Sunday, March 09, 2008

Orthodox Lent

Today is the official beginning of Orthodox Lenten observance. It is known the world over as Cheese Fare Sunday because this is the day we give up the dairy and egg products if we have selected them to be in our regimen. Since I have protein issues, I am keeping those, but I always enjoy this day, this beginning. Tonight is the most wonderful of services called Forgiveness Vespers. We ask each other's forgiveness, and we give it ourselves. It is a most humbling service, and one of the most beautiful. I will be missing it this year because of the snow. I don't do snow very well because of the crutches and the wheels, but the snow is melted. However, I had already decided I wasn't going, because I have decided I am actually going to look after myself this year, especially since that fall. Some effects are still felt, such as the bruise on my back, and my left arm is still sore, but, thank God, it is better. And, I can now say in all honesty my headache is gone!

To celebrate the beginning of Lent, I have made myself some wonderful iced tea. The old fashioned Lipton iced tea, but decaffeinated because this will be my beverage of choice for Lent since giving up Pepsi and carbonated beverages. I did it my Mommy's way - boil the water, then put the tea bags in, then, before it completely cools, put the sugar in and let it melt. I had already prepared my pitcher by adding ice to it and just a little cool water. When I poured the hot tea over the ice the smell that came up made my mouth water!

The snow we received night-before-last and yesterday is practically all gone today. The temperature has risen to 37*F and the sun is shining like a new beginning. I am really going to work at this Lent being a new beginning for me spiritually. Everything has a chance of being better for me, and I genuinely want to increase that chance by doing everything I can to establish good habits and practices on the inside as well as the outside.

The outside has always been a problem for me until the retreat with Mother Gabriella. She said that one thing a lot of people didn't realize was that the nuns and monks have a duty to keep their bodies as healthy as their souls. It doesn't mean they have a killer exercise regimen because they do everything for themselves such as grow food, made products to sell, and do their own fishing. They are doing hard work instead of just exercising. Since nearly every movement is hard work for me, I thought I would add to the movements and do some extra exercising and get my body and my spirit in better order. By the time Lent is over I should have lost at least a dress size and feel better about myself and life in general.

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