Wednesday, February 10, 2016

And So It Begins.....

What pops into your mind at the mention of Ash Wednesday? 

I'd like to say that the approach of Lent makes me feel like an athlete getting ready to train for a big race. You know...

...adrenaline going, focused with intent on a goal, feeling strong, accomplishing my goals.

This is how some of the people in my house are feeling today.....

Of course, this cartoon isn't 100% accurate since a Church fast is 2 small meatless snacks that don't equal a big meal and then a meatless dinner. But, as one of my kids said who shall remain nameless, "It's SUCH a long time until dinner." The Hamel "hangry" genes are strong with some of my kids!

I always feel a little apprehensive about Lent. I'm always worried about remembering NOT to eat whatever leftovers my littles leave around at snack. I worry about those involuntary sacrifices that God always seems to provide each Lent. (It's kind of like an athlete thinking they can make up their workout...but then their coach shows up and it's 10X harder!)

Then Ash Wednesday arrives and I know that Lent is truly a great opportunity to take a good look in the mirror and try and work on some of the areas in my life that could use some pruning!  

I came upon this article on Facebook that got me thinking in the days leading up to Lent. In particular #3- Don't look at your cellphone while you're conversing with someone, (which I will extend to computer use and multitasking...bc I know I'm terrible about listening(mostly) to what my kids are saying while cleaning/thinking about what I need to do next/laundry/fill in the blank.) So, really, I'm working on being more present and attentive to people when they are talking to me. 

#6-Only buy what is necessary. Not that I do a lot of splurge shopping(most of the time!), but I think that a conscious effort to only buy what we need would be a good way for me to simplify for Lent. 

#12 Pray More is always a good one for me. Jay and I are trying to focus on doing a family rosary each night with the kids. I'm also adding some daily Lent reflections that I will get in my inbox each day to my routine. I enjoyed Dynamic Catholic's Best Lent Ever last year, so I signed up again. I also was surprised to find this Ash Wednesday reflection in my inbox today from, but I'm glad I did! It was a good reminder for me to offer up the sacrifices I'm making today, and through all of Lent, for the people God places on my heart. It certainly makes giving up snacks much more meaningful when a "rumbly tummy" reminds you to pray for someone you love..and feeling hungry is an opportunity to "offer it up" so that God's grace blesses those family members/friends that are on your heart!

Jay also sent me a really great short video on Lent by Fr. Mike Schmitz. He is one of Jay's favorite speakers right now to listen to when he's looking for material for his talks to the senior youth group he's in charge of at our parish. Fr. Mike is a young, very engaging speaker. His short talk on The Significance of Ash Wednesday was really good! It's only 5 if you can, head on over and check it out!

Here's to all of us having a meaningful, God guided Lent!

Luke is VERY excited that it's Ash Wednesday!