Archive for the ‘family’ Category


happiest ninth birthday, sawyer cole!

   Posted by: liz

sawcosawyer’s birth was the shortest of the three boys. he was born much in the same ways that he tackles his days today: quickly, fiercely, and with purpose.

kenny, one-year old rowan, and i were dining at an indian restaurant with friends when i was having contractions that were 10 minutes apart. i was ready to have this baby (only 3 days away from my due date), so i ordered Mateer Paneer extra spicy. within 9 hours, sawyer was born!

IMG_0704sawyer, you take on each day with gusto. you are intrepid and passionate. your heart is big and your willingness to help and learn is huge! you care about what others think and take their needs into consideration, which is a quality beyond your nine years. you love to learn to play the piano, you have fun in your soccer games, minecraft is your favorite video game, and you chose Cocoa Puffs as your birthday cereal this year.

we love you and couldn’t be more proud of who you are growing up to be! (PS. he wanted me to take this photo because he was sure it looked like he was drinking beer because of the glass.)


IMG_1167i think i need to write this book.

i’m not the world’s easiest camper. and i never jump at the opportunity to “go camping.”  so when kenny said to me two weeks ago, “how about instead of a few days at ocean city, we go camping on labor day weekend instead!” i wasn’t exactly excited.

but then we registered at the campground where our friends were going to be. and then we told the boys (their excitement WAY outdid my excitement!), and then kenny brought home fun camping things like air mattresses for the boys and a cast iron pot and a Coleman camping stove and…a coffee percolator. and i got just a little bit excited.

fortunately, we were camping with people who i was really looking forward to spending time with, and whose kids are great  for our boys to hang around with. i was assured this was going to be a GREAT weekend. and…

IMG_1168i survived!  and actually really did enjoy it. it helped that we were at a great campground, with a perfect natural setting (a huge creek, lots of green open space and lots of woods), and some fun activities like a pool, a zipline (the boys did it three times in a row), a climbing wall, a gaga pit, and great camping friends.

but, if you’re like me, you’re going to need some kind of dummies guide to enjoying your first big camping trip (yes, i consider 2.5 days and 2 nights a BIG camping trip. ask me in a few years, and i might have a different perspective…). so consider this a cliff’s notes version of:

First-Time Camping for Dummies

- pinterest is your friend. when we were officially registered at the campground, i went back to Pinterest and did a general search for all things camping. because all summer when my camping-savvy friends were pinning pins like “101 genius camping surivival tips,” i was laughing at those crazy campers knowing that would NEVER be me needing those tips. so, with my tail between my legs i searched on and found some great tips, but mostly recipes (shared below). so do not feel “above” the help of pinterest. it will help you in your most dire hour. go ye, and pin and plan away. i searched  under “camping” and “camping help” and “camping recipes.”

- go with experienced campers. (because they will ALWAYS have extras of something that you will forget you’ll need. like a clothes line. and a table). kenny and i made a great long list and both of these items were on that list, but we forgot them in the 11th hour of packing and trying to get-out-of-dodge. we were with three other families (and several more who knew those families) who were experienced campers and had exactly what we needed for our soggy towels, creek-drenched underwear, and food preparation needs.  we only needed to borrow a card table (our fold out table was safe at home), and a clothes line (we couldn’t find our clothes line in the garage before we left). oh, and mustard, ketchup, a hot dog campfire stick, and hot dog rolls when our crescent rolls didn’t work over the fire.

if you don’t have the luxury of going with other experienced campers, or you just want to go it alone, then i suggest getting the full book Camping for Dummies and not rely on this cliffs notes version.

- plan ahead and arrive at your campsite armed with RECIPES and lots of food and snacks.  again, Pinterest comes in really handy with this. but Google does an adequate job if your search is really specific. kenny had already arrived home with his awesome Lodge cast iron pot, so I searched for cast iron pot recipes as well as basic campfire recipes. we found the following recipes:

Homemade Hamburger Helper. kenny was a little skeptical that I could get my stuff together and prepare the ingredients ahead of time for this one. i proved him wrong because i wasn’t so sure the boxed version of hamburger helper would be so good on our gastro-intestinal systems since we have never eaten it before, and who really wants to deal with G-I issues while camping? this recipe is so simple, and it’s easy to prepare the spices ahead of time, measure out your pasta, and pack the rest of the ingredients in a cooler. it was delicious. we doubled the recipe and shared with our friends who lent us their table.

Dutch Oven Monkey Bread. even easier than the homemade hamburger helper was this amazing breakfast treat. we made this on our second morning (because EVERYONE does pancakes on their first morning of camping!). i changed the recipe a bit and didn’t use biscuits. i used refrigerator cinnamon rolls, and still rolled them in the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture. the extra icing that comes in the cans was a bonus!

IMG_1190Dutch Oven Cobbler. the boys were so excited when they saw cans of Sprite in the shopping cart the night before we left. “we get to drink soda while we camp? awesome!!!”  unfortunately for them, it was for this recipe (can you tell we torture our children in not allowing them sugary drinks? we’re such dictators). this was such a pretty dish and came together quickly. we had it for lunch on our last day of camping.

This recipe for crescent roll hot dogs did not work at all. the dough kept falling off the hot dog and it was a hot mess! we just roasted the hot dogs and used bread for rolls and our friends’ mustard, ketchup and homemade relish.

- indulge in a dutch oven. you’re going to want to cook up some authentic camping recipes. and cooking over the fire is fun, but we already do that in our back yard enough. so to make your camping cuisine truly authentic and delcious (see above recipes), go and get yourself one of these. Walmart has the cheapest prices!and go with a partner (in my case my incredible husband) that knows how to light coals without the use of lighter fluid.

- air mattresses. need i say more?

IMG_1173- percolator. coffee perked over a fire or a Coleman camp stove is the only way to wake up from sleeping in a tent, all damp and dewey. forget the tea or hot chocolate…get yourself some coffee when you camp.

- bug spray. the good stuff. do NOT kid yourself that your au-naturale mixture you made will keep away the bugs. it won’t, and you’ll have lost a pint of blood to the wild mosquitoes if you use anything that you made yourself. bring out the big guns: deet!

- if you’re camp ground allows, have happy hour! i’m not saying that we did or did not enjoy an adult beverage during our camping trip. but happy hour makes the twilight hours so much more tolerable.



double digits, rowan tucker smith!

   Posted by: liz

our rowan, our firstborn, turns 10 tonight at 9:43pm. that means we’ve been parenting for 10 years (plus 9 months). that means he’ll probably be driving in 6 years. that means he’ll be a legal adult in 8 years.

rowan loves soccer, swimming and minecraft. he loves to read when he finds a series that he likes: his latest series that he inhaled were the Araminta Spookie books, and of course our family read-alouds, Harry Potter. he’s not a fan of Shakespeare (“he’s boring and writes terrible stories!”), but loves to be on stage.  his birthday cereal this year is Fruity Pebbles, and we’re celebrating by having a sleepover with the boys’ friend, Anthony.

happy birthday to the best firstborn son! you’re sweet disposition, knack for role playing and leader-personality continue to make us proud of you each day. we love you, and can’t wait to see what the next decade (and all future decades!) has in store for you!



adam henry turns SEVEN!

   Posted by: liz

seven years ago, we had just moved into this house with more room than we would ever need (how could we possibly be bursting at the seams in this house now?) and seven acres of grass that needed to be cut. what were we thinking? especially with two boys ages two and one and me, nine months pregnant.

i married up. i married a man with extreme intelligence and talent. he was able to see past our here-and-now. we both saw potential in this home (me as a future bed-and-breakfast, and he saw it as our family home), but i could never see how we would actually fit into it.

now that our baby is turning 7 (today!), we have filled in this huge house, this huge yard with busy boys, lots of family and friend visits, a gentleman farm, and more memories over the past seven years than i can possibly remember.

adam, you were born on a cloudy, cool june 10th morning. Ben Roethlisberger had his motorcycle accident while we were in the hospital with you. daddy left a few hours after you were born to take your older brothers to the zoo and the morning rowan and sawyer came to visit you for the first time, sawyer tried to give you his balloon. he was very upset that you didn’t accept it. it only took a few weeks for sawyer to accept your presence in our family unit. and now he protects you fiercely, laughs at your jokes, and you two share a LEGO building bond that only brothers can. you look up to rowan, your oldest brother so much, and although the 3 years between you sometimes get in the way, you share frisbee games, bike riding, and minecraft playing like best friends. your party this year, is a minecraft theme. you and your brothers can’t get enough of this crazy game, and so, your friends will be treated to mining for gold and diamonds, all the while trying to stay away from those crazy creepers.

happy seventh birthday, our darling. as always, it’s an honor to be your momma and papa!


the meal table

   Posted by: liz

i have noted before that it is nothing short of magic what happens when friends – new and old – family, and even strangers are gathered around a table of food and drink.

some would like to blame it on the alcohol, but i credit the euphoria on the flavors of food and drink that humans share together around a table.

some of my favorite recent memories are hosting meals around our farm table in our dining room. even before i redecorated the room (now a cool colonial blue), our dining room has hosted christmas meals, thanksgiving feasts, and our dinner group of friends eating, drinking, and usually breaking into song at the end. it is by no coincidence that our family piano is tucked away in a corner of our dining room. we stash all of the sheet music, our boys’ piano books in a basket near the piano, but also a stack of old hymnals and psalters.

one thanksgiving meal comes to mind, that included my brothers and their families, my parents, and some friends of ours that we had recently met. we ended the chaotic meal (chaotic only because 12 kids under the age of 10 with 10 adults to match makes it so) around the piano. We sang the Alleluia chorus from Handel’s Messiah, stumbling our way through the four parts (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), but sharing together in the richness of filled stomachs and Handel’s brilliantly coupled harmonies.

another remembrance is a dinner group of friends, all of us with sons (10 total), shared a potluck dinner of indian-spiced goodness, deep, dry red wines, and a table full of singing before we said our nighttime goodbyes.

i hosted my book club for a cookie exchange one christmas and set up the dining room meticulously with christmas decorations and space for all of our dozens of cookies to be displayed. but where did all 8 of us spend the entire exchange? standing around my kitchen table (ignoring the festive dining room) where the brunch items and mugs of steaming hot coffee were. we laughed, we comforted those of us not looking forward to the upcoming madness that Christmas can be, and we played a “name that tune,” christmas song version all while sharing together the cinnamon rolls, mimosas, and several versions of quiche.

maybe it’s not magic. maybe it’s what is supposed to happen when we open our comfort zones – our family meal tables – with friends. maybe we’ve gotten so bogged down with school schedules and day jobs and family crises that we forget to notice that when we take time to sit, eat, and remember…connections happen. friendships deepen, family members open up, incredible flavors of food and fellowship are shared. this is how we are supposed to sup.

my mom’s book club gets together monthly to talk about their latest book at restaurants and sometimes one of the members hosts a potluck brunch or dinner on their deck. when i ask my mom how her book club was, she always responds, “oh, it was great. we LAUGHED and LAUGHED…” that’s what friends, and hopefully family, does when they share time and conversation around a table. when it’s more than a passing conversation on the phone or email. when we sit, breathe, and break bread together, we are sharing our humaness with each other.

“take, eat…” Jesus says to His disciples. let us do likewise. together.



   Posted by: liz

it’s been so long since last i blogged that i actually forgot my login password. january was my last post, and it’s been the longest time between posts, ever. i’m always thinking of blog posts, always churning ideas around in my head, but never sitting down to write.

this was a particularly long and tiring winter. this spring has been unusually wet and cold. memorial day weekend marked the beginning of the longest stretch of warm weather, and it started out with a cold frost. i guess i could fill you in on the last 3 months, but i don’t want to bog you down with a depressing post. instead, i’ll give you a highlight reel of current things in our family:

- i continue to be so amazed at how the boys and i grow in our relationships with each other. we are together all day long, every single day. there are DEFINITELY some tense and frustrating moments in that. we get on each other’s nerves. we need our space from each other. but for the most part, our conversations and our time spent WITH each other are rewarding, fun, and always growing. even though they are around their mom every single day of their lives, the older two boys are beginning to spread their wings and be more independent. i’m all for this, and i’m glad it’s happening, slowly, but surely. i don’t know what this would look like had we chosen traditional schooling – would they have been much more independent by now? probably. i’m okay with it taking it’s time. i’m REALLY okay that they’re still young boys who are innocent in so much. there is still so much time for them to grow up. slowly.

- that said, there are some stretches of exhausting times when we are together as a family all the time. the bickering and the whining about school work and farm chores and…the list goes on. i get tired of being their teacher and their mother every single day of their lives. it’s hard. it’s hard having them with me on all my weekly errands. it’s hard not having time to myself until evenings (although our evenings are all full these days). it’s just plain hard.
but we did end our school year two weeks ago and have been enjoying the warming weather, and hanging out with friends. both rowan and sawyer had evaluations this year and both of them “passed” with rave reviews from their evaluator. during that time, i realized that adam was reading a book that sawyer was reading previously. sawyer is reading so well these days, but adam has taken off with his reading. he doesn’t sound out words any more, he reads for comprehension, which is earlier than the other two boys ever did. for all the struggles of teaching your kids that you may encounter, there are some pretty great discoveries along the way!

- so i’m running again. i really need to not take the winters off (but how i HATE indoor running, and it’s harder and not at all comfortable to run outside in the winter). i’m signed up for my first 5K of the season. i’m ready! because once i start to run, i can take on the world and all it throws at us again.

- this past week, kenny was rockstar dad and husband again as i took three days in a row to teach a geography and art camp for the co-op that we are a part of. i was out the door well before the boys woke up, and he tended to them and their needs while i taught forty-one 6 to 8 year-olds for three solid days. i came home to dinner already cooked before turning around and heading back out to rehearsal the first two nights, and on the last night, i came home to a beach chair sitting next to the pool, a bottle of my favorite chardonnay already uncorked, and a lovely grilled tilapia, chicken, green beans, and coconut rice dinner, al fresco (with friends joining us at table!). a great way to end those crazy exhausting three days.

- we are three weeks away from opening night of our second production, The Tempest. the rehearsals have been going so well, the cast is amazing and the sets and costumes are going to be stunning on that stage. i can’t wait for Butler to see that Shakespeare is interesting and fun and not stuffy and boring. we’ve been really busy every single evening and weekend putting this show together. some moments are tense and overwhelming, but for the most part, i’ve really loved the creative process in this production. from the conversations with the actors about their characters, to the evenings i spend at the sewing machine while kenny composes music for the show, it’s been a fun and exciting production.

- our farm is on hold for the moment. at least the sheep, their guard donkey, and our two chickens are happy and healthy. we just haven’t added to to our flock this year, and our honeybees did not make it through the winter. we’ve also decided to container garden on our deck instead of plant our massive yard garden again this year. i’m okay with this. sometimes you just need to take a year off of the hobbies that may consume you.

- we are so blessed. there is nothing hard about our life. we are a healthy, busy, a bit nutty family who has absolutely nothing to complain about.
except the winter weather.


from the director’s chair…

   Posted by: liz

it’s been a wild and crazy past few months for our family, but why would we want anything less than that?

we’ve been living and breathing theater since september when kenny started working on another production, and moreso when we announced auditions for our production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol through a newly formed theater group we started, hobnob theatre co.

production week at the theater was so intense, so tiring, so exhilarating, i wanted to post my thoughts and photos of it all before i forget. we loaded in the set, props, and costumes on monday of production week, had techinical rehearsals monday through thursday nights, opened the show on friday, and closed on saturday. it was certainly a whirlwind week. we didn’t have a full cast throughout  the technical rehearsals since we were out several cast members from illness each night until opening night. i knew the actors were ready, so i didn’t worry about that. tech week is for learning and polishing the technical aspects of the show. and fortunately, that was accomplished.

(click on each picture for a closer view)

~                                 ~                             ~                               ~                                 ~

here are some photos of the set pieces. Christopher, our scenic designer and artist (pictured in one of the photos) put some finishing touches on Scrooge’s bed and our indoor flats (pictured below is the Cratchit flat) that just made each set piece turn from “just a set piece” to a realistic bed or wall. it was such a joy seeing him bring such beauty to our set! kenny designed and constructed the fezziwig rafters – i think that was one of my favorite drops because of it’s simplistic elegance. and it was the backdrop to a really fun party scene in the play.   the bottom picture is our “London street” scene – with four buildings that are wheeled out for all the street scenes in the show (the beginning and the end of the production). the two middle buildings are named with our production sponsors.

i loved walking through the backstage area where the actors were preparing before each dress rehearsal or performance; applying make-up, wigs, putting their characters’ clothes on and walking onto the stage a completely different persona.

we had two props tables. our amazing stage crew (pictured below) kept these props in order, changed the set like a well-rehearsed dance each night, and kept the behind-the-stage area so organized.

and our amazing cast of actors. after spending a lot of time together for several weeks as a cast, you begin to get to know each other, enjoy each others’ company, and get used to each other. then, after a show closes, those people aren’t in your life any more. this is true for every single show i’ve ever been involved with. this show was a bit different because i felt more responsible for the quality of these cast members’ lives. i knew they had outside lives that were more important than their cast life, but i felt they were vitally important to the cast as well. it’s a hard balance and you tip it in the direction of theatre company that last week of production, certainly. i definitely miss my HUGE cast of actors and look forward to working with them again!

we had a cast party after Friday’s performance (the first big snowy night of the season!). it was so much fun to celebrate a fantastic opening night (full house, too!) with our cast and crew members!


We were also blessed with a very good photographer who did head shots of each actor and displayed them in our lobby:


the cast really gifted Kenny and I with so much during the show and then went and gifted us with a huge bag of gifts the night before we opened. Below is a “Scrooge and Marley” light up house that I put next to our advent wreath that sits next to our tree. it will be there until easter! :)

the whole experience was amazing. each step in the way, from the auditions to the rehearsals, to the technical meetings to the performances, we learned and were blessed by the people who were involved with us. it was exhausting, but in a way, it was also easy. there was much sacrifice, but in the end, we had a huge group of helpful and supportive people in all aspects of the show. it was one of the best times we’ve spent as a family unit. i was encouraged once  to follow our dreams while our boys were still young. it would be a good example to them. i admit, there were moments when they were sick and tired of the theater, and i was wishing for it all to be over to get them back to normalcy again. but they’ve been resilient. they’ve bounced back to our normal schedule very easily.

i loved having the opportunity to study and research and fall in love with Dickens and his victorian backdrop. our wheels are already turning for future dickens shows (in addition to performing A Christmas Carol each year!)

our next project with our theatre company is much more low-key, but still very exciting. kenny and i are helping to coach some students for the Shakespeare Monologue and Scene contest held at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. and we’re already planning future shows for the remainder of 2013.

please follow along with us by subscribing to our email list, or liking our facebook page!


7 quick takes…

   Posted by: liz

i haven’t done a Quick Takes in forever and a day…

1. now that the presidential election is almost 2 weeks behind us, i can finally say…we are okay with the results. i mean, we’re not happy with the results, but what can you do?  wednesday morning, november 7th had a rough start. kenny and i woke at 4:00, saw the results, couldn’t go back to sleep, so we decided to finally start Season 3 of The Walking Dead so we didn’t have to watch the news, or read web sites about the difficult loss our country experienced the previous night (i realize that is a matter of opinion).

here’s the thing: i think the thing that is most upsetting is not that we lost a tough election…but the realization that your own values, and what you believe is really better for the country – poor, middle class and the rich – is very different than a slight majority of the rest of the country. i’m not opposed to change – i don’t fight change. it’s just hard to witness values held dear to so many being thrown away by so many more.

2. this week is tech week and opening night was last night for Peter Pan…the community musical that kenny is playing piano for and all 3 of our boys are in (along with about 50 other lost boys/girls in the Butler area). the show opened to rave reviews, rowan and sawyer have LINES in this production (and even get to talk to Captain Hook AND Peter Pan!) and adam just follows his friends around on stage and looks adorable in his little lost boy costume.  here’s proof:

3. I haven’t been able to be as available for tech week shows because of the rehearsals i’m holding for our very own show, A Christmas Carol. kenny and i started our own theatre company and have been advertising, holding auditions, and now rehearsing for our very first show at the same time as all this Peter Pan production.  it’s been a little nutty.  we’ve been able to keep it together for the most part and are enjoying the amazing experience we’re having with the start of this new theatre company.  our supporters and cast have been amazing.  more on this in a later post…

4. remember when we mummified a chicken back in september?  we finally dug it out of the layers of salt, dusted it off a bit, wrapped it in cloth and “buried” it in its own decorative sarcophagus.  again, here is photo-proof…

here is mummified chicken wrapped in one of the 3 coffins:

here is one of the drawings on the sarcophagus, so the gods will recognize the chicken in the afterlife:

the boys really wanted to bury it, but i snuck it in the garbage.  it was a fun experience to do…the boys learned more about mummies and decaying flesh than i could have taught them!

5. we’re coming up on my favorite part of the liturgical year: advent, christmas, and epiphany.  i know that our crazy schedule will only get more hectic as we enter the last month of rehearsals for our show, so i’m starting to prepare our family advent now. ironically, i think our schedule won’t allow us to truly celebrate and be a part of christmas until Christmas Eve (as we’ll be busy rehearsing and finishing the set and costumes and props and staging and…and…) just as our calendar helps us to do. the 12 days of christmas, beginning on christmas day, will really be cherished in our home, surrounded by family (two of my brothers and their families are coming in for closing night of our performance, so they’ll be there when our family crashes and puts our feet up for the first time since september)!  it will be a fabulous way to unwind from a stressful season.

6. kenny and i are running a 5k together on thanksgiving morning. i ran it alone last year, loved it and decided to drag my husband to it this year.  i haven’t been able to train as much this year, so i’m not going to go all out and try to beat my time from last year. i hope to just have fun, run along with kenny, and then drive home in time to put the turkey in the oven!

7.  i’m saving the best for last:  since moving to the country, i’ve been on a mission to find and see with my own eyes an owl in the wild. we hear them at night constantly – the great horned in the winter, the screech owls in the summer and fall.  last night, november 15th at 10:44 pm, i saw my first wild screech owl…as it FLEW INTO OUR WINDSHIELD a mile away from our house. we didn’t “know what hit us” – literally – but knew that it couldn’t have been anything but a nocturnal bird, and it was a bigger “thud” than a bat could make. we turned the van around, and sure enough, a tiny little owl sat…alive…on the side of the road, looking up at our car with the saddest, most human-like eyes, its head, tilted to the side. i was heart-broken. we could do nothing. our outdoor cat would have killed it if we brought it home (it was about 6-7 inches tall).  i’m trying to get over this…but it’s hard when the image of his sweet little face, and the boys’ reaction of “AWWWWWW! he’s so cute!” ringing in my ears.  what would YOU have done?



thank you, veterans

   Posted by: liz

My Grampy (the boys’ “Great Grampy”) has come to visit a few times since the beginning of summer. The boys love it because he comes for school and they LOVE showing him everything they’re learning. He especially loves to sit in on math class…he says that was his favorite class, but he has been enjoying our history lessons as well.

One of our history lessons had us interview family relatives, so this photo is of him telling the boys a favorite memory he has of when he was a boy. I think this particular story is about fishing.

I post this picture today, so he can see it (he is a regular smithical reader, and lets me know when there has been too much time between posts!).

Happy Veterans’ Day, Great Grampy – thank you for all you did and sacrificed for your family and this country!



communion and worship

   Posted by: liz

i understand why the roman catholic faith makes a person’s first communion a big deal. usually, it is a child, around the age of 6 or 7. for a parent, it’s a wonderful thing to see your child recognize and understand the meaning behind the elements of the eucharist. and i am down with worship services that surround this milestone in a person’s life.  i grew up in the orthodox presbyterian tradition, where you are older when you make your confession of faith and take communion for the first time.  i was 15 or 16 when i made a public profession of faith in church and before the board of elders and pastor of our church and when i had my first communion. protestants, in general, don’t believe in big worship services honoring this event.

when i joined the episcopal tradition, i noticed families taking communion together at the rail and i understood this to be a family decision. of course, the church would like your children to understand the “whats” and “whys” of the Eucharist, but i loved that the family was a bigger part of this sacrament in worship.  i always envisioned our family, kneeling at the rail together when each of our boys would partake for the first time, and not just receive the blessing on their heads, but be an active part of the Remembrance.

this morning, one of our boys had communion, in church, for the first time. for a myriad of reasons, we were not with him when he did it. i’m coming to terms with this, and i’m okay with it…here are my thoughts:

first of all, we’ve talked about this as a family. the older two have been asking about communion over the past six months and we’ve discussed in full what it means, why we do it, and the different ways in which churches offer it. communion is distributed on trays to the sunday school classes that are happening at the same time the “grown ups” are in corporate worship. we decided that for their first communion, they would take it with us in the worship service, and then following their first communion, they could take it in their sunday school classes from now on.

this morning, kenny was playing music for the worship service and i was asked to serve communion. so, i told both of the older two boys that they were welcome to just take communion in their sunday school class today if they still wanted to. one did, and one didn’t.  i was proud of both of their decisions.

i love it when we are asked to distribute the elements. i love watching the people pour forth from their seats and take the symbols of the highest sacrifice. i love telling them “This is Christ’s Body for YOU.” and i love it when they look back in my eyes and accept this gift for the 1st? 50th? 1000th? time.  no matter how often i take part in the great mystery, it is worship so amazing, so divine, i am in awe again and again.  St. Maximilian Kolbe once said, “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”

so when i asked my son how his first communion was, i was expecting him to tell me that angels sang from above, that the earth moved below him, and he answered….”um, the bread was kinda yummy.”

he’ll get there.

he was also baptised as an infant (as were his brothers) and we have no way of knowing if they experienced what an adult experiences at their first baptism. so as a child takes his first communion, sometimes it’s not the same experience as an adult partaking for the first or for the 100th time. the mysteries of the sacraments aren’t explainable. at any age.

secondly, our children’s first communions aren’t about what we, as parents, want to experience with them. of course, we raise them in our faith and hope they understand and believe as us, but these milestones are about them meeting God and understanding Christ’s love for them. they aren’t about how i always envisioned it happening. my ideal church is so far from where we currently worship, but God has us there for His reasons, not my own. i have to let go of my ideal (infant baptism, children’s choir robes, ancient hymns, and weekly Eucharist), and really live out my belief that God works through and is truly worshiped in any worship setting.

there was no pomp and circumstance in our child’s first communion today…but neither was there in the lowly birth of our Saviour 2000 years ago.  humble experiences are just as Holy as those with pipe organs and angels singing from the heavens.