It’s funny how some years I totally rock Lent and then others I’m a Lenten failure. Last year, I was an EPIC Lenten failure. I’ll blame the house situation – which is kind of a valid excuse for stress in this normal humanoid world in which we live but really shouldn’t actually impact my Lenten-spiritual journey at all. We were getting the house ready to sell and then had it on the market for all of Lent. It was totally stressful. I couldn’t plan meals because I didn’t know if we’d be able to be home for dinner. We’d get a call at 4:30pm saying they wanted to do a showing at 5:30 – and there went our evening. I’m SO thankful that those crazy days are over.
Last year, I knew, due to my stress level that attempting to give up say my top food/beverage vices: coffee, wine or chocolate would be a total joke. I DID end up giving up Diet Pepsi but allowing myself one a week. See, that’s how I’ve done Lent pretty much my whole life – just SORTA. Sorta giving something up but then finding a way to basically cheat – a built-in excuse to indulge in whatever activity/food/beverage of which I’m supposedly fasting. Cheater cheater dark chocolate eater. I even told our priest at the time that I’d finally learned that the idea of me giving up chocolate is a joke. God doesn’t want me to be a hater and, let’s face it, I’m just not pleasant to be around sans chocolate. Then there’s the whole “Sundays don’t technically HAVE to count during Lent…” During my chocolate-give-up days, this meant Sundays = chocolate-fest pig out days. I’m AWESOME at finding the Lenten loopholes.
So instead of making a major sacrifice, I did the Diet Pepsi thing and also decided that I would DO something as well. I’d spend quality time with each child every day. Again, major epic Lenten failure. Thanks to the house-stuff (and basically my lameness) the one-on-one mother-child bonding time just didn’t happen every single day. It did work in adding to my mommy guilt though. Awesome.
Here we are, a year-ish later, and it’s Lent time, baby! For Catholics, Lent should be a time of reflection – reevalutating our lives and realigning them with Christ. And we’re even told to buck up! We’re not to whine and groan and throw a pity party through the whole thing nor are we to brag about our sacrificial piety and general awesomeness. Let’s see, we’re on what, Lent Day 3? I – ever the open book – have already dropped the ball with this one. Telling everyone I meet and their dog what I’m doing and how DIFFICULT – woe is me – it is. Oops.
Getting the kids (the boys) on board with this sacrifice-idea has been a challenge this year. They thought they were just SO funny with suggestions like: “I’m giving up school!” (Matthew). And “I know! I’ll give up vegetables!” (Zachary). Meanwhile I – not so subtly – suggest (several times a day) to Kayliana that she should REALLY consider giving up toddler tantrums for Lent. No go, thus far.
Since I was so Lenten Lameness last year, I’ve taken it to the extreme this year. I’ve been way over zealous and for the first part of the week – and even Ash Wednesday – upon hearing what other people were giving up/doing, I thought, “Ooh! Ooh! I’ll do that too….Oh that’s a good idea, maybe I should give that up in addition to…and….and…!”
Apparently I’m at a place where I feel the need for some major soul spring-cleaning. But seeing as this is MY blog – and will also be the lasting memoir for my children to read when I’m but a distant memory – I do like to catalogue my life ‘n such here, so I WILL explain my Lenten plan…or at least some of it. A girl’s gotta keep SOME secrets. A few posts ago (http://jenny524.blogspot.com/2013/01/nutritarian-wha.html) I wrote about some recent alarming discoveries that I’ve made. This moved me to really think about what we’re eating and feeding our children and while I realize that Lent is not supposed to just be a convenient time to diet, the six weeks does coincide nicely with the six weeks that Dr. Fuhrman recommends as a sort of cleanse to a Vegan diet. http://fatfreevegan.com/blog/2010/01/01/eat-to-live-6-week-plan/ So, Mike and I are trying it with a few exceptions (that we typed up). We won’t make anyone cook Vegan for us, should we be invited for a meal. I’m still having my one dark chocolate with my morning coffee. And come March 16th – when we get to attend the boys’ school auction – we will SO eat the expensive meal that we’ve paid for (and we’ll enjoy it, darn it). Oh, and for the record, I didn’t give up alcohol, but I am definitely limiting my intake. (Jesus’ first miracle WAS turning water into wine, afterall). Maybe I’ll give up drinky-poo’s for another Lent, but for this year, I’ve already got enough on my plate (mostly leafy greens).
To get into the groove, I made a version of Dr. Furhman’s “Anti-Cancer Soup” last week. http://lowfatveganchef.com/how-to-make-dr-fuhrmans-eat-to-live-anti-cancer-soup-with-photos/ Due to our lack of high-powered blender/food processor, my version turned out quite textured and lumpy. Essentially, it looked like vomit. (Warning: this photo is not for the weak of stomach). Matthew saw it and attempted to politely lie, “Mmmm, that looks good.” I laughed and said, “No, it doesn’t. It looks like throw-up.” With which the boys were only too eager to agree. Mike, Kayli and I all thought it was actually VERY tasty. Matthew gagged down his required 9 bites (to correspond with his age). Zachary sobbed through three bites (he just couldn’t get through six) and, as always when I make soup, questioned my love for him. (“If you love me, why would you make me eat soup when you know I H-word it?!” [H-word, of course, is that unacceptable four-letter word, H-A-T-E.] He means business with his dislike of soup.) I tried to explain that this soup was basically saving his life and he essentially has the most amazing mom in the world. He rolled his eyes, looked down at his full bowl of steaming hot barf – I mean soup – and shuddered.