Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Cold Start to Lent

Joey, Katie, Anna and Libby playing in January snow

Lent has once again started and I find not much has seemed to change since the start of last Lent: fighting off illness colds, vehicle repairs, broken pipes and washing machine from the extreme cold, and yes, the exhaustion of winter.  Been praying for all you Boston and Northeast people-so much snow!!  Thankfully we've had "just enough" snow to keep things white and pretty, but this cold-oh, I could do without the cold!  I may end up a southern snow bird some day!

Jason and I now have another future summer project.  We bought our house in 2007 and the people who owned if from the 1990's-2007 had been "amused" that the people that had owned the house in the 1970-1990's had the washing machine and dryer in the main foyer.  They were very proud of the gorgeous remodeling they had done to bring the main foyer back to it's original grandeur.  And don't get me wrong, it's one of the reasons why we bought they house, but.....well, now that we've lived here for the past almost nine years we know why the washing machine was there: It's too cold in the unheated garage for the washing machine to be out there when it is below zero!!!  We have had the pipes freeze and break at least 4 of the 9 winters we have lived here.  So, we are trying to decide how to fit a "laundry room" into a traditional farm house that doesn't have closets or a mud room or a traditional basement.  I think I may have to give up the one coat closet this house contains.  We're also trying to figure out how we can add insulation around/in two brick walls since pipes keep freezing on outside's frustrating and just one more thing to overcome (and of course NOT what I had listed originally as summer priority project.)  But a working laundry room for 7 people in the dead of winter does take priority over all other things.  We have only survived laundry wise for the past three months since Debbie lives just across the road and is willing to keep her washing machine running with our mountain of laundry.  Prior to this cold snap the washing machine broke several times.  I just realized that it's actually now 10 years old-I think it may be at the end of it's lifespan since they don't make appliances to last many years or to put up with the many work loads a large family makes, weather it is laundry wise or dishes wise.

I reread the my Lent post from last year and realized that I had also been fighting that "we're not doing enough/need to "spice up" home schooling fever" again".....I had been "hitting up" the kids about joining youth groups again, and both teens replied, "I'd really just like to do religion with dad." why am I trying to encourage the kids to add one more thing to a busy calendar or to be away from home more when Joey is already a freshman in high school???  Okay, so we just have to "make sure" that "religion class" happens each week.  We started Father Corapi's Catechism dvd series.  Some pretty deep stuff there.

We wrote out our Lent goals this past Sunday since Byzantine Lent started the next day and here is what the family decided:

Sorry the picture is off center-just realized that, but doesn't it seem more "real life" that way?  Since this blog has never been about perfection, I think it sums things up appropriately.  We're just doing our best each day trying to get ourselves and our children to heaven.  From our list, you can tell that we're not really Catholics that "give up" stuff for Lent.  The first Lent after I became Catholic a priest at Offutt Air Force Base really made an impression on me when he preached that the focus of Lent should be about "doing more."  Jason does give up all chocolate for Lent each year, which I know is a HUGE sacrifice for him, but I found that when I focus on doing more for God, I really do end up sacrificing....mostly time of course, but many times food is involved.  Last year I did the "diet thing" as well which meant trying to stay away from fast foods as much as possible, so I would donate the money saved to a charity.  I averaged between $25-40 per week just by trying to "wait til I got home" to eat while out for events.  I worked on "diet" during Advent as well and ended up losing almost 5 pounds during the holidays (and working full time.)  I didn't even get exercise in (which I'm not proud of, but it's the truth.)  Now for Lent I'm trying to add "exercise" to my other diet plans and hopefully we'll see what happens.

We'll be doing many of the same things as last year: Lent reading basket, watching more religious movies, crown of thorns and Stations of the Cross candles.  Familiar things help give a "rhythm to our life" and I think in the long run help all of us to grow in holiness.  Our local priest always points out that once you make that first decision to "skip church" this Sunday it makes it so much easier to skip church the next Sunday and the Sunday after that....sloth breeds slothfulness.  As I grow older and older I can really see the truth in that in all areas of life.  It takes great moral fortitude to get out of bed on those mornings when you just want to roll over and sleep the cold away.

Once again I come back to my favorite St. Thomas More quote:

The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”

Here's another "cold picture":

Jessie and Katie after "burying" themselves in January snow

As a "fun" note, life hasn't all been about drudgery.  We have had some friends over for "Game Night" where only board games or cards could be played (no video games allowed):

"Settlers of Catan" about to be played

We got a hotel room to have a Super Bowl family party at since we don't have cable and got some swimming in!  (Second time we've done this as a family in the past five years.):

Jessie and Joey in back; Libby, Katie and Anna in front.

This past weekend we even got in some face painting with face crayons.  Daddy was a sport and allowed the girls to paint him as well:
Anna "painting" Daddy's face

Jason rocking the face paint

May all of you have a blessed Lent-May it draw you closer to God!  May you all safely make it through this tough winter and may the sweetness of spring come soon!,