Part of this is my post from last Lent. I LOVE this time of year. I'm thankful for another reverent, Holy time in which people very intentionally come together to acknowledge the birth and death of Jesus Christ. Now, I know this will get me, but the only thing I don't like about the time preceding Easter: Mardi Gras. I just can't really do a holiday that encourages debauchery and overindulgence. Of course Cranky Pirate, having worked off and on in Louisiana for several years, loves it! :) He really does and always hopes to be working there when Mardi Gras comes around. So, what follows is my original post, some updates(since our situation is much different this year than last year), and some GREAT resources from other bloggers on celebrating Lent.
Well, I'm here and relieved that Ash Wednesday is just over a week away! I always like to give ALOT of thought and prayer to Lent. I want to give up things that will be a true sacrifice...that will 'hurt' and make me NOT want to do it! I pray first, seeking His guidance into what lessons I'm supposed to learn and what I can do to put myself on the path He has for me. I really don't focus much on new years resolutions, but start planning for Lent almost immediately after Jan 1st! I look forward to the focus and contemplation and prayer and quietness and revelry of the entire season. It is intended to be a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and after MUCH prayer and contemplation I have decided upon several things to give up or embark on. Partly because I need to separate strong wants from true needs, and also because I need to come to a place where I am completely humbled so that I might be greatful for everything I have and to learn how to be a good steward of ALL that God has blessed me with! I have amassed ALMOST all the supplies needed to see me through this period and now am just waiting for it to begin. So, in no particular order, here is "THE LIST" :D :
1)I will be following 'The Maker's Diet' by Jordan Rubin for the duration of Lent. This covers several dietary 'sacrifices' I had already planned on making such as no soda, no junk food and no takeout.
2)I will be following WW1 food-saving guidelines: Wheatless Monday and Wednesday, 1 wheatless meal each day, Meatless Tuesday, Porkless Saturday(doesn't really matter because its not allowed on The Maker's Diet!) and 1 meatless meal each day.
3)I will not be purchasing anything new. Let me clarify because I can already hear the "wait, what?!". Obviously, some things have to be traditionally purchased from a store...I'm going to buy toilet paper and such and obviously New Underwear goes without saying! However, if I can borrow something that is my top option. After that, I feel like purchasing from a resale or thrift shop is the next best option.
4)I will engage in daily exercise. This is a routine I have fallen out of, and I'm paying DEARLY for it! I want to do the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in 2 years time. Therefore, in order to accomplish my goals AND be a better steward of the body God has given me, Its time to get off my behind!!
5)I will limit my time online to 7 hours a week. This may seem like alot to some people, but its FAR less than the amount of time I currently spend online!
6)I will put my entire paycheck into savings.
7)I will work on giving up vanity.
8)I will try to give up engaging in gossip.
9)I will have 4 no money days a week! In an effort to curb unneccesary spending there will be 4 days a week in which no money can be spent. This includes something as simple as change for a soda machine.
10)I am working on my self-care/hygeine routine. Not giving in to vanity, but focusing on presenting an image that glorifies God, blue hair and all! :D
11)Getting back into the routine of Giving to charity and church.
12)I will engage in Daily Prayer. Real Prayer, not 'oh God, if this traffic doesn't clear up I'm gonna kill someone!'
13)I will make a point to spend special alone time with each kid every day.
14)I will be purging my house of unneccesary clutter! My goal is to take at least 100 items to goodwill or friends garage sales.
15)I will stop speaking negatively. I will watch my tongue and not let negative words or harsh tones come out of my mouth. Moods and attitudes are contagious, and I don't want to pass negativaty along!
16)I will be making as much as possible. In an attempt to increase our self-sufficiency AND start working on the whole 'urban homesteading' thing I'm trying to make(or learn to make)as much as possible including: butter, yogurt, bread, coffee creamer, water kefir and other beverages, shampoo and conditioner, soap, laundry detergent, dish detergent and candles.
WHEW!! What a list. I know. The point is to turn things around completely, bring my world to a screeching halt, burn off the fluff and come to what is really important! I hope you all will consider taking part in Lent in SOME form, whether its as simple as being more prayerful or just being nicer to your neighbors.
Well, Lent starts tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited and ready to enter this season! Especially this year, since I'm currently entering my 8th month of pregnancy. The list I'm following this year is more or less focusing on the same ideas. I'm doing a meal plan that will(obviously) exclude wheat and dairy, along with artificial colors. I'm hoping removing the dyes will help with some behavior issues we're currently dealing with, although some of that COULD be related to the kiddos acting out because of the new baby. Also, I no longer earn a paycheck. I left work when I became pregnant so that I could homeschool my children and enjoy being at home. Therefore, I have a goal to save more money to build us an emergency cushion. The last thing I'm going to cut myself a little slack on is #16!! I'm cutting myself some slack on that until about October since I'm going to be focusing on caring for an infant, homeschooling, and shuttling kids back and forth! :) However, I do have a few NEW goals. One is to cut down on the waste so to ONLY take reuseable grocery bags with me and not use any plastic grocery bags. My BIGGEST goal in the immediate future is an unmedicated water birth for my newest little. After that, my goal is 6 months exclusively breastfeeding #3! :) As always, I really do this for me! I need it and it helps me to focus on my relationship with God. If you would like some other information You can check out THIS great post at Kitchen Stewardship!! There is loads of information on everything from recipes to decorating to sacrifice and suffering. Also, this post from Passionate Homemaking has 24 GREAT ideas on making Lent and Easter a complete family affair! It also has links to even MORE resources! I hope you all find some way to make Lent and Easter meaningful and reverent for your family!