Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent on my Mind

Although I am an Orthodox Christian now, I was raised as a Roman Catholic.  For lent, we were always encouraged to "give up" something.  My understanding was that we were "giving up" something as a sacrifice for all Jesus had sacrificed for us.  While that is somewhat true, what I have learned after coming to the Orthodox Church is that lent is a time for us to withdraw (of sorts) from our earthly world and focus more on our spiritual world.  Most Orthodox Christians I know observe fasting... fasting from meat, meat products (milk, cheese, eggs, etc), fish, and oil. Before I had a clear understanding of the importance of the fast, I participated in lent the "catholic way."  My first year I gave up Oprah, the next year I gave up watching soap operas (I know!).  What I found was that the things I gave up were distracting me from my walk with God.  I was given so much more than I "gave up."

So this year, I'm preparing to participate in the fast.  This week is preparation for the weeks of lent ahead.  During this week, Orthodox Christians abstain from meat.  Monday begins the Orthodox fast.  So while I am participating in the fast, I will also be "giving up" something as well.  There are so many things that distract me from my walk... so where do I begin finding "that thing" that will have the most impact.  Well, prayer is where I find "that thing."  So this year there are 3 (LOL) things that I have been convicted to practice... I will be "giving up" going out to eat during the week (although this means I'll be spending more time cooking, I have found that cooking actually consumes less of my time overall than going out to eat), I will be giving up "sleeping in" during the week as well (this means that I'll be setting the alarm clock and making sure I start my day before my kids are in full force... ooohh that one's going to be tough) and I will put a very strict limit on my internet time(ouch!).  But I know that if I am faithful in this pursuit, that God will bless me beyond measure (who knows... maybe He'll even let me win the Night Out with the Stars...LOL!!!)

Okay, so what about you?  If you are Orthodox, do you participate in the fast?  Do you "give something up" to spend more time with God?  If not, is there something you feel God asking you to do this lent in addition to the fast?  If you are Catholic, what do you do to spend more time with God during lent?  And if you are someone who doesn't DO lent, why not... just because your faith may not participate in a lenten fast doesn't mean you can't...  

I would love to hear your lenten thoughts.

In love and recovery,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Review - The Power of Less

WOW!  Probably one of the best words I can use to describe this book.  As you might have noticed from my previous reviews... I'm pretty picky... lol!  But I have to say I learned an incredible amount from this book.  The author lives what he suggests and gave a lot of insight in just a few pages.  The premise of the book is to live a more powerful life by doing less.  Yes, you heard me correctly... by DOING LESS.  I've already put some of his suggestions into practice and have been amazed at the things that have occurred in our household.

There is peace and simplicity in his ideas.  And you know I'm ALL about SIMPLE.  Now, his book is written to the professional but I found at least 95% of what he wrote being applicable to a stay at home mom.  I think as moms at home, we have special challenges, but really, how different is an emergency diaper change from an interruption from the boss???  (I've had diaper blow outs and they are much less stress than an angry boss!)  Of course, there are some things he suggests that I really don't want to do (get up earlier...yuck!) but as with everything (thank you OA) I'm learning that there is a choice to make.  Hmmm... I guess I'll have to let you know about MY decision in my next post... don't you just love cliffhangers ;-)

So, my recommendation... if you are looking to live a life of peace and simplicity, and be more efficient while doing it, read this book.  I saw it at our library (our tiny library) so if you have a library in your community, they probably have it.  

In love and recovery,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book Review - The Senator's Wife

Well, I've been busy reading again.  I suppose the cooler weather has made me want to curl up with a book (and not do much

This book is another fiction book.  I've read another of Sue Miller's works, "While I Was Gone," and I like it so I thought I would give this one a try.  Her characters truly come to life.  I was captivated by their lives and was able to read this book fairly quickly because it really did draw me in.  Even so, I don't know that I would recommend this book to others.  I'm at a lost as to how to explain this... I can't say I didn't like the end, I would have preferred another conclusion, but I didn't write the book.  But that's not the reason I wouldn't suggest this book.  A situation in the book, closely tied to the conclusion, was, well, strange and embarrassing.  I know, that doesn't make sense... let's see if this does it... two characters engage in a behavior that leads to the conclusion of the book but I thought that the author could have come to the same conclusion without including some of the details that she did.  Okay... that's as much as you'll get out of me.  If you need more details, you can email me... LOL!

All righty!  Next post will be a book review as well, "The Power of Less."  I need to "sit" with it a little bit longer before I write my review though.  Look for it in the next few days... I'm sure you can't wait... LOL!

In love and recovery,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NOT a book review

Can you believe it?  I have something to say other than a book review?  Well, not really but I thought I would post any way...LOL!

Things have been busy here... aren't they always?  Dentist appointments and birthdays, trips out of town and visits to the Stars.  Homeschooling and Homecleaning.  The list goes on and on.

Separating the literature reads for the older two and the younger two has NOT been working.  I'll be looking for something interesting we can read all together.  We were all spoiled by the richness of Narnia series so this is going to be tough.

I'm looking forward to a seminar on homeschooling for high school.  We've made lots of progress on the garage so I'm hoping to get some specific areas more organized if we can squeeze that in, because there is some hockey going on this weekend too  :-)

In love and recovery,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Review - The Associate

Okay, I really have been doing things besides reading... LOL!  Since my other favorite author, John Grisham, released a book recently, I was anxious to read it.  My mother likes to read him as well, so I was aiming to finish so that I could leave it with her when I went for a visit.  

I did complete it and I must say... it was a huge disappointment.  It didn't flow.  It had exciting parts but for the most part it seemed that he had 5 different story ideas and tried to incorporate them into one story.  There was a love interest but it didn't fit with the story line.  The friendships didn't fit.  The end was a disappointment.  I was totally bummed!

As much as I enjoy his books, I'm afraid it is time for him to either retire or at least take a break for awhile and recharge.  Sorry, Mr. Grisham, this one did not meet "the bar."

In love and recovery,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Review - The Whipping Boy

Although this was a very cute story, it lacked the quality that I expect from a Newberry Medal book.  The kids didn't seem too impressed either.  The story traces the adventures of a prince and his whipping boy.  Some nice reflections on friendships.

We do have a fun project planned and I'm excited to see the results.  Over the next few days, the kids will "adapt" the book to something I will video tape this weekend.  I'm very anxious to see their creative minds at work.

In love and recovery,