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Showing posts from March, 2013

Come to the Table

Last night I attended the Easter Vigil held at Grace United Methodist here in Manassas. It was beautiful, it was soul lifting, it was interactive, it was powerful, and it was lovely. Just as I outlined in my previous post on Holy Saturday traditions, the service was one of fire and light, Word, water, and table. We began the service outdoors around a fire. Everyone was welcomed, the opening prayer was given and we were ushered indoors as a member of the congregation carried the flame to light the candle on the altar. Once inside the sanctuary, we began the service of the Word. Aside from the candle, the altar was unadorned, just as we had left it at the end of Maundy Thursday. The great and might acts of God were read at this stripped altar, from creation to the parting of the red sea, to the hope of the savior, with the story of King Nebuchadnezzar and the three gents in the fire wedged in between. After each tale was recounted we responded with music and singing of hymns. The energy…

Holy Week Liturgy and Traditions

Today is Holy Saturday, and the last day of Holy Week. What does that mean? Many people are familiar with Lent – that period of weeks before Easter when we Christians prepare our hearts for the death of Jesus and his subsequent resurrection. Traditionally this preparation involves steep increases in penance (confession of sins), self-denial including fasting, prayers, and charity to the poor and needy in comparison to the rest of the days of the year. Holy Week is the last week of Lent1  and during this time, we take special care to remember the key events in the life of Christ leading up to and including his death.The oldest Holy Week liturgical tradition is that of Maundy Thursday. As chronicled in John 13:34, Jesus told the disciples during their supper together (what would be their last supper together), "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The word for commandment in Latin is mandatum, from which the term Maundy der…

Book Review: Heresy

After I began reading this book at B&N in the cafe I really got into it (it’s a page turner) and knew i was not going to have a chance to return to the store for a few weeks so i downloaded it to my nook and finished it there.
It was a great read. Excellent pacing throughout the book, interesting and suspenseful plot – set in the old world of Europe and weaving in historical details about the Catholic war on science and the Protestant war on Catholics.
Get it here:

Book Review: Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong

Nadeau & Barlow (two Canadians from Quebec) wrote this non-fiction book on French culture and government as an expose of the differences between North American and French mindsets. The book offers really compelling evidence for why the French think the way they do and have organized their society and government the way they have. It was a fascinating read and I really think it is a valuable book regardless of your current perspective on the French and their culture.

The underlying thesis of the book is that the French have organized their culture around the centralized state and that in turn is a byproduct of the Catholic influence whereas the community based culture of the Americas is influenced by Protestant theology.

Get the book here:

Los Angeles, Boston, Barcelona, New York, New Orleans

Looking over my trip report entries (ZERO!) for 2012, one would think I got hit on the head and decided to hang up my suitcase and stay home last year. Never! I think I was still struggling under the heavy burden of grief from the tragic deaths in my family the previous year and so I lost the motivation to put my heart into journaling the trip experiences at the time. Our travel adventures in 2012 started with a trip out to Los Angeles to visit my Uncle Lucien and Aunt Hazel. They live in Upton, California and invited us for a weekend of family time. While we were with them we enjoyed a few fabulous dinners out on the town, a few scenic jogging sessions around the neighborhood, and visited the tar pits and associated museum. FYI, the tar pits are pretty damn cool. One of my favorite activities was when we visited a farmer’s market so lovely I was ready to uproot and move to California on the spot. The asparagus was so fresh and vibrant and the blood oranges were heady and delicious. W…

Success In Your Career

I've had the opportunity lately to offer some career coaching to others in our industry and I've really enjoyed the experience. I don't promise to offer all the answers to success but I can speak to what has worked for me that I've identified as potentially reproducible in your career planning to obtain your desired outcomes. I've transitioned from one industry (counseling and mental health services) into a completely different field (IT Consulting) during the course of my career and there are several specific skills I have honed and principles I have embraced that afforded me the ability to identify, pursue, and "win" opportunities that have come before me.

General Tips for Career Success:

1. KNOW WHAT YOU VALUE. Self-discovery time. Figure out the qualities that are important to you with regard to job tasks, general industry/nature of the work, and work environment.
For general industry give thought to the current and projected job mark…

Book Review: The Meat Free Monday Cookbook (British Cooking Gone Bad- (Very Very Bad)

0/5 stars.This cookbook has helped me realize that what the common review and rating systems are missing is the ability to give a book negative stars.
Meat Free Monday Cookbook is like that sexy hipster fellow who talks smart and looks sharp but is pretty dull and lacking soul when you get him talking. To quote another reviewer from Amazon, "This is one of the most sensible (and appetizing) vegetarian cookbooks I have ever read". So as far as purchasing cookbooks for reading, hey, A+++. The problem results when you attempt to actually cook something from the book. I am pretty skilled in the kitchen and every single recipe I have made from tMFM Cookbook has been bland and just beyond the pale of yuck.  I was finally driven to write this angry review after making the meatless ale pie concoction (from the winter menu section). It was so disgusting that those of us who were unfortunate enough to take the first bites gave into our instinct to spit it out full stop immediately. And…

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

En route to Thailand last month I had a chance to read a number of books and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman was the best of them all.Stedman draws the reader in with a captivating love story between two unlikely characters and keeps our attention with her pleasant pacing and beautiful narrative. This is an emotional, gut wrenching tale of a devoted husband and wife isolated on a small island; their joys and sorrows kept private from the faraway lives of strangers until circumstances set them on a collision course with sin, heartache and deception. This is a story where there truly are no bad characters to root against but only anguish in knowing that no matter how it ends,  someone who doesn’t deserve it is going to be devastated and the lives of everyone who loves them will be altered forever.I couldn’t put this book down and I cried so deeply so many times during the read. Some books speak to the soul and this is one of them. Anyone who has lost a child or yearned for a c…