Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Getting ready ...

Here's a corner of the kitchen looking into the breakfast room ... all ready for visitors!  Partly my doing and also thanks to my sister who arrived early to help me prepare for this morning's visitors.  The challenge now is to keep it looking so clean and tidy ... and so far ... so good!
The front room too was vacuumed and dusted ... though if you look carefully you'll see a couple of Eliot's toys lurking under the piano!  At the moment Eliot has been excluded from this space ... we'll see how long that new regime lasts ... I'd give it a day ... or maybe two ....
He's back from a weekend at Ballygrainey and smells so sweet.
The new building is the doggy kitchen where their meals are prepared.  You could happily sit down to eat here - everything is so clean and hygienic.  I was hoping that a doggie kitchen meant that Eliot was going to come back a fantastic cook ... but that's beyond even his amazing powers.
Finally, we're getting ready for Lent.  A friend and I enjoyed part of this Chinese feast as a last opportunity to eat "fast food" until after Easter!  No more carry out meals, no more drive through convenience, no more home delivery ... for the duration of Lent it will be home cooked, fresh food ... or toast and beans if necessary ... but nothing bought ready cooked!  There will be days when that really won't be easy ... sometimes it is hard to find time to prepare food ... but who said that Lent was meant to be easy?
A friend of mine posted this paragraph today:
The word 'Lent' is an old English word for Springtime based on a Germanic word for 'lengthen'. The days are lengthening after Winter and nature is coming to new life. The 40 days of Lent are a season of spiritual growth and new life. It is time for spiritual 'spring-cleaning' and re-assessing our spiritual development. Throughout Lent, we are invited to fresh awareness of the grace and love of God present to us in every season and at all times. To assist us, the Church and Scripture propose three inter-connected practices: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

It is a most solemn time ... time to take up doing more ... more praying, more giving, more reading ... and a time for giving up, for sacrifice, for self-discipline ...
Maybe the next time I prepare for visitors ... it will remind me of the greater preparation for the most wonderful of all the Christian festivals!

Almighty and everlasting God, 
you hate nothing that you have made 
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: 
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts 
that we, worthily lamenting our sins 
and acknowledging our wretchedness, 
may receive from you, the God of all mercy, 
perfect remission and forgiveness; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

Book of Common Prayer
Collect of Ash Wednesday.

And finally ... 
A couple of last year's palm crosses are burned to provide the ash for tomorrow morning's service.  Now that is ready I can go to bed ... early start on Ash Wednesday.
 You should smell the house!  It is rather like the results of an Easter bonfire!  A pleasant smell that reminds you of the open air and making tea over a fire of sticks and holidays ... 
It is quite amazing how little ash there is from two fairly large crosses!  Here it is ready for the morning mixed with some oil ... just need to remember to take it with me at 6.30 am!

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