Working on the devotional, for Ash Wednesday on the website (click on the Devotional link), got me to thinking about my memoires of the day - and of the traditions going with the day. For instance we always "fasted," or gave up, something for Lent. I'm pretty sure it was different things at different times but I do remember giving up both chocolate and "pop" for the 6 weeks. I would then put the money I "saved" into an offering box for the children's ministry.
One Ash Wednesday stands out more, however, because of what was added. I left for school as one of seven kids. I got home from school and was the oldest of 14 ranging in age from 14 months to me at 14 years old. I remember supper that night was a little hectic. Mom couldn't figure out how to have 16 people sit down at one time so we ate in shifts. Then there was the added problem of getting us all to the Ash Wednesday service because (you guessed it!) Dad was leading the service. I know we took two cars - one a van, probably with at least 8 in it, and "Mom's" car with the rest. Yes, the car seat, for the 14 month old, would have been used I just don't remember which car it was in.
So....... see! Your Ash Wednesday just got a lot easier! AND you can remember we are able to laugh even if it is only "looking back and remembering."
"I love technology. I love technology. I love technology!"
I have a tendency to remind myself, and others, of this when having difficulties with said technology. I have also offered to throw the technology out the window saying I would replace the window. One of the people I was reminding about loving technology, this week, pointed out to me a "hammer works better." Technology can definitely be frustrating!!
Then there are also the good things..... Dad used the computer a lot. He was doing more with the computer than I was and for a lot longer. He was trying to do a blog 15 years ago. The problem I would have was when he had a problem he would expect me to "fix it." I would always suggest he call his grandson to help. Thankfully we still have a lot of the work he did, on the computer, saved on "jump drives" so we can get to his writings and his family tree research.
Wonderful memories to have, even using the technology, when we can remember (find?) where we "saved" said jump drives. It also helps to have someone who knows how to use the technology easily available. I say again....... sometimes it is better to laugh...or you will start screaming!
Yesterday's Scripture was Jesus going to a "quiet place" to pray. (Mark 1:35) So I was pointing out, in the Devotional blog and at the churches I serve, the need to be able to s-t-o-p and find a quiet place to be in prayer. The need we ALL have to keep our relationship with God strong so we can continue to reach out and help each other. It also gave several of us an opening for remembering someone's quiet place. Like Susanna Wesley sitting down and pulling her apron up over her head. ALL of the kids knew to be QUIET and leave her alone.
I also remembered Dad telling me about driving to the local cemetery, pulling into it and parking the car. This was well before cell phones were even thought of let alone in use. It gave him a quiet, peaceful (and beautiful!) place to think through his sermon or whatever else he was working on.
I also learned, from my sister, how Dad would take the rowboat out from our grandparent's cabin. He would go far enough out you couldn't "talk" to him. IF we needed him we would have to wave our arms from the shoreline. He would have his portable typewriter and paper with him so he could work in the QUIET.
So......... where do you go for QUIET?
Which commercial do you think of when I mention "commercials"? Do you think of one you see all the time now? One from several years ago? One from quite a while ago -- like how to "spell b-o-l-o-g-n-a" OR "let Mickey have it - he eats anything!"? There are probably several ad executives who are feeling pretty good about now.
There is a relatively new one that has caught my attention: "How are YOU doing?" I apologize because I don't remember which health care facility is doing the advertising but the commercial is to encourage getting a physical and updating vaccinations. I totally agree with the idea - especially as Caregivers. I have been known to remind the primary Caregiver of the need for self care. After all if the Caregiver isn't also taking care of the Caregiver who will take care of the receiver when something happens to the Caregiver?
What I want you to think about now, however, is definitely the need for self care but please include Spiritual care with the physical and emotional care. Take the time to s-t-o-p to rest and re-create while you spend time with God. It may only be a "few minutes" but it allows you to feel God's presence giving strength and guidance. Something to think about.......
The music memory this morning, "Sweet Hour of Prayer," got me also thinking of the various kinds of music each of us likes and use. For instance I have praise music going pretty much all day every day. At lease I do now. When Dad was still with me I had the praise music playing in the background of the office and my sewing room. I usually had the clock radio set to the Christian radio station so I woke up to praise music. The thing is.... my family, even Dad, doesn't like the praise music. So when people are visiting there is no music playing.
Dad liked classical, Gregorian chants, traditional hymns and Taize. Thankfully he is the one that found me the Christian radio station when I moved to be his primary care giver. I still listen to the same station - just "on line" instead of the clock radio. I did ask Dad, one time, what it was he didn't like about the praise music. He told me "it is too repetitive." The songs tend to "repeat" the chorus, at least for Dad, too many times.
Now remember I said his favorite was Gregorian chants and Taize....... which ARE repetitive. Sometime you do have to laugh or you will start screaming!
It is wonderful to actually get some "free" time. Sometimes it is scheduled free time and sometimes it just happens. What we do with said free time also varies -- sometimes it is to catch up on the various things that have been neglected because of time constraints. Sometimes it is to try and learn something new.
I have been trying to do a little of both with the "winter weather," stay inside, warm and safe, days lately. I have finished a few projects and have been trying to learn a few new techniques with both my knitting and my quilting. All of which got me to remembering trying to learn new knitting with Dad sitting in his chair "watching TV."
You guessed it! This did not work!! Dad would wait until I was counting stitches, or lines on the graph, then he would add numbers in. Or he would wait until I was in the middle of something and ask me a question or if I would go get something. Either would break the concentration meaning I would need to start over. I did quickly learn something -- wait until Dad was ANY where else before I started something new!! Like I have said.... you either start laughing or screaming. I prefer laughing!
There has been a lot of talk, lately, about memories and sharing them. Recently I was part of a conversation about Christmas pageants and the funny stories we all have to go with them. Several of us had happy, and funny, stories to share. We had sung "We Three Kings," during the worship service, which is what had brought on the memories.
The two I thought of went with the hymn and both involved my Dad. He was one of the "kings" in each pageant. The first one he moved down the aisle with an interesting gait making a person wonder what was in the package he was carrying. He was having a good time and so were the kids watching him.
The second time was a part of a service I had where the "kings" were supposed to interrupt the worship service. There was a script each was allowed to vary as they would like but they were supposed to come back to the script so I knew where we were. Dad, of course, ignored this while grinning at me (where no one else could see) the whole time.
In both cases we got through it but like I often say -- sometimes you have to laugh or you will start screaming!
I don't know about you but this Christmas has brought back all kinds of memories - for the churches I serve, for my family and for me. The memories range from when (and how) services "used to be" to times for worship service. From the times weather has stopped the services to our favorite Christmas tradition. There was the time, about 12 years ago, when Dad and I couldn't even get out of the house let alone next door for worship OR into the Cities for the family Christmas. It has been fun talking about the memories.
I was also asked about favorite Christmas traditions. When I was small it was going to grandparents and seeing the whole family - cousins and everything. Now our favorite tradition is actually the day after Christmas. My sister, her daughter, granddaughter and I all work on quilts -- usually quilts for veterans. We are all in one place with someone cooking so we can quilt. The first time we did this was at my sister's house with Dad and her grandson playing chess while we quilted. Our other sister did the cooking and kept the coffee going.
This year the "cooking" sister had to work, the grandson is old enough to take off on his own and we were at her daughter's house. The four of us quilting, however, were also remembering the other times we have done this, looking at the memories as they came up on Facebook and thinking about the first time. Special memories to make, to share and to remember........
This Advent season the churches I serve have been doing an interesting study on Jesus' family tree. I know a number of people who have been researching their family trees so this study has fit in VERY well. It has also been a way for us each of us to share some of the stories from our families as we prepare to celebrate Jesus' birthday.
One of the questions I was asked was when I would be putting up my Christmas tree. To which I replied "not until Christmas Eve Day." This is Advent , tree goes up Christmas Eve and comes down at Epiphany. Which is true until the last few Christmas seasons Dad was with me. After growing up with this timing Dad and I had quite a few "go arounds" because he suddenly wanted the tree up in the middle of December.
To add insult to injury he couldn't help with putting up the tree, decorating it (or the house) AND he wanted a train set under the tree!! If I remember right we did compromise..... I let him have the tree up a week "early" and, yes, he did get the train set. Because sometimes, even when you compromise, you have to laugh or you will start screaming!
We are, at least according to the calendar, to winter, holidays, Advent and preparing for Christmas. Where I live the weather is NOT giving us winter - thankfully - but even that is probably going to change. One of the interesting things happening as we come together for the holidays is the telling of the stories of previous family get togethers.
This can be an interesting, informative and difficult thing to do. It is also an important part of passing on the family history to the younger members of the family. The interesting part can be when one person starts telling a story and other people start correcting, or changing, the story. The informative part is when we explain how "things used to be" -- before cell phones and technology took over. The difficult part is the way they are sometimes painful memories -- either because of what happened or the person no longer there to share. It is still important for family to be able to come together and celebrate the crazy part of the family stories.
For instance..... Thanksgiving brought back memories of the first Thanksgiving after my divorce. I was living in Texas, near my folks to help them with the foster kids they were working with, and I invited every person I knew or could find who would be "by themselves" for Thanksgiving dinner. They were to bring their kids too. Mom and I ended up putting tables end to end from the kitchen door to the patio door -- across the dining room and the living room. Mom and I sat by the kitchen and Dad sat with his back to the door - thankfully Texas in November is pretty nice temps (at least that year)! Mom did a lot of the cooking but everyone brought a dish to share also. The youngest was about 3 and Dad, the oldest, was in his late 60's by then. A good time was had by all! Something to think about.............