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.

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!

 

 

Yep! It's Monday – ALL. DAY. LONG.

Don’t know what your Monday’s are like, but I try never to schedule absolute things because it all gets shot to the swamp!

At this very moment you might call what I’m doing, multi-tasking. This is how my Monday is shaping up:

I am writing this blog post, stopping to upload photos, communicating by email with one of the admins at Southern Charm Planners on Facebook (we are sending an Excel spreadsheet back and forth tweaking it), checking Facebook for adds and responses needed in the group, completing Etsy orders for my shop, listening for the dogs to bark telling me UPS is here to deliver a package, talking by speaker phone on my computer to my brother, responding via My Chart app on my phone with my doctor, and I stopped somewhere in the middle to brush my teeth. I am sort of dressed – if you call yoga pants and my pajama shirt and bare feet dressed. Yep! It’s Monday alright.

It’s been a busy past week. My goal is walk three miles three times a week. Last week, it was Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. NEVER. AGAIN. It just worked out that way; normally I walk Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but with it being Holy Week and loads of church activities going on, we (my walking partners) walked when we could.

Friends of mine who homeschool brought their children over to plant their tomato plants that they had been growing for the last few weeks at home. The first lesson (Hubby is teaching gardening this semester) consisted of plowing and cultivating and planting potatoes in the garden. They also learned about composting.

This past week, they got to see how big the potato plants are getting and then they planted their tomato plants.

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The little ones were fascinated with the chickens and Hubby took them in to play and check for eggs. The littlest child (2 years) threw a fit when he was taken out of the coop. We had to let him go back in to play for a while. The chickens were so kind to him. He would gently put his hand on the chicken‘s back and the chicken would sit and then he’d pet the chicken’s back. Each time the chicken stood, he would repeat his little gesture and the chicken would sit back down. It was so cute to watch.

The next youngest three were another treat. This little boy (5) came up to me and told me since there wasn’t any food at my house for them to eat, the fruit from the kumquat tree would be their food. He told me this in such ernst that I asked his maw maw if he was hungry. Turns out, he loves to eat. He was so serious about the tree being his food. You just never know what their little imaginations are going to come up with.

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I am taking advantage of the opportunity to socialize Calypso and Ryka when the kids come over. Ryka is good and I let her run around and I normally put Calypso on a leash. Turns out, this time I should have done the opposite. Calypso stood so still while the little ones (who stand face level with her) petted and loved her.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to Ryka because I was so surprised at how well Calypso was behaving (she’s the wild child) until I heard a scream (not a bad scream). I turned around and Ryka was trying to nuzzle and kiss one of the little girls and she had knocked her down. The little sweetheart was not hurt and wasn’t afraid that Ryka had been a little playful with her. I love to see children when they are not afraid of dogs and want to love them. My dogs, being shepherds, love the kids. It will take a little while until they learn to be more gentle. They were really good and seemed to have remembered some of their manners because it’s been a month since the children were over and they were much calmer than I anticipated.

I am a very organized person – just ask anyone. When someone needs organizing, my name usually comes up in conversations! I came across a book a short time ago quite by accident. It is a book I highly recommend and now that I am writing this, I guess I should also write a book review on it. The name of the book is the life-changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo.

I have read way more organizing books than anyone ever need read and this book, to me, is revolutionary. It offers something that no other book has offered. When we organize, we tend to get rid of a good bit of items, and then we organize what is left – still retaining way too much stuff; stuff that doesn’t bring joy into our lives. The KonMari Method offers a different strategy. Her method of decluttering has you pulling all of your clothes from the closet, drawers, bins, etc. and placing it all on the floor around you. She repeats this process with other items using categories.

The idea behind her decluttering method is to keep only those items that bring you joy. The process may be difficult in the beginning – as a blouse had to be pried out of my hands even though I felt no joy when I held it, but long before the end, you find yourself filling up with joy over the items you have chosen to keep.

I will explain the clothing option. As you pick up each article of clothing, you will find that either it brings you joy or it doesn’t. The item may have brought joy to you when you first purchased it, but if you no longer wear it or the size is wrong, then you’ll find that it doesn’t have that same feeling. This means it no longer brings joy into your life – out it goes. Let that blouse or scarf bring joy to someone else.

I love white and pastels and yet, I find myself buying an odd color or just something with color in hopes of a little change. Then, it sits there in the closet and when I look at it, I feel remorse. I should have just purchased another white shirt! (laughing at myself) I passed these items along to someone who loves the color. What a load off of my shoulders! There were other items that brought joy into my life along the way, but I no longer reached for them, but past them in favor of other shirts or slacks or jackets. I felt joy when I folded them and placed them in my donate pile. More load off!

The hangars have a little more room to move on the rod and my closet is actually a little brighter due to less items on the shelves. I kept only the items that I actually wear and that bring me joy.

I began applying this technique to my bookshelves. Although I donated at least 100 books or more to a local school last year, there are still more that I have been hanging onto. I sat down and thumbed through each of my baking and cooking books. With arthritis in my hands, I am no longer able to do the cookie and cake decorating that I once enjoyed, so I pulled those books out that had once given me so much joy and passed them along to a good friend who’s life they will bring joy into. She was excited to received them and I felt joy on both ends – divesting myself of so many books and giving them to someone who will love them as much as I did. I cleaned out four feet of bookshelf space! I’ll be working on other sections this week and next.

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This friend and her youngest daughter enjoy having tea parties so I gifted them a set of cups and saucers and while I was visiting, we had a tea party. I was also lucky enough to be there when her older daughter was cooking pancakes. I couldn’t help but give her a few pointers that it took me years to hone – especially since she was making chocolate chip pancakes! We dubbed her the Pancake Queen, a title she loves! She has decided that she will make every kind of pancake that she can think of now that she has perfected the pancake flip.

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I spent a little time straightening up my desk this week. The top of my desk is the only messy place in the house. Haven’t figured out why except that I tend to procrastinate with some things. Please don’t let my secret out of the bag!

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Hubby has fussed at Ryka and Calypso so many times for chasing the chickens, including one time when Calypso pouted in her house for two hours (he finally had to go and coax her out). I looked out the back door a couple of days ago and they had taken up residence outside of the chicken coop. All seemed well and they seemed to be content just observing the chickens. Well, one decided to go to the water bucket, which is attached to the inside corner of the coop to keep it from bring spilled, and Ryka jumped up to chase with Calypso not far behind.

That is all it took for Hubby to fuss at them again. They came running to the house and I told them to “go around” which either means go around to the back of the house or go around to the front of the house. They are so funny when they take off. They are always waiting by the time I make it through the house to the other door. I let them come on the porch where they love to sit at the front door and watch me inside. At least it keeps them out of trouble for a while!

They eventually lay down for a nap and I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos of them. The door is full of nose prints as they spend a lot of time there with their noses pressed to the glass.

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Now, I ask you – does that look like two dogs who would chase chickens? They are so sweet and sound asleep!

We are Catholic and we attended Holy Thursday’s Last Supper Mass. Hubby is part of the music ministry (that’s him to the right). On Friday, we attended the Way of the Cross in the morning and in the afternoon, the Seven Last Words of Jesus and the Benediction. It was a great remembrance of what Jesus went through and a time to reflect.

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We attended the Easter Vigil on Saturday night. We witnessed two Baptisms and eight Confirmations done by the Bishop.

Sunday was Easter and we enjoyed a peaceful day. Hubby and I prepared a Barbque and fixings for dinner Sunday night, which we enjoyed with family, and our two parish priests. Father John is so darn funny! We were discussing all the different meats involved in our meal and he dubbed it “Bar-b-que gone wild!”  We had beef, deer, and pork meat in the beans and burgers, turkey sausage, chicken, hot dogs, and shrimp kabobs.

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That concludes my week. I hope you had an enjoyable week and a Happy Easter.