For Backcountry Wedding Planning, Surprise Ashings, & Juniper Fox - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 9


Welcome to Seven Gratitudes, vol. 9! 

Seven Gratitudes is a weekly spiritual practice for me and several of my friends. My intention is that by carefully considering and joyfully sharing my thanksgivings, I might be moved to a deeper sense of God’s pervasive presence in the world and, also, my place in it.

I was dearly hoping to meet you here, too.

There’s a lot in the world that would keep us from rehearsing our gratitude, friends. I celebrate, however, your presence and the chorus we make for praise, no matter what.

This week I am grateful for:


The Carolina backcountry.

Barkley and I took a road trip through the NC backcountry Friday afternoon, picking our way over to the Charlotte-Douglas airport. We were on the way to pick up our favorite human after his week-long excursion with the Cooperative Baptists at ChurchWorks in Florida.

Traffic in and around Charlotte is NUTS, especially on Fridays. This forced us off into the hollers, swells, and boroughs of the Piedmont. The sights and smells reminded me all over again why I love this part of the country.

I wish I had pictures of all I saw—Murray’s Mill, the Catawba River x 3, lots of people on front porches or out working in the yard…

Sweet, sweet Carolina.


A very special wedding planning retreat.


Our dear friends Laurie and Adam gave Aaron and me one of the greatest honors of a blessing any friend ever could: They asked us to co-officiate their wedding!

These are friends who hold us in trust and deep mutual respect. They are folks we'll roadtrip to see in the Midwest, folks I'll send my kids to for a weekend one day. These are two of our people.

Laurie and Adam invited us to stay with them in a wonderful little cabin on the river. We sipped coffee Saturday morning as the happy couple walked us around the venue. It was a gift to see the sparkles of hope and joy in their eyes--and, also, to experience the amount of peace these two have for their journey.

After breakfast, we worked through the wedding liturgy, choosing together the words, symbols, and songs that will seal the covenant they have chosen. The wedding is going to celebrate their love in an overflowing kind of way, in a way that allows what God has done in their hearts to cascade out for the betterment of the world. Adam and Laurie's marriage is going to be a blessing to any they encounter.

It was a gift to me to witness the care and gentleness with which they chose and crafted the different elements of their wedding--in a way that reflects who they are, who God is calling them to be together, and who will be their witnesses and co-celebrators. They have done this in Love.  

I will most likely write more about this as time goes on. We are on a pilgrimage now to the holy matrimony of two beautiful humans God is assuredly bringing together for such a time as this. Thanks be to God, and may the way rise before us. Amen.


Facebook groups that talk homesteading, feminism, and ecological well-being.

It is incredible to open Facebook to see other people raising awareness, asking questions, fielding ideas, and wrestling with things that matter to me, too. Cyber community is different than community IRL, but, gracious, it can be a good, good addition to the flow of things. ;)


All the good food that's happening up in this apartment.

The Great British Bake Off is on Netflix (thanks for the heads up, Laurie!) and it has just fanned that DIY food flame even hotter 'round here. Oooh, we ate good this week, folks. Aaron made Cheeseburger Pasties and a chocolate cake with peanut-butter icing for Shrove Tuesday, we had simple-but-colorful tacos and such for lunches, and, lo and behold, I threw together some drop biscuits yesterday morning. 

Will there ever be a #SevenGratitudes that doesn't mention food? I doubt it! 


An unexpected ashing.


Midterms set the rhythm for this week, even on Ash Wednesday. Every time ashes were offered at St. Paul's, First on Fifth, or even on my own campus chapel steps, I either had class, a test, or had to study for a test.

However, when I arrived for my last exam, two university chaplains just happened to be collared up and hanging out in the divinity school hallway. They had just enough ash to smudge my forehead with the sign of my mortality and belovedness.

The moment was touching. I asked the awkward, "Um, could you-would you--?" The chaplains looked at each other, had a quick silent professional negotiation, and then nodded. I probably rambled about classes and exams, etc. And then one of them took a deep breath and closed her eyes. I did too. When I looked up, we were there. In the sacred.

She told me what I am and who I am. And I said amen. Then I went and took my last midterm exam.

Thankful for the grounded reminder of the ash, and the cross.



I don't know how it happened, but I stumbled upon this precious animal on Facebook this week. <3 Never "seen" a fox up close before!

Juniper the Fox loving on her mom after Mom was a away for a few days. <3 

Animals are beautiful, interesting, terrifying, lovable, and worthy of respect. They also make me squeal in delight with their cuteness. I have a few friends who keep me in supply of animal vids. They're probably part of the the reason I've made it this far in grad school. ;) 


Spring Break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's happening now, y'all. So imma step away from the keyboard for a few days--it's time to rest this ol' brain of mine and GET. OUTSIDE. Woot!

(And then come back inside and do work, 'cause, you know, grad school.)

(But then maybe go back outside. 'Cause, you know, rule breaker.)


Seven Gratitudes Link-Up

If you would like to join in on this weekly practice of gratitude and chicanery, grab yourself a button and link up with us here every Friday morning of 2017.



  1. Write a listicle about your seven gratitudes each week.
  2. Publish your piece with a link back to my blogpost on Friday mornings.
  3. And then link up with the form at the bottom of the page.

Be sure to visit with the other bloggers in the party--THEY ARE TOO WONDERFUL TO MISS!

What are YOU grateful for?

List 'em out in the comments or over on Facebook--use the hashtag #SevenGratitudes and other thanks-givers will be able to cheer you on!

Thanks for being here, beloveds.