Fat Tuesday, or is it Shrove Tuesday??

So today is Mardi Gras! Interestingly when I was a youngster and one who would likely have run off to a far away place to join in the celebration, I didn’t even know what that was or meant. I grew up in a church that celebrated Lent, we had services on Wednesday nights and such, but all of that other part, was not in our vocabulary. Perhaps I really did grow up under a rock, who knows.

Eagle banner

Eagle banner

I just did some digging about the history and meaning of Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.  I guess it wasn’t that I grew up under a rock, it is because I grew up Protestant in South Dakota that I don’t have childhood memories of this day. Of course only having two channels on a black and white television didn’t help matters much.

I learned that it began in the Middle Ages in Europe and may have been related to a pagan holiday regarding the coming of spring. As I read yesterday in a note from my mentor, Pastor Keith, it all has to do with the spring equinox and the full moon, so I get how the pagan side comes into play especially in the Middle Ages.

More of the Christian historical part, which any of you can dig into more on the web if you so desire, has to do with confession (Shrove–shriving, confessing) before beginning the season of Lent. Lent was traditionally about fasting and cleansing oneself spiritually. The day before Ash Wednesday became known as Fat Tuesday because people would clear all the food items from their home that were “rich” and wouldn’t hold for 40 days. Things like cream and eggs and butter and such. Thus the practice of eating pancakes came into play because all of those foods can be used up in pancakes. There was also an interesting piece about how the pancake is shaped like the sun and so the connection to spring and the pagan origins.

Second banner

Second banner

At any rate, in my church we are not taught to fast and deprive ourselves at this time. Instead we are taught to be more giving, more aware of those around us in need and more willing to do the things that Jesus did. Our church in particular will be spending the five Wednesdays after tomorrow looking at the things that Jesus did while he was on earth. Especially we will focus on the things he did for others. He fed–multitudes with very little, healed–even from death, calmed the storms–literally and internally, and then we will throw in a little story where he cleaned out the temple and tipped over some tables, that is going to be the fun one to relate to in our culture. Finally we will end with how he forgave–even while hanging on the cross.

Hopefully this will all work out as well as I am planning. In the meantime, I think I just might make some pancakes for supper. Too bad I don’t have any left over mashed potatoes, those would be great. Better yet would be some mashed pumpkin to use in pancakes. Hey, maybe I can pull out some of my frozen pumpkin and see how that turns out. Hmmm maybe with some pork chops… I will share tomorrow.

For my picture today, I am sharing with you the two banners we now have hanging in the back of our church. I think they are beautiful and well worth the effort of choosing the picture and the verses. We had a woman from our area quilt them for us. We didn’t know exactly what the finished product would look like, but boy was it a zillion times better than anything I could have imagined.

So, what did you do on Fat Tuesday? What will you be giving up for Lent, or what project will you be adding to give to others during these 40 days. I haven’t decided on mine quite yet. Oh, if you want to see some of my projects check out, lucindacrafts and for my garden updates see, lucindagardens all at wordpress. Take Care for now!!

Transfiguration–Transformation message

This was the message today. The scripture used were: Exodus 34:29-35, II Corinthians 3:12-4:2 and Luke 9:28-36.

Our two words for the day are transfiguration and transformation. I really thought that if I looked up one, I would find a definition for the other. I really seriously felt that these two words were extremely close synonyms. And perhaps in many ways they are, but I was more than a little shocked at what I saw with the word, transfiguration. This word is defined very particularly about Jesus. It is a change in the appearance of Christ on the mountain with three of his closest disciples.

Transformation is defined more as a change in structure or appearance or attitude. For some of you who are starting to catch on to the way I think or present things, you already know that we are going to talk about that last word, “attitude” in terms of transformation today. But first, I want to tell you a little story about a funeral that James and I attended this past week.

Now I will be honest with you, lately when I have the chance to sit in the pew and listen to how someone else talks to a grieving family, I pay attention. I want to know how the family is handled and what sort of advice is given to them, and if the deceased is even acknowledged by the person giving the message. (We have had some personal family experiences when we didn’t think the minister even knew who the funeral was for.) Let me just clarify that on Thursday we knew exactly who the deceased was and the priest did a lovely job of engaging the family and letting them know he knew them, and he knew their mother well. And while he didn’t carry on about her faith, though she was quite stanch in her beliefs, I was very interested in an interpretation he made regarding her lifestyle and her many illnesses.

See this lady was not a healthy woman. She had heart problems, diabetes and as of late some real trouble breathing. In fact she had a defibrillator attached to her and at least twice before her passing, her husband had to activate it to bring her back. She was told some years ago that she should have a new heart, but it didn’t sound like she was a candidate for a transplant.

Now keep those things in mind as I tell you the description the priest shared about the sort of lady she was. She was a giver. She wanted nothing more than to feed you or care for you or do something to make you feel better. And mostly food was her way of showing you how much she liked you or appreciated what you did for her. It was mentioned that they could not be in the field or on the yard at her farm without her insisting you stop in the house for lunch. I also don’t know how many times we have been at some birthday party or celebration of some kind where she was and there were trays upon trays of wedding kuchen that she made for the event. And when you hear the story of how her mother died young and find out that she helped raise her younger siblings, you know she was someone who cared deeply for her family and did whatever she could for them.

So what could the priest have possibly said about this woman and her life style and her illness that amazed me and sort of made me take a step back and think that maybe I had just been flipped on my head? His comment that her illness may have been part of God’s plan to help her learn to be more accepting of what others could give to her. What? Really? He suggested that when we are in the presence of God, not only are we praising and sharing our love for God, but we are in the presence of the epitome of love, and we need to be able to accept that love as much as we need to be able to give our love. We must be able to receive, be able to take in, be able to accept what God has for us. Wow! Really?

God might have to go to such lengths to make us see, to make us transform our ways to open ourselves up to the love that Christ has for us. At the least it was an interesting thought, an interesting twist on how to look at things and situations. For me it fit fairly well into that theme of our denomination that God is Still Speaking, God is still telling us new things.

Moses when he went up the mountain to receive the commandments from God for the Israelites was changed in a way that made his face to shine with such radiance that the people could barely stand to be around him. It was so bad that he started to wear a veil so he was able to be with the people. Yet in the passage from II Corinthians Paul explains that the veil became more of a curtain that kept the people from seeing the truth.

When Jesus was on the mountain with Peter and James and John and he was transfigured, Luke tells us that his raiments (his clothing) became dazzling. Apparently it was the brightest white you could imagine, and then make it whiter, almost sounds like an advertisement for a laundry detergent. The brightness was so overwhelming and the change in Jesus that the disciples saw seemed to frighten them. Peter didn’t even seem to know what he was saying let alone understand what he was suggesting they do, build houses for Jesus and Moses and Elijah there on the mountain.

Some of the scholars, the bible experts look at this passage as a “mountain” moment. They talk about it as something that happened in a high place, almost like a great feat or major event. But it was more than just a time to go to a mountain and meet with some of the major figures of Biblical history. It was more than a chance for Jesus to have a summit or ask some of the older prophets for advice or a plan or any of that. And it wasn’t just a meeting to show the disciples who Jesus really was and how important he was.

As we are looking at this passage about this event in the life of Jesus, we are looking at how it is about a change. It was a change that Jesus had to go through to prepare for his journey into Jerusalem and the time leading up to his betrayal and crucifixion and resurrection. Meeting with and being seen with Moses and Elijah was an important part of that change. Hearing the voice of God exclaiming that Jesus is his Son, and they were to listen to him was an important event for the disciples to experience in their learning and growing to be his disciples. It was part of how they changed.

At his birth, which we celebrate as Christmas, Jesus changes from a heavenly spiritual being into a tiny human baby so that he can come into this world as one of us. But at Easter at the time of his crucifixion when he dies a human death, he is able to rise again, not just in ghostly or spiritually, but in human form and in spiritual form. Jesus alone has that ability. And this event that we read about today is part of that change in him, part of that process that allows him to be who he is as God’s Son and our Savior. It really isn’t as simple as I might be making it sound, but all I can grasp at this time is that it was a change and one that was necessary for Jesus to be who he was to us and to God.

On Thursday as I listened to the idea the priest had about how God may have used illness to make the deceased woman change enough to allow others to do things for her, to show her their love for her, I began to think of what that might mean for me as a church leader and for us here in our church. I began to think of how I am always talking about how we are to give and to search out others who need us and what we might have to offer. I began to realize that I have been so busy focusing on what we can give that I never once stopped to think of what we might receive from someone outside of ourselves.

And even as I pondered the whole thing, instead of accepting the blame for myself, I chalked it up to our German-Russian heritage: that fierce stubborn independent quality that makes us so self-sufficient. Yet maybe as long as we are able to carry on without any help from anyone else, we are missing out on all the love and nurturing and the blessings that we might receive by opening ourselves up to others, perhaps not just in sharing what we know about Christ’s love, but listening and communicating real genuine communicating. What an idea!

It was mentioned to me that we are beginning to see our current place in our community and our wider church in how we share our resources with others, but I think perhaps there is more. I think that maybe it isn’t just about sending resources and things away from ourselves, but perhaps we need to be ready to see what happens when we open ourselves up to the love that we will receive when we open wide our arms in welcome as we are welcomed by Christ.

As the face of Moses was changed, his skin became radiant, shinning so brightly it scared those around him. As Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, so we too are to be transformed, changed, made different because of our love for and acceptance of the love of God through Christ. Because we are able to accept Christ’s sacrifice for us, because we look to Christ’s love for us and receive it, we also accept the change that God makes in our lives.

We are to be different. We are to be God’s creatures. No, becoming a Christian doesn’t result in an instant and absolute and no problems sort of change, but with God’s help and with prayer and study and worship with a fellowship of believers, we are able to offer ourselves for the change that the spirit of God can and will work in us. If we are willing to receive the love that God has for us, we can be transformed into the believing Christian that Christ died for, we can each be the one that he is waiting to welcome home to be with him worshiping God and receiving God’s love.

When we are willing to allow that spiritual change in our lives, then Christ’s time on earth and sacrifice is worth the cost. And the veil that separates us from God’s love will be removed and Christ’s arms that were stretched out on the cross can be stretched out in a loving embrace for us. May we go today with the idea that we are ready and willing to be spiritually transformed so that we are able to share with others about the life changing love that God has for all. Amen!

Friday’s ramblings

I didn’t make a list today, so I could say that I did more than I planned, but that really isn’t true. I made a mental list last night and on it were lots of plans. I have hardly touched that list, but because it isn’t on paper, not much is done. There have I rambled enough to turn you off so you skip this post and just keep on scrolling, looking for an interesting picture to like or a couple of opening sentences that catch you attention. You will get nothing here worth reading so perhaps it is better for you to move on.

If you can’t tell, I am at loose ends today, out of sorts would be a good way to put it. I am at one of those crossroads that I can’t tell which way to turn or how to go about what is next. I am so much better in dealing with the urgent, the catastrophe, the right now demands than I am at planning the long-range the what is next sort of thing. Yet that really isn’t true either. I am great at planning events and large functions, but perhaps when you think about it those are demanding at the time. Those are urgent and needing attention.

I have things that need doing today, but I should be sitting down and writing a sermon for Sunday, yet, I can’t seem to put that on paper yet. Why? I have no clue except that I am out of sorts about a few things, and I just need to get over them and move on get them accomplished already. We have people in the congregation who are on the membership rolls, they live in the area, but they don’t show up in the building. Shall I call on them? What is the protocol? Who do I ask?

I am such an introvert, I don’t want to go out of my comfort zone. I need to sell this, but how do I sell anything? I can’t sell. Heck I would have a hard time selling hand warmers to a person living in the Arctic. I would probably show up on the only warm day of the year. I couldn’t sell a glass of water to a stranded motorist in a desert. The list goes on but you know what I mean.

I have these things that need attending. I need to write a message for Sunday morning. As I was getting started, I realized that we should be doing officer installation this Sunday, and I forgot to put it together. Great, just great! One more thing for next week. I did finally get some ideas going for the messages of Lent down the road. Hurrah for me, should I give myself an award or build a shelf to set it on.

Next is packing. If I plan to leave the house by 2:30 perhaps it would be a good idea to get the clothes in the dryer and fold up the dry ones and finish putting things into the suitcase. What about the food I plan to drag along? Maybe the cooler could be packed and put in the van. And then if I want to take along that skirt that I promised Jess I would repair. Good grief some of that could have been done on the machine….

Paint in mini cabinet

Paint in mini cabinet. This was a film strip storage unit. I bought it at an auction sale years ago. I store my thread in the top shelf.

Fabric paint/markers

Fabric paint/markers

What about all the other things that didn’t get finished yesterday, the plants need water and the …and the …and the … I did do a little decluttering today. I emptied that box of acrylic paint and found a home for the fabric paint and an idea about where to put the brushes. There is some progress. One thing I learned is that if I plan to ever do anything, the phones need to be taken away or turned off. I just can’t get anything done when I am on the phone. I used to tell my students it is a proven fact you can’t learn when your mouth is always flapping. Perhaps I need to remind myself of those things now and then. Hope your day was more productive.

Feb. sunrise and snow squall

Sunrise Feb, 3rd,

Sunrise Feb, 3rd,

I had all these plans to take a picture of the sunrise on the first day of each month this year. Fortunately I didn’t write anything about it in a resolution of plans of the year sort of thing. I did it in January and it is posted on my lucindagardens site, but for some reason I kept spacing it out in February, and something was nagging at me about forgetting a post of some sort. Oh well, not all plans happen and not all weeks are good. If I ever get past this sinus issue that has been plaguing me for the past two weeks perhaps my head will unfog and life will be better.

Sophia getting pelted with snow.

Sophia getting pelted with snow.

Speaking of sinus issues. I am using that as my official reason (notice how I dodged the word excuse) for not stopping at the Health Care Center today when I was in Eureka at the church office. I just couldn’t drag myself there. I had every intension of going , but when I got into the van, the wheels turned west and I headed home. The sky looked really funny the closer I got to highway 83, then as I came into town it was snowing. By the time I was in the house and hanging up my coat there was a full blown snow squall.

Looking to the north behind my mother's house.

Looking to the north behind my mother’s house.

I went to let the cats out, but Roger politely refused, and Sophia returned after she was pelted with some rather large flakes. I took a few more shots of the snow, and by the time I was back in the house looking at the pictures on the camera, it was over. By then the Knepfla soup that I had set on the stove to warm was hot, and it sure tasted good. It was almost too hot, but it felt so nice on my throat. Thinking of cold, my feet didn’t warm up today until I hit the Klaudt hill on highway 10. That was about the point when the heater in the van maxed out. I finally turned it down, but oh it felt nice. Looking at these pictures, you can imagine how nice a bowl of soup and warm heater were.

Trees behind the dike.

Garden view

Trees behind the dike

Trees behind the dike

I thought the ground hog said winter is over??????

 

 

 

 

Snow on the railing

Snow on the railing

Some Daughter time

Somehow when James and I sent the last daughter off to college, we started down this path of what some call empty nest living. It was easy and after living for three and a half decades with the constant responsibility of children, it was refreshing and relaxing to just be ourselves. And believe me we weren’t so much being a couple as we were a couple of people inhabiting the same house. We ate/eat together, go places together, but evenings we usually are doing our own things in our own areas. Not sure how we would survive in a one bedroom with a single television. Sad….

Family is what counts

Family is what counts

Well, last week with the birthdays and on and on, it has become apparent that there is no empty nest. It just moves and as much as we want to move into the world of no worries and no cares, our children are there and we need to be part of their lives and need to have them in ours. So today this post is about FAMILY. Interestingly we received a neat reminder of that from James’ youngest brother and his wife. Cassie made boards with Family burned onto them and each with a different picture. She did ours to reflect the cats that we have and it is perfect for us. It hangs in our kitchen by the door, but I am starting to think it needs a more centered spot. I will begin thinking about where to move it.

IMG_6258We are about to embark on a series of weeks of going to Paulina’s indoor track meets. We missed her first two and are planning to go to the rest, but you never know what comes up. We missed the first one because of a funeral and as much as we don’t prefer it, that could happen again, so for now we will plan one week at a time. Tonight after the game we are heading to Jamestown to stay with the girls and then on to Concordia College in the morning for the Cobbler Duals meet. I am excited, of course anytime there is a track meet, I am excited. The truth is I don’t even need to know any of the participants, it is just fun for me to watch the competition.

Snow is melting in sunshine.

Snow is melting in sunshine.

The tentative schedule for James’ team the Linton-HMB Lions is already hanging on our fridge, and I so the feeling of spring is beginning to seep into our bones. It makes it much easier that the sun has been shining for the past few days bringing much needed light to the skin and brain and mental health. The picture on the left is of the spring bulb garden that we started two falls ago. Last spring was its first sprouting and I look forward to what will return this year. We tried to cover it with plenty of leaves and mulch incase the winter was open (no snow). It looks to me like we need to hope for more snow, or get a bit more cover here. Always something when you have a home and yard, but no matter what, I am resolved that we will spend more time with family and not just grandchildren. I had a great outing with my aunt yesterday, and was able to attend Elisabeth’s basketball game on Tuesday. I guess we need to be more about those sort of things, and less about sitting in the dark watching TV and playing computer games. Ha!! What family encounters have you had recently??? Share!!

Happy late birthday, Victoria

I guess as long as I started the late birthday theme this year, I could just as well continue it. Yesterday was Victoria’s birthday, so today I will give her a shout out and say Happy Birthday. She received all of her presents the same day that Jessica was hosting her party, so no delay on that end. It is just we didn’t get a card or even talk to Victoria on her birthday. In my defense, I did send a text.

In seventh grade.

In seventh grade.

Kindergarten picture, love what I did with her hair, poor child.

Kindergarten picture, love what I did with her hair, poor child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So along with the Happy-that-you-are-a-day-older wish, I have decided to post a few fun pictures for her. The pictures above are on the wall in the area going down the steps at our house. One of these days, we will take them all down and put them into photo albums to preserve them for the girls to have. I am guessing that day will come when we ever decide to put another coat of paint on the wall, which I keep hoping is soon, but I am not sure how we will get off some of the highest pictures. I had to stand on a makeshift scaffolding to get them up there, and I don’t feel that brave anymore.

This picture was Memorial Day of 1990 according to the writing below it.

This picture was Memorial Day of 1990 according to the writing below it.

Outside on the deck of Jamestown house sometime in the 1990's.

Outside on the deck of Jamestown house sometime in the 1990’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures above are in a collage that I have in my room. They were taken several years earlier when there were only two siblings. The height difference, though still there, is not quite as noticeable. I see where little Ana gets the idea that a cap or hat is fun to wear.

Ana with her hat on the floor.

Ana with her hat on the floor.

Jaxon playing games

Jaxon playing games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to organize the sister picture while stopping the photo bomb.

Trying to organize the sister picture while stopping the photo bomb.

I can’t believe that I took both cameras along to Jessica’s party and never used either of them very much. Sometimes that is how things go. I do have this one of Ana in our room at the hotel that I can share with you, and one of Jaxon in Nate and Vic’s room. Below is a picture of Nate goofing around with the Barbie dolls that Victoria took for Ana. He was trying to photo bomb the picture of the three sisters before they could all get settled on the couch. What a bunch of goofs!!

I will stop here for now. Hope you had a good birthday Victoria, and may we all have many more years of goofing off together. It was worth the trip to all hang out. One of these times we will do it for more than just a day or two.

 

Happy 30th Jessica

Paulina, Victoria holding David, and birthday girl, Jessica on her birthday.

Paulina, Victoria holding David, and birthday girl, Jessica on her birthday.

I will start with a sorry to my daughter for being late in congratulating her about her birthday in my blog post, but we were with her on her birthday, and I thought it was rather rude to duck into the other room just to post this. Of course I could have done it in advance and set it to post on a timer, I have read that is possible, but well, hind sight. So today I decided to claim my blog spot back by upgrading to a premium site. I have been unable to upload media for some time, but that is all over now, well at least until I fill this new amount. I am so excited to be writing here again and especially to be starting with a shout out to my first daughter for her big day.

Jessica's college graduation with her sisters.

Jessica’s college graduation with her sisters.

She commented that life is a rush through your 20’s and hitting 30 is such a change. Ha!! Wait until she is 50 I hope she can read her words then. Being 30 is good. It can be a time to secure your career. It is different from 20 when you are trying so hard to establish yourself and get noticed. I think she has done that. I think she will be fine! I don’t worry about her quite as much as I used to, though there are days, I wish I were close enough to lean over her shoulder and help out a little more to take off some of that load she carries.

I am listening to Adele’s 25 album as I write this and the lyrics of “When We Were Young” sort of fits here.

Jessica's early pictures on the wall going down the steps at home.

Jessica’s early pictures on the wall going down the steps at home. The one of her with the NSU shirt has always been my favorite.

You look like a movie
You sound like a song
My God, this reminds me
Of when we were young

Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
Jessica age 1 or 2

Jessica age 1 or 2

 

 

 

 

The other part of today was opening up my devotion booklet and finding what seems to be the perfect sort of story for Jessica on her birthday. The writer tells of a children’s message where the minister used children’s buckets to pretend shower the children with God’s love in order to show them how much God cares for all of us. That love never runs out. I took a snap of that print up to share here.

The Upper Room devotional on Jan. 24.

The Upper Room devotional on Jan. 24.

I want to be sure to give credit where it is due. The photo is of page 32 of The Upper Room Jan-Feb. 2016. Reach it on the web at UpperRoom.org if you are interested in it. I am not meaning to sound like an ad, but as a past English teacher, I get nervous about plagiarism, so I try to give you the way to find the original. Anyway, HAPPY, HAPPY 30th Jessica. I hope we are able to be together for many, many more.

 

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