Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Sweetie's sister, proud and loving aunt that she is, has come down with a really bad case of the flu-like upper respiratory junk that's been hitting pretty much everyone this winter--in fact, she was in the ER for it yesterday. She's okay, but heartbroken (and we're heartbroken for her) that she won't be able to hold her new niece tomorrow, and will have to wear a mask and won't even be allowed in the room for very long. But we've told her that as soon as she's over this crud, she can hold the baby as long as she wants... ;-)
God bless--keep us in your prayers tonight and tomorrow morning!!!!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
In this Sunday's gospel Nicodemus asks Jesus, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Poor old Nicodemus! He was so confused about the whole "water and Spirit" business of baptism. For today's five, tell us about your baptismal experiences.
When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting tidbits?
I was baptized on April 30, 1974 at the Blytheville Air Force Base hospital. Easy for me to remember, because it's also the day I was born. There were some pretty big complications surrounding my birth, and they weren't sure I was going to survive, so my baptism was an emergency one. I need to ask my parents about the details...not sure who was in the room at the time it happened, or how long after I was born...but now that I'm thinking about it, I really oughta ask. My curiosity is piqued. =)
What's the most unexpected thing you've ever witnessed at a baptism?
Well, I really haven't seen anything funny or strange or out-of-the-ordinary...BUT, I can tell you how surprised I was when I was in 4th or 5th grade and was an acolyte at a service that included a baptism. Before the service, the pastor called me over and handed me the little bowl that goes in the baptismal font, and asked me to fill it halfway with warm water. I asked him where we kept the baptism water.
After he was finished laughing, he told me that we kept the baptism water right over there in the tap above the kitchen sink, and that once I turned the faucet, I'd have all the baptism water I needed. But to make sure to make it a little warm so it didn't startle the baby too much.
I couldn't believe we used just normal, everyday tap water for such a miraculous event. Now, I see the beauty in it...Jesus using common, ordinary elements to impart the holy. But as a 4th grader...just didn't seem quite right. =)
Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms?
During the service itself, the children of the congregation are invited to the font to get a "close-up" view of what's happening. I love when churches do that...helps connect kids to the idea that there's really something going on there. And after the baptism, the congregation sings Jesus Loves Me. I love that for two reasons: first, the song expresses the gift of love that baptism is, and second, it's another way to involve the kids.
Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell?
Sweetie and I are sponsors for Krugie23's son (who also happens to be Kiddo's best friend). We're proud of our godson, and love him to pieces. As he continues to grow up, we look forward to many years of spiritual mentoring and guidance, and hope that we do the best job we possibly can of living up to the promises we made the day he was baptized.
Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn?
Right now my favorite is We Know That Christ Is Raised by John Geyer. I love that it's just as fitting theologically as a funeral hymn as it is a baptism hymn--a reminder that we are baptized into Christ's death and reborn as a new creation.
1.We know that Christ is raised and dies no more.
Embraced by death, he broke its fearful hold,
and our despair he turned to blazing joy.
2. We share by water in his saving death.
Reborn, we share with him an Easter life,
As living members of our Savior Christ.
3.The Father’s splendor clothes the Son with life.
The Spirit’s fission shakes the Church of God.
Baptized, we live with God the Three in One.
4. A new creation comes to life and grows
As Christ’s new body takes on flesh and blood
The universe restored and whole will sing:
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Happy Valentine's Day!
(And Sweetie...I still have a "crunch" on you!)
From February 14, 2007:
Tonight, it will have been ten years since Sweetie's and my first date. Ten years. A decade.
We had worked at church camp together during the summer of 1996. She was a counselor, I was a Site Manager (which basically meant I was the direct supervisor of 10-15 counselors each week). I knew she was a helluva counselor, so for most of the summer I requested to have her at the site that I managed. That summer especially, good counselors that you could count on were prized treasures, and Sweetie was one of the best.
She was also pretty darn cute.
Not that I noticed, of course. I was, after all, her supervisor, and she had a boyfriend and I was engaged to someone else (long story for a different time).
So the summer flew by, we got to know each other pretty well as friends and co-workers, then the fall came and we lost touch.
In December, for a number of reasons, all of which are unimportant to this particular story, my fiancee and I broke off our engagement.
Then came an announcement that in February, there would be a 2-day reunion for camp staff from the previous summer.
Sooooo....with that scene set, I arrived the first day looking forward to reconnecting with some old friends and just getting a taste of camp life again. As an aside, in my opinion every Christian ought to work at least one summer at a church camp while in college. There's a very real sense of community and living faith that in many ways makes it a more powerful experience for staff than it even is for the campers. And it's the perfect environment to discern and connect with your personal sense of call.
So I get to the reunion, I'm enjoying hobnobbing with everyone, including Sweetie, when a friend of mine pulls me aside. Telling me about Sweetie, she asked me, "did you hear that she recently broke up with her boyfriend?"
Oh reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally? I was immediately interested.
I was also a big fat chicken. Because even though I had this information, and even though I totally wanted to ask her out, I didn't. Which was a problem, because the reunion was a Saturday to Sunday affair, and I worked as a youth director and needed to be back at my church 130 miles away for Sunday morning. I don't think I even talked to her again after I found out that she wasn't seeing anyone anymore.
So there I was on the interstate very early Sunday morning (5 AM or so), alternately dreaming about "what-if" and hitting myself over the head with mental anvils for being an idiot chicken and not doing something to allow any of the "what-ifs" to come to fruition.
I made a decision. If I attended the early service, my Sunday School duties would be done by 10:45 or so, and I could drive back to the camp to be less of a chicken. I could get there around 12:30, and still have a little while to redeem myself before the reunion ended (I forget exactly when, but maybe 2 or 3). So that's exactly what I did. Even then though, it wasn't until everything was done and everyone was getting ready to leave that I finally mustered up the courage to go to Sweetie and say "it was great seeing you again."
"Yeah, you too."
"I oughta give you a call sometime. We should get together, get caught up, you know, just talk...whatever..."
"Sure, here's my number." (YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!)
"Cool. I'll call sometime."
The next day, I called. It was a Monday, so I asked if she wanted to meet for dinner on Friday. She lived in Lincoln, and I was almost 2 hours away, so I offered to come and meet her at the only place in town I knew how to find at the time...Rock and Roll Runza. We agreed on a time and hung up, and I started doing a victory dance there by myself in my house.
And singing a victory song. Catchy little ditty.
So I danced and sang my way over to the calendar, and looked.
Friday was February 14th.
Holy Crap! I just asked her out on Valentine's Day!
Well, this changes everything! She'll be expecting cards, flowers, a limo, candlelight, a string quartet serenading us the whole evening, and probably Josh Groban personally singing You Raise Me Up in a private concert! Well, I can't do a bunch of that other stuff on limited time and budget...flowers? Hmmmm....maybe not on the very first date...don't want her to run away screaming in the night, fearing for her life from her gentleman stalker.
But a card? Yeah, I need to do that.
Do you, dear reader, have any idea how hard it is to find a Valentine's Day card that tells someone you really kinda like them without being too over-the-top or too cynical? Something you can give someone on a first date when you accidentally asked them out on the "day of love" and even though you really do like them a lot and hope that you can become more serious, you still realize that this is only the beginning?
After (I kid you not) almost 3 hours in the Hallmark store, I finally found the card. It was a Garfield card...he had a Nestle Crunch candy bar in his hand. On the outside I think it just said "Valentine..."
On the inside it said "I have a crunch on you!"
It was perfect. Cute, but not too cute. It said that there were feelings there while acknowledging that at the time, it was just a crush...but hopefully she'd read into it that I wouldn't mind exploring if there was more to it. Not too sappy, not cynical, not stupid.
Now the next problem was what if things went really well at dinner and we wanted to spend more time together but didn't want to take up a table at the restaurant forever? Hmmm....okay, a movie! There should be some romantic movies out--it's Valentine's Day, right?
Let's see...The English Patient. It's about falling in love while you're cheating. Not the best first date movie.
Okay, here's one. In Love and War. Sounds like it could have possibilities. It has love for her, war for him. Chris O'Donnell for her, Sandra Bullock for him. Sandra plays a nurse (Sweetie was in nursing school) for her, Chris plays a writer (I was an English major) for him.
But what if there's a steamy sex scene or something? Talk about uncomfortable.
Soooo...early in the week, I previewed the movie. That's right, I went to the theater and watched a movie that I was planning on suggesting we watch during the date.
Satisfied that I had left no stone unturned, I went into Friday confident and ready to go!
Okay, I was actually nervous as hell.
And ten years ago tonight, Friday came. How did it go? Well, we're married, aren't we?
I'd say it went pretty well.
And...Sweetie's version of events:
Okay, so every story has two sides…here’s my version of what went down 10 years ago... =)
I loved working at church camp in 1996! “Honey” was a great Site Manager (yes, technically “my superior”…although that changed quickly when we got married! =) Just kidding!), and he and I became good friends. It was one of the best summers I can remember. I wanted to spend my summer at camp making a difference in children’s lives, just as counselors at church camp had done for me when I was younger. But the personal rewards were more than I ever expected. The kids, without knowing it, taught me so much about myself, and I made friendships with my peers that continue to be some of the strongest ever.
I went to the staff reunion that winter in hopes of reconnecting with many of my friends. It was a great time of sledding, singing, laughing and bonding. I honestly don’t remember talking to “Honey” much until that Sunday when we were all about to leave the reunion. I remember standing in the parking lot, and making plans to call each other sometime to catch up. Seemed pretty innocent to me!
I was living at my parents’ house at that time, and I remember being in my room studying (for nursing school) that next night, Monday, when I got a phone call from “Honey.” We talked for awhile and then, surprisingly, he asked me out for dinner that Friday night! Now, I KNEW that that Friday was Valentine’s Day immediately…that’s why as soon as I got off the phone I was freaking out! I couldn’t believe he had just asked me out on “The-Day-O-Love!” All hopes of any further studying that night went straight out the window…there was no way I could concentrate! I called my friend, D, and she was convinced that “Honey” had a thing for me! But I denied it every chance I got, saying, “We’re just FRIENDS!!” I kept telling myself that too…ALL week!
Finally the evening of our “friendly” date was upon us. I remember exactly what I wore…jeans, my Doc Martens, and one of my favorite fuzzy sweaters (that way I was dressy, but not TOO dressy!) “Honey” and I were meeting each other at Rock and Roll Runza downtown. I arrived at the parking garage way too early that evening!! If I showed up at the restaurant early, that would surely make me look too anxious for our “friendly” date! So I stood at the top of the parking garage for about 10 minutes before slowly making my way to the restaurant. =)
Once inside the place, I saw “Honey” right away. He was sitting at one of the bar stools by the entrance. Okay, play it cool! I was so nervous. But why?!! We were just FRIENDS! Calm down. Okay. We sat in a booth by the window. He looked so handsome…he was not the “sweaty, sunburned, over-tired but happy and high on coffee for the kids, grungy clothed, no voice left due to over-singing and yelling camp type” that I had known from the summer! (sorry, Hon! =) ) NO, this guy cleaned up well! Too bad we were only “FRIENDS”!
At some point during dinner, he handed me a card across the table. He got me a Valentine’s card???!!? I hadn’t gotten him anything!! I quickly read through it, and gave a nervous laugh and thanked him for such a nice gesture. I was so nervous about the entire thing that I didn’t really pay close attention to the words. We had a fun dinner together and the conversation flowed great.
After dinner, we walked to the movies. We saw In Love and War. Honestly, I don’t remember most of the movie after about an hour into it, when “Honey” pulled a total “guy move.” …We were sitting there watching the movie, when suddenly he leans back in his seat like he’s going to stretch his back, but his left arm “stretches” across the back of my seat!!!! Oh my gosh!!! My “FRIEND” now has his arm around me!! I guess we’re not “FRIENDS” anymore, now are we?!! :0 Okay, be calm. What should I do? I’ve gotta do something or he’s going to think I don’t care, or that I’m uncomfortable! So I take my right hand and place it on his knee (palms sweating, pulse racing)! And there, on his left knee, is where my hand is locked in pure terror for the remainder of the movie!! When the movie finishes, I unlock the death grip of my sweaty hand from his knee, and we proceed to our cars.
We were talking and having a really nice time on the walk back. I’ll never forget how he placed his hand on my back in a protective kind of way when we crossed the street at one point. When I got home that night, I actually READ that card that he had given me at the restaurant, for the very first time. It had Garfield on the front holding a candy bar. The inside of the card said, “I’ve got a CRUNCH on you!” Oh, man! I must have stayed up half the night just thinking about the entire evening!
Who would’ve thought 10 years ago that that night would’ve been the beginning of such an amazing journey for the two of us??!! I guess you never know where life’s twists and turns are going to lead you. Happy Valentines Day and “First Date Anniversary”!! Love you “Honey!”
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Through all of this, Sweetie (who was almost 8 months pregnant), was avoiding her boys like the plague.
Actually, maybe we were the plague.
But it wasn't enough. One night, Sweetie began to notice a funny tickle in her throat. And we knew what was coming.
And come, it did.
I mean, come on, illness gods! As if it's not bad enough that Sweetie's had to deal with nausea every single morning without fail since July...and now this. All the coughing did was serve to worsen her nausea, and bring it on at all times of the day, not just in the morning.
Can't we catch a break?
Oh. Almost forgot. the reason I'm at home right now and have the time to write this post in the first place is because I've gotten sick. Again. With the same fever and upper-respiratory crud I dealt with last month. Hence the turning of the big wheel.
Good thing we still have plenty of time before the baby comes, and everything is all ready for the arrival.
Oh, wait. We don't have plenty of time...16 days...and thanks to the month and a half of family illness, the house is a disaster.
Grrr. Crud, I shall defeat you. This has become personal, and you've infected the wrong Lutheran.
(BTW, our family had the pleasure of visiting Scott (from Nachfolge) over the weekend for his installation as campus pastor. We had a wonderful time, and I plan on writing something about it sometime when I'm in a better mood. And better health.)
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Questions Kiddo asked during the sermon:
- How do pastors find out so much about God and Jesus?
- Why do pastors talk so loud?
- Can I have a granola bar?
Also...every time I'm asked to assist with the imposition of ashes, I'm struck by the magnitude of what I'm doing. To look someone in the eyes and tell them "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return," and to know some of those eyes looking back at you will not see the next Ash Wednesday...it's a stark reminder of my own mortality.
Friday, February 08, 2008
1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
We were going to celebrate Shrove Tuesday by going to church for the annual pancake dinner that the men's group puts on, but a pretty wicked snowstorm kept us home.
...for the last two or three days, Kiddo had been looking forward to Ash Wednesday. He couldn't stop talking about going to church and having the pastor put the ashes on his forehead. He told his friends at daycare, he told his friends at preschool, and he couldn't stop telling Mommy and Daddy how excited he was about the ashes.
Our church has two Ash Wednesday services--one at 5 PM, and the other at 7. We had planned on going to the 7:00 service as a family, and I was scheduled to assist with the imposition of ashes at that service. That afternoon, though, I got a call from Sweetie--she's 8 months pregnant and had been fighting a pretty good cold--saying that she just didn't think that she'd be able to make it through a worship service.
I couldn't just take Kiddo to the 7 PM service myself, since I was going to be up front, and we knew that Kiddo would have none of sitting with someone else. And we also knew that if he didn't go to church, he'd be crushed. Sooooooo...I left work early, picked him up from daycare, and took him to the 5 PM service.
On our way, he asked, "Daddy, why will we put ashes on our forehead tonight?"
Well, we had talked about death before...the subject had first come up when we were talking about Easter some time ago...and he understood the concept that only Jesus had come back to life, but once we were dead, we would live in heaven with God, but wouldn't be alive again on earth. And, more importantly, he was fine with that understanding. So, rather than using the more generic answer of "to help us remember how much God loves us," I decided to expand it a little bit.
"It's to help us remember that even though someday we'll die, that God loves us..."
Kiddo finished my sentence for me. "...and we'll be in heaven with God. And Jesus." (I decided to hold off on dealing with his 4 year-old tritheism...all in good time.) =)
He seemed satisfied with it all. And so we got to church, and the service began. There was a responsive chanting of Psalm 51, followed by a time of confession, and then came the imposition of ashes. We were about 2/3 of the way through the psalm when suddenly, Kiddo grabbed my leg and looked up at me. His lip was trembling.
And then he began to cry. The heartrending, plaintive, authentic cry of a child in anguish.
I sat down, took him on my lap, held him close, and whispered, "what's wrong? Is the music too sad?"
Looking at me with a scared, sad, expression in his eyes, he whispered back, "I don't want the ashes on my forehead."
I was dumbstruck. This had been the highlight of his week! I asked him, "why not?"
He looked me in the eyes.
"Daddy, I don't want to die."
I almost burst into tears right then and there. Somehow in our conversation, he had internalized that having the ashes put on his forehead would make him die.
I immediately felt like the worst dad in the world. Ever. I had made my son think that he was going to die. And worst of all, that I would let him.
I held him tightly, and rocked him, and whispered assurances that this was just something to help us remember how much God loves us, and that it was not going to make us die.
As Psalm 51 came to a close and the rest of the congregation intoned "the sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise," I wiped the tears from Kiddo's eyes, and he smiled.
"Okay, Daddy. I want to remember. I want to go get the ashes now."
Later that evening, when I told the story to our pastor as we got ready for the 7:00 service, he turned to me and said, "You know, those tears meant your son gets it. In his way, he gets the meaning of Ash Wednesday better than the majority of the other people in the pews."
He was right.
2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
My most memorable Lenten season was 2005. I was at the Lutheran student Center, and the senior pastor, Larry Meyer, was losing his battle with cancer. The seminary intern and I took the lead in planning the Wednesday evening Lenten series--we used Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer (as was the custom) and had a different student each week give the message on "God With Us." He and I co-led the Ash Wednesday service, and as we told each student "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return," we did so with the knowledge that our beloved boss knew the meaning of those words more deeply than any of us in that sanctuary.
3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?
Yep. I grew up with Lent as part of the road toward Easter. As a result, I can't imagine Easter without the penitential preparation of Lent. Without that time, Easter sneaks up on you as just another day. And my joy as a Christian, the hope embodied in my baptism, the assurance of death's defeat and sin's demise in the empty tomb, are too much a part of who I am to have it be just another day.
4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?
I used to be squarely in the give-up camp. I found, however, that the temptation to be a self-proclaimed martyr was just too much, and every year I inevitably ended up doing the right things for the wrong reasons. When the prophet Joel wrote, "rend your hearts, not your clothing," he was speaking to how I was in college. I've found that for me, it's more useful to take on a discipline. Part of that for quite some time now has been to read the book A Skeleton in God's Closet, by Paul Maier. A good piece of Christian fiction that (aside from a poorly written side-plot love story) emphasizes the importance of the resurrection.
5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?
We're expecting Kiddo's little sister to arrive on (or before) February 28th. My Lenten discipline this year will revolve around being the best husband and daddy I can be, especially during that first sleepless month. To do anything other than focus on the family (MY family, not James Dobson's) would be self-serving, which is exactly the opposite of what Lent is about. Sweetie's going to need all the support I can give, and as much as Kiddo's looking forward to being a big brother, he's going to need plenty of extra love too.
And of course, there will be our new little life to love and nurture.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
- If you were Bishop, what would you do?
- How can we more effectively grow disciples?
- What is the best thing our church can do for this society?
- How do we better express Christian joy?
If you were Bishop, what would you do?
- Each week, specifically pray for 5 or 6 different NE Synod congregations (so I’d get through them all during the year). The week before I prayed for them, send them a postcard to let them know.
- Continue the goal of visiting every NE Synod congregation.
- Send a questionnaire to every congregation, asking these same four questions.
How can we more effectively grow disciples?
- For those interested in rostered ministry, put candidacy info on the Synod website, all in one place. Put the ELCA’s candidacy manual, “Visions and Expectations,” copies of the different forms, contact info to get the candidacy process started, maybe a FAQ of some sort.
- Expand Operation IDEA, its budget and scope, so that it is better able to get the word out about church vocation.
- Synodwide focus on “Priesthood of All Believers.” Produce Bible study and sermon series on discipleship for congregations. Put together suggested liturgies, hymns, etc. Maybe along the lines of a Lutheran “40 Days of Purpose” type of campaign, with the focus being on discipleship, where all segments of a congregation’s life is geared toward discipleship for a period of time. Worship, Bible studies, service projects, fellowship opportunities.
- Maybe the focus ought not to be on growing disciples as much as it should be growing apostles…a disciple is one who follows, but an apostle is one who is sent. Equipping the body of believers to be sent out to the world.
- Often there’s a disconnect between Sunday morning and “Monday’s world.” While we may disagree with our evangelical friends about matters of theology, they do a lot right in terms of carrying faith throughout the week. Prayer partners, family devotions, small groups that meet in homes...
What is the best thing our church can do for this society?
- Serve, serve, serve. As a part of emphasis on discipleship, ponder the question synodwide: “now that I know I don’t have to do anything, what am I going to do?” Find new, fresh, exciting ways to live out God’s call to love our neighbor. And make sure society knows what we’re up to…not for our own glory, but so that through living out our call, they might better discern their own calls as well.
- Realize that in our theology and in our worship, we have something that the world both needs and is looking for. Quit allowing the world to define Lutheranism through the lens of Garrison Keillor and show the world what transformational, reforming, grace-filled life in Christ is like.
How do we better express Christian joy?
- On Sundays, recognizing that liturgical doesn’t necessarily equal stuffy and contemporary doesn’t necessarily equal (as a pastor I know puts it) “Jesus is my boyfriend” music. Realizing that it’s possible to remain true to one’s roots and be relevant at the same time.
- Watch for transformation. Don’t fear it. Embrace the joy of God’s surprises.
Monday, February 04, 2008
And like my affinity for the Red Sox, it has nothing to do with their recent success. I was a Pats fan waaaaay back in the early 80's...back when they were gawd-awful. I was a fan when they were blown out of the '85 Super Bowl by the Bears. And I continued to be a fan when they want back to being gawd-awful for the next decade or so.
So, of course, I was pulling for the Patriots last night. Though I have to say it was an interesting dynamic for me, because usually, if there's an underdog, and I don't care too much either way, I'll root for the underdog. And the Giants were giant (ha ha) underdogs. Except they're from New York. And I just can't root for a team from New York. And they were playing the Patriots. Who I like. But the Patriots are coached by Bill Belichick. Who I greatly dislike. The man is a football genius, but he's an arrogant jerk.
Hm. With all these issues, I may need therapy.
There's a website, http://www.despair.com/, that sells posters that are parodies of those horrible "motivational" posters you see in cubicle-hell offices. Check out the site, there's some really cool ones. Fairly recently, they've added a section to the site that allows you to create your own. They won't make it into an actual poster for you, but you can save it to your comupter as a .jpg.
So, thinking about the game...and especially the end of the game, when Bill Belichick left the field even though there was a second left on the clock and the Giants had to run another play, I created one of my own. Pretty sums up my feelings for Belichick (you can click on the picture to make it bigger):
Friday, February 01, 2008
Superbowl ( someone explain to this Brit the significance)- love it or hate it? 5 reasons please!!!!!
I love the Super Bowl! And here's why:
1) It's football. And I know it's the very last football game of any significance until August. It's my last chance to savor the beauty and wonder of this glorious sport, at least for another seven months or so. Sometimes the game itself isn't the best (the playoffs tend to be better games than the Super Bowl itself), but the bottom line is that it's still football. I'll take it. A day with a bad football game is still better than a day with no football game.
2) Best commercials of the year. This is the one time, maybe the only time, where you don't want to get up to use the bathroom during a commercial break. This is the big event companies pull out all the stops and advertising dollars for. The Super Bowl has introduced some of the most classic commercials in American pop culture. Here's a great one by FedEx from a couple of years ago. The best line? "Not my problem."
3) It's football. See #1 above.
4) Super Bowl Salad. Growing up, the Super Bowl was the one time the whole year where we were allowed to eat supper in the living room in front of the TV. And the tradition was Super Bowl Salad...a lettuce salad with tomatoes, assorted bell peppers, cucumbers...well, basically any veggie you can imagine that goes well in a salad...with shrimp. And homemade salad dressing. Good stuff.
5) Lest I forget...it's football. See #3 above.