Sunday, June 28, 2015

Madeleine -- new wrinkles

For most of my writing life, my ideal has been Madeleine L'Engle, introduced to me by Frances Shores, my high school English teacher, who recommended  or gave "A Wrinkle in Time" to my then fourth-grade eldest daughter.There are supposedly two kinds of women -- those who grew up reading "Wrinkle in Time" and those who didn't.

My besotment crescendoed when I had the opportunity to interview her.

Now, by chance, I encountered the 2004 New Yorker profile by Cynthia Zarin. Zarin puts to pay what everyone thought about L'Engle's idealized life, but all I can say is, thank goodness she was human after all. I finally figured out that because Zarin teaches at Yale, she had pretty good access to L'Engle. Along the way I found somebody's thesis on the actual facts of L'Engle's science fiction, a subject I've often wondered about.

Then I began looking for proof of what I thought was the inevitable, that Zarin was now persona non grata in the L'Engle family, and found this retort: a New Republic review of the biography by Leonard S. Marcus that counters the Zarin provile. Marcus bio here. 

This post is for the purpose of not losing these disparate references. Other digital tools are available, but since it's not a private subject, the blog is the most handy.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Walking with God is a shared labor

"Companions can point out things we might miss or relieve our fear of contemplating new ways," wrote Judith Jenkins Kohatsu. Sometimes it helps to have someone listen with us. In what ways might your companions on the journey into the unexpected help you go forward with confidence?" 

Writing this week's meditations in the Upper Room Disciplines 2014, Kohatsu refers to Judges 4: 1-9.  Barak enlists the help of a woman, Deborah, the judge. He will go into battle only if she goes with him. It's kind of amazing, how "a woman confidently leads a patriarchal nation as though it were an everyday occurrence." 

Kohatsu suggests that we all might need to invite a companion on our spiritual journey, that "shared creativity" is valuable. "Are we shy about asking for companionship, or are we determined to do it ourselves?" 

 Even Jesus in the desert had the Holy Spirit as a companion. "Companions can point out things we might miss or relieve our fear of contemplating new ways. Sometimes it helps to have someone listen with us. In what ways might your companion on the journey into the unexpected help you go forward with confidence?

Of course, by going with Deborah, Barak gave up the right to singly boast of victory. "The spiritual journey isn't about rewards,..but about living ever more fully into God's way with attendant benefits for all creation." 

"Ever-patient Companion, challenge us to dare to accomplish your work in this time and place..."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sondheim's Witch: Bernadette, Meryl, and -- Jillian

Congratulations to Jillian!
She has been cast in the Bonn International School production
                of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods," slated for next fall.
The role originated on Broadway with Bernadette Peters

and Meryl Streep starred in the movie.

In an article published in 2012, Peters urges future witches to "feel the passion!"

“[The Witch] is intense, so I think it should be an actress who can be intense,” Peters told“I think she has great passion because she’s very passionate about her daughter and passionate about the last midnight,” the actress added. “So I think [the right choice] is somebody who can have a lot of passion.”

Jillian, this is your chance:

Now you can unleash the passion!

Katie as Cinderella!

It is so exciting that Katie has been cast as Cinderella in the Bonn International School Production of Into the Woods!

Kim Crosby originated that role on Broadway, after three years of understudying in Guys and Dolls!

In the Broadway production, Cinderella is the second character to appear, after the narrator, and in Act I she sings "A Very Nice Prince" with the Bakers Wife and "On the Steps of the Palace" as a solo. In Act II she has two songs: "Your Fault" with Jack, Baker, Witch, and Little Red Ridinghood," and "No One Is Alone" with Jack, Baker, and Little Red Ridinghood, plus the finale -- which will be led by the WITCH, none other than her sister, Jillian Taylor Fox!

Katie, we hope you have just the most marvelous fun as you learn your role and rehearse for Into the Woods! We'll sing along with you at home!
Love, Grandaddy and Gramma Fox

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Hers," the Scottie dog bookend.

Susannah's essay was in the Washington Post this weekend.

Discerning Genes Prolong Life

No sooner had I read this passage from tomorrow's NYT Sunday magazine

Our genes may have a more elevated moral sense than our minds do, according to a new study of the genetic effects of happiness. They can, it seems, reward us with healthy gene activity when we’re unselfish — and chastise us, at a microscopic level, when we put our own needs and desires first.

Then I opened my email to read the Moravian Daily Text, read by millions around the world. This Hebrew bible verse was chosen by lot.  

Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but whoever pursues evil will die. Proverbs 11:19
The NYT essay reveals the research behind the idea that genes are smart enough to discern moral codes. The blood of hedonistic people (mainly concerned about themselves) contained more cells that result in disease (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular) than the blood of people who focused on a higher purpose and service to others. Moreover, the hedonistic group had fewer antibodies that fight off infections. 

I could not keep myself from noting the coincidence. The Hebrew Bible verses for each day are drawn by lot, and one pastor adds a New Testament verse, a prayer, and a hymn.

The added verse is a joyful one that can be enjoyed by all.

I have a hope in God that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. Acts 24:15Dear God, as your righteousness extends to us, help us extend righteousness to your children everywhere. At home, at work, and at play may we be clothed in you. We are your children, everywhere. Amen.

PS: These verses below supposedly have nothing to do with the above. They are the "read through the Bible" lectionary verses. But it is intriguing to try to discern their connections.
Saturday, August 24 -- Psalm 103:1-5
Jeremiah 23:1-32; 1 Timothy 5:9-16

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The "Aha" Moment: Guest Post by Marion Reinson

This is a guest post by my friend Marion Reinson. Thank you, Marion!

If you were able to attend the WIBA Women of Achievement Awards breakfast last week you had the good fortune to hear one of the honorees, Barbara Fox, speak about the special “AHA!” moments in her life; those moments when you realize the purpose of why you were put on this earth. If you missed the event, allow me to share with you what Barbara shared.

Barbara is 73 years old and holds an English degree from Duke University. She’s married to George Fox. That morning was my first time meeting George, and the love shared between the two is palpable – you can feel it from the way they look at one another.

Barbara is the mother of 3 wonderful children.

What many of you probably already knew about Barbara is that she is focused and determined. She decided, in 1976 while staying at home with her three children, to become a published journalist by writing a story about Elizabeth Dole for the Baltimore Sun. Barbara seized the moment when Bob Dole was nominated as a vice presidential candidate. Elizabeth Hanford Dole lived on Barbara’s hall in college and Barbara knew that if she was successful in writing a story about Elizabeth, the article would be published and she would become a published journalist. So she set out to scoop the
story of whether Elizabeth Dole would quit her job as a Federal Trade Commissioner, in order to campaign for her husband.

The Sun said ‘yes’ and agreed to pay Barbara $125, with the article due in 2 weeks.

Barbara continued to tell of her own two week experience - a disrupted family vacation, a $165 long distance phone bill (remember those?), conversations with Dole’s roommates, sorority sisters, family members and culminating with a brief, almost meaningless interview with Elizabeth (in true political fashion).  Being $40 in the hole didn’t stop Barbara. Off she trekked to DC, got more interviews, borrowed a typewriter from the federal government and typed the end of the story. She delivered the article to the Sun who changed her pay to $25 and the story was published the next morning.

Elizabeth Dole announced her resignation the next day at noon and Barbara’s career in journalism began.

Ten years later, Barbara got her dream job as the first full time reporter for U.S.1.  “When  others were splitting hairs over whether a business was in Princeton Borough or Township or West Windsor or Monmouth Junction, Richard Rein’s vision for U.S. 1 was to label them all part of a greater Princeton business community.” The paper began as a monthly publication, and the rest, they say, is history. There for nearly twentyfive years, Barbara had the opportunity to speak to everybody – CEOs, entrepreneurs, leaders in the nonprofit world, authors, artists and scientists. They all told their stories to her, in great depth.

Here again, Barbara shared an AHA moment of how childhood experiences - dance, piano, singing, elocution, drama, ice skating lessons and Girl Scouts all helped with the interview process. She shared her experience working in her parents’ cancer research lab. “Flaunting the child labor laws, when I was six years old, I was helping take care of laboratory mice.” When Barbara interviewed a person for an article, she very likely knew their language and could relate to the subject matter.

At 73, Barbara’s still going strong. Semi-retired and continuing to make those valued introductions through the Princeton Chamber, as well as at the Princeton United Methodist Church, a enriching and culturally diverse community.

Having grown up in the segregated south, Barbara actively supports the PUMC initiative co-founded by her cousin Ann Yasuhara, “Not in Our Town” an interracial, interfaith social justice group focused on combatting prejudice and racial bias in Princeton.

Another Aha moment occurred at a NIOT workshop on “White Privilege” – a tough topic. “Not in Our Town” was created to initiate these difficult conversations. One such conversation is focused on the inequities of the criminal justice system as told in the book, The New Jim Crow, which discusses how black men get sent to prison, and for the same crimes, white men go free.

I always appreciate and enjoy Barbara’s company and her unique perspective on the world. After having the privilege of listening to her share her life’s experiences, I cherish her even more. I wanted to share her speech with you because I felt that many of you would appreciate her stories and Aha moments as much as I did. Thank you, Barbara, for being you - a wonderful and caring human being who’s not afraid to speak her mind.