Archive for February, 2006
Posted by Bethany in Current Happenings, The Great Game of Basketball and Other Mediocre Sports on February 28, 2006
For those of you who really know me, you know it doesn’t take much of a basketball story to bring a tear to my eye. I love the game of basketball. I’m a former player and a current die-hard fan of the game. But this story will warm your heart even if you have no love of the game (God forbid!)
Here is a video clip of an autistic boy who was the manager of his high school basketball team. His coach lets him play in the last game of the season….click here to find out what happens! Such an awesome story!
Today is Mardi Gras. The day before Ash Wednesday. In my neck of the woods, Mardi Gras is a much celebrated holiday. I got yesterday and today off from work just in case I had any inclination to join in the hoop-la that surely ensued.
But what is Mardi Gras? Where did it come from? Why should we celebrate it? Or should we celebrate it?
One parish web-site from Louisana has this to say:
The history of Mardi Gras began long before Europeans set foot in the New World. In mid February the ancient Romans celebrated the Lupercalia, a circus like festival not entirely unlike the Mardi Gras we are familiar with today. When Rome embraced Christianity, the early Church fathers decided it was better to incorporate certain aspects of pagan rituals into the new faith rather than attempt to abolish them altogether. Carnival became a period of abandon and merriment that preceded the penance of Lent, thus giving a Christian interpretation to the ancient custom.
This seems to have been the origin of several Christian holidays though. Christmas, Easter….they were all Christians adopting holy days of pagans and adding a Christian reason for celebrating.
I grew up being told that Mardi Gras was related to the Catholic holiday Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent. I grew up in a small town with a small Catholic population. I really only knew a few Catholics and they were not very devout at all.
Of couse, they celebrated Mardi Gras, but then, everyone else seemed to celebrate it as well. (Mardi Gras is huge along the Gulf Coast region with New Orleans being the Mecca of Mardi Gras….a mere hour and a half away from me!)
As I went to college, I met other members of the Catholic church, much more devout than the few I grew up with. I realized then that Mardi Gras was much more important to the frat boys on campus than the devout Catholic friends I was making. One friend of mine scorned it completey. She would have no part. And all this time I was convinced it was some Holy Day for Catholicism.
One other thing I realized as I grew older (I did figure this one out before college!) was that people everywhere did not celebrate Mardi Gras. In fact, it seemed that people in other regions of the country barely knew what Mardi Gras was.
If this is such an important day for Catholics, it seemed many were not celebrating….I began wondering. What is it about Mardi Gras?
One Louisana magazine has this to say:
South Louisiana’s first recorded use of the name Mardi Gras was in 1699 when Pierre le Moyne, Sieur D’Iberville, landed at the mouth of a small bayou along the Mississippi River on Tuesday, March 2, and named it Bayou du Mardi Gras. The people of this area have been celebrating Carnival in one manner or another ever since.
Which explains the geographical region of the Gulf Coast being Mardi Gras main stomping ground. But if this truly were a religous holiday, why would it not be celebrated everywhere Roman Catholics worship? Which, as far as I know, would pretty much be all over America….all over the world…
It appears that Chistians attempted to “civilize” this pagan celebration by tying it to lent. (This also from Slidell Magazine)
The Christians revived the original feeling of atonement in their spring rites of feasting before the Lenten Season of abstinence and contrition for sins. These Christians titled this celebration “carnelevare” or “farewell to the flesh,” because no meat would be eaten during the Lenten Season.
It seems that it only really became a hit as a big time of celebration in France:
The French gradually began celebrating the season and by the Middle Ages it was in full swing. They began masquerading at lavish balls and also introduced the “boe of gras,” a huge bull which was paraded through the streets. Their name for Carnival became the official title for the celebration all over the world, “Mardi Gras.” It means Fat Tuesday.
And as stated before, was brought to the Gulf Coast by the French explorer, D’Iberville, bringing Mardi Gras to the Gulf Coast.
I e-mailed a fellow blogger of the Catholic faith, just to make sure our version of Mardi Gras was not some twisted version of a real holiday. Although she wasn’t certain of the origin of Mardi Gras she definately does not celebrate it.
Which leads me to believe that Mardi Gras is not a Christian holiday of any sort. It is much closer related to the pagan holidays of ancient Rome as described here. (Still from Slidell Magazine):
The origin of Mardi Gras is in the pagan feast of the Greeks’ celebration for the coming spring. Evander, son of Hermes, was a mythical Greek king who settled near Rome and is credited with bringing this ritual to Italy. The Romans called it “februa,” which means “acts of atonement.” The spirit of contrition (carried out by naked people being whipped by a priest) was gradually corrupted by the Romans into public lewdness and debauchery.
Which is much like what happens at the Mardi Gras parades along the Gulf Coast. Although the parades here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast do not allow nudity, it seems that New Orleans parades aren’t as prudish. Generally, anything goes. Yet the theme of most parades, anywhere along the Gulf Coast tends to be to get as drunk as possible and collect the largest amount of beads, at any cost. Did I mention at any cost? (Disclaimer: there are several parades that try to be more family friendly and safe for kids….)
How do I know?
I must admit to having celebrated Mardi Gras, at least a little bit in my past.
I grew up in a Christian home where Mardi Gras was looked down on. As a child/teenager I was not allowed to attend Mardi Gras parades (even family friendly ones). I think I twirled baton in one in second grade but other than that I don’t recall ever going to a parade until I was in college.
My sophomore year in college I went on a day trip to New Orleans. It was a whole three weeks before Mardi Gras, at least. Yet we ran into a parade. We had a great time and wondered why we hadn’t participated in this all along. (And I didn’t see anyone flash the floats for beads.)
So, we made plans to attend several Mardi Gras festivities that year (believe me there were plenty to choose from.) So we spent the weekend before Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Mardi Gras day at several parades in Biloxi.
So yeah. The above quote about the ancient celebrations in Rome fit nicely.
So, should Christians have anything to do with a holiday like Mardi Gras?
My daughter asked me this year why we didn’t celebrate Mardi Gras. I guess I never really thought about it other than I didn’t want my children around all the wild revelry that accompanies the parades and balls. Her question was why we couldn’t go to some of the parades that were for kids.
This hasn’t really been something I’ve ever thought of before. That is why I asked my readers what their opinion of Mardi Gras was. (And because I wanted to see just how geographical the carnival was…and whether anyone saw any real religious significance in it). (I’m not gonna quote the people who really didn’t know anything about it. You can read all comments from What Are Your Thoughts on Mardi Gras here.)
So I want to share a few comments from my readers with my opinion thrown in….
Okay, here is what I know about Mardi Gras. It starts with something called Fat Tuesday (or does it end with it?); there might be something involving a King cake with a baby in it, but that might be some other occasion. What else… oh yeah, there is lots of drinking and cavorting, shiny beads which people want badly enough to flash strangers for, and lots of pick-pocketing. How’s that for stellar ignorance and stereotyping?
Not bad actually. Just about sums it up.
The first word that popped in my head was “hedonism”. Unfortunately. My only experience is watching glimpses on the TV news and everyone appears to be very intoxicated and half-naked.
Yep. They do appear to be that way don’t they? It’s probably because most of them are.
And from the recently moved from up north to the Gulf Coast mother, Princess Ruby says:
I had heard of it growing up in Michigan, but didn’t know what it was in the least. Not until I moved down here did I educate myself on it, being that it goes on and on for the longest time. There are millions of parades you can take your family to, every store has Mardi Gras stuff to sell, you see people’s beads hanging all over the place. It is ridiculous to me. We do not celebrate it. After I read up on what it is a bit more I thought it best to steer clear of it (and of course dh thought so too). Why go and sin on Fat Tuesday only to ‘repent’ the next day? Why take part in even a little part of it (say taking the family to a parade)? We will have no part in it. Having even a little part of celebrating such a ‘heathen holiday’ (in my mind) is like celebrating all of it. We’re supposed to have NO part of the world. To me, its such a part of the world. I think it sad to see so many Christians celebrating it. I think it is so wrong. That is just me though. Maybe it was began to mean well, I’m not certain, but it certainly hasn’t turned out that way now….Hope these thoughts make sense, I’m trying to steer my children in the right direction while I type my thoughts!
Must be culture shock to move down here and experience Mardi Gras for the first time! (If you are a Christian, that is…)
Now, from a reader of mine who actually grew up in New Orleans. Carol has this to say:
My enormous family lives in N.O. They all celebrate it and I grew up celebrating with them even though I’ve never lived in N.O. or anywhere close. We went in for visits at Carnival time. As kids, we had a blast watching parades and catching beads. The family always gathered at my aunt’s house – on the parade route – and did a huge crawfish boil, gumbo, etc.
It could still be a lot of fun if it wasn’t so heavily steeped in hedonism and debauchery and if I wasn’t a Christian. It’s funny how our perception of what’s fun changes once we surrender our will to His. Anyway, I’ve taken the kids a couple of times and still watch parades on my aunt’s front lawn, but it’s not like the revelry down in the Quarter; much more tame and family-oriented. (No clue when we’ll ever try to go back for Carnival under the circumstances.)
I usually do have a king cake sent from N.O. (not this year – just bought a local knock-off instead – it’s not very good) and I let the kids wear beads to school on Fat Tuesday. Half of everyone here is clueless about Mardi Gras and nobody celebrates it.
The reason I participate in this little way is to honor my heritage, however questionable. I think it’s important to teach my kids about traditions of their forefathers – but I make sure they know the downside as well.
And yeah, it makes no sense to engage in hedonism one day and go to confession the next.
I was so glad to have Carol’s perspective. Someone who grew up celebrating this holiday. And I can understand where she is coming from about passing on heritage. I think she made some great points (and King Cake is delicious…)But the key phrase from her comment was this:
It makes no sense to engage in hedonism one day and go to confession the next.
That is one of my biggest problems with Mardi Gras. The idea that you are about to have to give up something (for Lent) and so you better live it up on Fat Tuesday and enjoy all the things of the flesh before you become “spiritual”. And I’ve noticed that devout Catholics (or others who celebrate Lent, find no need for this feeding the flesh one last time….)
And Rev-Ed adds:
Great Lakes region. Nobody cares about Mardi Gras here unless they are looking for an excuse to get drunk. (The same people will also celebrate Arbor Day and Be Kind to Animals Week in the same fashion.)
The idea always seemed so ridiculous to me. The day before we give up certain things, we’ll go out and get so sick of them that we won’t miss them for the first week! Take some of that “religious edge” off the whole thing.
I’ve thought the same thing about the people who celebrate Mardi Gras here. Even though here more people do it, it’s not for any religous reason. It’s looking for an excuse to particiapate in debauchery.
So, my reason for not celebrating Mardi Gras, or even taking my daughter to one of the (few) child friendly parades….
I don’t want to be a part of celebrating a holiday that’s main point seems to be pleasing the flesh. Whether a small participant, or a big one, I feel like it’s something that Christian are best to steer clear of!
1 Thessalonians 5:22 states that we should:
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Read the whole chapter here.
I’m pretty sure that would include Mardi Gras celebrations….
Now, feel free to comment and let me know if I’ve got this all wrong! Tell me what you think about Christians celebrating Mardi Gras (if you haven’t already). Or if you have something to add, well, feel free to add it!
And meanwhile, Happy Fat Tuesday.
Well, I guess I should say we are almost unplugged!
Eight months ago, my children woke up and watched Disney Channel or Nickelodeon before school. They also turned the televison on as soon as we came home.
During summer months, when I was home with them, they would watch about an hour of cartoons in the morning and then another hour (or two if I was distracted) in the afternoon. And then on occassion (once or twice a week) they also would get to watch a movie at night, before bedtime.
And in today’s society that really isn’t that much television. Yet, how much is that? A possible five hours a day watching television! Thirty-five hours a week!
I moved, in July,
to a new house. I didn’t even have a television to begin with. We had a new yard my children were anxious to explore. I wasn’t working but spending many hours a day remodeling the house we moved into.
I noticed my children playing better. They weren’t as whiny. They didn’t argue as much (no arguing over whose turn it was to pick the movie out!) They would stay outside playing for hours…running, climbing trees, playing football, jumping on the trampoline….
I really enjoyed seeing them become so active. I had already been considering not hooking up cable (television….I need high-speed internet!). I discussed not getting cable television with my then fiance. He was completely in agreement (fortunately he’s not a television watcher at all!) So I got my televison and just put it in the living room. No cable and no antenna….another last minute decision. No outside television at all.
Anything my children watch has been purchased by me. A DVD I’ve bought or a movie I’ve rented. I’m much less concerned about the attitudes I’ve been seeing in current cartoons. I’m much less concerned about the values that are seeping in unnoticed through my televison.
I’m much happier with the way my children play. I’m much happier with the way they keep themselves busy and entertain themselves! I’m much happier with their improved imaginations!
We have a long way to go. Television has such a hold on us. My children still watch too much in my opinion. (Approximately one movie every Saturday morning.) I’d rather like to see it get down to about one a month. My husband and I watch about one movie every two weeks.
So, do you need ideas about how to fill that after dinner time? Here are some of the things we’ve replaced “tv time” with:
On some evenings we play lots of music and either dance or talk about what is being said in the song. One night not too long ago, I videoed the kids dancing to some of our favorite country music tunes. Then I showed them the videos. (On the computer!)It was a hoot.
On another evening we played lots of Acapella songs. We discussed the meaning behind several of the songs with the kids. Then we played the CD again and they attempted to sing along.
My daughter currently is addicted to the Chronicles of Narnia audio drama. She and my son will spend many evenings listening to CD’s from that set. They are going through them for the thrid time.
We also like to listen to The Pond, Down Gilead’s Land, and Adventures in Odessy on Saturday morings. They all play on American Family Radio and are a great alternative to Saturday morning cartoons!
Good ole crayons and sketch pads will often do the trick! My kids love to draw. We also have an art box full of pipe cleaners, pom poms, wiggly eyes, feathers, yarn, and you name it. I have a low temp glue gun that my kids have mastered the art of using and you wouldn’t believe the creations they have made.
Play dough is also a ton of fun. We have a Veggie Tales Barber Shop playdough set where the characters can grow hair!
And painting….finger painting, watercolors, folk art…my kids like to buy the little wooden trains, cars and trucks from the craft shop to paint. They also like the porclian figurines.
Kids cannot be read to enough! They cannot read too much! Get out those books! Go to the library!
Monopoly, Scrabble, Boggle, Hungry Hungry Hippo, Twister….they are all great!
Look for falling stars, name constellations, take an evening walk…
I guarantee that if you cut back on your televison viewing you will feel better. You will feel less guilty about wasted time, you will feel less tired, less stressed….you will appreciate your family more!
Yesterday Landon and I were playing in the yard. I had my camera with me taking pictures of him playing and he asked if he could take a picture of me.
Well, you gotta get em started early if you want your kids to be decent photographers, right?
On the brink of March,sometimes the spring seems ages away still I find myself longing for flowers in bloom and the warm wind blowing in sunny skies. I am ready to pull out the BBQ grill and picnic table….yet it’s not quite time.
But as I look around my yard (which is landscaped still in it’s pitiful post-Katrina style) I am encouraged at the flora I see making it’s way into my life.
These camillas are such lovely colors. I just wish I had a bush of white ones too! What nice February colors!
And although the ivy is evergreen, I still love to admire it!
And we have the most bamboo growing along the fence in our backyard. Some of it has actually survived the children making huts, and attempting to make a helicopter completely from bamboo. Bamboo, bamboo! (uh…sorry. ) (And yes, I know bamboo is a pest and most people don’t want it in their yards, but I love it! I think it’s incredibly exotic!)
And then I have this groundcovering in the backyard as well. I don’t even know what it is….
But, the Marchiest of all the flora around are the enormous patches of clover we are finding….it makes me feel all springy inside. My son and I attmepted to make clover chains and necklaces yesterday…but neither of us could quite get the hang of it!
So, I am happily anticipating the spring-time. And I’m thankful for the reminders that it is just around the corner!
Laura from In a Strange Land has tagged me for this kitchen meme. It was really a lot of fun to do….I like kitcheny things though!
1. How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? How many are in your family?
During the school year about 16 a week (two each weekday and three each weekend). We may eat out or go eat at someone else’s home three or four times a month. There are four of us in our family.
2. How many cookbooks do you own?
Ummm….do cooking magazines count? I have about 5 if they do. I really only own one cookbook. I’m just terrible at picking up magazines in the grocery store line. I’m not too into reading about Jessica and Nick or Brad and Angelina so I look at the cooking ones….then I end up buying them!
3. How often do you refer to a cookbook each week?
Not even once a week. Does internet recipes count? I do that several times a week.
4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? If so, what are some of your favorite sources (relaties, friends, magazines, advertisements, packages, the internet, etc)
The internet…mainly All Recipes.
5. How do you store those recipes?
In a favorites folder. What can I say? I’m a cook of the 21st century!
6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas?
Just to give me ideas. I rarely follow the recipe. I usually read a recipe I like and then cook it days later without referring to the recipe (except for baking….I follow a little closer for cakes, cookies and such. Can’t stand the idea of messing up desserts!)I usually substitute ingredients as well.
7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it?
Mostly American. I love Mexican….but the rest of my family doesn’t like it as much as me. (I could mostly eat Mexican). We also have several Italian recipes we like.
8. What’s your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation? (eating the finished product does not count)
I like to set the table. I also like looking for recipes….I can spend a bit of time reading different recipes and deciding which ones to try and for what events (dinner, pot luck, a party, etc.)
9. What’s your least favorite part?
Definately clean up!
10. Do you plan menus before you shop?
Nah. I hardly ever plan anything if I can help it. I just walk through the grocery store with a few items in my head that I know I need (like milk, eggs, and IBC Rootbeer) and then shop on a whim. I’m very much a free-spirit! It’s great. (Oh yeah…that’s part of the reason I substitute ingredients so often…..!)
11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances?
My three step buffet server, stainless mixing bowls in eight sizes, and my Pampered Chef pizza stone.
12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have?
Definately a dishwasher.
13. Since money and space probably are objects, what are you most likely to buy next?
A pretty pie plate. Porcelian with a pretty print. I lost mine when I moved.
14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage?
Don’t I wish! My freezer is way too small!
15. Grocery shop alone or with others?
Either way…I actually like grocery shopping (except standing in line…)
16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week?
Very few. I have carnivores in the house.
17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? Favorite kitchen colors?
I don’t have a strong theme. My colors are olive green with accents in wrought iron and stainless steel. I have a beautiful Tiffany chandalier going up tonight and a lovely handmade table that my dad bought me! I love the way my kitchen looks!
18. What’s the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you?
Does mixing Tang count? That is actually one of my first memories. Mixing Tang with my mom. But I also remember her helping my fry sausage and eggs, helping making monkey bread like I do with my kids, and helping with cookies and biscuts. My mother was an sahm until I started school. I was around two or three when I helped cook these things.
19. How did you learn to cook?
By helping my mother in the kitchen. Then experimenting as a pre-teen and teenager. I’ve always loved cooking. I used to stay in the kitchen with my Grandma and help her make homeade bread or cakes….
So I guess by osmosis! I don’t remember anything formal about learning….just jumping in and helping!
20. Tag two other people to play.
I think I’ll just pass on this one. Let me know if you decide to play and I’ll check out what you have to say!
It’s me, my daddy, my brother Cade, my mom, and my sister Amanda.
Or do you even have them?
I know Mardi Gras is celebrated a bit more in my corner of the world than most other places.
I would like to know what you guys out there have to say about the holiday. It is fast approaching and I must admit to liking that I will have off work for two days because of it. That’s all I’m saying about it now. I plan on posting my thoughts later this week.
Feel free to back up any claims for or against it. Be honest. I wanna know.
So? Whatcha think?
(If you don’t even know or think about Mardi Gras because of your geographical location please let me know that too. I’m very interested in what everyone has to say on this topic.)
It is now well into February and almost six months has passed since our area was hit and devestated by Hurricane Katrina.
I’ve really struggled with this post. I’ve thought about not posting and changed my mind. Then I would change my mind again. Joshua keeps asking me when I’m going to post it and I’ve put it off for some time. But I decided to post now.
I generally like to keep my blog rather upbeat. I’m a happy person. Even when things are tough and difficult. I generally try to keep out of the depths of despair….and I like for my blog to reflect that.
Not that I want anyone to think I have it all together or that my life is free of problems. Far from it….I just rather like to focus on the positive.
So that’s why I’ve struggled with this post.
The last week of January I finally went to the beach. For the first time since the storm. (I went to a concert in a park on the beach the Saturday night before Katrina hit early Monday morning.)
Not driving along the beach is a bit weird. Many things we like to do are (were) on the beach…..the mall, my favorite resturaunt, several festivals and concerts would take place there….we would go often. So not going for almost six months is a bit weird. I don’t know if I’ve ever in my life gone that long without driving along the beach.
So we went. Joshua had been several times since people were allowed to but I had no reason to since most of the things I used to go to the beach for were no longer there.
So I must admit to it being a bit upsetting. I didn’t actually cry….I had done that already and am long past that. We are rebuilding…and most people are doing much better. It was just a bit overwhelming….
So, here are some pictures of what it still looks like around here. (I hid the pictures because there are tons….so it may take awhile to load…especially if you are using dial-up).
What’s one thing you have learned to do differently to make your marriage better? or one thing you think is important to a good marriage?
If you’re not married, look at your parents or a couple you know that has a good marriage and tell something you admire about their relationship. And no pressure to tell the most important thing; in fact try to write something different than what’s already been written, if you get tagged after several other people have already done it. If you get tagged, link back to whoever tagged you, so we can follow the trail and see what others have said.
Honestly, I’m still working on a lot of this. I’ve only been married two and a half months….but we’ve already learned a lot.
I’m going to say that the most important thing I’ve learned is not to expect him to read my mind. If I have an expectation (like wanting to go out for dinner) or need help with something (housework) the best thing to do is ask. Do not just assume he’s thinking along the same lines as I am!!
That’s a pretty simple one. And one you are forewarned about in pre-marital counseling….but it is certainly different in real life!
So that’s mine.
And I won’t be tagging anyone, but I would appreciate it if anyone who wants to join in would let me know. I will then go read what you have to say on your blog!