Holy Thursday

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

(Gregorian hymn often sung during the washing of the feet.)


{pretty, happy, funny, real}



spring vegetables! Baked asparagus is one of my favorite side dishes.


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This tiny seedling doesn’t look like much, but it’s a beautiful sight at the end of the South Dakota winter. See it in the second cup to the left?



Benjamin is trying to do everything for himself. He especially likes running the buckle to his highchair. He has caught the edge of his finger in it several times, so whenever he is about to put the clasp in he says in a cautious, almost pained voice, “piiinch”. Except he says, ‘peeennch’.



Real life = plastic dishware, because the dishwasher is broken at the moment. Again. Large families definitely get their money’s worth on warranties.



The sky is grey and wind is blowing bitterly at the moment. The forecast does show a slight relief in the form of warmer, albeit rainier weather for the rest of the week. Last week the area saw a burst of summer like sunshine and warmth, but now hot tea and warm sweaters are a necessity again. Unfazed by the calendar declaring the first day of spring, winter seems to plod on monotonously.

But I know it’s just a matter of biding time now. I threw a few seeds in some moist soil indoors, just to try my luck at getting a hint of green.

Spring Break Daybook

Listening to… Rotating between silence, opera, and Mozart’s symphonies as I work through a stack of homework. I found a variety of music choices to study to in a large drawer of filled with classical music. There are benefits to nannying for a music professor.

Wearing… a warm favorite sweater! I almost put a stack of the heaviest winter wear away, but looking at the forecast for the week I realize that would have been a little premature.

Reading… textbooks and notes from the last two years of classes, working towards being prepared for the nursing board exam, the NCLEX test, in June.

Outside the window… snowflakes are falling gently. The area skirted projections of a snowstorm to receive a light dusting instead. Thankful on behalf of the safety of my fellow students who are traveling home for break this year.

Living liturgy… it is the second week of Lent already. With a late Easter this year, it seemed to be ample time between Christmas and Ash Wednesday, but it always catches me off guard how quickly the season itself flies by.

Thinking about… this is my final spring break. Then just a brief time to Easter break,  and then the final push of the school year until graduation. Time moves quickly.

Semester Starts: Ready, Set, Go!

Now that my one month J-term internship has finished, the new semester and normal classes begin, meaning many things:

  • staring at a list of times and room numbers, trying to translate the encryption into the rhythm of an actual day.
  • the one day a year when I pay attention to room numbers to figure out which class is on what side of the building.
  • scanning syllabi from four different classes to organize the list of assignments into a digital calendar-don’t miss a deadline!
  • pondering the near overwhelming list of tasks, alternating between thinking casually: “it’ll get done” and panicking: “How am I going to fit this all together?”
  • coming –this close- to forgetting an assignment while adjusting to the workflow of each class
  • disbelief of the names of the months that I am scheduling, (April and May seem so far away), while knowing that constant tests and assignments will bring them sooner than expected

Vespers, Final Concert

The final weeks of the fall semester are marked by intensive practices for the yearly Christmas concert. The familiar rhythm of our concerts brings to my mind snapshots from our the concerts of the past.

The enthusiastic freshman; in awe of the sounds created by one hundred and fifty voices in four to eight parts. That concert came at the end of my very first semester-marked by optimism and excitement that I had arrived in this new place-school. I had a biology teacher who told me she noticed I was always very happy when I walked in to class in the morning. And why not? I was a homeschooler surrounded by powerful microscopes and chemical apparatus, not yet worn down by the unending cycle of long class days and longer assignments. Furthermore, until I received a scholarship in the early summer, I had not believed I would be attending a traditional four year liberal arts school.

 Fast forward to the sophomore year in choir, when I was beginning to be able to read music and understand the basics of singing, and with the help of some lessons was chosen to sing a duet at Christmas Vespers, a verse of I Wonder as I Wander. This same year, sorrow came to one of the choir directors, and each member of the close-knit music community grieved with him. His wife, who we lost to breast cancer the following January, had been known to my family since their move to our neighborhood from out of state. She had also been a key source of support to me as I adapted to the difficulties of being a faithful Christian in a relativistic educational environment. The choir department remains the only foothold of traditional Christian values at the once Christian college.

The next year, I was a self conscious junior, thrilled to have made the ranks of the upper choir, but now surrounded by very talented music majors. I was also trying to make the switch to a higher voice part. I had sung alto parts for the last two years, now had moved into a low Soprano 2 classification. I was feeling the upheaval of my normal school routine as well, trying to get on my feet in the hospital. I put on a confident face as I spent days giving injections and medications, but the formality of hospital guidelines was a bit intimidating. I also spent many evenings filling out miles of reports on medical pathology, medication actions, and treatment side effects.

Finally, the senior, voice beginning to settle at last, no longer straining to sing along with the other sopranos. Familiar with which notes are in the comfort zone, and much more at ease among the other singers. Over the last few years, I have become more confident interacting with adults and professionals. I’m also at ease in the hospital environment, and hooking up an IV medication only takes me a minute now, instead of ten.

Next Christmas I will not be among the singers. Our last performance this year was canceled by eight inches of snow falling around our guest performance location in the city of Minneapolis, so this year’s seniors did not know that the fourth of our five concerts would be the last. choir seniors usually have to look to their mascara after at the last performance of our college’s hallmark concert). Over the years, I’ve had exposure many beautiful pieces, and I recognize a piece on the classical station that we have performed. Many pieces have been recorded, and this arrangement of the “First Noel” from 2014 remains one of my favorites.