Joe and I are in Florida! We've been here visiting his family for about a week. We've visited the Swap Shop, ate at Margaritaville and walked along Hollywood Beach, played a mean family game of Monopoly (Night Sky edition), binged on Breaking Bad, took in the Super Bowl at a racing friend's apartment, and enjoyed some local Floridian beer from Funky Buddha Brewery. We're really enjoying our visit and due to an impending snowstorm at home, we've changed our flight and are staying another two days with fam in Southern Florida.
So, I've been a bit out of sorts with the blog. Haven't had my laptop with me, so this is a text-heavy post and I apologize!
Today is Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, if you will, and we've certainly been feasting while we're here! Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season - the fasting season. Lent is when we're meant to prepare ourselves for Easter and abstain from anything unhealthy in our lives. This includes "No Meat Fridays," which contrary to the myth, was not started as a conspiracy with the Pope to bolster the fishing economy. Although, I did find this interesting article from NPR that explains in brief how Christian fasting has affected the fishing industry throughout the centuries - from the first century up to and including the McDonald's Filet-O-Fish!
Like any good Catholic, I've been thinking about what I should give up for Lent. When I was a kid, the choice was easy: no soda (or candy or TV)! It's a perfect time to kickstart a healthier diet or conquer a bad habit, but along with this fast, you're supposed to also pray and give alms.
The people behind Busted Halo offer these ideas for fulfilling these three pillars of Lent: reducing your dependence on electronic devices for 24 hours (fast); contemplating the 1.6 billion people in the world who have no access to electricity for a few moments (pray); and spending the extra time you’ve saved on personal interaction with someone important to you (give)? Or what if people reduced their carbon footprint for a day by using less energy (fast); then reflected for two minutes on the magnificent gift our natural environment is (pray); and finally placed $1 in a bowl they’ve set aside to collect money to be given away to a favorite charity — perhaps one that plants trees — at the end of Lent (give).
I've never really been one for formal prayer. But, contemplation, reflection, or meditation (or whatever you call it) is something I'd like to do more of. I found a site run by Irish Jesuits and the Loyola Press that has small daily prayers called sacredspace.ie.
Anyway, I'm still undecided about what I'll be giving up for Lent, but I hope it'll be a successful season for me. We'll be around for the month of March, our big adventure doesn't begin until April, so I should certainly have the time!