Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Lenten Retreat

When we were children growing up in India, there were very few Christians we knew (they are less than 1% of the population) but Lent was a biggie. We'd always ask each other what we were giving up. In my circle of friends it ranged from giving up meat (but we were vegetarian so it didn't matter to me) to being nice to a younger sibling, or helping more with chores, etc. I remember feeling indignant because what's there to give up when you're already not eating well and have too many chores? I remember fasting on Fridays along with my mother. She didn't want us to because we were stick-thin and our usual meal was a thin lentil soup with rice. To this day, I make my lentil soup thin because that's the way I like it. In Indian restaurants, I find the soup too rich. But I digress.

I remember how hard it was. My stomach was noisy and if someone offered me a sandwich or chapati, I ate it. And I would be ashamed because the Muslim girls would fast from sun-up to sun-down during Ramadan and wouldn't even take a sip of water. I admired them, but was never able to hold out like they did. I prayed that God would make me strong. He did.

I tell you this because for Lent, I need to be strong again. I want to give up one of my excesses -- spending too much time on the net, blogging and reading other people's blogs, visiting the Blueboard, and reading newsy bits. It will be hard for me because I enjoy it far too much. Like fasting, this is an exercise in discipline. I see so many areas in my life I need to improve, but I can start with this one thing. I can imagine spending that lost hour (those 10 minute chunks add up) praying, reading, writing, visiting a sick friend, or finishing a project with my kids.

So, know that I will miss you all, that I may even fail miserably. I hope you will encourage and help me if I do. I will not be ashamed like I was as a child, but forgive myself and begin anew with greater resolve. I will take it one day at a time. I have another day of excess -- Mardi Gras, which translates to Fat Tuesday. When we were living in Europe, it was a huge celebration, but I didn't see anyone penitent the day after. Strange. But I digress again. See what I mean about this busy brain of mine. In any case, come Ash Wednesday, I'll retreat and be quiet. I know from experience that God tends to whisper when my mind is still.

I'll leave you with this:

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10).
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

I love you and you are mine

For Valentine's Day, give me five minutes and listen to this duet. It's a beautiful hymn written and composed by David Haas. I must obtain sheet music for this. The chorus is:

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine.


To love is to belong ... to Christ Jesus.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Dogs Beg

Want to know why dogs beg? Mine does and no wonder. There are always tasty bits under my daughter's chair. But I digress. I do ... and the answer is in the grand prize winning entry in the March issue of Children's Writer authored by none other than my dear friend Bish, who's been regaling us with stories from the Virgin Islands on her blog. Boy, that's a long sentence. I can breathe now.

I've had the pleasure of reading her collection of Anansi stories, which my kids loved too, and I hope that one day it will be a book. Don't believe me? Jane Yolen said so, too.

Congratulations, Bish!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dominican Republic Supports Life

Imagine how we got to this point. In one generation, we’ve gone from abortion being unthinkable to the majority of civilized society, to the defense of human life being a controversial issue. So writes Sheila Liaugminas. Read the rest of the article here.

What is legal is not necessarily moral. Slavery was legal. In fact, the wording for defending slavery is similar to the right to have an abortion.

I believe that just as slavery was abolished, that one day abortion will be abolished as well. We need to work towards strengthening the family, and teaching our children to save sexual relations for marriage. Promiscuity has taken a terrible toll on our babies.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Golden Mean

I am in the middle of my novel. I know the things that need to happen, but instead of plowing through it, I'm wallowing in it (and rather enjoying all the things I'm discovering). I have a feeling that most of it will end up on the cutting floor, as it should. But why do I have to wade through the morass to get to the good stuff? I don't know. The process baffles me. I know my story. I don't know why I can't just write the important scenes first time round. Wah!

I'm going to keep writing because it is a first draft and there is so much to learn, but when I revise, I'll be keeping Molly's Golden Advice in mind. And if you're curious, head on over there to check it out. It's good. It's logical. And it is the Golden Rule that is built into our psyches.

Thanks, Molly.

And for those of you who were looking for the Golden Rule, here it is from the Gospel: So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12).

Monday, February 1, 2010

On love

Today's readings were beautiful and in particular, the second reading (1 Corinthians 13:1-13), which is often spoken at weddings and as you know I have a wedding on my mind.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
It is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
But I was surprised to learn that this verse is often spoken at funerals as well. And now it makes sense because God is love. Perfect love. His love for us will never fail. And if you substitute the word God every time the passage refers to love, it becomes startingly clear that God is infinitely patient, merciful and loving ...

It was an emotional Sunday for me as I pondered these verses. It makes me want to abandon myself to Him, and yet ... the ego is still too strong. I keep coming back to the beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit ...

So, which quality of love is the most difficult to express for you?