Every year around this time you start to hear chatter of what people are giving up for Lent.
And, every year, I'm all
I'm sure it's just my melancholic side, but I see everyone else doing things (like eating out, buying fancy coffees, going on vacations), and I feel like my life is already one long, long Lent. Like I said, I'm a melancholic with a flair for the melodramatic.
Sleep: check..gave that up 12 years ago when I had my first kid.
Gluten: check....gave that up 3 years ago.
Sweets: check....gave that up a few years back when I started turning into some crazy health food freak. (okay, we do eat sweets on occasion, but even then they are healthy, homemade sweets made with things like coconut flour. And, it seems pointless to give up something you don't eat very often anyway)
Junk food: check..see above
Eating out: check, check, check.
Unnecessary spending: check, check, check, check
Sleeping on a bed: check...I actually sleep on a mattress on the floor.
Showering by myself; check
Heat: check (okay, we do have heat, but we keep it at 62, so it's always way cold in our house).
TV: no cable, check (although we do have Netflix)
Smartphone use: oh, that's right, I don't have one, nor any other mobile device that one can use to check email at any place.
But, of course I haven't given everything up. I still live a life full of comforts. There IS always something left to give.
The three traditional parts of Lent are prayer, fasting and alms giving. So, this year I'm encouraging myself (and everyone else in the family) to do something in each of those three categories.
We're going to add morning prayer from the Divine Office. This can conveniently be found online for free, at any time, making my mom's book obsolete (sorry, Mom). I'm also going to add in some spiritual reading. Ben is reading chapters from the Scott Hahn Study Bible (Genesis, Revelation and the 4 Gospels). So, I'm going to try to join him for some of that.
This is where the traditional "giving something up" comes from. In the past, I've done things like giving up sweets or giving up junk food, but that's not really fair, because we don't eat those things on a regular basis anyway. Plus, I've come to realize that *I* really shouldn't give up food items for Lent. Food and I have a complicated relationship and it's just not the best for me. We already eat a fairly simple and healthy diet, anyway, so there really isn't much left to give. My kids would be thrilled to give up vegetables, but I told them that is not an option . Of course, we'll give up meat on Fridays, but beyond that, I'm not planning on doing anything food-wise.
So, I thought long and hard about what to give up and decided that I'm going to give up watching Netflix alone. I don't watch a ton of TV, but I've gotten into the habit of watching in the bedroom while nursing Elsa to sleep for a nap or at night and then sometimes watching at night. So, I'm going to give up watching during those times, and only watch if I"m watching *with* someone (usually Ben). So, this way I will pray or read more when I'm nursing Elsa and will actually get more work done in the evenings. I have work I'm supposed to be doing for this online gift shop, but it's incredibly boring and they don't pay me enough to really motivate me. But, I still should do it.
Well to start, we're going to give alms. For real. Sad to say, our charitable giving has been rather non-existent these last few years. To put it bluntly...we *were* the charity, while Ben was in law school. But now, we're back into middle-class life, so we need to look at our charitable giving and figure out what and how and where we can give. It still might be the widow's mite, but it's better than nothing.
But, I also need to give more than actual alms. Alms giving can include the giving of time. So, I'm going to give my patience to my family and stop yelling. I'm going to read more stories to my kids and cook more eggs for my husband. I'm going to give more to my house by cleaning it a bit better. I'm going to be bit more cheerful with less huffing and sighing when it comes to nursing Elsa or dealing with her multiple nocturnal awakenings and general clinginess during the day.
So, what are you doing for Lent? Do share...pretty please. I really want to know.
(Linking up for What are You Doing for Lent)