Lenten Thoughts

Life continues to move forward, full-throttle, with spring break in late March/early April as the only reprieve in sight. Until then I continue to tweak my resume as I apply for jobs, prepare to be in Kansas City every other weekend for the next five weeks for class, and prepare for my comprehensive exams. This semester will be over before I know it! I know I shouldn’t wile away my hours, but how I look forward to the day when I will have a house of my own (without noisy neighbors who live above me), an income that allows me to save so I can once again travel abroad, and hopefully have a schedule that allows me to get caught up on all the books I haven’t had time to read whilst becoming a librarian.

Highlights over the past few weeks:
– getting a free ride on campus from the rickshaw on wheels, operated by a local pizza parlor
– seeing a man at the library who looked like a cross between Dog the Bounty Hunter and Robert Plant. Oh public library, how I love thee.
– treating myself to a haircut and discovering my hair is still long enough (a good thing) that I can make this fun braid on the side
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– I felt bad that this Betsey Johnson purse was lonely at Plato’s Closet, so I decided it needed a new home. Mine. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!
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– traveling to St. Louis with teens from my church for a Bible quizzing meet and post-quiz field trip to the Laumeier Sculpture Park. I think we had more fun at the park than we did at the quiz…is that bad?
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– in keeping with reading lots and lots of books for my Reader’s Advisory class, so far I’ve read the following books this month: Step on a Crack by James Patterson, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Brava Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (loved it!), Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers, and have almost finished Summer by the Sea by Susan Wiggs

As the Lenten season officially begins, I pause to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us the last 40+ days he walked on the earth preceding his death. This website is from a Nazarene church in Arizona and has some terrific ideas for ways to observe Lent. Click on the Lent tab to access resources. “The Prayer Guide for Lent” includes PDFs of daily scripture meditations (I’m using these), and the last link under “Fasting During Lent” includes different ideas of things from which you can abstain as individuals or as a family.

Though never observing Lent as a child or teen, this will be my sixth year I’ve chosen to honor this holy season. While having many Catholic friends in high school who would typically give up chocolate for Lent, strangely enough it was my protestant friends from college who spoke of this choice in their walk with the Lord. Since incorporating this into my own personal faith tradition, I’ve found my walk with Christ strengthened and deepened when I reflect on how much He has done for me. Replacing my human comforts with focused dependence grows my awareness of His grace, making me humbly and eternally thankful.
The things I have felt compelled to “give up” this year are television, sweets, and meat on Fridays. Yesterday and today I have also chosen not to any play music while in my car. After hearing a series of short podcasts from Focus on the Family about teaching your children hymns, I hope to use my time in the car to lift my voice in proclaiming the truthful words of poetry set to music.

This evening I pause and reflect on the joys of being able to have an impromptu dinner and visit with my friends Mary-Ann and Heidi, who were instrumental in me joining a sister-church effort when a teen Bible quizzing was established my freshmen year of high school. It’s crazy that we’ve known each other that long. And this weekend I will be able to stay with my childhood friend Ginger, who has known me even longer and to whom I am connected by fond memories of church and imaginative fun we would create. God’s blessings of friendships do not go unnoticed in my life.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8

“Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more…and grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.” from What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey

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