Experiencing Jesus washing the feet of his disciples

This is not going to be a polished post. I have let so many opportunities go by because I didn’t have the time to sit down and write a nicely crafted piece on what I wanted to say, so here goes.

Yesterday, in the Catholic religion, was Holy Thursday. It is common for all churches to have a mass and reenact Jesus washing the feet of his disciples as he did at the Last Supper. Last night was no exception.

Normally, we sit in the pews and the group of men sit in the front of the altar while Father washes their feet as Jesus did so long ago. For our church parish, it is normal for a hymn to be sung at this time. My hubby was the musician for last night’s services and he has been suffering from a sinus infection. It is so bad that he sometimes sounds like he’s drowning. Last night he decided to play an entire verse of music before beginning the singing, rather than jumping right in with the lyrics.

Before he could begin singing, our associate pastor, Father Ding, stood up and walked to the altar and opened the book. He began reading about the washing of the feet as our pastor proceeded with the task. He read a passage and then paused, read and paused, and continued on in this manner until the washing was complete. With the background music and his intermittent reading, it allowed the congregation to listen and meditate on what was being said. Instead of merely “watching” the reenactment, we were brought into the scene along with those having their feet washed.

Normally, those having their feet wash experience what it was like, while those of us sitting in the pews are left to “watch”. With Father’s reading, he allowed us to experience what the disciples must have felt.

Then, during the procession around the church (and I’m sure there are more appropriate terms to use), there was silence until the priest began using the incense in front of the tabernacle. At that time, instead of music and singing, hubby sang the song acapella. In years past, there has been music and singing for the procession. The silence was much more reverent and added to the service.

After mass, we took Father Ding to a hospital in New Orleans to visit with one of our parishioners and friends who will be with the Lord soon. We were discussing how reverent the mass services were with those changes tonight. He shared with us that he felt called to do something and he stepped up to the altar with no idea what he was going to do. He thought about singing and jokingly said he didn’t want people to laugh at him (he was joking, he sings quite well) but in the end, he felt moved by the Holy Spirit to read as Father washed the feet.

Father Ding is retiring in a few months and we have been so blessed to have had him with us this past year. He is a wise man and blessed with the Holy Spirit as we have witnessed many times. We witnessed him invoking the Holy Spirit as we prayed with our friend. There was such a calmness and peacefulness in the room. I would consider myself blessed if Father were around when I am dying. He has a compassion that we don’t often see and when he prays, it comes from his soul.

That’s all I have for right now. This was a blessed Holy Thursday this year.

Just another day in “Lucyland”

The craziest things – Lucy things – seem to happen to me. I often write about them here.

We attended mass on Saturday and we normally bring an elderly neighbor with us. When we do, I follow her to communion and back to make sure she doesn’t fall. Everything was going according to plan as we went up to communion at mass. She received the bread and was heading back to the pew. No sooner had Father put the bread in my hands than he was pulling me up to the altar. He almost didn’t give me time to put it in my mouth and I’m thinking I am not a Eucharistic minister, what is he doing.

He begins to whisper to me as he starts rooting around in his pockets and then produced his office key and told me to go and get something. I had to ask three times and I thought I heard cell but wasn’t sure. There’s a slight language barrier and when you are in the middle of a strange situation, it is a little more difficult to understand. I have to say that he didn’t just randomly choose me, we are very close to Father and he knew I would listen.

I headed out the door and the key unlocked the office so I knew I was on the right path, but I was doing some heavy-duty praying because I really didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to bring back. When I walked in his phone was charging on his desk so I grabbed it, thanked God and headed back. I placed it and the keys on his chair and went and sat down. Turns out he was handing out the minister of the month and did need his phone to take a picture (as if 100 other people in the church didn’t have a phone, including me and I normally take photos when needed). Just another day in Lucyland.

Did anything unusual happen to you this weekend?

A recap of life – changing hosts for my blog, Lent

I must apologize. I have sadly been neglecting my blog and all my Facebook groups as of late. I decided to change my blog from .com to .org and if you have ever done this, well, you know the drama! And, I’m only as tech savvy as the dog outside so I’ve been learning as I go and then being not sure of exactly what I did, but hey, it worked. Lots of those moments even though I did have help. Everything is coming along except now I have a message that says to change my settings in Google Analytics en Webmaster tools. I have no clue how to do this even though it does give you more info. I assume that sooner or later I’ll figure it out – or not.

We are now a couple of weeks into Lent. During Lent, we try to attend evening mass (not offered other than in Lent) at our church. Since there are only a handful of people who attend, we have mass in the little chapel. We are quite lucky to have such a beautiful little chapel and it’s nice to have mass there as well as adoration.

I have been the only lector in attendance on most days so I have been reading every day. I have begun to ask for volunteers and had one yesterday. I mention that because it is always nice to have other people who want to participate in the mass. And, I certainly do not want anyone thinking it’s “my” mass because I read every day. The mass belongs to God and we are simply stewards of his mass (or as a friend says, we are barely the janitors.) Yes folks, we really need to be better Christians if we hope to ever be more than the “janitors” of God’s mass.

Hubby has been learning to be an altar boy? man? server? There are assigned altar servers for the Sunday masses, but for the weekday masses, it is whoever wants to step forward. He did pretty well yesterday. It was his second day and he even showed another friend how to do the serving. The first day Hubby put the cloth on his right arm and couldn’t pour the water to wash Father’s hands. I dare to say that most everyone noticed! It’s funny how such a small thing captures everyone’s attention. Father just rolls with the flow. That man could make chocolate from coffee beans without breaking stride!

Speaking of which, Father is such a hoot! We love having him over for dinner. Ever encounter is a lesson. He is one of those people who is a natural lesson giver if that makes sense. We learn so much just having a conversation with him. He’s retiring in a couple of months and we were so blessed to have him at our church this past year. His sermons have a lot of “something like that” and “wing” and, oh goodness, I was going to put a French phrase that he uses, but I haven’t a clue how to spell it. Father uses “wing” with a swinging hand movement that sort of means “zing”. And, although he is from the Philippines, he has been in Southern Louisiana so long that he has a Cajun accent and his “something like that” is actually “sump’em like dat”.

Father is a joyful man. He is always smiling and singing and reminding me that I need to be more diplomatic (I tend to be very straightforward without a buffer.) I tend to not sugarcoat what I am saying. That particular gene by-passed me during distribution. We were standing outside of the chapel last night and we could hear singing. It was Father. He never fails to bring a smile to your face. His Amens are so concrete. It makes you smile. Once he retires, I am hoping he stays in the area because I am just not ready to say goodbye.

We haven’t been on the houseboat in a while unless you count cleaning and engine repair. The last time we took off one of the engines wasn’t sounding just right so the trip only lasted about ten minutes. It was so disappointing! We had packed a lunch and drinks and we were ready for an adventure! Another part was supposed to arrive yesterday so the work should start back up this afternoon.

We need to get the engines up and running so Hubby can put the boat on dry-dock to add some vents to the bottom of the boat. It will be an addition to the pieces on the bottom that suck the cool water in to cool the engines (not sure of all the technical names). They have fabricated extensions with additional holes so the water will flow easier and trash will not be sucked in to clog the pieces and cause the engines to overheat. If you own a boat, it will make sense. There are lots of waterlilies in the bayous here in South Louisiana and trash gets caught in the roots underwater and can very easily be sucked into the mesh on the vents thus blocking water flow to the engines. Not a nice thing. This is the reason for the modification to the system. Hubby has a friend who has made the adjustments so that is where the boat situation stands. We are hoping for many boat adventures this summer.

I need to be heading out. I made a pact with myself to walk at least four times a week and if I don’t get going soon, another day will have passed and my goal will not be met.

I’ll be adding posts on organizing – using planners and organizing your house, and traveling, as well as keeping up with my chocolate and Southern recipes.

Thanks for stopping by and remember to follow my blog so you don’t miss anything!

It was the week from hell…the kind where Lucy says, "I have some splaining to do."

Was last week only seven days? It seems like so much longer. I managed to cram those seven days – was it only seven – full of drama! With the click of a finger, I managed to delete all the emails from five, YES FIVE, Gmail accounts. I also managed (over two weeks) to revamp a lot of my blog and now if you click on Non-fiction reviews you get nothing.
Ever want to beat your head against the wall? It’s been one of those weeks – was it only seven days? I worked with Apple for several hours. Believe it or not, there actually is a human at the other end of the line – if you have the patience required to work with the virtual lady. The woman I spoke with was patient and kind and tried her best to help me figure out a solution. We finally reached the conclusion that I needed to work with Google. She even helped me figure out how to reach them.
Google took another couple of hours – it actually became my full-time job that day – but I was finally given a link to a form to fill out requesting Google restore all my emails. Then, I received an email stating the emails were irretrievable. I may or may not have screamed at that point. When I checked my emails, I did find several thousand emails in two of them. Turns out, most of them were trash. Seems trash is retrievable, but the good stuff is not. So, I spent the better part of two days deleting trash emails.
It’s odd how God works in mysterious ways. I have been working on simplifying my life and one of the ways I am accomplishing my goal is by cutting back on my book reviewing. I am in my third/fourth year of Dominican studies and the material is piling up. There is not a lot of time for frivolous reading these days. I will still review a couple of times a month; maybe a few more times, we’ll see how things work out. We also plan on doing a bit of traveling – on our houseboat and by car. Other plans include purchasing a camper as we want to visit the national and state parks.
Getting back to the simplifying part, you know how those emails begin to add up – the ones that you hope to explore more thoroughly when you have time, but time never comes. Those emails added up in my files quickly. Point being, I don’t think if I lived to be 100 could I possibly go through them all. My emails were jammed. One push of a button took care of that! I was freaked out for a while, but now I’ve come to see it as a good thing. The emails are gone. No more worrying and wanting to go through them.
It hasn’t been without its drama, though. I lost a lot of emails from authors and publicists that I still am obligated to review books. Some of the emails I was able to retrieve, but I’m not sure how many were affected. I can only wait until the author or publicist contacts me because they haven’t heard from me. Those emails were in my blog email account. The only other account and most important were my public emails. I had all the emails from several commissions that I am on as well as a ton of Dominican emails. Those I am still disappointed in not having. Luckily for me, I am in the habit of saving important documents to Evernote. Yes, thousands of emails gone, with a swipe of a button. Now, THAT was a Lucy moment. Simplifying life.
Then, there was the aggravation of the internet service at our house. I have not had any problems up until now with the service, but the last two weeks have been non-stop interrupted service. My phone and my MacBook have spent more time filtering than what they are supposed to be doing. I finally figured out that when they begin filtering, it coincides with the lights on the modem going out. Then, when they come back on, all is well in Whooville. This went on for several days before I phoned the cable company. The person I was speaking to frustrated me so much, I wanted to go and slap him. He kept checking the modem remotely and remarking how “beautiful it was”. And, just because the lights were on at the time, didn’t mean they were flashing off and on and mostly off at other times.
I unplugged and re-plugged and rebooted and since the modem “was beautiful” he said there was no problem. I finally told him (none too nicely) that the next time the lights went off, I’d call him back. It’s happened once since the phone call and I didn’t call. I’m too tired of dealing with “stupid” this week – are you sure it was only seven days?
Oh and I’m not finished! On top of that, I am seriously considering handing over my position of coordinator of music ministries at church to some other unsuspecting person. Why is it people who play music are so temperamental and egotistical? About half of our music ministers are playing music in church for the wrong reasons. I don’t think they get it. They seriously think they “own” their mass. Wrong! The mass doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to God. We are stewards of the mass, but the mass belongs to Him.
We had a meeting five months ago to lay down a few ground rules. The diocese is working on strategic planning and the church is trying to adhere to Vatican II a little more than it is currently doing. You know the old phrase, give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile. This has been true in the Catholic Church. Long, long, story short, once the priest begins the procession down the aisle, all music should be liturgically correct. It should also be music from the hymnals so the congregation can take part in the liturgy. Some churches may practice this, but some of our music ministers do not.
This is the reason I say that not all ministers are there for the right reasons. They give concerts. A parishioner commented to one that she gave a nice concert. I don’t think she got it. Without music, the liturgy is not the liturgy; it goes hand in hand. The music should complement the readings, the gospel, and what is happening on the altar. By doing this, it allows everyone in the church to take part in the entire liturgy. When you hear the readings, the gospel, the homily, and the music all reiterating the same message, chances are you will remember something when you leave.
On top of that, one music minister missed mass for four months to go hunting. When I contacted him to find out if he was returning to the music ministry, he replied yes, if he could have his same mass back. He informed me of the date of his return. Five months ago, I checked with each minister and asked if they were open to having an alternate. All said yes. So, when I told this minister there was an alternate for this particular mass, and he would be playing two weekends a month and the alternate would be playing two weekends a month, his reply was to let the alternate play all the masses and if he missed, he would substitute. It was an all or nothing; this coming from someone who missed masses on a regular basis without letting anyone know to take his place. See what I mean? Playing for the wrong reasons and giving a concert, because Sunshine on my shoulders is not in the hymnal.
What I have been trying to get across is that they should all be a team ready to have each other’s backs. If one can’t make it to a mass (we have 4), then someone else should be ready to help out. It doesn’t threaten their spot at a different mass. They all want ownership of their mass. They don’t get it. Anyone in the congregation who would like to play music at mass should be able to, but they won’t come forward as long as the attitude is “my mass”. And, I am very close to telling them all how selfish they are when they play music that they like, that the congregation doesn’t have access to, and doesn’t not know the words. It is not a concert. Needless to say, I am frustrated, and our priest is out of the country until sometime in February, so this problem is not getting fixed for a while.
If you’ve made it this far down the blog, stay tuned because there will be another excerpt from Kat Martin’s book this week and also one from Kristen Higgins and giveaways!
Hopefully, the next time we chat, WordPress will have ironed out my problem with Non-Fiction and we’ll be great!
Enjoy your week!

Where has all the hatred gone?

     I was at a Woman of God conference when I sat down and opened up my journal to write. The title I wrote down was “When will healing come?” I felt that it was the appropriate place to meditate on the feelings and emotions that I was feeling at the moment. After writing down the title I put my journal away to listen to a speaker and didn’t think about it again until the next day.

     Strangely enough, as I was ironing, I began to revisit the previous two days I had spent at the conference and what had transpired. God must have sensed me teetering on the brink of moving forward towards my relationship with him and decided it was time He give me a swift kick in the butt. He put people in my path that weekend that He knew would answer some of my questions and clarify others for me. Each of the women whom I was fortunate enough to spend time with had had their own struggles and willingly shared their stories with me and listened as I shared my own struggles.

     To transgress a little, it all began after I arrived at the conference Friday evening. The conference came to order and the Bishop began his welcome speech. I slowly realized that all of the hatred and animosity that I had been harboring towards him for the past two years had miraculously disappeared. As much as I tried, I could not conjure up the angry feelings. They were gone. As I learned in a breakout session, I was caught between resentment and resistance. Finally, I realized that the anger had dissipated. I just could not figure out what was going on. God was going on; I had just not yet come to the point of acceptance.

     The feelings that I had toward the Bishop ran quite deep and that would be a story of its own, perhaps even a novel. It wasn’t until the end of the conference that I realized (probably a knock on the head from God saying “Hello”) that He had taken forgiveness out of my hands and showed me what I was to do with it.

     At the conference I was surrounded by Christian women who seemed to have it all “going on.” They seemed to know where they were going and were doing so with overwhelming confidence. I had a constant longing to be on the same journey as they were; going to the same place that they were. This picture popped into my head of everyone in little cars, sort of like the Dr. Sueus book, “Go Dogs Go.” I have felt many times that I had finally found a car and was on the road but couldn’t find the on-ramp to the freeway. This weekend I felt that not only had I found the on-ramp but I had also started up.  I am still trying to merge and I may be on the on-ramp for a while but I am now aware that I am moving forward in my own journey.

     I was born and raised Catholic but never seemed to grasp what it meant. I would see others with their heads bowed in prayer but the feeling that they seemed to be experiencing always eluded me. Throughout the last few years and after many trips to the “Lost and Found” box, I finally realize what it means to be a Catholic.

     It was a culmination of events and discoveries that led me to this point. My first hurdle was the Lord’s Prayer. After going through a painful divorce and subsequent alienation of my daughters from me, I found this prayer extremely hard to recite, much less feel, especially the part, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I struggled with these words. How could I forgive such a horrible act and the person behind it? How could I forgive someone who would betray a child’s confidence with such manipulation? I know that this prayer is a prayer of forgiveness but I just could not forgive. I eventually changed the words so I could pray the Lord’s Prayer. God created me so I am sure he understood. I added the word ‘try.’ I would try to forgive. In time, I was able to move on and eliminate my change.

     At the conference I was lucky enough to speak with a young lady and this subject came up. She is a youth director and she told me that the group of teens that she directs did an exercise where they broke down each line of the Lord’s Prayer. What she told me that I found quite profound was that she teaches the youth that Christ knew how difficult it would be for us to forgive so He left us with the Lord’s Prayer. I had not heard that particular view point before and was intrigued by it. It made sense to me. I could wrap my head around that.

     We also discussed forgiveness. I told her that I was trying hard to keep the forgiveness in my heart but when phone calls from my daughters were not returned or emails left unanswered, the anger would come flooding back. With her wisdom and kind words, I was able to discern between forgiveness and anger, the feeling and the emotion. I can forgive but that doesn’t mean I cannot still be angry.

     Something else that I struggled with for most of my life was that Catholics believe that during the consecration of the host, the wine and bread become the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how much I thought about it or reasoned with it, I could not grasp the concept. I did eventually come to terms with my own beliefs and those were that in as much as Catholics believed in their heart of hearts that the wine and bread become the body and blood of Jesus, I believed just as deeply that they represented the body and blood of Jesus. Believe me, with this revelation I have sparked many a debate, but have always found that I was not alone and that always surprised me. It seems as though there are many Catholics who struggle with this.

     The young lady that I spoke with revealed a magnificent vision that God gave her. She too, it turns out, had been struggling with this very concept. But first, before telling me of her vision, she told me of a conversation she had with a doctor friend of hers. She giggled as she said she felt doctors were smarted than priests and she was quite interested in hearing of his beliefs. He told her that what cemented the belief for him was realizing the miraculous way the body can turn the food it is fed into blood. She then told me of a vision of Jesus Christ lain out on the alter during the consecration and of his body being offered up to God. Being a “picture” person, this vision from our conversation helped me understand the consecration in a different light. I do not feel that I am at the point of believing that it is the body and blood of Christ but I still feel that it represents him. It does bring up another question that I will eventually need to answer for myself and that is can I still consider myself Catholic if this is my belief. Does this mean another trip to the lost and found?

     I shared with this young lady my beliefs for the offertory part of the mass. A few years ago I read an article explaining the parts of the mass in a religious newspaper. It was told by a woman who claimed that the Blessed Mother had visited her in church and as each part of the mass was happening, she explained the part more fully. The explanation that has stayed with me in the following years was about the offertory. The woman claimed as the gifts were being brought up to the alter, angels would leave the people in the pews to bring forth their prayers. Some of the angels were glowing, others more solemn, and still others hung their heads and were quite sad. When the woman inquired as to why this was happening, the Blessed Mother told her that the people who had God in their lives and had a lot to offer were the one with the angels who glowed. The angels of those who were troubled and had few prayers to take to the alter were the more solemn angels. And lastly, the downtrodden, the down and out, those with little hope or faith had angels who could only hang their heads as they had very little to offer. I told her that this story almost always comes back to me at this time in church and I try to have my prayers ready so that my angel will have an abundance of prayers to take up to the altar to offer to God for me.

     Another part of the mass that has become quite clear in meaning to me is the Eucharistic Prayer. I was browsing through my bible during bible study one day when I came upon a passage explaining that the Eucharistic Prayer is a reenactment of the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples. I find that instead of being distracted by the long prayer, I am now able to focus and understand what is happening. And so with all of these little pieces fitting together like a puzzle, the Catholic mass has begun to make sense and I feel more like a Catholic than I have ever felt before.

     The weekend that I spent at the Women’s Conference was an enlightening one. God put quite a few women in my path to help me along my journey. There were some great messages being showered upon all who attended and many prayers answered.

     And while my life is void of my daughters for the present time, I can feel free to enjoy those that God has blessed me with in my life right now. I have to trust that I am where I am supposed to be, that God will meet me here, and that He has a plan. And, He will reveal that plan in His time. And maybe my trips to the Lost and Found will become less frequent as my faith continues to grow, although I am sure there will be many fender benders as I inch my way up the on-ramp towards the freeway as I continue my journey. And if I can forgive the Bishop, who knows what else I can do?

First appeared 4/16/2010

Happy Easter and a Recap of Life

 

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Happy Easter! For Catholics, it’s been a week of activities; Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil Saturday night. I saw this picture of a German Shepherd on Facebook and just had to share. If you follow me, you know how much I love my German Shepherds!

Since hubby wasn’t scheduled to play music at church Friday morning for the Way of the Cross, he decided to do a Way of the Cross at the local nursing home. These folks have had their faith to shore them up throughout their lives and most of them attended daily mass before they were confined to the nursing home. When you think about it, you realize that it must be difficult to all of a sudden not to be able to go to mass or any Holy Days of obligation. Some of the priests in the area aren’t really interested in whether or not the days are celebrated for the residents. Our priest wasn’t happy with us because we not only decided to do this, but to invite several groups from our church.

Sometimes, they get too involved with the number of butts warming the pews than with the actual person whose butt is warming the pew. That starts a whole other rant I could get started on, but I’ll save it for later. Getting back to the nursing home, the residents were thrilled and the volunteers who attended enjoyed a blessed event. We had Father J, whose vocation is truly being a priest (he just loves the Lord and being a priest) do the Veneration of the Cross and a Communion service. Hubby said if it was successful, then we’d start a new tradition. Well – it was successful so I guess that’s where we’ll be next year.

Word of our endeavor got around and at church Friday afternoon, quite a number of folks said they would be at the home next year.

The Easter Vigil was quite long last night. Along with all of the extra parts of the mass that go along with Easter, three people were baptized and six made their confirmation. Easter Vigil began at 8pm and we walked out of church around 11pm.

We were up early again this morning. On Sunday’s mornings, we say the Rosary at the nursing home. They were so excited to see us again and couldn’t say enough about how much they enjoyed Friday’s Way of the Cross. It does your heart good to know that you are bringing joy to another person.

Speaking of my dogs, they are back to chasing the chickens! The chickens are actually confined to an enclosed chicken coop, but those chickens are worse than teenage girls! Hubby had to give a chicken away a couple of months ago because it was being picked on. Now, another one has been singled out and it drives Calypso wild. Dogs have a scavenger mindset and the last time the chickens drew blood, she chased around and around the outside of the chicken coop. Now, the same thing is happening. Hubby is kind of scratching his head. At this rate, we won’t have any chickens left in a few months. He said they are mean chickens, Rhode Island Reds I believe. Both Calypso and Ryka have been hanging out in the back next to the coop.

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The azaleas were pretty this year. Last year only half of the azaleas across the front porch bloomed. I was curious to see what they would do this year. I took the pictures from the porch because of the rain.

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And there’s my little monkey. She loves when I sit out on the porch. She doesn’t care to be inside of the screen, but is content to sit in the yard.

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One of our priests made these designs from palms. I had never seen anything like this before. He is so talented. After looking at Father’s designs, he mentioned the one the Pope used for Good Friday. His was a work of art.

I added quite a number of stickers to my Etsy shop ( https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSouthernPlanner?ref=hdr_shop_menu ) last week. I am an organizer and a planner so these are right up my alley. If you are interested in using a planner to organize your days, stay tuned. I’ll be writing a few organizing posts. I have been a planner since childhood. There are so many planners on the market now which makes choosing a new one each year exciting.

I spent some time working on my book today. A melancholy mood will do that to you.

If you missed my post on displaying your emergency information for first responders, you can find that post here – https://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2016/03/24/iphone-have-you-locked-out-your-emergency-contact/

I wish everyone a joyful day. Don’t fuss your kids because they had chocolate for breakfast and wiped their hands on the sofa. Don’t fuss because they are running screaming through the house. Don’t worry over the spilled gravy. There are some of us who would love to be a part of our children and grandchildren’s lives. The chocolate and gravy will wash away, the screams will silence and if the stains do not come out, then they will become a cherished memory of Easter 2016 when they snuck chocolate for breakfast, or stuck their finger in the gravy boat, a memory I would gladly give anything for.

I hope you all had a great Easter!