a prayer for tonight

dear god,

thank you for five years in Philadelphia

thank you for Bradley and Friendly, who joined our family in Philadelphia and thank you for Max and Emma, who left us during our time here (please tell them we love them and miss them still)

thank you for the friends we made in Philadelphia. thank you especially for that one special family who stopped in Fernhill Park one of our first weeks in town to chat with us. out of that one act of kindness and warmth, a deep love grew

thank you for our church community, for running and hiking friends, for friends at the shop and amazing colleagues at ESA, for vegan friends, and for neighbors who know our names, love our family through their generous actions, and always say hello

thank you for the beautiful wissahickon, where we were able to breathe deeply, sweat profusely, and sometimes just sit in awe

thank you for the opportunity to be closer to some of our family and old friends in Eugene and help us honor that new possibility by prioritizing relationship over productivity

god, we feel sad. we also feel joy and possibility

god, please help us to feel our sad feelings well, to not push them away but to embrace and work through them; to not dwell on them but to remember that you are preparing friends and community for us in Eugene even while we grieve the pain of uprooting from Philadelphia.

help us to see these new friends the way that you do. help us find our place there, and help us know if it’s ever time for us to leave again

help us to remember that you love us dearly

help us to remember that we love one another

help us to live the reality of both of those truths, and this one, too: grief and praise are sisters

and remind us in this huge and scary and welcomed and fortunate transition, god, that some things will be better, some things will be worse, some things may just be different, but that everything will be okay

we love you, we praise you, please help us hear you

amen

Weekly Menu (or, how to cook vegan during a kitchen renovation)

This week’s challenge? What to cook when this is the current status of your kitchen:

As far as DIY kitchen renovations go, we’re pretty fortunate: we have a stove! But we won’t have running water in the kitchen for a few days this week, so I need to plan meals that can be made entirely on the stove and that don’t require a lot of water or a sink to prep, because tromping up to the second floor and using its tiny bathroom sink is something I’m willing to do about once per meal.

I think everything I’m making this week could also be made on a grill or griddle, if you’re a grill person. I’m not a grill person. Food and outside don’t mix.

Sunday: real-talk time. I still haven’t made it to the black bean and mango quesadillas or the tofu quiche from last week. I’ll try to throw those together today, while I do have a sink. Also real talk? I think I packed my food processor and grater, so I’m really not sure how I’m going to manage those shredded potatoes.

Monday: veggie burgers with raw vegetables and ranch dressing (I’ll try this recipe)

Tuesday: ravioli (they can be easily scooped out of boiling water!) with tomato sauce and sauteed spinach. From the list of ravioli above, I’ll probably buy the Eat Nice brand, as it’s available at our local food co-op. <—that’s a win-win.

Wednesday: I’ll pick from this list of vegan breakfast sandwiches and add a fruit salad, probably splurging on a pre-cut one (something we never do)

Thursday: more veggie burgers with roasted cauliflower

Friday: blueberry pancakes and soy sausage

Wish us luck. Or come help us out. 🙂

 

A Big Change

In November of 2002, at my parent’s house on Corona Street in Eugene, Oregon, I packed two big U-Haul boxes. One contained my clothes and some bedding, the other contained supplies for my cat, Max. My dad drove Max and me and my boxes to the Portland airport, where I walked through security with her in my arms and tears in my eyes. Vicki picked us up in Norfolk, Virginia later that same night and thus began my life on the east coast.

Fifteen years later, I’m headed home. Back to Eugene, to that same street on which I packed my boxes all those years ago, albeit a different house. This time, I’ll make the journey with my husband, son, our two dogs, two cats, and a truck full of what-remains-after-the-necessary-downsizing.

It’s incredibly bittersweet. We’re going to be much closer to my family (most of them) and much farther from Giehl’s. Isaiah doesn’t remember living anywhere except Philadelphia, and is pretty crushed to be leaving his friends. I’ve assured him that with relative frequency, he’ll be able to accompany me on work trips back east, and FaceTime was made for situations just like this. We’re leaving behind a church community that felt like home from the first day. I’ll miss hiking and running in the Wissahickon with amazingly supportive neighborhood friends, carpooling with Kristyn, book club, being ladies-who-lunch with Beth, and much, much more (not necessarily in that order).

I’m grateful that I’ll be able to keep my job after the move, that I’ll continue to be able to do work that I love and that is much needed. I’m grateful that the friends I’ve been able to tell in person have been supportive and are making plans to visit. I’m excited to see what new connections I’ll make on the west coast, what people I’ll be able to meet and partner with who might have otherwise flown under my east-coast-focused radar. I’m filled with joy and anticipation knowing I’ll be just an hour away from the Oregon coast, the place at which my heart feels totally at rest. And I’m so, so happy that we’ll be able to share day-to-day life with my mother and brother.

But the joy and gratitude and overwhelm is tempered by a palpable, sharp grief, at least for now.

If we are east coast friends, I hope we can stay connected in a meaningful way. I hope we can have a meal together when I’m in town and that you will text me West Wing gifs in the middle of the day just because. And I hope you know you’ll always have a place to stay on Corona Street.