How’s your Lent going? I’m making it through. I hope you can say the same. I’m writing this in the public Library as my baby naps away — so this might be a brief one. Hopefully I’ll make it to #7. So, on to the Quick Takes…
Children Waiting Everywhere
Lent is about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving — and I have the perfect way to take care of the Almsgiving portion of your Lent.
I must tell you about a woman who is doing amazing things for refugee children fleeing from S. Sudan and the Congo. I wrote a post earlier this week about current fundraising efforts focused on building schools for children in such desperate need. They are also providing housing and food for them. Please read more about it here.
We have all heard about the plight of the refugee, but this is an amazing way to actually do something truly life-changing for them. Any little bit helps!
Beyond this project, this organization is helping the poorest of the poor around the world — and 100% of donations go directly to those in need — no salaries, all volunteer, and truly amazing!
Miss Naomi Corera and her small army of volunteers has been doing this work for over 14 years and the stories of her work is truly inspiring.
You can always donate by going directly to her site, Children Waiting Everywhere. I don’t mean to sound like an infomercial, but this organization is just that amazing!
I know Naomi and many individuals and families who have gone across the ocean to be a part of the mission — so I can attest to the fact that this organization is making a big difference in the lives of many!
As I write this we are on day 3 of no power, no heat, no running water or toilets — and absolutely no idea when we will be back up and running.
Lent is shaping up to be exactly what I expected it to be — kind of awful, but at the same time it has increased my gratitude for those many things I take for granted on the daily: like heat and running water and flushing toilets. 🙁
This is one of those unexpected sufferings that I just knew would be a part of our Lent. I’m actually seeing Gods hand in it all — so that is a grace in itself. Usually at this point I’d be bargaining, begging, and pleading with God to restore our power. One little step forward in the trust department.
Colonial Days 2017
Once or twice a year we lose power for a day or more — and we like to call it “Colonial Days” when it happens. It makes us feel like it’s more of an educational experience. 🙁
We are currently in the midst of Colonial Days 2017 — yay for us. 🙁 Honestly, these days make you realize just how time consuming it is to wash dishes, look for firewood to heat your house, prepare meals, and just survive with a decent attitude. It humbles the American soul to be so “unproductive”.
But it also makes it clear that our American work ethic can actually be quite isolating and lonely — right now we are relying far more on Gods providence and on each other. It has been so nice to remember that spending time with people can fill the soul in ways that technology and individual pursuits just can’t touch.
I have actually enjoyed the fact that we have to slow down by days’ end and just sit by the fire as a family. There is basically little else you could do — considering the rest of the house is dark and cold and there are no computers or televisions to distract you.
Last night was an unexpectedly sweet and peaceful evening huddled up together with no heat or power. We read by candlelight and we were all in bed by 10pm. And this morning I sipped tea and prayed by the fireplace as we all woke up to another Colonial Day.
Lights Out for Lent
Before Lent, I noticed different Facebook friends who had decided to do a “Lenten Lights Out” one day a week — no lights or electricity used after dark.
I remember thinking how “charming” it looked and “maybe we should try that”. To be honest, it does takes some of the “charm” out of the experience to know that we can’t turn the lights on, run water, or slip into a warm bed after a cozy evening of togetherness.
After the past couple days, I might even consider participating in “Lights Out for Lent” next year — it’s really been good for us.
That being said, I’m very much looking forward to the return of our power and the end of our unintended participation in the “Lights out for Lent” movement.
Doing Lent Mr. Miyagi Style
We are a little over one week into Lent. I don’t know about you, but the novelty of my sacrifices have worn off — frankly, this dying to self stuff is getting old. 🙁 I’ve reached the “I’m not exactly sure why I gave up what I gave up” stage of my Lent.
But as I was sitting in Mass the other day wondering what good would come of giving up stuff and adding a few little things — it came to me: Practicing Lenten sacrifices is a bit like studying under Mr. Miyagi.
If you haven’t seen Karate Kid, this won’t make sense — but just like “Danielson” kept oracticing the “Wax-on Wax-off” and “Staining the Fence” movements countless times a day until he was sore and exhausted — we need to trust that this Church was founded by Jesus –and it knows what it’s talking about when it suggests this season of sacrifice is part of a bigger picture in our spiritual lives.
Daniel didn’t get what good could come of his “work” for Mr. Miyagi and he even felt like a big, fat chump at one point because he couldn’t see the big picture.
But these little movements done in trust and precision were what eventually made him a warrior — it prepared him for battle — and it led him to victory. Who doesn’t like watching him knockout Johnny with his “crane” move?
So I am resolved to trust that these little movements — these little steps forward — are preparing me for bigger things than this.
I hope that encourages anybody like me who is beginning to lose a little steam at this point. Let’s keep moving forward and trust that these little victories will lead to bigger victories in the future.
Somewhat related to #5, but rationalization and resistance to my resolutions has been kicking in big time the past few days.
For example, I gave up dairy this Lent. The sad thing is that this is a huge sacrifice for me — I have multiple servings of dairy every day — and don’t get me started on how much I love my morning cappuccino. 🙁
So as the power was out last night and we were trying to sleep in a cold house with a baby who literally was wide awake from 2am to 4am, I found myself begin to rationalize about why these sufferings could replace my current Lenten sacrifices for the next day.
I thought about all the reasons why I was suffering enough already. First of all, my skin was crawling from nursing the baby for most of the night in hopes it would put him into a milk coma — no luck there. 🙁
At one point I drifted off, as the baby flailed around in my bed — only to be woken by 2 powerful baby kicks straight to my ribs. 🙁
And when we finally drifted off to sleep at break of dawn, I found myself dreaming about having a cappuccino and I woke up thinking a cappuccino would just make everything better.
As mentioned, I had given up dairy — and besides the power was out — but I started to think to myself, “Isn’t all of this suffering enough? Shouldn’t I just run to the local coffee shop and buy a big, beautiful cappuccino?”
And resistance to my Lenten resolutions grew stronger. I continued, “I know God loves me and He knows it was a rough night. He doesn’t really mind what I give up, right? — or at the very least I know He wouldn’t be angry about it. So why not go off to that coffee shop?”
And I had just about convinced myself that today would be a day to forget the little things I gave up — but I remembered the 2 people I was offering this first week of Lent for and I thought to myself, “I know they could use every bit of grace right now “.
And just thinking about them gave me the strength to say, “Nope. I’m going to continue.” So I guess you could say these two people became an unexpected source of grace for me, when I was feeling weak.
And after I said no — after I wrestled with my own thoughts — it became clear to me that even though these sufferings are small and insignificant on their own — I know that offering them to God has made them quite powerful!
So no more rationalization! I’m going to stay the course and keep moving forwards with these little “no’s” trusting that God will do great things with these little sacrifices.
Dreaming about the Camino
I discovered a great book to read during Lent. Yesterday it arrived. It’s a wonderfully written narrative of one priests journey on the Camino — the Pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela.
Lent is a pilgrimage of sorts — it’s an interior pilgrimage — and reading this priest’s journey on pilgrimage has quite inspired me during my own Lenten journey.
It’s a great read and it encourages us to sometimes take the harder road because the rewards will be worth all the trials along the way. We are a pilgrim people and it’s nice to be reminded of that every once in a while.
Anyway, whether you have gone on the Camino, hope to one day, or are looking for a nice Lenten read — I can recommend this as a good book thus far.
Be careful, though, it just might make you do something crazy like grab some backpacks and fly to Spain. Consider yourself warned.
Have a great weekend!
Linking Up With Kelly