Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday?

Last Day to Feast!

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of forty days of fasting for Christians and perhaps for those who want to end a bad habit. The forty days is because Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness praying.

For many it is Mardi Gras which is the French term for Fat Tuesday. It is also Shrove Tuesday. It was customary for early Christians to ask to be forgiven of their sins or shriven on this day. The Pancake Bell would ring, people would confess their sins and then make pancakes in order to use up all the rich ingredients. During lent, people were not to eat eggs, milk, butter, or meat. People around the world will eat pancakes today in keeping with this custom.

It makes me wonder what people did with the eggs they gathered and the milk that the cows produced during that time. Cows have to be milked twice a day, so they probably made butter and cheese and ate it on Sundays along with eggs. Sundays were exempt from fasting because they were (and still are) considered days of joy in celebration of Jesus’s resurrection.

I always give up sweets and seldom make it the forty days. I have chocolate chip cookies to eat tonight! I plan to make it this year. (I always plan to make it!) I will give up the unhealthy sweets and add more prayer time. A time to grow spiritually is the benefit of lent. Hope you all find a benefit in this lenten season.

Valentine Trees Speak Volumes!

A new idea with lots of potential!

Tired of the flowers, candy, dinner out routine? How about a tree? Of course mine isn’t finished yet. I still have a couple days. My idea is to tape little messages on the ornaments. I read that many of the first valentines were puzzles. They were handmade and the creator probably spent hours thinking on it. I could put clues on the ornaments that leads to a hidden gift. That might be fun. Again, I have a couple days to decide.

The first commercial valentines were made in England in the late 1700s. They were printed or engraved and then colored by hand. In the mid 1800s Esther Howland started a valentine making venture in the top floor of her father’s Massachusetts home. She and her friends made intricate three dimensional valentines and sold them for $5.00 each. They made a nice profit of $100,000 in a single year! They are credited with making the first commercial American valentines.

I like Valentine’s Day because it is a day of love. One doesn’t have to have a sweetheart. I love my family, my friends, nature, good food, my kitties, I could go on. It’s a day to take stock of all the things I love. Of course a little chocolate will make the day extra special and perhaps another house plant would brighten my day. Just a suggestion to my sweetheart.

Winter’s Beauty!

Every season has beauty!

All I saw when I raised the blind was another gray, rainy day. January and February are known for long, gray days in Ohio. My eyes went to the birdfeeder and then this tree. It was beautiful!

I knew I had to get a picture, so I headed outside. I took several shots and then began to explore the yard. I noticed a few green leaves pushing through the dirt, a busy squirrel digging in my flower bed, and two robins hunting for worms. It was great! Mother Nature had given me a dose of her natural medicine.

We have several more weeks of these rainy, gray days but today there is snow on the ground. It brightens the day even with gray clouds. It’s not enough to shovel, but enough to make everything look fresh. I’m grateful.

I enjoy living in a state where I can experience four different seasons. This winter has been mild, and we are all eager to see if that will continue. I don’t want a delayed winter. Please no snow on my hyacinths this year! Today I will walk in the snow and look for other beautiful things nature has waiting to be discovered. Every day has something to rejoice in, and I need to remember that!

Pollyannas Make Us Grateful!

The Glad Game can change anyone’s outlook!

I was talking with a friend who had never seen the movie Pollyanna, but she knew what it meant to be called a Pollyanna. I think if there were more Pollyannas, people would be happier. Think of all the books written about how to be happy. Surrounding oneself with happy people is one of the suggestions.

Pollyanna was written in 1913 by Eleanor H. Porter. It eventually became a board game and a movie. It’s the story of a little girl who went to live with her rich aunt after her missionary parents had died. Her father had taught her the glad game and she taught it to the people of the town.

It’s definitely a feel good movie, which I like. It’s also a lesson in gratitude. Finding something to be glad about when a person is facing great difficulties is a challenge, but there is always something. Maybe it’s just a friend to talk to, which of course is something to really be grateful for!

Pollyanna is a fictitious character, but the story had a tremendous effect on its readers and obviously the entertainment world. I know it had an effect on me.

Mountain of the Holy Cross

Once was a national monument!

I discovered this photo in Michael Medved’s book God’s Hand on America. The photograph was taken in 1873 by William Henry Jackson in Colorado. The story of him carry heavy photographic equipment and developing the picture on site was fascinating.

The cross was formed by deep fissures in the mountain that were filled with snow. Explorers had talked about seeing it since the 1840s. When Jackson and his party finally reached a point above the fog, they were rewarded by seeing the gleaming cross. As they stared, a magnificent rainbow appeared. The men were awed by this sacred sign. The site became a holy site and attracted thousands. Some attributed miraculous cures to it.

The photo was widely popular and in 1951 became a postage stamp. Unfortunately, sometime in the 1940s the right arm of the cross was lost due to rock slides. The site was a national monument from 1929 until 1950. I thought some of you might find this as interesting as I did.

Beautiful Imperfections!

This bowl was created with a bump!

I love pottery. In fact my husband calls me a pottery junkie. This is one of my treasured bowls. I like it because it’s so different. I have a cupboard full of pottery bowls that were each uniquely created.

There is a Psalm that calls God the potter and refers to us as the clay. I’ve always liked that. It also helps me accept the fact that I’m not perfect and don’t have to be. My bowls aren’t perfectly created and yet they are beautiful and they hold a variety of things.

We hold a variety of talents and knowledge. I have bumps and imperfect coloring, but I still have talents. I can make a great pie and I can design a beautiful flower bed. However, being a good person who accepts others is what is most important to me.

The political environment of our country is so divisive it’s scary. I love my family and friends for who they are as unique individuals, and it really doesn’t matter if we have different political views. The potter who created me, created them, so I think that’s what is important. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone remembered our shared creator?

Fairies and Fires!

A Fire Provides More Than Warmth!

I love our wood burning fireplace. No, I don’t mind building the fires or removing the ashes. I think a fire has a magical quality as many stories have been told along side one.

Obviously man has used fire for centuries for heat, light, and cooking. It also keeps unwanted animals away. It even keeps the fairies away until the fire dies down and only the embers are left. The soft, red glow of the embers is an invitation to the fairies to come out of hiding. They cautiously gather in the ring of light and the ceremony begins.

The dance of the fairies is well known for its beauty and mystical quality. Only a few have witnessed it. I was told the fairies’ wings were silver and their clothes shimmered in soft colors of blue and green. After the dance, wishes were taken to the embers to see if they would be granted. Wishes that caught fire were accepted and white smoke carried them into the night sky.

I wonder if this will work in my fireplace. I think it’s worth a try!

Waiting, Just Waiting

Waiting for Snow!

A sled without snow is useless. All it can do is sit and wait for the flurries to fly. It makes me think of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and the Waiting Place where people just wait. Over the holidays I heard a lot about what people were waiting for in 2020.

Students are waiting to hear where they will be accepted for college, others waiting to hear about jobs, a few waiting for medical tests to be completed. All are waiting. The question is what do we do while we wait?

I admit I’m not very good at waiting. I choose not to be like the sled and just sit, so I’ve learned to redirect my energies if I can’t affect the wait time. There is always someone who needs help and there is always something that needs to be done. I love a new project that takes my mind off whatever I’m waiting to happen.

I don’t want to spend much time in Dr. Seuss’s Waiting Place. It isn’t a pleasant place and nothing gets accomplished. If you find yourself there, look around and see where you are needed. Giving of your time and talents will help you feel confident about what lies ahead. Also if it ever snows, get on a sled and enjoy the ride!

Santa Claus!

The Joy of Santa!

Clement Moore wrote The Night Before Christmas in 1822 to entertain his children. He had nine children! Moore was a religious man whose father was a minister, and he practiced his faith by teaching at the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church. I can’t imagine having to say all that when asked where I taught.

I wonder what Moore would think about the effect Santa has had on America. Being a religious man, would he be appalled that Santa reigns at Christmas and not Jesus? I think that he created a character that represents love and generosity. Jesus taught that loving others was the greatest gift. Santa loves all children and doesn’t discriminate. As an adult, I cherish the joy of Santa Claus and I hope Clement Moore would be proud of his Saint Nicholas.

Jesus is the reason Christians celebrate Christmas, but there are many people who aren’t Christians who demonstrate the love for others that Jesus talked about. They show love, kindness, and generosity and give credit to Santa. Santa embodies love, and I hope you all receive an extra dollop of love this year. Happy Christmas to all and to all a joyful new year!

A Cradle in Bethlehem

The Maple Grove Players Present!

Christmas in Pine Grove will be performed this Saturday night at Maple Grove Methodist Church at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.00. The show ends with this scene which is what Christmas in all about.

We had a small audience last night during rehearsal, and I loved hearing how lucky I am to get to work with such talented people! It is true, and I am blessed. There were several comments about the nativity scene. My friend said she was so moved by the scene she couldn’t bring herself to applaud. Believe me, that’s okay! The scene is formed while the song A Cradle in Bethlehem is being sung. It’s on Nat King Cole’s Christmas CD. Google it! It is a wonderful song that many people aren’t familiar with.

After many weeks of rehearsal we are ready to share our God given talents. The show has lots of laughter and lots of music. I hope to see many of you there!