Posts Tagged ‘Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte


2.10.16 … “We are back in the garden, where our desire was birthed, where our need was born. Our need for a savior …”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 1/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte, Ash Wednesday, Lent history:

for the fifth year, I walk for Lent  I’m always amazed where it takes me …


It is a cold, crisp wintry day. The birds are chirping the sun is shining fountain water is flowing.


And this is my first 2016 Lenten Walk …

In the information box there is a poem which I read as I walked

A new beginning the flight has been wiped clean,
A new beginning

We are back in the garden, where our desire was birthed, where our need was born. Our need for a savior …

My mind wanders … Why 40 days when actually 46?

If Lent is 40 days, why are there 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter? |
“The 40 days of Lent” has always been more of a metaphor than a literal count. Over the course of history the season of preparation for Easter Sunday has ranged from one day (in the first century) to 44 (today in the Roman church). Officially since 1970, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sunset on Holy Thursday.

Already at the Council of Nicea in 325 the bishops spoke of the quadragesima paschae (Latin for “40 days before Easter”) as the well-established custom. At that time Lent began on the sixth Sunday before Easter and ended at dusk on Holy Thursday—40 days. But the council also forbade fasting, kneeling, and any other acts of sorrow and penance on Sundays, even in Lent. So only 34 of the 40 days were for fasting.

Since Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days after his Baptism, Christians in the fifth century wanted literally 40 days of penance before Easter. The first step was to add Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the “paschal fast,” to make 36 fasting days.

The second step occurred over the course of the next few centuries in Rome. In addition to baptizing new Christians at Easter, the practice of welcoming back on Holy Thursday those who were baptized but who had committed serious sins became popular. Just as those to be baptized entered into final and intense preparation during Lent, those to be reconciled were expected to do likewise. But the first day of Lent—a Sunday—was already full, with Eucharist, a penitential procession through the city, and the rite of election for those to be baptized.

So those to be reconciled on Holy Thursday gathered on the Wednesday before the first Sunday of Lent. Wednesday (along with Friday) was already a day of fasting throughout the year, so it was appropriate to gather the penitents on that day. Borrowing a sacred sign from the scriptures, the bishop sprinkled ashes on the heads of the penitents, which they wore (without washing) until Holy Thursday as a sign of their sorrow.

This sacred sign was so attractive that even those who were not in a state of serious sin began to ask for ashes on the Wednesday before Lent. By the 11th century the pope recommended to all the bishops that ashes be distributed to anyone who sought them on that day, which became, of course, Ash Wednesday.

Here then, were four more days of fasting and penance: Ash Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before the first Sunday of Lent, bringing the total to 40. So today, while the season of Lent (Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday) is technically 44 days, the number of days for penance and fasting before Easter is still 40: 44 days minus 6 Sundays equals 38, plus Good Friday and Holy Saturday equals 40.

Flickr image cc by DennisSylvesterHurd

– See more at:

And as I leave the garden, I notice the effects of the winter on the rhododendrons …


… and I realize how much I love walking daily at this time of year because I get to see CREATION come alive.

AND I have found a Little Free Library to gift some of my books!! image

Ashes to Ashes, Christian History, Ash Wednesday Evening Service, Selwyn Presbyterian Church: I attended my 4th Ash Wednesday Evening Service at Selwyn where I see my dear friend Mary. Of course I posted just to have it show up to remind me and then the service was about praying, giving, attending to get the attention of others when God knows your heart.  Dust to dust …




“No,” I said, “it’s a church thing.” And so it is. The origins of our modern Lenten practices go back to the earliest days of the church, when potential converts first underwent a fast of 40 hours before their baptisms at the Easter Vigil—soon extended to a period of prayer, fasting, and contemplation lasting 40 days. (Biblical models for this included Noah’s time on the Ark and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, as well as Israel’s wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.) Sometime around the ninth or tenth century, this 40-day Lenten discipline merged with another service the church had developed several hundred years earlier to help sinners embody their repentance. (The first mention of Ash Wednesday by name is in a seventh-century service book, the Gelasian Sacramentary.) Those who had fallen into what the early church considered serious sin—everything from committing adultery to serving in the military to performing magic and occult practices—after confessing that sin were enrolled in an “order of penitents” until they had made restitution. In many ways, they were treated similarly to converts preparing for baptism, as they sat separately from the rest of the congregation, sometimes dressed in special clothing, and did not participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. Also, they wore ashes on their heads, drawing from the biblical precedent and imagery of verses such as Numbers 19:9,17; Hebrews 9:13; Jeremiah 6: 26; Daniel 9:3; Jonah 3:6; Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13.

Source: Ashes to Ashes | Christian History

And i can’t forget to save this A Presbyterian Guide to Ashes:


I love this Lenten practice:


‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Broadway: I saw a really well done play of this in Annapolis MD in 2012 with Joni and  Alex. I’d like to see what Sorkin does with it.

The producer Scott Rudin has acquired stage rights for Harper Lee’s novel and has hired Aaron Sorkin to adapt the story. Bartlett Sher will direct.

“Mr. Rudin isn’t the first producer to bring the story of Atticus and Scout to the stage. The playwright Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been staged countless times in schools and regional theaters across the country. It was staged in London in 2013, in a production starring Robert Sean Leonard as Atticus.

It is especially beloved in Ms. Lee’s hometown, Monroeville, Ala., where volunteers have put on the play every spring for the last 26 years. Ms. Lee and her lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, have taken a more active role in the stage production recently, and created a nonprofit, the Mockingbird Company, to produce the play in Monroeville.

But according to her literary agent, Andrew Nurnberg, Ms. Lee has long been reluctant to sell the professional stage rights, despite entreaties by playwrights and producers.”

“While Nelle had always had misgivings about anyone who might want to bring ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to Broadway — and there have been many approaches over the years — she finally decided that Scott would be the right person to embrace this,” Mr. Nurnberg said in an email, using the name Ms. Lee goes by among family and friends.

Source: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Is Headed to Broadway – The New York Times


3.20.15 … we are whole …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Advent Labyrinth Walks (28/40),  Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte, Red Boot Coalition, Step 10: We are whole, kith/kin: I loved sharing my love of labyrinths … So after the Red boot Coalition, I shared.  Today’s step… Step 10: We are whole.  Sharing makes me feel whole …


As we enter the sacred garden, Birds are going wild, robins and crows mostly and then a third bird that sounds like a screeching gate.


Makeda, a Red Boot Coalition, friend joined me today … what fun!! We both are contemplating, Step 10: We are WHOLE …
But I realize that within my wholeness,  I am COLD and damp.
Every walk is different …
I notice the droplets of water on the flowering tree buds … and then I, or the child in me reaches us and grabs the overhanging evergreen branch … and I was baptized with water in the Presbyterian way … sprinkled!
IMG_2792 IMG_2791
Hope your day is a blessing …

3.16.15 … RIP, Brown-Eyed Girl … Should I feel guilty leaving a funeral with a smile on my face and laughter in my ears and a song in my heart? I think not …

IMG_2739This afternoon I attended a funeral of a very special woman, Jane. Jane was the wife of my favorite law partner during the many years I practiced. In 1985, when I moved to Charlotte, she was one of the few professional spouses. But she was also a phenomenal hostess. She was just plain out fun.

The funeral was at Christ Church.  The sanctuary was packed, and it was a perfect day; the light was streaming in,  and everyone attending was feeling clearly less than light.  Jane was 66, cancer.  I and  still enjoyed being a part of her world and sharing this time together.

The service was a very traditional Episcopal service. Psalm 23, three hymns, lovely homily by Rev. Lisa Saunders full of anecdotes of Jane, Steve, her boys, her sisters and their epic Nordstrom Annual Sale adventure in Southern CA, and all her professional achievements as an advocate and champion for exceptional children … then a very brassy upbeat tune played for the recessional … I was sitting next to a former law associate, Dave Brown… What is that? We both paused, then Dave got it … “Brown-eyed girl”

Everybody walked out of the service with a huge smile on their face.

And as a walked my labyrinth later, I found a wedding rendition of “Brown Eyed Girl” … So close your eyes and imagine a church filled with people grieving, filled with sunshine  and then filled with smiles (and laughter).


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RIP, Jane, one truly extraordinary Brown Eyed Girl! I wish I had reconnected when I returned to Charlotte, 11 years ago … You are a special lady.

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Advent Labyrinth Walks (24/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte, Jane Rhyne, Brown Eyed Girl, Rev. Lisa Saunders, Christ Church Episcopal- Charlotte.

And here is Jane’s obituary …

She was a woman of incredible grace, warmth and professionalism. Most of all, she was a tenacious champion and advocate for children.

via Educator Jane Rhyne, advocate for disabled children, dies at 66 | The Charlotte Observer The Charlotte Observer.





3.15.15 … the Ides of March … lawnmowers and sabbath … Everyone succumbs to finitude … and I’m worried about lawnmowers … I wept …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Advent Labyrinth Walks (23/40),  Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte:

IMG_2700 IMG_2698

Spring … At 9:20 am, It’s 55 and sunny and spring is trying to burst one scene.  The birds are wild.  I see two robins and hear even more.
There is a helicopter  overhead … I always wonder why. And an airplane.
As i walk, I realize that it is very close to white noise surrounding me It is very peaceful.
The chimes are gently ringing, gently blowing in the wind, and the water is rushing in the fountain.  But then the robins go wild.  I played the robin call on my iPhone app as I walk.  I feel like Mary Poppins.  I want the birds to come closer,  come visit.
The sunlight really played with the arbor.
But then my peace was broken.  A lawn mower roars to work at the house at the backside of the labyrinth …
And so my mind wander to the concept of “sabbath.”  Since I am studying  sabbath at TMBS,  I realize l I am a very irritated with the lawn mower owner/operator. I think that, out of respect, the neighbors, well everybody, but especially neighbors to a church, should not mow their lawns on Sunday morning during worship hours.
It was interesting that lawnmower roar basically pulled together two concepts  that I am researching this week: Sabbath and dignity of difference. I feel sure that the neighbor had no idea the negative impact of his using his mower during worship.  In all likelihood he’s never observed Sabbath or never observed it quietly. He may even be mowing his lawn quickly before he goes to church at 10 o’clock.
Just cramming it in one more thing … busyness …
And now a few from my day … Beware the Ides of March ... What are ides?


īdz/ noun

(in the ancient Roman calendar) a day falling roughly in the middle of each month (the 15th day of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th of other months), from which other dates were calculated.

Becky, a high school friend who lives in Rome posted this today:

ROME 3.15.15

Beware the Ides of March. On our way home from the Sunday farmers market we came across this reenactment of the murder of Julius Caesar in Largo Argentina, where it happened 2059 years ago.

And this from Sandra Boynton on Facebook …

Boynton Ides of March

It’s not easy to beware the Ides of March when you’re not exactly sure what an Ide is.

Camino  Frances, The Way, Are You A Pilgrim?: And, yes, I want to go back …

I hope this ‘Special Preview’ captured more of my vision of the universality of the Camino and be a wonderful evocation of the best in humanity. What was spiritually uplifting, beyond the religious aspect of it, for me was meeting people from all over the world and realizing people are all the same, and that there is goodness to rejoice in.

via Are You A Pilgrim? Special Preview | Are You A Pilgrim? (¿Es Usted Un Peregrino?)

Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time, The Washington Post, finitude, time, tortoise v hare, verb conjugation, death, pluperfect state: I wept reading it.

There are two strategies to cutting the time short, like the tortoise and the hare. The hare moves as fast as possible, hands a blur, instruments clattering, falling to the floor; the skin slips open like a curtain, the skull flap is on the tray before the bone dust settles. But the opening might need to be expanded a centimeter here or there because it’s not optimally placed. The tortoise proceeds deliberately, with no wasted movements, measuring twice, cutting once. No step of the operation needs revisiting; everything proceeds in orderly fashion. If the hare makes too many minor missteps and has to keep adjusting, the tortoise wins. If the tortoise spends too much time planning each step, the hare wins.

Verb conjugation became muddled. Which was correct? “I am a neurosurgeon,” “I was a neurosurgeon,” “I had been a neurosurgeon before and will be again”? Graham Greene felt life was lived in the first 20 years and the remainder was just reflection. What tense was I living in? Had I proceeded, like a burned-out Greene character, beyond the present tense and into the past perfect? The future tense seemed vacant and, on others’ lips, jarring. I recently celebrated my 15th college reunion; it seemed rude to respond to parting promises from old friends, “We’ll see you at the 25th!” with “Probably not!”

Yet there is dynamism in our house. Our daughter was born days after I was released from the hospital. Week to week, she blossoms: a first grasp, a first smile, a first laugh. Her pediatrician regularly records her growth on charts, tick marks of her progress over time. A brightening newness surrounds her. As she sits in my lap smiling, enthralled by my tuneless singing, an incandescence lights the room.

Time for me is double-edged: Every day brings me further from the low of my last cancer relapse, but every day also brings me closer to the next cancer recurrence — and eventually, death. Perhaps later than I think, but certainly sooner than I desire. There are, I imagine, two responses to that realization. The most obvious might be an impulse to frantic activity: to “live life to its fullest,” to travel, to dine, to achieve a host of neglected ambitions. Part of the cruelty of cancer, though, is not only that it limits your time, it also limits your energy, vastly reducing the amount you can squeeze into a day. It is a tired hare who now races. But even if I had the energy, I prefer a more tortoiselike approach. I plod, I ponder, some days I simply persist.

Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described, hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed.

Yet one thing cannot be robbed of her futurity: my daughter, Cady. I hope I’ll live long enough that she has some memory of me. Words have a longevity I do not. I had thought I could leave her a series of letters — but what would they really say? I don’t know what this girl will be like when she is 15; I don’t even know if she’ll take to the nickname we’ve given her. There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past.

That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

This article is republished with the permission of Stanford Medicine magazine.  Its author, Stanford University neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, died Monday night at the age of 37

via Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time – The Washington Post.

Another somber note …

Death isn’t cruel, merely terribly good at his job. Vale #TerryPratchett

via Death isn’t cruel, merely terribly good at his job. Vale #TerryPratchett (with images, tweets) · ECUNews · Storify.


3.10.15 … caw, caw, caw …


“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Advent Labyrinth Walks (19/40),  Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte, Yoga on Gaiam TV:

John has been encouraging me to take up yoga … he bought me a book on Sunday.  And I have agreed.  So this year, beginning this week,  I’m going to try for the next month to also add a daily yoga session, either in a group at the Y,  a private yoga studio, or at a minimum, using the TV service Gaiam TV.:)
So today, I tried  Gaiam TV  on Roku.  I must admit I enjoyed it.
Breath.  The Offering today: The offering as we work through the practice today is continue to work the breath as much as you can to be even. The deeper we breathe the more relaxed body becomes and the more receptive our body is to change.
Sweet intention for me, today: Let me be open to receive  what this breath, this practice, has to offer me.  Go at your own pace, with your own breath…
My labyrinth walking and yoga work together …
A few  hours later … the walk.
I enter the labyrinth after reading from First Presbyterian Church’s Lenten Devotional Book. Today’s devotional  is by Scott P.  Scott has me focus on being able to quiet my mind and listen to what God is telling you.  And that is the nature I think of all spiritual practices … I think a more universal definition is also about centering yourself, being at peace with yourself and your body and connecting with your inner self. For those viewing it as a religious practice, it is connecting with that power or the person you consider God.
I am very interested to see where this takes me, and if it changes my walk if I have already done the yoga before the walk, or if the walk changes my yoga if it follows.
I’m also beginning to focus on the “dignity of difference” which I will be teaching at a Sunday school class the last two weeks of March. Interesting, for those that follow here, I would love your thoughts of what those words mean to you. Good or bad, I am following our senior minister who will introduce the topic.
These are my thought going in … Release the anxiety of the class …
I am now approaching the center, and I have to laugh, because I wonder if I have not raised by heart rate right rate rather than calmed myself down.  But you have to except where you are when you walk.
Psalm 119:105 —  “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  I will focus on that as I walk around the center.
And then a laugh at myself, again.   I wonder if I will be able to do this with an Apple Watch, rather than my iPhone. Will it be less intrusive. I know some people think I should leave my phone away from the labyrinth. However, I really do enjoy taking pictures and putting my thoughts into the written word, and then organizing them afterward, and rethinking about what I thought about.
While in the center I realize that today is all about the sounds I hear … a cacophony:  water rushing in the fountain, birds wildly chirping,  chimes gently, very gently, ringing, an airplane roaring overhead. And then a large bird caws, and some dogs bark.  I can also hear traffic on the nearby Park Road.  Do I hear children?  I definitely hear children, there is a preschool nearby, but these voices are farther … It must be at the Episcopal Church preschool about a quarter-mile down the road.  I then hear some other birds, they have a more gentle, more peaceful call.  And then back to the crows …. Caw, caw, caw…
On my walk out, I think to pull up the bird call app that my friend Catherine showed me last summer. I never thought about it, but I do not know the call of the robin. I now know that I am definitely hearing crows and robins. What fun …

3.3.15 … Definitely not raining. Not quite a drizzle. More than a mist … Real time … moss crosses … Be Still … Blessed are the merciful …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Advent Labyrinth Walks 12/40,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte:

Because it is so heavily overcast, really misting, the street lamps have come on even though it is only 3:30.
It is strange that the last week of daylight savings time and next week will “enter” daylight savings time.  I think we live in a strange world where we humans will  artificially adjust the daytime to fit our needs.  I think my body really does work best on just plain old “real” time. I think I would like to get up when the sun rises and go to bed when the sun sets. 🙂
Definitely not raining. Not quite a drizzle.  More than a mist.
IMG_2447  IMG_2445  IMG_2446  IMG_2448
And my mantra today was the modified Psalm 46:10 that I first heard in the video clip shown at TMBS:
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still
IMG_2452  IMG_2454  IMG_2455  IMG_2456
As I walked, I looked  for “moss crosses.” The only place I’ve ever found one is at Davidson College when I walked with Ann. Thank you, Ann. I would’ve walked without even noticing it. They’re not very many labyrinths that would encourage the growth of moss. Davidson College is the location of the one I saw with Ann.  But Avondale is one where I could find a moss cross. I will continue to look down as I walk slowly.  So in a funny way, I am looking between the cracks.
My mind is going to mile a minute: For some reason, I think of my husband’s brother who loves eyes, the “windows to your soul.”  I take my first “eye selfie.” (And yes, I need to master brow liner.)
I also think and reread James Howell’s Lenten e-mail refection of yesterday, 3.2.15.  Reading James’ reflections, I realize that I don’t really understand what it means to be merciful.  …

“Merciful” is not just an inner attitude, although it is an inner attitude.  “Merciful” is something you do.  You get busy being merciful.  You are prepared at a moment’s notice to let the schedule be shredded, for like that Good Samaritan, you see somebody beaten up by the side of the road, and instead of guessing why he’s in the pickle he’s in, instead of being so ultra-responsible as to be punctual for your next meeting, you are merciful.  Otherwise we live merely in earshot of Jesus, and never get close to the one who said, “Blessed are the merciful,” the one who was and is Mercy itself.

Mercy frees me from self-centeredness.  Pouring myself out of my own ego trap is the way to joy.  Mercy frees me from the need to “fix” whatever is wrong.  Mercy is able quite simply to love, to be compassionate, whether the hurt is curable or not, whether the wrong can be righted or not.  Mercy can just stay with the one in need of mercy.

via Myers Park United Methodist Church | Charlotte Methodist Church, Methodist Churches Charlotte NC – Myers Park UMC.

My mind then wanders to my relationships that have been renewed, changed or even entered into because of the labyrinth.  My list of people that I have connected with through my labyrinth walking:
Mary Stewart
Ruth Anne
My Wasabees …
… more to come.
And yes, it is only the second week of Lent and these were in my local Harris Teeter … So I ask … Who buys pre- dyed Easter eggs?!  And even if you do, who buys pre – dyed Easter eggs more than a month before Easter?
I can’t  make this stuff up!!



4.28.14 … Nothing is an accident …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Labyrinth Walks,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – CharlotteIMG_9829


The chimes were clanging when I got out of the car.  I immediately walked under the chimes and found a name.  Today  “Katie Stout” … I will say a prayer for her family as I walk.
Folder in box: source of my meditation …
First thing I noticed was that my shoes are the same color as the decaying pollen!
I had two women sharing the labyrinth with me.  One was sitting on the bench at the side.  She was reading.  She did  not look up, so I left her to her studies.
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The second entered the Sacred Garden after I stated my walk.  She was a trim woman and she walked quickly, so I was planning to let her pass.    I knew she would catch up with me, but actually she did not until the center.  I said  hello and she was friendly, an artist and a trained facilitator. She trained in Chartres.  I was jealous.
We talked about walking labyrinths and she hit on these points:
A labyrinth is a holder  of “accumulated prayers”
It has collective energy.
It can give us access to our spiritual ancestors and can help to verbalize thoughts and form action plans.  She specifically mentioned her relationship with her mother  and the healing outcome from walking the labyrinth.  I agreed to the extent that I am able to have conversations with my mom.
She concluded  our conversation: “Nothing is an accident.”
I tend to agree.
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