Thursday, February 27, 2014


More or less.
   With the brutal winter we have had, my trusty old van sits in the garage caked and encrusted with salt. It is so frigidly cold that it cannot be washed. My vehicle is not the only one out on the road looking like this - whitewashed non-descript color.
   Which has me thinking, that as ready as my van is for a wash, so am I ready for Lent. Over and through the year, we get caked in our sin, encrusted by the hurt or wounds we've endured, lost the luster of our first love - the Lord our God, or been slowly eaten by our anger, frustrations, and disappointments. We've covered ourselves up with rationalizations for doing what we do, for what we have said, for the good we've neglected to do.
   And into this season, steps in Lent.
  We come before God, we bring ourselves to God, and we rend out hearts, our spirits - cracking the caked on mess of the past year, splintering the crustiness that encases us, and in genuine honesty confess all. With contrite heart and spirit we come, weeping, lamenting, mourning, fasting, and lay it all before the Lord our God, knowing God can be trusted, for God is slow to anger, abounds in steadfast, ever-enduring love, God is gracious and merciful, full of compassion, and refrains from dispensing deserving punishment. We need this time. We need to come wholly before God. We need to repent from all that has kept us far from God. We need to bring our caked, encrusted selves to God and find the healing, the forgiveness, the new life, that comes from none other.
   And when we do, we are washed in the cleansing grace that is the Lord. And we are whole and complete. Forgiven, graced, renewed, and looking more like God has envisioned us, as we were created to be.
   I am so ready. Ready for Lent. To begin. And to be much more than my wintery self and soul.

Friday, February 21, 2014


The invitation comes to us from RGBP:
Just getting back from four days of silence, I am suddenly thrust back into the world. Wrestling with choices and seeing elderly decline in others, I am flummoxed about a Friday Five–so think of a favorite off the top of your head for:
1. food
      Does chocolate count as a food? If so, then it's chocolate. Otherwise, I don't know where to
      begin! I love spinach and all kinds of food. Hard to have absolute favorites.
2. drink
      Believe it or not, plain, ice cold H2O!!! That is my favorite drink of all. If this is regarding
      adult beverages - probably wine, or a gin & tonic.
3. animal
     Dogs! But I do enjoy and marvel at all manner of animals - moose, giraffes, koala bears, etc.
4. color
      That would be sage green. Just love it and it calms me.
5. time of day
      Evening when I'm home with LH and my greyt boys!!!!
Bonus: Any favorite you haven’t mentioned above that you want to bring up!
            Favorite TV Show - The Big Bang Theory
            Thank goodness it's on so often so I can almost see it every day!!! Never fails to amuse me.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Yes, it was a very snowy birthday this year! More than was forecast.
I had hoped to spend the day out and about. But, when I woke up, all was covered in over 5 inches of snow on top of what we've already had. I was going nowhere.
  So, I did what I said I was not going to do on my birthday. I cleaned house. One of my least favorite things to do on my birthday. Oh well, at least by late afternoon, I could enjoy the benefits of my labor.
   The day got better after a call from my cousin across the pond. Although, she had some not so good news to report. But called to wish me happy birthday. That was sweet of her.
   After I finished cleaning and was preparing to finally get to the bank and post office - for by now LH had blown out the driveway, sidewalks, shoveled the apron after the snowplows came through - the phone rang again! This time my niece calling all the way from Ethiopia!!! Just made my entire day. I haven't talked to her since Thanksgiving although I email her ordinary news from here every week. I can't wait to see her again - hopefully April, after Easter.
   I did manage to go to the Post Office, the bank, the gas station. And shortly afterwards, LH took me to dinner.
   When we returned there was a slice of triple chocolate cake for each of us. And it was creamy, moist and oh, so delectable!!! There were even candles on the cake.
   Hard to believe that I am so middle-aged. Most days I don't feel that old. Other days, I feel 80!
   It came awfully quick. I remember my parents at this age. I remember my aunts and uncles at this age. I don't feel as old as they. Perhaps, because I never had children. There is still a youngish child in me. Children age you. In more ways than one. But I don't have that yardstick to measure my age by - how old your children are and are getting. I can only measure by my niece and nephew and somehow it isn't quite the same.
   There is still much I'd like to accomplish and yet I know I won't get to it all. I will content myself with doing what I can in this time of life - where it takes me longer to get things done and the energy doesn't always last as long.
   In the meanwhile, I'm off to spend my day out and about - delayed from Tuesday. I have a couple coupons for my birthday and will see if I find something to redeem them on. If not, it's just good to out and look around. Eye candy, if you will. And pick up a couple of things for others.
   Thanks be to God, I am still here. Thanks be to God, I have had another birthday to celebrate, if only quietly. Thanks be to God, for the adventure of the year before me!

Friday, February 07, 2014


With Spring just 5 weeks away,

1) What do you anticipate with the coming of spring?
     Oh, I hate to say it - a very busy Lent/Holy Week/Easter season.
     On the fun side - gardening, putting in the herbs and tomatoes, planting red geraniums
     on the front porch flower boxes. The crocuses that will bloom and how, one by one,
     everything comes to bloom!

2) Is there anything you will miss about winter?
      At this juncture with the frigid cold and snow, nothing really!

3) Is there an occasion on the horizon to which you’re looking forward?
      A baby shower for my nephew and wife - I'll be a great Auntie!!!

4) Do you have a favorite spring memory?
      Swinging from the swing set as high as I could with the cherry tree in full bloom and fresh
      clean laundry hanging from the clothesline outsides. Don't know why this image pops up.
      Perhaps, the blossoming cherry tree, perhaps warm enough to be outside, perhaps, the
     freedom and carefreeness of swinging and only 5 or 6 years old, perhaps, the fun of
     seeing the clothes flapping in the breeze with the sun shining. It was a beautiful day.

5) Do you have a favorite spring flower/bloom, and if so, what makes it special to you?
        I really like several. Purple crocuses - because they are the first to bloom here adding
                                                                     a rich purple and orange color.
                                         Daffodils - for the sunshiny yellow.
                                         Hyacinths - for their pink and purple color
                                         Grape hyacinth - for their daintiness and purple hue
                                         Peonies - their thick, gorgeous colorful blooms

Monday, February 03, 2014

The Advent of Lent

Already it is a new month, and just about 6 weeks of winter left - although, we are to get a good snow event tomorrow night and Wednesday morning. Not looking forward to a challenging commute.
  Lent is getting close and I still have to plan out a Taize service which the church I am serving is hosting, and come up with a preaching scripture for a different Wednesday evening in Lent when I have to preach at a different church - the topic:
Why We Stand at the Cross.
   Yes, very general for 4 different preachers to deal with - the lucky one is the preacher who is to "preach" at the Taize service, in which there is no preaching, just silence.
  I haven't a clue really what scripture to ponder and where in the world I will go with this.
I'm thinking it's going to be a really short sermon!!!!!
I need more time to mull, to ponder this and I know I have to submit my scripture as a check that we are not all choosing the same scripture. However, no one can vouchsafe that we may not hit on the same reasons or themes. Ughh, I hate when things are this general and not more specific. Must be the J in me. Maybe its the Presbyterian I am in the midst of Lutherans!
  So, this week I'll be mulling and pondering, discerning and contemplating and most of all, praying for insight and direction. May God's Spirit be at work in me, outside of me, and all around this week.