Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Choosing Lent.

With a whopping 13 minutes till Lundi Gras, I began seriously thinking last night about what I may give up for Lent this year. (No time like the present, right?)

Around the same time, my multi-tasking mind recalled I hadn't watched a video my daddy had sent about nature. Keeping the parenthetical notation above in mind, I opened it, letting my mind ponder how I'd gone from a curious Baptist interested in her Catholic friends' devout practices to a member of a Presbyterian church where Lenten sacrifices are not only discussed, but encouraged. 

Watching the video, I was reminded of some of the reasons why I think Lent is important, regardless of denomination. 

First, the video: 

Now, a few reasons why Lent is important to me:
1. Sacrifice sharpens us. We never know when we'll need a skill, like being able to run fast, or spot a hole to climb in, or take a deep breath and think clearly. Maybe I've read too much Hunger Games.... Anyway, discipline can't hurt, right?

2. Sacrifice reminds us to be thankful. There may be better ways to learn appreciation than to go without even small things, and even for a short periods of time, but I'm not sure what those ways are.

3. Sacrifice reminds us we're not alone. Do I sometimes feel alone, like the only squirrel being chased down by the mean hawk? Well, naturally. I'm guessing many of us do. But is it possible for there to be one little squirrel in the forest? Doubtful. You and I are one of many, and can share so much. We just have to allow ourselves to. 

4. Sacrifice makes celebration sweeter. This fact, in the land of carnival and king cake known as the deep South, seems like such a no-brainer. But I think sometimes especially in the midst of such excess we need the reminder of why it all exists even more. It's not just a party for tourists. There's a story behind it, and come Easter, the real celebration is more heartfelt and glorious than any masquerade ball or parade could ever hope to present itself.
Baptist or Catholic, atheist or non-denominational, Presbyterian or Methodist, none of us are strangers to the feeling of being a small squirrel that is chased down by a ruthless hawk. Our inboxes fill with stress. Bank accounts remind us of our weaknesses. There are days when rather than blessings, our cups runneth over with relationship problems, health concerns, or repercussions from decisions we made ten years ago. No one is immune to parenting mistakes. No one can escape fears of the future. Hawks come in all shapes and sizes, and whether or not we believe there's a God or Lent is something we should partake in, we can't evade pressure.

We can, however, sharpen ourselves. We can meditate on what is true and just and pure. We can prepare ourselves for what may come our way. We can see what sacrifice feels like and appreciate what others (in my case, Jesus on the cross) have done for us. 

So that's why I choose to keep getting myself into this Lent situation. 

Because I'm far less prepared than any squirrel, and since every day brings a new hawk, it's clear this squirrel of a girl needs to take every opportunity to get busy sharpening skills and counting blessings. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Repost from another re. My ongoing love affair with my home state, Mississippi.


One outstanding quote:

"All growth is change and pain, but stagnancy is far worse. Life shouldn’t pass us by because we are virile, tough things. We are made from your delta, your seashore, and your folklore. Let’s give equal parts thanks and sorrow. Let’s mourn our wrongdoings and celebrate our indomitable spirit."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: Word.

Some of you know that instead of making one or two New Year's resolutions, I choose a meaningful word and try to squeeze the most out of it for the year's entirety. In the past, my words have been " "maintenance" or "structure" -- synopses of efforts to continue healthy habits or put some rigor around areas that need it.

For 2014, my word is "resourceful." 

While few people have truly limitless resources, many of us are truly limited in what's at our disposal. What could I be making the most of that I'm currently not? Time? Talents? Money? (These things may often seem in deficit, but really, am I using them wisely?) What about my most valuable assets: Friendships? Family? My home? My city? My country?

This year, my goal is to explore these things. 

Here's hoping I glean the marrow from them, being as resourceful as possible.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Heavy Stones.

A huge fan of older hymns, I'm admittedly hesitant to accept newer praise songs, much less allow them to snag my heart and hold my interest as often as they did years ago. 

Today, though, I heard Sojourn's "Lead Us Back" for the first time in my church's acoustic service. Everything about it was touching and heartbreaking, and I don't want to lose what I learned from it. 

My goal is to feel the weight of the stones I throw, and to develop an ear that can identify all the wrong enthralling siren songs before I succumb to them. Should be easy enough, right? ;-)

The song from YouTube and the lyrics are pasted below. 

Lead Us Back 
(Falling Down Upon Our Knees) 
by Bobby Gilles, Brooks Ritter 
Copyright © 2006

Falling down upon our knees,
Sharing now in common shame,
We have sought security,
Not the cross that bears Your name.
Fences guard our hearts and homes --
Comfort sings a siren tune.
We're a valley of dry bones;
Lead us back to life in You.

Lord we fall upon our knees,
We have shunned the weak and poor,
Worshipped beauty, courted kings
And the things their gold affords,
Prayed for those we'd like to know --
Favor sings a siren tune.
We've become a talent show;
Lead us back to life in You.

You have caused the blind to see,
We have blinded him again
With our man-made laws and creeds,
Eager, ready to condemn.
Now we plead before Your throne --
Power sings a siren tune.
We've been throwing heavy stones;
Lead us back to life in You.

We're a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You.
We've become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You.
We've been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

5 Things I'm Thankful for Today.

  1. Fall weather. 60-degree temps? In the deep south? Yes, siree. Bring it on.
  2. Crock pots. The scents wafting throughout the house, the prep and being able to do other things while meals are cooking, the multiple servings of meals when the slow cooker has finished slow cooking...it's all good. Literally.
  3. Hope. 'Cause you know, it's a pretty huge motivator and the best non-narcotic ever. Ever. Also, it can keep you going through the next week, which is amazingly nice.
  4. Football season. You know, my teams don't have to win, but it's really nice when they do. Well, when some of them do. Specifically the Saints and LSU. I'd love for Southern Miss to do well, but...maybe next year. :-)
  5. A grandmother who recovers well enough from her stroke to come home. And parents who are willing to change their lives to help her. That was long, but I think necessary.