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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Two Questions

On Tuesday evening our family celebrated Fat Tuesday with a large heart shaped pizza, a yummy salad and chocolate ice cream cones for dessert. It was delicious.

On Ash Wednesday I shot a roll of film for my photography class. My subject matter was a beautiful church built in 1936. As I set up each frame I thought about Lent. Lent in short order is the time a Christian prepares their heart for Easter. Many observers fast or give up certain luxuries (or vices) as a form of penitence (remorse for their sins/faults).

Every year I struggle with what I will give up for Lent. The top three choices that a large percentage of people abstain from are:
Giving up cigarettes.
Giving up alcohol.
Giving up morning coffee.
I don’t smoke.
I rarely drink.
I don’t drink coffee.
My biggest vice truly is blogging. It hogs my time. But I also consider it a marketing tool for my “real job”. Most of my design clients come to me via my blog site. I need to work so I can’t really afford not to market my business for an entire six weeks.
Hmmmm. What to do?
Later that evening I was flipping through the tv channels. One of my favorite movies (The Bucket List) was on and it was right before this soul searching scene:
Two questions I sat on my couch pondering.
Have you found joy in your life?
Has your life brought joy to others?
I think the first is easy enough. It is in essence about being grateful and finding beauty in the everyday. But the second, well that’s a bit harder. Even for this people pleaser.
Then I thought “What if I strive everyday during Lent to bring true unselfish joy to others?”
Because again the essence of Lent is to prepare one’s heart for Easter.
My mind flashed back to vacation bible school. I was about 8 and I can remember my teacher saying
JOY is easy.
J stands for Jesus
O is for others
the Y is last…it is for yourself.
If you put Jesus first, others second and yourself third you will have joy forever.”
Perhaps we don’t necessarily have to give up something during Lent but merely GIVE of ourselves.
I know my human nature. I knew there might be days I would forget. So I placed reminders all over.
On my bathroom mirror.
In the car.
Within my school binder.
Bringing someone JOY often only requires a kind comment or a small act of goodwill and that's good for all.
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Matthew 22: 36-38


Kristen King said...

What a wonderful way to prepare for Easter!

Dawna (Stitches from the Tub) said...


Vel Criste said...

AMEN Laura :-)

Vel Criste said...

AMEN Laura :-)

Carol said...


I have been thinking also of Lent and what to sacrifice. But, I like your thoughts better - J O Y. I am also going to put this everywhere to remind me of what Lent is really about. Thank you for sharing.


Designs By Pinky said...

Oh, I LOVE this idea!!!! I am going to go make myself some reminder signs!!! XO, pinky

Chenille Cottage said...

You are such a thoughtful young woman, Laura. I am reminded of scripture that talks about the sacrifice of praise. When times are tough it's easy to complain. Those are the times when we can and need to choose to search for the silver lining.
Today is a perfect day to choose JOY!
Blessings and thanks for your rich and sincere admonitions.
Carolynn xoxo

Cindy @ Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home said...

Great post. Finding balance, that's a constant goal!

Louise said...

I don't think your blog is a vice at all. You share joy, kindness and a loving spirit via your blog. So glad you are not going away for six weeks!

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

I stopped by to Thank you for your visit and I found this lovely post!
Ironically, My One Little Word for 2013 is Joy and trying to find Joy in everything that happens to me this year. If you are interested in reading my post on this, if you stop by, there is a link right on the top of my blog about My One Little Word for this year.
I would love to add a link to this wonderful post of yours in my next post if that would be okay with you????
As a Catholic, what is now advocated for Lent is not giving up food or drinks or things like that but volunteeering your time and talents doing something for someone else or a charity or something along those lines...


khess136 said...

Thank you for the beautiful analogy of "JOY"....something I will strive to keep in my heart all year, not just during this Holy Season. xoxo

openid said...

You do this already all year round.