My mom adventures in Fort Collins


Dear Lent, a confession

I’d like to give a public progress report of my lenten resolutions. I gave up facebook for Lent, and this is something that I’d done the past two years. This year, I decided to ratchet things up a notch if you’ll remember. I gave myself the additional ascetic observances of only an hour per day of internet time and restricting my consumerism.

On the logging off facebook front, I’m pleased to say that has been a major success. I did realize recently that I changed my fb password prior to Ash Wednesday, and I now have no clue what I changed it to. Hopefully it’s safe in my cookies. The hope with giving up fb was that I would make more of an attempt to connect with others through email, phone calls and snail mail. I’ve sent several cards and letters since lent began. However, there are several friends that I have had on my list to “catch up” with for a long time, and I’ve still yet to call them. Grade: B

Now, as for the time I spend on the internet, that’s a tougher claim. Though I did completely log off for the entirety of my week in Sedona (and I figured out how to post in the future—or, rather, set my account to post for me), I’m afraid an hour a day is probably a far cry from what I’ve actually done each day. I justify it by doing most of my online time after the kids are asleep, but nonetheless, I’ll try to work on this for the remaining two weeks of lent (and, really, I should probably work on this for life). Pinterest is easy enough, but it’s wordpress that is my new time suckage. There’s just so much to read! So much to enjoy! I can’t help myself. Grade: C-

The most challenging lenten resolution of the bunch is my self-imposed task of restricting my purchases. This is actually a bit pathetic. I’m sorry to say that the thought doesn’t even enter my head when I’m in the store, being lured by luxuries such as a microplane (I did buy this, but I justified it by buying it for my mom for her birthday). Also, we went to Trader Joe’s, and I cannot restrict myself when I see things in this store. Since my last visit to TJ’s was two years ago, I justified it. I did buy two books for myself (justified since I couldn’t wait out the hold list at the library), and I bought some Easter gifts on Amazon. I can honestly say I was a complete failure at the grocery store as well. When Simply Orange is on sale, I cannot resist the urge to stockpile. It’s in my blood. The upshot of all my purchases is that our refrigerator now runs more efficiently. Grade: F

Honestly, the point of all of this is to remind myself of the lenten season, to appeal to my own interest in living a value-oriented life and reconnect with my catholic heritage. Since lent began, I have not gone to church. I have not opened the Bible. I have prayed. I have considered joining a church, but the only remotely religious appeal I have made is opening up this book I had bought long ago. I did this yesterday, so it’s not exactly something I’ve been working on all through lent. All Saintsis a book organized into daily mini-biographies of inspiring individuals from history. Some of these folks are Catholic, but many are not. As luck would have it (and if you are like many people I know, you would call this a “sign”), the biography for yesterday, March 24, was that of Archbishop Oscar Romero. I don’t know if there is any single person in history that could make me feel more proud of being a Catholic. So there’s that. I still have two weeks left of lent to work on this aspect. But I have been reinvigorated by the words of Archbishop Romero many times.

Icon from bridgebuilding.com

I leave you with this, the prayer of Archbishop Oscar Romero, martyred in 1980 while saying mass in El Salvador:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Amen.

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Love me some Fat Tuesday
February 21, 2012, 5:03 pm
Filed under: totally unrelated to kids | Tags: , , , ,

Oh, it’s the day before Ash Wednesday and all through the house, a mommy is planning to be pure and devout.

Just kidding.

A fairly innocent Mardi Gras banner, courtesy of jerryssandwiches.com

Actually, as I was sharing in a comment on a fabulous blog called Rich, Full Life, I do enjoy maintaining a certain amount of cultural catholic traditions (even if I haven’t been to mass in a year). The lenten season is one of those times where I really feel the catholic girl in me coming out.

Tomorrow, my lenten resolutions begin in earnest. I find that it’s easier for me to adopt a practice of fasting and asceticism for 40 days. As opposed to the New Year’s resolutions that I should keep for the rest of my life. My two biggies for the pre-Easter season?

  1. No Facebook
  2. No buying stuff

Allow me to elaborate. No Facebook is pretty self-explanatory. I do not allow myself to log in to FB. I do allow myself to log in to Pinterest, wordpress.com and check email, though. In the two previous years that I’ve done this, I haven’t had these other equally addicting sites. Soooo, I decided that I’m only allowed an hour of online pinterest and wordpress perusing. Since the whole purpose of this is to connect via more direct forms of communication, I am allowed and encouraged to use the phone and write–gasp!–snail mail letters.

As for “not buying stuff,” it goes something like this: Aside from groceries, medication, dog food and household essentials (i.e. if our coffee pot breaks, GOD FORBID!), I am not allowed to purchase anything. Not fast food, not clothes, not crafting supplies (this one might be the most difficult for me to abide by… oh, sweet mary, I’ve got a craft fetish). The idea here is that I can work with what I’ve got! And, as an added caveat to the grocery shopping, I’m not allowed to stockpile. I am allowed to shop for perishables but not for anything else unless I intend to use it in the next week or so. I am a horrible “oh-I’ll-throw-this-into-the-cart-’cause-it’s-on-sale-and-we’ll-use-it-at-some-point” type of shopper. The idea here is to live within my pantry’s means. To use it up. To be intentional about my purchases.

I think my two resolutions are big for me. To be more intentional about communicating with people. And to be more intentional and conscious of my consumption.

Now, how does this all relate back to the Big JC? Why, I’m so glad that you asked. Actually, I was once a very devout girl. I think someday in the future, once my kids are older and life is a bit more predictable, I’d like to again adopt some religious practices. But for now, this is kind of it. My spiritual and religious life has become something personal, and I don’t get a chance to share it often. This is one little way where I feel connected to the larger catholic community. I also adore the thought of leading a more simple life. Making mine less technologically enhanced and less consumer driven are only two small ways that I can make a more intentional effort at living simply. Plus it’s hard for me. The whole point is to do something that is hard, to put yourself in solidarity with others who suffer. Granted, I’m well aware that another person’s starvation is in no way even remotely on par with my self-induced facebook boycott, but there are many ways that I hope this will translate to me being more aware of practicing a better, more loving life. And, that, my dear friends, is totally what JC was all about!

But for today, you’ll find me on the computer. Gorging myself. And yesterday I bought myself an $80 pair of workout pants. Yes, you heard me right. Laissez le bon temps rouler!

What about you? Binging on anything exciting today? Preparing for any austerity tomorrow?