Category Archives: spiritual retreats

Message of Lent


Today is considered by some cultures, especially in

the Catholic Church, to be “Fat Tuesday.” Down in

my college friend, Patrice’s Mississippi “bayou”

they are celebrating with Louisiana, too!

Happy Mardi Gras Day!!

This morning, Tuesday March 4, 2014, the Channel 10

(CBS) announced that today is “National Pancake Day,”

with no specific denomination or explanation given.

Easier not to say, “Fill up on Pancakes, because

some of us tomorrow will be ‘fasting!'”

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, will be one some consider

a somber and sobering moment, remembering Jesus’

walk to the Cross.

I go to the First Presbyterian Church in Delaware,

Ohio. If you wish to skip religious messages, don’t

worry, you can pass on this and it won’t bother me

a bit!

I just loved my March “Spire” Newsletter’s message,

written by our Pastor Deb Patterson.

I feel our church is inclusive and embraces many

different cultures, as we have the college nearby.

Ohio Wesleyan students sometimes attend, having

transferred their ‘home’ for their four to six

years, from far and wide.

Along with a woman one of our church members

met on a Mission Trip in South America. He

brought her home and made her his bride!

(Jeff and Gloria, another love story: Smile!)

Maybe you will find this worthy of reading.

“Dear Friends,

You are dust and to dust you shall return.” These

are the words used on Ash Wednesday while the ashes

from last year’s palms (now burned into ash) are

placed on your forehead. These words not only mark

the beginning of the Season of Lent but remind us of

our own mortality. Mortality is the one thing we all

share in common; black, white, brown, Christian,

Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Russian, Iranian,

Iraqi, Palestinian, British, American, Guatemalan,

Hispanic… the list is long and all encompassing.

Together we will all share in this final event.

I wonder if we… from all different walks of life,

… different nationalities and religions… if we

were gathered together at the throne of God and

asked what loving things we had done during our

lifetime… I wonder if there would be regret,

remorse, sorrow, despair or would there be peace

and joy? One of the reasons I like the Season of

Lent is that it is a time to do some personal

inner work. A time set aside in our church year

to intentionally examine ourselves and our

relationships with each other, our neighbors and

our God.

This Ash Wednesday we will be doing a different

type of service. While we will still receive the

imposition of the ashes, we will take some time

to do some directed reflection. I will invite all

gathered to take personal time to look deep within

at behaviors such as hardness of heart, resentments

and negative behaviors. There will be stations

around the sanctuary that will become a part of this

service. What I have learned over the years is that

personal spiritual freedoms comes from letting go…

and we all have things we could release to God.

I will be encouraging the four individual reflections

used in our worship service as Lenten practice. If

you are not able to attend the Ash Wednesday Service,

I will have these reflections available on the First

Sunday of Lent. We have forty days to do some personal

housekeeping. A clean house makes more room for God’s

growth in us.

I look forward to walking Lent with you.


Pastor Deb.”

I hope that you feel a message to all from my

pastor, giving you her blessing. I always feel

very accepted and loved when I attend First

Presbyterian Church. Take care!

Summer is a Time for Healthy Retreats


I have been on a lot of spiritual retreats as well as many

work related team-building retreats. My youngest daughter

is at the Deer Creek State Park Lodge, where she is getting

pumped up in her part-time career of being a Health and

Wellness Coach!

There are benefits to living with a daughter who every

time you go to the store you say, “What would ______

buy?” It definitely keeps you on your toes, out of the pop,

junk, snack and bakery aisles!

Her frequent complaints include,

“Mom! Do you know anything about how much

hydrogenated fats that cookie or muffin has in it?”

“Mom! Do you know you can get just as much protein from

kale, broccoli, quinoa, black beans or (insert any other healthy

food choice here)?

“Mom! Do you know that creamer has a ton of corn syrup and

fats in it?”

This could fill several posts how my daily diet needs to be much

healthier and I need to make healthy choices!

I make sure I purchase some dark chocolate to indulge in;

its good for the heart (and still a treat!)

I am going to add a nice quote at this point to this post to

refrain from going on any longer on a “kind” and “loving”


This is what she says when she is looking after me!

She is just being “kind” and “loving” so she can have her

“Mama” here with her forever.” I know, “Awww!”

I like to say or read these encouraging words when I feel

I have gotten off track of my goals, fallen “off the healthy

diet wagon” or just ‘having a bad day!’ I like to say I am

retreating from the battle and regaining my composure.

This quote was kept in  Paul “Bear” Bryant’s wallet from

when he became an adult and carried throughout his life:

“This is the beginning of a new day,

God has given me this day to use as I will.

I can waste it or use it for good.

What I do today is very important

because I am exchanging

a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes,

this day will be gone forever

leaving something in its place

I have traded for it.

I want it to be a gain, not a loss – –

good, not evil.

Success, not failure.

In order that I shall not

foresee the price I paid for it.”

Healthy retreats in our daily lives can include communing with

nature on a walk, bicycling down a path or sitting on a park bench.

We can meditate or seek a peace that “passeth all understanding”

by talking or praying with God/Allah/Mother Nature/Higher Being.

We can also share, help, listen and go a few steps extra in our daily

walks through Life. This will build good karma (kharma) and what

goes around, comes around.

Don’t retreat completely from the work ahead.

Just stop. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out with a “whoosh!”

Take a respite and drink some water to quench your thirst.

Now, get up fully rejuvenated to continue your Journey!

Summer has just begun with the Summer Solstice (June 21)

and the Full Strawberry Moon tomorrow night (June 23).