Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dawn of Justice

From the very first announcement of Batman vs. Superman, I I knew critics would hate it. You could hear the snickers. Marvel had already been-there-done-that with their big superhero franchise, and DC would be unfortunately characterized as the catch-up kid, the one who really really wanted to get on the baseball team but came just a little bit late to practice. People had their sneers pre-programmed.Even as a long-standing Batgrrl, I had questions of my own. Ben Affleck as Batman? Seriously? But Bat-Ben won me over, as did the movie.

I like the older, war-weary Batman. Alfred informs Batman, at the beginning of the movie, that he's “too old to die young, though not for lack of trying.” People have complained about this “amoral vigilante” characterization of Batman but that's not how I saw the character. At the beginning of the movie, we see Bruce Wayne caught up in the chaotic destruction of the fight between Superman and General Zod. Buildings are crumbling, people are dying, and he is as completely helpless as the rest of them. There isn't one thing he can do and it burns at him. It starts to change him. To quote another Alfred line, it begins to “turn good men cruel.” But Batman has not really become cruel. He's scrambling to regain his bearings  as a protector of his city, and in his disorientation, he is unable to see Superman as anything but a weapon waiting to go off. What he doesn't realize is that he is becoming exactly that himself. When he realizes Superman's humanity, at a pivotal moment in the movie, he is also remembering his own. After that point, he starts on a trajectory back towards the “better” Batman movie critics complain is missing. But I felt it compelling that Batman struggles with the violence and rage of his nature. I like that he forgets, for a while, who he is. It's a very natural conflict for a hero, particularly one who's been in the fight as long as this version of Batman. He battles-- literally-- with his difficulty believing in the Big Ideas that Superman embodies. As Lex Luthor said, the two are nececssary complements-- day and night. Hope and vigilance. 
Meanwhile, Superman is beginning to feel the weight of those Big Ideas. I did not find Henry Cavill's performance problematic. His character has been described as “wooden” but I saw it as a young man who has to contain himself so as to present no threat to the humans who alternately praise him and burn him in effigy. He's uneasy with both the hero worship and the condemnation. He's trying to be a blank slate, but his moments with Lois (and later before Lex) unmasks his humanity. Underneath the cape and the burden of justice, he's still learning. He's sincere but na├»ve. If Batman has forgotten that good exists, then Superman is only beginning to become aware of the human capacity for evil. The two men need the balance the other provides.

Lex Luthor filled the role of psychotic villain with twitchy capability. Amy Adams' Lois Lane continues to be a strong character and I may or may not have broken out in spontaneous applause when Wonder Woman showed up at key moment in the final battle. I enjoyed the way Batman's dreams play out his fears about Superman's power. (Note to any and all directors-- the first one to make an Apocalyptic Batman movie gets all the money. Just....all the money.) While the movie had bumps and potholes like any superhero movie, I loved it. DC may be late to this game but they are playing it well. I hurl a well-aimed Batarang at the critics, light my bat-signal in solidarity, and wait rather anxiously for the next foray into this universe.

Don't just stand there-- buy a ticket!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Easter Reflections


Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Darn Good Cowl

What makes this cowl Darn Good isn't its design but the yarn. Darn Good Yarn works with women in Nepal and India to empower them to provide for their families....and their yarns are made from fabric factory leftovers which would otherwise end up in a landfill. And its lovely! Check out their website-- darngoodyarn.com-- for a full selection of their products.

I only had one skein, and I wanted enough for a big, chunky cowl, so I combined it with a skein of gray Manos yarn I'd been hoarding (ahem-- saving). This also gave it a bit more warmth, since I want to wear this in the fall and winter. Maybe I'll make one out of only silk for the spring. If you are planning on using only the sari silk yarn, I would recommend two skeins at least.


1 skein Recycled Sari Silk Multicolored Ribbon in colorway Tibetan Jewels
1 skein Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica Semi-solid in gray
Disclaimer: I didn't have the yarn tag. I know it's a Manos yarn and I am relatively sure it is Wool Classica. Honestly, any chunky yarn will do.
Needles: size 50
Gauge: Approximately 5 sts and 5 rows per 4 inches

Combine your yarns:

Since the Manos had more yardage than the Sari Silk, I used the following technique for combining my yarn:
  • Wind your yarn skeins into individual balls (one ball for Manos, one ball for Sari Silk)
  • Holding one strand of Manos and one strand of Sari silk, wind yarn into a new ball until you have reached the end of the Sari Silk. Clip the Manos.
  • Holding one stand of Manos and one strand of combined yarn, wind yarn into a new ball until you reach the end of the combined yarn. Clip the Manos.
  • Repeat until all the yarn has been combined. Done this way, I believe I ended up with 3-4 strands of Manos and 1 strand of Sari Silk. (Hence the gigantic needles).
  • If you want a less bulky yarn, you can stop after the first or second combination.
Cast On 11 stitches.

Knit in stockinette stitch (right side knit, wrong side purl) for 30 rows.

Bind off, leaving long tail for sewing. You will have what looks like a very short scarf.

With wrong sides together, use yarn tail to sew short ends together using the mattress stitch.

Wear it and be happy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


There is, of course, the normal bedtime-- the merry-go-round of trips to the bathroom, drinks of water, requests for stuffed animals, tears over the end of play, and fussing at sisters. But then occasionally there are other nights. The little girl falls asleep in your arms while you are singing Christmas carols, and the middle girl curls under the blanket you have knit her, and the oldest sighs a tiny sigh when you turn out the lights. The joy of mothering does not depend upon such moments for survival...but in such moments, the joy indeed glows bright as you remember that it is a grand and glorious and fleeting thing to be singing your daughters to sleep.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Two Psalms

(Psalm of Complaint) 

Oh Lord,

There are girls dying at fifteen
and girls who wish they had long been dead.
There are girls bought and sold.
There are girls left open for anyone
to track mud into their souls.
There are girls who have bootprints all over them.

Not just in deserts.
Not just in back alleys.
In our own churches, in Your own Body,
there are girls.
Made silent. Made scapegoat. Made shameful.

And then there are my girls asleep in their beds,
and the blessing of it crushes me.

(How many mothers would remove their own bones,
through their own flesh,
with their own hands,
to see their daughters in a pink nightgown
curled up against a stuffed rabbit safe in bed.....)

There are girls whose sorrow
I cannot carry.

I can clench my first but
all I feel is the smallness of my hands.
The frailty of my fingers.

There are girls whose grief would snap my spine with its weight.
I do not presume that I can bear it.

But my Lord,
you have borne our grief and carried our sorrows.
(Were you not despised,
were you not made an amusement,
were you not sold?)

I lay beside my daughters and I unclench my fist
because I know there are no girls
beyond the reach of Your rescue.
There are girls whose ashes will be turned to beauty
who will be spotless,
who will dance in your courts, who will never cease to speak
to shout, to sing worthy is the Lamb that was slain

There are girls
who will be made
and Beloved
and Bride.


(Psalm of Imprecation)

My Lord,

there are men
who devour.

Let the Word wield the sword
I cannot heft.
Let it come from His mouth.
Let the Word divide between the bone and marrow
that I cannot pierce.
Let it rend deep the hearts of men.
How I long to see them cut in two!
But let it be Your wound,
the cut that makes whole.

I cannot look away from what they have done.
I cannot be satisfied that they will be tamed.
I must pray for a death.
But I pray that it may be the death
that brings eternal life.
I pray that they may be crucified
in Christ
because wrath must fall
and wrath has fallen
The cup is full to the brim
but I pray
that they might be brought to the One 
who drank it to the dregs
Such drink too strong and bitter for their throats.

They would choke
for all eternity.

And so I cannot pray
that they will suffer their own punishment
But that they will fall before
the one whose stripes have healed them

Rise up, oh God
Undo them!
 And bind them up. 
Uncover their nakedness!
And clothe them in Christ
Wreck them!
Lay bare the poverty of their spirits!
For the poor in spirit
will see God
And I long for these men
to see God

To be no longer themselves
but my brothers

Saturday, September 12, 2015

To My Daughter, On the Day You Learned A New Word

You are old enough to read the sign he was holding, old enough to understand he was talking about cutting up babies, but what you couldn't figure out was why.

You came to me for that. I had to explain to you that not all wombs are safe places. I used the gentlest words I could, but murder gently worded is still ugly. You said that word even before I did. It took you less than ten seconds. Murder. Everyone has a right to live. Everyone. 


You were fierce, and you were weeping.

I will not ask you to stop crying, and I won't tell you that you shouldn't be so angry.

I will tell you that it is okay for that ache to cut deep. 

I hope that twenty-three years later, when your daughter is sitting on your lap asking these same questions, that you'll still have tears and anger.
I know I do.

You couldn't understand how it was that people couldn't see life when it was right in front of them. We talked of blinded eyes and our need for a lamp for our feet, a light for our path. Of the bonds of grace that keep us from such darkness, that give us eyes to see.


And we talked about resistance-- not by street signs that scare children but by arms linked with other broken-hearted-brave men and women. How we open our hands and do what we can. You know where your Giving Jar is going now. You know why we pray for crisis pregnancy ministries and churches and women who have believed lies. You know your God cares for those babies no one wants. You know what you'll tell your daughter, even what want you'll tell the President. 

That's where you are right now, with your baby doll beside you, writing a protest
letter in your notebook. I wrote one too, when I was your age. My mother helped me mail it. I will help you.

When you first realized what that sign meant, you said you wanted to move to an island where all babies would be safe. I would love to live on that island with you. But I had to tell you that we can't outrun sin. We carry it with us. It hounds us and haunts us. The only hope for our murderous hearts is an entirely new heart. The only refuge is Jesus. Our safe place isn't an island but a city on a hill. I will live in that city with you.

And when we at last see the glory of our King cover the earth as the water covers the seas, we will know we are forever home.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ten After-School Promises

Ten promises I can make to my girls when they come home from school:

  1. I'll listen to your day before I make you unpack your lunchbox

  2. There will sometimes be cookies. Not always. But often enough.

  3. When you tear all the toys off your shelf and make a blanket fort, I will do my best to remember that you've been trying your best to listen and learn all day. And that it kept you quiet so your older sister could do her math. Okay, relatively quiet.

  4. When you cry over playground injustices, I'll try to do more hugging than talking. 

  5. Yes, you've got homework but I'll make time for bike rides and walks with Grandma and Lucy The Wonder-Chihuahua. And yes, you can have ten minutes to read that book.

  6. I am your study sidekick. Daring in the face of division....stoic in the face of spelling.... glib even while checking grammar. By the end of the year maybe you'll have learned enough to appreciate my awesome alliterative abilities. 

  7. We'll say no to things when you need a family night.

  8. When I speak without love and lead without grace, I will ask your forgiveness.

  9. When bedtime comes, I will be exhausted. You will be too....so much that you'll forget you're tired and try to do acrobatics from the top of the bunk bed. But we'll pray and sing and snuggle and the last thing I'll say before I shut the door is that I love you more than all the stars in the sky.
  10. I will always mean it.