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Happy Ash Wednesday!
Yes, you heard me right! Today is Ash Wednesday and while it marks the start of the penitential season, it is also a time for small celebration in my life. Particularly, because I know that time spent growing closer to God will reap wonderful rewards down the line.
It seems like Christmas was just a few weeks ago with a shorter time frame between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. This is also a unique year with the season of Lent beginning on Valentine’s Day and ending on April Fool’s Day.
Unlike last year, we should be down in Colorado for Easter. I suspect I can actually wear a spring dress and heels as it seems like their winter is much milder than Alaska. But, for the start of Lent, the boys and I are blessed to be back in Alaska and attending our home parish.
Plans for Lent
Every year I strive to either make a sacrifice or add to my days in a way that will bring me closer to Christ during this time.
In past years, I have given up coffee (a difficult feat living in Alaska with a coffee stand on every corner!), done a spending fast (buying only absolute necessities for the home or business), added time to read Scripture each day, and attended daily Mass at least once a week.
This year has me doing a combination of things.
Our Alaska house has not sold. So, we are paying for 2 households still. I took a job in sales in a retail environment which at times seems like I am paying penitence with few people coming past the booth. The little bit I am earning (close to minimum wage in Colorado) helps but does not fully bridge the gap.
Frivolous spending continues to be banished, although our past week in Alaska doesn’t feel like it. My eldest son has remained in our home eating our food stores. With 4 more people to feed, I had to restock some of the basics. When we return to Colorado, I plan to inventory what we have and curb spending as much as possible.
Even though it is tight, I refuse to give up our weekly church donations. After all, we are supposed to be tithing from our bounty as it really is all God’s.
Daily Mass and Increased Prayer
Going back and forth plus working fulltime lead to my not attending Daily Mass on a regular basis. Like past Lents, I am planning to attend daily Mass as often as possible. It is a great way to start my day. And, I am able to center myself with the day more focused on God than the world. And changes in my work schedule (more nights!) mean that I will have the time to do it.
I will miss the MOMS group in Alaska, but am grateful that I have online access to the video driven study they are doing this year. I should make one week in person while I am here in Alaska. But, then I can dig in through streaming.
Caring for My Temple
This seems like the bane of my existence some days. I’ve made changes to my diet (saying goodbye to gluten) per doctor recommendations. I’ve added juicing to my routine. Yet, I feel that there are still some major gaps in my nutrition.
Compared to some, I eat a healthy diet. But, there is always room to improve. My body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit and my wacky immune system issues (including thyroid levels gone awry) needs to be addressed. I am slowly working on an online program specifically for those with thyroid issues and plan to find a new healthcare provider in Colorado.
Adjusting My Attitude
This is a tough one for me. I typically do have an attitude of gratitude and try to find the positive in all things.
But, this past year has been incredibly rough on me. If I allow myself, I can get upset thinking about having to be away from my boys for 40+ hours a week to help make ends meet. I can become discouraged over my continued struggles with health. And, I can become fearful for where I will be in a year when I think about the current struggles in my life.
I was fortunate to arrive back in Alaska in time for the annual Ladies retreat at our church here. The theme was 2 fold. We immersed ourselves in a particular Scripture passage (Luke 13:10-16) regarding the bent-over woman. Then we talked about how this Lent would be different for us. I’ll expand my thoughts on these this week as I dive into attitude adjustment 101 and beyond for me.
How will you be celebrating Lent this year?
40 Days of Seeking Him Sampler
If you have been reading the blog for a while, then you might recall that this link up started in 2011 as a daily one. I didn’t always participate in the link up, but have made an effort to do it as often as possible. We switched to a weekly link up format which means at least one anchor post per week here.
I decided to pull together a ‘sampler’ as a free ebook to subscribers. If you are already a subscriber, just open up a recent weekly newsletter and click over to the appropriate “subscriber only” page.
If you are not currently a subscriber, you can get your copy when you sign up.
40 Days of Seeking Him Ash Wednesday Link Up
The linky will be up each week so you can add in posts daily, weekly, or whenever you are able.
The posts can be about anything related to Lent and preparations for Easter. This includes crafts, food, devotions, music or reflections.
I hope that my readers will join us on the journey through Lent as we seek to grow closer to Christ. Christian bloggers are welcome to join us in the weekly link up with posts that they are writing to showcase activities or reflections taken during this Lenten journey.
We are expanding the platform for this meme to include a 40 Days of Seeking Him Pinterest board for submitted posts and a Facebook group. I hope that you’ll check out the Pinterest board and join us on Facebook, too, as we seek to grow closer to Christ.