Here we are at the end of the Epiphany
season with Ash Wednesday looming on the horizon. Whenever I mention its
approach to anyone they immediately ask “what are you giving up for Lent? Oh my
goodness I do get tired of that question! Perhaps those asking it get equally
tired of my response, which is always- “I don’t give up anything for Lent, I
take something on”. And whenever I give that response I’m immediately back in
the dark, red carpeted side chapel at St. Matthew’s, about 8 years old and sitting
with a group of other children listening to a homily given by Archdeacon Martin
on Ash Wednesday morning.
     Ash Wednesday was one of the 4 mid-week
school days during the year upon which one could MISS MORNING SCHOOL, if one
attended the children’s service. At noon we would return smugly to our classes
and hand over to our teachers a special printed card from church, signed with a
flourish by the Archdeacon, attesting to the fact that we had attended Divine
Service and thus were excused from morning school. Ha! I don’t think churches
hand out those sorts of cards anymore in our post-Christendom world!!
    But back to the homily- Archdeacon Martin
told us that he had long ago decided it was better to take something on than to
give something up in Lent. He asked us to suggest possible things we could take
on. Maybe we could pray specially for a sick friend or relative, or offer to
help an elderly neighbour with her garden, or walk someone’s dog, the list was
long and varied, but I liked the idea and as I’ve grown up I have followed this
pattern every year. These days I always “take on” an extra Lenten Devotional time;
pray for a specific group of people and then there are my Pysanky. The time
spent working on Pysanky is always a time for quiet prayer and meditation and
sometime listening to music. Archdeacon Martin said that when we take on either
extra time with Jesus, or time to serve others in Jesus name then we are
actually “giving up” time that we might spend on more selfish activities so we
really are giving up something, something a lot more special than candy or
video games.
      And
what has been going on in the world of Day Camps? Well, annoyingly a fair amount
of time has been expended trying to deal with the various glitches in switching
to my lovely new MacAir. Irritating problems like not being able to make
attachments on emails (ARGH!!) or not being connected to the office printer
(ARGH again!!) but, hopefully Wentworth will return early next week for “round
two” of setting up this new piece of electronic wonder.
There has been good stuff too, like hearing
of a third First Nation Community in Saskatchewan that is applying to host a
Day Camp, and also of three churches in the Toronto area that are signing up.
We also have our three Training Locations now in place (yay!!) plus two of the
Leaders for those special Day Camps.
       The Church Supply List is all prepared and
available under the Churches and Communities Tab right here on the Blog, plus
in the coming week I hope to email it out to all the churches, which are
already signed up (if I can get the attachments working). So lots of
encouraging things are in the works as the days move swiftly by towards spring
(eek!)
     

Afternoons have been spent in all manner of activities
from making Fimo “Yield” signs, that will become the medallions given to each
of the Team Members at our Commissioning Service next July to completing the
first of the shirts I’ve been asked to make for Bishop Mary; all the while
these projects have been accompanied by the Gungor song “Vapor”, which I have memorized
and am now choreographing for the Liturgical Dance at February Crossroads.

    Then there have been various visitors passing through, mostly friends
needing help to sort out knitting problems, and one evening Sarah brought her
new baby, Elise, for me to meet giving me an opportunity to present her with
the little quilt I had made. Elise is VERY cute
J
     Today has mostly been set aside for Baking and
Blogging, although, this morning, I spent sometime sewing for a clergy friend
who was given a piece of African woven fabric and has asked me if I could line
it and shape it into a stole. It is still quite exciting to be using my new
sewing machine and I figure it is good to practice as much as possible.
    Before I take the Hot Cross Buns out of the
oven (first batch of many for the Lenten Season!) we need a recipe to end off.
   Yesterday Victoria called and said that my
eldest Godson, William (age 6) wanted to bake chocolate cupcakes for an
upcoming school bake sale and was the recipe difficult that I used to make
birthday cupcakes for his brother Alexander? I said it is actually pretty easy
and makes the BEST chocolate cake or cupcakes, so here it is along with a photo
of Alexander’s Birthday Cake TWO years ago, when he turned TWO, plus the cupcakes
he took to pre-school to share with his friends!
                                                        Amazon Chocolate Cupcakes
3 cups flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsps. baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups cold water
½ cup + 2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsps. white vinegar OR lemon juice
Whisk together flour, cocoa, soda, sugar and
salt. In a separate bowl, mix together water, oil, vanilla and vinegar or lemon
juice. Whisk together the wet and dry mixtures. Pour through a strainer into a
clean bowl, braking up the lumps and pressing them through. Mix again and pour
into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake in a 350°F preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
Cool on racks and frost with buttercream icing.

Makes 3 dozen.