"I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Son, let this woman be a bride to you in the restoration of my people. Let her be a mother for these people, regenerating souls through the salvation of spirit and water.'" (Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Five and 7 Quick Takes: Mardi Gras

3dogmom writes:

For today’s Friday Five, share with us:

1. What type of Fat Tuesday celebration your church will hold next week…

Our domestic church has a natural Carnival season with three birthdays between Epiphany and Candlemas--two of them in two days--plus a farewell extended family gathering as our son leaves today for a far state, hopefully followed by a far country in a few months. But it's been especially joyous this year with his extended visit assisting his transition from college to work life and ours from two dependents to one. We stretched them out to three weekends of "birthdays observed," with the unusual treat of restaurant meals chose by the birthday person along with cake, simple presents, and lovingly written notes on the cards. Katie went for Thai food and chocolate cherry cake with boiled chocolate icing; I chose Italian and asked ComputerGuy for turtle cake to change up the repeated ambrosial boiled icing; and MIL and FIL joined us at the steak house Nick chose before I made him a three layer red velvet cake with MIL's special vanilla buttercream. So Mardi Gras itself will just be the cherry on top and since ComputerGuy is up in the cooking rotation I will find out the meal plan then. We may also finish off the pink Moscato and let the maiden have an inch.

2. Are there other ways of acknowledging the roots of Mardi Gras that you’d like to employ (a possible title for this subject might be, “Beyond Pancakes”)? (Note: this is a trick question.)

I am finding this one kind of tricky...so will just share a happy Mardi Gras memory: the utter delight of Rachel, our firstborn who died as a nursing toddler, and her best friend A.--the daughter of my grad school best friend--in the huge collection of Mardi Gras beads they each had because A's dad was from N'awlins!

3. Have you found ways to weave the playful nature of Carnival into the preseason observances of Lent?

Kind of answered this inadvertently in #1. I guess the additional measure of peace and joy to mention is this past week's inspired additions/resumptions to our weekly schedule which we can hopefully maintain ongoing: Saturday morning couple coffee and planning/finance meeting; Sunday afternoon or evening date couple date; and Monday mother-daughter lunch date when I pick her up from the college. It's a joyous addition to my sabbath, a way to explore and take advantage of this diverse city before moving to my fellowship at a rural Benedictine university in August, and gets in more drive time for our delightful homeschool literature practice: listening to an audiobook while she reads along and we discuss. Fall was Shakespeare and Spring is Jane Austen, and on the way back from Indian food in Hamtramck I had the fun of watching her virgin reaction to Darcy's insufferable first proposal!

4. What kind of celebratory breather would you enjoy for your own sanity before the solemnity of Lent takes hold?

Actually I love Lent and treasure the description in one of the seasonal Eucharistic preference: "this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed"! This is especially the case this year as much of Advent and Christmas season consisted of a fruitful but far from easy dark night experience. I did enjoy the heck out of writing a very embodied motherhood/theology of the body piece the other day, though not the flareup of maternal stigmata which inspired it!

5. Speaking of sanity, what works for you as a means of sustaining your spirit through the Forty Days and Triduum?

Hopefully making progress on my inclusive liturgical materials and publishing more of my hymns which feature new words to classic tunes here. Recent additions include Ignatian and Marian ones with joyous personal memories and, I'm told, graced contributions to the prayer of others.

And two more Quick Takes of joy and gratitude to make up my 7:

6. We began our first year of home education with an amazing two week West Coast mother-daughter roadschool adventure: from my parents in Southern California up the coast and through the redwoods to see my college BFF and her newish hubby, then back down to my brother and sister-in-law's place in San Francisco. We listened to and lively-discussed most of the New Testament in the "Grumpy Cat" version which was all I could find at Barnes and Noble in the last minute. You'd think that James Earl Jones reading the KJV would be eloquent and gripping, but he apparently subscribes to the "scripture is very very serious" view and read it in an absolute monotone, except for occasional giggle-inducing times when the speaker would twitch up and it would absolutely sound like a guest appearance from Darth Vader! And we just found affordable tickets to London for the dream conclusion: a three week stay with developing side trips. As Amy Welborn says, we aren't homeschooling to stay home!

7. A hoped for highlight of the time in England will be a repeat RevGal meetup with Sally Coleman! We first met IRL when I presented at the big medieval conference in Leeds--I took the train south to stay with her, preach at one of her little Methodist chapels, and visit Margery Kempe's parish church in King's Lynn. Sadly, Julian of Norwich's nearby cell was closed for the year, and a planned trip to Walshingham was sidelined by a nasty tooth infection. Thankfully the NHS saw me very cheap and Sally's powerful prayer and anointing put off the root canal they recommended for three years! This time I am determined to make both pilgrimage spots while in the south before train-ing north to see her in Blackpool.

For more Friday Fives, visit RevGals; for more Quick Takes, Kelly!


  1. Lots of richness going on in your life, spiritually and otherwise! I love the phrase, "We aren't homeschooling to stay home!" Thanks for playing.

  2. Thanks for visiting! Feels good to get back to the Friday Five community conversation.

  3. It is so great to remember celebrating can be a holy experience. Also your family has some seriously yummy sounding cakes.