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Ash Wednesday..

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This is an odd way to start the blog, but I need to first apologize to any Christians we might have offended. We mentioned Catholics (who also happen to be Christians) in the morning’s Ash Wednesday stories. We neglected to mention the Protestant denominations that also apply palm ash to followers’ foreheads. I grew up in Baptist churches that never used ash. My fiancée Shannon’s dad is a Methodist pastor in Newton, so I called her to ask what Methodists do. She said they put ash on the forehead or the hand. She added, “It’s Ash Wednesday. What else would you do?”

I agree with Dan, I always thought Catholics were the ones to put ash on their foreheads as part of Ash Wednesday. Shows you what I know. I am not Catholic and have always gone to non-denominational churches that don’t do it. Although my husband grew up in a church that did encourage you to give up something for Lent. So a few days ago we both gave up sugar. Wow, that was hard. Everytime I wanted to cave, Eric would say to me, “Jesus gave up his life… the very least you can do is give up sugar.” It was hard to argue with that!

That reminds me, I’m looking forward to our next pre-marital counseling session. (Did I really just write that?) Seriously, though, Pastor Phil Dicks from Jordan Creek Church is doing a great job of walking us through the process. In our first session, he had us fill-out personality tests. Then, he had us fill out personality tests the way we thought the other person would answer. Those should be some interesting results. Plus, Phil is a hoot!

You can stop digging through your pockets in search of that winning lottery ticket. Congratulations to Ricky Rushton! The 46-year-old Marshalltown man won the $1,000,000 prize ($700,000 lump sum, after taxes). He went about his business with the ticket in his wallet for two days before a cashier scanned it and told him the news. The video of Rushton showed him decked out in Minnesota Vikings apparel. Can you say, “season tickets?”

Mark Tauscheck had an interesting story this morning about a new bicycle bill working through the Iowa legislature. Among other things, it would create a five-foot “bubble” around cyclists, require drivers to look behind them before opening their door (think parallel parking) and make it a misdemeanor to honk your horn at a cyclist. We often forget that bicycles have just as much right to the road as cars do. I think the problem is that roads aren’t built to be “bicycle friendly.” You seldom ever see a bike lane, and the potholes are big enough to do some serious damage to both the bicycle and the rider. I’m not a cyclist, but if I were I think I’d stick to the many beautiful trails in Central Iowa. It’d be nice to hear some cyclists weigh-in on the matter.

Another bill that could make the roads safer appears to be a dead duck at the statehouse. I don’t favor banning talking on a cell phone while driving. I DO FAVOR BANNING TEXTING WHILE DRIVING! Have you ever been behind a car that slowly starts to veer into the other lane, then you pass them and realize their eyes are looking down and their thumbs are flying furiously!?! Brooke, that’s not you, is it?

No, Dan it is not. I can’t multi-task that well and frankly I hate to text people. It takes WAY too long. I just communicate the old fashioned way — I call people! Imagine that. And I would agree with Dan that legislation banning texting while driving is just fine with me. It’s like sharing the road with someone who is drunk.

Brooke