Giving Up for Lent

I am not giving up wine or chocolate this Lent. I am looking at my life and making an impact – socially, spiritually, physically, creatively, professionally, politically, and family-wise. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, a reminder that we are all going to die. And Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, the night before Ash Wednesday, reminds us that we are going to live until we die. Lent is 40 days of intentional living.

Here are my aims, remembering that this life is but a whisper.

Socially

Speak with words of deep love and mutual respect
No gossip or judgment – Believe everyone is doing their best
If I’m on time I’m late; Arrive early

Spiritually

20130425-085137.jpgPray and meditate
Practice mindfulness
Celebrate the diversity of religions

Physically

Stay fit
Train for a 10K in June
Eat more greens (fruits and vegetables) and less whites (carbs)

Creatively

Make art, especially cards and my art journal
Write in my journal every day
Send work out to be published
Less time passively taking in social media, more time producing art

Professionally

Read about what makes for good teaching every day
Listen well to students and colleagues
Be firm, but loving with classroom management
Remain organized with lesson plans – organization is the key to success

Politically

Give to: the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, International Women’s Writing Guild, and United Methodist Women
Support women and children who are marginalized and oppressed
Honor the sanctuary movement
Write to thank the activists on the frontlines
Support independent and women artists and commercial establishments
Speak up about gender equality
Celebrate and preserve the freedom of the press

Family-wise

Remain true to Chris and the kids
Do not overparent but guide my nearly-adult children to independence
Listen to and encourage the dreams of my children and family
Play more board games

I know I should make these resolutions SMART goals — measurable and time-sensitive. But for now, this is where I am starting. This is the beautiful thing about Lent — it is manageable; we travel from winter to spring. The miracle of renewal and resurrection is right around the corner. Stay optimistic. Have faith.

More on mindfulness.

 

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Giving Up For Lent

I’m not giving up red or white. I’m not giving up sweets, trashy TV, gossip or coffee. Been there, done that.

In fact, I might even drink more, watch more Shark Tank, eat more sweets, dish on the neighbors, and hit the latte bar.

Seriously, you know, I’m a righteous soul. I’ve got to do something for Lent.

I’m going to take up some things that make me happy:

  • Decluttering

    my wine
    wine in the Adirondacks. waiting for summer.
  • Blogging
  • Traveling
  • Eating a plant-based diet*
  • Having people over for dinner*

*These last two were inspired by Pastor Andrew’s sermon a couple of weeks ago at Rutgers Church.

On second thought, having dinner parties may be challenging, given that I’m going to be traveling too. (My friend Barbara Wheeler-Bride just wrote an awesome blog post about one of my parties, Thank you, Mary Beth, at Busted Halo. Thank you, Barbara.)

If you want to join the decluttering challenge and do some synchronous cleaning, I can add you to a super-secret Facebook decluttering group. Just message me.

I want to blog more because I have been learning so much through starting my own business. I want what I’m learning to be useful to other people.

And why travel? Just because. I’ve been a little down this week. And travel always makes me happy. In fact, I’m writing this from beautiful Nokomis, Florida. (Thanks, Nicole and Brendan for hosting me!) Next week, the family and I will be on spring break at Circle Z dude ranch in Arizona. Then, just my son and I head to Charlotte, North Carolina to look at colleges for him.

While in Charlotte, I’m offering a really fun and creative workshop, Spiritual Journeying, with Cindy Sloan. We’ll be making collages and writing about moments from our lives. We’re offering the workshop on Sunday afternoon, March 23 at Dilworth United Methodist Church ($29). Please come and tell me what you’re giving up for Lent. Or if, like me, you are just giving up.

Thanks, Hal Sadler, for this awesome ad for us!
Thanks, Hal Sadler, for this awesome ad for us!
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NaNoEdMo

I had so much fun in November for National Novel Writing Month. I really should/want to do National Novel Editing Month in March. Starting tomorrow.

But Fifty hours of Editing! Ugh! I can’t do anything for 50 hours. I’ll have to get up early or skip exercise at lunch time or work for hours and hours.

And what about my commitment to myself to blog everyday of Lent?

Yet the characters I birthed in November are wandering around in a Netherworld, asking me to come get them out of their half-lives. They are so needy and I’m a sucker for characters that need me. Seriously considering…..

Tiger Woods

Ask me if I care about the infidelity of Tiger Woods. My answer is a loud and clear No!

Let me rephrase that, “No, thank you. I’ve had enough.”

Besides, I’m trying to find the good. I just finished writing an article about women artists in Haiti making gratitude journals for income. That, to me, is worth paying attention to. 

Who wouldn’t want to read about people making a positive difference? Do we all really want to feast on the latest celebrity to implode?

Let’s face it. It’s hard to praise. It’s easy to criticize. It’s hard to create. It’s easy to destroy. (Even in this blog post, I’m going negative about people going negative.)

But let me try to remember My Rule Numer 5:  Expect the best, love what you get.

Maybe I’m thinking about all of this, because I have given up gossip and criticism for Lent. I’m feeling righteous. And it’s really hard. (My friend Barbara told me not to give up both — one or the other. But heck, I’m an overachiever!)

I want to go through life finding the good in people. It’s actually harder to be happy, joyful, optimistic than it is to critical, snarky, mean.

Does anyone have any good news? I’m open to hear it.