{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.

Lenten Music Monday: All My Hope on God Is Founded

Next week will be the last Lenten Music Monday until next year. I thankfully had a choice for hymns this week based on the readings and I went with “All My Hope on God Is Founded”. The writer of the words, Joachim Neander, is one of my favorite hymn writers (and yes, I’m geeky enough to have a few) and the music is by one of my favorite British composers.

Here are the words:

All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew,
me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
God unknown,
he alone
calls my heart to be his own.

Pride of man and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray his trust;
what with care and toil he buildeth,
tower and temple fall to dust.
But God’s power,
hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.

God’s great goodness aye endureth,
deep his wisdom, passing thought:
splendor, light and life attend him,
beauty springeth out of naught.
from his store
newborn worlds rise and adore.

Daily doth the almighty Giver
bounteous gifts on us bestow;
his desire our soul delighteth,
pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
at his hand;
joy doth wait on his command.

Still from man to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ, his Son.
Christ doth call
one and all:
ye who follow shall not fall.

Here is the choir of King’s College Cambridge singing it:

Lenten Music Monday: Per Crucem

It’s late, I’m singularly unfocused at the moment, and I’ve decided to delve into Taizé prayer for this purpose. It’s Lent so “Per Crucem” seemed fitting.

The words are:

Per crucem et passionem tuam
Libera nos Domine, libera nos Domine, libera nos Domine, Domine

Per crucem et passionem tuam
Libera nos Domine, libera nos Domine, libera nos Domine, Domine

Per sanctam resurrectionem tuam
Libera nos Domine, libera nos Domine, libera nos Domine, Domine

Here’s a recording of it sung in canon.

Lenten Music Monday 2014: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

I’ve been trying to find hymns on which I haven’t blogged but as this Lent is progressing, they’re getting more and more obscure. This is why I was happy to find that “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was mentioned on the list for the lectionary readings from Sunday. (For the two people who are wondering, I’m using Oremus for this.)

Here are the words:

Come, thou fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
here by thy great help I’ve come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

Here is a video with Chris Rice singing it.

Lenten Music Mondays: Blessed Jesus at Thy Word

I’m more familiar from this hymn as a Lutheran. It would work well as a processional hymn.

The words are:

Blessed Jesus, at thy word
we are gathered all to hear thee;
let our hearts and souls be stirred
now to seek and love and fear thee,
by thy teachings, true and holy,
drawn from earth to love thee solely.

All our knowledge, sense, and sight
lie in deepest darkness shrouded
till thy Spirit breaks our night
with the beams of truth unclouded.
thou alone to God canst win us;
thou must work all good within us.

Glorious Lord, thyself impart,
Light of Light, from God proceeding;
open thou our ears and heart,
help us by thy Spirit’s pleading;
hear the cry thy church raises,
hear and bless our prayers and praises.

I was able to find a recording of it being sung in worship.

Lenten Music Monday: How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

Daniel is refusing to sleep so I’m up past my bedtime blogging.

I thought I’d post some good music for Lent every Monday this year and in trying not to repeat what I’ve posted in past years, I’m picking “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” as it’s not one I’m familiar with off the top of my head. I found it listed on Oremus while searching by the Lectionary readings. It was written by John Newton, the former slave trader and Anglican priest who wrote “Amazing Grace”.

Here are the words:

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
in a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
and drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
and calms the troubled breast;
’tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the rock on which I build,
my shield and hiding-place,
my never-failing treasury, filled
with boundless stores of grace!

Jesus! my Shepherd, Brother, Friend,
my Prophet, Priest and King,
my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
and cold my warmest thought;
but when I see thee as thou art,
I’ll praise thee as I ought.

Till then I would thy love proclaim
with every fleeting breath;
and may the music of thy Name
refresh my soul in death!

I couldn’t find a good recording of it sung in worship on YouTube so I chose this one.