Tuesday, May 31, 2005


My mom is proud of me 'cause I like to cook. I think she's also proud (or perhaps the word is relieved) that I keep a decently straight house. When I'm not stressed over writing papers, that is.

It's such a feminine sort of thing for me to do, and such a feminine sort of thing for my mom to be proud of. I don't know how I feel about that exactly. I do know that I have a fledgling vintage '50s apron collection, which I wear with pride and a distinct sense of deliberate irony (especially when it's the pink and white checkered one, which also sports a little lacy pocket).

Last semester when some other female students and I got together to read some classic feminist texts--we're still working on Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex--I brought my knitting to the discussion and we sat around drinking tea.

My former boss at the shoe store (still my sometime boss since I help out whenever she has need) is single, in her 50's, very liberated and liberal, has worked her way through several high-powered careers and been very successful, and now sells orthopedic shoes to old people with bad feet. And yet she still wears heels when she goes out.

Legally Blonde. She never loses that preoccupation with her appearance, even after undergoing a transformation into a successful and serious law student. Miss Congeniality. The whole point seems to be that a woman must also be feminine in order to be whole.

Over and over it seems like the task being handed to women is to be newer and better women--the old version, plus. Woman+ is cute and sexy, but smart and capable too. She can bake a souffle and entertain like Martha (or whoever Martha's replacement is at this point, I haven't kept up) but she can confront and win an argument when necessary too...only, she doesn't win her points like a man, but with polite finesse that leaves no one's feelings hurt. She can do everything your mother did, and so much more, and she'll never get cellulite or wrinkles, 'cause she takes care of herself, too... And look, we're all falling for it. Is there something wrong here? I don't know.

I like to cook, after all.

Monday, May 30, 2005


No big thoughts for today. I just want to report that Ira seems to be doing well. I will see Joe and Laura again for the first time since Ira was born next Sunday. They will resume hosting church then. Joe's most recent post reports that doctors and nurses are commenting on how strong Ira is, and the words "miracle baby" are floating around. I don't want to analyze it. I don't want to theologize about it. I just want to bask in it.

And I need to get started on some more little baby booties. I think the hat & booties I knitted and gave them a few months ago will probably be too small now...

I still have a lot to do. I haven't checked my school email account yet today and when I do, I'll be reminded that I have to polish up that History of Doctrine comprehensive exam bibliography. And tomorrow starts the online course in earnest. But today, I think, I am not going to fret. Today I think I will finally go out and get some flowery plants to adorn the balcony (which could seriously use adornment). I may do some laundry, maybe scrub the toilet or something. Yes, this is a day off. A day to get my house in order and feel good about accomplishing the small necessaries of life that just slide, slide, slide when I get busy and fretful and overloaded. I will definitely watch a rerun of Judging Amy today on TNT over lunch. I may even put in Star Wars Episode 4, just because.

Because this is a happy day, a day with good news, an in-between day that I can do with as I please. Any ideas?

Sunday, May 29, 2005


My pants have pleats in them. If there was ever anything a full-hipped woman didn't need, it's pleats. Why do they put them in our clothing? It's terrible. It just makes things look oh so much bigger than they really are.

That's it for this Sunday morning. I will continue to agonize over pleats as we drive to West Islip.

Boy do I wish CofCs used vestments.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

lament: a lost art

Those of you who know Joe & Laura probably follow Joe's blog updates on baby Ira's progress. It's a roller coaster. Sometimes the posts are positive. Sometimes they're not. Sometimes they're so carefully matter-of-fact that it's heartbreaking.

There are always comments. Part of me is glad there are. Part of me is horrified by them, as previous posts on this blog testify. It's hard to know how to respond. I think part of our problem is simply that, as a culture, we don't know how to grieve with people. We don't understand this. We think that to be sympathetic means explaining more clearly to someone how things will get better tomorrow or the next day or next month--or whenever, but definitely sometime. But that kind of comfort can be oppressive. Sometimes it doesn't get better, and that's what everyone who hurts, in whatever way they're hurting, is afraid of. That it won't get better. To insist to them that it will, and that they must believe it, is cruel when they're hurting so bad they just can't do it. It makes them hurt worse, because it tells them something is wrong with them.

So here's a
link to a prayer of lament. A prayer that doesn't shortcut to the happy ending, but just expresses the need and desire for a savior and a people to suffer with. May we learn from this model how to sympathize and move slowly with the hurting through their pain, instead of insisting on denying or anesthetizing it.

Friday, May 27, 2005

O Frabjous Day

Yea! Yea! Yea!

I'm finished. It is done. No more papers, ever. Well, except for that whole dissertation thing. But that's far far away and I don't have to think about it now. Right now, I can just revel in the fact that it is done, done, done.

And today, for the first time in a week, the sun is shining. And the kiddies on the playground down the street have some kind of childish happy music playing, the strains of which float serenely through the screen door of our balcony. And Brent just said pensively, I really wish they'd turn that music off.

Yeah, life is good.

There, didn't everyone NEED a happy post after the last, well, all of them?

What's next? Well, today I am going to work on cleaning up those comps bibliographies. I also will make some rapid progress on this sermon. The text is Matthew 7: 21ff, the "not all who call me 'Lord, Lord'" through the wise man/foolish man pericope. (I like the word pericope. It sounds smart.) Any thoughts on this? If they're good I'm happy to include them in the sermon AND give you credit. And later, I may take a little drive and buy some flowering plants and some yarn so I can begin Martin Rowe's hat. The plants won't necessarily be incorporated into the hat, in case you were wondering.

That's my day. It has already begun, really, for I have been awake an hour and a half and drunk coffee and commented on blogs and written email and lent towels to my neighbors for their day trip to the beach. I feel like such an efficient person. I have really missed that feeling, and it's good to have it back, even if it is just the result of the heady combination of caffeine, sunshine, and turning in that last paper.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

boring miscellany

I bake under stress. Right now, I have three loaves of sourdough (thanks Ma! The starter you gave me is remarkably low-maintenance. I think I'll name it Marcus, since it's so stoic) rising on the stovetop, and 3 blackberry tarts and 1 apple mini-pie sitting on the countertop.

But the paper, praise be, is really almost finished. Hopefully I can avoid the Daily Meltdown today and just clean up the dusty corners, fix up a few footnotes, cobble together the Works Cited, and avoid reading it over so I won't get the urge to fix stuff. I need to be able to not care about how bad it is, and just send it off. I need to be able to forget that famous philosophers will be reading it. (With any luck, maybe they won't read it.)

So, what this means is, today I will be able to: get my TH221 papers back to the students via campus mail, start working on my sermon for Sunday, pull out my comps bibliographies and start working on finalizing them, and start thinking about the online course I'm teaching starting on the 31st and familiarize myself with whatever the heck I'm supposed to be doing for that. Anything else? Probably. Oh yeah, there's the thingy I should have finished and sent back to Hamilton ages ago, and the article that I never formatted to send off to Zygon that I should work on. I also need to make a menu & grocery list for the upcoming week.

So, I gotta get up off my cute round fanny and get going. But at least I'll have fresh baked homemade bread to fortify myself with...

Friday, May 20, 2005

burns me UP!

I was going to post something entirely different, but I made the tactical error of checking my email. Lately I've been getting a lot of very random junk German emails for some reason, with subject lines like "Kulturelle=Kriminal" and "Du weisst....?" See, I always knew that learning German would come in useful. But that's not what's got me bothered today. No, unfortunately, this was a legit email message from people that I know and like pretty well, and who probably like me pretty well, too. And I am oh so sorely tempted to send them back a reply which would make them most emphatically NOT like me anymore.

What did I ever do before this blog? Good grief.

After I graduated from Harding in 1998, I left the States to teach English in Wuhan, China. I worked at a college there, in the middle of this enormous city of about 8 million (that's roughly the size of NYC, people! Huge!) and taught conversational English, Brit lit, linguistics, composition...but I didn't go for the thrill of teaching English, which would have been easier & better paid here in the States somewhere. No. So why did I go? "Because I--am--a--MISSIONARY!" (Only Em will get this reference. The rest of you, who are mostly imaginary anyway, will have to go dig up an obscure film called "Walton Family Christmas," or something like that, and watch for the scene with the woman missionary who gives away old broken toys and dolls to the "heathen" children up in Appalachia.)

Yeah. Oh, youthful exuberance and delusion. I'm happy it's behind me.

The organization I went through is still placing people there. It's a CofC operation and as far as I know, only CofC people have been recruited. So that means exactly what you think: the best and the worst of us shipped off to China, with our 2 70-lb suitcases packed full of CofC baggage, whether we wanted to bring it or not. I learned this the hard way that first year. I have a lot of scary little anecdotes. One of them ends with the punchline, "Isn't God a man?" But, on the upside, in a lot of ways, I can locate my motivation for pursuing a theological degree in my experiences of that year.

Anyway, to get to the point. I am still loosely connected to this organization, just as someone who's been there and remains on the mailing list. And today I get an email which proclaims this urgent message (paraphrased): Urgent need to replace a male dropout as there are two women located at this rather isolated school with no male leadership.

I'm just, just, well, nearly speechless, frankly, at the amount of rage that I feel over this. I'm used to frustration and impatience. I'm used to a certain amount of disgust, even. But rage? Wow, when did I get in touch with my inner feminist? 'Cause I am ready to blast these sincere and faithful people into smithereens. Did they really mean to devalue the work of these two women in this way? Did they really mean to imply that God will only use penes to do God's work in the world? It kinda sounds that way to me. No, not kinda. It sounds exactly that way to me. I never realized how much one can do with a penis! I was under the impression that it was a sort of specialized organ, concentrating in one area of expertise...but apparently, this is just further evidence of my feminine ignorance, because obviously, the penis is what one reads and understands the Bible with, what one preaches with, what one prays with and hands out the elements of the Eucharist with...what a marvelous organ. Let us sing its praises--thank God, women are allowed to do that, at least. Otherwise we'd never get to open our mouths...except for...no, that's a little too rude, even for me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

cats and kiddies

Cats are much maligned creatures, in my opinion. Think about how horribly they're protrayed in the media. Garfield is fat and lazy and really at best only marginally humorous. Tom & Jerry: Tom is incompetent, irrationally mean, and constantly defeated. Sylvester & Tweety: well, much the same, plus the debilitating lisp. Suffering succotash. And those horrible Siamese animals in Lady & the Tramp! Yeesh. And think of the historical oppression of cats through the ages, witch's familiars and stuff. (Of course, they seemed to like cats in Egypt...good for them.) This is the reason my cat's named Tiamat, by the way. I figured, why not celebrate our reviled feminine chaotic-ness?

Well, anyway, in a world, or at least an apartment complex, full of dogs and dog lovers and dog poop picker-uppers, I have a cat. And I'm not sorry.

You may have missed this (ha) but I've been feeling pretty crappy lately. If you got to the bottom of the last post (if you didn't who could blame you?) you will have noticed that I was contemplating prospective simultaneous loss of intelligence, sanity, hair, and the onset of halitosis, body odor, those grody toenails they keep showing on TV... Yeah, my thesis being, failure is contagious and pretty soon everything's bound to go. So I guess you can say I've been feeling pretty bad.

Today wasn't, honestly, any better. I nearly overslept and missed a 10:00 meeting with 2 professors and 4 other students, arrived breathless, just a smidge late, with evident bedhead. I came home and had a lot of trouble making myself get to this paper and then worked diligently for hours on it and now have...whoopee...a paragraph.

But as I was sitting at the computer at my desk in the bedroom (not a great workspace, very claustrophobic), in comes the cat. She walks right up and jumps in my lap. Not satisfied, she decides to drape herself over my shoulder and settle in--kindof like the way moms prop their kids on their shoulders after feeding to be burped. But Tiamat wasn't (thankfully) experiencing any indigestion. She apparently just wanted to stay close and purr.

It was really nice. Cats can make you feel so special. Sure, they don't come when you call them, and I will never be able to break Tiamat of her dreadful habit of sharpening her claws in my Turkish carpet (lugged by hand all the way from Turkey, love that rug). And they don't do tricks like dogs and they look at you with disdain as often as not. But it means something when they seek you out and purr on your shoulder. 'Cause they don't have to, and they know you know it. Little kids are that way too. You feel this burst of "oh goodie" when they accept you, because they don't just like everyone. You're special. You're chosen.

So my day got a little better. The universe has shown me some gratuitous affection. I don't have kids, but I have a cat. And yep, that's enough for me. Well, maybe I could handle another cat.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


In preparation for beginning the very last term paper I will ever write to complete a course, ever, I thought a little random musing was in order. And where better to randomly muse. Yes, better not put it in the actual paper...so let me get it out of my system here.

The topic for this very last paper, let me emphasize again, ever, is prophetic speech as a strategy for effecting political change. Maybe that sounds odd, but don't blame me. I'm just trying to tell you in a phrase what the deal is. This paper is for the seminar I took over at the university on "contemporary pragmatism," and we read people like Robert Brandom and Henry Levinson and Cheryl Misak and Mark Johnston and Richard Rorty. Most of these people I hadn't even heard of before taking this course. And I don't even know if that's admitting gross ignorance or if that's the case with everyone. Anyway, who cares. So: the topic for the week I did my seminar presentation bit on was "feminism and pragmatism." For that week we read some Rorty and his proposal was basically that pragmatism is useful to feminists politically because it makes room for prophetic speech. Prophetic speech for Rorty is basically a radical vocabulary shift, a shift that makes room for new concepts by providing new possibilities of expression. This is different from someone making a rational case for something, because making a compelling rational argument depends on convincing someone of your position in the vocabulary they already accept. Rorty argues that feminism won't win on this strategy, because what feminists want to advocate for can't be expressed in the ruling (patriarchal) vocabulary; this is what necessitates "prophetic speech."

Now that's not so hard to grasp, I think, especially since language is one of those issues focused on and critiqued by feminists, anyway.

The insight Rorty has that I really like is this one, though. He goes on to say, instead of appealing to some sense of "Reality" to make your case for the full humanity of women (or anything else), which is bound to fail 'cause ain't no such thing, appeal to the alternate practices of an imagined community. This is what makes prophetic speech really prophetic, the appeal to an imagined community where life is different from what we observe here & now.

This is so fascinating to me, because Rorty isn't talking about religion here at all. He's just talking politics. And offering a paradigm of political change that sounds like it's straight out of the Old Testament or something. So, anyway, that's all well and good. The problem is, Rorty's "imagined community of alternate practices" is a placeholder vision; it has no content; it is filled in by whomever is producing the prophetic speech. The prophet, then, becomes a Romantic figure whose personal charisma supplies content to the vision and gathers up followers. (Nancy Fraser critiques Rorty for this strain of Romanticism in his thought on this point. I am a student and therefore feel compelled to give credit. Just be happy it's not in a footnote.) This is why Rorty's proposal is "as useful for fascists as it is for feminists"--an admission he makes in a footnote. Guess he thought it would be less disturbing in 10 pt. font.

So, here's what I want to say. I want to say that 1) I think the basic insight that we'll get further by appealing to imagined future practices than to Reality is pretty sound; 2) Rorty attracts harsh and deserved criticism because he offers only a placeholder without content, which can be filled in by anyone with enough zeal and charisma, & therefore this paradigm doesn't work in a setting where the content of the prophetic vision is not communally agreed upon; 3) this paradigm works great in a religious setting where there is content supplied to the vision, available to the community and re-articulated by the prophet figure. That's basically it. This last move then brings in the role of tradition, the situating of the prophet as part of the community rather than a lone figure outside of it (Rorty's Romantic characterization), and makes prophetic speech both rational and irrational, because it initiates discourse continuous with the shared vision (tradition) but discontinuous with current practices/beliefs.

Now, this isn't brilliant and I don't think it's new. But I've got three days to write a paper and this is what I've got. Well, I have more than three days because this Friday is the deadline I've set myself, but it's already 10 days late and I am SO tired of this semester's work dragging on and on and on and on. I finally finished all that stupid grading today and I feel terrible about it. I feel terrible about everything, lately. Today I tried to make myself breakfast and dropped an egg on the floor. Smash. Goo. Expensive free-range organic goo. It's like the feeling of failure is contagious and leaves no area of life untouched. Can't grade papers? Can't write your own? Can't organize your bibliographies for comps? Can't cook? Can't clean? Can't drop the 5 stress pounds you gained over this horrible semester? Can't shake the tree-pollen allergies you've all of a sudden succumbed to? Just wait! Pretty soon you'll have halitosis, high-school grade acne, and your hair'll start falling out...maybe get those icky toenails, too...

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I like Chinese

the world today seems absolutely crackers
with nuclear bombs to blow us all sky-high
there's fools and idiots sitting on the trigger
it's depressing, and it's senseless, and that's why.

There are few things that I find comforting when I hit that flat place where nothing really seems appealing. (I've been grading all day.) But here's one. My sister Emily made me this marvelous cd with all sorts of odd things on it. The theme song from the Tick--the long version, no less. A wonderful song Brent & I discovered on a promotional film made by Mormons to encourage young people to go on their 2-year mission (the chorus goes, if you're curious, "You're gonna go to hell, go to hell"). Odd little audio clips, like this one: "I wouldn't worry nearly as much about the atom bomb if it were to kill ya right out...What scares me is that awful gas that deforms ya!" (Yeah. That would be bad.) Yep, these things just brighten my day. Oh, and, of course, "Troglodyte" (gotta finda woman, gotta finda woman, gotta finda woman). I don't really know the names of these songs or who sings them or where they came from. I just know them by heart and they make my day better. Probably they also make people's grades come out better, too.

So, thanks Em. And now it's back to my boring life...

wo ai zhongguo ren (x 3)
ni hao ma, ni hao ma, ni hao ma, zai jian!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Heh heh heh. "Affirmative," that reminds me of K-9 on Doctor Who. I don't get a lot of that nowadays since Brent refuses to watch any Doctor Who and he's the one who controls the queue for Netflix.

Anyhow, there's this interesting thing out there in cyberspace (is it cyberspace or is that just the result of reading too much William Gibson?) that Krister very thoughtfully linked to in a comment on Brent's blog. A Christian Affirmation 2005. It reads very much like a creed, and yet, it isn't. It reads like it ought to be something new, and yet, it isn't. It seems like something we all ought to sign on to, and yet...

Well, all ye that are interested, go read it and see what you think.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


I'm bothered. I know that there are people in the world who think PhD's are stupid. Pieces of paper that get framed and hung on walls, and if they mean anything, mean something like, "The person whose name appears here thinks she knows more than you and doesn't really know how to do anything practical."

But it's one thing to know that that's "out there" and another to run up against it. Gosh, I'm glad it was only an internet confrontation. If it had been personal, I might've cried. How embarrassing. And not quite fitting for the rude truth speaker.

But of course all of you really know that I suck at speaking rude truth, and that's the real reason for the blog. To practice. Because I don't have nearly the courage required. And somehow, I have to figure out where to get it. So start small: a little blog that no one reads, where I can cuss when the occasion requires and yet feel safe that no one knows. How long will it be before I'm ready to speak the truth to the real, wide, unfriendly world?

A long time, my imaginary friends and readers. In the meantime, here I am. Practicing.

So, anyway, I'm bothered. I wish that people valued what I'm doing. But it seems that if they're not offended by the fact that I'm a woman daring to study theology, then they're of the opinion that studying theology is pointless to begin with. And I feel so beaten down at this point by my studies, wondering if I can even hack it, that I find myself really in need of affirmation. Which is not to be found.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

oh the times, they are achangin'

I don't really keep up with Harding news. I get a letter updating me about English dept. stuff every so often, and I used to be on an email thing with alumni news. I think we get one of those magazines but honestly, I'm not sure.

But here's a tidbit that has somehow made its way even to my ears. There is a new Dean of the College of Bible and Religion. And who is it? you ask. It's Bruce McLarty, formerly the minister at the College Church of Christ in Searcy, AR.

Now, this is no ad hominem attack on Bruce, whom I know nothing about, really, except that when I went to Harding he was the College Church minister, and he happens to share a name with my dad. (I think he may also have a mustache, but I'm not sure.) No, it's not about him. It's about the fact that Harding has made a decision to hire someone for this position who is not qualified for it. As someone aspiring to claim a place in the academy, sweating it out, working my ass off, losing my sanity and my confidence and almost but not quite my religion, it pisses me off that a school I went to so obviously doesn't care about educational standards. It's quite the slap in the face, really. (So, you wanna teach in a university, do you, Jen? So, you're working on a doctorate? How cute! You should know, you don't really need to go to all this trouble! Just preach at a huge church next door to your school of choice for a few years...OH! Oops, can't do that, either.)

Maybe that sounded ad hominem. Let me say, then, that I really feel quite sure that Bruce McLarty did not angle for this job and it probably is as much a surprise to him as it is to everyone else. Not that I know. But it's hard to imagine that he approached Harding. I feel pretty sure it's the other way 'round.

And what does this tell us? Well, I think it tells us a couple of really interesting things. First, the obvious salient criterion for who is hired in College of Bible & Religion is not academic qualifications; it's "who can we trust to be orthodox." Second, it may also tell us that maybe there just isn't anyone with proper academic credentialing interested...which goes back to #1. Who in their right mind would want to teach at a school where you have to answer a multiple choice orthodoxy exam correctly?

For a much more informative and better written reflection on this, check out
James Wiser's blog.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


So, I finished a paper today. Normally I feel great when I finish and hand in a paper. I like the squaring away the details at the end: formatting the footnotes, filling in the title on the cover page. Especially if it's a good title. This time the title may be the only good thing about the paper, except for the enormous fact of it finally being done. I just don't have my done-with-the-paper high this time.

So, let's face it, my life is really boring. All the good stuff that you'll ever read about here is stuff that's really happening to someone else, whom I happened to be married to or related to or live next door to or met on the street yesterday or something.

My husband is becoming Episcopalian. This means that all of you who know me will need to know that "Episcopal" is the adjectival form, as in "the Episcopal church," and "Episcopalian" is the noun, as in "he is an Episcopalian." For all you grammar nuts who are scrutinizing my original sentence, therefore, maybe it will interest you to know that I first wrote "Episcopal," intending it as a predicate adjective, but it looked a little funny, so I replaced it with "Episcopalian," which functions as a predicate nominative. Anyhow, I don't know much about the Episcopal church, although once in high school I wrote a paper on Henry VIII and religion. I hadn't realized it before Brent started this journey seriously, but I had some prejudices built in regarding the Episcopal church. Like, it only exists because some fat king wanted a divorce. It does seem a hard thing to dispute, regardless of the gross oversimplification (and I mean gross both ways). Plus, I've grown very suspicious of over-friendly relations between church and state...just look at the mess going on now...and the idea of a state church makes me wince, not because I am afraid of my civil liberties being infringed (although that consideration is starting to take on more weight as we all get sucked into GWB Happy Christian Crusader World) but because it makes the church the bastard child of the state. How can the church be the church if it's appended to the government? You're just asking for corruption and hypocrisy and power abuse. Fred would say I'm sounding dangerously Hauerwasian, I suppose, but this is something I think he gets right. So there. Anyhow, I was talking about Brent. So I have had to get over my suspicion of the Anglican church's origins. It IS more complicated than the fat lusty king model, I admit. And I suppose a desire for pristine origins is only to be expected in a Restoration Movement girl, and doubtless will get me nothing but disappointment...

I'm trying to talk Brent into a confirmation party, but I can't get him to agree to the white lacy dress.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

can't get enough

Sol, Ally, and Levi Posted by Hello

Okay, so I can't get enough pictures. But pictures are all I have! Especially now that Ally has her hands full, more than literally, with stuff and can't go to the office and IM anymore, for awhile anyhow. I find it so incredible that I am an aunt, now twice, to children I've never laid eyes on in the flesh. Before you think I'm just plain horrible let me remind you that they live in another country! And since Sol is Honduran, she is not allowed to come with Ally and Jarrod when they visit the States. So, someday, hopefully someday really soon, I will go there...since that's the only way I'll get to see her. Plus, I just want to go! I want to see how Ally and Jarrod live, I want to walk around and breathe in the air they breathe and see and hear and smell what their everyday reality is like. Ooh! And I wanna ride those horses. But anyway, I was saying, it's hard to believe I'm an aunt...and Brent is an uncle, which apparently had to be pointed out to him yesterday by my friend Amy; it hadn't hit him yet. "Aunt Jennifer" is kinda nice. Makes me sound old, though, or if not old precisely, then grown-up and responsible-ish. Better than "Auntie Em," which just really does sound like a gray-haired old spinster, thank goodness that's Em's problem and not mine! (You know it's inevitable...besides, I'm going to do everything I can to get it stuck in their impressionable little heads...just for laughs.)

Yeah, so I just needed to sneak away from paper-writing and get another look at those gorgeous baby pictures, and think about something lovely for awhile...and so now I have done and maybe this rambly garrulity will transfer into a fluidity of composition on Hans Frei and Church of Christ hermeneutics...what do you think??? Yeah, I reckon it's a lot easier to ramble about being an aunt to charming beautiful children.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Ira Lester Hays Posted by Hello

This is Ira. This picture was taken after the surgery that put his organs in their proper places. You can see how beautiful he is, even with all the tubes and monitors and restraints.

It is so very odd for me, right now, to be rejoicing with Ally and Jarrod and Sol in the birth and good health of my little nephew Levi, who is just a week older than Ira. And to be, at the same time, grieving and hoping and fearful and angry, for Joe and Laura and Sophia, at Ira's struggle for life, life that came so easily to Levi.

Ira isn't doing so well at the moment. Joe's latest post sounds...despondent. I want so badly to say something, something true, something comforting, something solid. I don't have anything. I've already written about the struggle to post a comment. The other day I thought maybe it was admirable of people to go ahead and just SAY something, even if I want to criticize it theologically or whatever, heck, at least they have the balls to say something.

Tonight I don't feel so charitable. In fact I feel downright rude. Here's a sentence that, if I could, I would delete from the comments on Joe's blog: "This child has changed the hearts of so many in just a few short days. " Well, isn't that sweet. I'm so GLAD that Ira's struggle to breathe has changed so many lives for the better. Doesn't that just make it all fucking worth it.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Happy Birthday!

mommy picture Posted by Hello

daddy picture Posted by Hello

big sister Posted by Hello

Here's Jarrod's email:

Our son was born at around 11:00 AM this morning at the Honduras Medical Center in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 12 hours of pretty hard labor ended in the need for a cesarean section due to Levi’s position. At 10 AM I said goodbye to Ally and watched her be wheeled away into an operating room in a third world country to receive what we wanted to avoid if at all possible, an epidural. It was not possible. God wrapped her in His hand, as he has done for us time after time, and everything worked out just fine. Ally is now resting after not sleeping any last night. Levi is wrapped up tight like a little burrito in the nursery at the hospital. Thank you for all of your prayers. A dear friend of ours and fellow missionary, Gena Hines, came to the hotel at 2 AM to stay with Sol, thank you so much. God has been so good to my family. Our little girl Sol brings new found joy to us everyday, we are so excited about this new journey that we are embarking on today with the addition of our son. We share this with you today electronically and wait to share it with you all personally in Honduras.

My thoughts:

Ally looks disgustingly beautiful. Women are supposed to look haggard and sweaty and altogether unattractive in these mommy shots from the hospital. She broke the code, damn her beautiful eyes.

And isn't Sol beautiful? I love being a big sister, I know she will too. Look at her getting into the role already. Pretty soon she'll be bossy and imperious and overprotective just like a big sister should.

And isn't that just the consummate daddy picture? I love it.

And yes, it looks to me like Levi has the Brown nose, make sure you read that with the capital and the space, we're not talking about character flaw or disposition here, but hey, I love a man with a strong nose.

There they are, my family. I am so proud of all of them, even Levi, who's too young to have done anything spectacular yet, but he's doomed to greatness, obviously, just look at his parents and big sis. Someday he'll be saving the world, too.

Levi Santiago Brown

Ally in mommy dress Posted by Hello

Has such a damn fine name, don't you think?

He is being born RIGHT NOW in a hospital in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.Everything seems to be going okay, but Ally is having a C-section, because of how Levi is turned or something. 30-second cell phone updates don't yield very much info. But Brent didn't sound worried so I assume Mom wasn't sounding worried...so I'm not worried...not really...

But here is the prayer I chose for Ally for during labor:

Lord, you are here,
Lord you are there,
You are wherever we go.
Lord, we need you,
Lord, we trust you,
You are wherever we go.
Lord, you guide us,
Lord, you protect us,
You are wherever we go.
Lord we love you,
Lord, we praise you,
You are wherever we go.

("A Daily Chant," a prayer of the Dinka of the southern Sudan, from The Harper Collins Book of Prayers, 124.)