Lent (not lint)

Happy Sunday!  I can’t believe how fast the weekend goes!  I also can’t believe how fast the year goes!  It seems like it was just January 1.  We are quickly approaching the Lenten season, and you may be wondering what in the world I’m talking about.  I grew up in a Methodist church and do no really remember learning a great deal about the church year.  Since switching over and being confirmed in the Episcopal denomination in my late 20s, I’ve learned a lot!  Now, I think of it as time to prepare for Easter which is sort-of similar to Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas.  Here’s the Episcopal Church’s definition…

Early Christians observed “a season of penitence and fasting” in preparation for the Paschal feast, or Pascha (BCP, pp. 264-265). The season now known as Lent (from an Old English word meaning “spring,” the time of lengthening days) has a long history. Originally, in places where Pascha was celebrated on a Sunday, the Paschal feast followed a fast of up to two days. In the third century this fast was lengthened to six days. Eventually this fast became attached to, or overlapped, another fast of forty days, in imitation of Christ’s fasting in the wilderness. The forty-day fast was especially important for converts to the faith who were preparing for baptism, and for those guilty of notorious sins who were being restored to the Christian assembly. In the western church the forty days of Lent extend from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday, omitting Sundays. The last three days of Lent are the sacred Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Today Lent has reacquired its significance as the final preparation of adult candidates for baptism. Joining with them, all Christians are invited “to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word” (BCP, p. 265).  

I have many a false start with Lent.  There was the no-chocolate year that fell by the wayside with a Valentine’s Day gift extravaganza from my students.  Then, there was the season of no-social media which I did last longer with.  I have yet to make it to an Ash Wednesday service or even the “ashes-to-go” option.  Well, no more!  I’m making a commitment to Lent 2018.  I really want to give Lent/Easter the same focus that I tend to easily give Advent/Christmas.  Here’s my Lent plan!

  1. Give up dessert. – Now, this sounds like it might be too close to a New Year’s Resolution to be considered somehow connected to the observance of Lent.  HOWEVER, I tend to use my time in the evenings to bake.  I like desserts, and baking is something I do for fun and for stress-relief.  BUT I feel like eliminating desserts would allow for more time (and less excuse-making) in the evenings to read my Bible or some other inspiring book or perhaps journal.  Also, I would be turning to God and His word versus turning to a sack of flour.  Probably a better choice, don’t you think???  With Lent, Sundays are not factored in, so I’ll plan to enjoy a dessert on Sundays only.  I also counting cereal, toast with jelly, etc. as dessert.  The only exception is fruit for Monday through Saturday.  I am very hopeful that this will open up more time and opportunities for a strong friendship with Him. ***The teacher in me is going to make a sticker chart and give myself a fun sticker for each day completed.  🙂 ***
  2. Daily devotional time – I’m sometimes pretty good about this, but it is definitely not a daily habit.  I want to spend some time each day reading the Bible and writing in my journal.  When I write in my journal, I’m writing a letter to God/Jesus/Holy Spirit.  I like to be very open, no fancy language, and casual – like I’m having a discussion with Him sitting right there beside me.  I check in with my other family members daily, so it only makes sense to check in with my Creator.  Holden and I have also been doing a little devotional geared for boys (probably more mid-upper elementary), and I hope to continue that as well.  I’m not making it part of my Lent plan since I’m trying to focus on myself for this.  We also do Resurrection Eggs as it gets closer to Easter, and those are fantastic!
  3. Do Lent:  Pray, Fast, Give with Holden and Helen – I printed this great idea out for Sunday school kids and also did one for my own kids.  Basically, you pull a strip a day for Lent and follow the directions on the strip.  Some of the “Pray” strips are specifically focused on prayers found in the Catholic Church.  However, you could just make up a few of your own or make up your own prayers when pulling one of those out.  Get the printable here!
  4. Ashes-To-Go – Unfortunately, my schedule is not going to allow an Ash Wednesday service.  However, it looks like we are going to make it to the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Party!  My son is WAY too excited about the list of possible toppings!  I told Holden about the whole idea of ashes and what it symbolizes, and our plan is to go get our ashes-to-go after school.  First-timers!

So that’s it!  I am making a commitment to make this a priority this year.  Prayers appreciated for strength and fortitude to see it through!  I’m thinking it will be totally worth it.

Do you give up anything for Lent?

Did your family emphasize Lent when you were a kid?

Thanks for reading!

Natalie

August Goals

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Hi there!  Can you believe it’s August 1???  Summer always goes so quickly, but I think it went especially quickly this year.  Maybe I’m just comparing it to my previous summer when I was on maternity leave from mid-April to the end of the school year and THEN had summer break too!

I love having some goals/checklists going on to help me focus my time and energy AND ensure I get things done to have plenty of time to slow down as well.  I know I will miss all my extra, small moments with the kids once we are back in school mode (p.s. I’m a teacher so school mode affects us all).  Without further delays, here are some things I need/want to tackle in August.

Home Stuff:

  • Finish washing windows
  • Order prints to add to our family photo albums
  • Sell baby monitor and pump (or donate)
  • Clean house thoroughly including a floor mopping
  • Research (and hopefully return) returning deck pickets that were ordered online
  • Decorate with a “Back to School” theme

Me Stuff:

  • Schedule hair cut
  • Put on new windshield wipers
  • Schedule car inspection
  • Review documents that I brought home at the end of the school year
  • Create goal charts for students
  • Vacuum car
  • Make decisions about upcoming commitments (3)
  • Spend time praying, reading the Bible, and writing daily
  • Blog as much as possible
  • Go on a date with my love
  • Read as many books as possible 🙂
  • Get a birthday present for my brother

Kid Stuff:

  • Pick up H’s recent immunization record and copy of his recent physical
  • Purchase H’s school supplies
  • Purchase H’s new soccer equipment
  • Buy fall event tickets (2)
  • Take H on a Mommy & Son date again
  • Sort/donate some old toys

Attitude:  It is my hope, prayer, and intention to cherish this next month.  I am committed to not following the cycle of worry, fear, and fatigue.  If I insist on doing things my way, I can expect to feel anxious.  I’m trying to rely on myself versus relying on my Savior.

Natalie

“Are we there yet?!” Half Marathon Talk and End of Summer List

Hi there!  This week is zooming by!  Exactly seven days left of summer vacation {not counting the weekend} for us.  Whomp whomp.  This is how I feel about that…

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I actually sent this picture to the Mr. when he asked me what I was cooking for dinner on Monday night.  I am/was cooked out after Helen’s big weekend!  Daddy to the rescue!  He’s grilled up whatever I’ve put in front of him so far this week.  We’ve had grilled chicken and hot dogs.  I’m going to miss grilling season aka less dishes to wash season.

P.S.  The dogs pictured below were super good!  Courtesy of my fave, Trader Joe’s.

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So I was pretty cranky yesterday, and I absolutely hate that!  It was a terrible combination of a hot, muggy day that kept us inside AND a lot of organization to do.  Trying to organize with two kiddos (and Helen’s not even mobile!) will make one cra-zay.  I did manage to get our bathroom closet and linen/craft closet reorganized, consolidated, and just generally more presentable.  I also tortured myself more by having Holden try on ALL his pants, shirts, coats from last winter to determine what new stuff he needs.  Oh.my.  I’m not sure who had less fun, me or him.  I can happily report most his shirts still fit, but he did need all new pants.  Online shopping to the rescue!  Done!

I really think my crappy mood stemmed from not being about to do much in the exercise department recently.  I had a bunch of food pain after a long run last Thursday morning.  Please hide your eyes from the picture below if you are squeamish…

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My frightening toenails are all shades of yellow to purple.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to {eventually} lose the nails on the three middle toes.  😦  Not sure what is going on with my feet, but I know my mind and the rest of my body parts are willing to really go for it in this upcoming half-marathon.  My feet, however, are not cooperating.  Helen and I spent some quality time at the local running store today, and I did come home with a new pair of shoes.  Yes, I just bought new shoes in June.  This goes against every fiber of my fiscally conservative body.  However, I really don’t want to NOT be able to race in just a little over two weeks.  I bought a whole size bigger shoe.  I wear an 8.5 in regular shoes.  Previously, I’ve worn a 9 in running shoes.  I’m now up to a 10 in New Balances.  What?!?  Yes, I also switched brands to allow for more toe room based on how New Balance designs shoes.

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I immediately came home and tried them out on the treadmill while Helen napped.  Results:  Felt good…no toe pain…still side of the foot – left foot pain.  All in all, I’ll take it. I’m thinking that I will just have to take about 6 weeks off from running after the half to let my foot totally recuperate.  Not cool, but it’s also not cool to have pain.  I feel like I’m saying just a little longer…hold on just a little longer feet!  I can’t wait to run this race, and then just chill on running.  Today I ran 3.6 miles. Here’s my last mile…

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What else isn’t cool around here, you ask?  Our leaky chimney!  The Mr. determined that our paneling {yes, aren’t we cool!} is buckling due to a leak.  I’m very appreciative of his conscientious handy work, but I was less than thrilled when he decided to get a crow bar out at start whipping down this wall at 7:30.  I just wanted to watch the Olympics in peace with a brownie and my favorite guy {<-he was on a one way track to “fix this wall or bust”).

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Yikes.  This project continues tonight.

This morning I became painfully aware of how many loose ends that I want to tie up before I head back to work.  I was filling out Miss Helen’s pile of paperwork for daycare!  Let’s see how I’m doing on my “End of Summer” list!

House Stuff:

  • Make a chalkboard sign for the kitchen Delegated to the Mr. – He’s going to finish it up soon!
  • Redo hall pictures  Done!
  • Clean out summer clothes  Not yet
  • Put prints in photo album  Done!
  • Buy blender for baby food making  Done!

 

Me Stuff:

  • Renew blog?  Always torn about this!  I’m always really into it in the summer, but I tend to fall off in the other seasons.  Renewed!
  • Keep running (and lifting and yoga and just fitnessy stuff)  Trying to stay injury free!
  • Get ready to do budget recon in September – I plan on writing down EVERYTHING I buy in the month of September.  Oh.my.
  • Get a haircut! – I haven’t had one since March! Did this!
  • Organize school papers/materials that I brought home in April (seems like a lifetime ago)  Organized and ready to head back to school
  • Read 2 books for fun  Yes!
  • Eat as much watermelon as possible  Sadly my last two have been duds!  Maybe the season is over!

 

Holden’s Stuff:

  • Finish baby book – Yikes!  I really fell off the bandwagon with this one.  I’m trying to be inspired by Helen’s and finish up Holden’s.  😦  got to do this!
  • Get Holden’s school supplies  Mostly done – just need some pictures to send in with him
  • Get fitted for a little boy tux for Auntie Brookie’s wedding  Yes!  
  • Art Museum Pre-K Day  Tomorrow – excited to see what this is like!
  • Visit Farmer’s Market
  • Maybe another fishing trip???  He went clamming instead and loved it!
  • School shoes!  Next week
  • Fro-yo date – Mommy & Holden Next week

 

Helen’s Stuff:

  • Work on baby book  continuous
  • Outfit for Auntie Brookie’s wedding  purchased – not sure about shoe situation
  • Find some cute clothes to fit this growing baby!  Mostly did this!  Just need some bigger onesies and perhaps a few more leggings
  • Review baby food making business – I love this book!    On my list for the next couple days
  • Baptism and Reception – Planning, Decorating, Cooking, and Enjoying!  So did this!
  • Get everything ready for the daycare transition  Mostly ready – just need paperwork filled out by dr. at our upcoming 4 month appointment – we also need to buy diapers and diaper creme to go with her

 

I do have a couple more items to add to the list:  Roscoe for a mani/pedi {much to his dismay} and an inspection for my car.  I also have a couple more books I’d like to spend some quality time with.  I feel like the race is really on to use this time wisely and also enjoy time at home.

What end of summer activities do you take on?

Do you start a new calendar in January or with the school year, September?

Any fun back-to-school traditions?

Have a happy hump day!

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Goals- 4 weeks left!

I can’t believe that it’s only a little over 4 weeks left of my maternity leave/ summer vacation!  It has been (mostly) so wonderful!  I really want to make the most of the time I have left, so I made a list of some end-of-summer goals.

House Stuff:

  • Make a chalkboard sign for the kitchen
  • Redo hall pictures
  • Clean out summer clothes
  • Put prints in photo album
  • Buy blender for baby food making

 

Me Stuff:

  • Renew blog?  Always torn about this!  I’m always really into it in the summer, but I tend to fall off in the other seasons.
  • Keep running (and lifting and yoga and just fitnessy stuff)
  • Get ready to do budget recon in September – I plan on writing down EVERYTHING I buy in the month of September.  Oh.my.
  • Get a haircut! – I haven’t had one since March!
  • Organize school papers/materials that I brought home in April (seems like a lifetime ago)
  • Read 2 books for fun
  • Eat as much watermelon as possible

 

Holden’s Stuff:

  • Finish baby book – Yikes!  I really fell off the bandwagon with this one.  I’m trying to be inspired by Helen’s and finish up Holden’s.
  • Get Holden’s school supplies
  • Get fitted for a little boy tux for Auntie Brookie’s wedding
  • Art Museum Pre-K Day
  • Visit Farmer’s Market
  • Maybe another fishing trip???
  • School shoes!
  • Fro-yo date – Mommy & Holden

 

Helen’s Stuff:

  • Work on baby book
  • Outfit for Auntie Brookie’s wedding
  • Find some cute clothes to fit this growing baby!
  • Review baby food making business – I love this book!  
  • Baptism and Reception – Planning, Decorating, Cooking, and Enjoying!
  • Get everything ready for the daycare transition

 

Whew!  We are going to be busy!  Hopefully, there will be some beach days in there as well.

Natalie

How’s your summer been?

Any last items you want to check off your summer list?

Favorite summer treats?