Saturday, April 23, 2011

He Is Risen!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We went to the Easter Vigil tonight at the Cathedral and Hymn 335 moved me to the point of tears. This song has always been a favorite of mine and I hope my family will play it at my funeral one day. There is so much hope in these words and the promise of the resurrection. 

I am the Bread of life,
He who comes to Me shall not hunger,
He who believes in Me shall not thirst.
No one can come to Me
Unless the Father draw him.

And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up on the last day.

The bread that I will give
Is My flesh for the life of the world,
And he who eats of this bread,
He shall live for ever,
He shall live for ever.

And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up on the last day.

Unless you eat
Of the flesh of the Son of Man
And drink of His blood,
And drink of His blood,
You shall not have life within you.

And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up on the last day.

I am the Resurrection,
I am the Life,
They who believes in Me
Even if they die,
They shall live for ever.

And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up on the last day.

Yes, Lord, we believe
That You are the Christ,
The Son of God
Who has come
Into the world.

And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up on the last day.

Our hearts are broken remembering the sad passing of my Uncle George last Easter. These lyrics remind me the promise that he is in heaven with our Lord. "I am the resurrection, I am the life. They who believe in me, even if they die, they shall live forever." 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maundy Thursday

I was blessed to have a great night sleep in Virginia Beach and welcome the early morning with this glorious sunrise. I sent the photo to my sweet husband who wrote back, "Just like Yo Momma." Mom takes photos of sunsets at Lake Michigan and around the world like it is her job to document the movement of the sun. The cottage is covered in her works of art. The sunrise last week reminded me of God's promise of new life in Christ with every new day. 

This week is one of my favorites of the year. Holy Week. I have so many memories from when I worked at Christ Church Georgetown during Holy Week. I always think of my dear friends David and Lorinda Umphlett. David is a priest in North Carolina and was our seminarian during my three years at the church. Lorinda was the Youth and Family Education Director and we loved working together. I can't think of Holy Week without thinking of them. 

We would get a little drunk off church that week going sometimes three times a day. Maundy Thursday however always struck the most emotional nerve with me with its traditional foot washing. There is nothing more humbling than to take off your shoes and have someone else wash your feet. Especially if you don't have a pedicure, or as a student once worried, "but I just came from Lacrosse practice." I image Christ washing the feet of His friends at the Last Supper. It is so moving. So emotional. So personal and tender. Christ gets up from the table, takes off his outer robe and wraps a towel around himself. He pours water in a basin and washes the disciples feet with the same towel. You have to get low to the ground to wash someones feet. It's humbling. I imagine dusty, dirty feet were among the disciples. Callouses. I'm sure gross does not even begin to describe these feet. Christ knows he is about to go to the cross. He's about to be betrayed by a close friend. He's about to be denied by another friend. He's about to be let down when He asks His friends to stay up and pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane. He asks for one favor and his buddies couldn't stay awake and fell asleep in that garden. And yet, He is the one that gets down on the ground and washes their feet the night before He is crucified.  It makes me cry just thinking about it. 

I had a beautiful experience at a retreat once where the group sat in a circle and we were supposed to wash the feet of the person to our left. The person to my left was a stroke victim and happened to have on stockings that day. So she invited me to wash her crippled hand instead, the hand that no one ever shook when greeting her. It was such a special moment. Intimate. Humbling. I was so thankful in that moment to know Catrina and have her trust me to wash her hand. I was so thankful for the use of my left hand. I was so thankful for God's unending love for me despite my flaws.

Maundy Thursday strikes a cord in many when I speak about this foot washing business. I have many friends who are Christians, who were raised in the church and know this story from the John 13:1-15. It's the friends who hear it for the first time that get goosebumps. I still get goosebumps. It's the story that never gets old for me. Ultimately it's the story of forgiveness and love.

Where ever your Holy Week takes you, try to enjoy the quiet of the sunrise each morning. Try to just sit silently for ten minutes. Write a long lost friend you love a letter. If you can try to make a foot washing on Maundy Thursday find a service and go. The Cathedral of the Incarnation has a service at 6:00 pm with the stripping of the altar afterwards and Memorial Episcopal has a service at 7:30 pm in Bolton Hill. 

Wishing you a very Holy Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Five Spiced Chicken Stir Fry

Hello good people. This may be the longest little blog break I've had since I started back in August. It was much needed. I was traveling last week for a conference in Virginia Beach returned home and immediately got sick. This is par for the course lately for me. So I'm taking action. I'm on a mission to fight off my weak immune system and jump start a health kick. I've even gone to a nutritionist and am starting a 30 Day Whole Foods Detox Program next week. Very against the church calendar to start a fast on Holy Saturday but it is a must. My intro to the program was this Saturday and I learned so much about the toxic nature of all things in the world. Jet fuel has been found in breast milk in every country, vacuum often with hepafilters to get rid of the toxins that fall from your fire proof and toxic mattresses, don't run any where near a road with diesel buses nearby...and a hail storm of other scary stuff. Check out my nutritionist's website She is amazing and I feel like a new person after starting a B-12 regimen a few weeks ago. 

I have already dropped coffee down to two lattes a week, vs. one triple shot from Charmington's every day! I had a killer headache for one day and then it went away. I only drink booze on the weekends so that won't be too tough to break, but food preparation will be the ringer. I love to cook. I love to bring people around the table. I love meat. I love cheese and dairy. So what else will I eat? Who knows but I hope to blog a little about it and see what happens. Oddly enough I had a pretty great recipe that was in my hopper for the blog, Five Spiced Chicken Stir Fry. Aside from the corn starch I think this is a wonderfully balanced and organic meal.

Start by sauteing your Brussels sprouts. You can find these all the time at Whole Foods thankfully. They are nuggets of goodness. I slice them in half, add sesame oil to a heavy pan and sear them until they caramelize. When they turn bright green, about 5-7 minutes, deglaze the pan with approximately 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Remove broccoli from pan and set aside.

Use skinless, boneless, organic chicken breasts (1.5 for two people with leftovers).
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
4-5 stalks of organic celery (holy scary pesticide stories about non-organic celery!)
1 more teaspoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of Chinese Five Spice blend
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 carrot, sliced in ribbons with a peeler
no salt, it is salty from the soy sauce

I've had the same can of five spice for at minimum ten years and oddly enough it still tastes amazing. 

Sear your chicken until nearly cooked and add the celery and carrot ribbons. The vegetables will sweat and release water while cooking. This is easier in a wok, but somewhere in the move the Wok has run amok. Push the vegetables and chicken mixture to the sides.

Add your corn starch to the middle and watch the sauce thicken. 

Add your broccoli back to the pan and coat with the sauce. Serve with brown rice. I learned a little trick from one of the chef's I worked with on plating rice. Pack your cooked rice into a small miso soup bowl. Flip upside down on your plate and you have a fancy little mountain of rice. Vegans, you can remove the chicken all together and just add other vegetables or even pineapple.

I want to congratulate Maggie at Freckled Citizen for being the winner of my first ever Stone Hill Farm giveaway. She was the only person who entered and I'm so glad she did! She has a fabulous blog and is a cookbook collector as well. Enjoy Maggie. I'll send you the cookbook soon. Wishing all of my friends a holy Passover and a wonderful Holy Week. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Opening Day at Camden Yards

The Baltimore Orioles Opening Day was last Monday at Camden Yards. This is seriously one of the most, most fun events of the year in Baltimore. The whole city has a smile. There is hope for a great season every Opening Day. And this year we had a perfect day with 80 degrees and pure blue skies. And we won!

The stadium is always packed on Opening Day.

Baseball represents the start of spring for me. 

Camden Yards may be one of the most beautiful stadiums in the whole country. The views from the upper deck are glorious. You can see the round house at the B&O Railroad museum and the rowhomes of PigTown. The fruit trees in bloom looked so beautiful.

I was so thankful again for my camera on Monday. I can't believe I got this great action shot from the UPPER DECK. My mother would be so proud. She taught me the most about baseball. She worked for the previous owner of the Detroit Tigers back in the 80s. Ironically the Oriole's were playing the Tigers on Monday. I saw about three folks wearing the big D on their caps.

But since moving to Baltimore I have become an Orioles fan. I want our team to do well. It's good for tourism. I've even met Cal Ripken, Jr. who may be the nicest man in the world and loves Baltimore more than anyone!

I absolutely loved the view from my seat. The stadium was brilliantly designed to be downtown. If you are staying at any of the hotels it is just walking distance away. And the light rail drops off right outside the stadium. Many other cities, including Memphis, based their stadium designs on Camden Yards. If you have time, take the behind the scenes tour at Camden Yards the next time you are in town. 

The stadium also doesn't overwhelm the city. It was designed to be the same height as the old B&O warehouse.

Being in the upper deck had it's privileges.

The Bird flew by to see us!

Fans young and old get exited to see The Bird.

Our photo shoot with the bird was mildly successful.

It is sometimes more fun watching what happens in the stands than on the field. The hot dog guys were hilarious. Relish won.

My work pal J. Quinn and I had a great time. Stepping out of the building that morning I didn't have a ticket. Jen said, "I have an extra ticket." So I bought it from Quinny and we had the best, best time! She went to a pre-party at Pickles where her buddy was DJ'ing in the Red Bull booth in the palm of her hands.

I noticed this baseballs painted ont he sidewalk on the way out.

It was a wonderful day and we got to see a three run homer hit by Roberts. The place went bananas. It was amazing! Roar from 34 sums it up nicely.

Thank you Dennis and Ali for the most fun pre-game party all year. You all really know how to treat your guests to fine hospitality. Thank you too Jen Quinn for such a fun afternoon! Thank you Lord for the glorious weather and for the traffic breaking at just the right moment so I could get home in only 20 minutes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

God is great, God is good, let us thank God for our....

Cherry Blossoms in Druid Hill Park.

Grey clouds.

Park benches.

Pavilions and leafless tree silouettes.

Running paths.

Water from the reservoir.

The calls of red winged black birds.

Thank you God for the light.

Old fences.

Thank You for my sight.

 Weeping cherry blossom trees blowing in the wind.

The seasons. 

Branches to climb and birds to nest.

For sunsets in Stone Hill.

Great neighbors!

Unkempt forsythia.

The light bouncing off of the stone houses.

God bless the tulip trees.

For tulip trees growing right next to weeping cherries.

For picket fence dreams coming true.

For my camera, Lord I am truly thankful.

For the sunlight steaming through pink petals.

For ornamental plum trees.

And more great neighbors!!!

For artifacts left in our yard.


Hostas growing two inches a day.

Stone Houses.

Potted hydrangeas.

Creeping hydrangeas.

Sunsets over the Mill.


For the future location of a porch swing that will hang from this big limb.

I had a wonderful Tranquil Tuesday yesterday. Feeling blessed to be so busy and was able to take a break at the end of the day. Wishing you all a great week. I'm off for a few days of events and a little travel. What are you thankful for?