Category Archives: Lent

Good and Angry

What am I bringing to the Cross today?

A big steaming heap of anger.

YES! I AM MAD AS HELL! This isn’t what we were promised! A twinkling of the eye and the entire world changed, many years ago. And the promises handed down from mouth to mouth, through books and street preachers and priests and mothers and nuns and fathers. Follow Jesus up to the Cross and everything will be All Right, Baby.

Yeah, yeah, injustice in the world, riots in the streets of some far-off country, small children dying alone somewhere, that hurts. I can’t worry about that, though. Not when I’m barely holding on here, now, huddling against the darkness that threatens to enroach, the cold winds blowing around me bringing no sounds of life, anywhere.

Metaphorically, of course. Anyone who looks over here at me sees a woman working hard, typing something important while listening to Neil Diamond on her iPod.

What is there, though, out there for me? More importantly, what the hell am I doing here?

And why, dear God, did you give me this hope?

Because without this stupid thing called ‘hope’, I would so be able to just go on with a grey little life, here in the darkness, not expecting something better. I’d nurse these wounds and not cry out and complain about them, because I wouldn’t have this accursed hope that someday, somehow, it will be All Right, Baby.

No, because of this stupid hope, I have to get up on my tired feet and stumble through this dark desert, groping around for the Light and Truth I know is somewhere out there.

And then, today, I stumble up another hill, like all the others out here, and I squint through the dark, and keep climbing because it looks like there’s something up there.

And there You are, looking down at me with sightless eyes as I’m looking up at You.

I’ve got nowhere else to go. And my feet hurt.

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You’ve GOT to be kidding me.

Easter: March 23rd

Palm Sunday: March 16th 

Ash Wednesday: Feb. 6th

OH, COME ON! I just BARELY got to have Christmas, and was settling into Epiphany, and now I find I’ve only got 26 days until LENT?!!??!?!?! I call shenanigans!


Filed under Lent, me being myself

I Hate Lent.

There, I’ve said it. I’ll even say it again: I hate Lent, I hate it with the firey passion of a thousand suns.

Now, I’m all for a season of penitence. I’m rather grateful for God’s grace and forgiveness, without which I have no idea where I’d be right now (but I ‘spect I’d be dead. It’s a long story, maybe I’ll tell you later). But by the boogers of the Sweet Baby Jesus, if someone refers to Lent as a ‘journey’ one more time, I’m going to call out the 82nd Division of the Little Old Churchlady Handbag Brigade to knock them about the head so hard that the word ‘journey’ itself is shaken loose.  

Journey, schmurny. You can’t run away from your sins, no matter how hard you try. They follow you everywhere, you wind up packing them along with your clean underwear. This is housekeeping time, people.

 Tie your hair up in a ‘do rag, get out the Dustbuster, and get to work. Don’t forget those corners where you like to pile things, like  under beds and on top of your desk and in the closet (yeah, us faygelahs ain’t the only ones with closets, you know I’m right). Let the light in, open the windows, get a big garbage bag and a shovel if you have to, get help if you need it, dig out the mouldy bits under the bathroom sink.

And get chopping, people! The Man Himself is coming soon! You’ve got to get ready!


Filed under Lent, me being myself, meditations

Proud Member of the Dirty Forehead Club


I have an Ash Wednesday tradition of making graphics for the Dirty Forehead Club.

“What the hell is that?” You’re asking. Well, let me tell you.

Many, many moons ago, when the earth was young and I wore dresses, I worked for an accountant. She was going through whatever it is really lapsed Roman Catholics do to get back in with the Church. Well, one day I came into the office and she kept holding her forehead. Worried that she had a migrane or something, I asked what was wrong.

She sighed, lifted her hand, and showed me her forehead. “You see, today’s Ash Wednesday, and it’s the beginning of forty days–”

I raised a hand. “I understand completely; I’m joining the Dirty Forehead Club at 7pm tonight.”


ETA: I’ll post a recipe later, but I’ve been fiddling with the layout of my page. Whaddya think?

EATA: All graphics on this post are totally takeable. And, you know, if you have better manip skillz than I do, you can make your own, too… I’m looking at you, Rev. Madpriest!


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Shrove Tuesday

Pancakes and bacon

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Eating Out While Fasting, and FRotW: Japanese Brown Curry

Oh, so you wanna go meatless for Lent, but you don’t want to cook every day for a month and a half? Or you’re doing the no-meat Fridays thing all year round, but your buddies keep rolling their eyes when you say you can’t go out with them to Outback Steakhouse for dinner.  

Well, take it from a (former) card-carrying full-time vegetarian– you totally can go to Outback. You’ll wind up eating pasta primavera, a Bloomin’ Onion, a baked potato and a brownie… But you can go out and eat. Yay!

First thing you’re going to want to do is go to and look up your city/state. Unfortunately, this only works for US residents, and after looking over the Portland entry, it’s not too complete.

So, let’s break it down:
For no-animal-products-used-at-all (vegan), your best bet will be Ethiopian. Thai runs a close second. Greek and Slavic restaurants in Lent will sometimes have fasting specials. Indian restaurants of my acquaintance put clarified butter in EVERYTHING, which makes it nummy, but not vegan, alas.

If you’re not adverse to a little cheese and egg action, well, your options open up. I hear rumors that a lot of McDonalds have veggie burgers. Since McD’s food makes me want to yurk, I haven’t confirmed this rumor. And remember, Californians, that at In-n-Out veggie burger doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Most restaurants have something vegetarian already on the menu. You just have to look for it. Also, almost anything at any restaurant can be made meatless with a simple request to the server. But be aware before you ask how much of the dish is composed of meat, for example, you don’t want to order “Chicken Parmesan, hold the chicken,” or “Osso bucco, without the ox butt”.

But now, let’s talk about Being A Polite Vegetarian In a Restaurant. With the advent of fad diets, servers have had to put up with a lot of crap. Some people will get huffy and demanding when they order “off the menu” and can’t get exactly what they think they want. I know my readers would NEVER do anything like that, because they are followers of Jesus, called the Christ. *glares about*

And my readers tip a minimum of 25%.

Anyway, it’s been a rough week. My lunch for today? An unopened bag of tortillas and a can of Rosarita refried beans (yes, still in the can). No time to come up with an original recipe for y’all. So I’m sending you to Serious Eats for a primer in Japanese Brown Curry (which is nothing like SE Asian or Indian curry). To vegetarianize the recipe, skip the beef step. To veganize the recipe, brown the onion in vegetable oil. To de-oil the recipe, don’t brown the onions, just add them into the pot with the potatoes and carrots and water. To learn to make rice without a rice cooker, go here.

Next week I’m going to probably post a Lenten Meatless Shopping List. Maybe. I dunno. Is there anybody out there? [/PinkFloyd]

And someone PLEASE tell the Universe to stop spinning so bloody fast so’s I can write my thoughts about race and being an Episcopalian and this stupid meditation on the Primates Meeting? plzkthxkbai.

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And we’ll all sing hallelujah

The signs are clear as day. People are talking about the good ol’ days of the ‘gesima Sundays. The Orthodoxen of my acquaintance are warming up with Cheesefare. The search term ‘Lent’ has been popping up in my statistics more frequently (along with ‘soundtrack shine jesus shine’, which just gives this Anglo-Catholic girl the shuddering horrors). A new, fun Gloria gets axed out of our choir folders because it’s ‘too upbeat’.

So, what’s my reaction?

Complete and utter denial.

My favorite coping mechanisim ever. Maybe, if we’re reeeeal quiet and don’t pay it any attention, Lent won’t come this year. Is Lent looking at us? Shhh, don’t look, don’tlookdon’tlookdon’tlook… are you looking? Don’t! 

But does it see us? Uh oh, I think it does. IT’S COMING! Quick! Get the Jedi mind tricks! These are not the Christians you are looking for, move along now.

…oddly enough, that’s never worked before. But maybe it’ll work this year. *nods hopefully and clutches the Alleluias to her chest*

And I’ll sing hallelujah,
And you’ll sing hallelujah,
And we’ll all sing hallelujah,
When we arrive at home.

Hallelujah, lyrics by Charles Wesley, music by William Walker, from the Sacred Harp songbook.

This link is an MP3

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Filed under Lent, meditations


Last Sunday, I was complaining. “Aw, it’s still purple. I hate purple. Lent is taking FOREVER!”

Today, we cleaned A Certain Church. And everything at the altar was red.

And I says to myself, I says, “NO! It can’t be Easter yet! I’m not ready yet! I haven’t done enough! Can we wait another week?”

One more week.
I’ll be ready then.
Really, I promise!

I’ll have my house in order. I’ll have prayed, I’ll have done charitable acts, I’ll be ready to welcome God’s Annointed, the Messiah. I’m not ready yet!

I ran about with other parishoners, cleaning madly. Clucking over gum in the pews, crayon marks, scuff marks, scrubbing at windows, hauling out ladders to get the high corners (and freaking out as the music director climbed a ladder with a shop vac to get the dust off of the rafters over the altar). We counted hymnals and prayerbooks and debated what to do with the ratty paperback Bibles in the racks and how exactly to repair the cracked pews up front.

It’s an old parish with not much in the way of financial gifts. At one point, we had to give up, say “That’s as good as we can get it.”

It makes me sad, and it annoys my perfectionist streak. We must have everything perfect! Get palm branches! Throw your coats on the floor so the King doesn’t have to walk on regular ol’ dirt!

I wonder who wasn’t at the parade, though. I wonder who was in their houses, cleaning furiously. Who missed out because they didn’t feel they were good enough, to soil the King with their presence. I wonder what they missed.

I wonder what I’ll miss, if I keep trying to be the perfect one.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of Glory may come in.

Psalm 24:7

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It doesn’t feel like Lent.

I’m kind of trying an experiment with Lent.

I’m not saying specifically to myself what I’m giving up or taking on.

I explained it to a friend as the ‘fluffy bunny’ Lent: I’m going to try and find God in more spaces in my life.

I had a ham sandwich for lunch today. I didn’t feel guilty about it. I said a prayer over my little ham sandwich as I sat at my desk in my little cubicle in an office building next to a freeway.

I didn’t have any blinding light visions of the Face of God, or lightning struck sensations of God’s presence.

Egypt is so very close, I can still make it back there if I just turn around now.

But my prayerbook is even closer, and it’s all set up and ready for tonight’s prayers.

Might as well use it.

A blessing on those who pass through here.

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Like walking in the rain or the snow and there’s nowhere to go and you feel like a part of you is dying…

Woah, long title.

So, the song currently stuck in my head is “The Things We Do for Love”. I have one checkmark in my Lenten observation book, and am ready to greet the difficult challenge of the more nebulous spiritual exercises I put myself to.

I’ve been reading a lot lately on Jewish websites and blogs. Specifically, those that have to do with the weekly Torah portion. It’s amazing how much, as a Christian who only reads the text, I’ve missed. I’ve known for a long time that there are commentaries upon commentaries on the Torah, but I never really bothered to get into them (bad habit left over from sola scriptura).

The Torah portion for this week is Trumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19, and it’s the beginning of Extreme Makeover: God’s Home Edition. The part of Exodus where I lean back, groan, and steel myself to plow through it. Details upon details about how the Tabernacle was built.

One chapter given over to Creation. Thirteen for building a ginormous, glorified tent. Oy gevalt.

The Rabbis, however, those Sages whose stories were written down in those commentaries, equate the building of the Tabernacle to God creating and ordering the Universe. There had to be a place where the Glory of God could touch the earth, and specially chosen people after much preperation could go in and encounter that glory, and then take it out into the world and thereby sanctify the world.

I’m not Jewish, though, for all that I honor Jewish teaching and thought. I’m a Christian. And in reading all of this preperation and what went into the Temple, how everyone gave of what they had so they could all be a part of creating a space for God to touch the earth…

a place so special that only one man could go into that place, and then only once a year…

This same God became a human being. Walked the earth. Talked, sang, drank, partied, cried, grieved…

This same God became Spirit, became a breath over all, and lives within every person, comforts them when they fall, moves them to great joys and closer to God…

The things (that were done, are done, are being done) for Love.

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