Lent…why I’m doing what I’m doing

Matthew 6:16-18
 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Lent begins tomorrow and I’m embarking on a journey that is unlike previous seasons.  I’m not exactly sure why it feels different this year, but it certainly does.  I’ll share a little here, just as I have shared a little information with some others.  My husband will likely be the only one who knows all of my Lenten “goals”…he can help me with accountability and I can keep from being too much of a hypocrite or a boastful person.

In general, I have a desire to live a more simple life.  I want to be more disciplined (I’ve got 5:00 am bootcamp down…time to move on to some other areas of life!).  I want to be less dependent on or distracted by social media.  I want to spend my time participating in enriching activities that make me a healthier person, a better teacher to my children, a more devoted and attentive wife.  I want to have routines that help me keep better order in my home.  I want to connect with friends in real life more often.

I want to write something meaningful and I want to read something meaningful.  For now, that means less facebook updates and more blog posts.  And it also means more books and less facebook comments.  Seriously, am I alone here? It’s really not the Facebook statuses that trip me up…it’s the fact that I click to read comments.  I don’t mind if you post a status I don’t really care about…I’m certain I do the same to you.  But what compels me to click on the comments of a status I don’t really find interesting?  To read what other people (often people I don’t even know) have to say about an article or a picture or a status? Time waster, that’s me.

Since I write about my fitness and healthy eating on here, I wanted to share about what dietary changes I’m making during Lent.  I’ve decided to give up meat and dairy…so pretty much vegan, but I’m not promising I won’t eat honey.  What else outside of meat and dairy breaks the vegan rules? Oh, I’m ill-prepared, I’m afraid! I’m also giving up sugar….pause for dramatic effect…..sugar will be the hardest for me, I think.  I already eat plenty of meals without meat.  I do eat dairy on a regular basis..mostly in the form of plain Greek yogurt or Laughing Cow cheese.  Oh, and my protein powder is whey-based.

(Pause to order vegan protein powder from amazon.  Thanks Megan!)

And, there’s definitely some sugar eating going in my world.  I try to check labels, but sugar seems to be in everything! I don’t do artificial sweeteners, so it’ll be interesting to see what I have to leave out of my regular diet by eliminating sugar.  Ahem…Starbucks. Clif Bars, Luna Bars. Gum?! Uh…I’ll have to think about that one!

And typically, Friday is my “cheat” day.  Or my “treat” day. Or the day I eat whatever I want and I don’t count calories at all. (See also: gluttony) In the Catholic faith, we abstain from eating meat (with the exception of fish) on Fridays during Lent.  This is an extra sacrifice to make, helping us to keep the focus on Christ’s sacrifice for us.  So…feasting on a bunch of junk on a Friday doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice to me.  Plus…my weight loss isn’t where I want it to be so cheat days don’t make much sense.  I might allow myself a “treat” during Sunday school.  I typically have a protein bar (to avoid the donuts!) with my coffee…and I may still do that.  Some Catholics break their Lenten fasts on Sunday, because technically the Sundays aren’t counted when you count the 40 days of Lent. And Sunday is always a celebration of the resurrected Christ.  But…I’m sticking to the plan from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.

Most of you have traveled here via Facebook…so you already know I’m taking a break from that as well.  I hope to return and participate in connecting with friends via the internet in a more balanced manner.  (See also: I won’t check Facebook just before I fall asleep every night and just as I wake up each morning.)  But for now, I know that a season of logging off is most beneficial.  My blogs will still link to facebook automatically, but you can also subscribe to my blog and you will get an email when I post something new.  If you “like” or comment on facebook, I won’t see it until after Easter…so feel free to leave a comment on the actual blog if you want me to see it right away, or if you want a reply. 

One more item to mention, Pinterest.  Oh the mixed feelings! Eh, I don’t actually get all that caught up in thinking/feeling anything specific about Pinterest.  However, in the spirit of being simple and productive and participating in enriching activities…I’m not going to pin anything new during Lent.  I think I’ll just browse the nearly 3000 pins I currently have if I need a little crafty or kitchen-y inspiration.  More doing, less looking.  Gasp! But what if I need a new vegan recipe?! I guess I’ll just use the ol’ fashioned cookbook.  Or maybe…google.  Yep.  Pinterest is the new google, right? Like a picture dictionary of sorts.  Maybe I’ll actually save and print the recipe…and not just pin it to be lost in the wonderland of my account.  Yep.  Maybe so.

So I’ll sign off now to finish my Fat Tuesday feasting…on sugary, meaty, dairy goodness.  And maybe some more pinning of vegan foods…just because.  And I’ll be on Facebook right up until bedtime, when I delete the app from my phone.  And……freeeeedom! : )

Are you observing Lent this year? Feel free to share your ideas for this season of preparation.  And, if you don’t observe Lent…maybe it’s still a good time to evaluate priorities and focus.  Or…if you’ve got everything figured out and life is in perfect balance…please share your insight!



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