Advent Longing

Entering Advent in the wilderness feels right in a way I can’t quite capture or describe with words.   It is like the perfect blend of butter, onion, celery, and sage in stuffing—full of comfort and longing all in one bite.  I imagine the Israelites hearing Isaiah preach of God’s promise to call them to the mountain-top.  A time to look down on the beauty of creation, to beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.  A time where the wilderness will no longer be wild but can be cultivated by weapons resurrected as tools.  This vision is the longing of Advent.

A longing that looks back at yesterday to honor what was and looks forward to what could be.

This palpable, palatable longing first visited me Thanksgiving evening.  Shortly after arriving at my sister’s, she asked if I would make the gravy.  Gravy has been a nemesis at our Thanksgivings the last five or so years.  The challenge of timing and texture were mastered by my Grandmother.  Like most family recipes, when she passed, so did her mastery.  I remember watching her mix the turkey drippings and flour in the bottom of the roasting pan.  Her pointer-finger, the measure stick and sample spoon, would evaluate when it was just right.

So when my sister turned to me and asked if I would make the gravy, since according to her, the gravy I made three years ago was good, I accepted.  I used a pot rather than the roasting pan and ended up supplementing with a jar of gravy.  (How else could one ever make enough gravy for 25 people?)  But somehow it came together.  As I quickly whisked the flour and the drippings, I knew I had found the mountain-top for a moment in the wilderness.  Now my index-finger would be both measuring stick and sample spoon.  Now I, too, could flavor a meal with comfort and longing.

Friday At Five–Babies Addition

Today’s Friday is about babies. Tell us about babies in your life, of all kinds, even ideas!

Tell us about the babies you’ve paid attention to in your life:

1. babies of family or friends

Goodness, I have a lot of “babies” in my life right now…no actual little little ones in our home but nieces, nephews, and little ones of friends.  Last week I posted my desires for my newest niece–Anna.  Can’t wait to see her next week.

(She and I apparently share the love of “couching”)Image

And slightly older babies…Stephen (who is now in kindergarten!) Rebecca and Cameron

Image(a little bit of cousin love with Stephen an Sophia)

IMG_0367 (Rebecca “Ringo Starring” on Uncle Joe’s makeshift drum head)


(“Hmmm!  Corn!”  Cameron chomps down on his

first ear of corn Grandma Malick style.)

2. animal babies–Where would life be without animal babies?  Our two kitties..Beezer and Bailey are now in the double digits but are still playful

IMG_0342 Rock a bye Beezer.  Papa rocks the Beez, who tolerates being treated like a baby because he gets a little closer to the ceiling fan.)


Are you my human or am I your cat?  Sophia and Bailey head to head.  Gabi is convinced…he’s her cat–so why argue–just read


3. babies you remember in movies or on t

There are two babies I vividly remember from movies or TV.  The first is from Spaceballs…as it spoofs on alien.  This clip is a hit in our household.  Enjoy:

Second the Dancing Baby from Ally Mcbeal

4. babies in the Bible

Moses and Jesus are the first two that come to mind.  Thinking about Jesus as a baby actually makes me remember my Grandmother, whose birthday was Christmas.  So we actually did celebrate a birthday at Christmas, but usually it focused more on Grandma than on Jesus.  One year my sister, Erin, who is now a graphic designer, created a mixed media birthday card pre-photo shop.  With mere scissors and glue she pasted Grandma’s face on the body of a baby and placed the baby in a manger under a star.  Happy Birthday to Jesus AND Grandma!  If I had a photo of this masterpiece, I would gladly upload here.  I figure if you’re gonna be irreverent with the Christmas holiday, might as well go all in.

5. anything that may be a “baby” arising in your own life

Babies in my own life…well in many respects my family is still in the baby stage.  The girls might entering “tweendom”–this land 969979_677157908966714_402066853_nreminds me why I became a secondary education major and not an elementary education major–but as a family unit we are still new.  And I am still new to step-motherhood.  Not for the faint of heart, the role of step-mother and pastor are like mirror images of one another.  In both you’re the newest person to the family; your arrival shakes the system; the world expects you to have some kind of Jedi-like authority; and if you can love with open palms, you receive more grace, love, and acceptance than you knew were possible.

(Believe it or not, there are three people and a cat in our bed…all taking a Sunday afternoon nap.  After preaching and the pool, who wouldn’t want to take a snooze?  Apparently, Papa.  Papa gets quiet time in the house.)

The other “baby” currently in my life is my time in the wilderness.  Ending my fourth week, I moved from comfortably numb and stunned to frantically searching for a map to settling in.  Not that I don’t have moments of frantic map searching, but all in all, currently, I’m setting up home and shop in the wild and enjoying the newness of my surroundings.  When a frenzy comes on, I’ve taken to lacing up my sneakers and going for a jog and praying.  The spiritual discipline of pounding pavement and praying may be ancient but is definitely in its infant stage for me.