Saturday, April 8, 2017

Seven Quick Takes (Vol. 21): The Lent-est of Takes

1. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person trying to live a good Lent will find lots of things to detach from-things they weren't even looking to give up. Let me explain, no there is too much, let me sum up: 

Right around when spring break started is when all the dominoes started to fall. A broken a/c, an $800 bill to repair said a/c, canceled trips to the beach (see a/c repair), late night drives to the ER for bad croup, return trips home from the ER when 3 year olds magically improve the minute you pull into the ER parking lot, canceled trips to the rodeo (see trips to the ER), broken engine mounts in cars that are only 3 years old, power outages, and remember that a/c repair? It lasted only 2 weeks before the diagnosis was: we're gonna need to replace the entire HVAC system. Sigh. Silver lining? Replacing an HVAC in March is far more pleasant than replacing one in August. 

2. A good (quick) Lenten read: "The Mental Sufferings of Our Lord in His Passion" a homily by Cardinal John Henry Newman. This English major is rusty, and the diction took a bit to get used to, but here's a money quote:
"Oh, who does not know the misery of a haunting thought which comes again and again, in spite of rejection, to annoy, if it cannot seduce? or of some odious and sickening imagination, in no sense one’s own, but forced upon the mind from without? or of evil knowledge, gained with or without a man’s fault, but which he would give a great price to be rid of at once and for ever? And adversaries such as these gather around Thee, Blessed Lord..."

3. Some Lenten viewing: The Letters, available on Netflix, starring Juliet Stevenson. Credit for this one goes to my sister Jessica. Inspiring to say the least. Lots of pondering after about "how should one spend a life", and more to the point, "how how should one spend one's love?" Now I want to read this book to get to know Mother Teresa better.

4. Some Lenten eating: For a while now, Mark and I have been following a ketogenic diet, more on that another day. So fish sticks and macaroni & cheese are out when it comes to Lenten meals. This tuna salad recipe is what I have for lunch, (it's the best in the world) and dinner is whatever cut of salmon is on sale, lightly smoked on the grill (doesn't that sound posh?) with another America's Test Kitchen Recipe-Quick Green Bean Casserole. The recipe is behind a paywall, but here are the salient details-fresh green beans, sliced baby bella mushrooms, shallots, cream and chicken broth, they use some flour, but I leave it out. No Cream of Mushroom soup involved. Both of these recipes fit the criteria for THM S meals, and are ketogenic compliant. 

5. Some Lenten fasting: So I gave up Facebook before Christmas. The political vitriol from all sides post-election was a convenient nudge. I liked it so much, I decided to keep going. It's been very freeing. Now when I want to share something funny, I text a friend or one of my sisters-yay for real human interaction. Of course, not having an active account on Facebook means the readership for this post will probably be in the single digits, but on the upside, I'm no longer compelled to form opinions about every tempest in a teapot that comes along. It also means I need to find another news source. Instagram doesn't really keep me up on current events.

And then I took the screen fasting to a whole 'nother level, turned into my mother, and decided Isaac was giving up screen time too. The detox has only lasted about a week and a half, and I can't even say he's 100% screen sober, but it's made such a difference in the way he acts at school that his teachers thought he was sick (read: calm)! Mom guilt, party of one.

6. Speaking of Isaac, so far his sense of Lent/Holy Week/Easter is mainly a vague sense of foreboding that there's a lot of church coming up in the near future. We need to start celebrating more saint feast days that don't involve being brought gifts. When I was telling him about St. Patrick's Day, he announced, "He can bring me presents, just like St. Nicholas!" The Easter Bunny nabbed the complete set of Beatrix Potter books on Ebay for not an arm and a leg, so Isaac will probably be raising him to sainthood soon.


Hammering his very own Easter basket
7. And, to round things out, in the space between this post going from draft to published, our sewer line clogged. Mark's heading out to rent a 100 ft auger as I type. Happy Lenting everyone!

Linking up with Kelly, a day late and a dollar short.


  1. His little tongue! So cute, glad to read anything you want to write about :)

  2. Wow! I love that quote from John Henry Newman! :)