Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thoughts to Remember for Advent

I am re-reading some entries from Watch for Light.  A book of readings for Advent and Christmas. It is without a doubt my favorite Advent book.  

Today, the reading was written by Brennan Manning. I love what he says about Christmas:

But the shipwrecked at the stable tremble in adoration of the Christ-child and quake at the in-break of God Almighty.  
Because all the Santa Clauses and re-nosed reindeer, fifty foot trees and thundering church bells put together create less pandemonium than the infant Jesus when, instead of remaining a statue in a crib. He comes alive and delivers us over to the fire that he came to light......

The shipwrecked have stood at the still-point of a turning world and discovered that the human heart is made for Jesus Christ and cannot be content with less.....

Christmas means that God has given us nothing less than himself and his name is Jesus Christ...Don't be content with a "nice" Christmas when Jesus says, "It has pleased my Father to give you the kingdom.".....

As Christmas approaches, an honest question is: "Do I want to be or merely appear to be a Christian?"...anything connected with Christmas that is not centered in Christ Jesus - tree, ornaments, turkey dinner, exchange of gifts, worship itself - is empty gesturing. Blessed are the shipwrecked for they see God in the trappings of Christmas and experience a joy that the world does not understand.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Funny Conversation of the Day

Our conversation tonight at bedtime:

Maeve:  You and Hilde sound like you are having a house party in there.

Me: House party?! Says the girl who has never been to a house party.

Maeve:  I have too been to a house party!

Me: What?! When?! A house party is when teenagers or college students have a rowdy, crazy out of control party when their parents are gone. 

Maeve: OH, I thought it was when someone comes to sell something at your house. 

Me:  That's a HOME PARTY

Maeve:  What do you call a rowdy, crazy, out of control HOME PARTY?


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I wonder as I wander

Browsing through old quotes and came across this one:

“It is not easy to convey a sense of wonder, let alone resurrection wonder, to another. It’s the very nature of wonder to catch us off guard, to circumvent expectations and assumptions. Wonder can’t be packaged, and it can’t be worked up. It requires some sense of being there and some sense of engagement.” 

Even thought this is an Easter quote I couldn't help think about how perfect it was for Christmas.  Such good reminders in four short sentences.

  1. You can't package wonder.  Amen.  The sense of wonder can not be boxed, no matter how pretty the package wonder does not come from a purchase. 
  2. It can't be worked up:  Wonder is more a response to an amazing God.  We can't create it on our own but we can cultivate an attitude where wonder feels at home.
  3. It requires some sense of being there and some of engagement:  Wonder is so easy to miss when you are distracted.  To-do lists, presents to buy, Christmas concerts, holiday parties can all make you blind.  You have to stop, open your eyes and listen. Sometimes I think wonder catches us off guard because we are too busy looking at the wrong thing.  Our sense of wonder increases when expect things to be wonderful.  

This advent I am working hard at being present to the wonder of the season. I am waiting with patient expectation. Trying to remember that God will show up (He always does) and I will see His wonder, if I open my eyes and wait for it. 

Bonus video of one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Inspiration for the Day

Whenever someone asks me what I did on a given day I am always tempted to reply, "Not much."  Mostly because I do the same things day in and day out.  

When I listen to this song it reminds me that "Not much" is not true.   What I do and how I live my life have influence far beyond what I comprehend today. 

*One way you can influence future generations is by becoming a child sponsor.  $32 a month provides meals, medical care and an education for children in need.   Find out more here:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Had to share this post

It is a funny time of year. Since all the talk today is of Hurricane Sandy, I will join the bandwagon with a pun: It is the calm before the storm.

These next few weeks are when life settles into a "normal" rhythm. Summer is over, school is settling in, and there is time for normal. (For us this means normal-crazy but it's the best we can do) It is a beautiful chance to do nothing extra before the storm of the holidays hits.  

No matter how hard I work each year to have the holidays be calm and peaceful, they never are. There is always something to do, people to see and of course presents to buy.  

So, when I read my friend Greg's post this morning I thought this is the perfect way to begin to prepare for the holidays. Start by being empty.

I want to cultivate empty in my life. I crave empty space, free time and margin to respond to Holy Spirit promptings. I want to come to Thanksgiving empty of myself, empty of worries, empty of expectations but ready to be filled with God and life He wants me to live. 

Join me in getting ready, by reading Greg's thoughts here: 

Love the Word: Empty

Friday, September 21, 2012

What I did on Summer Vacation - A List

We are now fully recovered from an extended vacation and Fall home school is under way.  One of the first things I made my children do was write the infamous "What I did on Summer Vacation" essay. I did this in part because they just needed to write something but also because we had a pretty awesome vacation.

A friend quipped that we Perrins vacation like the Astors.  At first I was slightly offended because my parents' extra bedroom is hardly Astor material.  Then I realized that we were fortunate enough to spend 5 1/2 weeks on the East Coast, that is pretty Astor-like in the era of staycations.

So, in the spirit of solidarity with my children here is What I learned on Summer Vacation: A List:

  • I impressed myself by being the sole driver from Richmond, VA to Hilton Head Island, SC.  I have never been the sole driver for that long before.  Now I feel like a real adult.

  •  The beaches and towns of South Carolina are beautiful.  Call it Deep South, Low Country, whatever - I love it and could live there.  I actually thought about renting an apartment because after driving all the way there, I really didn't want to drive back.
  •  Hilton Head was also family vacation with my in-laws.  There were 7 adults and 8 children.  I soon realized how delusional my idea of a quiet, beach, vacation was. 
  • Wine is a good thing to have when you are surrounded by children and in-laws. 
  • The bright side was no one got hurt and we all left with the correct children.

  • Tornadoes have begun following us.  I didn't realize they followed you once you moved to Oklahoma.  Last year when we visited Virginia, there were 3 tornadoes while we were there.  This year we had a tornado warning while in Hilton Head.  Nothing says vacation like huddling with your family in a stair well.

  • Savannah, GA deserves an entire vacation of its own.  One day there was not enough. 

  • Understatement of the year:  Paula Deen cooks well.  We had linner (lunch and dinner) at The Lady and Sons.  Yum.

  • Dehydration is very bad for your body. I had a sinus infection coupled with dehydration that gave me severe vertigo for a few weeks. The combo of heavy duty antibiotics, motion sickness patches, ibuprofen, Sudafed and lots and lots of water finally kicked it out of my system.  

*Note from the actual physician: It takes many days of consistent re-hydration to get into you deep, inner cavities. You may think you are good but you are not, keep drinking.

  • In case you didn't realize, it is humid in the South. It took me about 4 weeks to acclimate and stop sweating, just in time for it to turn a little chilly. It wasn't so bad though, we missed most of the triple digit heat in Oklahoma. I am still not sure what is worse triple digit, dry heat or less hot but more humid. Doesn't really matter, I sweat either way.
  • Cousins are awesome. We got to spend time with Perrin cousins, Litkenhaus cousins and Sort-Of cousins. Perrin cousins are nice because they are all around the same age. Maeve is the oldest on the Perrin side and the youngest is 4 years old. The Litkenhaus cousins are good because Maeve and Hilde are the youngest cousins and the others are old enough and responsible enough to take them anywhere. It also means Maeve and Hilde get spoiled by everyone. Sort-Of cousins are the best of all because they are exactly the same age and it is fun to make new friends who happen to be the cousins of your uncle-by-marriage. It is also really nice to have friends when you are staying at your grandparents house surrounded by people 30+ years older than you and you just want to be a teenager.

  • Helping plan family weddings can be fun and annoying at the same time. My family is loud, opinionated, weird and overly protective of its own. God bless anyone who marries in. They deserve a medal at the get go. 
  • My family is hilarious. At one point,  3 of my sisters and I were reminiscing and chatting. I told my kids that they could go and watch TV they didn't have to sit with us. Both said, "No way!  We are not missing this." Apparently my family is entertaining when we get together.  (We even had a stranger on a plane say this to us after I apologized for being loud.)
  • My extended family is even more hilarious and when we are all together someone should really video. Since we were at a family wedding everyone was there: 6 siblings, parents, nieces and nephews, great-nieces and even my aunts and uncles from NYC. (They all live in Jersey now but we they will always be the NYC family) I haven't seen these people in 30 years. It was the definition of nostalgia. My children interacted with my aunts and uncles, who haven't seen me since I was my daughters' ages. My aunts exclaimed they knew Maeve and Hilde were related because they are the spitting image of my mom and my sisters. It is amazing that even after all these years I would know my family anywhere. They look and act exactly the same. 
  • My uncle Phil is the most hilarious in the bunch. This is mostly because he had been friends with my dad since they were 14. He is the only person I know with enough street cred to poke fun at my dad and get away with it. Uncle Phil is also a super nice, big softy. It was good to see him and Aunt Loretta again.
  • Eventually you get sick of eating out. I spend a large portions of my afternoons, while I should be making dinner, wishing we could eat out more. This vacation we ate out a lot and by the end all I wanted to do was eat at home for a month. 
  • Geography doesn't matter. Good friends stay friends no matter how long it's been since you have seen them.  I got to spend a few days with my friend Becky in DC. We have been friends for 20 years (yikes!) and we have never lived less than 3 hours from each other. We see each other in person about every 5 years  if we are lucky. We are still best friends.  *Note:  We were so busy making sure our kids had a good time in DC that  have no pictures of Becky and me.*
  • Becky and I were long distance friends before the Internet and Facebook. (We used to do this thing called writing letters) but I am grateful for email and FB because there is no more lag time in catching up. 
  • Life is good even if you are not an Astor.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Unraveled by a Blog Post

On this birthday morning I was lazily enjoying bouncing around the Internet and basking in Facebook birthday wish glow when I ended here:

A Holy Experience

I am following Ann Voskamp's journey in Haiti because I have a dear friend that splits her heart between Haiti and New England.  Haiti is a place that I pray for and one day hope to visit.

My eyes brimmed with tears as I read of the search to find hope in a very hopeless place.  You have to search for hope anywhere but in Haiti I imagine it is sometimes a desperate search to find a tiny bit of hope that will sustain you.

Reading about Haiti makes me think of my friend Lynn, who is in Haiti right now too.  My mind wandered thinking of her story and how she learned to call Haiti her second home.

The further I read the more I heard a whisper in my ear.  A whisper connecting this post to the late night conversation with Daniel.  A conversation about the co-joined twins of hope and faith and the treasure they unlock - prayer.  Daniel and I talked about creation and sin.  How we live in a broken world.  

A broken world but not a hopeless world.  

We talked about fortitude and affection.  We talked about faith in healing and hope that prayer actually changes things.  I spoke of being tired and feeling like I am being swallowed by something I can't change.  

Then the whispers got louder and the tears overflowed as I read the last text of the Ann's post. 

You are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed.
—Luke 10:41-42

This is God's secret birthday message to me.   Luke 10:41-42.  My life verse.  The verse that is lodged in my soul as well as permanently inked on my body.  This is the verse that would not let me leave it for years.  Three years of separate studies all ending at this passage.  Years of reading and re-reading the story of Mary and Martha and uncovering all the layers of truth there.  

How could it possibly be that a blogger/author from Canada, that I don't know, would in be Haiti at the same the time my friend, who I do know, is in Haiti?  The coincidence drawing me to read her blog.  Drawing me to listen to a whisper that reveals a gift.  She has no idea this verse is essential to who I am today.  She doesn't even know who I am!  (or that it's my birthday).

Just in the nick of time for my waning hope; the gift says:
"Happy Birthday.  I moved heaven and earth to remind you of hope and faith today.  I am here just like I said I would be.  Keep your eyes on me and you'll be better than you can imagine."

My faith tells me that none of this is coincidence.  The Person at the center of my hope and faith, the one thing that I need, unravels me by announcing Himself just when I need Him most; in a way that is impossible to ignore.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quote of the day

I was drinking coffee and happily following the rabbit trail of blog posts this morning when I  stumbled on this.  It stopped me in my tracks. 

Do we really believe that the marginalized, broken, down-and-out populations can be affected by the power of God?  Angie Smith 

It is funny that this would surface today.  This weekend I heard someone speak about the modern day orphans in foster care.  

I went cell phone shopping and I think I am finally getting an IPhone.  This is relevant because I struggle with need versus want and Apple products seem to represent over the top extravagance to me. However, when I look at the numbers on paper owning an IPhone isn't so bad and I certainly don't think Apple is the anti-Christ.   (Daniel may disagree but that's okay.  He doesn't have to get one.) Look, it helped Angie Smith minister to a homeless person.
Then, last night I had a dream that I went to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip with Shane Claiborne.  Strange looking though he is, he is still one of my heroes.  His thoughts, words and deeds push my soul out of its comfy places and remind me that I am here to do something for this world. It was a funny dream; as evidenced by the fact that our "base camp" for this trip to the DR was Hawaii and that I drove there.  

Then the quote this morning popping up in front of me.   I think it is here to remind me to look up and look out.  I have been pretty focused on me lately.  It has been a good and necessary thing to do.  However, I don't want to forget that there is a whole world out there that needs my faith.  My faith that says "Yes! The power of God can change anything, anybody, anywhere."  

The details of how this faith gets lived out here in Oklahoma City are still being worked out.  I know for sure that any plans will flow out from my family and they just may include an IPhone.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Quote for the Morning

The Writer's Almanac from NPR told me that today is Maeve Binchy's birthday.  While Maeve is not specifically named for her (I loved the name before I knew the author), it didn't hurt that Binchy is one of my favorite authors.  Here is why, this is what Maeve Binchy said about life:

 "We're nothing if we're not loved. When you meet somebody who is more important to you than yourself, that has to be the most important thing in life, really. And I think we are all striving for it in different ways." 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I tried to write something clever and inspiring today but the only thing rattling around in my head is this poem.  It is my FAVORITE poem about Motherhood. I know I have posted it before but it Billy Collins will forever be linked with this day and trying to say thank you for being a mother. So enjoy:

The Lanyard

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
"The Lanyard" by Billy Collins

Monday, May 7, 2012

Some Ideas.....

I have been reading this lately:

7 An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

It is a great, funny, challenging book.  It is reminding me of lessons I learned reading this:

The Irresistible Revolution-Ordinary-Radical

Which lead me here tonight:

Simple Mom

Lots of thought provoking ways to live your everyday, ordinary life like people in the world matter to you as much as they matter to Jesus. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Can't really argue with their reasoning

We had the glorious opportunity to have Sunday Night Family Dinner this week.  While we were all together, for the first time in weeks, I took the opportunity to bring up some topics I wanted the family to discuss.  One topic was CABLE TV.

I casually suggested that maybe we didn't need cable TV and we should cancel it. I think in a lot of ways we would be better off without it.  Lest, you think I am a Luddite; this would leave us with a measly 4 computers, and two Ipads with which to spend screen time.

Well, you would have thought I suggested we sell Hilde.  Both girls gasped and began to defend their beloved cable.  The argument went something like this:

  • Me:  I think we should cancel cable
  • Maeve & Hilde: (horrified gasp) WHAT WOULD WE DO THAT FOR?
  • Me: TV is bad for you and it would save money.
  • Hilde:  But we've always had cable!  We don't know how to live without it.  We are not like you who grew up with BLACK AND WHITE TV!
  • Me:  I had color TV, we just had a black & white set also.
  • Hilde: I bet it had bunny ears
  • Me:  Rabbit ears, they are called Rabbit ears and yes we did have them.  
(They came attached to the weird turner dial thing)
  • Maeve:  We MUST have FOOD NETWORK.  What will I watch without FOOD NETWORK. 
(Nothing, that's kind of the point.)
  • Hilde:  I NEED to watch Little House on the Prairie.  
(The irony that she is complaining about my '70s childhood devoid of good TV and her favorite show is the same show I watched as a child in the '70s is not lost on me.)
  • Maeve:  Here let me show you this.  This is what it would be like.

When I stopped laughing, I realized I can't argue.  I don't want to go back their either. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Real Life

It's not all sunshine and Jesus around here.  

This is what is making us laugh today.....

Maeve wants to point out that it can't be an Olympic Sport in 2024 because that will a Winter Olympic year.

(She figured this out in 30 seconds, sooo Maeve.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

An Outward Sign

A sacrament is an outward sign of on inward transformation.  

Today we celebrated the sacrament of confirmation at our church.  In our church you are confirmed in 7th grade.  This just means that you choose to say yes to following Jesus and become a member of the church in your own right. 

It meant that this girl:

Made her confirmation. 

These kids did too.  I was lucky enough to be a confirmation small group leader

There were presents and cards. (made me homesick)

T-Shirts.  (This has the apostle's creed on it, which was the basis for the confirmation lessons.) It was also noted that the shirt is the colors of the Irish flag, so Maeve and I are set for St. Patrick's Day.

We also had our favorite Texas family join us for the weekend.  I love these people more than my luggage.  My life would not be as beautiful if they weren't in it. 

I am so glad I had this (waterproof mascara-I don't take good close-ups) as well as multiple tissues.   

I will say I did not bawl my eyes out like I thought I would, but I cried.  I cried with every reading, every vow.  I cried when the Sr. High youth minister sang this song because it was kind of the anthem for confirmation.  We sang it in worship every  every week and well, it sums up all there is to know about Jesus.  I cried when I looked at Maeve, and when I glanced at our row and saw my friends there.  I cried when I prayed over all the girls in my small group.  I continued to cry on the way home and even got teary-eyed again when we re-hashed the day before bed.  

I cried because I am so thankful for my beautiful daughter and that she is choosing to follow Jesus.  I am thankful that we found a church that loves us.  I am blessed with amazing friends.  I cried because Maeve had awesome small group leaders who taught her about faith and what it means to be a part of the church.  Also, because I was blessed with the privilege to lead another small group and be invested in the lives of five girls who decided to follow Jesus.  I had the most awesome high school assistants, who though they had their own stuff going on, decided to commit to our group and tell their stories of faith to the girls.  Suffice it to say my eyes leaked all day.  Maybe it would have been better to bawl and get it all it at once. 

I don't know about those thirty odd confirmands, but confirmation has certainly been an outward sign of my inward transformation.  

It was a Grace-Day.  A beautiful, beautiful moment when I was fully aware that my life is a gift, given in grace from the Creator of the Universe, who surrounds me with His love.

I would like to think that all my tears were just a way to say thank you when words don't measure up.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Quotes for Easter

I am still recovering from Easter services and  Easter Lunch coma.  So here are a few great quotes about today...

“When we sin and mess up our lives, we find that God doesn't go off and leave us- he enters into our trouble and saves us.” 
― Eugene H. Peterson

“It is not easy to convey a sense of wonder, let alone resurrection wonder, to another. It’s the very nature of wonder to catch us off guard, to circumvent expectations and assumptions. Wonder can’t be packaged, and it can’t be worked up. It requires some sense of being there and some sense of engagement.” 
― Eugene H. Peterson

Thrush song, stream song, holy love
That flows through earthly forms and folds,
The song of Heaven's Sabbath fleshed
In throat and ear, in stream and stone,
A grace living here as we live,
Move my mind now to that which holds
Things as they change.
                                      The warmth has come.
The doors have opened. Flower and song
Embroider the ground and air, lead me
Beside the healing field that waits:
Growth, death, and a restoring form
Of human use will make it well.
But I go on, beyond, higher
In the hill's fold, forget the time
I come from and go to, recall
This grove left out of all account,
A place enclosed in song.
Now falls from thought. I go amazed
Into the maze of a design
That mind can follow but not know,
Apparent, plain, and yet unknown,
The outline lost in earth and sky.
What form wakens and rumples this?
Be still. A man who seems to be
A gardener rises out of the ground,
Stands like a tree, shakes off the dark,
The bluebells opening at his feet,
The light a figured cloth of song.    
                               -Wendell Berry 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Visiting Old Friends

I have been hard at work writing about Lent - it's just not been here.  It's been over here:

NEC Lenten Experience

It has been awesome, as usual, to work with the team at New England Chapel to put together resources for Holy Week.  I am so grateful they still like me. 

My pieces will appear Tuesday and Wednesday but check out the site and join them for the Lenten Experience. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Messy Lent

Two weeks into Lent and it is already messy.   Fasting is hard when you have a family.  My fast this year is to give up watching TV after the girls go to bed.  I am supposed to use that time to read, prepare for Bible Study, pray and write. 

So far that has happened twice.  What usually happens is after a long day, I have no energy to crawl off the couch.  Instead of TV, I end up with my laptop surfing the internet or dreaming of a kitchen redo with the help of Pinterest

I have also had two sick girls.  One of the graciously stayed up all night vomiting in my bathroom.   You can't really sit back and read your bible when your child is puking.  

Then there have been Daniel's interruptions.  Our marriage is always a reason for prayer and grace.  When I have settled down at the kitchen table and am surrounded by books, pen and paper I just want to be left alone, Me time, alone time.  Time to focus on one thing and not multi-task.  However, when my husband wants to watch a video on marital communication or discuss some changes at work that have been causing him stress, I can't really say no.

In the nano second that I have to choose my words and my brain is screaming "I just want to be alone with my books!  Can't you see I am trying to do Lent?" the Spirit comes and whispers, "Relationship over Religion".

"Relationship over Religion" means choosing the person instead of checking the box.  It is surrendering my ideal life to the life around me that is full of God if I just open my eyes.  

"Relationship over Religion" means holding loosely to my plans and laying down my agenda to care for my family. 

"Relationship over Religion" means Lent is going to be messy.  Messy because life is messy. Even though Lent is creating space for God, it doesn't mean stepping away from everyday life.  It means laying day my everyday, ordinary life so that I can be renewed in the middle of it.  

Lent is messy because the best way to prepare for Joy is to search for it in the mundane.    

I  always find it right there, in front of me. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

It is hard to write about Lent when it is sunny and 74 degrees outside.  The weather is decidedly un-Lenten. Who wants to think about fasting and deprivation when all you feel like doing is sitting and soaking in the sunshine and letting your body create more vitamin D?

Today is Ash Wednesday.  All around the world liturgical Christians are reminded in tangible form that we are dust without the Spirit of God.  It begins a forty day journey of remembering.  Lent is the abstaining, fasting, from something that creates in our souls room for more of  God.  

I have forty days to practice this discipline.  I have forty days to try and fail.  Yes, every year I fail miserably at Lent.  Forty days is a long time to try and be better than before.  Even when I get it "right" and complete my fast perfectly I fail. 

How can being perfect mean failing?  It is failing when I think I have completed my fast under my own power.  I can force myself by sheer will to not do something.  However, it is failing when I focus too much on the abstaining and not enough on the reason for the fast.  

I forget, slip up and "paint pictures of  Egypt" the way the Israelites did during their forty year Lent.  Complaining all the time even when God provides for me.  I also fool myself into thinking I have something to do with my getting it right, like the Pharisees; either position is failing to focus on Jesus.  

Lent isn't about Lent.  It is really about Easter.  It is the process of opening our hearts to Easter Grace.  

Grace that is greater than all our sin.  

Grace that meets us where we are - dirt.

Grace that creates beauty out of ashes

Here are some great resources for Lent: