Easter, faith, liturgical year, Uncategorized

Easter Vigil

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That first Easter was made in stillness…

in empty spaces where a scattered people once gathered

in uncertainty, unknowing, and unprepared how-in-the-world-did-we-get-here unsureness.

And this one is made in keeping each other company within the silence of our hearts as we go through the motions we can while mourning the ones we can’t.


That first Easter was made in darkness…

in stumbling together on the way to a tomb that contained everything they thought they’d been living for.

And this one is made in walking together-while-apart, virtual companions on a path we can’t even see yet.


That first Easter was made in grief…

in crushing sadness over what was lost and with no idea how anything could ever be the same again.

And this one is made in admitting that no, things are not the same…

but also in reminding each other that in these parallel Easter stories, we have the advantage.

We know already how this Story will end.


My friend says, “It’s the Lentiest Lent that ever lented.” I repeat her words in the kitchen and wonder aloud––what’s Easter if your cross is just as heavy when you wake up Sunday morning as it was on Friday afternoon?

My husband, still quick with a sermon title after all these years, reminds me: not all Easter Alleluias come easily. The first ones certainly didn’t. But Alleluia, anyway.


Christ isn’t in that tomb, or in any other one––

except as the One who never lets Death have the last word.

Where he is present isn’t in the stillness of defeat––

except to whisper, “This isn’t over yet.”


Some Easters are made of Alleluias borne on golden, soaring chords toward heaven, carried by the singing of children and the scent of lilies, effortless, effervescent.

This one is made of Alleluias murmured through tears, pressed out from between clenched teeth, spoken with a full knowledge of what we’ve lost but without knowing just how much more we’ve got to let go.

Some Alleluias are hard-fought.


Yes, it’s the Lentiest Lent we’ve ever lived. And when the first morning light begins to shift the sky from black toward grey this Easter, our penances won’t all dissolve

our sorrow won’t evaporate with the night

our losses won’t be magically restored as the sun rises.


He is still risen.

We are still His Body––fingers, eyes, ears––all still connected whether we feel it or not.

This, this moment, is where our faith defines us.

This moment––this very one––is what faith is for.

We have faith. And it is enough to sustain us.

We are still an Easter people.

He is risen, indeed.

Alleluia, anyway.


Easter, feasts and seasons

Happy Easter! {new playlist}

Happy Easter, everyone! We survived Lent! Hooray! I know several of you have been having a rough time during Lent this year, and I hope that Easter and the promise of better weather will help brighten your days and lift your spirits. I know I’m feeling better about most things just because there is abundant sunshine and warmer temperatures here. We actually went to Mass yesterday without coats, and it felt like everything was easier simply because we didn’t have to figure out where to put all those coats in our pew.

Yay! No coats! And baby legs on display!

Nora keeps walking into the kitchen, throwing her hands into the air, and proclaiming, “It’s STILL Easter!” I’ve learned that Nora is the kind of girl who just wants things to continue. Whatever’s happening is fine, as long as it doesn’t stop. So yes, Nora (who is still wearing her Easter dress, by the way), it’s still Easter. 1 day down, 49 more to go!

Headbands come off, but Easter dresses are forever. 

I’m so glad Easter is a season and not just a day. It makes me feel less guilty about not finding time to dye our eggs on Saturday. I did boil them, and they’re waiting in the refrigerator for that magical moment when we find time to do them and I have enough patience to supervise the process.

The process. That’s the thing, isn’t it? I know process art is the way to do things with little people. The point of making art is to enjoy the act of making art, not to reach some predetermined standard of rightness and make a perfect product. Crafts are fun and fine and well, but art…well, that’s different stuff. Art is for its own sake. It is all about the process.

Somehow, though, when I think of the process of being around the kitchen table with my three walking children, balancing the baby on one hip and trying to manage six grabby, snatchy hands that are all trying to get as many eggs as possible for themselves and throw them into all the egg dye before anyone else can get the best colors, I feel a little panicky. If I could dye eggs with each one of them individually, it would be fun. Even two of them at once would be great. But all three of them at the same time makes me tired in advance.

It was easy then, except it wasn’t, because he was still 3.

Maybe we’ll just wait for an evening when George is home. Or for my oldest kid to turn 8. Or something.

I saw someplace that you can use a whisk to help toddlers avoid dropping the eggs- has anyone done that? You put the egg inside the whisk and dip it in the dye. It seems like it would work better than those little wire spoon things that come with the egg dyeing kit.

OK. Enough about the eggs. We might do it. I’ll post some pictures if we do. And if you try the whisk thing before I do, let me know how it goes, okay?

Does it feel like a real challenge to you to keep the Easter celebration up for fifty whole days? That’s a long time…even longer than Lent, which always feels long by the end. I feel like I don’t usually do a great job after the first week or so. This year, I’m trying two things to help continue the celebration.

First, I’m going to keep fresh flowers on the table and on our little prayer table all Easter season. We had a blend of silk and fresh flowers for our Easter feast on Sunday. I’m planning to change out the live flowers each week and replace them with ones we pick on our walks or buy at the grocery store. I think this will help things feel special and remind me that we’re still celebrating. (Let’s be honest- the physical reminders are mostly for me, so I can keep everyone else going.)

Second, I made an Alleluia playlist for Easter. We don’t listen to it all the time, but it’s nice to start the day out remembering that Christ is risen. (Alleluia!) It’s a collaborative playlist, which means other people can add songs. I want to invite you to add your own alleluias to it. If you have a favorite Easter-y song that isn’t on the list, feel free to go on and add it. It will be fun to see how the list changes with your additions. If you add something, I’d love to know! If you want to contribute but don’t have time to add your song yourself, leave me a note in the comments, and I’ll be sure it gets added.

Do you do anything special to keep up the celebration of Easter until Pentecost? I could use some more ideas!

7 quick takes, Easter

7 Quick Takes: Changes edition

What’s the quickest way to catch everyone up on all the stuff I haven’t told you in the last few weeks? Why, play along with 7 Quick Takes, of course! We’ll call this the “Changes” edition, for reasons that will become obvious.

Feel free to enjoy some Bowie while you read, if you like!


— 1 —

C is for Cargo Space…something we have more of now that we are driving a minivan. I know, if anyone needed a minivan, we did…but I was kind of proud of how we were still managing to squeeze everyone into our super fuel-efficient Camry after 18 months of being a family of five. I also confess that I’ve never wanted to drive a minivan and that I’m still not totally in love with this one…but when I open the back and there’s that vast, open space in which to deposit my multiple gallons of milk and my Costco take and bake pizza and there’s still ample room for the double stroller, I do kind of swoon a little.

— 2 —

H is for Half-Marathon…which I ran on St. Patrick’s Day. My post-twins runner’s body has seen its share of changes, for sure…but that did not stop me from taking 33 minutes off my time from November and coming within 5 minutes of my all-time PR. Take that, 26 year old self with no kids. The mama of 3 has still got it. Whatever “it” is. Anyway, it was fun.

— 3 —

A is for Alleluia, because I am so thankful it has come out of hiding! During the penitential season of Lent, we don’t sing the Alleluia in Mass (or the Gloria, for that matter), and its replacement before the Gospel reading is always a little lackluster-feeling for me. I’m delighted to welcome the Alleluia back as we put Lent behind us and move into the Easter Season.

A could also be for the Angelus, which we put on hold for the 50 days of Easter and replace with the Regina Caeli. I have an alarm set on my phone to remind us at noon each day to sing the Regina Caeli. It’s much easier to learn and sing than the Angelus, so if you were thinking of adding this into your prayer life, now might be a great time to start.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s okay…just keep reading.

— 4 —

N is for “No-no-no-no-no,” which is 2 things now: what Nora says when she disagrees with me (which is about 40% of the time) and what SuperSam now says when he gets irritated with us (which is more like 78% of the time). George and I are reminding ourselves that if we were another family and we were working with us professionally (counseling or family support services or whatever), we would remind us that our family is in transition. Experiencing big changes in routine can make kids irritable. So can being 4 1/2 years old, apparently. Anyway, I’m hearing this a lot these days and trying to respond with love, patience, gentleness, kindness, and (most especially) self-control.

Although this isn’t actually a grumpy face, you get the idea.

— 5 —

G is for George, who is (as of this moment) is in possession of a fancy purple mobile phone. His old phone met its unfortunate demise this week, so it was replaced by our mobile phone insurance with a refurbished one in a sparkly shade of lavender. He’s thrilled, really.

Sweet, isn’t it?

He’s also still in search of the perfect job. In all of his numerous interviews, he has ranked right at the top (according to the interviewers) but was beaten out by internal candidates. The most recent interview went well, and they’re checking references…here’s hoping this might be the end of this particular change and the beginning of a new one.

— 6 —

E is for Easter Feast. We had a beautiful one. George worked late into the night in the kitchen on Holy Saturday to prepare things ahead for the loveliest brunch I’ve ever seen: crepes with swiss chard and Gruyere, fruit salad, mixed greens with chevre, and a beautiful savory pear tart with gorgonzola. (Yes, there was a lot of cheese). There was even a Nutella bread pudding for dessert. And mimosas. Sigh. I couldn’t wait to eat it.

And then…I started throwing up. Right after church. I became the latest victim of the nasty stomach bug that’s been sweeping our county. And I didn’t get to eat any of it.

(This reminds me of last year’s wonderful Easter brunch, which I also couldn’t wait to eat, and which was all set out on the glass-topped patio table…eggs Benedict and the most perfect lemon buttermilk chess pie…when a large gust of wind lifted the entire patio table into the air and dropped it back down with a crash, traumatizing my three-year-old forever and driving shards of glass into the pie, the deck, and pretty much everything else.)

It’s possible we should go with something a little less ambitious next year.

— 7 —
S is for spots, which is what I found on Lucy when I went to get her up last Friday morning. She was covered in red welts from the top of her head to the soles of her feet and everywhere in between. It turns out she is allergic to amoxicilin. Fun family fact: my sister-in-law is also allergic to amoxicilin. Isn’t DNA cool? Anyway, she had been on the antibiotics for a week already, so her raging ear infection had cleared up before we had to stop the medicine. This made me very happy, since I really try not to have any of us on antibiotics unless it’s really necessary…starting a new course after a week would have felt icky. After about four days, Lucy looked normal again, but she was still faintly sporting the spots on Easter Sunday with her polka-dotted dress.

S is also for sewing machine (new), which is lovely and modern and (most importantly) working. I was able to get the girls’ dresses done in time for church Sunday. Thank goodness for simple patterns (and enough sewing experience to adapt them to make them even simpler when I am pushed for time). Which I was.
And that is it. I think you are caught up.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

“And the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they had more space between their seats.”