If You Are New To This Blog…

Amy Julia Becker asked me to write a little introduction to what my blog is about (it appeared on hers yesterday) but it occurred to me that it is a good introduction to those of you who may be new to the blog.

Plus, here’s a new picture of me that I haven’t yet uploaded to my “About Me” page:

Stone-Headshot

When I started my blog (almost exactly!) two years ago, it was called Eat With Joy, which became the title of my book. The blog started out as being mostly about issues related to food and body image from a Christian perspective, and I usually have posts related to some aspect of these at least once a week.

One of the most popular posts from the early days of my blog is called “My Audrey Hepburn Problem.” In it I discuss my youthful admiration of the film star, and how I (very unfortunately) conflated her reputed kindness and philanthropy with her (very unusual) good looks.

Another post that gives a good sense of the kind of writing I do on the blog is “The Cultural Evolution of Candy Land.” It all began when I laid out my old Candy Land game (circa 1980s) next to the 2010, and was shocked by how thin–and sexualized–the characters had become. It grew into a series including My Little Ponies and Polly Pockets as I noticed the trend in other toys, more or less concluding with a post on why it matters whether a toy is thin and sexy (or not.)

I write about the books I’m reading at least once a week (Mondays often feature book reviews) and sometimes post simple, family-friendly recipes.

And because I’ve been living and working in Malawi, Africa–where my husband and I teach at a Christian seminary, and where I occasionally volunteer as a labor doula–there are occasional posts about the state of maternal health globally, pictures of animals seen on our travels, and thoughts on wealth, poverty, and gratitude for all of God’s gifts: not just the edible, but the beautiful, the hilarious, and the eminently re-readable.

Starting a New Chapter…

In some recent posts, I’ve let slip a little bit of news that I have yet to make “Facebook public”–

my family and I are moving to Malawi.

Yes,Malawi–the Warm Heart of Africa and one of the poorest countries in the world.

My husband, Tim, and I–along with our two sons, of course!–will leave for Malawi sometime in the next six months or so. Next month, we’ll be attending orientations and trainings with the Presbyterian Church (USA)–whose mission arm, GAMC, is sending us–to prepare.

Why Malawi?

Well, it’s like this.

Ten years ago, a friend from college went to a country that was so beautiful despite its terrible poverty and found great satisfaction working there.

Five years ago, I found myself bursting into tears one night after dinner telling Tim about a story I’d read on a midwife’s blog, where a woman had died giving birth because she hadn’t had enough to eat during her pregnancy.

Two years ago, I read with interest about a boy who managed to build a working windmill out of scraps and provide electricity to his village.

And a few months ago, a friend sent us the link to an advertisement asking for an Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Ph.D. to teach at Zomba Theological College…inMalawi–the place where the boy built a windmill, where the midwife blogged her stories, where our friend went almost on a whim.

And so we applied…and so we are going.

While in some ways I’m beginning to feel all the mix of feelings anyone feels when facing transition, the truth is that I’m really looking forward to going. I have loved working with the folks at GAMC/World Mission and eagerly look forward to knowing them better, and to meeting our neighbors in Zomba.

As for what I’ll be doing in Malawi (besides all the same things I do right here, like write, take care of my kids, cook, garden, and eat…), well, I’d very much like to stretch my little doula wings and attend as many births as possible, to learn what birth is like in that culture.

I suspect I have much to learn. And I’m looking forward to learning it.

Now, dear regular readers, you probably have questions. Fire away!