Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What to Give Up for Lent When You Already Gave Everything Up

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.

Let's see.

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 freeat 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.

Alms giving

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.

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  1. I can so relate to the "my life is one long Lent" comment :-) While I don't have kids, between my old and new health issues, the stress of my job and family hospitalizations, it's been a rough past year. I can also relate to your comments about food and your lifestyle. I have a dumb phone, no cable but Netflix and we hardly ever go out to eat. But setting your heat at 62? I am in awe! I'm freezing when the thermostat is set at 68 (thank you, low thyroid). Regarding food, for some reason my body doesn't tolerate processed food or pesticides. So I've been eating "clean" for almost a decade. Then kidney stone surgery last year forced additional dietary changes (what, no more spinach? nuts? quinoa? how will I survive?!) That was more than 6 months ago and I'm still having a hard time adjusting. So food fasting was off the table (pun intended) for me. As for what to give up... I LOVE to crochet and recently treated myself to some gorgeous new books and patterns. Which will sit untouched for the next six weeks. I will still crochet because it's an amazing stress reliever and helps me be creative, but I will only work on charity projects or gifts. Nothing for myself. Except on Sundays :-) I had already started doing this on Fridays, so I think God was moving me in this direction. He knows I like to ease into things! God bless you and your family this Lent. May your sacrifices bear much fruit!

  2. I can totally relate too. I see the ideas for Lent (with degrees of difficulty) and I'm like... That is my life. I sometimes do have soda when we're out and about as a treat so that's it. But it feels like a kind of lame thing since it's not huge for me.

  3. I think for you and anyone else who is already living so frugally, eating so well, etc. the call isn't to give up something more, but maybe to give up an attitude associated with it. Like, for me, we we live frugally already...can't do vacations or even afford for me to take more than 7 weeks of maternity leave because I have to work to make ends meet, but I could give up complaining about it!

  4. I so relate.
    And I'm with you.
    I'm trying to give up things like bad attitude, judgement, yelling, impatience.

  5. Love your picture, I can totally relate too. I hope you have a very blessed Lent!


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