Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Testing 1-2-3.

I'm attempting a blog post from my phone, so this is only a test. If it were an actual post, you know it'd be a lot more verbose. ;-)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Baby Jesus Cake.

My sister and her family are Yankees.

Ok, not really. They live in the northern part of Alabama. And in all fairness, they're transplants. But compared to the Biloxi, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge areas, it's kind of a stretch.

One of the more significant differences between here and there is the lack of Mardi Gras celebration "up north."

While our conservative Southern Baptist family is Protestant to the T, we still make room in our hearts, religions and tummies for king cake each year, so it was pretty important to us to introduce my nephew to king cake as early as possible.

Caleb is now 7, so I guess it was 4 or so years ago when he had a friend over during the Mardi Gras season after a king cake from home had arrived. It was time for a snack, and Caleb excitedly asked Will, "You wanna piece of baby Jesus cake?"

Caleb's friend reacted the way any Yankee -- ahem, I mean non-coastal person -- would, and firmly said no.

Who wants a piece of cake that sounds like it's made from the baby Jesus? No thank you!

However, Caleb's little-boy-terminology makes me think each time I remember it.

King cakes' inclusion of the plastic baby representing Jesus isn't just random; it's symbolic. While the whole point of Mardi Gras has been wildly exaggerated into a Bourbon Street perspective by the general public, its roots stem from the devout reverence for the many sacrifices that Jesus made for us.

So tasting this delectable pastry is more than just fattening up one particular Tuesday (and maybe every day before then, depending on how many delightful king cakes you're exposed to). Eating king cake and being reminded of the baby Jesus -- sometimes painfully in the tooth area -- are all part of what really is logical about Mardi Gras. We enjoy, we indulge, we celebrate life and all its gifts, and then we take some time to somberly appreciate those gifts, minus the indulgences.

But even still, if I were a Yankee (or something like that), and someone offered me a piece of "baby Jesus cake," especially when I was in pre-school, I probably wouldn't take 'em up on it, either. :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

FLASHBACK: A Southern Baptist's Crack at Lent.

In honor of the season, I'm flashing back blog-style to my very first Lenten participation.

The year was 2008, the setting was my first Mardi Gras in the BR, and my first one back in Mardi Gras/Catholic majority territory since moving from the MS Gulf Coast in '99.

And the blog format was -- wait for it -- MySpace.

That's right, kids. We all have our sordid pasts to live with. I appreciate those of you sturdy and willing enough to look past mine and read on.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

a Southern Baptist’s crack at Lent

I am giving up bread for the Lenten season.

Those who know me well might ask yourselves, "Why would a Southern Baptist girl give up anything for Lent?"

Well, in the midst of all this Catholicism over here in the BR, and especially during the Mardi Gras season, I have become much more aware of the meanings of these things, and since my friends here are making sacrifices in honor of the sacrifice Jesus made for us, I thought, "I might could do that, too."

So far, I am on Day 2 and I have only had one Subway sandwich. (That was yesterday, when the Subway Sandwich Artist told me she could not make me a salad. What else was I to do? Tonight, however, I managed to eat around the rice in my leftovers, which I considered a huge practice of discipline.)

The second question you may ask yourself is, "Why bread?"

I can understand the puzzlement, because when my coworker Shannon brought it up as her sacrifice, I laughed myself silly at her. I was like, "No way would I give up bread! Pasta! Cookies! Crackers! Bagels?!"

But then I started thinking about it beyond my surface level and realized that would represent a TRUE sacrifice for me. (I do love my bread.)

So there you have it. Pray for me.

Currently watching : Lost - The Complete Third SeasonRelease date: By 11 December, 2007

6 Comments - 7 Kudos

From one bread lover to another...Godspeed!

Posted by Bethanie on February 7, 2008 - Thursday 7:22 PM

Boy, do I understand. No one here has ever really understood when I try to do this each year. But, I am a Catholic out of water over here in Big Baptist, Mississippi. I always try to give up Cokes, but usually fail by day 3 or 4. This year, I'm giving up french fries. Yep - I said it! French fries, baby! ....eh, we'll see how it goes. Hopefully more than the standard 4 days :)

Posted by Skye on February 7, 2008 - Thursday 9:16 PM

i've done this before as a southern baptist. chocolate was my sacrifice. it gives you a feeling of overwhelming accomplishment. hang in there.

Posted by monica on February 8, 2008 - Friday 6:55 AM

You will be happy to know that I too have given up a few things for Lent:

1) Liver

2) Goat cheese

3) The worm in the tequila

4) Raw red meat

5) And last but not least, moldy bread

I knew you would be proud of me!

Posted by Greg Mo on February 15, 2008 - Friday 9:14 PM

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Dude... Just. Chill.

One of the most classic friends of my life had quite a way with words. It didn't matter what the situation was; there was always an anecdote. Some were cliches, some euphemisms, some movie quotes, and some were just plain Lynwood-isms.

Many times, it wasn't what Lynwood said, but his timing and tone that were most effective. (And which inevitably led me to a burst of giggles that could hardly be stopped, but that's probably another blog.)

The day before Lynwood died, my very OCD, blatantly-uncomfortable-around-sickness ex-boyfriend* was helping Lynwood's wife out by staying with him for a few hours while she took care of some things. Lynwood was in Hospice care, and we all knew from his medical caretakers that he didn't have much longer to live. He did, however, still have his sense of humor, even if he had to croak it out through a strained and painful whisper.

The day Mr. OCD sat with him, though, there was apparently some trouble with Lynwood getting a sip of water when he needed it. The friend sitting with him hemmed and hawed over how to make the water-getting work without putting L'wood in more pain. Helping him drink straight from the cup didn't work. Then helping him get the straw bent properly didn't work. Rearranging pillows to adjust Lynwood's position didn't work. Then the idea of putting an ice cube on his lips was too much.

The guy was about to call a nurse when finally, in Lynwood's final hours of life, he warily looked in his friend's direction, stared at him with weak but deadpanned eyes, and strained to whisper something too faint to understand. The friend leaned in, apologetically asking Lynwood to repeat it. Again, it was too faint. Finally, the message came through very clearly: "Dude.... Just. Chill."

The day of L'wood's funeral, the guy I used to date told this story to an intimate group of our friends, and my eyes stopped tearing up long enough from a life cut too short by the monster of cancer to laugh so hard that I started crying for much more hilarious reasons.

All I could think -- and I'm pretty sure I said that day -- was, there is no telling how many times Lynwood had said those very words to that guy during their friendship. That how-hard-can-I-make-life, I'll-try-so-hard-it-becomes-pointless, stupidly wandering but incredibly dedicated friend of his.

My ex-boyfriend wasn't the only one with issues that Dr. Vinson so kindly addressed for us. The things I vividly remember Lynwood saying to me with that deadpanned stare had to do with accepting things that Lynwood tried to do for or give me throughout the time we knew each other. And convincing me to believe the positive things he told me others thought about me. And telling me that despite what I thought of myself, I really was better than my own perceptions.

I admittedly am not sure L'wood wasn't just being nice most of the time, since I surmise he was a little softer on me for whatever reason. Maybe it was my being a girl, or the shorter length of time we'd been friends.

But still.

Sometimes, in a very scary moment, I'll occasionally find my ex-boyfriend's paranoid relationship views becoming contagious and wanting me to adopt them. (Yikes.) Thankfully, that's when L'wood's strained, sarcastic and hoarse whisper from a room I wasn't even in at the time reminds me, also: "Dude... Just. Chill."

And for those few minutes, I take a deep breath, and remember what life, and love, and beauty, and time are all about. I remember that crazy wonderful man's motto of "don't wait," and that he knew what he was talking about.

And I try to remember just how important it is to, well, just chill.

* Disclaimer: I blogged nothing I haven't said (and still wouldn't say) to the guy I used to date. And nothing that a million of our friends haven't said to both of us at some point. So, for the record, no backhanded bashing here. :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Five Things.

Five things I'm most thankful for lately are:

1. The ability to choose what is good for me and what is not, and to cut out the ick when possible. I've learned that this applies to everything from food to grocery store lines to who I choose to spend time with.

2. The realization that the peeps who really love me really love me.

3. The opportunity to spend time with my precious, growing-like-a-weed Alabama nephew who never fails to make me cackle.

4. Reminders that life is short, and that we should not wait.

5. Curly hair. (Let's face it. Humidity would be a lot tougher to handle without it.)