Today represents not only the first of the month, but also the beginning of Lent. It’s a time to turn the page, to reflect and to refresh. In my family we always added an activity as well as giving something up. This Lent one of the things Mr. Michie and I have decided to add in, is a twenty minute period of mediation each day. We hope to use this as a time to consider, to step back and to catch our breaths. We’re also giving up dessert. That has become a big deal around these parts. Even with all of our running/exercise we still eat a cookie or a square of chocolate with a cup of tea at night; occasionally we share a cupcake from the bakery. I’m already looking forward to our Easter basket, I hope the Easter Bunny packs it full of chocolate and jelly beans and Peeps!
This will be a post in two parts today since I just have so much to say! Firstly, today we walk into the first day of Lent. I know that this is a period of reflection and abstaining. I have spoken about this before and I shall speak about it again this year.
In my family we had the tradition of adding something to our daily lives, instead of subtracting it. We still gave up things (and if you chose to give up chocolate, what a blessed morning Easter Sunday was because it meant you could finally touch it again and oh boy did you hope that the Easter Bunny left you plenty in your basket!), but my parents always made sure that we added something to our daily/weekly lives that would be to the benefit of others.
I am going to get on my soap box for a moment here and say that I have always felt it is wonderful to give of oneself; it is marvelous that Church organizations and charity organizations help so many people around the world. I grew up in the South and I was always amazed at how many churches in my town took trips to Mexico, South America, Haiti, Cuba and Africa. Those were extremely valuable trips for all involved, but I think it is just as important to know where we are from, to teach your children and others what is around them as well.
You don’t have to go far to help someone in need. Not only were there people who needed help within my own community, you only had to drive a few hours into the mountains and there were families that would have benefited from a little extra help as well. Start in your own backyard, so to speak and branch out.
I had the great fortune to meet Mother Teresa when I was in High School and I read an article recently that quoted her; it sums up my thoughts, better than I could:
“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. … You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.”
In case you need a few last minute ideas, this is for you:
Today is Pancake Tuesday in England. It wasn’t until I moved here that I celebrated Shrove Tuesday with Pancakes! So this morning we turned these lovely strawberries into this wonderful breakfast! Yuumm!!
I can’t believe that Lent is already upon us! Where has this year gone so far? We are already two months into it and I still feel that Christmas was not that long ago. In my household we not only thought of something to give up but my parents also incorporated something to add on.
So each year we would add on things, like help out at the Soup Kitchen, volunteer for Meals on Wheels during our Easter Break… I have always liked this idea of adding on “good” things during this season and using it as a way to help others, instead of being depressed about what you might have given up. It is something that I now continue in my own home.
So, today we are working on our list of ideas for things we want to do to help others during the Lenten Season. Even if it is just something as simple as a friendly smile and a “Good Morning” (people don’t do that a lot in England and coming from the South where everyone speaks to each other, I find it strange). What can you do to help someone else?