Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Berry Delicious

That's the name of the nail polish I bought for my pedi. The one I'm getting tomorrow...to go with the sandals I bought today...because I'm about to get on a BIG BOAT...and I wish ALL of y'all were coming!

I look forward to reading the comments from the cyberparty that surely will be held this weekend (with teh Clooney in attendance).

Oh, no, I forgot--that would be Captain Clooney. Those on shore will have to settle for teh Rickman.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sing hymns to him, O earth-born; praise the one
who suffered
And died for you, and when in a short time
You behold him living, receive him in your hearts;
For Christ is going to be resurrected from the tomb
and he will make you new...
Make ready for him a pure heart
In order that your King will dwell in it,
making a heaven.
Only a short time now, and he will come to fill with joy
those who are afflicted,
In order that Adam might exult.

--Romanos (sixth century)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Five for Good Friday

Thanks to RevHRod for this thoughtful Good Friday five.

Our prayer concerns are as varied as we are this day. For whom would you like us to pray?
Please pray for light and peace for all who are struggling and aching in their marriages, and also for Paula, Jill, Ron, and others who are battling cancer. And I would appreciate prayers for Amie, who continues to have seriously elevated liver enzymes, with no firm diagnosis despite numerous tests.

Are there things you have done or will do today to help the young ones understand this important day in our lives?
I hope that children and teens will listen and take to heart the story of Jesus' suffering and death for us, as it is presented in our Tenebrae service tonight.

Music plays an important part in sharing the story of this day. Is there a hymn or piece of music that you have found particularly meaningful to your celebrations of Good Friday?
Regarding hymns, "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" have both been deeply meaningful to me. On Tuesday night we were privileged to attend a beautiful and moving performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, music that gives much glory to God and has enriched this Holy Week for me.

As you hear the Passion narrative, is there a character that you particularly resonate with?
Peter, who professed endless devotion to Jesus then denied Jesus when he felt threatened--the same Peter whom Jesus lovingly restored to Himself and even entrusted with ministry.

Where have you seen the gracious God of love at work lately?
I have a cousin who has struggled with cocaine addiction for many years. During her most recent stay in rehab, she met and fell in love with a young man who was a fellow patient--much to both families' dismay. Despite relapses and setbacks, they have stayed together and are now clean and sober together, recently married in her home church, and have a beautiful, healthy baby girl, Anna Leigh. Here she is!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


We had a beautiful Palm Sunday service, but now I have a mystery to solve. First hymn: "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna". The kids come down the aisle, waving their palm branches, deposit them under the communion table, and exit off to the side. I blink rapidly (can't help it, that scene gets me every year), keep singing, we sit, the service continues. About halfway through the service, I look down...and there are no palm branches under the table. Where did they go? What did I miss? I still don't know. Did I really see the kids set them down? The sun and tears were in my eyes, after all. Friends could shed no light; when I mentioned the mystery to the baritone behind me, he said, "Did that happen? When did the kids come in?" LOL.

The preaching text was Matthew's account of the triumphal entry, with a twist I had never heard before: why two donkeys? A naturalistic explanation would be that it's almost impossible to separate a mother donkey from her foal! But the application our pastor drew was that the second donkey is for each of us to ride, to go with Jesus straight into and through the crises of our lives. As we know, to get to Easter, we do have to go through Good Friday.

We are all going to be crazy busy this week. My prayer is that we will each make time for reflection, and intentionally and consciously walk through this week with Jesus.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Five: Time for Palms

Mother Laura says:

Can you believe Daylight Savings Time is here already? It's hard to get used to the new, earlier onset. My family has been getting up and out a little late and a little sleepy in the mornings. (Yeah...us too.)

And can you believe that in two days it will be Palm Sunday for Western Christians? Our Lent is almost over, while our Orthodox sisters and brothers, whose liturgical year follows the older Julian calendar, are just starting theirs. Nicholas did a recent book report on George Washington, and we were surprised to find out that our first President's birthday was originally Feb. 11, since he was born just before the change to the Gregorian calendar. Apparently the change almost caused rioting, as some indignant people were sure that they were being cheated out of eleven days of their lives!

To help you adjust--and enjoy the process--here's a Friday Five about time and transitions....

1. If you could travel to any historical time period, which would it be, and why?

As an almost-was English major, I waver between two choices: Elizabethan England, and high Victorian London. Between the two, I guess I'd go with the nineteenth century because the improvements in sanitation and health care since Elizabeth's day would make it an easier place to visit! Victorian London was a modern society in many ways, and I would enjoy seeing how everyday people lived.

2. What futuristic/science fiction development would you most like to see?

Wouldn't it be convenient if Scotty could just beam you up whenever you were running late?

3. Which do you enjoy more: remembering the past, or dreaming for the future?

I am fond of remembering the past, because so many of my dreams have already come true. But that makes planning and working toward the new dreams a pleasure too.

4. What do you find most memorable about this year's Lent?

I am sorry to say it has gone by in a blur.

5. How will you spend your time during this upcoming Holy Week? What part do you look forward to most?

This will be an extremely busy week at work, as (1) it is Spring Break all over our six-county region, so tout le monde made their children's eligibility evaluation appointments for this week, and (2) we are preparing for our state audit the first week of April, and I have to get all of my files in order before I get on a certain big boat on March 27. So the part I am looking forward to the most is Good Friday, when I am most definitely not working, and plan to spend the whole day at home. We are singing Dale Wood's "A Service of Darkness" that night. It has been a while since I participated in a Tenebrae service, so I'm looking forward to that.

I'm also looking forward to Easter morning, of course, and celebrating with two wonderful anthems, C. V. Stanford's "Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem" and Ralph Vaughn Williams' arrangement of "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name". Then we'll come home and grill a leg of lamb! Marinate the butterflied leg of lamb in olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped fresh rosemary or oregano. Drain the marinade, then rub the lamb with more herbs and grill it to medium/medium rare. It's a fabulous Easter dinner. If you have a vegetable grilling basket you could cook some asparagus alongside. I think I'll make a lemony rice pilaf too...and maybe some strawberry shortcake!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wowie Zowie! He Saved My Soul

He's the Rock that doesn't roll!

I am way behind the curve on commenting on the death of Larry Norman, who left us on February 24. If not for the often-maligned Larry Norman, there would be no "contemporary Christian music", good or bad--none of the artists I loved back in the day (and still do), like Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, Keith Green, Steve Taylor, all the way to current bands that you or I may never have heard of, but whom the kids in our youth groups know very well. In these times when every church has a praise band, it's hard to remember the horror with which the combination of Jesus and rock and roll was greeted in the late '60s and early '70s. My friends and I weren't horrified, we were thrilled!

This is the best video I could find of my favorite LN song, The Rock That Doesn't Roll. The video and sound quality aren't so great, but when you watch it, try to imagine how exciting this music was to young "Jesus people", so long ago.

Go dig out your old vinyl copy of Only Visiting This Planet or--even better--In Another Land. They still rock! Better than that, they still praise and glorify Jesus.

Rest in peace, brother Larry, and rock on.

Re: crossover voters

There's a lot I could say--particularly about some people's visceral, irrational fear and hatred of That Woman...but I'll just say: Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't you be mortified to admit that you had gone out and done something, anything, because Rush Limbaugh told you to?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Calendar flip

Time continues to march on, and I am another year older. We celebrated yesterday with an afternoon of museum meandering, including the members' preview of the new Pompeii exhibit at the MFAH. I was a bit disappointed, but I don't know exactly why, or just what I expected the exhibit to include. It mainly included multiple cases of jewelry and small household items recovered from the site, along with several of the poignant and unsettling plaster casts made of the people--and even a dog, poor creature--who were unable to escape the volcano's eruption. At Pompeii there are so many of these casts that one can see them tucked away in storage areas next to random bits of pottery. Their pathos provides reminders that these were mothers, fathers, children, people not so different from us. A more amusing example of our common humanity was a mosaic from the wall of a tavern, with patrons yelling to the barmaid, "Here," "No, it's mine," and the weary barmaid's rejoinder, "Whoever wants it should come get it!"

Later we walked down the street to the crafts museum and enjoyed a traveling exhibit with everything from glass (our favorite) to handcrafted chairs to mid-twentieth-century silver teapots. We topped off the afternoon with an early dinner at a fabulous restaurant where locally-produced foods are emphasized. Barack Obama's local headquarters is across the street from the restaurant, and as we relaxed on the patio before dinner, we watched young staffers standing on the corner nearby, waving placards and cheering for their candidate as many passing motorists honked in appreciation (or so it appeared).

Two more days until the primary! I'm looking forward to seeing the results, and I will be so glad when the political phone calls stop!