Preparing to Prepare

For the past four and a half months, I have just felt completely out-of-control.  It’s not that humble understanding that there a lot of things beyond my control.  OK, maybe some of it is.  I can’t control that I’ve been really sick three times since October 1st (twice in the past month alone).  And long ago I realized that I can’t 100% control whether or not I get pregnant (as long as my husband and I do the renewing act of the marriage covenant).  So I also can’t control the 10-12 weeks of nausea, dizziness, and extreme bursts of exhaustion that come with the creation of a new life inside my body.

I’m really talking, though, about the things that I can control but haven’t been….like not letting sick and exhaustive periods send me into an emotional tailspin that just makes me lazy.  I can stop allowing myself to be distracted from my vocational duties by too many time wasters.  I can stop feeding my mind with things that make me angry and bring me down.  I can stop “forgetting” to do the things that build me up physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  I’m not saying that things were running super smoothly around here before October, but since October, I’ve been a bit of a mess.  And it’s become even worse in the past month.

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, and I CAN NOT WAIT!  Let’s just say that this year I am seeing Ash Wednesday like other people see New Year’s.  This is my chance to fix some things that have been holding me back from fulfilling the vocation God gave me.  I’ve been thinking long and hard about what my personal Lenten sacrifices will be and the better habits I want to develop or renew.  I’ve been preparing to prepare.  I am trying to be practical and not set myself up for failure, but there seems to be a long list.  I’m going to write some of it here just so that I can keep it straight in my own mind.

Sacrifices

  1. All Blogs:  Lately, almost all of the blogs I regularly read are making me angry or bringing me down.  A lot of it stems from the fact that I read a lot of Catholic blogs, and we’re all angry and upset about Obama’s HHS mandate that violates the First Amendment and especially affects Catholics.  And I know that as the election year progresses there’s going to be more and more stuff that makes me upset.  So, I’m cutting out reading any blogs for Lent….even the one by Ken Levine (one of the writers of MASH and Cheers) and my friends’ personal blogs.  Even though those are harmless, it’s just easier to make a blanket rule to drop all blogs than start making exceptions.
  2. Facebook Commenting on Friends’ Posts:  I am getting really tired of people who post nasty and unfair rhetoric about groups or about issues with which they disagree.  Lately it has just been bringing me down, and I am getting tired of fighting the injustice of it all.  So, for now I feel the need to step back a bit, block the individual posts that upset me, and make no comments rather than trying to remind certain Facebook friends that these are real people (in fact, people that they consider friends) that they are posting mean-spirited, spiteful, and untrue things about.
  3. No New Television Series:  For the past month I have been obsessively watching Battlestar Gallactica on Netflix.  In my lazy stupor, I have just wanted to camp out in front of the computer and watch episode after episode.  It has been sucking away a ton of my time that should have been spent on other things, and it’s even been giving me crazy dreams.  So, while I am tempted to check out the 18 episode of the Gallactica prequel show, Caprica, or see how historically accurate The Tudors might be, I think I need to avoid starting any new television series for awhile.

Habits

  1. Prayer Before Meals:  In the chaos of the past few months prayer before dinner has flown out the window a bit.  So, I’m going to try to make sure that we reinstate praying before dinner no matter what or where that dinner is.  Furthermore, I shouldn’t just limit it to dinner, as I have done in the past.  For the family, I’m going to try to make it a habit anytime we are eating at the table together, which will hopefully be more often than it has been recently.   Personally, I am going to try to remember to pray before breakfast and lunch as well.
  2. Prenatal Vitamins:  The past couple of weeks I have fallen out of the habit of taking my vitamins every day.  This is obviously something I need to get back into the habit of doing for the health and welfare of myself and my unborn baby.  I don’t think that either one of us has been nutritionally starving, but it couldn’t hurt to give us both an extra nutritional kick in the pants.
  3. Grooming:  Let’s just say there have been too many days spent in my pajamas.  I need to get back in the habit of being dressed and groomed for the day by noon.
  4. Private Habit:  There’s another habit that is a little more personal, and that I don’t feel like sharing with the world.  But it has to do with certain issues in my relationships with my husband and kids.

I know that my three Lenten sacrifices will open up large chunks of time that I plan to use more constructively.  First, I really need to get this house in better general order, and there are also some special household projects that need to be done.  Secondly, I plan to dig in with my new Bible study group.  And third I want to give more personal attention to my husband and kids.  I’m also hoping that everything will keep my mood more positive and upbeat (as opposed to annoyed and impatient).

For those that fear that I am being too hard on myself, I still have other forms of recreation available besides wasting countless hours on the internet.  I have shows on the DVR that I haven’t caught up on yet (including a four-part documentary on Catholicism).  There are a lot of homeschooling preparations that I need to make for summer and fall (which the nerd in me finds to be as much fun as it is work).  And maybe I’ll get my mojo back to do some other recreational reading.

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