Monday, March 28, 2011


“Sh*t! Why did you bring pepperoni pizza. Don't you know it's Lent. I can't eat meat during Lent. D*mit! Now what am going to eat?” My co-worker stormed out of the lunch room as the young salesman who had bought us the pizza looked stunned and apologetic. The rest of us waited a moment and then thanked the generous salesman for the pizza and began to eat.

One of my good friends recently said,“Lent is always good for my diet. By giving up sweets for Lent I have managed to lose five pounds.” Is Lent just a forty day weight-loss program?

I am pretty sure neither one of the above stories are what the early church fathers had in mind when they came up with the idea of Lent. Neither one seems to reflect the love I see in Jesus, nor does either of them seem to show that their Lenten sacrifice makes them more spiritual or closer to God. Admittedly I have never made much effort at any particular discipline during Lent. I am a Christian, but the religious tradition of my childhood did not follow a liturgical year. The practice of one day or season as more holy than another was discouraged. Holy days were considered “denominational”, and therefore wrong. The strong anti-Lent attitude of the church of my childhood seems overly judgmental. Making others uncomfortable or bragging about the personal sacrifices you are making in the name of your religion is wrong.

It seems to me that Lent could be a very useful time of spiritual growth. I know several people who look upon Lent as a very important time of growth and reflection. I respect their faith and the reflection of Jesus I see in their life.

Is Lent a useful period of spiritual growth in your life?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The News

So how do you handle the news from around the world? I hear about wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, genocide, economic woes and nasty political attacks. Is there anything I can do about any of those? There is so much bad news that is bombarding us all the time. Sometimes I just want to go hide in a cave and wait until it all goes away. Unfortunately I can't really hide for very long, nor is there very much I can do to solve the big, awful problems of the world.

Here is my strategy for dealing with world problems.

1. I limit watching the news. I just turn off the talking heads that keep yelling,”Disaster, disaster, disaster!”

2. I find moments of peace. I find these moments in times of prayer, in yoga, and in swimming back and forth in a pool and just feeling the water flowing around me.

3. I do something good for somebody else. One of my better skills is listening, and it seems to help people when I just sit and listen to their concerns.

4. I laugh. Laughter is a wonderful stress reducer. Just look around and find the humor in your life. I assure you that are some very funny things going on in our world.

What are some of the ways you handle world news? Do you have a funny story that will make me laugh out loud? Where do you find peace?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another Day

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to one and all. May God's rich blessings fall on each of you today.

This day has always been celebrated with birthday cake in my family. My older brother and my younger son are both leprechauns born on Saint Patrick’s day. Happy birthday Bill. Happy birthday Paul.

It seems as I get older most of of the joy of my life comes from seeing the joy and excitement in the lives of my children and grandchildren. Last night my twenty year old granddaughter and her boyfriend came over to eat dinner with us. It was lovely to spend time with them and hear about the world as seen through their eyes. My oldest granddaughter is in the process of buying her first home. She is so excited and happy. Her excitement spills into my life and makes me smile. I seem to live vicariously through their lives. That is not all bad, but I need to find my own purpose and joy in life. I can't just sit and hope that one of the kids will have time to come by and visit and fill me up with the joys and concerns of their lives. I need to find a purpose of my own for each of the days remaining in my life.

This long recovery from foot surgery has been difficult. One of the hardest things was not being able to much of anything. For a long time I did nothing. I got comfortable doing nothing. I find joy now in each new accomplishment. I can again do most of the usual household chores. Who knew that doing laundry and cooking and cleaning up the kitchen would feel like such an accomplishment. I still can't walk far, but I can walk, and I will walk further. I am working hard at physical therapy and getting stronger. Still there are long periods of empty time that I mostly fill with reading and computer games. I need to find some activities now that make me feel useful to the world around me.

My question is now what? What shall I do with the rest of my life? What can I do that matters?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dust to Dust

“From dust you were made, to dust you shall return.” These were the words I heard as ashes were placed on my forehead yesterday. One of the main lessons of Ash Wednesday is that we are mortal. We will die. Live life now in the abundance of God's grace, knowing that this life is just temporary. There will surely come a time when I no longer need this body of mine.

With this thought in mind yesterday my husband and I filled out the registration for for the Anatomic Gift Registry. Perhaps I will yet get to go to medical school. Part of the form was our death certificate. We filled in all the necessary information, leaving only the date of death and the cause of death blank. When this body is no longer useful to me it seems like a good idea to let it be used for research to possibly help someone else to live a more abundant life.

Filling out my own death certificate was indeed a statement that I am living each day ready to die. Are you prepared to die?

Monday, March 07, 2011


A few years ago we visited New Zealand. One of the most beautiful places we visited on our tour was the city of Christchurch. I recently read this blog, written by a woman who was in Christchurch the day of the horrible earthquake on February 23. Her story made me cry. Read about it here.