Day One Without FaceBook

images-2The first day of Lent, I almost made it without Facebook. Actually, my only mistake was first thing in the morning. It’s my habit to check a few news websites on my phone and then look at FaceBook before I start work.

I automatically opened up FB and then stopped myself. Oops. It’s Lent! I quickly clicked out of it and haven’t been tempted to see what my FB friends are posting since. When I’m at the PAC 12 Swimming Championships, I’ll want to see what my daughter’s team is posting. I’ll miss all the fun pictures that will be shared by the kids and parents, too. Rest assured they will all be there after Easter and I can check them out then.

I went to noon Ash Wednesday service at St. Theresa’s and it was short and sweet–less than half an hour. The pastor said it was his “quick get back to work service.” He had a few ideas to make Lent more meaningful. He said the objective is to become a different person than when you started the 40 days and 40 nights Lenten season.

He said we should break Lent into weeks and gave the following suggestions:

WEEK ONE
Spend time alone and listen to the Lord. Give yourself 15 to 30 minutes all to yourself each day to reflect and meditate.

WEEK TWO
Reflect on the Lord’s Prayer daily and think about how it relates to you. Also, create your own prayer.

WEEK THREE
Give something away. Give a gift that you’ve been meaning to give. Give something you own away to someone, who could even be an enemy.

WEEK FOUR
Volunteer in the community. Find an organization and give your service to others.

WEEK FIVE UNTIL EASTER
Look in the mirror and observe and reflect on how you have changed as a person through this Lenten season.

I think that’s an interesting suggestion and helpful to have some structure and do things like giving back to our community rather than “I’m giving up chocolate.” When my daughter was in grade school she’d say, “I”m giving up piano lessons for Lent.” She hated piano and admonishes me today for making her stick with it way beyond what was useful to me or her! In contrast, my son loved it and took lessons from age five through his senior year of high school and should probably still be taking lessons today! It’s funny how different personalities are, isn’t it?

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My kids at a piano recital playing a duet.

 

If you observe Lent, what do you give up or do?

 

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Why I think I’ll give up Facebook for Lent

images-2One of my daughter’s good friends from her club swim team gives up social media each year for Lent. I’ve been reading all these stories about how Facebook is causing stress and anxiety in young people, and I applaud this friend for taking a break each year.

I mentioned to both my kids that I thought I should give up social media for Lent as well. Their overwhelming response was “Great!: and “Thank goodness!” I have decided to give up Facebook because I am beginning to believe that if social media is causing young people distress, is it that good for us older folks? I’m going to continue to blog and my posts show up automatically on FB, and I will continue with that. But, I’m going to make a conscious effort to really connect with my friends live. I’m going to call and talk, visit in person and hey—one of my favorite things—go out to lunch!

It’s going to be an interesting experiment and I’ll let you know how it goes. Perhaps it will free up more time for my writing! I mentioned to my daughter that I still want to use Twitter because it’s where I get my news. I like to see what’s “trending.” She’s telling me that if I give up social media, I need to go all the way!

I’m a convert to Catholicism and I really knew very little about the faith and I had no clue what Lent was until I took a nine-month course called Right of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). I did this after my son was born and before I had my daughter. My husband and I wanted to raise our kids with religion, but he was Catholic while I was Protestant. We visited several churches to see where we felt at home. I believed we needed to be on the same page if we were going to raise our kids with religion, so I signed up for RCIA. I was totally moved by our former pastor and the church we decided to join.

Exactly what is Lent? I found an article called “When does Lent 2018 start? Key dates, how long it lasts and the meaning behind the Christian tradition” that explains it pretty well on the mirror.com. Here are the basic facts:

Here’s everything you need to know about the beginning of Lent, when it ends, Christian prayers and fasting as the tradition is marked between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday

When does Lent begin?

For Western churches Lent begins every year on Ash Wednesday, the day after Shrove Tuesday .

This year it begins on February 14.

The date varies from year to year, starting in either late February or early March.

However, for Eastern Orthodox churches it begins on Clean Monday (February 19 this year), two days before Western churches.
What is Lent?
Lent takes place every year in the 40 days leading up to Easter, and is treated as a period of reflection and a time for fasting from food and festivities.

It symbolises the days which lead up to Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, when Christ spent 40 days and nights alone in the Judaean Desert being tempted by Satan.

 

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Hanging out with real live friends at last year’s Masters swim meet.

What are your thoughts about taking a break from social media?

 

 

 

“I Don’t Have to, I Get To!”

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My hometown pool, for which I’m forever grateful.

That’s an interesting way to view the world. Instead of taking things for granted, take a moment to appreciate what we have. Flip the things you don’t want to do on their heads and be thankful you are able to do them.

Last Sunday, my daughter who is out of state at college, drove an hour from campus to my husband’s childhood friend’s church, CenterPoint Church in Orem, UT. My hubby’s friend from elementary through high school grew up to be a pastor. As a mom, I was thrilled that she took the time to go to church, visit family friends, and decided to do this all on her own!

Anyway, she texted, “This was just what I needed. The sermon’s message was ‘I don’t have to, I get to!”

I suppose that’s a pretty good message during finals week for any college student, right?

I wish I could have been with her and heard the message, too. I’m guessing it was a talk about our outlook. What an interesting thing to try out.

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Olive has an interesting viewpoint.

When I vacuumed today, I reminded myself that I don’t have to vacuum. I get to! I’m lucky to be in my home, pursuing my writing dreams—and I’m able to vacuum, too, whenever I want!

My best friend from college is here. Her dad is a snowbird (which means he lives in our valley for the winter months to enjoy our sunshine). She’s here to visit him because he suffered a stroke and is in the hospital. I bet he understands what I’m talking about — “I don’t have to. I get to.”

When I was my daughter’s age, I was hit by a truck at college. I was hurt pretty badly and laying in bed in the hospital, I didn’t care about the things I had been obsessed about the week before. I no longer cared about losing five pounds, or what my grade was on a paper. I really worried about being able to get out of bed and walk. I was instantly reminded of all that I took for granted. I was thankful to be alive.

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My daughter happy to be swimming for years.

Last week I wrote about how to encourage your kids to be more positive. You can read more about it here on SwimSwam.  I think the secret to having  positive kids is being grateful, thankful and positive in your own life. Most of what our kids learn from us is through our actions—not our words.

If your child is excited about going to practice–whether or not it’s swimming, ballet or a piano lesson–then they will love what they are doing. Or, we can tell them that “they have to go,” and the outcome will be less than pleasant for everyone as you beg, plead and threaten.

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My kids at a piano recital. They didn’t have to. They got to!

Rather than complain about what you have to do, think about how grateful you are for the opportunity.

“I don’t HAVE to. I GET to!”

5 Must See Movies for Holy Week

imgres-8When I was a kid, the major three TV networks aired Holiday Specials. My mom would make popcorn in a big pot on the stove, or if we were lucky, my brother and I’d get to shake the aluminum-foil bursting “Jiffy Pop” right on the electric burner. We’d gather on the sofa or in chairs to watch — get this — as a family – the “Holiday Special.”

Around Halloween it was Wizard of Oz  and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Christmas had a bunch of great ones. My favorite was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but we also watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, and my Mom and Dad’s favorite — It’s a Wonderful Life.

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This Easter, I’d love to rekindle the tradition of sitting down with family to watch holiday movies together. Unfortunately, my son’s having a riotous good time at UCSB and my daughter will be off to see Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Beck and Arcade Fire. Yes, she’s going to Coachella!

imgres-13If I can convince my husband, or maybe alone, I’m going to check out Netflix, Apple TV, or Google Movies to watch my list of must see Easter movies:

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1. The Robe. Starring Richard Burton, Jean Simmons,  and Victor Mature. 1953. Won 2 Oscars.imgres-10
2. The Ten Commandments.  Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter. 1956.  Won 1 Oscar.imgres-14
3. Ben Hur.  Charlton Heston. 1959.  Won 11 oscars.imgres-12
4. Passion of the Christ.  Mel Gibson director. 2004. Not for the faint of heart!imgres-15
and at theaters:

5. God Is not Dead.  I’m going to see this sometime this week. It’s made my list based on a friend’s recommendation.images-9

Do you have other movies to add to my top five picks? Have you seen all five of these movies?

So…What are you giving up for Lent?

images-2Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of 40 days and 40 nights of Lent for many Christians. What are you giving up? Or more importantly, what are you going to do?

The three things I heard this week to do for the Lenten season were fast on Ash Wednesday and Fridays, carve out more time for daily prayer, and do good works.

Yes, I’ll be hungry tomorrow, and probably every Friday, craving a fat juicy steak that I’d normally not care about. It’s a funny thing when you can’t have something, you fixate on it.

Second, I will find time to pray more. If you believe that prayers make a difference in this world, then more prayer should come naturally.

Third, there is the part about doing good works. I think that is most difficult of all.  Off the top of my head I don’t know what “good works” I can do. However, I am confident that if I keep my eyes open and look around me, I’ll see small ways where I can make a difference. 

I’d like to know what you are doing for Lent. What good works are you going to do?

Here are two heartfelt stories I read yesterday. I hope you enjoy reading them and appreciate those close to you! 

From SwimSwam a story about USC’s Jack Wagner — NO FEARS.

A story about a young boy and his gift to a soldier that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Screen-Shot-2014-03-02-at-8.29.24-AMHere’s a slideshow of 13 Popular Things People Give Up for Lent.