Friday, February 13, 2015

SQT: On the Brink of Another Lent - Fasting, Prayer, & Giving at the Casa

Another week down, another Friday arrived. Yeehaw! Or the heck is it mid-February already?? LENT IS COMING! LENT IS COMING! And by that, I really mean to say holy moly next week is Ash Wednesday! We have talked a little bit about what disciplines we want to take up for Lent, but now it's nearly the time when the rubber meets the road. Here's a glimpse into what Lent may look like at Casa McCormick...

I wrote a while back about looking into the Whole30 initiative. It may have come out of left field for the Hubs, so we took some time to look at the program together, and it is decided that Lent will be a Whole30 Lent for the adults of Casa McCormick. I'll have a little more about our decision to do this on the blog next week. 

He is getting excited, and I am starting to wonder what the heck I just agreed to now that the actuality of it is staring me in the face. I've got the shopping list, looked up some recipes, and can absolutely get on board for the first week. I figure if we can make it work for a solid week, I can always lather, rinse and repeat for the next three. The part I am struggling with is breakfast. 

I have shared before that I am not a huge breakfast eater, and the Hubs usually grabs something quick and quiet before heading out. We don't want to make the Whole30 a "all egg all the time" plan, so I'm throwing this out there for those who have made the walk before us - what are some good, quick breakfast options that are not all egg based? I'm game for "prep ahead to grab and go," which is what I am sensing will be the reality.

This should be quite the adventure. At least they don't take away the caffeine, so I won't be completely unbearable! 

The message of God's love has been on my heart as of late. How much would change if we could see each other as the beloved of God, and how much we could do if we always aspired to give ourselves in love to one another instead of worrying about what we were getting. A friend made me a drawing with the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, "Lord, teach me to give without counting the cost," and it resonates so deeply in me with regard to how we treat love. With Valentine's Day upon us, so many out there are angry, lonely, depressed, and frustrated because they feel they have no one special with whom to share the day. Sure, I am on the flip side of marriage so the singletons may guffaw at my words. However, that sentiment just isn't true! If we saw each other as precious to God, and ourselves as an extension of God's love to the world, we would see that we are surrounded by people with whom we can share our love, not just tomorrow, but every day. It may take on a different appearance than the vision in our heads, but it exists in great abundance.

We are going to be about sharing love this Lent. I am working on a list of weekly Love Dares (can I use that without infringing on some copyright?) for the kids to share the love of God with those around us. I'll post those on the blog next week once they are finalized, and you are welcome to join in (and add your own!). 

One things I absolutely love about being Catholic is the communion of Saints. Sadly, I know very little about far too many of them. As Li'l G begins to devour the written word, and the Judester is starting to take more interest in storytelling, it is the perfect opportunity for us to delve into the lives of the Saints more devotedly. I downloaded Woodeene Koenig-Bricker's 365 Saints which appear to be exactly what I was seeking for a quick study of the Saints. The book provides a daily summary of the life of a Saint, with a related theme for prayer and reflection questions. The writing is simple enough to be understood by children, but deep enough that I learn something as well. Plus, it wets my appetite to learn more as we go along.

Numerous Saints and Popes, and most recently Pope Francis, have been reminding us that when we live in excess, we are in reality stealing from the poor. Another thing we are taking on this Lent is "40 bags in 40 Days" (which will be a bit of a surprise to the Hubs, but maybe not entirely). Since the great flood of August 2014, we have been cleaning house and trying to pare down the clutter. Lent gives us a perfect time to pray about what we truly need, how much we trust in God's providence (a la "if I give away the kids' old clothes and I get pregnant again we won't have anything!), and what truly belongs here and what would be better used in someone else's home. 

This year, I am going to try to make the kids part of the pruning. We have been talking about how there are other children who have nothing compared to the overflowing toys, clothing, and just about everything else they have. Li'l G has started to warm up to the idea. That is to say that instead of screaming NO!!!!, she now thinks that maybe she could give away just "some of the things, but not all of them." I'm guessing I could wrangle five bags out of her between old clothes, shoes and toys they have outgrown. Judah may contribute without his knowledge. We shall see how that goes.

I usually take up an extra prayer practice each Lent. In the past I have said a nightly Rosary or gone to daily Adoration if only for 10 minutes. I don't think the daily Adoration will be on the table again until both kids are in school, but it was one of the best experiences of prayer I have ever had. With the message of God's love being so strongly etched on my heart right now, I will be praying a chaplet of Divine Mercy daily, altering my daily offering between the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. I invite anyone and everyone to join me! 

Another annual practice is the abandonment of the phone between dinner and the kids' bedtime (minus calls and important texts, of course). Too much of my time is wasted checking Facebook, email, and Instagram obsessively. In my head, I know there is nothing that I will miss if I simply put the phone down for a few hours, but those darn notifications are just too tempting! I am hoping to spend that time more productively, or in leisure with my family instead.

Last, but not least, and perhaps the most challenging - I am striving to be more intentional in my relationships. I participated in the Blessed is She sisterhood chat on Twitter earlier this week, and I was reminded of how important it is to all of us to stay connected in a real way. That doesn't exclude virtual connections, because frankly I think we misunderstand relationship if we discount those connections made over the internet; those are still very much "in real life." It does, however, stress the need for physical connections in addition since we are created as sensual beings. We need friends and relationships we can touch and see, not just on a screen or through a phone. (By the way, if you are a Catholic woman and haven't checked out Blessed is She, you really should!)

My mom moved here last mother's day, and while we see her more often than when she was in Oregon, I will say that we don't see her as much as she would like. I have lost touch with friends with whom I would like to reconnect, or at least connect more often. I've allowed social media to be my primary source of conversation, and over Lent, I would like to be more intentional about reaching out more personally. I'd love to say I am going to write letters, but I know myself and I am still working on a little letter writing project I committed to in December! (Sorry ladies - I am 90% there, honest!) Nonetheless, more personal communication and investment, here I come. Now, I am still an introvert, so I am not promising daily calls and visits - let's not get crazy!

Now it's your turn! What are your Lenten plans (realizing that God has His plans and is probably laughing pretty heartily right now)?

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  1. I am joining (copying) your phone abandonment between dinner and kids' bedtime. It's perfect! We're praying for a different group of people every week of Lent. And we have a little Lent board that we're going to cover with acts of prayer, fasting, and alms giving throughout Lent. This is our first Lent activity as a family... Wish us luck! ;)

    1. Oh my gosh - it is the HARDEST one! You'd think getting rid of things or clean eating would be harder, but no. It's clear what my attachment is for sure. :/ Praying your Lent is going well!

  2. I love your idea of giving away stuff during Lent! What a great way to share your blessings and to help clean house all at the same time! I don't think that I will be able to make it to 40 bags this year, but next year after our daughter has arrived, we will definitely have some baby stuff to share! Stopping by from Blessed Is She!

    1. Thanks for stopping over - I'm so glad you did! We are definitely at a point where we need to purge. We did a ton of throwing out over the summer when our basement was flooded, but now it's time to be more intentional. It is also an exercise in trust - we held on to so much baby stuff "just in case." I need to trust that if God desires us to have another, He'll get us the "stuff" we need to go with him or her. :)

  3. Thank you!! I will definitely be taking a look at that recipe. We are actually struggling lunches. I guess I need to make more for dinner!

    I totally know what you mean about being ready for Lent and not at the same time. We are almost a week in, and I feel like I am JUST getting into the right headspace. And still not completely. :) Hope your Lent is going well. :)