I'm actually not counting down quite yet. Instead, I'm enjoying Lent. Is that okay to say? Enjoying Lent? Oh well. We'll see how that continues. Here's the breakdown of how my intentions are working out:
Prayer: Do a Sorrowful mysteries decade of the Rosary each day (on Sundays do a Rosary of the Glorious mysteries) and incorporate the Liturgy of Hours into my daily schedule.
This plan has worked out really well! I've also added reading St. Louis de Montfort's The Secret of the Rosary, reading a rose with each decade. There's a lot of interesting history behind the Rosary, about which I'm currently reading. I definitely recommend this book to anyone.
Reading: Read from a compilation of works by the Church Fathers.
Is it bad if I think this reading is a little dull? Maybe because all of it is pretty early so far and they kind of repeat the same things ("You're doing well, respect your bishop, avoid heresy..."). They are all good things, I'm just waiting for something really compelling or confrontational. That makes it more exciting!
Food: Abstain from sugar throughout Lent and decrease meat consumption.
Whose bright idea was it to abstain from sugar/sweets for forty days? Oh, it was me? It was me, wasn't it? Right. Brilliant. As much as I complain about it, this probably was a good idea...given how much I complain about its absence. It sounds stupid to be mortified over nixing sugar—it seems completely inconsequential compared to fasting for several days or abstaining from something really important—but it's still a challenge. Last night we had people over for dinner and my mom prepared two desserts. TWO. I'd be all over that any other time of the year, but I declined. Nutso.
Slowing Down: Spend more time outside, with family and with entertainment other than the computer.
We had a legit Spring day! It was in the high forties or fifties this week. And then it dropped to thirty and snowed for two days. Ah, the Midwest....
I've made some effort to stay out of my hermit-like existence, but it could be better. We have family visiting (for reasons I will explain below), which has encouraged me to be out and about a bit more. I really just can't wait for it to get and stay warmer. It's such a mood-lifter.
With all of my Lenten intentions, I can see a difference in my behavior (easily: I'm adding and taking away things) and especially my attitude. I tend to become frustrated or even angry easily, but that has improved (even if slightly). For example, instead of becoming annoyed immediately, I can tell myself to chill. No promises for it lasting the whole day, though. Work in progress, here.
So what else is going on?
Last Saturday, family arrived from Texas to reunite with us but also to await this darling girl:
We had left for the hospital to get there just as visiting hours began. It was a very exciting time, but the day would not let up on us. Our ten year old dog, Suhn, died the same day, from causes not fully known, though by that point, age isn't too wild a guess. It was such a shock and I think we are still taken aback by it. The house is much quieter and my daily routine is completely off. His bed was just outside my room, so there's no more hearing him shifting around or letting him outside in the morning or talking to him as I walk around the house. It's mostly just bizarre. I'm happy he isn't in pain (he had an old leg injury and he hated Winter with a burning passion), but it truly is strange not to have him here anymore.
To celebrate his goofball-ness, here's a picture of him celebrating the New Year last year:
This has certainly been the longest week of 2014.
P.S. This is my 100th blog post! That just sounds wild. If you're reading, I'm happy you found your way here. Whether you've just come across my blog or you've been following it since its infancy, thank you for reading! :)