Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

Some of you know that I’ve given up caffeine for Lent – but truthfully, I’ve had a little chocolate since Ash Wednesday, so it is more accurate to say I’ve given up caffeine drinks for Lent. I’m not a cola drinker, not a tea drinker – I am a coffee drinker. So really, I’ve given up COFFEE for Lent. No – I’m not shouting.

I’m halfway through the 40 days of Lent and after the first few headache days, it’s really been smooth sailing. I have not been tempted, and I’ve been close to coffee every day. I order the coffee for my work place, parcel out the coffee in the filters for ease of use, and smell every pot as it brews. I do the same for church on Sundays. I even make a pot occasionally for Don on weekend afternoons. I’m being honest – I haven’t been tempted to take even a sip.

coffee shopsBut…I am looking forward to drinking coffee on Friday, April 19th. And I’m going to start making the rounds of my local coffee shops in May. We have a plethora of coffee locations to choose from…all within walking distance from my office. I tested out iced coffee last go round – I think I’ll stay a little more calorie conscious and just do a 16 ounce brewed black. I’m mapping out the route…only one per week, should take me through most of the summer.

Hey – just because I’m fasting it, doesn’t mean I can’t dream, right?

Coffee_meme

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I may have taken on more than I should. Lent is traditionally a time to let go of some things so you have more time to spend meditating or thinking about the final days leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Normally I pick something  hard to let go of…and that is certainly the case this year. I have decided to fast caffeine until Easter. That’s 46 days if you’re counting. I am. And I just took a pill for the headache that has already started.

No_Caffeine

But not only have I decided to give up caffeine, I have taken on a few other disciplines. I’m participating in a 40-day Bible study with other women from our church on the Final Days of Jesus. It’s basically a daily endeavor incorporating prayer, praise, Scripture study, reflection and sabbath. I’ve also decided to send out a encouraging card to someone every day…40 cards. And, of course, I said I’d blog every day. My normal routine continues so the plates are spinning but I’m not looking for a medal for “Greatest Christian Woman Ever.” I just want to explore some new ways of experiencing Lent – both with new people and with renewed focus on Jesus.

While many decorate their homes with bunnies and eggs, most Christians contemplate Easter’s true message – the love our Savior Jesus had for each of us…so much love He sacrificed Himself to save us from the wages of our sin. Good Friday is the day of Christ’s death but Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of the Son of God!

And this is the last you’ll hear of my caffeine fast.

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12

 

Read Full Post »

For the last few years I’ve blogged through the 40-days of Lent. Some years I’ve written about things we could give up for Lent (i.e. guilt, people pleasing, expectations, comparison, whining, etc.)…other times I’ve written about what to add to Lent (gratitude, rest, encouragement, margin, compassion, etc.).

I didn’t attempt this 40-day adventure of writing last year. The discipline became a drudgery, instead of a joy, so I decided to be sporadic and only blog as I felt led. Well, that was a big flop. Without the accountability, I never wrote at all. Sometimes I just need a list to keep me on track…squirrel!

Lent_candles

This year, I’m participating in a 40-day Lenten Bible study with some wonderful women in my church. I’m excited, as I usually am, to start something new. The study involves elements of fasting, candles, Scripture study, prayer and sabbath…all areas I lack in discipline. As the days progress, I’ll be sharing things I’m learning.

I’ve discovered wonderful resources dedicated to this time, from daily to  weekly devotional emails to book studies (like the one I’m doing). I hope you will choose to spend some focused attention on the Lenten season…the 40-days preceding the death (and resurrection!!) of Jesus.

Read Full Post »

Hello, long lost readers! I’m back. Once again, for the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to write a short (promise) blog for each day of Lent (minus Sundays – cuz Sunday is a day of rest and most Sundays, I’m pooped by the time I get home from church).

Today is Fat Tuesday. I’m not going to explain it because it’s easier to just use Google. Go ahead…I’ll wait. (tapping toes, humming tunes, taking a short stroll to get in my steps)

So by now, you also know that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the traditional start to the Lenten season. Once again, I’m not going to explain Lent so check it out on the search engine of your choice.

Lent is a season of preparation. Many denominations have their followers “give up” something for this 40-day period of time. I did that two years ago – I gave up some bad attitudes, behaviors, mindsets…see year 2015 if you are curious. Last year I “added” some things – good mindsets, food, routines, attitudes.

So what to do this year?  I’ve decided to take the 40 days of Lent and be intentionally grateful. If no one but me gets anything out of it, I’ll have accomplished what I set out to do…because truly, my blog is, first and foremost, for me. I need to be disciplined (at least once a year) and writing during Lent is my attempt.

bigstock-gratitude-37954498Intentionally Grateful – I’ve been greatly influenced in the last few years by author Ann Voskamp. Her book “1000 Gifts” caused me to write down my own list of 1000 beautiful gifts for which I’m grateful, but that was a couple of years ago and it’s time to revisit the discipline…because that’s what it is….I wish I was the type of person who was just naturally grateful, but I’m not. And you probably aren’t either. We take so much for granted. When I whine about my bad back (hallelujah – I’m healed!), I forget the years of great health I’ve enjoyed, and enjoy today. When I lament about being tired, I forget to rejoice that I have a job which pays me a pretty decent wage, tutoring students I enjoy, and a church family who loves and supports us.

In the last month I’ve read a book called “The Happiness Dare” by Jennifer Dukes Lee. I’ve tweeted about it, but Jennifer’s book (and subsequent Facebook book club), showed me that by increasing my level of gratitude, I naturally increase my level of happiness. She published a chart called “30 Days of Gratitude” which I’m going to use to direct my blog focus…starting tomorrow. Don’t hold your breath – it won’t be the best writing you’ve ever read. May even be pretty cheesy most of the time…but it’s my way of being intentionally grateful as I prepare throughout Lent for the greatest day on the Christian church calendar – the celebration of the resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Now, that’s something to be grateful for!

See you tomorrow.

Kris

Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

Read Full Post »

Journaling

I don’t remember a time that I didn’t like writing. In first grade I loved writing my whole name across the top of my paper: Kristine Gail McCullough. I loved that my name was long so I had to use all the space across from left to right to fit it all in. And I had the best letters! More capital letters than anyone else in my class. Then my teacher told me I didn’t need to write the whole thing. It was taking too long and my hand was cramping by the end of the day. I think I was grasping those big fat pencils too tightly.

So I shortened my name to “Kris” (but I still have an awesome amount of capital letters thanks to marrying my own Mr. McGarvey). But my love of writing continues.My 40-day Lenten addition today is putting words on paper, everyday, in some form. I have a lovely old-style composition book (see picture above – don’t you just love a brand new notebook!) and the desire to write, whatever comes into my head.

Today I wrote some Scripture and took off on the theme of fearing the Lord. But tomorrow may be a recipe, or a prayer, or a story, or a memory. The important thing for me is the discipline of putting thoughts on lined paper. It’s a lost art, really. We think spewing stuff in that “What’s On Your Mind?” box at the top of our Facebook newsfeed is sufficient. Most of the time I write something there in response to someone else’s spewing and if I’m wise, I delete it before posting. The beauty of my little comp book is the privacy I have to say whatever I want, because only my eyes will ever see it. Oh yes – God will see it too. But I’m not afraid to be angry, or defiant, or sad…God isn’t afraid of my thoughts. Be honest – He knows us better than we know ourselves. And maybe, just maybe, He has a few words for me to write down as well.

So get yourself a brand, spanking new notebook and start writing…right now!

 

Read Full Post »

Today is Ash Wednesday, the traditional beginning of the Lenten season in many Christian churches. Lent is a period of 40 days of fasting and repentance leading up to Easter (actually, they only count Monday through Saturday as “fasting” days, with Sunday as a “feasting” day, and therefore not counted in the 40-days). There’s your history lesson for today.

Last year I wrote a short blog for each day of Lent, which was a lot of writing and probably more than any one person should, especially any one just plain ordinary person. But it was a great discipline for me, even if no one read anything. I took the theme of fasting and chose a different topic each day to “give up.” I tackled giving up unworthiness, apathy, guilt, failure and a lot of other stuff. This year I think I’ll flip things around. This year I’m going to choose those things I need to add to my life.

Let me be honest. My schedule is very full. I work full time, tutor once or twice a week, lead a small youth group on Wednesday nights, attend a prayer and teaching session at least once a week at our WFM Missions Base in Robins and serve with my husband as he pastors Troy Mills Christian Church each Sunday. I also spend time volunteering, working out at least three times a week, cleaning my house (mostly fail this one) and giving time and attention to my kids and husband. In between all those things, I read my Bible, do the laundry, cook a few meals, walk a few miles, read a few books, keep up with the family finances, talk to my boys, go out with friends and live my life as joyously as I can. On top of all that, my youngest will soon graduate from college and my oldest son and his beautiful fiancee are getting married in May.

So, why do I think I need to add anything else?

Especially because I’m so busy, there are quite a few areas in which I need plenty of work. I need to add things like margin, compassion, patience, joy, adventure….You get my drift. Starting tomorrow, my blog will be short (promise!) advice to myself. My goal is to add those essential elements I’ve missed while sprinting through each day. The actual definition of “addition” is the uniting of two or more numbers into one sum. I’ll be uniting what is great about my present with what is necessary to make life even better.  I’m going to set my face toward the end of this journey, trusting God to show me ways to add richness to each day. You can join me if you want.

mission addition

 

Read Full Post »

Today has been a glorious day! After what has seemed like a never ending winter, spring appears to be in sight. With temps in the 40s and 50s, it was wonderful to be able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Even with melting snow and slush covering sidewalks and streets, I couldn’t wait to get on a trail and get out for a run. While doing a few walking/running intervals I realized I had a perfect analogy for today’s “giving up for Lent” blog.

Sometimes I get in a routine and don’t really pay attention to what is going on around me. I’m going through the motions but not truly investing myself in the experience. It’s like running on a treadmill versus running outside on a trail. The treadmill gets the job done – you’re doing what you need to do – but it gets boring. Unless you’re moving the treadmill every morning, you’re looking at the same wall each time. Maybe you have a fancy one and you can program it for hills and valleys. Maybe you can watch TV or read a book while you’re running. I don’t think it matters. You aren’t fully invested in the total experience that running can give you.

No matter how many bells and whistles, your treadmill cannot give you what a good outdoor run can. You cannot imitate the sounds of the cardinals in the trees, the sight of deer and bunnies along the trail, the apprehension each time you jump over puddles, the smiles you give and receive to fellow runners or dog walkers. There’s no way to duplicate the sunshine reflecting off the melting snow or the feeling of damp, cold air on your face.

woman-running-outdoors

Let’s shake off the winter doldrums and become fully invested in spring. No more going through the motions of living. Instead, decide to be fully present in the moment.

Give the people near you your complete attention.

Listen to their stories.

Laugh at their jokes.

Smile at each person you encounter today.

Notice things.

Study something new.

Observe nature.

Take an adventure.

Discover treasures.

Live big!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »