Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.
Although I've been Catholic all my life, I've never really been a "good" Catholic. I didn't go to mass. I never did my first communion. If you were to ask, I had a baptismal certificate and my Mexican heritage so I was good to go.
Then I had the Bubs.
It's funny how growing up and getting married and having a little person for whom you are (sorta) solely responsible makes you start to look at the world differently. I always knew I would want to baptize my baby in my faith. What I didn't realize was how that simple desire to give him this connection to his heritage (for my Catholicism is deeply intertwined with my Mexican roots) was going to bring me back into the fold as well.
I've started attending Mass, every Sunday, even if it sucks to have to get up six hours earlier than I normally do so that I can drive across town to beat the old folks who for some reason feel the need to arrive 45 minutes early. I've been taking classes so that I can make my first communion and confirmation. We even had our civil marriage convalidated
, so that it will count as a sacrament. And, this evening, we went to mass together as a family, and as a family, we all got our cross of ashes for the first time. Together.
Like many people, I used to make jokes about giving up something for Lent. Frequently, I'd give up cigarettes and beer. (I don't enjoy either) It wasn't a big thing to me. Last year, however, with my growing interest in starting my journey back to the church, I decided to give it an honest go. I didn't know then all the rules for fasting. Ash Wednesday wasn't really observed, except to mark the start of Lent. I did manage to skip meat on Fridays with only a few minor slip ups where I forgot what day of the week it was. I never went to mass, but did manage to keep to my goal.
So what did I give up? Eating out. Oh yes, and that INCLUDED Starbucks. It was rough, I'm not going to lie. Driving by McDonald's was torture. The day my husband came home with coffee on his breath (Mocha!!! From the 'Bux!!!) almost earned him a night of sleeping on the patio. I had cravings for different restaurant foods at all sorts of random times of day. I was an addict and I didn't even know it!
But that's sort of the point though, isn't it? That we are supposed to want what we give up, and in that wanting be reminded of how we should want for Christ? That we are supposed to make this small sacrifice, to remind us of his big one? That we are supposed to take a look at our lives and our extravagances and be reminded of those who don't have the luxury of those bad habits? That we are supposed to find where we are flawed and try to make ourselves a little bit closer to perfect (not that we'll get there any time soon!) for when we get to Heaven?
I made it all the way to Easter Sunday last year and only ate out once, on a Sunday. I didn't go to mass that day though, so I don't know if it counts. Either way, I was probably healthier for it and we definitely spent a lot less overall on food as well. I was really proud of myself for sticking to it for the whole 40 days and promptly went out to celebrate with a venti iced chai latte from Starbucks.
I know. GAH.
Here we are a year later, and I find us back again with our weight on that fast food/restaurant crutch too often. It was good when we were more broke last fall, merely because the money wasn't there for that sort of thing. Now it is, and well... let's just say I've probably gained more weight in the past month than I did in November and December combined.
So once again I'm going to give up eating out (yes, drinking out too) for Lent. I picked up a 1979 copy of The Joy of Cooking
at my local (-ish) used bookstore and I've been studying my 1961 Amy Vanderbilt cookbook
. We bought a ton of food at the grocery store. (saved 32% with sales!) I have a co-op basket of fruits and veggies coming on Saturday, and baby, I'm ready to COOK! Be on the lookout for new recipes because I definitely have the itch to try new things in the kitchen.
So, out of curiosity... are you giving up something for Lent? Let me know in the comments. I love that sort of nosy peek into other people's lives. (hence all the blog reading)
Labels: about me, Bubba, cooking, diet, goals, husband, shopping