05 December 2012

Internetless Advent

Dear Readers,

It is clear I fell off the blogwagon, mostly because we do not have internet at home anymore (except for the shared network from my husband's iPhone, which means I spend most of my internet time reestablishing a weak connection).  No internet at home is awesome, but not awesome for this blog.

But we have still been observing and celebrating the Church Year, even without the internet.  We finally are actually learning verses and hymns per season, not just intending to learn them.  So far learned/planned:

Ordinary:                 Genesis 1:1-5     My Hope is Built on Nothing Less
Reformation:             Eph. 2:8-10              "                            " ,   Wake, Awake For Night is Flying
Advent:                    Isaiah 9:6-7        Creator of the Stars of Night
Christmas:                Luke 2:7             A Great and Mighty Wonder
Epiphany:                 John 1:1-7          Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

A peaceful Advent and merry Christmas to you all!

BONUS: Free Christmas gift ideas for the little ones

Paperdolls (print out on cardstock)

LEGO patterns (just print out the instructions and stuff them in the stockings, or do what I did and spend 4 hours scouring your husband's 4 Rubbermaid tubs of vintage LEGO, looking for that one elusive brick. It brings back nostalgic memories of childhood frustration and an achy neck).

14 August 2012

St. Mary,Mother of Our Lord (August 15)

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.
For I the LORD love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.
(Isaiah 61:7-11 ESV)

Wonderful readings for this feast!  Here's last year's post, with a lot more art. Send me a link to your favorite painting or depiction of Mary, and I'll post it here.

St. Mary's Day is traditionally associated with herbs, spices, and fruits.  Along those lines, here are some ideas:

Here are Issues, Etc. podcasts on the mother of our Lord:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.        (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV)

Weak and Loved

I'm probably preaching to the choir, but if you haven't yet, check out this lady's blog.  She doesn't know it, but her insights have helped me through some difficult times.  Thanks, Emily!

Update: Oh, AND she was on Issues, Etc.!

10 August 2012

St. Lawrence (August 10)

Today we celebrate St. Lawrence, third century martyr.  Here is my post about him from last year, including a biography.

I learned recently that Lawrence was probably decapitated--the Latin phrase "he suffered (martyred)" was mistaken for "he was roasted" (literally cooked on a gridiron like a side of meat).  I enjoy the humor and flippancy the Church treats death (without crossing into irreverence).  Although probably just a legend, Lawrence is said to have told his persecutors "Turn me over now, I'm done on this side."  My kids thought that was hilarious.

How we will celebrate:
How do you handle the sometimes grisly descriptions of martyrs' deaths?  How do you approach the topic of martyrdom with your children?  

Only Bernini can make roasting on a gridiron look glamorous

28 June 2012

Print Resource

I don't recommend buying this ("All based on traditional [Roman] Catholic teachings...").  However, it is very close to what I would like to print for my own use, except, you know, not Lutheran.  

Any other print resources you've stumbled across?  Here is a list of print resources I posted when I started this blog.  Looking back, the ones I turn to the most are both of Joanne Bogle's books, A Book of Feasts and Seasons and A Yearbook of Feasts and Celebrations, Burton's A  Feast Day Cookbook, and Bitz's A Continual Feast.

Happy St. Cyril of Alexander's Day, by the way!  We are going to have an Egyptian dinner tonight (flat bread, lamb gumbo, cucumber sauce), talk a bit about Greek names and words with Theo in them: Theotokos (Mother of God), Theophilus (friend of God), Theodora/Theodotus (gift of God), theology, etc., and Christ's divinity.

His biography from the Treasury of Daily Prayer: 
Cyril (ca. A.D. 376-444) became archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, in 412. Throughout his career hedefended a number of orthodox doctrines, among them the teaching that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is"rightly called and truly is the Mother of God"--Theotokos, "the God-bearer" (Formula of Concord, VIII,Ep VIII, 12). In 431 the Council of Ephesus affirmed this teaching that the Son of Mary is also true God.The writings of Cyril on the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ reveal him to be one of the most able theologians of his time. Cyril's Christology influenced subsequent church councils and was a primary source for Lutheran confessional writings.

Addendum: My kids wandered downstairs as I was about to post this.  I said "Do you know what day it is today?" ("Thursday!" "Garbage Day!").  "Yes, but it is also St. Cyril's Day."  "OHHH!! That means we get CEREAL FOR BREAKFAST."  (We never have cereal for breakfast and don't have any in the house, but there's another idea, if cereal is a special treat in your house.)

Tomorrow is St. Irenaeus of Lyons' commemoration.  Look for something later today on him.

17 May 2012

Ascension Day

Here's a link to last year's Ascension Day post:


We are not able to attend Thursday services this year.  I'm curious how your church observes Ascension Day, besides Divine Service.  I have heard of parades (carrying banners outside the church as a congregation), an ice cream social after service, and "releasing balloons" (glad our church doesn't do that...just sayin', totally my opinion...).  What does your church do?  What does your family do at home?  I think someone last year mentioned making bird-shaped cookies.  I have also heard of "cloud-themed activities" (See Catholicicing.com)

From the wikipedia entry on Feast of the Ascension:

"[There is an] English custom of carrying at the head of the procession the banner bearing the device of the lion and at the foot the banner of the dragon, to symbolize the triumph of Christ in his ascension over the evil one. 
"In some churches the scene of the Ascension was vividly reproduced by elevating the figure of Christ above the altar through an opening in the roof of the church. In others, whilst the figure of Christ was made to ascend, that of the devil was made to descend.  [I]Florence the Feast was observed by having a dove slide down a string from the high altar of the cathedral to ignite a large decorative container filled with fireworks in front of the main entrance of the cathedral." [If modern megachurches observed Ascension, they would do this, I'm sure.]

Bach's Ascension Oratorio and translation.  List of Ascension hymns.

From fisheaters.com 

"After the Gospel is sung, the Paschal Candle, lit from the New Fire of the Easter Vigil, is extinguished to symbolize the departure of Christ."
"In some parts of Italy (Tuscany, for ex.) there is the interesting custom of catching crickets on this day."

What We'll Do:

Eat a picnic on a hill, put away our Paschal candle from our family altar, sing Praise my soul, the King of Heaven, listen to Bach's Oratorio, and color this coloring page.  

02 April 2012

Easter Music

Classic99.com streaming has the following lineup for Holy Week:

Good Friday, April 6, 2012

12:00 noon Saint John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach
The complete Passion features the Leipzig Radio Choir and the Dresden State Orchestra, along with some marvelous soloists, including Peter Schreier as the Evangelist, and Robert Holl singing the words of Christ. 

2:00 p.m. Seven Last Words of Christ by Franz Josef Haydn 
Played in its entirety without interruption by the Juilliard String Quartet, and featuring soloists Benita Valente, Jan DeGaetani, Jon Humphrey and Thomas Paul.

4:00 p.m. Golgotha by Frank Martin 
This rarely heard Oratorio, written by the Swiss composer just after World War II, is based on the Passion models of Bach.

7:00 p.m. The Crucifixion by Sir John Stainer 
This musical "Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer," as the composer referred to it, features the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, England.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

12:00 noon Passion According to Saint Matthew by Johann Sebastian Bach 
This monumental account of the Passion story from Matthew's gospel is delivered by the Monteverdi Choir, along with the English Baroque Soloists, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. Singing the words of Jesus is Andreas Schmidt, with Evangelist Anthony Rolfe Johnson headlining an all-star cast.

Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012

8:00 a.m. "JOY!" with Ron Klemm Music for Easter

12:00 noon "This Joyful Eastertide"
On Easter Sunday afternoon, CLASSIC99.com will present This Joyful Eastertide. Ron Klemm will be your host for this two-hour special broadcast that celebrates Christ's resurrection. Classical favorites by Bach, Handel, Vaughan Williams, and John Rutter will be complimented with choral and instrumental selections to provide a festive afternoon of great music for Easter.

3:00 p.m. Mass in B-Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
This music, which some have called a "landmark of Western civilization," is a tour de force for chorus. Our Easter presentation features a fine recording by the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Orchestra of the 18th Century, conducted by Frans Brüggen.

7:00 p.m. Messiah by George Frederic Handel 
CLASSIC99.com's second presentation of Handel's beloved oratorio. The Easter Sunday recording features the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Choir, and soloists Kathleen Battle, Florence Quivar, John Aler, and Samuel Ramey; conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.

Monday, April 9, 2012

8:00 p.m. Symphony # 2 Resurrection by Gustav Mahler 
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus bring us this monumental work, with soprano Kathleen Battle and contralto Maureen Forrester; Leonard Slatkin conducts.

14 March 2012

"Easter is Normal"

Love this:
But that is really how it is: Easter is normal. It is not that Easter is like most of the year, with no special ceremonies all its own, but that the rest of the year is like Easter. Those ceremonies we are prone to take for granted – standing for the Gospel, singing Alleluias between the Epistle and the Gospel, etc, are all Easter ceremonies. Easter feels normal because Easter is the standard.
There is something confused in us that prefers the austere novelty of Lent, Passiontide, and Holy Week to Easter. To be sure, this confusion isn’t sinful, but it is confusion, not unlike children preferring boxed macaroni and cheese or McDonald’s hamburgers to the real things.
Easter is the norm because while we engage in some small liturgical re-enactments of Our Lord’s passion for the sake of teaching and remembering what Our Lord has done for us and how He loves us, in fact, it is done, finished, complete, and perfect.
 (Read the rest from Pr. Petersen over at Gottesdienst.)

10 March 2012

Family Altars

A reader recently asked about the practice of setting up a family altar.  This Lent is the first season we have set up an altar, and the children have really responded well to having a space set aside for prayer and hymn singing. They love to take turns lighting the candle!  Our altar--in a central place in our home--also helps my husband and me remember the purpose of Lent and the many ways we can teach our children about how "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," and "in this is love, not that we loved Him, but He loved us..."

Catechesis, reading of the Word, and singing hymn are vital to a Lutheran religious education, and can not be handed over completely to a Christian school  or Sunday School.  The family prayer or devotions are the backbone of a family altar, and what we place on the altar should reflect what we are teaching.

So what are the necessary components of a family altar?  A Bible, catechism, or hymnal, or a cross or crucifix.  Beyond that, it's up to you.  Some households hang icons of saints around their crucifix, to remind them of the Church Triumphant, that when we pray and worship, we are joining our prayer to the Prayers of the whole Church.  Some include candles, bowls for alms, flowers, fine linens, seasonal decor.

Some other reading on the subject:
"The Family Altar"
"Why and How of Home Altars"
"Our Household Will Have its Family Altar"

And finally, here are some examples, just to give you ideas.

This is our altar, on top of our piano in our dining room.  The purple tablecloth I got at Berger's for $4, and the white runner is an antique I inherited.  The orchid was a Christmas gift (one of those grow-your-own you can buy at Target).  We planted it around Epiphany and it bloomed the week of Ash Wednesday!  We have our Bible, hymnal and Reading the Psalms with Luther stacked up there.  The ceramic bowl is something I found downstairs, and the kids put any change they find in the house in there for alms (they call that bowl "the Baptism bowl," which was a connection I did not make.  They say the blue looks like water.)  

This lovely altar comes from reader Aubri's home.  I love her homemade crown of thorns and beautiful crucifix.  She says, "My oldest made a bank for alms, following Catholic Icing idea, I put it on our table, along with the crown of thorns. I'm thinking we'll remove a toothpick each day and either say a prayer for someone or give thanks to Jesus for one of the ways He suffered for us."

Send pictures and I'll add them to this post!

08 March 2012

Lenten Resources

Check out Emmanuel Press!

Last year we sent Easter cards to our extended family, and everyone loved it!

19 February 2012


Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.                    Matt 9:15

Ash Wednesday is February 22.  Here is a modified version of what I posted last year for Lent (with some additions)!  

Brief History 
Catechumens in the early Church usually were baptized into Christ on Easter Eve, and so they would prepare themselves by fasting and repenting while being taught the Faith.  Soul and body preparation also anticipated reception at the Lord's Table.  This preparation for Easter eventually was lengthened and broadened to include all Christians.

In the West, Easter's date is determined by the phases of the moon: It is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after March 21.  To determine Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, forty days are counted back from Easter, excluding Sundays.   (We often forget that each Sunday is a feast itself, a mini-Easter to celebrate Christ's victory over sin, death and the devil!)  The forty days is reminiscent of Jesus's forty days in the wilderness, Moses's forty days on Sinai, the forty days and nights of rain during the Great Flood, etc. 

The Church sets aside Lent as a time of repentance and preparation for remembering the Crucifixion and Resurrection.  Matthew 6:1-14 outlines the three traditional practices of Lent: alms, prayer, fasting, and is a good focus point for keeping our Lent evangelical, not legalistic.

Pastor Weedon over at Weedon's Blog on keeping our fast, prayers, and charity evangelical (emphasis mine):

The Gospels for these Sundays teach us that our salvation is a gift, not the result of our efforts; that it is accomplished by the power of God's Word; that by faith in our Jesus, we will go up to Jerusalem with Him, having our eyes opened to see that He is indeed the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  With this wonderful theological grounding, we also remember the wise words of Adolf Köberle:  "At all events even asceticism can be described by the paradoxical statement:  Its exercise can give salvation to no one but its neglect can corrupt anyone." 
So as not to fall into that corruption, the Lenten disciplines are set before us.  Not as though they are tools we ought use only during the Lenten days, but as training for all our days of battling the old man in the power of the Holy Spirit and with the joyful concurrence of the new man."

Remember that these suggestions are just that--suggestions--and not a checklist of what you should do. Pick and choose.  Also, take into consideration your particular situation.  I will not be fasting, since I'm pregnant nursing.  I also will strive to keep my meals simple (no elaborate seafood or vegetarian meals).  I would much rather fulfill my vocation by loving my children and husband than fulfill what the world would see as "Lenten duties."  Prepare for Easter with joy and reflection!

*Change the color on your family altar or Church Year bulletin board to purple, the color of Lent and repentance.  (Maybe you just have something small, like dining room table candles you can change as the church seasons change.  The point is a physical reminder around the house of what time of the church year we are in.)  

*Place a prayer book and small "collection plate" or bank for alms on the family altar, to remind all of the Lenten focus.  

*Begin a family devotional practice such as family lectionary reading (Treasury of Daily Prayer or the Daily Lectionary inside the Lutheran Service Book are wonderful resources to begin this), or simply family prayer time, if you don't already do that.  

*Learn a new prayer (my kids will learn the Morning Prayer, so far the hardest for us to fit into our routine). 

*Begin (or return to) self-examination and repentance of sins each night.  This is a great opportunity for your children to become familiar with with the liturgy of private Confession and Absolution.  

Have you taken your child to private Confession?  How old was he?  How does your church introduce this gift to the little ones?  I've heard some kids just go along with their parents for a while, but I don't know about that...  I'm eager to hear about your experiences or church's practices.

Learn an appropriate hymn and Bible verse(s) for Lent.  Ask your pastor what hymns your church will be learning or singing a lot.

* (Speaking of...) Start meeting your pastor for private confession  and absolution on a regular basis. (Perhaps when mom and dad go on a regular basis, the children will naturally (out of curiosity) desire to go, too.)

* Read  Meditations on Divine Mercy.

* Make a Jesus Tree

* Study a particular country whose Christians are under persecution.  Pray for those Christians every day

Practice hospitality.  Sundays feel more like the feasts they are during Lent than other times in the year.  Ask people in your congregation over for Sunday dinner, especially people you don't get a chance to talk to very often.  Ask neighbors over for dessert and coffee during the week.  

Give generously to those in need, both in your church and in your community.  Find out who is unemployed in your congregation.  Visit shut-ins (some may see no one from their church but their pastor for months).  A fond memory I have of my childhood is visiting a nursing home once a week, bringing little crafts or goody-bags.

Other ideas?  Please send pictures of your Lenten family altars!

18 February 2012


Battle of Carnival and Lent by Pieter The Younger Brueghel
Battle of Carnival and Lent Peter the Younger Brueghel

Shrovetide, the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, are used to prepare for the season of preparation!  Make practical plans to fast (alter menus and grocery lists, talk as a family about how you will fast), prepare Lenten decorations, and go hear the proclamation of forgiveness in private Confession and Absolution. if you don't confess regularly already.  

And on Tuesday, make pancakes!

From fisheaters.com
At Westminster School in London, the "Pancake Grease" is held, an event during which the schoolmaster tosses a very large pancake over a bar that's set to about 15 feet high. The children make a mad scramble for it, and whoever emerges with the largest piece is the winner. 

14 February 2012

Valentine's Day (February 14)

An idea for Valentine's Day:
Write up lists of what you love about each family member.  Give all the lists to said family members.

I decided to do this on a whim (and after Emily inspired me).  I forgot to get anything (anything!) for my husband today, so I sent him this list via email.  I used to journal once a month or so about what the kids are up to, but I haven't in a year.  So now Google will save a list each February 14 of my kid updates.  And I can look up the lists whenever I'm feeling grumpy or resentful.

When the kids are older, they can participate.  Nothing like telling folks you love how much you appreciate them!

I love M----- 
for his scratchy beard
for going to Logli's late at night to get peanut-butter M&Ms (or Reese's Pieces.  OR BOTH)
for forgetting Valentine's Day, just like me (we're made for each other)
for working 21-hour days sometimes
for making spinach balls
for building bacon-houses and elaborate church-castles and towers out of DUPLO
for reading more than I do, and telling me all about what he's read
for being so contrarian

I love C-----
for helping me every day with the babies
for being such an interesting, earnest little conversationalist
for being  OC about what we're supposed to be doing or forgot to do 
for reminding me to pray every time we hear a siren
for using her hands for emphasis when she's explaining something to me
for loving to read and being read to (5 chapters of Little House on the Prairie yesterday...)
for being my girly-girl

I love G------- 
for his energy and abundant enthusiasm
for putting together 100-piece puzzles
for narrating his life as if it were a story ("and then he stomped down the hall.  What was behind the door...? A great big spider.  He killed the spider and went on his way.")
for his beautiful Pauling smile
for his intense unblinking stillness when listening to something he likes 
for his impatience and frustration in wanting to get the good part or point of anything
for wanting to wear foot-jammies all the time

I love R------ 
for his low voice and gruff way of talking
for being my snuggliest, kissiest kid yet
for pushing himself right into the middle of anything (combination of wiggling and bullying)
for his lower lip
for his sometimes green, sometimes brown eyes
for being so sturdy, like the bulldog on his jammies
for being so good-natured, laid back, and jolly

I love M--- 
for sleeping 12+ hours a day
for arching her back so only her head and tip of her toes are on the ground
for tolerating (and sometimes returning) her siblings' clumsy affection
for laughing socially (earliest I've ever seen)
for crying pretty much only when she's lonely (not much chance of that here...)
for loving mirrors
for singing baby songs to her mama

13 February 2012

This week in the church year...

Here are links to posts I made last year.

February 13 Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos
February 15 Philemon and Onesimus
February 16 Philipp Melanchthon
February 18 Martin Luther

Of course, Valentine's Day is this week.  Making all the valentines and decorations takes enough time.  I usually just briefly talk about the man on his day, and tie the color red with martyrdom. What do you do?

02 February 2012

The Gesimas and Eastertide

The time between now, the end of Christmastide, and February 22, the beginning of Eastertide, feels like no-man's land.  Do we use green or violet for the family altar?  The God-revealing themes of Advent-Christmas-Epiphany and God-redeeming themes of Lent-Easter-Pentecost are so clear.  What do we focus on in February?

For guidance, check out Pr. Peperkorn's site, HistoricLectionary.com.  Specifically check out this bulletin insert. Based on the Sunday readings, "These three Sundays before Lent constitute catechesis in the Grace of God in which that grace is examined from three perspectives."  Grace is undeserved and completely due to God's goodness (Parable of the Good Landowner); Grace is passively received (Parable of the Sower); and Grace is not easily understood (Apostles not understanding Jesus's purpose--to die).

Our church does not use the historic 1-year lectionary, but I still think focusing on grace the next few weeks will be a wonderful bridge between Christmas and Easter.  We will memorize Ephesians 2:8-10, talk about the parables and read relevant passages from the large and small catechisms.

(Poke around that website.  There are some great resource links at the bottom.)

Also, once you get your family altar set up for Lent, email me a picture and I'll post them after Ash Wednesday.

The Purification of Mary and Presentation of Our Lord (February 2)

An edited version of what I posted last year:
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,

according to your word;

30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
                            and for glory to your people Israel.”                                    

Luke 2:22-32

Hymns: Variations on the Nunc Dimittis LSB 937, 938 ; TLH 131

The Presentation of our Lord is when we swing from focusing on the Incarnation to concentrating on the Crucifixion. (Of course, the two can never be completely separated.)   The canticles of Simeon (and Anna) in Luke 2 reveal to us who the Christ child really is (God's incarnation we celebrate at Christmas and Epiphany), and what he will do (save us from our sins by his work on the cross and resurrection, which we celebrate at Easter).

Activities and Lore:

This is the end of Christmastide, so our very last Christmas decoration, the Nativity Scene was boxed away .  We also wrapped up all our Christmas picture books, to be reopened next Advent (HT Aubri, I think).

It was popular in the Western church to hold processions, carrying candles to be blessed at the service (hence "Candlemas").   So, we will light a bunch of candles for dinner.  At festalcelebrations.com I got the idea to make our own candles.

Coloring page!

Crepes in France.  These are only to be eaten after 8pm, and if the crepe-maker can flip a crepe successfully while holding a coin in his other hand, the family will have success all year.
Tamales in Central and South America.  Whoever gets the coin (or metal doll) in their piece of Rosca De Reyes (a version of King's Cake) on the eve of Epiphany has to make the tamales and throw a party on Candlemas.

Our Groundhog Day grew out of older Candlemas superstitions ("If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, winter will have another bite.  If Candlemas brings cloud and rain, winter is gone and will not come again"). 

20 January 2012

Pastor Appreciation Ideas

This week we celebrate the feasts of both Timothy (24th) and Titus (26th).  As I mentioned last year, it's a good time to thank our pastors for all their dedication, sacrifice, and work toward delivering us God's gifts.

This year, the kids are painting cards and I'll write a thank you note from our family.

Question for all you pastors' wives:  What are some of your favorite gifts parishioners have given you and your family, or maybe just your husband?  I'm thinking something homemade or very inexpensive, but thoughtful.