Lent: what can I do, not what can I do without

I woke up to blue skies and sunshine on Saturday, the first day of Spring. I have a vase full of freshly cut daffodils from my garden brightening up my kitchen; there are signs of buds and leaves emerging from the bare, woody plants in my garden.


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New life, a promise of warmth, a chance to relax and enjoy the view from the back of my house as the seemingly endless grey skies of recent months finally lift.

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After my few days away over half term I came back wanting to write, yet found that I was too busy with chores and children, mess and disorganisation. When I eventually sat myself down to put words into my computer they poured out of me like a flood. I found time for little else until the need to create abated. Flitting from one extreme to the other in this way creates rush and stress, I need to find balance.

With Lent approaching I have been considering how I can improve. I do not plan to give anything up, to fast, but instead I will try to focus on the meditative side of Christ’s retreat. I am thinking about what I can do in order to become a better wife, mother, friend, person; what can I do rather than what can I do without.

With the advent of Spring comes an increase in family activity and additional demands on my time. If I am to become the person that I wish to be then I need to look after myself better, to be mindful of my own well being. This is not about navel gazing but rather of searching out ways to improve my health and thereby my ability to give.

My hens are starting to lay more eggs after their long, winter rest. This evening, Shrove Tuesday, we will use their bounty and feast on pancakes.

pancakes

My husband will take up duty at the stove, heating and tossing the batter, while I try to persuade my children to choose the savoury fillings before moving on to the lemon and sugar, sticky syrup or chocolate banana that they favour. Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, I will begin yet another quest for self improvement.

As with many new beginnings, my desire is strong. Unfortunately, in recent months, my resolve in these matters has proven to be disappointingly weak. All that I can do is to keep trying; moving forward is the only option, time travel only goes one way.

This Lent I will be trying to establish a daily routine that enables me to restore balance to my life. I have not been making best use of my time and the knock on effect has been heightened stress as I have been unable to maintain standards in certain areas that matter to me. I have also been neglecting my health which has drained my energy levels. I will be looking at this little graphic and reminding myself that each of these areas requires attention, not just the one that appears the most desirable at a given time.

balance-wheel

There are so many things that I wish to do, but if I am to tread gently through this life then I must ensure that I remain mindful of both myself and others. We reflect and absorb what goes on around us, affecting all by how we live.

I feel that I am in a better place now than I was a year ago. I am learning to avoid damaging situations, even when others do not understand why I must act as I do. I am learning to stand up for my right to be me.

This Lent I will try to use the inner strength that I am building on to quietly offer more to those I care about. Small steps, mindfully taken.

‘Tread gently and remember that we are both inhabitants and stewards of nature in our neighbourhoods.’ 

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3 comments on “Lent: what can I do, not what can I do without

  1. K.C. Wise says:

    I love this. I love the pictures and the hope, and I love the approach that you are choosing for Lent. I think that I was looking for the same headspace when I decided to read the Bible every day for the next 40 days, but I couldn’t articulate my goals in such eloquent fashion as you have. 🙂 It is very nice and interesting to think about what we can add and what we can improve rather than how we can make ourselves suffer for a short frame of time.

    I admire and love your garden from afar. I hope I can emulate what you’ve created when the 2 feet of snow finally melts away from my own…

  2. Aimee Lee says:

    ” I am learning to stand up for my right to be me.” Love this. This is a beautiful reflection.

    I can relate so much. After taking care of family and everything else, I find that I forget to take care of myself the way that I should. I plan to follow in your footsteps for Lent and focus on making improvements instead of giving up something. Thanks for the inspiration this morning. And take care 🙂

  3. jannatwrites says:

    I like your idea to find balance rather than give up something. I think that has more of a lasting impact. I can relate to the lack of balance. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, so to speak, trying to keep up with an impossible number of things. I need to make sure I get more sleep and just accept that some things won’t get done!

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