7 Quick Takes: Choosing to Find Joy Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Prayer request. My friend Bekah had her son Declan at 28 weeks due to preeclampsia. She and Declan are doing OK, but Mr. D is going to be in the NICU for a bit. Prayers would be appreciated.

Please and thank you! 😀

— 2 —

So I was thinking… I was looking over some entries from 13 years ago, and I used to be a more whiny and negative person than I am today. Granted, there was a lot that wasn’t going well at the time, but a lot of stuff used to derail my day pretty easily. This changed a lot with my pregnancy with Daniel.

— 3 —

Sickness. It was hard a lot of the time. I didn’t know when I got pneumonia in October 2008 that I was pregnant at the time, and that definitely would have changed the treatment I sought for it. Thankfully, none of what I took hurt Daniel that we know of. I also got some pretty serious colds, and I was very much limited in what I could take.

— 4 —

Something about Mary. I started thinking about the Virgin Mary that December when it was -20F for weeks at a time, and I would be driving into work with gloves on with socks over them, trying to keep my hands warm and to keep them from aching. It struck me one day how hard her last few months of pregnancy must have been, especially the journey to Bethlehem.

— 5 —

Daniel’s birth. The traumatic experience of Daniel’s birth and the shock it gave me in so many ways changed how I approached each day. That first week, I was so shell-shocked that it seemed like things were getting worse by the day, but my little creature held on. Despite everything getting thrown at him, he was able to persevere through. One of the nurses told me to start finding those little joys in each day because we were in for a marathon with him. Her advice proved helpful as it gave me something on which I could focus to hold onto hope that he would eventually make it home, given that it took a month before I could even form the words to pray, and I had to work through A LOT of anger.

— 6 —

10 years later… I have held onto that practice of seeking out the joy in every day, even when we went through Daniel’s epic hospitalization 8 1/2 years ago, and that joy was sometimes that he didn’t die that day. It has stayed with me through more hospitalizations, Daniel’s autism diagnosis, the end of my marriage, and the divorce process that took two years. Even on the worst days, I choose to seek out some small joy in something. I don’t know that I would have survived if I could not do this.

— 7 —

New music. I heard this song last night and thought I’d share.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

{five favorites}: Lenten Disciplines


Unless you live under a rock or don’t attend a liturgical church, you probably know that Lent starts next week for the Western Church. (Those in the East have another month to go.) As I’ve now been at this for 20 years, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Lenten disciplines. Also… if you want a shot at picking mine for me, go here before Friday and enter by leaving me a comment.


Spiritual reading. For the last few years, I’ve had some kind of spiritual reading component as part of Lent. I’ve done Igniting Our Values, Bread and Wine, and A Season for the Spirit before.

My recommendations if you want some Lenten reading this year: any of the above as well as Jesus: A Pilgimage by James Martin, S.J., Seven Last Words by James Martin, S.J. (I haven’t read this yet but am looking forward to doing so based on his other works), A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans, and Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans.


Crocheting a square every day. For fiber junkies like me, crocheting or knitting a square a day toward a blanket to be put together after Easter is a good way to be mindful of the season and also get some creativity in. Bonus points if you can pray while doing it.


Dietary changes. I’ve given up meat, chocolate, and Coke before. It sounds really pathetic in comparison to the fasting guidelines that Eastern Christians have but it’s been an exercise in mindfulness to me as I’m forced to think about Jesus every time I get a craving for whatever it is.


Blogging. I’ve done faith-blogging every day, blogging about Christian music daily, and blogging about music every Monday in the past. It was a good exercise in journalling and got me thinking about my faith and how I live it.


Prayer. Two years ago, Beth Anne challenged me to find a church to pray in twice a week and Kelly challenged me last year to pick someone to pray for daily including 5 “enemies”. Both stretched me and improved my prayer life.

Go love up Ashley and the others.

7 Quick Takes: Why I Would Make the Bestest Quick Takes Host (Next to Kelly or Jen Fulwiler)

7 Quick Takes

I’m needing something to distract me from the trouble I’m having in finding an educational placement for Daniel so I thought I’d take on Kelly’s question from last week and tell her (and y’all) why I would be the best Quick Takes hostess other than Kelly and Jen Fulwiler.

— 1 —

I’ve been blogging for 15 years. I started blogging in August of 2000 and have been blogging in various shapes and forms since then using Greymatter, Livejournal, Moveable Type, Blogger, b2, and finally WordPress. From 2003 to 2005, I was a moderator on the blogs4God portal which included a number of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox blogs and also included people like Mark Shea and Amy Wellborn. I even remember Fr. Z from the days when he was an admin for the Catholic Online Forum on Compuserve.

— 2 —

I bring diversity to the Quick Takes. Unlike a lot of people who take part in them, I’m not Catholic. I’m an Episcopal revert married to a Lutheran pastor. 🙂 I also send my kiddo to public school unlike a lot of the homeschooling moms on here.

— 3 —

I am, in the words of St. Paul, “all things to all people”. I’m one of the few Protestant bloggers out there who has actually read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (all of it during the Year of Faith stemming from a dare that Cari made) and I’ve also read a few papal encyclicals. I can explain Catholic teaching to Protestants and I can explain the spectrum of Protestants to Catholics given that I’m fluent in the lingo and polity of a number of Christian traditions.

— 4 —

I can blog on music… and have! I’ve done a couple Lenten blogging things where I have blogged on contemporary Christian songs I like as well as hymnody and sacred music. (They’re here, here, and here.) I also blog on whatever songs are reaching me at the moment. (Currently, it’s “Baba Yetu” from Peter Hollens and featuring Malukah.)

— 5 —

I’m an author too! OK… I’ve been published in an anthology of devotions based on the Gospel of Luke and I have a few (like 6) unpublished NaNoWriMo pieces in addition to the one I’m working on this year.

— 6 —

I also blog on raising a kiddo with special needs. My son Daniel is autistic. I can tell you all about ABA therapy, dealing with apraxia, and how freaking wonderful it is when he finally gets something that we have been working on for a while.

— 7 —

I’m awesome in my own way. I haven’t built complicated Halloween costumes for Daniel or run 35K for SMA awareness and advocacy but… I have done 6 Promise Walks (I was the survivor speaker for the San Jose one in 2014), done multiple blogathons to raise money for worthy causes, crocheted bandages for Global Heath Ministries, crocheted afghans for afghans for Afghans, written Confirmation curricula, and lived out my vocation as a pastor’s wife, Daniel’s mama, and a child of God. 🙂

Not to mention, I’m fabulous at fencing with palm fronds.

On guard!

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

Lent 2013: “Ah Holy Jesus”

It’s Holy Saturday so Jesus is in the tomb and we’ll do one more Holy Week/Triduum hymn — “Ah Holy Jesus”. It’s one of my favorites because it pulls no punches in relating that *I* am responsible for Christ being crucified.

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
??Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man??s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life??s oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.
(HT: NetHymnal)

This particular arrangements has beautiful harmonies. I don’t know who sings it but it is exquisite.

Lent 2013: He Trusted in God

This isn’t a congregational hymn, but instead a chorus from the “Easter” part of Handel’s Messiah called “He trusted in God”. The words are based on the first part of Matthew 27:43 are simply:

He trusted in God, let him deliver him, if he delight in him.

I went with a recording of the English Concert Choir singing it because they had the perfect derisive tone. The pictures are from York Minster.

Lent 2013: Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness

It’s Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) so a Communion hymn is appropriate. I’m posting this one because I love the tune (Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele) and the words are exquisite.

Soul, adorn thyself with gladness,
Leave behind all gloom and sadness;
Come into the daylight’s splendor,
There with joy thy praises render
Unto Him whose grace unbounded
Hath this woundrous supper founded.
High o’er all the heavens He reigneth,
Yet to dwell with thee He deigneth.

Hasten as a bride to meet Him
And with loving reverence greet Him;
For with words of life immortal
Now He knocketh at thy portal.
Haste to ope the gates before Him,
Saying, while thou dost adore Him,
Suffer, Lord, that I receive Thee,
And I nevermore will leave Thee.

He who craves a precious treasure
Neither cost nor pain will measure;
But the priceless gifts of heaven
God to us hath freely given.
Though the wealth of earth were proffered,
Naught would buy the fits here offered:
Christ’s true body, for thee riven,
And His blood, for thee once given.

Ah, how hungers all my spirit
For the love I do not merit!
Oft have I, with sighs fast thronging,
Thought upon this food with longing,
In the battle well-nigh worsted,
For this cup of life have thirsted,
For the Friend who here invites us
And to God Himself unites us.

In my heart I find ascending
Holy awe, with rapture blending,
As this mystery I ponder,
Filling all my soul with wonder,
Bearing witness at this hour
Of the greatness of Thy power;
Far beyond all human telling
Is the power within Him dwelling.

Human reason, though it ponder,
Cannot fathom this great wonder
That Christ’s body e’er remaineth
Though it countless souls sustaineth,
And that He His blood is giving
With the wine we are receiving.
These great mysteries unsounded
Are by God alone expounded.

Jesus, Sun of Life, my Splendor,
Jesus, Thou my Friend most tender,
Jesus, Joy of my desiring,
Fount of life, my soul inspiring, —
At Thy feet I cry, my Maker,
Let me be a fit partaker
Of this blessed food from heaven,
For our good, Thy glory, given.

Lord, by love and mercy driven
Thou hast left Thy throne in heaven
On the cross for us to languish
And to die in bitter anguish,
To forego all joy and gladness
And to shed Thy blood in sadness.
By this blood, redeemed and living,
Lord, I praise Thee with thanksgiving.

Jesus, Bread of Life, I pray Thee,
Let me gladly here obey Thee.
By Thy love I am invited,
Be Thy love with love requited;
From this Supper let me measure,
Lord, how vast and deep love’s treasure.
Though the gifts Thou here dost give me
As Thy guest in heaven receive me.
(HT: Lutheran-Hymnal.Com)

I’m looking to Lutheran Warbler again for this one. She does an excellent job with this particular hymn even if she doesn’t sing every verse.

Lent 2013: Glory Be to Jesus

I am pretty sure I’ve heard this hymn before but it isn’t incredibly familiar today. My props to Thomas who linked it on Twitter today. It’s very simple and understated, two prereqs of mine for an acceptable Triduum hymn.

Glory be to Jesus,
Who, in bitter pains,
Poured for me the lifeblood
From His sacred veins!

Grace and life eternal
In that blood I find;
Blest be His compassion,
Infinitely kind.

Blest through endless ages
Be the precious stream
Which from endless torments
Doth the world redeem.

Abel??s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion
Terror struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Angel hosts, rejoicing,
Make their glad reply.

Lift we then our voices,
Swell the mighty flood;
Louder still and louder
Praise the precious blood!
(HT: Net Hymnal)

Thomas was nice enough to link two versions of this hymn on Twitter. The one I chose is by Warriors for Christ from Grove City College. The page pictured looks like it could have come out of the “old red book” (Service Book and Hymnal, also known as the SBH) though I’m pretty sure it isn’t.