Tag: Lent

Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras Beads hanging from tree and fence
Beads adorning a house and tree in New Orleans, Louisiana

As an individual raised in a family that attended church on a regular basis, I celebrate religious holidays. So Lent, Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday are no exceptions. However, as a child I celebrated Lent differently than I do now.

Lent is the 40 days before Easter. Of course, there are more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday-the start of Lent and Easter Sunday. But apparently SOME days don’t count. The purpose of Lent is fasting. A religious fasting, not a diet fasting. (Fasting as a diet is a trend.)

Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is also Fat Tuesday. But I confuse Mardi Gras with the entire Carnival season. I think I am too old to enjoy the debauchery of a New Orleans Mardi Gras. But, the city definitely knows how to usher in Lent! Mardi Gras Day parades in the New Orleans area started this morning at 8:00 a.m. If you happen to be in New Orleans visit my NOLA blog post for some good restaurant recommendations.

Fat Tuesday-Deadline for Resolution

I began sacrificing during Lent in college. Before that, Lent was a countdown to Easter, but the churches we attended did not emphasize the fasting. Then, I attended a Catholic college and thus adopted the tradition of giving up something for Lent. Upon moving to the town where I now live, we chose to raise our family in a Protestant church that also observes sacrificing during Lent.

Most of the time I have no trouble deciding what to give up during Lent. Many years it has been some form of sugar. Last year, in no small part due to reading The Case Against Sugar, I gave up all sugars. The year before, I gave up stress. Tough for someone with a Type A personality. Both years were eye-opening.

However, this year I am procrastinating. So much so that I re-read my post on procrastination. It reminded me that I can reduce stress by making a decision. Additionally, I asked for input on one of my social networking accounts. The two replies suggested adding something or reducing time spent on social media. Well, it was my first post in 2019 so I don’t think I am spending too much time there. Maybe not enough, since I missed the birth of a child to someone I hold dear.

Time is running out. Since I consider Lent as a time of improvement as well as sacrifice, I plan to add something to each day. Missing the news of a little ones arrival hits home at just how reclusive I have become. So during each day of Lent I plan to reach out and touch base with someone I care about. Especially if I have not communicated with that person in a while.

I will even jump the gun and start on Fat Tuesday. This commitment has lots of flexibility. I can pick up the phone, drop a note via snail mail or direct message someone. But it will be a different someone for 40 days. Who knows? Maybe I will invite one of you over to dinner. I am now looking forward to the challenge of Lent.

February 2018 Wrap Up

February 2018 was a short month! I am a few hours late posting this but that is what happens when you only have twenty-eight days. I really needed a leap year! In our part of the world we had a month with little moisture. Just a skiff of snow one morning which began dripping off the roof before mid-morning, I actually hooked up the hoses to water the trees. We had one day of high winds accompanied by fire warnings. This is quite a contrast to those of you who are water-logged.

My New Year’s resolutions are holding up. I added to my skills by learning to prune grapevines. I am a bit worried that I cut them back too far, but all the You Tube videos I watched warned I would feel this way. You Tube is a great tool for visual learners.

February 2018 Celebrations

February 2018 hosted many celebrations including a baby shower, a birthday and an anniversary. The baby shower marked the last time I indulged in any sweets. Ash Wednesday also occurred on Valentine’s Day and in observation of the Lenten season I am abstaining from sugar. This was prompted by my first book review of the month, The Case Against Sugar.

This time of year is usually so cold I limit myself to indoor activities. But February 2018 acted like a yo-yo. Our area bounced back and forth between days which remained below freezing and days that reached the seventy degree mark. As a result, some of my time was spent prepping the garden. Garlic and onions planted last fall are poking through along with the earliest of the spring bulbs. I may have erred on the early side, but rutabaga and potatoes were also planted. Some late snows would be welcome.

On the February 2018 days that were too cold to work outside, the indoor activities included starting a new acrylic painting. Unfortunately, my schedule keeps me from taking classes so I am taking the self-taught approach. In this case I am using a library book. This is my first attempt at painting a scene with water. So far, Creative Acrylic Painting Techniques published by North Light Books has been helpful. The photo below is after three days of painting.

Wild Markets

My reading this month included quite a few articles from the Wall Street Journal during the market sell-off. February 2018 marked the end of a very long run of gains. The volatility was not unlike that of the markets a decade ago. Although markets are unpredictable, I personally don’t feel the doom and gloom I experienced in late 2007 and all of 2008. However, I am keeping a close watch. Unlike the totally insane housing bubble, the markets rise over the past few years has a backbone. A correction is certainly due and perhaps even overdue. But unlike ten years ago, I see real cause for growth.

Technology is changing at a rapid pace and in more than one area. Computers and communications may be a driving force, but the health field is also undergoing great changes. Much of this growth stems from the unraveling of DNA. Much research is occurring. In some cases genetic diseases can be treated. However, the cost is tremendous as you can read here regarding gene therapy.

Even though I am optimistic about economic growth, there are some concerns. The greatest from an economic standpoint is the economic debt of nations. Two articles worth reading are from Statista and Global Finance. Countries with external debt carry a risk. In my opinion, some risk is acceptable. Most of the viable national economies operate with external debt. The concern is reaching the point where the debt is so great, the debt payments cannot be met. This tipping point is unknown. But, as in the case of Venezuela, which you can read about here, once a nation is insolvent things go downhill fast. For those residing in the United States, an up to the second accounting is given by the Debt Clock. The picture is not pretty.

Acrylic painting of water and grasses
Third Day of Progress

Quick Thanks

A quick thanks to Moe for sharing reading lists last month. It can be hard to comment first. I appreciate the involvement in the readership community. Please feel free to share what book you have on your bedside table.
Currently, I am reading New York Station so look for it in a review later this month. I also have a stack of gardening books. February 2018 was a short month so my reading fell behind. What else should I be reading?