Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday 2009

Growing up in the conservative Holiness movement, I did not know what Ash Wednesday was. Except...something Catholic and meaningless.

My first year in college preparing for ministry in the same church I encountered Ash Wednesday in Allentown, PA where A LOT of people walked around all day with charcoal-grey crosses smudged on their foreheads.

Then I became aware of my spiritual heritage in the Holiness / Methodist / Episcopal / Catholic branch of the Christian family. The subjective, emotional understanding of the Faith I had experienced as a child left me longing for a firmer foundation on which to build my life. I found it in this historic connection to the Church at large.

I need a day like Ash Wednesday. If there wasn't such a day, someone would soon start it. I need a time to be reminded of my mortality and immorality. I need to pause and realize that I and everything I know will someday all be dust in the wind.

I still don't wear the ashen cross upon my forehead and I think it is my own need to keep my faith below the surface.

Monday, February 09, 2009

My Mountain Momma!

I have tried to relay some of the mixed blessing it is to be Appalachian in geography and culture. Today's entry is in that vein of posts.

Saturday was spent sawing, splitting, shuttling and stacking wood for my in-laws wood-burning furnace. It is their only source of heat and it has been VERY cold of late. So cold, in fact, that they ran dangerously low on fuel.

Lisa and I took the family to OH and while the kiddos enjoyed Momaw, Aunts and cousins, I went to work on the task at hand. Everything was layered in ice and snow. Hands soon became wet, cold and burning.

After a short start, I looked up to see my Mountain Momma walking through the garden. She was dressed to work. Soon she was operating the splitter while I shuffled the wood to it and then into the trailer. Before I knew it, she was hurling split wood into the trailer, too.

My wife is a good woman. Even in our younger years, when I foolishly teased her at summer camps, I took note that she was always working and helping her Dad. She could always be counted on to lend a hand. It is one of the things I love most about her. She is a doer of good deeds.

My wife is a great wife. Not only can she run a woodsplitter, carry and THROW wood, she supported my efforts with warm thanks and at-a-boys to keep me going. She thanked me for helping her Daddy. She is gracious.

Finally, my wife is HOT! After all that work, she went inside, showered and changed into a party outfit. On her way to the van to go to her BFF's Tastefully Simple party, she looked AMAZINGLY YUMMY! It stirred a flashback to the first time I saw her as an adult at the St. John the 23rd Retreat Center on Hodges Road, Charleston. She took my breath away as she walked past that series of windows. Wow! She did the same thing 15 years later this Saturday when she walked from the house to the van! She still turns my head.

So I did what any Appalachian boy would do. I hollered, whooped and whistled at my wonderful wife. She's my Mountain Momma. Eat your hearts out guys. Looks like she's sticking with me!