Sunday, February 26, 2012

[ashes and first Sunday]

Wednesday morning Chip, Allie and I attended the Imposition of Ashes, Holy Eucharist Rite II service at Christ Church Cathedral.  This was my first Ash Wednesday service.

My thoughts:
  • It's interesting to think about people all over the world, sharing in the Eucharist  and having the ashes placed on their heads.  We shared in something thousands and thousands of others participated in.   [please click on the link above  if you don't know what {Eucharist} means; trust me, you aren't alone]
  • As the priest placed ashes on each person's forehead, she stated, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." What a perspective. . . .  

This morning, Chip and I went to the 8:30 a.m. service at Christ Church.  Today marks the first Sunday in Lent.  If you read my previous entry, {my lenten experiment}, you know what I'm up to.  Honestly, I enjoyed the service.  While I'm coming into this with minimal (that's an understatement) experience, I'm finding it to be refreshing, enlightening, and so far, just what I'd hoped for.  

Today's service:

  • Focused on this season {Lent}, and I like the self preparedness aspect of getting ready to celebrate Easter.
  • Included [The Peace], in which the congregants greet each other by saying "Peace" or "Peace to you" or [I think you get it, something regarding peace].  I'm finding through my working through The Book of Common Prayer, these types of Christians are big on peace.  I am too, so I suppose we're kindred spirits in that. 
  • Utilized a prayer for peace during the [Prayers of the People].  The Presider prayed for war to end.  I like that.  Instead of "Hey, let's pray the enemy gets their due. . .  " Or, instead of a bunch of [warrior.battle.let'sfight] language, there was a focus on peace.  
  • Featured some Bach music on the organ.  I must admit I like sitting in a couple hundred year old cathedral, with stained glass windows, listening to classical church music.  
All in all, my season of lent is off to a good start.  I'm excited and I'm feeling exposed.  Exposed to God and allowing Him in, so to speak.  I'm realizing how very, very little I am.  And how much I need quiet and perspective and freedom from even the things we who call ourselves Christ followers deem as good.  

Happy 1st Sunday of Lent.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shrove Tuesday

If you read my previous post, you know I'm conducting my own personal Lenten Experiment, per say.  Today is Shrove Tuesday.  I didn't realize until recently, Shrove Tuesday also means Pancake Tuesday.  So, in honor of the day, I made this:

I'm trying to experience this season in a way I never have before.  Not just giving something up, but making the most of the days and weeks leading up to Easter.  Easter is my favorite holiday.  I like it more than Christmas.  Really.  I do.    

Last year I came across this quote:
Lent is a call to weep for what we could have been and are not. Lent is the grace to grieve for what we should have done and did not. Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not. Lent is not about penance. Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.
Lent is a summons to live anew.
~ Sister Joan Chittister, OSB 

 I like that - a summons to live anew.  

A friend sent me a link to this blog today:

It seems an appropriate reading, as tomorrow our family begins our day with an Ash Wednesday service at Christ Church Cathedral.  Not a Catholic mass, yet probably as close as we ordinary Protestant types have ever been.

My husband has happily (for me and for him) decided to participate in my experiment.  I look forward to becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now [together].

Happy Shrove Tuesday.  Hope you were able to enjoy a pancake.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Next Wednesday is [Ash Wednesday] which will usher in the Lenten Season.  Maybe you already knew that.  If not, now you do. . . . .    

Anyway, in past years we've encouraged each other [we, as in our immediate family] to give something up.  One year my husband gave up driving and I gave up vanity [jewelry, make up, etc.].  We've fasted from food at times.  We've done other things.  

This year I've decided to conduct my own {Lenten Experiment}.  I call it experiment because I've not done something like this in the past.  And I'm not completely sure how it will go.  I might decide it's ridiculous half way through.  But hey, 40 days isn't that long.  So, I'm committing to it.  And now I've recorded it in the blogosphere, so there's no going back.

My experiment will consist of participating in lenten activities at Christ Church Cathedral.  Our family attended one of their Christmas Eve services.  Why this choice?  Why would a person not really familiar with liturgical, traditional church do this?  Why would someone who recently proclaimed the joys of [modern] church want to give so much effort to something so, so opposite?  Well, for a number of reasons.  Some of them being these:

  • My word for the year is RISK, and walking into a new situation like this seems risky.  I don't know anyone there.  They don't know me.  I'm not familiar with their ways, their traditions, their habits.  I'll be the outsider.  I've been fairly comfortable in church for a long while.
  • I long for something different.  While I enjoy the church we're currently attending, I'm drawn to try another type of worship.  I like modern worship music.  I've participated in modern worship music on stage.  I'm alright with dark auditoriums and lights and pastors wearing jeans.  Though it struck me after the above mentioned Christmas Eve service how really all we'd done there was sing, pray and read scripture.  While I'm unsure as to whether that's all they'll do at the services I'll attend during the next 40 days, I'm hopeful those will be the major aspects.  I've grown tired, oh so tired, of church not being all that much different than anything else we do.  Maybe I'm getting old.  Maybe I'm jaded from past experiences.  But sitting in a cathedral sounds enticing.  Sitting in a room that actually looks like a church appeals to me.  A place where you could place just about any American, and by looking around they'd know they're in a church.  Not in a building that's also a gym and a place where dinner can be served and a concert venue for a pseudo rock show.  
  • If I don't try something new, I'll never change.  And I need to change.grow.become.
  • I desire quiet.   I want to listen.  
So, whether the {Lenten Experiment} is positive or negative or neutral for me, it will be a change.  It will cause me to reflect and evaluate and most likely, grow. If you know me and you fear I'll become a liberal Episcopalian, I most likely won't.  I'm not looking to add another [label] or join a denomination.   

I will invite my husband and children to participate.  If they don't want to, or only want to sometimes, that's fine.  I won't pressure or nag.  At least no more than I normally do.  

I've added myself to the Christ Church email list.  I've received their Ash Wednesday schedule.  I even called their office with a question about times.  I'm in this.  Happy Lent!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I am all for the [thematic] gift.  Or, put another way, the gift with some thought behind it.  My husband could have had a dozen roses sent to my workplace today or he could have given me a piece of jewelry [not really his thing].  But instead, on Sunday he applied this to a spot in our home:

On Saturday morning we went on a breakfast date.  Tonight, our family of four will enjoy Qdoba's buy one/get one entree deal.  And I'm happy as can be about the whole thing.  

Getting back to the thematic, I've picked out a word to focus on this year, in regards to my husband.  The word:


Why?  Because peace means a state of harmony.  And that's what I wish for him and for the two of us and for our family as a whole.   He knows I love him.  He knows the depth of my loyalty.  Yet I feel the next step, the place of depth we need to head, is peace.  

So I made him a gift to hang in our bedroom, signifying this word.  I won't be purchasing a Hallmark card, because though eloquently worded, they never say exactly what I would.   


Saturday, February 4, 2012


Occasionally I'll listen to a podcast with my husband.  Or something like This American Life on NPR.  Yet, I'm not one to take the time when I'm alone.  Today, when looking at, reading through all the tweets posted by those I follow, I came across this:

@EricMetaxas More NPB commentary...

I just began to follow Eric on twitter. . . .  yesterday.  I knew his work as an author because I read Amazing Grace.  I'd also recently heard he wrote another book on the life of Bonhoeffer.  We've discussed this info at work a few times, and I know Eric recently gave a talk in Lexington.

I didn't know Eric was chosen to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast.  When I clicked on the above link I saw on twitter, I came across his speech.  And unlike my usual pattern, I took the time to listen to the entire thing.  Plus President Obama's words.

To sum up, it takes me back to risk, my word for 2012.  If you know anything about Bonhoeffer, you probably know he risked everything.  If you don't know anything about Bonhoeffer, I suppose you should obtain a copy of the above referenced book.  I most likely will.  William Willberforce, the subject of Amazing Grace risked a lot.  

Last night my daughter and I watched The Help.  We both read the book, and looked forward to the movie.  I consider what those women risked.  Yes, I know it's fiction, but friends, it's historical fiction, so it could have happened.  

A gamble.  Putting yourself out there.  Not just yourself, but your family.  Your livelihood.  Your future.  Your hope of working, earning an income, providing for your needs.  Your physical self.  The dangers.  

Am I being a bit melodramatic?  Possibly.  But I so enjoy history lessons.  I so love hearing about people and situations and those that overcome.  People who truly made a difference.  Just imagine some kid reading about your life, 50 or 100 years from now.  

She helped stop human trafficking.  
Abortion is no longer an option thanks to his work. 
Every child in the country is given an equal education, thanks to her. 
Homelessness doesn't exist in our city, because a few people did something.

So happy birthday Dietrich Bonhoeffer [February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945] .  Thanks for your inspiration.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Once upon a time, I didn't know what it was like to be a mother.  Then there was you.  My first.  And I wasn't quite sure what to do with you.  But your dad and I figured it out.  Slowly but surely, we established a routine and we became familiar with each other.  Now, you're such a part of us that it's odd when you're not around.  Something is missing.  Someone, actually.  

Today, you're seventeen.  When did you get to be this person?  This big, almost grown up, person.  While I miss the Jamie I could appropriately call "Mini Man", I enjoy you as you are today.

Please know I'm not proud of you simply because you're a good student and a great musician.  I'm proud of you because of who you are.  You are you, and nobody else is.  While I love your cooking and your keen sense of humor, I love YOU for who you are.  And while [who you are] is a musician, intelligent person, sports fan, excellent chef, and much more, you will most likely be all kinds of different things in your lifetime.  Yet you will always be you, and again, that's who I love.  That will never change.  

Being your mother is a blessing.  It has been from the beginning.   I can't imagine, seventeen years later, any other life than the life our family has because you're a part.

Feliz cumpleanos, mi fabuloso hijo.  [and happy Groundhog Day, too!]

Happy 17