Let Them Eat Cake

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FUN FACT: King’s Day (aka the Epiphany) is the start of carnival season.  This represents the end of the Christmas season when Jesus was shown to the world.  The little plastic baby inside the cake represents baby Jesus.

…and you thought Mardi Gras was for heathens.

When Marie Antoinette ignorantly spoke “let them eat cake,” there began a completely different French tradition than the one in this post.  Yet, I do believe the French traditions in the city of New Orleans are celebrated with as much (if not, more) vigor, especially regarding cake.  The most celebrated cake I have ever seen is the infamous king cake.

During Carnival season, this cake is found practically everywhere in every form imaginable: king cake coffee, king cake fudge, king cake vodka (not one I’m interested in trying), king cake snoballs, king cake sliders, king cake popcorn, king cake smoothies, king cake cupcakes, etc.  There’s filled king cake (fruit, cream cheese, and just about anything you can imagine) and plain king cake.  There’s chocolate-covered king cake.  There’s king cake any number of bakeries and stores.  Literally every day I am offered some version of this delicious tradition.

Here are just a few of the versions of king cake I’ve had:

King cake donut filled with a cinnamon cream from District Donuts.  Absolutely delicious and worth every single calorie (though I do not even want to know how many that was).  Normally there is a baby hidden in the cake and whoever gets the baby has to buy the next cake (and is named “King” for the day).  These donuts each had a baby on top, which must mean I have to buy myself another one right? 

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King cake soda from Rocket Fizz.  To be honest, this was one of the weirdest sodas I’ve ever had, but it did taste like king cake.  Lots of cinnamon!

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King cake burger at a food truck at the King Cake Fest.  I split it with a friend.  It may sound gross, but it was actually amazing.

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King cake ice cream.  Also at the King Cake Fest and also amazing.

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King cake pastry.  A challenge to eat (I didn’t have a spoon), but worth the effort.

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And lots and lots of classic king cake.  The best king cake around is Randazzo’s.

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…though the traditional king cake at Sucre isn’t bad either.  Their king cake also includes edible glitter, which is fun!

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…and I’m not picky, any king cake I’m given is worth a try.

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To anyone wanting a slice of king cake, come on down! It’s worth the trip!

The Swamps: A Frustrating Irony

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Bugs, snakes, rodents, birds, and wildlife galore! These are just a few of the animals occupying one of the most fascinating habitats in the world.  Alligators swim freely through the swamps, building enormous nests for their eggs.  Birds soar through the sky, landing in trees at their leisure.  These animals live in an environment that perfectly suits them.  They live extravagantly where they are.

But in the midst of this animal Taj Mahal, there’s a shack where a person lives.  Unlike the animals, this person is not suited for the swamps.  His home cannot endure the water, his body cannot endure the temperature, his young are not safe in their nest.  This man lives in constant envy of his prey.

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A frustrating irony of the swamps.

Have you ever been in a swamp like this? One where everyone seems to glide in the water around you, but you can’t seem to set one foot in the ground without landing in quicksand? I’m sure we’ve all been there.  It’s horrible! We sit in our little shacks focusing on the bugs swarming around us rather than the people we love eating frog legs with us.  Truthfully, we rejoice in each mosquito zapped by our lanterns and fish caught in our nets.  We hurt those we envy, bitterly rejoicing in their demise.

The Screams After Dark

I’ve mentioned before that the seminary campus is beautiful.  It’s truly a 75-acre oasis in the middle of New Orleans.  The architecture and landscape is lovely.  It’s also incredibly safe.  This safety is a stark contrast from the surrounding area.  Parts of Gentilly are beautiful.  There are many gorgeous homes, schools, and trees.  Parts of Gentilly are also really run-down.  Poverty certainly runs rampant everywhere, but this is a poverty like I’ve never seen.  Trash is all over the streets and parking lots.  Police officers regularly man the doors of grocery stores.  People of all ages are seen pushing carts along the street.  The space underneath bridges is always filled.

I wouldn’t describe myself as paranoid.  I try to be safe, but I’ve also spent a lot of time out at night and safety is not something I’m constantly anxious about.  However, living here has caused me to implement a few cardinal safety rules:

  1. Never stop at a gas station in Gentilly or the Ninth Ward after dark. I’ve literally taken the interstate a few miles with my gas light on just to go get gas elsewhere.
  2. Day or night, don’t put air in your tires off-campus. I have filled my tires up near my church, which is in a better part of town, but now I only use air compressors on campus.
  3. Take as little to the store as possible. There are some instances where I just can’t do this, but most of the time I try to only bring cash or a card, my phone, and keys into the store.  I figure if those items are taken, I’ll be less inconvenienced than I would be if I had my entire purse.
  4. Don’t shop after dark, especially by yourself. Working nights during the school year makes this rule pretty easy to follow, but it can definitely be inconvenient at times.  I have stopped at stores in different parts of the city after dark or gone with a friend that can’t go to the store during the day, but I don’t shop by myself near campus after dark.  Except this one time…

The one time I broke rule #4 I had just gotten back from a trip, worked a 13-hour-day, and desperately needed groceries.  The next day I had a potluck in the middle of a 15-hour-day and didn’t see another solution.  That said, I would still handle this situation differently if I were given the chance.

I got to the grocery store a little after 8:30pm and quickly gathered each item on my list.  The check-out lines were packed, so I picked what looked like the shortest one and waited.  The two guys in front of me each had two bottles of alcohol and were clearly tourists.  They were laughing with each other when we heard a scream to our left.  We could not see the source of the scream, but there was no missing the deafening wail coming from an adult woman.  Soon an employee came over the intercom calling all available managers to the pharmacy.  We saw several people scurry over there.  The cries continued off-and-on until a police officer came to escort a middle aged woman out the door right before I checked out.

Thankfully, my one after-dark experience at the store was not one where I was harmed in any way, but hearing this woman’s screams was enough to make me never want to go to the store that late again.  Her screams were unsettling, the kind that penetrate your soul.  Her face and demeanor were desperate, leaving me aching for her.

I could easily make a few assumptions about this circumstance, but instead I left remembering why I implemented these safety rules in the first place and caring deeply for the people that live in my community.

How to Eat a Crawfish

I’ve heard it said that there are four seasons in New Orleans: Snowball Season (complete with a condensed milk topping), Football Season (“Geaux Saints” as the locals say), Carnival Season (Mardi Gras), and…

Crawfish Season.

Yes, Crawfish Season.

The season includes more forms than imaginable: crawfish quesadillas, crawfish jambalaya, crawfish hot dogs, crawfish nachos, crawfish tacos, crawfish etouffee, crawfish bread, crawfish poboys, crawfish gumbo, and crawfish pizza…just to name a few.

But all forms of crawfish pale in comparison to the granddaddy of crawfish cooking…boiled crawfish.

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Grocery stores proudly display seasoning, oil, and pots used to boil these little crustaceans.  Every weekend churches, families, schools, and organizations host crawfish boils and their dismembered shells are found in trashcans across the city.

Yet, this delicacy can be slightly intimidating for someone not accustomed to eating a mini-lobster with her fingers…

So how do you eat a boiled crawfish? Or, more importantly, a pile of crawfish?

1. With friends. Crawfish-eating is not like eating a salad or pasta.  It’s about the experience.  It’s about socializing.  Don’t go with someone you’re not prepared to bond with and definitely don’t go on a first date to eat crawfish.

2. With corn & potatoes. Corn on the cob and red-skinned potatoes are a must with boiled crawfish. (People down south eat these potatoes with their fingers…there’s no mashing or silverware-using…just biting and maybe adding some salt and butter.)

3. In casual clothing. NO one goes to a crawfish boil in nice clothes.  Wear a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers.  (In less, of course, you’re royalty at a crawfish festival.  Then, a tiara and dress are a necessity…just make sure to include a bib over your sash.)

4. With NO manners. The key to crawish-etiquette is to forget all other etiquette.  Get the image of your grandmother scolding you for putting your elbows on the table or not using silverware out of your head.

If you can’t get past this step, you might as well go get a burger.

5. Grasp both ends of the crawfish and pull. This seems brutal, but you read it right: start by literally pulling this little guy apart.  He may be looking at you, but keep in mind how tasty he’ll be.  Seasoning and oil will likely squirt on you at this point…don’t bother wiping it off with a napkin, it’ll just get worse.

6. Pinch the top of the tail and break the shell.

7. Pull the tail meat out as fast as you can and ENJOY. It’s worth the effort.

8. Take the head in your hand and suck. Yes, I said “suck.”  This kind of resembles sucking the brain out, but it’s really just sucking out the oil and seasoning.  Only wimps put the head in the discard pile without sucking (I’m unashamedly a wimp…there are just some things I’m okay with missing out on).

9. Toss the meatless crustacean to the side. “The side” being the other side of the to-go container, the ground, a paper towel, or a nearby trashcan.

10. Repeat. Repeat.  Repeat.  Many crawfish boils and festivals include crawfish eating contests, so don’t hesitate to eat up.  You won’t be alone.

11. Grab a roll of a paper towels. Yes, a roll…you’ll need it.

12. Wash down with a snowball and sit back for live music (no crawfish boil is complete without it).

The Causeway

This past weekend, my mom came for a visit.  My mom had already been to the typical touristy places, so I decided I would take her to some of the obscure places that I enjoy.  One of those places is Lake Pontchartrain.  I like to go to the lake and read sometimes.  The lake is beautiful and feels almost like the ocean.  This weekend, I learned why the lake feels almost like the ocean…

While driving my mom to the lake, I got a little turned around.  (I wish I could tell you I’ve mastered the NOLA streets, but lost is still my typical state…it just comes with fewer breakdowns now.) Before I knew it, I was on the Causeway.  “No big deal,” I thought, “I’ve been on the Causeway before.” What I didn’t know was that the part of the Causeway I had been on was not the more well-known part of the Causeway…it was more like the on-ramp.  Moments later I found myself on this crazy bridge with no shoulders, incredibly low guardrails, surrounded by water.  The bridge was a little nerve-racking, but I figured it would end soon and then we could go see the part of the lake I intended my mom to see.

In the midst of this, my mom calmly asked, “Does this lake have a horizon?” I really didn’t think it mattered at that moment whether we’d see the sunset, so I replied “I have no idea” and tried to move on to the matter-at-hand…getting OFF the bridge.  My mom explained that she was trying to ask if you can see the other side of the lake from the shore.  She went on to explain that she thought she remembered reading that the causeway was the longest bridge over water in the world.

Well, my mom was right.  Over six miles into the lake, we found a “crossover” and turned back around.  We later discovered that the bridge is over twenty miles long.  I’ve driven over some pretty frightening bridges, but that one set me on edge the rest of the night.  I kept thinking about what that must have been like to drive over during Katrina.  My mom very astutely observed that I would probably not be getting on that bridge any time soon.  She’s absolutely right.

The scariest part of the causeway experience was the surprise, the unknown.  I told my mom later that it wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d just known what that was going to happen.

That reminds me a lot of faith…or my groanings about it.

The past year I’ve learned a lot about faith. Faith is absolutely NOT my spiritual gift.

Moving to New Orleans was a step of faith that I can honestly say was all God. I would never have done that without Him (in fact, I hesitated with Him). But practicing faith didn’t end with quitting my job, packing my car, and driving to the bayou. That was just the beginning. Praise God I had no idea what was coming.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

From a human perspective, that’s just crazy. It makes no sense whatsoever.

But for me that’s been the past 8 months. Most of the time I’ve trembled with fear or doubted or asked God to make it easier. I haven’t had a walking on water or a parting the Red Sea moment (though I did drive over water). Mine’s more been like “look God, I didn’t have to ask to see your nail-piercings today!”

But nonetheless I’ve seen God help me step out in faith. I’ve seen the importance of being sure that God is who He says He is….even when there’s no horizon.

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You can see the Causeway at the end of the water in this picture. It’s the railroad-looking thing. (There’s also a pelican in the middle of the picture, which is the state bird of Louisiana.)

To Truly Live

Unbelievably, I have now seen a glimpse of all four seasons in New Orleans: the grueling summer, rainy fall, mild winter, and now the best season of them all…

Yes, SPRING.  It is finally here!

Ever since I can remember, spring has been my favorite season.  I love all the seasons (and summer is a close second), but I just love spring.  There’s just something about flowers blossoming, birds singing, and colorful dresses that makes my heart happy.  (That may also be because winter normally seems entirely too long.)  Spring is kind of like Friday.  Friday has always been my favorite day of the week.  Even though you still go to work or school on Friday, it means the weekend’s coming.  Spring is like that too: it means summer’s coming.  There must be something about knowing freedom is on its way.

Although the seasons in New Orleans don’t vary as much as other parts of the country, there’s more variance than I expected.  I still dreaded walking to class when that cold wind hits (in fact, I’m pretty sure I drove any day under fifty degrees…yes, I’m a wimp).  I still snuggled under a blanket with a cup of hot tea to do late-night studying.  I still wore out most of my winter clothes and I’m ready to start wearing pastels again.

I like wintery things, but it’s freeing when spring finally comes.  I have a fresh wave of motivation and excitement.  I want to go outside and live.  Truly live.

This past Sunday, my pastor preached on the resurrection.  No, you didn’t miss Easter, he was preaching on the last part of the Apostle’s Creed (yes, that’s weird for a Baptist church) and the resurrection of the body.

You know why I liked this sermon? Because it’s like spring or Friday on a much grander scale.  I know without-a-doubt that freedom is on its way because my eternity is secured in a relationship with Jesus.  Spring sometimes disappoints me when it rains all summer or I never get to take a much-anticipated vacation.  Friday sometimes disappoints me when I get called into work or discover I forgot to do a research paper due on Monday.  But God’s promises never disappoint me.  I may not understand what He’s doing.  I may not understand how we’re going to get where He’s promised.  I may not understand why the road has to be so bumpy.  But God’s promises still never disappoint me.

So then why don’t I have that same feeling of anticipated freedom now? Why don’t I wake up with a fresh wave of motivation and excitement each day? Why don’t I want to go outside and live? Truly live.

His Love is Better Than a Coconut: What I’ve Learned About Mardi Gras

  1. Mardi Gras is not just a day, it’s a season.

Carnival season, to be exact.   This season includes king cake, parades, beads, costumes, balls, and so much more!

King cake is literally served everywhere during this season.  There is king cake flavored ice cream, coffee, and just about anything else you can think of.  King cake also has a ton of different flavors like cream cheese, strawberry, and pineapple.

You even have king cake for breakfast!

We even have king cake for breakfast!

Parades are just about as prevalent as king cake.  Below is a link to the parades in New Orleans.  You’ll see that there is not just one big parade on Fat Tuesday, there are MANY parades throughout the carnival season.

http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/schedule.html

Beads are around all year long.  If you look up while visiting New Orleans, you’ll see beads hanging from trees and streetcar lines.

Costumes are as prevalent as they are at Halloween.  People do dress up like jesters and queens (which are more traditional for Mardi Gras), but they also dress up in anything you can imagine.  Today I even saw Santa!

At the country club, there is literally a ball every weekend during carnival season.  (The staff is definitely ready for the season to be over!) Krewes, which are basically organizations that host parades, throw balls before their parades.  They are extremely fancy and very southern.  I sometimes feel like I’ve stepped into the 1800’s or a fairy tale.

  1. Parades can be fun, not obscene.

When a seminary professor first said there are “family-friendly” parades, I was skeptical.  Very skeptical.  I asked so many different people for reassurance and they all said the same thing.  I hesitantly attended my first parade and, sure enough, it was family-friendly for the most part.  People were drinking, but there was nothing obscene or vulgar.  (And I’m convinced the only place drinking does not regularly occur in this city is on the seminary campus.) In fact, there were a lot of middle school marching bands and kids dressed in sequence and feathers.

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My understanding is that the more obscene parades are in the French Quarter.  If you know where not to go, you can have a really good time.  My experience was honestly a lot of good, clean fun.  It was wholesome, free, and enjoyable.  I’m sure you could quickly find the wrong crowd doing the wrong thing, but that was not my experience.  My only reservation about parades is that they literally happen every night for a few weeks.  It makes the traffic awful and I don’t know how people function when they stay out so late on weeknights.  (In fact, I’m ready for the season to be over just so the girls in my dorm will come home earlier.)

  1. Getting beads does not require flashing.

There are some parades in the Quarter that encourage flashing, but no parade requires flashing.  In fact, tourists are the ones that keep this “tradition” alive.  Locals don’t flash.  The parades that aren’t tourist-driven do not encourage or even suggest flashing.  I did not see one person even mention flashing at the two parades I attended.

Beads are also not the most desired throws.  The Krewes that host the parades often have a special throw for their parade.  The Krewe of Nyx throws purses, the Krewe of Muses throws shoes, and the Krewe of Zulu throws coconuts (technically, they now hand people coconuts for safety purposes, but I did get handed multiple coconuts).

3 of the 15 coconuts my group caught

3 of the 15 coconuts my group caught

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What one of the guys in our group used to catch coconuts...quite a success!

What one of the guys in our group used to catch coconuts…quite a success!

  1. Mardi Gras isn’t just a big party, it’s a tradition.

I scoffed at Mardi Gras before coming to New Orleans.  I’m sure I still don’t get it and I definitely don’t support a lot of it, but I think I’m closer to understanding than I was before I came.  People here care about their traditions.  It is a huge part of their lives.  Personally, I don’t have such deep-rooted or festive traditions, but I do care about my traditions.  I think we are all people of tradition.

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Jesus wasn’t a fan of a lot of traditions.  The Pharisees were pretty harshly rebuked for some of the traditions they added to the truth God gave them.  Jesus did still adhere to some traditions though and he used a lot of traditions to teach us valuable lessons.

This Mardi Gras, I watched crowds of people SCREAM to get coconuts, beads, and other worthless items.  We were begging the float-riders to have mercy on us.  My group arrived at 6:30 AM to get a place at the front of the crowd, increasing our chances for a coconut.  Although it was all in fun, it was somewhat degrading to beg people for something and then have them turn away.  It was also thrilling to have someone hand you a coconut or throw you beads.  One girl said afterward, “I just felt so special when the Mardi Gras Indian chose me out of everyone to receive the coconut.”

I am so grateful that I don’t have to beg Jesus for mercy.  I can just ask.  He gives it freely.  He gives it wholly.  He doesn’t torment me with a gift that He’s not willing to give.  He doesn’t overlook me.  He doesn’t favor or discriminate.  He has enough for everyone.  I know He loves me and He has my best interest in mind.  He cares about the person in the back as much as the person in the front.  I don’t have to do anything to earn His love.  His love never ends, never fails, and doesn’t perish.  His love is better than a coconut.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

I know what you’re thinking, “to get to the other side!” That answer does make sense…until you watch a rooster cross the road each time you drive to work.

I don’t live in the nicest part of New Orleans. In fact, I live in one of the worst parts of the city. One of the only parts that’s worse is the area where I work, which means the drive from school to work can be interesting. My favorite sight is the rooster that regularly crosses the road. Yes, the ROOSTER. The animal normally found on a farm or in a zoo… Yet, I see this silly animal on my way to work…in a city.

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The first time I saw him, I stopped and gawked. I thought, “does no one else find this strange?” One lady, who was standing right by him, didn’t even look up from her cell phone. The other cars just passed it like it was a squirrel.

After seeing this rooster a few times, I decided to follow him. (Thankfully, I was running ahead of schedule. New Orleanians don’t really seem to care about punctuality anyway, but that would’ve been a pretty unbelievable excuse for tardiness.) As I followed the rooster, I quickly discovered several other roosters. I laughed out loud at the sight of the rooster community in the middle of a metropolitan neighborhood.

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The strangest part of this rooster phenomenon is the fact that I didn’t see a shelter for them. I could truly not figure out where they lived and I don’t want to know what purpose they serve.

The one thing I did come closer to discovering was the answer to that age-old question, “why does the chicken cross the road?”

I’d venture to say that “to get to the other side” is only part of the answer. This rooster seems to have some additional purpose: maybe it’s escaping from all the other roosters, going to find some sort of food, looking for a chick, grieving his friend pictured in the convenience store ad labeled “fried chicken,” or it’s simply an unsuccessful suicide mission. Whatever the cause of the rooster’s behaviors, it’s entertaining to consider.

One day, I will probably speed by the rooster and not find his behavior or location funny. I will probably stop looking up, becoming as numb to this oddity as everyone else.

I think I do the same thing with the gospel.* This week in my theology class we talked about Christ’s death. My pastor also preached on Christ’s  death and my quiet time was on Christ’s death. I’m pretty good at skimming through that account. I’ve heard it countless times, why examine it again? This week though, I was reminded that I should not be numb to the gospel. The best way I heard this reminder explained was when I went street evangelizing with a friend in college. As she was explaining her group’s method, she said that the group shares the gospel with everyone and prays for each person they encounter. She explained that even when people walk past saying they’re saved, they’re prayed over. “Afterall,” she explained, “why wouldn’t someone saved by Christ want to hear the gospel again?” Ouch. I can’t even get through the sinner’s prayer at church without planning lunch or calculating how much I need to tithe for the week.

This week I also watched The Good Lie. A scene stuck out to me when the Sudanese refugees laughed about hearing the joke about the chicken crossing the road for the first time. Below is a link to that clip. I hope their genuine joy in the simplicity of something we’ve grown numb to reminds you of the joy we should have in the simplicity of the gospel.

*If you’re reading this post and have no idea what the gospel means, visit http://www.whativaluemost.com.  If you search my name, you’ll find my story of how Jesus changed my life and get a more thorough explanation of the gospel.

Beeutiful

Winter is a wonderful season in New Orleans. Bitterly cold days are few and far between. Instead, we are blessed with Fall-like weather most of the season. (But before you get too jealous, don’t forget what our summers are like…)

I’ve tried to take full advantage of the fantastic weather. One of my absolute favorite places in New Orleans is City Park. I love the Spanish Moss hanging from the trees, the water filled with turtles, the street cars driving by, and the lovely architecture (especially the building that houses Morning Call…yet another coffee and beignet stand).
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The other day, I was about to start reading my Bible on a bench at the park and a bee landed on my journal. Having been stung by numerous bees, I was frightened at first. I hoped it would just fly away. Instead, it just stayed on my journal for a moment. I began to relax, noticing the beauty of the little creature and the intricacy of its design.

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Then the little bee began crawling around my journal. I was still intrigued by it until it crawled on my finger. Suddenly memories of the time I sat on a bee as a child or the time I found one in my towel as a teenager, and I decided I could no longer be friends with this little guy.

Unfortunately, it was too late. How was I to get rid of it without being stung? If I moved my finger, there would be no chance of escaping unscathed. Instead I waited until it moved back to my Bible and I threw my Bible and journal on the ground (excuse my poor treatment of God’s Word. I know believers in other countries would stick their hand in a beehive just to retrieve one verse of the Bible…) This action wounded the bee and left it barely moving on the sidewalk. I ended his torment with my sneaker and said “good-bye” to my former friend.

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For a moment, I felt a little bad about killing the bee, especially in such a violent way. I mean, what had it done to me?

Then I was reminded of sin.

The way I let the bee in was very similar to the way I let sin in.

I start by admiring something sinful. At first, it seems scary and I know I shouldn’t look at it. After looking at it for a while, I decide it’s probably okay to just look. It seems harmless, after all. Then, I let it creep in. I ignore all logic, advice, and past experience. I play with it. I realize halfway through that I needed to change direction, but at that point it’s more difficult than it would’ve been if I’d just avoided it in the first place. There are other times when I’ve let myself get stung. Either way, it hurts. It hurts to squish something you’ve grown attached to and it hurts to get stung.

But isn’t it awesome that God redeems us from our sin when we return to Him? He is capable of healing the worst stings and working all things for good. That is more beautiful and desirable than any temptation.

From Christmas to Mardi Gras

I love Christmas. I love the traditions, the food, the gatherings. I love what Christmas means and how it’s one time of year where Christ’s name is exalted in public places (even if it’s over a mall intercom nestled between songs about hippopotamuses and reindeer).

Yet, when Christmas is over, I’m ready for it to be over. I’m tired of parties and rich food. I’m ready to hit the gym and excited to get into a routine. Frankly, I’m sick of celebrating.

I don’t think New Orleanians ever get sick of celebrating.

Immediately after New Year’s this year, the carnival season began. With all the enthusiasm of Christmas (or perhaps more), people here buy king cakes, decorate houses, and attend parades. Local schools even have a Mardi Gras break in February.

It honestly kind of annoyed me to come back to more celebration. Can’t we have at least one month without it? It’s bad enough that Valentine’s Day cards and candy are already out… But then I thought, “isn’t that how I should live? In constant celebration?” The life of a Christian is difficult and I wholeheartedly believe in sharing our burdens with one another, but shouldn’t we be showing the world what it really means to celebrate? Not the worldly, Bourbon street kind of celebration, the real celebration that comes from the depth of a soul saved by Jesus Christ. Those who trust in Christ as their source of hope have a reason to celebrate!

Though I’m not in favor of every part of Mardi Gras, I am excited to experience some of the G-rated traditions. I decided to start with king cake…

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Who knows what I’ll celebrate with next? (Though I can list a few things I won’t celebrate with…) But I am grateful that regardless of where I am and what’s around me, I am able to celebrate God’s constant, perfect goodness.