By:  LPJ

Seeking ways to prepare for Easter 

I was struck by what my grandson Eliott shared about his youth meeting at the First Presbyterian Church on Cal Berkeley campus last week.  What stood out for him was the discussion on dropping bad habits and learning good ones. So appropriate especially during this season of Lent, a time for self-examination in regards to our relationship with God,

Lent is a powerful reminder of the Father’s unconditional love that led to His son Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross, for humanity’s redemption and the promise of eternal kingdom with God.

So, I asked my grandson (not intending to poke or be nosy – or maybe, just a little bit), what habit did he want to break.  He couldn’t think of one that moment.  So I asked, what habit did he want to assume – immediately, he responded, reading more the bible.  Interesting, I said – that’s exactly my thought and hope for myself, too.

Have you thought about habits you want to break or learn?  In contemplation, prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  we seek ways on how we can prepare our hearts for Easter, the glorious celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.  Maybe, we can start with habits.


Family bonding, the best perk of a vacation

But for a weekend trip to Monterey, CA with my son, daughter-in-law and grandson some months ago, I haven’t really gone far from my home since the start of the pandemic.  Thus, I look forward to our trip to Los Angeles next week, traveling with my son and his family to visit my daughter and son-in-law at Hermosa Beach.  Did I mention beach?  Can hardly wait – but that’s just background to a mini family reunion of some sort, a real treat for me.

Sunset at Hermosa Beach (Photo by Joy Jacob Rosenburg)

Seeing the expansive stretches of fields, farms and orchards by Highway 5 already is a welcome thought. Making a stop for a quick lunch at one of those restaurants along the way, and playing word games with my 12-year-old grandson during the 6-hour trip promise fun.  You can tell, I’m eager for a journey more than 20 miles from home.

I especially look forward to visiting my daughter and her husband at their Hermosa Beach home.  I can imagine sitting on their patio  two blocks from the beach, watching the sunset, enchanted by the shift of colors in the sky, hues deepening as the sun lowers its face behind the horizon,  and bewitched by the sound of waves crashing the shore. Ah, a dream vacation.

But best of all, will be the family times together, after scores and scores of meeting and talking on facetime during the pandemic years. It’ll be nice to enjoy conversation face-to-face.  And of course, my daughter has regaled me with how outrageously sumptuous food is at restaurants by the beach.  I especially look forward to that big fat, scrumptious burrito!  And hopefully, my grandson remembers to bring those fun board games.


Christmas in March

Absolutely delightful!  I just watched  a playback on the PBS station of Bryn Terfel’s Christmas concert staged in the elegant setting of historic Welsh Brecon cathedral.  A refreshing respite from the usual news on media.  A most welcome catharsis.  Listening to his rich baritone voice singing Stille Nacht and Guardian Angel soothed and inspired.  I stopped my chores and sat quietly relishing the fine nuances of the lyrics and melodies.   Even the carol, In the Bleak Midwinter, didn’t sound bleak at all. A song so remindful of more than two centuries ago when a baby was born in a humble manger to give light to the world. The music stirred up feelings of Christmas.

I wanted to celebrate, yielding to the surging hope that despite the challenges of the world, the drama of current events, and circumstances out of our control, there always is the Big Someone out there keeping our best interest at heart. And on that one lazy afternoon at home in California, when dark clouds were gathering up for a forecasted pour of heavy rain, it was Christmas again for me.  Music, indeed, enraptures the heart and captivates the spirit.


Playing with a fussing baby

Just like holding an infant child in my arms for the first time again. I held a three and a half month old squeamish little girl in my arms two weekends ago, a Japanese friend’s baby born in December last year, my birthday month. Of course, I cared for my own two little babies decades ago, and I held my own infant grandson in my arms over a decade ago, but not having carried one for quite a while, I fidgeted a bit when I stretched out my arms to receive this little one.  This cutie with the sweet roundish face stared at me with her big black eyes, trying to recognize perhaps this stranger who was so enamored with her, who waltzed her to and fro while gurgling up funny intelligible sounds.  The baby was entertained for a bit, and then she fussed.  So, I returned her back to her father’s arms.

The mother got busy.  First, a diaper change before feeding, and then, gently cradled the infant to try to make her sleep. No sleep came and fussing resumed.  I was moved to get up from the lunch table to play with her hoping to distract her from fretting and crying. My strategy worked.  I picked up her tiny pink feet, played with them in my hands, carefully massaged her toes and sole.  Expecting her to be ticklish, I was surprised that she wasn’t ticklish at all.  She flashed a slow, enchanting that quickly disappeared when I released her feet.  Ah, she wanted some more of that gentle massage and playful fiddling with her toes.  I gave the baby what she wanted, and the fussing stopped.  I suggested to her parents this unconventional soothing remedy for fussing.

Linda P. Jacob