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Lenten Blog Post Challenge: Day 1- Ash Wednesday

Good morning love birds, and Happy St. Valentine's Day to you! Happy Lent to you as well! I have decided to do a Lenten blogging challenge for the Lenten season: blog each day, only about Lent, which includes the three main parts: prayer, fasting, and alms giving. Although Lenten fasting, prayer and alms giving is a private challenge between you and God, I am blogging partly about what I praying about, fasting about, and how I can give to others. Not all details will be given, but some will. I am not here to "toot my own horn" rather to inspire my readers on thier Lenten Journey!

Each day, I will reflect in a blog post about those three parts of Lent and how they are challenging and gifting me from the day before. Lent isn't just about giving up Diet Coke it is about going into the dessert. Jesus didn't do what was bearable, for us; he did what was unbearable. Putting limits on our Lenten Season, is like putting limits on God-- who does that?

If you aren't Catholic, your might be thinking things like "What is with the ashes?" or "I don't do Lent." If you are Catholic, you might be thinking, "Well, I would give up the Internet, but I need it for work" or "I would give up Diet Coke, but I am not a morning person" or I would give up my smart phone, but I need it for [insert excuse here].." You get the point. The bottom line Valentines, is that Lent is not about being mildly uncomfortable-- it is about sacrifice. Sacrifice comes in three parts: Prayer, Fasting, and Alms giving. Sacrifice to me is about giving your time to God (prayer); giving your addiction to God (fasting); giving to others as you would to God (charity/alms giving). This video is a great 2 minute response to some of those statements you might have had, Catholic or not!

Ash Wednesday is always a day I look forward to. Then when it gets here, I start doubting myself of the challenge at hand. I start to lower my standards each year, as to not feel the "uncomfortable-ness" that I need to be feeling. So I try to open with prayer that morning(usually in the shower or in the car) and I ask God to open me to his possibilities. I ask him to show me what he wants me to do through him.

Fasting was difficult yesterday, especially with a migraine...I wasn't perfect, He doesn't expect me to be-- but I tried! I will do better. I don't think the goal is to be perfect, but to acknowledge what I am fasting from and try to better tomorrow, than I was today.

Funny thing- when you doubt God or Our Lady, they kind of "keep popping up!" The evening prior to Ash Wednesday was difficult for me, and in that moment of difficulty at dinner, Cody came to sit next to me. He started to laugh....when I looked up at what he saw, It was Our Lady of Perpetual Help-- right above, keeping watch over our booth in the restaurant. Yesterday, I doubted Our Lady again, and her beautiful statue was across the street of the house I was visiting! Sometimes in prayer, I am silent, and sometimes I am long-winded..But He knows all that we need, doubt, struggle with, and love.

On my way to my friends house (what I thought was my act of charity yesterday) I saw a woman walking. Although I live in Texas, yesterday was a brisk 51* and it was damp. She had no shoes, no coat, and holy jeans. I glanced over and felt pain. 30 seconds later I pulled over. I saw the face of God in her. She had a cigarette in her mouth, but I saw the face of God in her.

I hope you enjoy my Lenten Blogging Challenge!

"Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return."

- Annie B

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