On Ash Wednesday you are supposed to fast. Though a Catholic fast is two small meals and one regular sized meal (usually dinner). I grew up with Protestant fasting which is no food (but I think you can have water). You would think that I should be able to fast, but no. I'm a wimp. I'm an absolute bear when it comes to fasting and in our almost 11 years of marriage I think my husband cringes when he thinks about me fasting because it's certainly no picnic for him when I'm cranky. Also, for the last 6-7 years I have either been pregnant or nursing a baby and I just didn't think fasting was going to go over well for me or the baby. This year, however, I gritted my teeth and prepared myself for it.
I found fasting this year much easier, but I think it's because I was already accustomed to taking in fewer calories in order to lose the baby weight. And I made it a priority to stick with it. So hurrah! Fasting was easier. I was a little cranky at lunch time, but managed to hang in there.
This year as a family we decided to give up television. Even the kids are on board with this. It took Buggy a few days to understand that we weren't going to watch t.v. at all. But it's day 3 and she hasn't asked about it today. Boogs tried to convince me that learning shows were okay, but nope, no t.v. And on his own he decided to give up video games. He doesn't play them all that often, but I'm touched that he realizes it's a luxury. When I told him that also meant no Leapster games, he said, "That's okay, Mommy. I can handle it." I was really, really proud of him.
I'm really looking forward to this time. I wonder how much more productive I'll be without the distraction of t.v. I'm looking forward to accomplishing more and spending more time as a family playing games, listening to audiobooks, and having more quality time together.
I've also decided to do a spending fast. I'm finding that I have been looking through catalogs, online ads, and Facebook ads and thinking about what I want. Not what I need, but what I want. I realize that I'm finding it all too easy to say, "Oh, look, that's a great price, I should get that." "Or that's really cute, I'd like that." Whether or not I actually need those items. So, here's to throwing out my catalogs and deleting advertisements from inbox. Again, I wonder how much more productive I'll be if I'm not lusting after the newest thing or greatest sale.
One of my goals this Lent is also to crochet at least one baby blanket to donate to our Respect Life committee at church or pregnancy center. I hope that with all this extra time away from the t.v., I'll have time to make something for someone else. It will help me to reflect about what is important in our lives right now and to be grateful for what I have. I hope also to spend this time in mediation and prayer.
So, for the first time, I'm looking forward to this time of preparation for Easter. Instead of looking at it with dread and as an obligation, I'm looking at it as an opportunity. An opportunity to better myself, 'cause Lord knows I'm not perfect! An opportunity to share with my children our faith and to help them better understand what we believe and why we believe. An opportunity to give to others. An opportunity to spend more time with husband that doesn't include being couch potatoes in front of the television.
I hope to do with a willing and happy heart. Not always easy. I hope to do this day by day and step by step.
Wishing all of you a peaceful Lenten season. Peace.