The Return

Good morning!

As you can see I am tinkering around with the ol’ blog. I have moved it over here to WordPress. I wanted to do this a long time ago, but I am technology-challenged, so it’s taken awhile. But here we are. It is pretty plain for now, but I’ll continue to work on it to get some pictures around and make it feel a little more like home.

I need an outlet again, so I hope to write more often. I’ve just had so much going on and usually think the things I have to say are really only important to me, so why bother with the blog? But, I won’t write unless I have an audience (I guess) so I’m going to get back at it.

Today is Ash Wednesday 2016. This year, one of my children is old enough to keep the fast. THAT was a fun conversation last night:

Sarah: I can’t take my turkey sandwich for lunch tomorrow, so I guess I’ll spring for the cheese pizza.

Me: So…you’re 14 now, and should keep the fast.

Sarah: <blank stare> ummm, what?

I explained how the fast works and now that she’s 14, it applies to her. I encouraged her. And she ended up taking a granola bar for breakfast and an apple for mid-day and plans to eat her dinner.

I asked my children what they were giving up for Lent. I don’t think Helen has something yet, but Dani said she is giving up chips and everything like it (so no chips, pretzels, crackers, etc.) That’s a good one because I know that is a true sacrifice for her!

Alas, I have become so terrible with picking a sacrifice over the years. I hadn’t anything picked as of this morning. On my way to work, I decided to pray a Rosary for a special intention I have going right now. As I was praying that Rosary, I realized that what I need to do for Lent is to build up my prayer life. It has gotten so very slack the past few years. So, I decided that I will pray the full Rosary daily during Lent — I am not sure what it’s called, so I called it a full Rosary, but I intend to do each set of mysteries each day, so a total of 20 decades daily, to offer throughout Lent.

This will be a challenge for me and I believe it will require me to get up early and spend some time in prayer before everyone gets moving for the day. But, it should help me refocus a bit more on what’s important.

I’ve lost sight of what’s truly important — I can feel it in my bones and in my heart — something is just not right and I need to get it back the way it ought to be. (I will undoubtedly expound on this in future blogposts.) This most likely means stepping back from working out like I was. Truth be told, I’ve already stepped back a bit, but I keep trying to get back into it, and it’s not providing me the peace it did before. I think that is because the peace I need can only come from One Person and I have to seek His Peace in a more active way. My hope is that spending more time in prayer will guide me to Him in a deeper and more meaningful way.

I thank you for reading if you’ve followed me along this far. I wish you a blessed Ash Wednesday and a fruitful Lent.

Social Media and Blogging Fast for Lent 2014

I have never fully committed to a Social Media fast for Lent before. And certainly I have never fasted from posting on my blog for the entirety of Lent. Oh and choosing not to read blogs during Lent? Unheard of!! This year, however, it seemed an appropriate way to go.

Last year, Lent began so pitifully. And then, my whole life turned upside down.

I want Lent to be meaningful this year. I want to grow spiritually. There are some books I have at home that I bought with every intention of reading them, only to see them collecting dust on the bookshelf.

I also want to see what my life is like without being “tuned in” all the time to Facebook. I have an iPhone and I won’t lie — many times I can’t imagine my life without the opportunity to share every cute little thing my kids say, or share all their accomplishments because I am so very proud. I share stuff here, I share it on Instagram and Facebook. I’m not as big into Twitter, but I’ll turn that one off, too.

Lent begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.

I’ll see you on the other side. Have a blessed and fruitful Lenten season.

Photo Found Here

Lent

 
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday this week. I was just thinking about how much I love Lent. It seems counter-intuitive to love a season focused on self-denial and self-sacrifice. But I suppose that is only half the story. Lent is a time to do penance, yes. But it is also a time of increased prayer and many Catholics boost their almsgiving as well.
I have thought about what I want to do in the department of self-denial and self-sacrifice. In the past, I have given up Facebook, but that has often been an “epic fail” and besides, I’ve deactivated my account for now as it is. This lent, I think I am going to give up eating restaurant food. No Fast Food for us when I’m just too tired to cook dinner. No loading everyone up to go to Cici’s when I’ve whiffed on dinner. No lunch from the deli if I’ve forgotten my lunch (ooh…better be good about remembering my lunch!!!) Whenever I have the urge to pay for food from a restaurant, I will simply put that $5 (my portion) into my little envelope and I will add that amount to our weekly tithe (I have a feeling I’m going to get this urge a lot, unfortunately).
As for increased prayer, I have already started one thing I hope to continue during lent. It takes about 10 minutes to climb from my floor to floor 15 (it’s about 11 flights of stairs) and back and I have started praying a Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I did this twice on Friday. I think I will try to do this three times a day and have three specific intentions for each Chaplet. 
  1. An end to abortion (legalized or otherwise) in our country. 
  2. Conversion of our public officials, especially those who like to claim the Catholic faith but not support it (and actually actively attack it) in the public sphere–Sebelius, Pelosi, Biden – lookin’ at you. 
  3. For our United States Bishops that they continue to stand strong and oppose the unjust and unconstitutional HHS Mandate and energize all of us as the elections draw closer that we can make a better choice for our government.
Almsgiving can be boosted with the money not spent at restaurants. In addition, one of our parish’s “activities” includes a week where we all give double our weekly tithe. I think this happens the fourth or fifth Sunday of Lent, so I need to be preparing and saving now!
What are you doing for Lent??
I am joining Alluring World’s Lent Linkup today! 
Leave a comment here if you also decide to do a Lent post and linkup, too because I’d love to be sure and read yours!

You Are Dust, and to Dust You Shall Return

It’s Ash Wednesday.  It’s the beginning of Lent.  It’s the day that I am reminded over and over as every person in Mass–babies, young children, teenagers, adults, elderly–everyone comes forward to receive on the forehead a cross made of ashes and I hear Father say, “Remember Man, you are dust and to dust you shall return.”  Every single person is reminded. 

Earlier this week, I read this post from my friend TOOJE, which got me thinking about faith.  Her post reminded me that I have tried over and over to write about my feelings on faith in the big picture, only to be foiled every single time because my thoughts come out a jumbled mess. 

And so, I stick to the small things, the non-earth-moving things.  The simple ideas and I try to paint a picture fitting each one into the whole.  But I can’t ever satisfactorily paint THE BIG PICTURE.

And the reason is because I am Dust.  My body and mind and experience on Earth is fleeting.  I can only touch a small amount of this world during my time here and I pray that I join the Saints in Heaven at some point so that THEN…it will all make sense.  THEN, I will understand God’s plan for the suffering in this world.  THEN, I will completely appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  THEN, I will rejoice and praise God eternally and constantly without the mundane concerns of worldly matters.

Today, I read this piece from Jennifer Fulwiler at National Catholic Register.  She’s just too good a writer.  I feel like she writes it so none of us have to try anymore.  She has a beautiful perspective on why Christianity makes sense when you simply reflect on these nine words, “thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.”

I plan to join Lauren on Fridays, reflecting on the Power of the Tongue.  Sins of the tongue are my biggest downfall.  She mentions several “powers” we wield with our tongues:  Criticism, Gossip, Complaining/Negativity, Junk (idle talk and swearing), Encouragement, Praise and Silence.  What a great thing to focus on during Lent and try to be Christ to others with the power of words.

I have disconnected from Facebook for Lent.  I would imagine this would help me with my focus on my words since it is so easy to fall into arguments or petty comments in the social network.

I will not eat desserts during Lent.  All sweets, cookies, cakes, candies…none will cross my lips until the glorious Day of the Ressurection. 

I plan to participate in the Lenten activities and sacrifices our priest has laid out for our parish.

Lent is a time to sacrifice, to grow in holiness, to walk with Christ to Calvary and attempt to comprehend the sacrifice He made for us all.  I anticipate the next 40 days with joy, not trepidation.  It is my chance to make myself better, to offer up my mundane sufferings and to look outward to Christ, to His suffering and death and to His Glorious Resurrection.