Lent

Since about mid-December, I’ve spent my days sitting tucked up on my couch. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve left the house since Christmas – and each time was for some sort of appointment. Otherwise, I just stay put. I’ve been very thankful for our little laptop, which has kept me connected with the outside world.

One of the lovely symptoms of my HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum – the official name of severe nausea/vomiting during pregnancy) has been an excess of saliva. And if I swallow it, I gag and throw up. So I spit into my trusty spit cup a hundred times a day and it keeps the gagging at bay. Unless I look at the spit cup, filled with spit. That’ll make me gag. So I have to avoid eye contact. And then there is the deep paranoia of accidentally knocking it over and having to wipe up a big puddle of spit. *Shudder*. I can’t even…

Anyway, talking results in more spitting, so the last few months have been very quiet for me. Some days even using the phone was more than I could handle. So I let it ring, listened to the message, and used my trusty laptop to e-mail the person back. This little computer has faithfully kept me connected to the outside world.

And scrolling, reading, commenting, sharing, and posting on Facebook has definitely helped pass the time. Which is great. Until you realize you’re waiting for your little boy to finish his detailed story about his street hockey game so you can finish typing the clever little status you were going to post. Or you realize your husband asked you a question 15 seconds ago, but you didn’t answer because you were too engrossed in reading a lengthy article about the never-ending vaccine debate, which, of course, you found on Facebook.

Facebook is a wonderful tool for staying connected. I’ve thought about quitting a number of times, but Facebook has allowed the introverted part of me connect with homeschoolers and other moms and has helped facilitate real-life friendships that might have otherwise been missed. Not to mention events, get-togethers, birthday parties, and playdates that are organized on Facebook. A major benefit for my kids, which is the main reason why I’m hesitant to quit altogether. I appreciate Facebook.

Until it takes over. Which it has.

So I’m giving it up for Lent! Lent is an ol’ tradition of spending the 40 days before Easter preparing our hearts to celebrate and acknowledge the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  Did you know that’s where Mardi Gras originates? Mardi Gras means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French. It’s also called ‘Shrove Tuesday’ or ‘Pancake Day’ in other parts of the world. Traditionally, people would give up rich foods, such as butter and sugar, during the season of Lent, so Fat Tuesday was when they’d use it all up by making pancakes. (I think that’s the gist of it. Just check Wikipedia or Google if you want an in-depth explanation!) It was/is a celebration and a last big ‘hurrah’ before the Lenten season, which was a season of fasting and introspection. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, and it lasts for 40 days and doesn’t include Sundays. I didn’t know that for a long time, but you take a break from fasting on the Sundays. So technically I could check Facebook every Sunday. Which I will probably do for the first week or two, just to check for personal messages that might be waiting for a reply. But a nice solid break is really what I need, so I’ll keep the Sunday checks short and sweet.

For the record, Lent is not mandatory and it’s not a ticket to heaven. It’s just a neat opportunity to give something up, turn inward, examine your heart, and focus on God. Many people don’t give something up, but choose to focus on reading the Bible or serving others. My church is doing a generosity challenge for Lent, found here: http://www.40acts.org.uk/the-challenge/

I’ve also got friends doing a 40-day Bible-reading challenge where you read through the first four books of the New Testament and highlight different words with different colours and learn to study scripture in a more in-depth way.

I’m planning on participating in both challenges, but I realize that may be a bit unrealistic. As I start to feel better, I need to begin to pick up the pieces of my life, which has been largely ignored in the past two months. My house is really messy and really dirty. It’s gross. And I have a birthday party to plan for my little girl, who turned 5 in early February. Her party will probably be in April. Sigh. Oh well. What if I could get the house clean by then? That would be amazing.

I’m still spending the majority of the day on the couch, but I’m able to walk around a little more and tidy up here and there. Fireman tried. He really did. He stayed up late almost every night, cleaning the kitchen, he even cleaned the bathroom once. And vaccumed twice! And he dusted. He’s been keeping up with laundry. And he feeds the kids breakfast and dinner. He’s been amazing. But this house needs a woman’s touch in a bad way.

So. Here we go. No more Facebook. A little more cleaning. Some generous living and Bible reading. And some party planning. And probably a lot of sitting on the couch and spitting in a cup!

PS. For those people, who, like me, are willpower-challenged, I’d like to share my little Facebook secret weapon. Ready?

I don’t know my password.

Only Fireman knows it, and once I sign out, I can’t get back in without his help. Otherwise, I can almost guarantee I’d “just check once, for a sec” a few times a week (or day *ahem*). The problem occurs when he signs me in, and I conveniently forget to sign out for 5 days…or a month. But that’s where I can work on my willpower issues. I’m committing to signing out quickly on Sundays after he signs me in. The rest of the week will be Facebook-free.

PPS. Here is a great article on why Lent still matters. It’s not super long, and definitely worth a read!

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