ashes to ashes

It’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. We receive ashes on our foreheads in the sign of the cross, representing our repentance, our willingness to take stock of our spiritual life and begin again.

It’s time again for the three main practices of Lent:

Prayer –  We take time to reflect on what we can do for others, how we can bring more light to the world, and where we have fallen short. It’s a great way to reconnect with God and recommit ourselves to the path we want to follow.

Fasting – We give up things that keep us from living the life we want to be living. I know, for instance, that I am a slave to my phone, whether I spend my time reading late at night or playing mindless games or scrolling through endless feeds. Giving up those (wasted) hours will free me to do good in the world, in my own home and in the community.

Almsgiving – Lent helps us focus on what we can do for others. Can I give up my Starbucks runs or lunches out and give the money I save to people who really need it? The money I spend on my luxuries could go towards someone else’s necessities. It’s the right thing to do.

There is such a feeling of excitement to Lent! I appreciate having the chance to make some adjustments in my life. I have sooo far to go to be the person I want to be, but I’m going to take this opportunity to make a start.

Once, twice, three times…

Getting myself up and out of the house can be a challenge, but I am making a concerted effort to do more things, have more fun, and see more people. This week has really been a busy one!

Thursday: Blazer Game

David and I went to a Blazer game on Thursday night, which was particularly impressive since it was a work day. It was a celebration of sorts; my mammogram on Monday had been “abnormal,” and I had to have a retake Thursday morning. (I freaked out all Wednesday night, though I knew that, in all likelihood, it would be fine.) The follow-up mammogram was perfectly clear, so there is nothing to worry about, but it was certainly a relief! The Blazers beat the Phoenix Suns with an excellent fourth quarter effort, which was the icing on the cake.

Friday: Dinner with Friends

Friday was Ina’s dad’s birthday, so we donned our hats in true “Franz style” and went out to eat German food in his honor. I had Otto and Anita’s famous dill pickle soup and schnitzel with spaetzle, and David shared some of his maultaschen. We heard stories about Ina and Gerhard growing up, looked at photos of Bayern in a handy coffee-table book, and were all impressed by Ina’s ability to go from convincing tears to raucous laughter in a split second. An excellent time was had by all.

Saturday: PDX Night Out with Quinland

Tonight, I was nicely tucked in bed reading when Q crawled in beside me with the plea, “Can we do something? I want to do something.” I was unconvinced. He proposed a movie and piqued my interest with The Imitation Game, which stars my very-favorite Keira Knightley along with the ever-charming Benedict Cumberbatch. I started to waver. Then he used the big guns on me and threw in a trip to Salt & Straw, Portland’s home of amazing ice cream. The sweats came off, and we were out the door in about 10 minutes. (I tasted the Thai Peanut Butter Cup, but fell back on my current favorite, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper. Yum.)

As it turned out, we never made it to the movie. SInce parking can be terribly hard to find, we parked at my office downtown and took the streetcar up to NW Portland. The Salt & Straw line was long, of course, so instead of racing to the theater, we decided on a more leisurely path. We walked through Northwest all the way to Powell’s, but because I am not buying books this year, we mostly window-shopped. We then took the streetcar back to my office and came home. It is such a treat to have a date night like that with my kiddo.

It’s hard to believe that this is the least busy weekend I am going to have in February. Next weekend I have to pick up all the troop’s cookies on Saturday and chaperone Quinland at a youth conference on Sunday; the weekend after that, I am going on a scrapbooking retreat, to a baby shower, and to a couple of cookie booths; and the following weekend we are headed out to a beach weekend with the Scouts. Whew! Wish me luck!