Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lewis and Lent

I just love C.S. Lewis. His words are like little lightbulbs that illuminate the mind. This morning I was looking for some reassuring words of wisdom from Mr. Lewis about Lent, and he didn't fail me.

He writes in Mere Christianity:

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is ... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.

"A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later." I LOVE this! There go those lightbulbs.

Each year I try to give something up for Lent. It's always easier to give something up during this holiest time of year. It seems like the least I can do as an act of gratitude and submission to God. This year I'm giving up curse words, an ugly little habit I picked up while working long, frustrating hours in a newsroom after college. For some reason, only four-letter words can make you feel SO good when you've slammed your finger in a drawer or been cut off in traffic. However, they aren't very appropriate when little ears are around. It's a hard habit to shake and one I haven't really wanted to until now. But the other day when I was out and about, I heard a woman use some of my favorite four-letter words at the grocery store when she was talking to her friend, and I thought, "Do I sound like that??" I was mortified. I don't want my children to remember me like that, "She was a good mom, but she could cuss like a sailor at times.." So here goes...

I'm also giving up workout rest days. My workouts keep me grounded and happy and at peace with the world. And I'll need that if I can't cuss any longer. :-)

It will be a sacrifice. I have a feeling I'll be reminding myself often of Mr. Lewis' sage words. But mostly, I'll be thinking of the amazing sacrifice that was made for me many years ago on a cross in Jerusalem.

Happy Lent, everyone!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My funny Valentine

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet you're my favorite work of art

A few years ago, I gave my husband a Valentine "mix" CD filled with love songs instead of a cheesy card. He loved it. The first song was Elvis Costello's version of My Funny Valentine. It perfectly sums up how we feel about each other. We may not be perfect, but to each other, we are our "favorite work of art."

I met my husband 15 years ago when I was working at my college newspaper. I was a reporter, and he, in an effort to score football tickets, was a photographer. We first were great friends. Then we began dating. We dated for exactly three years before we tied the knot. Eleven years and three children later, I love him more today than I did then. Maybe it's the history we've created together, maybe it's the bond that parenthood brings or maybe it's that our friendship always has been at the core of our relationship. We make each other laugh. We accept each other's flaws. We love each other, not despite our quirks but because of them.

Saturday night, my husband took me to see the a special Valentine show by the symphony. There were people of all kinds in the audience. Directly in front of us sat a couple who looked plain as could be. Totally unassuming. The man in his T-shirt and parka and the woman with no makeup or jewelry, looked to have been married for at least 20 years, a level of comfort had set in to their relationship. After each song, she would look at her husband and just smile. Next to them sat another couple who looked to be newly weds. He in his suit, and she in her frilly black dress and salon-done hair sat hand-in-hand. At the end of each song, they would look into each other's eyes and kiss. It was nice to see all of the people with the ones they loved, each in different stages of relationships. Some old, some young. Some simple, some extravagant. But no matter what each person looked like, next to them sat someone who found them absolutely perfect -- like a work of art.

And next to me, sat my funny Valentine. How in the world did I get to be so blessed?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Last night I spontaneously combusted. Well, perhaps it wasn't too spontaneous. While attempting to boil water (insert obvious joke here) I bent down to retrieve a storage container that had fallen on the floor and my hair hit the flame on the gas burner. I heard a loud "Woosh!" and up in flames I went. At first I thought, "Hmm... what was that noise?" then I saw the sparks falling from my head and I knew right away. I quickly remembered what I had learned in elementary school: "STOP, DROP and ROLL!!" So, I dropped to my kitchen floor and began rolling around. After extinguishing myself, I looked up at my 16-month-old who was peering down at me, grinning, as if I had staged the whole incident for his entertainment.

The next thing I knew, the fire alarm began going off, and my two oldest came running downstairs to see what was on fire. Once I explained it had been me, I quickly used the experience as a learning opportunity — mostly just to restore some credibility. In my now-brown sweater, burnt hairs falling from my head, I said in my stern mommy voice, "This is why I don't let you guys get near the stove while I'm cooking." My 5 year old simply looked into my eyelash-singed eyes and said, "Gee mom, you really smell bad!"

I was OK though. My ego and my hair remain a bit singed, and my favorite comfy sweater has smoke damage. But nevertheless, I'm OK.

But tonight — we're ordering pizza.