Billy asked for 5 more bags.  John asked for 10, then bumped it down to 8.  

The last hour, they sold 11 bags of coffee – and people were still buying even when the boys were breaking down the tent.

That is my Father.  We ask for a little.  Then we get bold and ask for a lot!  And then we do not want to “push it” or be disappointed, and ask for something more modest, more reasonable.

He gives us more than we hoped for.  He gives us more than our “most.”  

Memorial Day Weekend

May 23 – May 27, 2013

dusk on highway 58

Wild, Free

Samantha W. C. Ray

(a poem inspired by highway 58)

In the dusk

the world is lit

in an inconceivable hue.

it is magic

enveloping us in it

we drive into it and


to the winds of the roads.

tobacco and corn fields

silhouettes of forest lines

and a sky

so monstrously wide

electric with colors

a spectrum impossible for my hungry eyes.

i am like a child.

a promise, a pulsing

pumping in the scene

streaming past my window

frames of cinematic look-alikes

but I am real, he is real,

and this is real

but only for the coyly passing hour

of twilight.

there is nothing but speeding air between it and me

this world and my world

rushing, cool spring air.

i tilt my head back and draw deeply

of the smell of wet earth

sweet and dark

full of green


setting sun

and cropland.

fields as old as generations

knowing wars & men’s blood,

yielding bread of life

as it is told

by the hand and mouth of God.

I smell Him.

I wash my hair in the wet of the wind

letting it tangle and whip

and my skin, dampen and bathe

until supple in duskened, living air.

I will smell like it.

not clean

but part of this wild earth

this wild world

clearly some enchanted corner

of God’s imagination.


For the weekend beginning Friday May 17th –

Another deeply drawn breath of fresh air.  I am a hopeless warm-weather romantic.  The final turning tide of the season may have contributed some to the happiness of the weekend (mixed in with a gloriously slim schedule), but whatever the recipe, I am rested and happy.

On Friday

The sliding door stayed open, only a sheer screen separating our sanctuary from the spring-sprung world outside, chirping birds, mosquitoes, and the large tree that has blossomed into all its lush green fullness right outside of our living room.  We have a perfectly framed view of it, like a postcard.

Cook books were strewn across our ottoman/coffee table, country know-how guides were flipped open carelessly in curiosity, seeds were hopefully planted in apartment-sized pots, and the smells of fresh wheat bread baking warmed the home and heart.

We fell to sleep early when our bodies said to.  The 7-5ish work schedule during the week makes 9pm “late night,” so on the weekends we just go with the ebbs and flows of our bodies’ needs and our college-like freedom.

On Saturday

I love Saturday mornings.  I cannot explain how much I love waking up slowly with my husband still in the bed with me.  Saturdays are for celebrating.  Whether you bake something fresh or go out for a treat – breakfast is slower and sweeter and the best way to start the day.

We grabbed our bags and headed to the midtown market, where our good friend roasts and sells coffee beans.  We shopped this time, a little change from our more recent routine of arriving and helping with coffee sales right away.  Lots of strawberries, collards, snap peas, tomatoes (greenhouse grown this time of year), meats, cheeses, and roses – the smells and sights so full and vibrant – healing.  There was a spin class out on the grass square pumping music – a funny addition to the scene but not all bad I think.  My hand always finds its way into John’s – callouses and strength.  We picked out a Chuck Roast from a man who farms cattle in a small town near Durham – Bahama (pronounced southernese as buh-hay-muh).  We would wait until the downtown market to purchase the rest.

John stayed to help out with the coffee sales, and I moved on to a shop a little north of there (my weekday safe-house turned weekend vacation)  for coffee, crescents, and conversation with girl friends (and their doggies).  Spontaneous get-togethers are special treats, especially approaching “adulthood” (or AH-dulthood) when the non-penciled-in hang outs are something of an endangered species.  Or maybe it’s just an illusion of AHdulthood so far, something the older, wiser ones have learned how to protect.

Long, easy conversation baking our winter paled skin in the new spring sun. Fresh coffee and pleased doggies, and lots of buzzing Saturday people grabbing their cup of joe to stay a while.

The gals and I headed to the downtown market to enjoy a quick round of vegetables, strawberries, cheese, fresh loaf bread, apples, and flower-oggling while the rain sprinkled then poured then sprinkled again, a cool spring rain that doesn’t send goosebumps, just refreshment.