Shrove Tuesday & Ash Wednesday

Spent today, Ash Wednesday, recovering from overindulgence on Shrove Tuesday*. My traditional Shrove Tuesday* involves pancakes, not running drunk & naked through the streets of New Orleans, but it is still possible to overindulge, especially when you attend TWO pancake events in one day. At noon I had pancakes prepared by a British gentleman (which means they were the style of pancake slightly thicker than a crepe and served with sugar and lemon) shared with Episcopalians and Lutherans some of whom were beginning a Lenten Study of Lactantius (more on him later). In the evening was a more traditional U.S. Episcopal gathering involving traditional American pancakes (plain and pumpkin), sausage, & eggs followed by a raffle in support of Haiti Relief. Between the two events I consumed more eggs, butter/fat, and other things I don’t usually eat than I should have.

Thus, today, Ash Wednesday, was spent with tea & juices, later some yogurt, banana, and eventually a bowl of leftover minestrone soup and some leftover focaccia. I think my system has finally recovered.

This year my Lenten Disciplines are mostly about clearing away some distractions so I can be more mindful about how I spend my time. I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so I need to be more careful about how I spend what little energy I have. I find that when I’m tired I often do mindless things that seem to take little energy, but in reality are draining. Many of these involve the Interweb: Facebook, email, reading news feeds, etc. Last year I gave up Facebook for Lent, though I checked in with folks on Sundays (‘cuz technically “Sunday’s don’t count” in the 40 days of Lent). This year I’m going to try to stay off of FB altogether. I hope to spend the time reading, resting, playing my violin, and working on some projects I’ve been neglecting.

Most years I also try to include some food-related discipline during Lent. I’ve been doing quite a lot of baking (cookies and cakes) the past few months, though I’m really not much of a dessert eater. So, I’m taking a break from baking cakes and cookies during Lent. I will still bake bread, because I hope to eat simpler during Lent (mostly soups and bread) so as to focus on other things. I had considered attempting the 2 Dollar Difference challenge during Lent (where you attempt to eat on $2 per day and donate the difference between that and what you would usually spend), but when I calculated my current food expenditures (approx. $5.50/day), I realized how much work it would be to try to keep track (and find lower cost alternatives) and decided that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time. I still like the general idea, which you can read more about at 2 Dollar Difference , but my tendency toward obsessive compulsive record keeping would likely ruin any positive effects of the practice.

I promised I would say more about Lactantius, but he will have to wait, as I’m running out of energy.

For those of you observing Lent, may your Lenten Journey be a meaningful and insightful one.

according to my dictionary, the name comes from “shrive” which means to administer the sacrament of reconciliation; to free from guilt; or to confess one’s sins, esp. to a priest; and is related to the words prescribe and scribe (to write). Only instead of preparing for Lent by confessing our sins, modern Christians cleanse their pantries by using up all their eggs, sugar, and butter.

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