Monday, December 26, 2011

One Christmas - Three Different Services

I managed to go to three different church services this Christmas: Lutheran, Catholic and UU. We traditionally go to the Lutheran kids' service on Christmas Eve. It is Husband's family church and attached to the kids' school. It is a fun, low key service in which we sing a lot of songs. Unfortunately, this was not their year. Three ministers presided and everything just seemed "off". They kept flubbing their lines and one of the ministers actually outed Santa Claus!! I normally really like this service, but left feeling like it was an after thought.

After a lovely evening with the extended family (after the service), I felt like I needed something a little more. Growing up, we always went to midnight mass at our Catholic Church and I liked how magical it felt. So I went to "midnight mass for wimps" at my local Catholic Church - which started at ten. I had forgotten that they had changed the wording to so many responses and affirmations. Thankfully they had a cheater-card to help you through. Even with that, only about half the congregation could get out the new words. After thirty plus years of saying phrases one way, it will probably take another thirty to get used to the new way. I was disappointed in the sermon. I have heard tons of Catholic sermons and expected to hear a similar spiel. In the end though, I was thankful that my kids were not with me. It started off well, talking about recommitting to one's faith and truly living it. Then it made a sharp turn into virginity, teenage sex, abortion, contraception, natural family planning, and the sacrament of marriage. I realize these are all strong Catholic tennets, but the priest kept going on and on and on about them. Yes, I realize that Jesus was born of a virgin, but why the Priest felt the need to make this point so much, I have no idea. It was getting pretty uncomfortable (even more so then the Catholic marriage classes I had to attend!). I felt sad that he used this night to push the Catholic pro-life message. It was very uninspiring.

On Christmas Day morning we went to our UU Church. Normally we skip church on Christmas morning so we can be lazy and just hang-out. This year, daughter was asked to play a song on her harp, so we went. I was so glad. It was a little less formal then I like, but it was really meaningful. We heard the Christmas passages in Luke and Matthew and then shared our most memorable Christmas stories. It was a wonderful morning of sharing and caring. I am so happy we went as it really demonstrated the true spirit of Christmas. Caring for one another.

I hope you all had a great holiday, in whatever way you celebrate it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Unscientific Bible Review

If you remember, I won this Bible a couple of weeks ago. I finally had a chance to check it out. It claims to be "a fresh translation to touch the heart and mind" and to be very easy to read and understand. To test this out, I grabbed the boys (ages 7 & 10) and a couple of other Bibles for comparison. We used The Good News Bible and the Oxford Study Bible with the Apocrypha. Our sole criteria (thus why it is very unscientific) was how easy the verse was to understand. To me, the ultimate in easy bible reading is The Good News Bible. I got it when I was around ten at a Lutheran bible camp I attended. The Oxford Study Bible is also pretty easy to read and has the bonus of lots of notes.

The boys and I each had one of the bibles. We took turns choosing a verse and then we would each read that verse out loud. Afterwards, we decided which of the three versions was the easiest to understand. I had theorized that The Good News bible would win hands down. I was wrong. Nine times out of ten, the boys and I preferred the Common English Bible. I don't want to make it seem like it is a "dumbed down" version of the bible, it isn't. It just has a very nice readability that doesn't make it daunting like the King James version. I think this would be a great version to get, especially if you are new to the bible. The only criticisms I have are: 1. I like to have contextual notes and CEB doesn't have many. 2. I also like to have the Apocrypha. My version did not have it, but I think they do have versions that include it.

We gave it three thumbs up!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Overwhelmed

A stomach bug has been working its way through the family. I am TIRED. It is completely draining me. Additionally, I have papers and presentations due for school. Last night was one of them. I felt like I was going to be sick or pass out through the whole thing. It didn't help that the two who presented before me did an awesome job. I felt like I fumbled my way through the power point and barely made sense. As I was presenting, I kept thinking of all the things I should have included in my paper, but didn't think to when I wrote it last week. I don't even want to see the class evaluations. It was just too embarrassing. I was able to listen to one more presentation and then I bailed before I got seriously sick. I am just so disappointed in myself. Why couldn't I suck it up and do a better job?! All the end of the semester school work (and being sick) is starting to take its toll. I will be so happy for December 16th. Now to go prepare for the Girl Scout meeting tonight.

Chalica: Day 3

Chalica Day 3.

Chalica: Day 2

Day 2.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chalica: Day 1

I have to admit that Chalica snuck up on me this year. Life has been very busy with school (sooo many papers to write!), sick kids and non-ending basement renovations. I will be so happy for the New Year! I always dream big and remember that last year, I was going to do this year's Chalica bigger and better. Well that isn't going to happen. But, thank goodness for blogs! I am pretty much going to do exactly what we did last year with some minor adjustments. I will link to last year's post each day. Obviously, if you want to plan ahead, check out last year's entries.

Chalica: Day 1: Today we light the red candle, honoring the inherent worth and dignity of EVERY person.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Won a Bible!!

I am super excited about it. Yes, there were only two people who entered, but still - I WON! I am also excited because I am eager to check this Bible out. It is a new edition called the Common English Bible. It claims to be easier to read and understand. I love comparing different versions of the Bible and am eager to see how this one compares to the others in my collection. I am also teaching that Bible study class and, if this is easier to understand, I hope it will be helpful to us all. I can't wait to get it in the mail! Thank you Craig for hosting this giveaway!