Friday, February 19, 2021

Hello, Lent

The thought occurred to me as I slumped down the hall on Ash Wednesday evening: I forgot to do my chosen Lenten practice today. baby didn't get down to bed easily, thus presenting me with the perfect opportunity to say my extra prayers. And yesterday, I think I may have forgotten altogether (baby girl recently acquired her first two teeth and is working hard to get I'm drinking at least one cup of coffee every day now and have no memory). Basically, Kelly's post about how "You can do Lent" REALLY resonated with me today. 

We don't have a Lenten calendar, spiral (although I may do one next year, because they look awesome and seem like a great, simple visual for kids), or anything like that. We rang in Ash Wednesday with a cartoon about Lent and livestreamed Mass, because we've been living under piles of snow (praying for all of you in Texas!) and could not safely drive down our street. However, I'm finding that even putting a simple picture on our table has been a huge way to make Lent present in the life of our kids (my two-year-old, in particular, keeps talking about it). 

Yes, our now-withered Christmas poinsettia is still
in the house, because I am SO on top of life right now ;) 

I had been eagerly anticipating Lent, and was excited that this year, we would be able to walk through the whole season with our parish family AT MASS. No livestreams like in Lent 2020! So, starting off the season at home, following along with Mass on the computer, was not my ideal-but I guess it's a good way to jump right into the penitential aspect of the season. 

In other news, my kids have enjoyed the fact that, in my efforts to keep some semblance of sanity during this seemingly-endless month (we've been mostly in our house for almost 2 weeks now) I have allowed them a little bit of screen time here and there. My two-year-old now spontaneously sings the theme song from VeggieTales throughout the day. We've been doing lots of fort-building, reading books, and once the snow piled up, started doing short playtimes outside. 

Today, though, the temperature started creeping up towards 30 degrees, and we ventured out to a local park. I experienced so much nostalgia as I thought about a college semester in Austria years ago, when my now-husband and I would tromp through snowy streets as we travelled through Europe. As I carried the baby and the boys trudged behind me-the preschooler using a stick to draw letters in the snow-we heard geese honking overhead. It was so beautiful. 

Lest you have too-rosy an image, though, let me assure you that on the walk home, the two-year-old started seriously struggling in the snow (that went above his knees in some places) and it got a little rough. At one point, I was carrying him football-style while trying to not drop the baby in my other arm. But we made it home eventually, and hot cocoa made everything better ;) 

It is taking me FOREVER to read this book, but I'm so glad that I finally have picked it up.
God has definitely been hitting me hard with a few different parts of the story, and I'm loving it.

We saw one of our neighbors on our walk home today, and he remarked that if we were in Colorado, this type of weather would be no problem-because Colorado knows how to deal with snow. But Oklahoma does not know how to deal with snow. Non-major streets (like ours and so many other neighborhoods) are left to fend for themselves. I'm hoping that things only improve here as snow starts melting (hopefully it doesn't refreeze over the road tonight, like we're expecting). 

In other news:
  • I have been doing all sorts of thinking and discerning about creative projects, where to invest my time and money, etc. etc. I recently heard the advice that people shouldn't make big decisions in the depressing days of February, and I think there's some wisdom to that. So, I'm not making any crazy decisions, but I am--as long as it works out--going to start a short-term creative endeavor in the coming weeks. I'm pretty excited, and will definitely be writing about it if and when it happens!

  • My husband gave me this coffee for my birthday a few weeks ago, and I am OBSESSED. First off, the phrase "Byzantine Pro-Life Coffee" just makes me want to support the company, but also, it is delicious. This is the only kind from them that I've tried so far, but I love it! 
  • A couple weeks ago, I took the kids to Panera to celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and I drank coffee (thank you, God, for a free trial to the "unlimited coffee" subscription) while my four-year-old recited a poem that he memorized. I've wanted to do poetry memorization with the kids for a while, and I was excited that we finally started. He is currently working on his next poem (from Redwall), and when he's got it down, I told him that we'd go back to Panera so he can recite it and celebrate. 
  • As I celebrated my birthday, I thought about how 28 is not one of those landmark numbers, but how just ten years ago, I DID hit one of those "landmark birthdays" when I turned 18. I keep thinking about how much changes in the course of ten years, and all the things I would love to tell myself back then. I don't know if all these thoughts will make it into a blog post (since my writing time lately has been rather limited), but maybe they will. It's at least been interesting to think about. 
  • My little girl just turned six months old this week. How?!?! She has come very close to rolling over (from back to tummy), loves sticking her tongue out of the side of her mouth, babbling, and reading books with her brothers and I. 
  • I am thoroughly exhausted most days, but I recently read an article where the author of a book on postpartum life mentioned that postpartum really does last a year. I know some people think of postpartum as being 6 weeks, and I think of it as 3-4 months, which seems very generous in our very workaholic American culture. Reading this statement, my brain kind of exploded, and I will definitely be exploring this idea more in the future. 
I hope you all have a lovely weekend and stay warm! 


  1. Thinking of you all down south/west. We regularly have 2 to 3 feet of snow all winter (northern Michigan) and I try hard to get the kids outside daily so they get some sunshine and sleep better, but so often it's 20 minutes of getting them all dressed, then 15 minutes outside hauling the 2 year old upright as he flounders in the deep snow, and coming in to shed snow and clothing all over. So Much Work. I did not make it to Ash Wednesday mass either and was sad about that, but a bit relieved as all the strange rules for now leave me feeling uncomfortable at church

    1. Oh wow, that is so intense you deal with Michigan winters! That would be really hard for me, though I guess over time people probably get used to it. I'm sorry you also weren't able to make it on Ash Wednesday; I hope you have been having a peaceful Lent despite that!

  2. YES, postpartum is ABSOLUTELY a year!!!! I am so discouraged with the way our American culture rushes women when their bodies/minds/souls are still changing for the whole year! (Plus our babies sleep horrible for a year, lol).

    That coffee!! I recently got into grinding our own (mostly because I'm trying to do organic and I can only ever find whole bean organic.)

    You are still in your 20's! I didn't realize that! I just turned 34 this week...I'm ok with it, haha. I think the second half of my 30's will feel a little weird as I creep toward 40!!!

    Looking forward to hearing about your creative endeavor! I so enjoyed our email exchanges about this, I feel like we have similar drives/values and are in similar seasons of life.

    My kiddos are memorizing poetry too! Just 4 line ones and we've only done 2 of them, but it's SO adorable-- and impressive!

    1. Thanks for chiming in on postpartum stuff! I am amazed at how I, as a stay-at-home mom who isn't being pressured by limited maternity leave in an office job, still feels this pressure to jump back into the crazy fray of life. Ever since reading that note about postpartum being a year, I've been much more thoughtful about my expectations (which were already pretty low to begin with since having a baby) and I've been trying to take things a lot easier. I think I really need process this more and figure out how to claim postpartum time in this fast-paced culture.

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY! That's so awesome! I hope your day was filled with peace and blessings. You know, as much as I love being in my 20s, I know so many women who are in their late 30s and early 40s and they have really shown me how much beauty and awesomeness there is in that stage of life. And how fun that your kids are memorizing poetry too! That's fabulous. It's amazing what kids pick up. Just today, the kids and I dropped by Panera to get me a quick coffee, and while we were parking the car, the two-year-old started reciting the poem that his brother had "performed" there earlier in the month. I so often underestimate the rate at which kids learn! And I too have loved our conversations about creativity. It's so fun to discuss, and I love learning from you!

  3. Thanks for your prayers for Texas! We need them. Your example about resolving not to livestream Mass this Lent, and then being forced to...Sometimes we don't choose our penances, and I agree that makes it even more penitential sometimes. I moved to Texas from up north, thinking I would never experience another (northern) winter again. Haha. God always puts us in our place. He's in control though, working out His plan for us in the big and little things. Oh, and happy belated birthday! :-)

    1. You are welcome! Did you do okay in the storm and its aftermath so far? It's so heartbreaking to read about what Texas is going through.
      And thank you! It was a pretty good birthday :)

    2. Yes, I fared quite well throughout this. Sadly, many have not and are still dealing with the aftermath. I'm glad you enjoyed your birthday!

    3. I'm glad you made it through! What a wild start to the year for Texas.

  4. Happy belated birthday! I didn’t realize we were so close in age, you’re just a little over a year older than me! Ah, Lent. That stinks you had to begin it online but I hope you have a glorious spring coming up and lots of that delicious looking hot coffee to stay cozy with. Good idea having an image to remind you of the season. And I love hearing of your creative endeavors! That is so adorable with the poetry memorization. It impresses me what kids are capable of memorizing because I’ve always been fairly bad at it. And what a good point about postpartum. Never having experienced it, but knowing so many moms, I just don’t understand how society expects anyone who goes through such a life changing experience to recover so quickly. For goodness sakes, you grew a human being and gave birth! That’s amazing and a lot on so many levels! So happy people seem to be talking about it a bit more and giving a little more understanding.

  5. Love the poetry memorization. Watch it though, they will start learning couplets and then demand to go to Panera to recite each one in a separate trip! Lent. Ah, lent. As I was telling the RCIA
    people at church, lent is about being closer to Jesus at the end of it than you were at the beginning of it.

    1. Haha! would be like the four-year-old to figure that out. Thankfully he hasn't yet! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Lent-what a great reminder of what our focus needs to be. I find it easy, sometimes, to get wrapped up in all the externals that I think I "should" be doing instead of what I actually need to be doing.