The Elmore Five: Behind the Image, 2013

The Elmore Five: Behind the Image, 2013

A decent family photo at the wedding reception of a close friend. Not pictured: delicious hamburger sliders, the most convenient bribe available to motivate this sort of behavior.

Behind the Image, 2013



Kate created this masterpiece from Belgian waffles, orange pieces, blackberries and sausage links. Not pictured: Jackson's persistent attempts to wreck havoc on Kate's work by eating the delightful Hershey-kiss nose.

Cat in the Hood.

As fate would have it, Camden and Kate share a birthday. On January 18th Camden turned 11 and Kate turned 8. To mark the occasion, two adorable kittens arrived including Joy (pictured). Not pictured: Joy's sister, Daisy, an orange kitten, who's not nearly as cute. Kidding, people! Remember: these are just cats.

Most Christians are not white.

My journey into a Doctor of Ministry in Global Christianity began. The cohort learning experience is built around annual study residencies, in January, in Boston. Through this D. Min., I'm hoping to enrich and expand my ongoing work in Christian-Muslim relations through Peace Catalyst International. Not pictured: the reading, the writing, the dissertation.

72 Chocolates.

On an otherwise normal day after school, I found Kate counting chocolates. It was, indeed, a Valentine's Day gift from a boy. Not pictured: the boy screaming in agony, his arm twisted and pulled tightly behind his back.


The Brotherhood of Baseball.

Jackson (red) joined his big brother for a season in Richmond Little League. You might appreciate this article I wrote about baseball and failure, and fathers and sons: "The Inches We Need". Not pictured: winning and losing.

On which the colors of the world cling.

During Holy Week, a neighborhood church featured this homage—a reminder, yet again, that in the Christian story pain and suffering are storylines existing in the context of hope. Not pictured: the body.


On May 10, 1993, I met her. This May, Amie and I celebrated 20 years after that frozen-yogurt moment. We still rather like meeting up. All the while, three children claim that we are their parents. Not pictured: those children.

5th grade is so yesterday.

Camden (right) graduated in June. He and his two buds received admission into the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program at Lucille Brown Middle School. Not pictured: annoying middle school behaviors.


Tribal Rituals.

The Elmore Five of Richmond joined up with the Pfahler Four of Gainesville, the Elmore Four of New Orleans, and the matriarch and patriarch of the clan (residents of Sun City, South Carolina) for a vintage summertime vacation in Cocoa Beach. Not pictured: Wakulla Suites, our hotel a few blocks away, where my immediate family also stayed in 1992 and where I associate first hearing Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart."

The future is always present.

Watching your eight-year-old daughter stuff herself into a baby swing while the sun is setting means: that day is surely gone. But look what she's becoming! Not pictured: some eight-year-old boy with a stinking box of chocolates.

Eyes Wide Open.

Jackson is, undoubtedly, a loudly expressive child. In July, upon his 7th birthday, he needed no coaxing to mug for the camera. You might appreciate his first foray into short filmsNot pictured: the baseball game we attended in Washington, D.C. between my beloved-but-sad-sack New York Mets and the upstart Washington Nationals. Final score: Nationals 14, Mets 1. I know.

Mr. Accessible.

In late August, I had the pleasure of taking an audience with Pope Francis in Richmond—at the student organizational fair at Virginia Commonwealth University, if you can believe it. He insisted on a traditional photo opportunity as opposed to his raging new habit: the selfie. It is true, he has had quite the first year. Not pictured: Benedict XVI, off to the side and waving his hands frantically, desperately seeking attention.


The American Obsession.

His first season playing tackle football, Camden loved the experience—in a different way than baseball. He played linebacker and running back for the Orange Cats in Richmond's Western Wildcats youth league, rushing for 8 touchdowns including several of the long-distance variety. He was a genuine thrill to watch. Not pictured: injuries to his ribs, wrist and neck.

Werewolves, Banditos and Elves.

Oh my. Halloween 2013. Not pictured: incredibly selfish and inane arguments comparing candy-intake amounts.

When you wake, ring for Drake.

In early December, Kate (second from the left) featured in the Linwood Holton Elementary version of Annie. She absolutely shined as a maid, and, later, as a tourist in New York City. Lately, Amie and I have seen another kind of theater magic: Kate still sings the songs from Annie, in the privacy of her room, every night as she goes to bed. Not pictured: a young girl's inner world.

Living Things.

This image contained a bit of everything: Kate's occasional sass, my shimmering dome, Jackson's unbridled enthusiasm for weapons, Camden's slightly bored middle-school gaze and Amie's beautiful shadow over the family proceedings. In December, Amie started a new full-time job at the Dominion School for Autism. Not pictured: Grandma, whose visit we very much enjoyed over Thanksgiving weekend.

From the Elmore Five, to you and yours:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Discussing Religion in Particular(s)

Discussing Religion in Particular(s)

Call Me Blessed

Call Me Blessed