Blue Sunday (or Monday, if you missed it)

I had a new piece last week at the Christianity Today women’s blog on my own anxiety for my children’s safety and on the need for churches to join with other community members in protecting our most vulnerable: our children.

Though I was never the victim of abuse, even as a child, I had a hazy awareness that abuse happened. In the late 1980s, my father, a pastor then between churches, spent a year at the New York City Bureau of Child Welfare, investigating cases of alleged abuse and following up on children who had tested positive at birth for illegal substances. I have a foggy memory of overhearing my dad telling my mom that in a training session, they’d passed around a doll–an anatomically correct doll used to help children talk about what happened to them–and when it got to him, my usually stoic dad broke down crying. Who wants to hold such an object–such tangible evidence that child abuse is prevalent enough to warrant the existence of the doll–in their hands?

Read it all here: “Channeling the Mama Bear Effect to Fight Child Abuse.”

And pray for the wee voiceless ones.


Amazingly, I’m getting pushback in the comments for not advocating specific policies. My point was not necessarily to advocate for specific responses to child abuse, but only to do two specific things:

1. To point out that Jesus’ ethic of the family demands that we extend our deep concern for the safety of our own children to all the children in our sphere of influence


2. to highlight the very good work of Shepherding the Next Generation.

Shane Claiborne on Practicing Resurrection in Philly

Last week, I had the joy of hearing and seeing Shane Claiborne at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. He gave a great talk (which made me cry) and then I happened to literally brush arms with him next to him at a book stall:

Thanks man, I said.

It’s great to be here, he said, so genuine, with humility not manufactured or feigned.

(By the way, readers, that’s a question I have. Is it possible to describe in words what makes someone or something feel/seem authentic or inauthentic?)

Anyway, Shane has this great post up at the Huffington Post on urban gardening in Philadelphia. Here’s a taste:

One of the most beautiful things we get to do here at The Simple Way is plant gardens in the concrete jungle of North Philadelphia — and see kids discover the miracle of life, and fall in love with the Creator of life. Gardens have a special place in the human story. After all God first planted humanity in a garden in Eden. And the most redemptive act in history began in a garden in Gethsemane. And the story ends in Revelation with the image of the garden taking over the City of God, with the river of life flowing through the city center and the tree of life piercing the urban concrete.


I will never forget the haunting words of a neighborhood kid who once said years ago, “It’s easier to get a gun in our neighborhood than it is to get a salad.”

Read Shane’s piece here.

Wishing you a lovely weekend! Peace & xo…

Noodle Casserole That Makes People Want to Marry You

Some friends and I were discussing some article I skimmed and promptly forgot everything about, including the site I read it on, except this: that a man wanted to divorce his wife because her tuna noodle casserole was so gross and she served it so often.

I’ll have to check with my resident geeks (ie. my husband, Tim, and my dad, Tom) but I think the Talmud actually does provide some legitimation for these grounds for divorce–there’s a kind of “if she burns the bread” clause.

But anyway, I said to my friends, I don’t want to brag, but my noodle casserole makes people want to marry me.

(Don’t want to brag? Whatever. Of course I want to brag! This stuff is good! )

And so one friend asked for the recipe, and here it is, as promised.

Salmon Noodle Casserole

Preheat oven to 400F. Set a large pot of salted water to boil for the egg noodles, and a smaller pot of salted water to boil for the broccoli.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, dry saute 8 ounces fresh, cleaned, mushrooms, broken into pieces.

Continue to stir them for 10 minutes or so, or until they have given up much of their moisture. Add 1 medium onion, minced finely, and just enough butter to keep it from sticking. Cook another 10 minutes or so until onions are just short of browning. Remove from pan and set aside.

In same saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter, stir in 2 tablespoons flour and blend well over low heat until just short of browning. Whisking constantly, pour in 1 cup half and half. Continue to whisk and bring to just short of the boiling point, add onion and mushroom mixture, salt and pepper to taste, 1/3 cup milk and set aside.

Meanwhile, blanch and cool 1/2 lb (2 cups) of fresh broccoli. (ie. throw it in some boiling salted water for 1 minute, then drain and run under cool water; set aside.)

I think these noodles are the best ones.

Cook 12 ounces extra-wide whole-egg noodles for three minutes less than the shortest time suggested on the package, drain, rinse thoroughly with cool water.

Mix cooked noodles, sauce, and broccoli with 2 cups grated mild cheddar or jack cheese and 2 cans wild-caught salmon* (drained) and spread in shallow buttered ovenproof pan, sprinkle with 1 cup crushed high-quality potato chips.

(Yes, I realize that potato chips are not “healthy,” whatever that is. You can leave them out if you want, but don’t blame me if your casserole doesn’t attract the adulation you desire.)

These potato chips (local for me!) are the BEST!

Bake 20-25 minutes.

*you can skip the salmon to make it vegetarian, but why not support the lovely Leslie Leyland Fields‘ other job, too? ;)

My Son’s ‘Chinese’ Tattoo

My boys love temporary tattoos. The love of tattoos seems to skip generations in our family. I’m not tattooed (sorry to be morbid, but I’d like the option of Jewish burial); my dad’s tattoo was an homage to his much-beloved, long-departed, tattooed grandpa.

Recently, a local artist was photographing tattoos and collecting the stories of the tattoos and so she photographed my dad and recorded his story, and then requested a snapshot of the boys with him, showing off their tattoos:

My dad brought a whole packet of tattoos from the toy store and, because they are temporary, the boys enjoy picking new ones. Graeme was really excited to pick this one after the Jolly Roger one, even though he doesn’t look happy in the picture (he has a touch of fever)–

He kept calling it a ‘Chinese’ tattoo, which puzzled me until we brought home the supplies for our sacred weekly ritual: Chinese takeout.

Look! Graeme said. It’s my Chinese tattoo!

Well, okay. Guess I passed on that part of American Jewishness…

What You Can Do for World Malaria Day

In the second book of the Little House series (Little House on the Prairie), the Ingalls family comes down with malaria–or what they call fever ‘n’ ague–which is described this way:

Laura was so hot that everything seemed wavering…she did not exactly go to sleep, but she didn’t really wake up again for a long, long time. Strange things seemed to keep happening in a haze. She would see Pa crouching by the fire in the middle of the night, then suddenly sunshine hurt her eyes […] Something dwindled slowly, smaller and smaller, till it was tinier than the tiniest thing. Then slowly it swelled till it was larger than anything could be…

and so on. It sounds awful, worse than the worst flu, but they get through it, partly because of the help of a neighbor and of a doctor (who, interestingly, is African-American and a doctor among the Native Americans).

They thought it came from breathing the night air, or, perhaps, from eating watermelons grown in the night air. But it was malaria.

Malaria was eradicated in the US in the early 1950s. But it daily kills 2,000 children worldwide, mainly in Africa. Today–World Malaria Day–recognizes global efforts to combat malaria.

Eradicating malaria is possible. We just have to want it very much. Here, from World Vision, are five things you can do to fight malaria:

1. Host a Night of Nets event.

Treated bed nets are simple and effective. Learn about them. Tell your friends.

2. Ask your members of Congress to contribute funds toward the fight against malaria.

3. Post, tweet, chat about World Malaria Day. Visit

4. Pray.

5. Buy a net.

No one–least of all women and children, who are disproportionately affected–should die from a mosquito bite.