Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash and You Shall Receive



I love Lent...and Advent...the church is all done up in purple, my favorite color ^_^

I also love these seasons because that's about the only time we do Rite I. Ever since St. Alban's combined the 9am and 11:15am Sunday services a couple of years ago, Rite I is used only during the quiet, solemn seasons of Lent and Advent. It really is a shame, I find Rite II to be rather uninspiring. I feel God's presence (not to say He isn't there anyway) much more when I am surrounded by sacred music and the rhythmic beauty of both sung and spoken older language similar to that of the Shakespearean English of the KJV rather than the boring modern English.

But dislikes aside, I look forward to Lent as a time to prepare to be washed clean again. I like to spend this season thinking about what it is I'm doing wrong with my life and try to figure out how I can change it for the better. I always have a hard time coming up with a Lenten Rule each year, but Sean gave me a good idea on the way home tonight. I noted how he is always calm, even when I'm throwing a temper tantrum. He's like a calm spot on a turbulent sea, and I can never figure out how he can be so forgiving and caring even when I'm a huge pain in the...er...neck.

So I'm thinking I will form my Lenten Rule for this year around becoming more like my name suggests (For those without a name-meaning chart, Anna means Grace). I truly want to be more graceful and less prone to anger and resentment.

Oh Blessed Jesus, look upon me with those eyes with which thou didst look upon Magdalene at the feast, Peter in the hall, the thief upon the cross: that, with the thief, I may entreat thee humbly. Remember me, Lord, in thy kingdom; that, with Peter, I may bitterly weep; that, with Magdalene, I may hear thee say, Thy sins be forgiven thee. -St Augustine

Monday, February 19, 2007

Lily


Ah, the white fuzzball. I love my cat. Since God has not blessed Sean and I with children yet, Lily is my "baby", and Sean and I are "daddy" and "mommy" to her. She's spoiled absolutely rotten, and it's all my fault. We got into the habit of feeding her bits of ham and bologna while we watch TV and eat dinner, and she now expects to have some "people food" any time we eat. She only has a bite here and there (maybe once a day?) but I'm afraid it might be contributing to her ...ahem... weight problem.

Fat or not, she's still a sweet cat and very well behaved. She knows that she's not allowed in the kitchen and will even wait in the doorway if someone is in there with food she likes. She knows what "Go to bed!" means, and will dutifully race into the bedroom and hop up on the mattress at night. She also knows that it is her bed, and we must accomodate her Royal Highness if we wish to sleep. This usually involves Mommy or Daddy falling off of the bed because she's stretched herself out sideways across the bed instead of laying vertically like a decent kitty.

She knows the apartment is hers, and intruders are definitely not allowed. In addition she realizes that she is not quite big enough to ward off intruders and usually ends up hiding under the bed. Since her Royal Highness's Royal Throne is situated under the guest bathroom sink, she requests that the door never be shut. We sometimes forget to notify our guests of this and they are quite shocked when the door pops open when they think they have privacy. The door does not quite latch properly and a good nose push from the Queen will open it quite nicely.

It has increasingly become Daddy's responsibility to make sure that her Royal Highness has breakfast in the morning. She is very vocally demanding and won't let us rest until she can no longer see the bottom of her bowl.

So now that you know a bit of her personality, I would like to direct you to my sister blog where I've posted a couple of quick sketches I completed this morning.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Does God Answer Prayers?

I was reading the DOK Province VII newsletter that came in the post this week, and came across an article about prayer, which got me to thinking about something I hear quite often. It is a question or statement that comes from the mouths of Christians and non-Christians alike. But it has a very simple answer.

Does God answer prayers?

Of course he does. God answers each and every prayer we send to Him. I think of Garth Brooks when I hear this question, how "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." But the truth is the He does answer prayers, it just so happens that oftentimes His answer is "No." We may not hear a booming voice from heaven or see a clear sign in our alphabet soup, but then of course He works in mysterious and subtle ways.

When I was a child, I used to pray that God would send me a daddy. My parents had divorced when I was three and I rarely saw my father. I didn't necessarily want God to unite my parents together as my father was an abusive and seriously disturbed individual, but I still wanted a daddy. My mom had a romantic interest or two when I was growing up, but they never lasted long. In fact, the only male influence in my young life was my younger first cousin. I was disappointed for years that God wasn't going to answer my prayers, and that I'd never get a daddy. It was only after I turned my life around in college, was baptized, and began a lifelong journey to know Christ that I realized He had been giving me His answer the whole time.

I didn't need a daddy, I needed a Father. Surely a daddy would have been very beneficial to me, but more than anything else I needed a Father that would forgive my sins if I only came to Him. Perhaps growing up without a daddy strengthened my resolve to never let my own children (whenever God blesses me with such ^_^) grow up without a daddy. So to answer the question, God doesn't leave prayers unanswered. He has an answer to each and every prayer we have, we need only look.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sister Blog

I have just started a new blog, not to replace this one, but rather to showcase some of my art and hopefully gain some advice. Please feel free to check it out and lend some constructive criticism.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Forgiveness

Seeing as how the diocesan DOK Lenten Retreat is coming up, I figured I'd dwell a bit on the topic of this year's retreat. Forgiveness. Let me ask and answer a few questions as if they were being posed to a child and using hypothetical examples. I want my meanings to be clear without using fancy language to make me sound ejumacated.

What is Forgiveness? To forgive means to accept that something went wrong. To know that human beings have the gift of free will, and will use it whether to good or ill of another human being. Then to begin a healing process of moving on for the better. To use an example, lets say I have a friend named Bob, who while visiting broke a precious figurine that is a reminder of happy childhood memories. Bob apologizes for breaking the figurine, explaining that he tripped on his shoelace and knocked it off of my desk when he reached out to steady himself. I understand that this was an accident, it was not something I could control, and while the figurine meant a lot to me, I treasure my friendship with Bob more. I then forgive Bob because he knew what he did was wrong, and I would rather keep a friend than be angry about a situation I cannot control.

What is a Sin? A sin is a wrongdoing. Webster's defines a sin as a "willful breaking of a religious or moral law." In this case I believe Webster's to be a bit off. A sin is a wrongdoing whether it is willful or not. There have been times when I have commited a sin without realizing it, and it was a sin just the same. We all sin, we are all sinners. The only perfect human to ever walk this earth was Jesus Christ. Just because we are all sinners does not mean we are bad people, we just tend to do bad things sometimes.

What is Repentance? Repentance is to acknowledge or admit that one has committed a sin, admit that it is in fact a sin, regret that the sin was committed, and then promise to avoid sin. To use an example, I admit that I cuss when I encounter poor drivers on the road. To emit such filth from my mouth is wrong, and the only ones who can hear my hateful words are myself and God. It doesn't do me any good to hear myself cuss, nor is God pleased with my hatefulness. I immediately regret saying the words, and vow to myself and God that I will clean up my act. I promise to control my anger at other drivers and instead say a prayer if I feel wronged by another driver.

So using these definitions, I have one more question to ask. Is it necessary for a Christian to repent of his/her sins to receive God's forgiveness?

Enter Witty Title Here

I am a blogging virgin, spending hours browsing the internet and posting on various forums and blogs, but never having my own space to vent without the fear of being moderated or banned. So without further ado, I shall introduce myself. I am happily married to a wonderful young man, recently graduated from college with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design, and spend quite a bit of time puzzled and distressed about the state of the church of which I am a member.

I am a member of St. Alban's parish in Arlington, TX. My passion is music, and I love the Chamber Choir at St. Alban's. I am a member of the Order of the Daughters of the King, and am looking forward to our diocesan Lenten Retreat this month. If I remember to bring my camera and the batteries that go with it, I'll try to get a few good pictures to post here from the retreat.