Ash Wednesday is tomorrow. I feel a little bit like we forgot about Lent altogether this year. I mean, it's March. We should have started this thing by now. Late Easter really throws me off.
My husband just happened to be on business in New Orleans last week, wrapping up on the very first day of the week-long celebration of Mardi Gras. He had the privilege of being in town before the craziness, but just in time to see the first parade and get a taste of the revelry. He brought home some masks, beads and a coin. I suppose we should pose with them and take a picture today. Instead, I will probably just find some sort of recipe to use up the leftover meat in my fridge and eat a little extra tonight.
Most people try to give something up for Lent. This, I think, is problematic. I know too many people who use this season as an excuse to go on a diet, and that's really not the point. The point is to remove something that is in the way of your relationship with Christ...or, alternately, to work on some area of your life that will help you become closer to Christ. While fasting from something does often help to draw our attention back to our relationship with Christ, I have a hard time seeing a fast from chocolate or soft drinks as much of a fast. (Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I've pretty much given up both as a part of this anti-inflammatory diet and don't have much craving for either anyway. Maybe it IS just me.)
As a family, we will likely be abstaining from meat for the duration. Except Sundays. Sundays are exempt as each Sunday is a celebration of Easter. So, meat on Sundays, fish and chick peas the rest of the week. I have a feeling we'll be making/eating a lot of meatless lentil and/or bean soup. After all, we don't want Olivia to starve. She won't eat salad, but she LOVES lentils and beans. Go figure.
On my own, I've decided to avoid the library. That sounds silly, but novels are my escape, sometimes to the neglect of other important chores. I've been reading through the entire collection of Christian novels by Kristen Heitzmann...have you read her? She's excellent. Many of her main characters are Catholic, which appeals to me, but also has a couple series of novels set in the old West. Something about historical novels really appeals to me. I enjoy them immensely.
But, again, the escapism...probably not a good thing. So, I've decided to fill my reading time/need with spiritual reading instead. We have an abundance of stuff in our own personal library...stuff we've collected but haven't necessarily read. I'll start there and see how it goes.
I'm also going to try to fast from the internet on fasting days (tomorrow and all Fridays). That may be a challenge...
I am celebrating Fat Tuesday by indulging in girl scout cookies. I haven't had a cookie in two months, and somehow they don't taste the same. Guess sugar doesn't have a hold on me anymore. Here's hoping that the same can be said for other vices at the end of Lent.