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Would You Rather

Once again I am blasting out a column the day before it is due without a firm theme in mind. March was a whirlwind of activity- both in world affairs and affairs of hearth and heart. I don't even feel qualified to write about the devastation experienced in Japan, but I did want to acknowledge it, as it has been weighing heavy on my mind.

Then we had the lovely Our Lady of Lourdes Scholarship Luncheon and all of the excitement of the development of "the outfit" for Princess, our shining star. It was fabulous- my niece designed the dress for Princess, and my mother was able to bring it to life with her talented sewing skills, and Princess rocked it on the stage. It was a beautiful experience to witness all of the steps involved in transforming a thought into a reality. Three patterns were spliced together incorporating numerous fabrics, and the outcome was perfection.

But, as I have learned along the way, it is much more time consuming for me to pick a topic and then write about it, than it is to write about the topic that picks me. Usually, when this column is written, it happens more like this, the topic picks me and then I put it down. Sometimes inspiration strikes early on in the month and I have time to jot my thoughts, reread them a few times, play with the words, edit and re edit and find corresponding clip art, links and quotes, but that didn't happen this time. It happened more like this- after a beautiful day spent with family and friends at the luncheon followed by a lengthy and acrimonious dreaded discussion of the frustrations of financing the continuing college educations of Soccer Boy and Computer Boy, I got to bed very late and woke up with a headache. I didn't even have the benefit of drinking crappy wine the night before to justify this vice like pressure in my temples.

There was Bubba, licking my hand and, in his dog way, reminding me that it was time to get up and take a walk. Hmmm lie in warm bed or giddy on up and go for a walk? Bubba won that round, and we went out for the walk. I swallowed two Advil and saddled the beast and then, magically, while on the tail end (like that pun?) of a forty-five minute walk- my topic found me. Much as I was trying not to mull over the ugly discussion of whether it would be possible for our sons to attend summer school, and how it could have been approached differently, and too bad we waited so long to have this discussion as options are now limited and class / work / housing schedules did not seem to be jibing, I realized that it mainly boiled down to one thing: choices. And that's when the inspiration hit for the Would You Rather column.

I think Princess liked this game the best, but all of the kiddies loved coming up with bizarre scenarios and asking me to choose the most or least tolerable one. "Would you rather eat dog poo and be awarded one million dollars or just skip the entire scenario? If you could save someone's life who you will never meet, but it means you will have to be 300 pounds for the rest of your life, would you do it? Would you rather have six toes on each foot or four? Would you rather find your true love or become a millionaire? The scenarios seemed endless- I think there is even an App for this game.

Well, it seems that we are most definitely living a real life Would You Rather drama. Would you rather take the one class you need as a pre requisite over the summer and spend 8 hours a day in rapid transit twice a week to get to it, or find cheap housing and a good paying job (not so easy when you are 19) and work to pay your way? Would you rather keep the D+ and move forward with your classes, or retake it to improve your GPA- but this means you might fall behind schedule? Would you rather eat food and hope to get by with pirated online textbooks, or subsist off of Ramen Noodles, Potatoes, Bananas, Beans and Rice for this quarter and legally buy your textbooks? Would you rather try your best but still fail or not try your best so that you will have an excuse if you fail?

The tough part about it is that everyone in our household is very strong-minded. Heck- isn't everyone strong- minded? It doesn't make any sense not to be. Would we be worth our salt if we had a thought and then just gave it up to another's opinion? What would be the point of that except for stress free child rearing? Where is the learning? It is just that some of us would rather proceed as if and then come up with plan B in the event of a change in plans, and others ( I am not naming names here) would rather proceed as if not, and can't commence proceeding until plan ABC and D are in place. This can often result in stagnation and never commencing in the first place - for fear of what might happen. I am of the opinion that you can't get to plan D until you have tried plan A. Unfortunately for me, the proceed as if not individual is the one who holds the purse strings, so I cannot argue with that.

It's just such a conundrum trying to proceed. Hmmmm...... would you rather go to a prestigious school and take the most difficult major it offers- all the while making fabulous connections, and knowing that if you have the gumption of sticking it out, you will most certainly be able to get a high paying job in a field you adore- yet you will enter into young adulthood saddled with thousands of dollars of debt- or, stay at home, go to the local college which costs far less but won't offer you the networking opportunities and mental stimulation of the prestigious school- yet you won't be saddled with as much debt, nor will your chances of finding your dream job be as high? I know that was a run on but heck! Which is the better choice here?

It's like you can get three out of four things that you want, but the combos don't quite work out. Like when you are eating out and you really prefer the garlic mashed over rice pilaf, but all of the entrees you are hankering for- Filet with caramelized onions and port wine reduction, or Chicken with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Mornay come with the damn rice, and the entrees which come with the garlic mashed don't quite float your boat, and there are no substitutions. I am left with the feeling that I almost could have ordered a perfect meal- that I was so close I could almost taste it ( ain't that punny?) but it just wasn't on the table, argh argh argh.

I often tease Soccer Boy's friends as they are so darling and often seem to be around when I am cooking dinner. When the aroma of the sauteed shallots and garlic are mingling just so with the caramelized pork tenderloin, I ask them, "When thinking of your future wife would you rather good lookin' or good cookin'?" Course they always say good lookin', but I wonder if that would hold true down the line?

But the fact of the matter at the end of the day is that we don't always get to pick what we'd rather. Sometimes it gets picked for us. Sometimes we just need to plug ahead and do our best and forget the rest. Why stew (hee hee hee) about what you are going to have for dinner on Thursday when your friends are bringing you to a surprise restaurant and you don't know if you will be having burgers or dumplings? Sure, you can spend an hour planning and looking forward to a spaghetti and meatball dinner with Caesar salad, but why set yourself up for disappointment when that isn't on the menu? I am learning that it is often easier to make the decisions when they need to be made- choose what you'd like to eat after you get to the restaurant, rather than vice versa, but that's just me. I think so much angst comes with trying to mentally live in the future, when you really don't know what it's going to be.

At this moment, it looks as though Computer Boy will sign up for two classes now, wait until summer housing options become available in 3 weeks, if the housing doesn't pan out, he will drop a class without penalty prior to July and then take the Metrolink 2 days a week. Ah the price we pay to get an education.

Buddha Boy has heard too much BMW'ing ( Bitch, Moan and Whining) over the cost of private schooling and college. He announced that he would be fine with renouncing his expensive Catholic schooling in lieu of attending the local Charter School, and that we need not fret about his college expenses and FAFSA form as he will be joining the Marines and geting his education on the government. I never thougt I'd find myself praying for a child with flat feet. Good heavens- has it really come down to risking your life just so you could have a running chance at living it? I think it is a noble aspiration, but the momma in me cringes. There I go reactng to a future which hasn't yet materialized.

Princess has lofty plans, but plans she has. She mentioned getting her Beauty license for hair, nails and makeup just out of high school. Then she could work flexible hours for a living wage while she studies for her degree in Dermatology. Sounds like a plan to me. She hopes to attend Oxford someday and I think she'll do it.At least she has a plan.

It sickens me that my son has to argue for a chance to attend summer school so he can maintain his on campus job he worked so hard to get. It sickens me that our educational focus is seemingly more on competition than actual learning. It starts in preschool. There is so much parent angst over the future success of their kids. It's a toss up. Would you rather invest in their primary education only to run out of money for their college education, or send them to public schools and bank that money in a high interest account to use for college? I know folks on both sides of the spectrum. Some parents spent fortunes on the finest of the private schools only to have their kid burn out from the constant pressure and choose not to go to University. I also have friends who sent their kids to Public School and invested the money saved for future University costs only to have their kids not get that individualized attention they might have gotten at Private School and still not go to University. And then there are the kids who went to Public School and are doing great in University and the kids who went to Private School and are doing great in University. So much depends on the makeup of the student.

We, as parents can rather this and rather that for our kids, but in the end, they will be who they are and I trust that they will all find their way successfully out of the nest whether I would rather that or not.

Happy Easter- I would rather you enjoy it!

Robin Redbreast

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by George Washington Doane (1799-1859)


Sweet robin, I have heard them say
That thou wert there upon the day
The Christ was crowned in cruel scorn
And bore away one bleeding thorn,--
That so the blush upon thy breast,
In shameful sorrow, was impressed;
And thence thy genial sympathy
With our redeemed humanity.

Sweet robin, would that I might be
Bathed in my Saviour's blood, like thee;
Bear in my breast, whate'er the loss,
The bleeding blazon of the cross;
Live ever, with thy loving mind,
In fellowship with human-kind;
And take my pattern still from thee,
In gentleness and constancy.

***

The sleepy colors of winter
Fade fast in the dawn of
Spring.
The joy of Easter's promise,
Delivers sweet reason to
Sing


Refreshed from her snowy
Slumber,
Mother Earth exalts her
Worth.
In a colorful burst of glory,
She blazons her wondrous
Rebirth

Renew your spirit, refresh
Your soul,
Rejoice with all humankind.
Celebrate life everlasting.
Peace and wonder are
Yours to find.

The blessing of the Lord
be upon you...
Psalms 129:8

May the glory
and the promise
of this joyous time of year
Bring peace
and happiness to you
and those you hold most dear,

And may Christ,
Our Risen Saviour,
always be there by your side
To bless you
most abundantly
and be your loving guide.

***

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.
~ Clarence W. Hall.

***

Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless.
~ Charles M. Crowe.

***

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.
~ S.D. Gordon.

***

Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green.
~ Anonymous.

***

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer; Death is strong, but Life is stronger; Stronger than the dark, the light; Stronger than the wrong, the right; Faith and Hope triumphant say Christ will rise on Easter Day.
~ Phillips Brooks.

***

"Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling"
~ Augustus M. Toplady

***

Every parting is a foretaste of death, and every reunion a foretaste of resurrection.
~ Arthur Schopenhauer.

***

Earth's saddest day and gladdest
day were just three days apart!
~ Susan Coolidge.

***

The spirit of Easter is all about Hope, love, and joyful living.
~ Anonymous.

***

Where man sees but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing.
~ Albert Laighton.

***

Oh, that I might have my request, and that God would grant me the thing that I long for.—Job 6:8

***

The Wild White Rose
by Ellen H. Willis
.
It was peeping through the brambles, that little wild white rose,
Where the hawthorn hedge was planted, my garden to enclose.
All beyond was fern and heather, on the breezy, open moor;
All within was sun and shelter, and the wealth of beauty's store.
But I did not heed the fragrance of flow'ret or of tree,
For my eyes were on that rosebud, and it grew too high for me.
In vain I strove to reach it through the tangled mass of green,
It only smiled and nodded behind its thorny screen.
Yet through that summer morning I lingered near the spot:
Oh, why do things seem sweeter if we possess them not?
My garden buds were blooming, but all that I could see
Was that little mocking wild rose, hanging just too high for me.

So in life's wider garden there are buds of promise, too,
Beyond our reach to gather, but not beyond our view;
And like the little charmer that tempted me astray,
They steal out half the brightness of many a summer's day.
Oh, hearts that fail with longing for some forbidden tree,
Look up and learn a lesson from my white rose and me.
'Tis wiser far to number the blessings at my feet,
Than ever to be sighing for just one bud more sweet.
My sunbeams and my shadows fall from a pierced Hand,
I can surely trust His wisdom since His heart I understand;
And maybe in the morning, when His blessed face I see,
He will tell me why my white rose grew just too high for me.

***

Eggs make ducks
And ducks make eggs
So ducklings can quack quack!
The chicks go peep
Emerged from sleep,
Resurfacing out back.

***

Next Post date: May 2, 2011
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April 4, 2011

The Traditions of Easter

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As with almost all "Christian" holidays, Easter has a secular side as well. The dichotomous nature of Easter and its symbols, however, is not necessarily a modern fabrication.

Easter has always had its non-religious side. In fact, Easter was originally a pagan festival. It was co-opted by Christian missionaries starting in the second century CE.

The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre. When the second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations, they do what Christian missionaries have always done; they attempted to convert them to Christianity. They did so, however, in a clandestine manner.

It would have been dangerous for the very early Christian converts to celebrate their holy days with observances that did not coincide with celebrations that already existed. To save lives, the missionaries decided to spread their dogma slowly throughout the populations by allowing them to continue to celebrate pagan feasts, but to do so in a Christian manner.

As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. It made sense, therefore, to alter the festival itself, to make it a Christian observance as pagans were slowly indoctrinated. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.

The Date of Easter
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Prior to A.D. 325, Easter was variously celebrated on different days of the week, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In that year, the Council of Nicaea was convened by emperor Constantine. It issued the Easter Rule which states that Easter shall be celebrated on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. The "full moon" in the rule is the ecclesiastical full moon, which is defined as the fourteenth day of a tabular lunation, where day 1 corresponds to the ecclesiastical New Moon. It does not always occur on the same date as the astronomical full moon. The ecclesiastical "vernal equinox" is always on March 21. Therefore, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 and April 25.

The Lenten Season

Lent is the forty-six day period just prior to Easter Sunday. It begins on Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is a celebration, sometimes called "Carnival," practiced around the world, on the Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday. It was designed as a way to "get it all out" before the sacrifices of Lent began. New Orleans is the focal point of Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S. Read about the religious meanings of the Lenten Season.

The Easter Bunny Bunny

The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit.

The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. In fact, Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.

The Easter Egg

As with the Easter Bunny and the holiday itself, the Easter Egg predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.

From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of birth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.

Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs -- those made of plastic or chocolate candy.

***

Kindess is the Word
Author Unknown

"What is the real good?"
I asked in musing mood.

Order, said the law court;
Knowledge, said the school;
Truth, said the wise man;
Pleasure, said the fool;
Love, said the maiden;
Beauty, said the page;
Freedom, said the dreamer;
Home, said the sage;
Fame, said the soldier;
Equity, said the seer;

Spake my heart full sadly:
"The answer is not here."

Then within my bosom
Softly this I heard:
"Each heart holds the secret:
Kindness is the word."

***

Love's Garden
by Ellen Robena Field

There is a quiet garden,
From the rude world set apart,
Where seeds for Christ are growing;
This is the loving heart.

The tiny roots are loving thoughts;
Sweet words, the fragrant flowers
Which blossom into loving deeds,
Ripe fruits for harvest hours.

Thus in our hearts the seeds of love
Am growing year by year;
And we show our love for the Saviour,
By loving His children here.

***

Easter is a time of love,
A time of death and pain undone,
So we may know the power of
The love that lives in everyone.
Each love we feel, unstained and free,
Redeems us--as with you and me.

***

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