My Lent 2019 Book List Plans

Is this the year you really want to dive into Lent? Do you want to come out of this Lenten Season and truly feel that you've had a small share of living in the desert with Christ for 40 days? I know that I do. Maybe it's an upcoming birthday that's making me have more of a now-or-never type of attitude towards Lent. Or maybe I just acutely feel the necessity of truly modeling this for my children, and living it with my husband. Whatever it is, these are the books and resources I'm going to use this Lent to really LIVE the season from Ash Wednesday all the way through to Easter Vigil. Look them over. If something looks helpful to you, use it. If it inspires you, go with it. I hope all of these bless and encourage you.

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The advantage of middle age

After reading the article in the New York Times this week about the young woman who wanted to selectively reduce her triplets because she didn't want to be stuck in a house raising kids, doing without her short-term income, and buying large jars of mayonnaise, I haven't been able to take my mind off of that woman. There but by the grace of God go I!! Not that I ever would have considered abortion, but I do remember a time after I was married, in my 20s, when I did give a lot of thought to what children were going to do to my lifestyle. I remember putting on a slinky new dress for a company Christmas Party and thinking to myself, how difficult to impossible it would be for me to go to such events if I had a child to care for and how much money it would cost to hire a sitter, and how much extra time I would have had to allow and on and on and on.

Before I had kids too I had it in my mind that 6 weeks after giving birth I had better be back to 120 pounds and in my size 8 jeans again! And that I would work out day and night to get back to that shape and that size because I could simply NOT live as a fat cow above a weight of 130!! I had no clue how that new baby would demand all of my time and energy and how I would willingly want to give it!

Thinking back, I can't remember what I did with all my free time before I had kids. I know we went to the movies every weekend. We ate out a lot more. We took actual trips for a week or more!! and stayed in hotels the entire time. I know we went to music festivals and the ballet and some plays. It's all like a vague foggy memory now, the sum total of which doesn't give me half of the pleasure as having a little one to cuddle up to on the couch every night.

The beauty of middle age is having the wisdom,experience and perspective to see your mistakes and misconceptions for what they were, but still having the time, energy and health to do something about it!

It is only after we reach that certain age that hopefully we can look back and see what truly is important in life. Our looks are fleeting. Time is beginning to etch on our bodies the decisions, good or bad, we have made in the past. Health issues become more of a concern too and that nagging voice in the back of our minds becomes a little clearer - we won't be here forever - make good use of the time left. Also by middle age we have suffered some losses. Death steals parents, peers, sometimes even children. Friends die or move away, friendships change or are lost. Jobs are lost, or moved, or are careers and goals change. In middle age the cycle of life has become more set and if we're watching we know that we are part of it. The only thing we can know for certain is that things will change.

In my opinion now as a middle aged wife and mother, that is what the young woman in the NYT article hasn't seen yet. Probably because of her youth. Definitely because of the culture of death that surrounds her. To her, 5 years spent taking care of babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers seems like an eternity. To me it's the blink of an eye. To her doing without her main source of income for a season seems devastating, to me it's "This too shall pass." To her downgrading to a more family neighborhood, shopping at Cosco's and buying the economy size of mayonnaise seems demeaning and to me it's just one of the other ways motherhood makes you humble and makes you stronger, always peeling away those layers of selfishness.

She is missing the main point in her decision making process although she seems to sense it.
But I had a recurring feeling that this was going to come back and haunt me.

The conscience is there. Unformed, but there. And what she knows, but can't seem let herself think about is that during the hard times, the sad times, when she is old and maybe not so healthy, it's not the income, the lifestyle, the job or any of that will hold her hand, brush her hair, or simply love her. Things can't love. People can. Children certainly will if we let them.

What the story has taught me as a middle aged mom is that my younger sisters can't see past the culture. The media, the magazines, the entertainment like "Sex in the City" type shows have them totally sucked into what they think their lives and their bodies should be like. But it also tells me personally that MY witness as a Catholic Christian, as a wife, and as a mother, hasn't been strong enough, hasn't been loud enough, hasn't been OUT THERE enough. How can they see another way unless they know that one exists!?

But hopefully, by the grace of God, I have enough time to do something about that!
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