Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Time for Singing

Faith and joy are the ascensive forces of song.
~~Paramahansa Yogandanda

We're Lutherans.
Known for work ethics and discipline.
 Reluctant, quiet and reserved, we're fairly non-committal.

Not today.

It's Easter Sunday and our choir's in the balcony,
 rocking it out for all three services!

The stone is rolled away, hallelujah!
The stone is rolled away!
The Lord is risen from the grave, the stone is rolled away!
 Let all Christians give thanks and sing;
shout your praises to our King.
The grave lost its victory and death, its sting,
 the Lord is risen indeed!
Glory, hallelujah!
Words and Music, Victor C. Johnson

Two of my brothers are coming to dinner, one bringing a new girlfriend.
We'll sing the table grace:

Be present at our table, Lord.
Be here and everywhere adored.
These mercies bless and grant that we
May feast in Paradise with thee.

Have a lovely Easter!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Hot-Cross Buns

Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
~~Mother Goose

Hot cross buns, eaten warm or split with butter, probably originated in the 16th century~~
 Good Friday was one occasion when the bakers were allowed to use a special dough in bread production.
 To signal the end of the Lenten fast, they marked buns with crosses
and citizens enjoyed them on Easter morning.

Check your local bakery for this British Easter tradition.
They'll be for sale at mine!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday

The Last Supper, Leonard da Vinci.
image: Wikipedia
The Cenacle on Mount Zion.
 Claimed to be the location of the Last Supper and Pentecost.
Image: wikipedia


Monday, March 25, 2013


...begins at sundown.
Known as the "Festival of the Unleavened Bread,"
 this Jewish holiday commemorates the exodus of the ancient Israelites from Egypt.


When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites from slavery,
 it is said they left in such a hurry that they couldn't wait for leavened bread to rise.
To honor Passover,
celebrants forego leavened bread and choose Matzo, an unleavened bread,
for the seven or eight days of Passover.

Wishing our Jewish friends a Blessed Passover.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is like a glimpse of Easter.
It's a little bit joyful after being somber during Lent.
~~Laura Gale

Areca palms and asparagus ferns flourish in our backyard.

We have enough palm branches to supply the Palm Sunday procession at our church.

Alleluia, how the people cheer
And palm leaves rustle as the king draws near.
~~John Beavis


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Decorating Eggs

I love resist-dyeing Easter eggs with onion skins and rubber bands.
 It seems a miracle that onion skins can produce such a lovely variety of earth tones.

Martha taught me how:
1) Hard-boil eggs and remove them from the water; drop onion skins into the water.
2) When the eggs are cool enough to handle, fasten wide/ heavy rubber bands around the eggs,
 looping and twisting them until secure. 
3) Boil the eggs with the onion skins until the desired shades are attained,
removing some at different times for lighter and darker tones.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vernal Equinox

O happy day! (an expression my mother uses)
With day and night of equal length, spring arrives and
I feel revived~~Florida is busy awakening in subtle ways.

Spring is when life's alive in everything.
~Christina Rossetti

Primavera by Sandro Botticelli

The day-laborer is reckoned as standing at the foot of the social scale,
yet he is saturated with the laws of the world.
His measures are the hours; 
morning and night,
solstice and equinox,
geometry, astronomy,
and all the lovely accidents of nature play through his mind.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Feast of St. Joseph

St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is mainly celebrated by Sicilians~~it is said that he brought the rains to a crop of fava beans that saved the population from starvation.
Sicilians who emigrated to New Orleans brought St. Joseph's feast day to the United States.

St. Joseph with the infant Jesus, painting by Guido Reni

Giving food to the needy is a St. Joseph's Day custom.
At home people place flowers, limes, candles, wine, fava beans, cakes, breads, and cookies on three-tied home altars.
 Foods are traditionally served containing bread crumbs to represent the sawdust of Joseph the Carpenter.

Three-tiered altar, Des Moines


Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Feast of Saint Patrick

May the blessings of light be upon you,
Light without and light within
And in all your comings and goings.
~~Irish blessing

St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland,
  St. Benin's Church, Ireland. He uses the 3-leaf shamrock
 to illustrate the Holy Trinity.
 Image: wikipedia

May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel so nothing can harm you.
~~Irish blessing

 Everyone in town is down at T. J. Carney's Pub & Grille
where Ken McBride Himself entertains with Irish ballads,
green beer flows, and rustic soda bread turns up on tables.

Have a happy St. Pat's!

+  +  +

Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Urho's Day

The Finns of Lake Worth and Lantana honor today,
with a wink and a smile,
the man who drove the grasshoppers from Finland.
~~John Cutrone

The Legend of St. Urho came to light in Virginia, Minnesota in 1956.
It was said that St. Urho single-handedly saved the Finnish grape industry 
by driving out a plague of giant grasshoppers.

OK, so the Finns~~ in competition with the Irish in their town of Virginia~~
created St. Urho's Day. The point was to upstage St. Patrick's Day..

They chose March 16~~the day before St. Pat's~~for their saint's day.
If St. Urho's Day came first, they reasoned, it would take the wind out of St. Patrick's sails.
Another difference: St. Pat's is celebrated by wearing green and drinking oneself into a stupor.
St. Urho's is classier because it's celebrated by wearing purple and drinking oneself into a stupor.

An oak sculpture of St. Urho, spearing a giant grasshopper.
 Menagha, Minnesota

A great day for a purple parade, fish soup and flatbread.

A poem, written with a Finnish accent, was composed for St. Urho.
 The original isn't easy to read so here's a simplified version:

Ooksie kooksie kollme vee
Santia Urho is the boy for me
He chase out the hopper as big as pirds
Never before have I heard those words.

He really told those bugs of green
Bravest Finn I've ever seen
Some celebrate for St. Pat and his snake
But that Urho boy has what it takes.

He got full and strong on feelia sour
And ate Kalla Mojakkaa every hour
That's why that guy dould cheese those beetles
That crew as thick as jack pine needles.

So let's give a cheer
in our very best way
on the sixteenth of March
St. Urho's Day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Ides of March

"Beware," saith the soothsayer.

It is said that on the Ides of March
 the sea succumbs to chaos and the full moon brings high tides.
"Take care," saith the soothsayer.

In Canada, the Ides of March are commemorated with  Bloody Caesar cocktails.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papem

An exciting day today!
I like Pope Francis' simplicity and humility.

I couldn't resist pulling out this picture of a Swiss guard from my archives.
From our tour of Italy in 2007.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mothering Sunday

 I'm marking each holiday on their March calendar with a post~~
a sort of countdown to Easter.

Town clock in Venice, FL

Daylight Saving Time begins today.
It's also Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, 
known by the English as Mothering Sunday.
 I asked Mr. Google what Mothering Sunday is.

 It seems that during the 16th century, people returned to their mother church for Laetare Sunday services. In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants (I can picture this at Downton Abbey) were given a day off to visit their mother churches, usually with their mothers and other family members. Conflicting work hours meant it was probably the only time of the year when whole families could gather so the day was celebrated with simnel cakes. 

Simnel cake?
Another curious click of the computer and there it was~~a light fruit cake
topped with a layer of marzipan and eleven marzipan balls representing the twelve apostles minus Judas.
Simnel cake images from British blog friend, Rachel Cotterill, also turned up.

For a simnel cake recipe, click HERE!

And a Happy Mothering Sunday to those of you who go "a-mothering."


Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring Forward

It's the first day of March and the Book of Days newsletter arrived from Convivio Bookworks.
It seems that March is coming in rather sheepishly.

All sorts of holidays to celebrate this month~~
and Daylight Savings is springing forward on the 10th.
Check out the Book of Days March calendar on this link: Convivio Bookworks

Have a great weekend!