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!

Balloon Festival, Natchez, Mississippi

It’s been three years (October 2013) since our trip to Natchez, Mississippi with Father Scott for the balloon festival. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend going at least once. Besides the prospect of seeing so many balloons floating majestically overhead, it is also the excitement of actually seeing the balloons fly. What I mean by this, is the weather conditions have to be perfect for ballooning or they will not take them up.

That was what our weekend was like – full of anxious waiting! Friday night did not favor ballooning and that was disappointing. This was followed by watching all the trucks pulling trailers with balloons and gear across the Mississippi River and along the levee to a field – should I mention here that the field was NOT visible from the Natchez side of the river – and waiting and waiting and waiting, only to be disappointed that the weather, that had once been conducive to flying had changed its mind.

Sunday morning is the last day of the three-day festival and we were hoping to see balloons that morning. So, me (who is NOT a morning person) and everyone else at the Bed and Breakfast rose at the crack of dawn and headed back to the waterfront. The balloons were not being launched there, but this is normally the best viewing spot.

Our long wait on Sunday was finally rewarded when we spotted a couple of far off balloons. Then, nothing. Then, more balloons! We soon found out what “chasing the balloons” meant and we were off. The romanticism that I had envisioned – standing on the banks of the beautiful river watching a mass of balloons float by was not our reality! We ended up parked in a K-Mart parking lot. Could anything be further from my vision? I think NOT!

The balloons were a beautiful sight and really worth the disappointment and wait. There is so much more to take in when visiting Natchez. The historic downtown area features walking tours marked off on the sidewalks in different colors. We had experienced this type of walking tour in Boston and I was excited to have the chance to do this type of tour again.

Natchez is a beautiful little town and what held so much fascination for me is my family history is deeply ensconced in the Catholic church located in Natchez. Upon our arrival into Natchez, we stopped at the Welcome Center where I was able to read about Bishop William Henry Elder (1857-1880) and his church, St. Mary’s Cathedral. I have to admit I felt a great sense of pride that my family was involved in establishing the church. I think I remember reading that he was a little difficult to work with. Oh well! No one is perfect.

We had the opportunity to visit the beautiful church the next day and of course, I took loads of pictures and I’m about to bore you with them. The church is located on a street corner and is absolutely beautiful inside. The stain glass windows are brilliant and the woodwork is extraordinary.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you ever have the opportunity to visit Natchez, please do. It’s beautiful and Southern and quaint.