Bless This House

While house blessings are a tradition in many religions, the idea was new to me when I moved into my first home and wanted somehow to mark the occasion and ask for God’s protection and peace. After talking to friends, researching the idea, and remembering a sermon about how Joshua walked the perimeter of his property and asked for God’s blessing (Joshua 24:15), I decided to do the same for my new home.

I discovered that Los Angeles pastors reported a rise in house blessings, especially following an earthquake or natural disaster. Although earthquakes weren’t much of a threat in my Texas town, I gathered a few friends and family and prepared a simple ceremony using Bible verses and hymns.

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend

They’re mesmerizing—these quilts of Gee’s Bend.

Created by hand in a small rural community nestled into a curve in the Alabama River southwest of Selma, dozens and dozens of stunning covers were pieced by women who mostly share the same last name—after Mark Pettway who bought the Joseph Gee estate in 1850. Following the Civil War the freed slaves took the name Pettway, became tenant farmers for the Pettway family, and founded an all-black community nearly isolated from the surrounding world.

The Year without a Christmas Tree

January 6. Epiphany—the day I like to wait for before taking down the Christmas tree. Driving around town,  I noticed it seems to be the day for town square trees to come down, too.

I grew up in a family that put up a tree the day after Thanksgiving and left it standing until well into January. The year we got a new, artificial tree (before pre-lit ones came on the scene), my dad spent hours wrapping 21 strands of white lights around each branch (and even in a way—if memory serves—that would allow the tree to be taken apart with the strands still on to be put away for the next year). He lamented that he would never do that again and hoped we would enjoy the illuminated masterpiece.

Hello 2012

As the calendar page turns over a new year, the flipping feels as fast as the commercials zipping by for Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Lifetime Fitness, and Charles Schwab Investments….” A New Year, A New You” we’re promised. Blog posts boast the 5 ways to make resolutions stick and how to kick those recurring bad habits.

Motivating perhaps. Inspiring—maybe. Experience, for me, has borne out that focusing on a few areas and considering what might be possible these next 365 days can have a profound effect on what actually happens throughout, rather than just hoping the new year turns out better than the last. Asking, “What do I/we want this year?” “What are my goals?” “What needs to change?”