Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.

I have spent time the last few days reading old posts.  I have learned a couple of things through this.

  1. I was a normal teenager, just like my mom said.  Moody, ornery, crazy, selfish, rude, happy, ecstatic, independent, reliant on other, and so forth.
  2. The most horrible days of my life were easily erased by my cute boyfriend, time spent with friends, and God.
  3. I had a lot of “this is the worst day ever”s.

Reading these posts helped me realize that no matter what problems were happening in my life, I made it through!  Even though it appears that some weeks I was basically bipolar, it didn’t kill me.  A common thread that wove through most topics was the presence of God.

We are taught many things through the Bible.  God tells us that He will not give us more than we can bear in life.  Being a teenage girl, I often felt that I was given more than I could possibly handle, but look at me now!  I am 6 years past being a teenage girl!  Jesus says that He will walk with us through life; nothing that happens will we have to encounter alone.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (The Message) says “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.”

Now relating this to my Lenten sacrifices… Giving up chips and popcorn, which sometimes feels painful, is truly not that difficult.  God is walking next to me saying, “Thank you for doing this for me.  You will make it until April 4th.  I have no doubt, because I care for you, I love you, and I am right here.”

Quote by Benjamin Franklin

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give

Boy was I exhausted yesterday!  Typically, Justin and I stay up together until around 11pm and then make our way to bed.  In our evenings we eat dinner, do work, do homework, watch some West Wing, etc.  While we are watching tv I usually cross-stitch or work on a puzzle.  Last night was slightly different.  I went grocery shopping after work and went home and made us dinner.  After that we settled down to watch the West Wing and I grabbed my cross-stitch and a couple of blankets.  I leaned back in the recliner, and that was it for me.  I was out.  Around 11pm I woke up and went to my bed where I crashed again.

I believe falling asleep so early was a good thing.  Usually sometime after dinner I start thinking about what snack I am going to eat at night.  This is not very healthy for a few reasons, the biggest being that you are not supposed to eat too close to bed.  I imagine this is especially true if you spend after dinnertime until bedtime in a recliner.  So instead of eating I slept.

I realized that as hard as my Lenten sacrifice already is, it is going to be much worse in March.  March will bring an Oscar party and my dad’s 50th birthday party.  I can guarantee that at these parties will be chips, delicious chips, with their delicious dips.  Thankfully, I did not give up crackers, pretzels or veggies.  But nevertheless, I am going to be challenged in a different way during those times.  I am looking forward to it 🙂

Today is proving to be a great day so far.  It is snowing outside, but I can tell that the sun is trying to peek through.  I received flowers from the President’s Office first thing at work this morning.  I had time at home to make sandwiches for my lunch and dinner as well as get Justin’s grapes and carrots to his desk.  I have class tonight shortly after work, which I am fully prepared for.  There are many days where I feel like grad school is overwhelming, but I am continually thankful for the chance.

I am continuing to remind myself that everything I do is for God.  Whether it is data entry at work, eating dried apricots instead of popcorn, or cleaning my kitchen, I am doing it for God.  Try to remind yourself of that today when you are doing something frustrating or not fun.  It’s all for God.

Quote by Sir Winston Churchill

Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.

As I understand it, if you are Catholic and practicing Lent, on Sundays you get a break from your sacrifice.  I have decided that I am not going to do it this way.  On Sundays, Thursdays, Tuesdays and every other day, I am going to continue my devotion to avoiding my vices.  The way I see it, Jesus, hanging on the cross, did not say, “Ok this sucks.  Let me take 10 minutes and then I will come back up here.” If He didn’t get a break, either do I.

It is amazing to go through this Lenten journey alongside other people.  An important woman in my life told me today about what she is adding for Lent.  It was incredible to see her devotion.  No matter how religious you are, adding something to your life or taking something away for 40 days and nights is a great act of self control.  My hope is that it will become a habit.  If you do something for 21 days in a row, it is supposed to become something that you do all of the time, or if you quit something for 21 days in a row you are supposed to get rid of that habit.  While I am positive that on April 5th I will enjoy a popcorn breakfast, a Dorito lunch and nachos for dinner, I am hoping I do use food to handle emotions as much anymore.

I am excited to hopefully have a productive week.  I often get a case of the Mondays very quickly that lasts until the middle of Thursday.  This week is going to be different though.  This week I am focusing on God more than I have in awhile.  I am going to see Him in every aspect of my life and thank Him for His part in it.

*Quote by John F. Kennedy

I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places

It is easy to replace those things that are given up for Lent.  I gave up chips and popcorn, but have quickly realized that many other things can fill the hole I feel.  For example, crackers with melted cheese on them, blizzards, cheetos and chex mix all taste almost as good.  Eating these things is not in the spirit of Lent, in fact, it is the exact opposite.

In Exodus 20:23 we are told “Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.”  Gods of silver OR gold.  When God commands us to not make gold gods, we try them in silver.  By eating too much when I feel bad, no matter what it is, I am replacing God with an idol.  I am telling him, “thanks anyways for sitting right beside me and holding my hand, but this snack will make me feel better than you ever can.”  How can I continually say that to my God?  Because I am human.  Full of sin and selfishness.

While today I ate too much, tomorrow I get another chance.  I have still kept my promise to God about not eating certain foods, but I have not kept that promise as well as I should have.  I will go to bed tonight praising Him for the fact that I have the option to eat too much and asking His forgiveness for letting Him down.

Tomorrow I will wake up, praise Him, and fulfill my promise better than I did today.  And as that sinful, frail, disobedient human, I will let Him walk along beside me while I do.

Walking isn’t a lost art: one must, by some means, get to the garage.

I am pretty sure that God is teach me some things these last few days.  One is patience and the other is to start talking to Him more.  He is doing so in the most annoying way.  God is saying, “HEY AMBER!  TALK TO ME!” by slowing down every single car that is driving in front of me to no more that the speed limit, and often incredibly less.  He knows how much I hate that, and how much it makes me want to rear end them with my beautiful Jeep.  He also knows that I will not.  Instead, I will say, “FINE GOD!  I AM HERE! Please make these cars go faster!  No? You won’t?  Fine, I will talk to you anyways.”

I do not talk with God as much as I should.  As much as I do not like this, I go through phases.  For weeks (or sometimes like two days in a row) I will talk to Him on my way to work or in the shower or someplace that I am a lot.  I tell Him what I want in life, how it isn’t happening in MY time.  I thank Him for the amazing sunset that I am driving into or the husband who loves me so much.  But then life gets busy and I forget again.

Justin keeps teasing me about my Lenten changes.  He talks about eating popcorn and making nachos.  He says that I shouldn’t act like I am Catholic if I’m not.  This is all in good fun and it really doesn’t bother me.

It doesn’t bother me because I have talked with my God at least 12 times in the last couple of days.

*Quote by Evan Esar.

Accept something that you cannot change, and you will feel better

For many people, Lent is a time to give something up.  Three of the reasons we do this is to 1) practice self-control, 2) to identify with Jesus’ suffering, and 3) to reflect on our wrongdoings.

Now typically, I do not give up something for Lent.  I play the “I’m not Catholic so I don’t have to” card.  While completely valid, this year I found making an excuse to escape a little lesson in self control to be ridiculous.  I decided to give up a couple of items that I love more than breathing: chips and popcorn.  Now you may say, “love more than breathing? You are nuts” and I would say “Yes I am.”  Eating Doritos wouldn’t be so bad if I ate a small amount during the day, but I tend to eat half the bag late at night.  I am what you might call an emotional eater.  Often I am not even hungry nor will eating those chips fill any sadness that I may be feeling at that moment.  Nonetheless, it is what I do.  Giving chips and popcorn up for me will mean quite a lot to me and my faith walk.  Instead of eating the chips, I will remember why I am not.  I will remember that I able to be sitting there not eating Spicy Nacho Doritos because Jesus Christ suffered on a cross for me.  While at some of my weakest moments I may think that I am suffering just as much as He did, I will know that I am not.  I will think about my day and about the moments I denied Him, about the times where I swore, or did not respect myself, or ignored His beautiful sun because the snow piles are still taller than me.  I will not each chips or popcorn because I am taking those moments in my day to savor His creations.

Along with giving something up at Lent, many people try to take something up during this time.  Some reasons for doing this include 1) to address personal habits they do not like, 2) to introduce acts of service or outreach, and 3) to simply make more time for God.

While I am eating no chips or popcorn, I will be adding something to my life – this here blog!  I go through phases of my life where i blog a lot, blog a little, or can barely remember the name of my blog.  Despite that, I love to blog and I want to keep track of what is going on in my life.  Especially right now as grad school is just beginning and marriage is becoming more and more exciting.  While blogging will help me remember what I did on this day at this time in my life, I am hoping that it will remind me to reflect on the blessings I have received on this day at this time in my life.  God is everywhere.  He is in everything.  Every choice I make and every action I take needs to be focused on Him.

This all being said, I am sure there are many of you that are giving up or adding something for Lent.  I wish you all the best of luck and please remember who we are doing this for.