Lent 2019: Giving UP and Taking ON

I started this blog on for Lent 2011. Here I am, eight years later!!

For lunch I was finishing up my Super Burger at Taco Shop before I realized — d’oh!

At least I fasted for dinner.

This year I’m giving up anxiety and taking on blogging daily, 40 days.

I want to be in control, like most of us. I really struggle with letting God drive in my life.

And as I’m noticing, God really DOES know what He’s doing. So maybe it’s time to relax. I’m making a conscious choice to trust people more. To make decisions based more on instinct and feeling, rather than just analyzing it all first.

I haven’t wanted to blog much since I moved because it was too vulnerable. I wanted to be “established” first. Well, I’m half-way there.

Today I started my new job as a medical receptionist! I now live in Derby and work in Wichita. Phase two will be finding and moving into an apartment in town.

Now I feel more secure. So I’m going to challenge myself to blog every day.  And not only on the “good” days.

As I drove to my new job I found a new, shorter route. After, I found a parish just down the street and attended Mass to receive my ashes. I felt so calm and happy.  I went to a pizza joint and then a religious book store. Then home.

I have much to learn at this new gig and I know I will. It feels like such a wonderful fit.

Thank you, Father, for all the blessings you’ve bestowed already.

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A Baptism for Liam, an Epiphany for Me

I’ve been to Baptisms before, but today’s was special because it showed me something important about myself as well as celebrating the new faith of my friends’ first child.

It showed me that I do want a family life and I do want a Catholic marriage.

My friends Jenni and Ryan celebrated their first child, Liam. He was born on Ash Wednesday into an Irish Catholic family! They have been close friends of mine since high school, when all three of us went to youth group together. They’ve never missed a birthday of mine! They are both responsible but are silly enough to keep each other laughing, too.

Being there with our other mutual friends– also from youth group– was wonderful. They all have families now, and their kids were playing together in the back yard. I’ve seen them all be pregnant. I’ve been to their weddings and showers. I just felt so grounded and comfortable today with all of them.

A statue of the Blessed Mother was in the left corner of the yard and I found her presence very comforting. I found out it was passed down from someone in their family. My own Godmother has a similar one in her front yard. I’ve always hoped that one day when I hopefully own a home I will have one as well.

I spent the afternoon just catching up with our friends, getting to know both their families better, taking pictures and eating great food! It was wonderful to see them together as parents as well, knowing they prayed and planned for this blessing in their lives. They both have this wonderful, relaxed glow about them. And a big reason for that is their marriage is grounded in a strong friendship and shared Catholic faith.

If I’ve had doubts about whether religion is truly a deal-breaker for me in a relationship, today they were dissolved. Jenni has always been my voice of reason, reminding me that it’s not an unreasonable expectation and showing me that it’s possible in her own marriage. I’ve dated enough Atheists and people who profess no faith. They were all good men but there was definitely something elemental missing. I am unabashedly a woman of faith.

And the highlight of the day? Of course, it was holding Liam. He was so calm and cuddly. He felt comfortable with me and I got to take a few pictures with him. And for me, holding a baby is so natural and it just makes my day. To know this little being trusts you enough to relax and let you hold them is such a good feeling.

I will know when I’m in the right relationship and I’m genuinely happy single for the time being.

I’ve almost renounced my faith in the past because I wanted so much to be compatible with a man who was not religious. I am more confident now and will not compromise my religion again for the sake of being in a relationship. Now I recognize my faith is not only fundamental to my my identity, but my happiness.

Lent 2014: Giving Myself a Break

I am hard on myself. Always have been.

If I’m going to do something, I want to do it right or not at all.

I haven’t been blogging much because there are repairs being done in my apartment. I lost power in two rooms and it turned out, the whole apartment needed to be re-wired. It was such a big job that two electricians passed on it. But the guys who are working on it have done phenomenal work.

It’s actually kind of hilarious, because I had my alarm clock plugged in the kitchen. Boy, that got me out of bed! I had no power in my bedroom. When I lost power in my bathroom, I borrowed a large flashlight from my Dad and that was how I navigated. Having no power in my room seemed to be a great thing actually, because I had no ability to read in bed. I slept better and faster.

To compensate for the lack of light in the bathroom, I moved my make-up mirror, make-up and hair products to my desk– in the living room. And it worked fine! My desk faces a big window, and I just opened the blinds.

That’s how life is. You have to make constant adjustments when things break or don’t go according to plan. Large swatches of drywall had to be cut and removed to get this done. But they worked tirelessly, even into the night. Fortunately, I had a place to stay while this was being done.

Several switches have been replaced now. These workers are thorough. Any problem they found, they fixed– even if it wasn’t part of the original plan. My place is now entirely rewired, and by tonight it should be repainted as well.

I will be happy to return home, although a lot of work awaits me. I will have to move all the furniture back, replace the pictures on the walls. Clean up the dust– it’s everywhere! Even inside my closet, because that light was out too.

I’m grateful to be renting, since I definitely could not have afforded this myself if I owned it. I live in a safe building, and am fortunate to have a landlord that got this done quickly.

It’s all perspective.

This morning, I had planned to go to 9 a.m. Mass to get my ashes.

Ash Wednesday is always my favorite.

I missed it– because I overslept. My alarm clock was set 12 hours off.

At first I felt disappointed when I woke up, 49 minutes after I should have been there.

But I decided not to start the day with regret or self-admonition.

I decided instead to be grateful for the extra sleep, and move on with the day.

I can still get ashes tonight, and I will make that on time.

I will get my apartment set up again, and start over. Rise from the dust, just as we rise again from ashes.

I’m making a lot of progress in my life right now– but I just want to keep that to myself.

For a change this year, I won’t be declaring my Lent promise or reporting about it– either here or Facebook.

I’m keeping a promise to myself, and I’m keeping it privately.

I’m taking a break from this blog while I do that. I wish you all a wonderful Lent– don’t be so harsh with yourself.

Finding the Angle: Lent 2012

Last year I began this blog a week later than planned.

But I started it because of Lent.

I have five days until Ash Wednesday, and absolutely no idea how I will honor it this year.

I thought about giving up my blog for Lent– it truly is my favorite thing. But that seems like the easy way out. Sacrifice always begets wisdom.  Giving up what we cherish is difficult to do, but the obvious angle.

Deprivation also provides immediate and continuous inspiration.

The reporter in me wants to dig deeper.

The blog forced me to adhere to my Lenten promise last year, just as my column forced me follow through with deleting facebook.

Maybe what I ought to give up this year is blogging about what I decide to do for Lent, regardless of what I choose.

THAT would really be difficult.