Fifty-Six Small Suggestions for the Season of Lent

I came across this list a few years ago, though I don’t remember exactly where. It apparently comes from a denominational tradition with which I am less familiar, as evidenced by some of the terms and local names, but I get the spirit of the items, and I think you will too.

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1. Oh, it’s Lent, and you know you’re supposed to do it, so do it. Give up chocolate. No chocolate until Easter. Think how that chocolate bunny will taste that day. 2. Like the Kingdom, turn the values upside down, and take up chocolate for Lent. One piece a day. But only one. When you want more, give thanks, for now you have been found worthy of the struggle. 3. That person you have meant to call, call them. 4. That person you have meant to write, write to them. 5. That person you have meant to apologize to, apologize to them. 6. Turn off the lights in the house when the sun sets, and watch the soft darkness come. 7. Get up one half-hour earlier and read a devotional each day. 8. Stop every time you are about to go through a door and make the Sign of the Cross, for Our Lord said “I am the door.” 9. Come to a Sunday service you don’t usually come to, and introduce yourself as a visitor would. See what happens. 10. Sit in a different place in church. 11. Come sit in the sanctuary on a weekday afternoon and watch the light in the stained glass windows. 12. Talk to somebody you don’t know on Sunday morning. 13. Get in the slowest or longest line in the store and give thanks for the chance to wait. 14. Find a tree and say a prayer for it each day, waiting for spring. 15. That thing, that activity you know you should stop, stop. 16. Every Thursday evening, stop, light a candle, and slowly tear a piece of bread in two. 17. Spend one night in the rescue mission. 18. Eat at the Stone Soup café. 19. Sit in the emergency room lobby and say a prayer for everyone who walks by. 20. Go for a walk. 21. Turn off your cell phone. 22. Go to Denali Center or the Pioneer Home and find somebody sitting by themselves. Sit with them. 23. Ride the city bus and see where you go. 24. Go to school one Sunday in a different church. 25. Find a lay Eucharist minister and go with them when they visit. 26. Send a thank you note to someone each week. 27. Don’t use the “close door” button on the elevator; it will close anyway. 28. Open the bible and read the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month. 29. Turn off the television. Especially when THAT show is on. 30. Write on your calendar one good thing that happens each day. 31. Ask if you can serve during the service by greeting, reading scripture, or taking the offering. 32. Come back on Sunday afternoon and clean the church. 33. Find an open AA meeting and stop in. 34. Fast, meaning “stop eating before you are full.” Discover it is possible to control desire. 35. Watch one [sled] dog race, and notice how focused and excited the teams are. 36. Go visit grandmothers and ask them to tell you a story. 37. Find one person you are taking for granted and say “thank you” to them. 38. Buy/find one nail and carry it in your purse or pocket. Bring it to church on Good Friday. 39. One meal a week, join the rest of the world and have only several spoonfuls or rice. 40. Invite someone over to visit you and have a cup of coffee or tea. 41. Go visit that person you haven’t seen in a long time. 42. Find a rope or string and tie it in one hundred knots. Now pray “thank you” one hundred times each day. 43. Kneel beside your bed and say prayers each night. 44. Call the church office and ask, “What can I do to help?” 45. Don’t do one think that you should do. 46. Deactivate your Facebook account. Just until Easter. 47. Try learning an instrument, a new language, or a new skill. Remind yourself how hard it is to learn something new. 48. Avoid the internet for a day. 49. Tell your best friend that they are. 50. Sing something outside your door each morning to greet the new day. 51. Go look at the infants in the maternity ward of the hospital, and think about you being that size; think about God being that vulnerable. 52. Bessie Barnabas used to walk to St. Matthew’s from Salcha; walk to church one morning. 53. Turn off the computer, turn off the television, turn off the radio, turn off the music, turn off the cell phone and sit there. Listen to your breathing. 54. Make a small campfire, make campfire tea, and sit outside to drink it. 55. Go sledding down a hill. 56. Come by the church one night when it is dark, and kneel on the choir steps when there are no lights on in the church. Notice how the halo around the icon glows in the dark. Notice how the altar cross shines in the dark. Notice the flames of fire in the cross. Notice how they are blood red. Wonder at what cost the “I love you” from God is given to You. Realize you have had to do nothing to earn it. It is, as all true love, a gift. 

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 10:47AM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments2 Comments

New Pictures Posted

It occurred to me today that I haven't posted any new pictures since October. I didn't realize it had been that long. I haven't been taking many pictures this winter. Not exactly sure why. A combination of improper gear. Flagging enthusiasm. A dearth of creative energy. But whatever. Regardless of what's going on with me, the kids continue to be and grow and do. Behold, evidence. 

Here are pictures from Halloween, early December, the Menaker's Christmas party, our family Christmas, and various sleding, skiing, and everyone holding Micah.

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 at 06:25PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments3 Comments

Road Kill List

More moose are hit by drivers on Alaska’s roads in the wintertime than are hit in the summertime. There are a number of reasons for this.

In warmer weather, moose range all over the country, even into suprisingly high alpine areas. I was surprised to see moose droppings on several of the high domes while hiking the Pinnel Trail a few summers ago. In the winter, the moose move down into the sheltered valleys, which is also where the towns are.

Also, moose tend to congregate closer into towns because there are fewer predators (wolves) closer to the towns. There is also less snow to deal with in town. This is attractive to moose since deep snow slows them down when evading wolves. And of course the dark of winter prevents drivers from seeing moose in the roadway.

About 150 moose are killed in and around Fairbanks every winter. When it happens, the state troopers consult a list of local charities who have signed up on the road kill list. They call the next name on the list, and someone from that charity has to come and deal with the moose right away. This could be three o’clock in the morning when it’s forty below zero out.  

Lately, the troopers have been having a harder and harder time getting people to come out and pick up these moose. As this Fairbanks News Miner story tells, sometimes people sign up to be called, but then when the phone rings in the middle of the night, and they are asked to leave their warm bed to venture out into the cold and dark to do some serious work on the side of the highway, many people take a pass.

And so the troopers have recently opened up the list to include interested individuals rather than just charity organizations. I perked up when I heard that. Since we’ve already eaten more than half of the moose I shot in September (What are we gonna do when these boys are teenagers? It’s already a little terrifying!), we could use some more moose meat.

My hesitation was that harvesting this beast that is quickly freezing to the highway surface may be too big a job for me to tackle alone, in the middle of the night, in the cold and dark. I was recently talking with a buddy of mine who was already on the roadkill list for his church. I shared my interest and my reluctance. He told me that he had recently had this same conversation with another guy who is a mutal friend of ours. It was an obvious solution.

I talked to our mutual friend the following week. I told him I was interested in being on the road kill list, and that I had heard he was too. So we agreed to partner up. He went to the trooper station the following day and put his name down. So from this point on, he could get a call just about any time. And he would call me. And I would have to go meet him.

And so now as I sit here a eleven o’clock at night, I’m asking myself if I should get something together in the event that call comes tonight. What kinds of things would I need? I’ve been on a moose harvest party twice now, so I have a rough idea: a couple good knives and a sharpener, gut hook, bone saw, a lantern with extra fuel, headlamp with extra batteries, latex gloves, game bags, a tarp or two, some paracord, snacks and water for me, maybe a thermos of coffee, and then of course all of my cold weather gear. I’ll be like a fireman with my boots and bib overalls at the foot of my bed.

Is it the adventure, the experience, or the need to feed these kids? All of the above, no doubt.

In other news, there was a sun storm recently that is supposed to be raining down mega solar energy our humble planet. The aurora is supposed to be rockin’ tonight. And of course it’s cloudy and snowing hard. And that’s why the aurora is so special: even when you live here it’s a rare sight to see. Stephanie and I were tempted to drive north on the haul road until we found some clear sky. I’m still tempted. And I suppose this is a sign of getting older, but I’m just too tired. The aurora will have to swing, sway, and shine silently without us, while we drowse in a warm bed. 

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 11:12PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments1 Comment

Leviticus, anyone? 

All of us who are making this marathon trip through the Bible together met tonight to briefly discuss the experience and content of this past week’s reading. I am encouraged to see the number of people who are participating, and doubly encouraged to hear people who may have been in church circles for a long time wrestling with some basic questions about scripture. Formulating the questions and tracking down the answers can be a powerful and transformative experience.

Speaking of transformative experiences, I just learned that when it says in Genesis, “put your hand under my thigh and swear to me,” that the word thigh is a polite euphamism for penis. That this command asks the other person to swear by his seed and all of his future offspring. Thus the words testify, testament, and testicle are all (very) oddly related.  

At the end of our time together, our facilitator announced that I was posting daily responses/reflections in this space, and encouraged everyone to come check it out. Thanks, Dave! And for those of you coming here for the first time for that purpose, ¡Hola!

If you are here for that reason, what you are looking for is actually over there in the right hand margin. It says 90 Days Through the Bible, and you can click on that to see my daily updates, if that appeals to you.

I’ve already got a couple of questions and comments about the name, so if you are interested, here is a brief explanation that appears elsewhere in this site:  

"Entramblitures" is a made-up word. I never sat down and tried to come up with some strange new word. On the contrary, this word just jumped in my head. I assumed that it must be a real word that I had come across somewhere before and for which I just didn't know the definition. But after much search, I didn't find a thing. I like the word Entramblitures because even though it doesn't have an official denotation, it does have for me a number of really great connotations. It makes me think of words like enter, entrance, amble, ramble, tramp, trample, trundle, and literature.

The rest of this space is where I write my thoughts on unusual Alaskan experiences, interesting child-raising experiences, and sometimes ideas on education, politics, faith, or family life. This also serves as the photo record of our family and our time in Alaska.

Feel free to wander around the halls of our lives. Everyone’s welcome. 

Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 08:26PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Read it like a novel

I was recently challenged to participate in a group that was endeavoring to read the Bible through in 90 days. There is a program out there that divides the reading into about ninety even chunks that can each be read relatively easily in a sitting. Being fairly certain that I've read all of it at one time or another, I've never read the thing straight through as a single work. And who knows if perhaps I left a book or two out somewhere along the way. No telling what's in there I might have overlooked.

So our group kicked off this effort last Sunday with an informational meeting and pep rally to get everyone pumped up. I was surprised to see so many people at the starting line. The question now is, how many will scratch before reaching the finish? Of course it's not a competition, and I'm asking myself if I will be able to make it through to the end. 

In addition to reading, I'm also purposing to write a little response to the reading each day and post that here. Nothing heavy or really well thought out, simply my first response to the day's reading that I can type in just a couple of minutes. If you're interested, you can read that here, or subscribe to the RSS feed here. And if you want to read along, that would be cool too. I'd be happy to have a fellow traveler. 

Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 08:55PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments1 Comment