“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." - Matthew 6:16-18
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
For Catholics, Ash Wednesday is the "Launch Party" for a season in the church called Lent, during which we prepare for Easter Sunday, a celebration of God sacrificing his son Jesus, in order for our humanly sins to be forgiven, and that son coming back to us after his death in order to save the world.
Sounds positively wonderful, right?
Well... unfortunately, when you ask most Catholic's about Lent, the most common response is one of misery and irritability. And it's understandable that some of us feel this way. We are human... we like to have our cake and it, too. We like to take the easy way out of tricky situations. We like luxury. No one instinctually desires to live a life of desolation and poverty, and that's almost what it feels like you are doing when you choose a Lenten promise for yourself. By mid-Lent, many Catholics come to mass, looking like this guy...
Lent has a tendency to make some of us feel raggedy, pained, and dismal. Surprisingly, and to the shock of many, this is the opposite of how you should be portraying yourself during this time. If you read my last post about Lent, you know, I myself, have been guilty of this in the past.
Yes, we should use this time to make sacrifices for the purpose of showing God how much he means to us, however... complaining, griping, and moaning about how miserable you are and how much you are craving chocolate doesn't really show your love to anyone who you are attempting to make a sacrifice for, much less The Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Though, I'm not big on quoting the bible, simply because it can be difficult for non-bible enthusiasts to understand, I think the message that this verse provides is important to keep in mind during this time of the year.
It's so easy to lose sight of why we are doing what we are doing during Lent.
So... right now, today, in this very moment, I want you to forget what you know and what you think you know about Lent. No, I'm no expert and I've never been to the Vatican, but my gut tells me this... (and like Olivia Pope from Scandal would say, "Trust your gut.")
Lent is a time to begin a new journey. The idea of this journey may have been in the back of your mind, tucked away, and almost forgotten because you know that as this journey comes to life, you will be faced with many difficult decisions and forks in the road. One path will appear to be easier, more comfortable, and will take you right back to where you started, but the other, which will appear to be more difficult, will lead you to the place where you have the ability to become the best version of yourself.
It doesn't matter if you are Catholic, a follower of Christ, or lost somewhere in translation. We all have burdens that we bare daily, and the thing is, we have the ability to lift them, if we put in the time and effort, and decide to endure the uncomfortableness that comes with making a life change.
Maybe you haven't spoken to your mother in years and you can't even remember the reason why. Maybe you haven't treated a co-worker as nicely as you should because of one negative incident at work. Maybe you have the resources to donate to a local food bank monthly, but instead you treat yourself to a pedicure. Maybe your drug addiction has distanced you from your children. Maybe you haven't visited a friend who is sick in the hospital because it makes you feel uncomfortable and scared. Maybe you need to ask forgiveness or forgive someone from your past. Whatever is keeping the best version of yourself away from your loved ones and those who you surround yourself with... let it go.
Now is the time. Do something different to make a positive change. Of course, making this conscious decision to leap into the unknown is the scariest decision you will ever make. It's a big risk. But the bigger risk is what you will lose in your relationships, if you don't try.
I truly believe in the "ripple effect". If you show love and kindness to one person, that love will radiate to more places than you can imagine.
Isn't that what life is about? It's not about you living the way you see fit. It's about living in such a way that you are positively effecting the lives of others. And that is how you show God that you truly care.
So, as we enter this Lenten season, I encourage you to make a selfless change that will benefit another person's life, because I think that is the kind of sacrifice we are called to make and that change is one we should continue to embrace, even after Lent is through.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Over the past 4 months...
It snowed and snowed and snowed some more.
I wrecked my brand new car.
And then I wrecked it again.
I fell, and slipped, and scooted, and tumbled.
I lost a glove that I really liked.
I watched every single audio visual segment that has ever been released on Netflix.
I ate and ate and ate some more.
I tried to go for a run, but that's where the slipping, falling, tumbling, and scooting began.
Mean kids laughed at me and my running, slipping, falling, and tumbling.
I developed a nightly case of narcolepsy every evening at 8:30 p.m.
I paid more for my gas bill in one month than the total of all of my gas bills for an entire year.
And I still froze.
I broke two car window scrapers.
I lost my beautiful tan.
... Dear Winter, GET LOST!!!!!!!!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Every summer, my best friends and I take a long weekend trip to a lake house on Middle Bass Island. During the miserable winters and dreary, rainy springs that Ohio is so well known for, I constantly remind myself that this annual trip is right around the corner and I will be relaxing poolside, mimosa in hand with my very best friends (who are more like "soulmates") sooner than I think.
Not to sound snobby, pretentious, or uppity, but these friends are truly some of the most wonderful women I have ever met and the bond that we share is one of the most important and special aspects of my life. Basically, my friends are better than yours.
You know when you watch, "Sex and The City" or "Friends" or "Now and Then" and you think to yourself, "Friendships like that do not exist in real life."?
*DISCLAIMER TO MARIA, KRISTEN, MORGAN, JORDANN, AND MAILEY... I'M ABOUT TO GET REAL SENTIMENTAL WIT' IT!*
Well, I am here today to tell you that they actually do. My group of friends has been inseparable since high school and we have remained close, starting at the time when we were just a group of silly girls and still now, as grown women.
Don't get me wrong, they all drive me absolutely bat shit crazy, but I wouldn't trade them for anything in this whole world.
It's the late night phone calls, catching up on life, love, family, work, heartbreaks; it's the "I'm in town... happy hour... you and me... 30 minutes..."; it's the note and flowers saying "I know today is going to be rough, and I am thinking of you and I am here for you."; and it's the saved spot I know I have in their hearts, and the spot they all have in mine, that makes the friendship we have so irreplaceable. I can count on these girls, day or night and sunshine or rain, to be there for me in any way imaginable, and I would do the same for them without hesitation, in a heartbeat.
I have come home from the lake house with countless hilarious memories; memories that make me laugh so hard I nearly pee my pants when I randomly recall them.
Kristen getting kick punched by an old, drunk hag. Retracting a dead mouse from the restroom with a golf club. Our late night sober dance parties being secretly filmed. Developing a British accent when talking amongst ourselves. Being chased by ducks in very deep waters. Acquiring the most random pieces of oversized, costume jewelry and bingo hats from complete strangers. Morgan turning into a tomato after being exposed to sunlight for 15 minutes. Bike rides that left us sore for 2 weeks. Capturing tribal hair and salad fingers on film. Going to town on cookie dough logs and apple salad. Maria and Jordann turning into 65 year old gambling addicts upon hearing the word "Keno". Mailey's pirate impressions. Shutting down Frosty's by requesting Jeremih and NSYNC.
While writing this and recalling these memories, I'm struggling getting any words out and down because I can't hold back the laughter caused by our ridiculousness.
Bottom line, I would like to pay homage to these goofy chicks, let them know how much I appreciate everything they've done for me over the years, and how much I am looking forward to the millions of belly laughs to come. Here's to all future lake trips, hopefully we'll be giggling just as hard with our scooters, walkers, canes, and dentures. I love you all to pieces.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
2.) My Best Friend's Wedding, "I've got moves... you've never seen."
3.) The Sound of Music, "I have confidence in confidence alone!"
4.) Sleepless in Seattle, "It was... magic."
6.) When Harry Met Sally, "No, you pretty much wanna nail them too."
7.) Ace Ventura, "What happened to him? What happened to me!"
8.) The Proposal, "It takes two to make a thing go ri-ight!"
9.) Good Will Hunting, "How do you like them apples."