Lately

A smattering of things I’ve been thinking on, noticing, reading, and appreciating lately…

Back to School

Vivienne continues to love her new school and has SO many friends beginning that journey this year, too, with varying degrees of fear and excitement. More than any other year, I’ve loved hearing back-to-school accounts for all our little friends, knowing that a fresh year of learning and adventure is before them.

Our church does a “Blessing of the Backpacks” at the start of the school year, where students and teachers are blessed with these thoughtful prayers:

For students:
O God, bless these bags and backpacks, pencils and pens, crayons and calculators. Bless these young people with a spirit of confidence and inquisitiveness as they learn during this new school year. Inspire them through the power of your Holy Spirit to live out lives of faith, hope and love among their friends and teachers this year, all for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For teachers:
O God, the people that stand before you this day hold in their authority the sacred trust of our children and those we love. We give thanks for the sacrifices they have made to pursue careers that nurture and inspire those we care so much for. Bless them in their work. Fortify them in their patience and kindle in them the fire of your love. Amen.

P.S. Looks like even Prince George hasn’t escaped the big milestone!

London

Speaking of the royal family, Ryan and I are planning a trip to London (with kids!), and we’re going full anglophile over here. We’re hunting down all the best books and documentaries. I’m researching the best teas. Ryan has committed to memorizing the succession of all the kings and queens of England (he originally said we all should… but I’m feeling like he can probably handle this on his own).

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I just finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (so fun to read a screenplay format!), and I’m toying with reading Vivi the first book so she can fully appreciate any Potter-related sights. We’ve read her the Hobbit and Chronicles of Narnia, so I don’t think the first HP book will be too much… (Is the Harry Potter studio tour worth it?? There’s also going to be a Harry Potter exhibit at the British Museum while we’re there…)

We’re planning on plenty of cozy pub stops and good museums – perfect for rainy January, when we’ll be there. Ryan spent a year studying at Oxford, so we’ll pop up there for a day or two as well.

We’d love recommendations, if you’ve got them!

Tropical Storms & Climate Change

Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia… the tropical storms just. Keep. Coming.  It’s certainly critical for us to pray for and give to relief efforts (Preemptive Love Coalition and Episcopal Relief & Development are two good ones), but there’s a whole other conversation about what’s causing these increasingly intense storms — and what could prevent them from getting worse.

That brings me to one of the best podcasts I’ve ever listened to.

The Liturgists: Pale Blue Dot. From astronauts to climate scientists, this episode is powerful, thought provoking, and packed with science and faith questions. I especially appreciated their thoughts on why certain groups aren’t comfortable acknowledging the science behind climate change.  Long-ish (90 minutes), but highly recommended!

Pale Blue Dot

21 Days of Peace

World Relief (Christian relief and development organization, and Ryan’s employer), is doing series of guided reflections called “21 Days of Peace” leading up to the International Day of Peace later this month.

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I don’t follow along with everything World Relief does, but every time I do, I’m glad. This series, in particular, feels timely and (thanks to regular Instagram prompts) has helped me remember to spend a little more time with a quiet heart and mind this week.

Here’s one of the journal prompts:

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It just feels like a relief to acknowledge that the way we barrel through life and grief and adversity — even joy — often isn’t the best way.

If you’d like to join in, follow World Relief on Instagram, or download the free 21 Days of Peace Guide here.

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