With homework and all, it took me a little while to get back to this post that I began earlier today:
I have just braved "The Walk of a Thousand Winds" to arrive here at the Roseville Ramsey County Library. The girls and I gave it that name a few years ago, because for some reason, no matter what the weather, the walk from the parking lot to the front entrance of the library is always windy. Today that also means it is brutally cold! I just checked and it is currently -8 F. I remind myself that we had days upon days of this weather last year and am so thankful that we were blessed with such a mild January. But cold is cold!
Today is Ash Wednesday in the liturgical year. While my theology aligns more with the Anabaptist tradition, I come from a Lutheran/Methodist/Catholic background. My dad's family attended either Methodist or Lutheran churches and my mom was raised Catholic until she married my father. Ash Wednesday is recognized in the Lutheran/Methodist churches in which I was raised, but Lent is more of an optional observation; a season of contemplation. I like that about it.
Last year, however, I had a devotional of readings that I was following and the theme focused so much on the sacrifice and suffering of Christ that I was beginning to feel bad and depressed. I went with it for a while, reasoning that this kind of meditation would make the joy of Easter that much more meaningful to me, but then I just couldn't take it anymore. I am blessed to live on this side of the resurrection and in the joy of that. I do think often of what Jesus did for me - every Sunday, in fact, when I enjoy Communion. But Jesus did what He did to give me the freedom to live in the power of a post-resurrection life, not to laden me with crucifixion guilt. I am reminded that His is a free gift and a gift isn't truly a gift the giver is always reminding you of the cost.
My mom's church is taking a more positive spin on the Lenten season, focusing not what individuals can give up, but instead what they can give. Here is a handout they received at church this weekend:
I like this approach!
This year, I am staying in celebration mode right on through to the biggest holiday in the Christian calendar! I am "Thinking Yellow." That's the phrase that comes to me when I think of being in a good mood. You know: sunshine, happy faces, all that. :)
We've been back in Minnesota for 3 years now and in our home for 2 1/2. We painted the girls' bedrooms when we first moved in because they were literally a mud-brown color. Since then, though, I've gotten to paint a room each summer. The first room I chose was the kitchen (which was just a lighter shade of mud...) and last summer I painted our bedroom.
Our master bedroom is in the basement and after the long, cold, cold winter we had last year, I knew what I needed to do. Yellow isn't even my favorite color, but in a room with one casement window, I found my color, "Straw Hat," and eagerly painted my bedroom yellow! I have not regretted it for an instant! No matter gray skies or snowy days, my bedroom is always sunny and I LOVE it! Color has a true effect on us and at this time of year, I'll take all the help I can get!
I don't have a Word of the Year this year, but a phrase actually. I've kind of hesitated sharing it because one half of the phrase seems frivolous, but I find it to actually be very important. My phrase is, "Consistently joyful, consistently chic."
Now, if you were to run into me out and about, there is little chance that you would find me wearing high fashion - it's simply not practical in this climate, dahling. ;) But when I think of chic, I think of a phrase Jennifer L. Scott uses in her book, Lessons From Madame Chic which is, "Look Presentable Always." And that is something to me that is very important.
Having been a stay at home mom for the last 18 years, I have always found it important to get up and get ready for my day as if I were going to a job outside my home. I can't say that I always do it at the same time every day (on days when I work out, I wait to shower and do "all the things"), but it gets done. I just don't feel good about myself if I haven't fixed my hair or gotten dressed.
I know not everyone is like this. In fact, some women are the complete opposite of this and don't want to be bothered with all the messing about. And more power to them. Some women are most comfortable in jeans and a sweatshirt. I'm actually not. I do wear jeans, but they are more often - nowadays - nicer. And I will wear a sweatshirt occasionally, but these days, honestly, it's mostly for camping! That's just what I'm more comfortable in - strangely enough, being more dressed up than not. It lightens my mood and keeps me smiling.
So, I welcome the Lenten season and am excited that it means that spring is on its way. I'm looking forward to Easter, but I'm thankful that I'm living in the reality of its promise every day. And until the warmer weather arrives, I'm thinking yellow, joyful, and chic!