Looks like this celebration is a new family tradition!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Do you know what this sight for sore eyes is? It's King Cake- straight from New Orleans, and otherwise known as 'manna from heaven'. When I saw it, I almost cried. Kristina saved this small piece especially for me (her parents ordered it for her and had it sent to Louisville). I haven't been able to find King Cake anywhere in the Ohio River Valley, and I'm not talented enough to make one- although next year, I just may well have to try to do so since it's obvious no one around here has respect for the King Cake.
When I walked in the door after class on Thursday night, the first words out of my mouth to my husband: "I'm in big trouble. I have to break my fast." He looked at me, and I explained that there was no way I was going to let a piece of perfectly good King Cake go in the trash...or anywhere else except my mouth, for that matter. He readily agreed with me. So I savored every second of it, and even shared a teensy-weensy piece with Isaac. It was oh so worth it too!
Monday, March 7, 2011
One of the ways we can choose to celebrate the liturgical calendar is through the recognition and observation of the season of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday. The Lenten season is a time to reflect on our sin and the death to which our sin leads, to remember our need for Christ, to renew our commitment to the Lord by continual repentance of our sin, and to recognize that Jesus conquered the grave, and therefore conquered sin and death. Though not every Christian participates in Lent by fasting, it is a common discipline during this time of year. Many Catholic individuals fast from meat on Fridays (hence the plethora of Friday Fish Frys during this time of year), but you can fast from anything- food, drinks, hobbies, etc- which you feel may be becoming an idol in your life. Ideally, you would then use the time you would normally spend during that activity (whether it is eating, playing golf, or anything else) to draw closer to Christ through prayer, Bible study, Scripture meditation and memorization, and the like.
This year, I have decided to fast from television; I've noticed ever since we began subscribing to Netflix (we don't have any type of cable) last summer that I have watched more hours of television than I care to admit. Granted, subscribing to Netflix means we get to enjoy excellent British television and some great educational programs. However, Netflix's excellent selection of British shows and fascinating documentaries makes it rather difficult because I find myself wanting to spend more time in front of the telly.
I am not completely fasting from television, however, and am allowing myself the following exceptions:
1) The Amazing Race. This is a tradition for our weekly Souper Sundays and is a great time of fellowship with dear ones. It's an hour-long show on Sunday evenings (and I might just have to give Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes a few minutes of my time as well).
2) Workout DVDs. While the weather is definitely warming, I still like the option of popping in a DVD for a good work out in the morning before I head off to work. Hopefully, the amount of time I spent doing this will actually increase, since it's pretty pathetic right now.
3) BBC World News. I like to stay informed, and this is by far my favourite news program; it's a 30 minute show on weekdays. I realize this short segment will be sufficient news coverage for me considering how I listen to BBC Newshour and NPR and regularly visit several different news sites at work (my top picks: BBC News, Der Spiegel, NPR, CNN, and The Telegraph). I'm also adding some other responsibilities and activities to my weekly schedule, so I may not even be at home when the program is airing.
The traditional liturgical calendar doesn't count Sunday as a fasting day, and I toyed with the idea of allowing myself 'day off'- perhaps an hour on Saturdays or allowing myself to watch educational programming such as documentaries, but that just seems like an easy justification to watch television when I want. And besides, the Lenten season is 40 days (47 if you count Sundays); if I'm unable to give up television (except for the aforementioned three exceptions) for a little more than a month, then I've got some major issues which will need addressing.
And oh yes, I've just made a last-minute decision to give up sweets. Why? Because I love them. Seriously, my community group jokes about chocolate being my idol. And Cadbury Mini-Eggs are out in stores now, and if I don't purposefully give up those delicious little fiends, then I will spend our entire savings account on them. As an added bonus, I'm sure my gall bladder will thank me for not shoving copious amounts of solid milk chocolate egg shapes into my mouth.
Isaac is joining me in celebrating Lent by fasting from all types of soda. One of the things our church is challenging us to do as a body of believers during this season is to memorize Romans 8, which is 39 verses. We are excited about this challenge, and many individuals in our community group have already expressed their intent to be a part of this and are seeking ways in which we can hold each other accountable. Please pray that we would be diligent and committed to this challenge of hiding God's Word in our hearts.
What about you? How you celebrate Lent and Ash Wednesday?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
In other news, we are rolling right along in Louisville. Isaac is, as usual, swamped with all of his seminary classes, Pastor's School, two jobs, and responsibilities to different ministries at church. Last week, I decided he needed something to help him get through this crazy season. I ventured over to Hobby Lobby and bought this:
You might have seen this poster recently. It was actually produced by the British government in 1939, but was little used. Apparently, someone rediscovered the poster in the British government archives, determined that the copyright had lapsed, and began marketing it. My office mate and I actually repeat the phrase to each other as a mantra throughout the day. And indeed, Isaac found it very amusing himself. It's now hanging in the reading nook in our living room, but it might venture back into the study where Isaac spends many late nights.
Work is going well for me; I attended a training on the citizenship process and naturalization exam a few weeks ago, and the Refugee Elder Program is growing by leaps and bounds (read: six elders began the program this week alone). I'm still steadily working toward some of my goals at work for the year, including writing a job manual and conducting cross-training sessions with some of my colleagues. Obviously, jury duty has slowed me down a bit.
We also faced some illness which put us out of commission for a while. I cannot even remember the last time I had a real fever (over and above a low grade temp), but I sure enough did...and then passed whatever it was to Isaac a few days later. We're both feeling much better, and I have personally reunited with my new best friend Zyrtec. It may seem a little early for allergy season, but the pollen has already made its debut. I adamantly refuse to suffer through more sinus infections this year, so I've begun my preemptive strike: washing out the sinuses, gargling with salt water, and medication. We'll see how it works...