Friday Icon


Christ on the Mount of Olives, life-size sculpture in Strasbourg Cathedral, 1498

 This collection of sculpture twists time, featuring a few Jesuses–here seen both kneeling at the Mount and hanging on the cross. This combination artwork of both relief and free-standing sculpture bends expectations in many arenas–time, space, sound, light.  How does Jesus’ Passion bend and stretch our expectations?

Friday Icon: el loco


art via

Six years ago, I visited Barcelona with my family in the summer, just before I started divinity school.  I’d just started to admit to people–sometimes for the shock value–that I was headed toward the priesthood.  When we went to the Picasso museum there, I was completely captured by this sketch Pablo made early in his career.  A postcard depiction has been on my desk ever since.  That morning, still jet lagged, I saw Jesus in this man.

Having spent time with homeless men in Durham over the last year, I’d started to meet Jesus again in them.  God has many facets, some of them are manifest in the homeless, in the hungry, in the crazy.  My prayer is to be softhearted enough to recognize God’s presence in the forgotten people I encounter every day.

more on Picasso

how to make: an Alsacian Feast

This is a desirable thing, I promise.  Alsace is the region of (now) France that’s been passed back and forth between France and Germany for several hundred years (not like a hot-potato; more like a really wonderful piece of furniture–everybody wants it).  Anyway, it’s where a significant portion of my ancestry lived, and it’s where we find Strasbourg & Colmar, which my husband and I visited in July.

In honor of my ancestry, and to relive the glory of vacation, we created an Alsacian feast last week.


Open a Riesling or Gewurztraminer, and get ready for a new pizza experience: Tarte Flambee (or Flammkuchen–just like how you pronounce “Appalachian” makes a statement about your class and politics, whether you use the French or German name for a dish reveals your true loyalties (mostly, for me, going to Alsace helped me understand why I’m both obsessed with food and very efficient)).

16 oz pizza dough, prepared

6 oz creme fraiche

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

8 oz bacon, cooked & sliced (in which ever order you prefer)

6 oz Gruyere, shredded

1 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh-ground is best, and nutmegs are super-readily available–Target, World Market, everybody’s got them (i love Penzey’s))


Preheat oven to 450 degrees (or grill, if you’re feeling wild).  Spread the dough on a cookie sheet (or, again, the grill grate), cook the first side till the dough has got some shape, but isn’t browned at all, 4-6 minutes.

Quickly remove (or turn over) crust from the oven (grill), spread generously with creme fraiche, sprinkle liberally with sliced onion, bacon lardons, and Gruyere, finish with ground nutmeg.  Cook for another 8-12 minutes, till the crust and cheese have started to get some color.


For dessert, how about a miraculous chocolate mousse?  Two ingredients, my friends:

270 mL water

350 grams chocolate (I used 70%–but less would work too, if you like something sweeter)



Combine in a saucepan, melt, and stir to fully combine.  When totally melted and combined, pour mixture into a bowl set over another bowl of ice and water.

Then, whip the snot out of it.

On an expert’s advice, I whipped it by hand–a good work out, and what a feeling of accomplishment!–but I’ve been told you can use electric beaters, too.

Here’s the video:


On my very first try, here’s how it turned out:


It’s almost like being back home in Alsace!

elixir of life


It’s a tall order for a simple cup of tea, but this one almost lives up to it.

When I was in NYC this spring for my brother’s graduation from college, my husband and I stumbled upon a small tearoom on the Lower East Side late one semi-rainy evening. There was one little table left, meant just for us, at Bosie, and their description of L’Age de Thé’s Tulsi Basil infusion clicked. It was touted as the “elixir of life” with spicy notes and no caffeine—perfect for a pre-bedtime cup.

By July, I’d already run out of the two ounces I’d brought home from Bosie, and sought out more at Dobrá Tea in Asheville. Their blend is bolder, with a strong licorice scent and flavor; I’m not sure if it’s lengthening my life, but brewing up these herbs on my travels provides a soothing regularity to the unpredictability that accompanies being away from home.

Reflecting on the many, varied environs I’d dragged my trusty tin of tea through over the last few months (above, at choir camp, right now!), I realized that—of course—God is the same way. God comes with us wherever we go, providing regularity, familiarity, to even the newest and most unpredictable of places.

Not that I need to let go of my Tulsi Basil tin, or shun the ritual I’ve come to love—boiling (or tracking down hot) water, measuring out the loose leaves into my mesh ball, letting the leaves steep extra long (it takes a lot for this tea to get bitter), and enjoying the delicious scented steam that rises off the cup almost as much as the infusion itself—but that I can also turn to God for regular, ritual calming (“peace”—to put it more deeply and expansively).

Of course, God is the true elixir of life. Through the peace which comes as a gift from God, we are able to love each other, to support each other in our lives–in our trials and in our successes.  Continually returning to God as our touchstone, Lord, focus, and animating spirit is the only “magical” potion in which we can hope to find life.