Lent is quickly approaching...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

c a l m
{an old photo of mine}

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.  As Catholics, we try to make some kind of Lenten sacrifice. But Lent is a great way for any Christian to try to make some sacrifice or pledge to prepare for the Easter miracle. We can give something up or make a concerted effort to do something that is hard for us to do.  Over the years, my lenten sacrifices have really taught me a lot.  As a child one year I actually gave up sucking my thumb as a lenten sacrifice.  Can you believe that?  I was quite the committed thumb sucker. Seriously, that is how I quit.

While some people dread Lent, I actually look forward to it.  I look at it as a time to be really disciplined.  And it is only 40 days.  I feel like I can be disciplined for 40 days.  One year I gave up blogging.  One year I gave up shopping (that was hard but very good). Dave LOVED that!!

Last year, I added exercise (that was tough) AND got rid of 40 bags of stuff in 40 days.  We also did the Lenten jar which was awesome and Kate has been asking when we "get to do it again!"  You can read about it here but it is GREAT for families to do with small  (or BIG) children.

So, this year, I am debating what to do.  I am definitely doing the 40 bags in 40 days again.  I loved that. It was a sacrifice in that I had to clean, de-clutter and organize pretty much every single day but it was SO rewarding to be rid of excess stuff. The idea is that material things and clutter take our time and focus away from God.  And I think that is true.  So, I am working on a schedule to go room by room and purge.  I will post it here soon in case anyone wants to join in.

I want to do one more thing though too.  I am considering giving up gluten. Even though I am mostly gluten free for about 5 years, this would be hard.  See, when the doctors told Harry he could add gluten back into his diet, we all started eating it again.  And I am not sure that was the best decision for me.  I have gained weight.  I feel tired a lot.  I know that I can handle some occasional gluten in my diet but I think I eat too much now.  So, I thought if I gave it up for Lent, I can slowly (after Lent) go back to my 90% Gluten Free way of living that works best for me (I do not have Celiac's disease, I just know that eating too much gluten does not agree with me).

I have also considered giving up shopping again.  That was so powerful for me to just focus on the absolute minimum needs of our family.  I gained a lot of perspective that year.

I have also considered volunteering in some way that takes me out of my comfort zone. I expect that would be a long term commitment but I could get the ball rolling for Lent.

So, I need to spend the next few days thinking about what I need to do the most right now and what would be a good sacrifice.  How about you?  Anyone else doing anything for Lent?


P.S. I am still chugging along in my Bible reading plan for the new year. I am reading the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.  I am actually a few days behind but doing 2 readings a day to catch up.  You can start anytime.  It is SO doable and really good for me. It helps to keep my focus off the unimportant minutiae that we all get caught up in.

22 comments:

  1. I also look forward to Lent! I recently read the book "7 - an experimental mutiny against excess" by Jen Hatmaker. Great book, almost like a seven month long Lent. Life changing/challenging! I will probably borrow some of her ideas, but just for forty days as a beginning.
    I am also reading the New Testament, Proverbs, and Psalms. My last plan included the Old Testament and I lost interest. I will have to try it again someday!

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  2. I am actually looking forward to Lent this year- I'm giving up refined sugars. I've done it before (and acutally lost weight- what does that say about my addiction?!) and it was HARD the first 1/2 but so worth it in the end. I'm starting on the 23rd though bc the 22nd is my bday and well...I know I will fail if I start on my birthday.

    KK

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  3. wow, I am so inspired...I admire your commitment, especially giving up the shopping and reading through the bible..

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  4. kim, i actually came over here this morning because i thought of you... when i woke up with a headache for the fourth day in a row.. i am thinking maybe i am eating too much sugar..'i always do:) but maybe i just cant take it anymore and wondered about you and if your strict diet a yr ago or so had made any difference...just had to comment on the coincidence of your post...also britton is in new Orleans, right now for mardi gras which is the only reminder i had that it was getting ready to be lent..you know...fat Tuesday,ha..so i should try to eat more protein but that is so hard for me, where john does not think he has eaten if no meat was involved, the carnivore ...thanks for always being such a great motivator about all kinds of good things...

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    1. Sharon, I am so sorry to hear about your headaches. Yes, that very strict diet the doctor put me on a year and 1/2 ago DID work. I did not get migraine for a year!!! It also helped with a few other things so I am very glad that I did it. I still get occasional headaches now but NOTHING like what I used to get. The diet was to completely rid my body of candida though and that needs to be doe under a Dr.'s supervision because she had me on a medication for it too in conjunction with the diet.

      However, different food sensitivities DO trigger headaches. For me it is white carbs as much as I love them. SO, think about what you have been eating lately. Also, for me, big changes in weather (barometric pressure) causes awful several day headaches. Hope you feel better soon.

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  5. I'm not Catholic, so I know very little, except what you've just explained, about Lent. So is Lent just for people of the Catholic religion? I like the idea and belief behind Lent and what it symbolizes. I'm Christian, so is this something I could do? I'm sure Lent means more to someone of the Catholic faith, but I'd like to participate.
    I just had a little idea for volunteering and service. My family and I decided to make a yearly tradition of making sack lunches and taking them downtown and passing them out ourselves to the people who are homeless or in need in some way. We packed up over 40 sack lunches, wagons and our family and passed out the lunches. It was WAY out of my comfort zone, but the most memorable act of service I have ever done...up to this point. I posted about it on my blog, so if you want you can see what we did.
    Best Wishes with your Lent ideas and your reading.

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    1. Hi Susan. I used to think that only Catholic people observed Lent but I have learned that many Christians prepare for Easter by observing this sacred time. According to what I have researched, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans also observe the season of Lent. I do not think it would go against any Christian faith to try to draw nearer to God for the 40 days before Lent. It is meant to be a time of reflection, repentance, discipline and some fasting (for adult Catholics- no meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays). I love your suggestion for service. We did this once of twice too and it made a huge impact on our oldest son. Might be time to do it again. Thank you.

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    2. Susan, What a great idea for a service project for a family! I wanted to let you know that long before I became Catholic, I still observed Lent in a way as a Methodist. I feel that now as a Catholic, I have a much deeper understanding of this season, and I know it's much more than just "giving up" something like chocolate or sweets. I think I find myself quieting more and truly drawing closer to Christ by spending more time in spiritual reading, prayer, and just listening. I truly wish I would focus like this all year through but somehow when the season is over, I find I let the busy-ness of life overtake me once more. But truly it is not just a Catholic thing, it's for any Christian who wants to set aside 40 days to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ.

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  6. Although I'm not a Catholic, I feel very "pulled" to make a sacrifice this year...it will be my first time!

    Surprisingly, my two "give ups" are similar to your ones, so Im hoping you post on how you are doing and help keep this "first timer" motivated and on track :D

    Good luck for Wed 22 Feb!!!!! Im feeling excited to start.........

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  7. I loved the idea of 40 bags during the 40 days of lent. I have already started...it still counts, right?!?!
    I have gotten rid of 20 GARBAGE bags of my boys clothes. We have a great system worked out with some other families. I take my 14 year old's clothes give them to a 2nd grader, they give me his clothes for my 6 year old and then I take his clothes and give them to another family with 2 boys aged 2 and 4!
    I know some bags come back in but I am doing a much better job of keeping stuff out. It feels amazing to be de-cluttering our house and knowing someone can use the stuff.
    Thanks so much for the idea!!
    Andrea

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  8. As a practising Catholic all my life I have always loved Lent. I guess I always thought of it as a chance at a new beginning. I love the 40 bags idea. I will try this. On the advice of a friend my Lenten sacrifce is this: no food between 6pm and 6am. I love to eat at night so this should be very hard for me!

    Janet

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  9. I love the 40 bags idea, Kim! I hope you all are doing well.

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  10. Your 40 bags thing reminds me of Jen Hatmaker's new book "7" - A Mutiny Against Excss!! I really thought about doing something like that - since it focuses on our excess in many different ares (including spending)! Ad what we put in or bodies. I have been waiting to do so something like give up sugar for lent, it somehow, I know I'd turn it into a diet and it would be become about ME, not God!!

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  11. I love it when you talk about Lent! We are going to have a family meeting and hopefully incorporate many of these suggestions into the next 40 days! Thank you!!

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  12. Celiac runs rampent in my family but I have only the genetic marker, not celiac itself so supposedly I can have gluten. My doctor suggested I try 6 weeks off gluten and then go back on gluten and see if I felt different. I realized quickly that my energy almost doubled when off gluten. I can get away with a very occasional dose of gluten but in my home and during typical days I stay very far away from it. Makes a huge difference. I'd encourage you to try the 6 week approach. Good luck!

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  13. While I was reading this, I felt as if I was reading my own post! My son Charlie can't he eat gluten (he gets migraines when he does..), and I am now gluten free and feel so much better. I wish I could get my other two children to stop eating it as well, but it's difficult to do unless you absolutely have to (pizza is our nemesis... so yummy but it makes us feel awful).
    Lately I've been focusing on limiting my shopping. Let's face it, most of us don't need as much as we buy. I actually feel so much better when I only have the necessities in my life. Of course, as a shop owner, this is a real challenge, but also an interesting experiment... selecting only the items in my shop that I absolutely think my clients need and will love... focusing on quality and steering away from superfluous purchases.
    Although I'm not Catholic, I think we can all benefit from the sacrifices required during this time of year. Wishing you a meaningful holiday. xo Brooke

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  14. I'm planning on doing 40 bags in 40 days, too. I find that I feel better mostly gluten-free, also. My son is gf, so all of our meals are gf, but I've been known to grab a treat when at Starbucks by myself. They're so yummy, but I do find myself in a fog for the rest of the day. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Hello! I am also starting the 40 days challenge this week! I am hosting a link up party on my blog right now - feel free to link this post up here: http://theterpblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/40-bags-in-40-days.html

    Thanks!

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  16. Hello Kim! I jumped over here after I saw your comment on Stephanie's blog. In late 2010, the doc told my hubby that he had a positive blood result for celiac disease but the endoscopy showed no damage to his gut. Regardless, he was told to go off gluten. It was hard for him so for Lent 2011, I gave it up with him in support. Lo and behold, tummy troubles I'd had for YEARS disappeared. I have now been gluten-free for a year. My kids aren't entirely, mostly for budget reasons - GF products are super expensive. However, I am beginning to get more confident at cooking things from scratch, and I am experimenting with different dishes. So maybe they'll be GF soon.

    Last year, I embarked on Lent in a really excited way and this year I feel the same. Some of the habits I formed last year have waned a bit and I am wanting to get them back. Exercise is one. Like you and Stephanie, I don't really like exercise. I like how I feel afterward, but getting there is tough. Last year my DH and I got up 6 days a week at 5:30am to exercise and this year we are going to do the same. I wish I could do it just for myself because it's good for me, but at least I can do it for God, right?

    I'm going to try the 40 bags in 40 days. I like the idea of going through each room in my house. I really need to do that.

    Glad I found your blog. Sorry for the long comment! :)

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    1. Hi Kimberlie, Welcome! I are Gluten free for about 5 years and I did feel good. We have been enjoying a more "normal" way of eating for about 6 months and I should for sure scale back a bit:)

      Kim

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  17. I am in a fog alot and so so sluggish. I need to look into gluten free. That might be hard here in the land of Tortillas!!! lol

    I love all of your ideas for Lent. I recently fasted but oh my goodness....the part about what I gave up didn't go so well but God wrestled with me all month and He won:) Amazing when you give yourself to Him and ask Him to reveal things in your life that need improvement and then I am always surprised when He shows me.

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Thank you for your kindness.