I Give Up! Or Not.

Being a transplant to South Louisiana, I’ve always had a difficult time with Lent. Where I grew up, there weren’t many Catholics. In fact, I can’t think of one person I knew that was Catholic until I moved here. I never understood Lent. I simply thought it was a time to repent after the debauchery of Mardi Gras.

In the years I’ve lived here, I’ve come to more fully understand the Catholic faith. I even started taking Catholic classes. I think “classes” is a bit of an exaggeration, I think I attended ONE class, until I found out that whole process ended in a public baptism and that did not appeal to me at all. So, that was that.

I have embraced parts of the Catholic faith. I love the quiet reflection, being alone with your thoughts to offer up prayers or meditations. It’s how I’ve started my days for the last few years. It’s a little bit of peace and quiet before the chaos of work, home, and life in general.

But, back to Lent, I’ve tried to give up something every year for Lent. I’ve tried beer, carbs, red meat, you name it. I’ve never made it until the end. This is probably because I’ve never really took it as seriously as I should. I think I’ve done it because I thought it was a good idea.

I’m going to try something new this year. I’m going to give back something rather than give up something. I’ve never been good at self-deprival anyway. As soon as I tell myself that I can’t have something, my mind instantly fixates on that one thing until I become borderline OCD.

I’ve already been trying to give back in small ways by doing “small things”. I’m just going to be like Emeril and “kick it up a notch”. I’m going to keep doing the small things I’m doing, throwing a few cans into the local Food Bank basket every week, and trying to encourage my students to do small things. But, I’m going to brainstorm new things to do.

I read an article yesterday (see below) that confirmed what I’ve already been thinking. In these times of recession and unemployment, it is really a time to give back rather than give up. So many have had to give up that those of us that do have should give back.

So, my goal for the next 39 days is to give back, not give up.

After all, doesn’t a benevolent Queen keep in mind the needs of others? (Oh yeah, I rolled my eyes at myself on that one.)

For now, I’m off to figure out what to do with the rest of my day. I love vacations!

Peace!

Queen Out

For those of you interested in learning more about Lent, or haven’t figured out what you want to give up or give back. Here are some resources I’ve found….

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/christians.encouraged.to.give.rather.than.give.up.this.lent/25313.htm

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1BtbnM/learnthis.ca/2010/02/100-ways-to-serve-others/

A Lenten Reflection
Give up complaining——focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism——become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments——think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry——trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement——be full of hope.
Give up bitterness——turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred——return good for evil.
Give up negativism——be positive.
Give up anger——be more patient.
Give up pettiness——become mature.
Give up gloom——enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy——pray for trust.
Give up gossiping——control your tongue.
Give up sin——turn to virtue.
Give up giving up——hang in there!
http://www.lca.org.au/resources/webmanager/quoteslent1.pdf

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Sometimes You Gotta Have Faith

I don’t always talk about faith. I’ve always thought faith was a personal issue, but I guess if I can blog about what guys I’m dating, chasing, or running from, I can talk about a little religion every now and then.

My dad is my role model when it comes to religion. He’s a deeply religious man. One of my favorite things about going home to Oklahoma is getting up early and having coffee with my dad. Some mornings he reads his bible, and I simply enjoy the peace and quiet of my parent’s house.

I guess that’s why now one of my morning rituals is to have my coffee and read my prayer book. I love starting my day with some peace and quiet, so much so that I’ve even started ended my day that way as well. When I’m not so tired I’m nearly passing out, that is.

Last week was a particularly rough week. It was stressful in pretty much every way imaginable, except professionally for a change! By Friday, my hair was almost literally standing on end, and I was completely and utterly frazzled.

It being Friday, I ended up where I always end up on Friday, at my little hang-out. I hung out with my friends, not completely relaxed. I was still stressed.

It came time to close up and at that time I had two sets of friends still there. Both invited me to hang out with them. One set was my friends I hang out with all the time. The other set was some friends I hadn’t hung out with quite as much. Usually, I would choose the first set, but something made me choose the second set this time.

We ended up back at my friend’s house. We were all hanging out by the pool. It was late, and it was pretty quiet. I ended up rolled up my jeans and letting my feet dangle in the pool. Then, I ended up laying back and staring at the stars.

And then, little by little, I felt the stress just drain away.

It was amazing.

What does this have to do with faith? When I needed a friend, a friend was there. I talked and talked and talked until my stress was gone. What I needed was provided for me.

All I had to do was wait and have a little faith.

Even this week, when times have gotten stressful, I think back to sitting by the pool, staring at the stars and feeling (for the moment at least) stress free. And this week, even with some of the same problems, has not been half as bad.

It definitely wasn’t what I expected, but it was definitely appreciated.

For now, I’m off to relax, watch some tv, and start to gear up for another weekend. 🙂

Here’s to life’s little suprises and having a little faith!