Saturday, February 9, 2013

Quick Takes

I know, I know, it's a day late, but I'm finally joining Jen again and doing quick takes.  

1.   We're snowed in up here in Maine, so I'm enjoying it.  Our life has been so "go-go-go" since we moved back East,  I've found it very hard to justify sitting in front of the computer and blogging.   Spending quality time with my kiddos has been higher up on the priority list, which means the blog has suffered from a bit of neglect.   Now I have NO excuse - we've been stuck inside for two days now with no way to get out (yay!)..........and the kids are happily building a fort in the playroom, after plenty of Mom and Dad time.  

2.   Guess what, fellow Catholics.  Lent starts this week.  Doesn't that seem crazy?  It seem so early this year, but I'm pretty sure we say that every year.   We're just coming down from the high of Christmas season, and it seems a bit daunting to be thrown right into a season of fasting and repentance.  I'm actually really excited about it.  I'm feeling very challenged with Lent this year - like I'm being called to really focus this Lent and challenge myself to go further than any other Lent before.   

3.  Which brings me to the "theme" of today's quick takes:  my Lenten plan.  I spent an hour in Adoration the other night, and brought my journal.   I asked Him what He wanted from me this Lent, and, well.......He didn't disappoint (of course!).   He let me have it, the good and the bad.  

4.  I'm a part of a fantastic online Catholic Moms group, and one of the things we do every year is participate in a "saint" and a "virtue" of the year (if you want -it's not forced upon anyone).   I always enjoy this practice - I'm kind of "saint illiterate" and enjoy the opportunity to grow in knowledge of the saints.  The virtue of the year is always a challenge - we're asked to learn about our virtue, reflect upon it, and strive to grow in that virtue throughout the coming year.   It definitely pushes you out of your comfort zone, if you let it.    This year's saint for me (St. Gerard Majella) and virtue (mortification) was definitely hand-picked for me by the Holy Spirit.  On Wednesday, when I sat there in Adoration, I realized just how much, and how much this Lent was going to challenge me to grow.  

  We all know how hard the past few months have been on me with the miscarriage and all.   While it's been incredibly difficult and I've been struggling with depression, I'm starting to see some glimmers of hope.   St Gerard has been an amazing go-to guy for me - there's a reason he's been my "saint of the year" I'm sure.   I have no doubt that this Lent is going to build upon what I've already learned during this miscarriage experience, and my guess is that it's going to be built upon my virtue for the year: mortification.   I'm realizing, through the past few months, how joy-filled suffering can really be.   I've experienced incredible Love already, and I'm realizing how much more I yearn for Him.   I don't want to be pulled down by the "trappings" of this world - I want to live for the next world.   

5.  So this Lent, I'm hopeful and excited.  And ambitious.   The season of Lent has three "pillars" built into it in the Catholic Church:  prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  The other night, while listening to Him, I realized just how much I tend to ignore two of those. Not this year.  I have a plan for each of the pillars.   First up - prayer.   I'd admit - I'm way ahead on this one.....if you compare me to the Heidi of ten years ago.  I'm nowhere near where I should be - it's easy to convince myself that I'm "too busy" to pray......or leave it for late at night and fall asleep while attempting to pray.    This has to change.  My life should revolve around Him...and it can't if I'm not talking to Him.    My plan for this Lent regarding prayer?   Make it front and center of our daily home life.    I'll listen to St. Josemaria and conquer that "heroic minute" - the moment my alarm clock goes off.   I'll actually get up and spend that time before the kids wake up in prayer and with my spiritual reading (I've got a couple of books sitting on my bedside table already).    The kids and I will pray the Angelus at noon, and we'll make it a point to end our day with a family rosary.  Prayer must be the backbone of our daily life.

6.  Almsgiving:  another one that I've often ignored.  It's easy to avoid this one if you're already throwing money in the basket every week.   Last year, we really focused on this one, and we've been blessed abundantly in return.   I have no doubt that if I give until it hurts......He will not be outdone in generosity.  So this year, I will give all of the money I save with fasting away.   Mike and I have already decided to tithe by sponsoring a couple different parish ministries, in addition to the money saved while fasting.  The kids will also be asked to give this Lent - part of their allowance into the collection basket at Church (or another charity of their choice).  

7.  Fasting:  alright, here's the biggie.   This is where I really feel called to challenge myself (well, other than the heroic minute  - I told Mike about that part of my plan and he laughed at me.  It will definitely be a mortification that would make St. Josemaria proud!).   When I sat there, reflecting on what would be a significant sacrifice for me.......two things kept coming back and back in my head.   It's scary and intimidating to imagine giving this particular item up for the 40 days of Lent....but I will do it.  I am 100% confidant that this is what He's calling me to do.   Here it goes - a public declaration that you all can hold me to:   

I will give up coffee and drastically limit social media (no Facebook, and only the moms' group for the daily prayer, readings, and resolutions) for Lent.

When I told the kids last night at dinner what I was planning on doing (as we were helping them decide what to give up), this is what I saw:

No coffee or Facebook for Mommy?  Eek!

It's going to be a challenging Lent.  I'm sure of that.   But I'm feeling up to the challenge.  He has forced me to grow in so many ways over the past few months, and the desire to grow even more is strong.   My will, however, is weak.   These little mortifications - and they really are little, but the attachment to them is STRONG - are necessary.   My attachment to the "things of this world" is too strong.   He's calling me to break those attachments.   Every $1 I currently spend on coffee (which is a lot.  I'm embarrassed to say how much) will instead be used to praise Him, instead of being used to strengthen that attachment to worldly things.   

Please pray for me.   I know that I'm going to suffer at times (especially the coffee!) - and I'd love to be able to offer those sufferings for one of your intentions.   If you have a prayer request that you'd like to let me know about, please email it to me here.  

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