Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

So today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is the next 40 days (not counting Sundays) between now and Easter, in which we prepare for Easter. What are you going to do to prepare? Do you prepare? How does one prepare for something like Easter? This is how I usually get ready for Easter...

1. Call Mom and try to talk her into having everyone over for Easter dinner.
2. Buy Easter candy
3. Talk to Mom about menu for Easter dinner
4. Buy that stupid plastic grass that sticks to every surface in your home and doesn't completely disappear until Christmas when it's replaced by tinsel
5. Talk to Mom about menu for Easter dinner
6. Complain to sister that Mom can't make up her mind about what to have for Easter dinner and is stressing out way too much
7. Buy more Easter candy to replace what I've eaten
8. Talk to Mom about menu for Easter dinner and suggest just ordering pizza
9. Talk to sister about what a bad daughter I am for suggesting pizza
10. Decorate the house and pull out the Easter Monkey and laugh about that tradition
11. Talk to Mom about menu for Easter dinner and make fun of her because of the Ham Saga of 1998.
12. Call Mom to apologize for bringing up the Ham Saga of 1998.
13. Buy eggs and dye and more Easter candy (don't ask)

Yep, that about sums it up.

I'm not Catholic and the whole "giving up something for Lent" has never really been stressed in my life. I considered giving up something, however. I figured I could give up coffee, but that would be too great a punishment for my friends and family and well, basically anyone unlucky enough to come in contact with me for the next month and a half.

I considered giving up chocolate, but let's be realistic here. I could give up meat - nah, not enough of a sacrifice as I'm not a big meat eater. Hmmm, perhaps I could give up Facebook or Twitter... BAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAA!!! Oh that's a good one! LOL!

I talked to one of my BFFs, Sue today and she said that her church encourages its members to do something for others everyday instead of giving up something. Hmmm, I decided I liked this idea. After all, look what Jesus did for us. I can do something nice for others every day. No problem!

While I was at the library, making my weekly contribution to their renovation fund paying my fines, I gave my change to the librarian and asked her if she'd use it for the next few people who wanted a cup of coffee. (My library sells coffee for $1 a cup). She looked at me like I was nuts. After what I was asking sunk in, she smiled and agreed to do it. Actually, come to think of it, I probably screwed up everything at the library. After I left, she probably stood there holding my money, wondering what the heck she was going to do with it.

I know it wasn't much. It's not going to change the world. Still, can you imagine if everyone did a small act of kindness every day? The world would be a much nicer place, wouldn't it? And the thing about doing something nice for others is it's contagious. The man standing behind me in line at the library made a comment about that being a nice gesture. Maybe the wheels started spinning in his head and he'll go out of his way to be kind to someone tomorrow.

So, if you're looking for something to do to prepare for Easter, consider giving to others in some small way for the next 46 days. Hold a door open, volunteer at your local food pantry, pay for coffee for the next person in line, donate your old clothes to a women's shelter. And think about the reason why you're doing it as you act. Oh, and blog about it too! Tell everyone what you're doing and leave a link to your blog in the comments here so everyone can check it out!

*****If you want an idea of someplace where you can make a donation, check out Peggy Larson's (Coleman & Caden's mom) page for the Cure Search Walk to help conquer kids' cancer HERE.

*****And I still have a giveaway for Goat's Milk Soap HERE.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like the idea. I was thinking back to christmas when I was standing in a line and the lady in front of me seemed to be trying to get together the right amount of money to purchase her drink. I asked how much she needed and she said 50 cents but she had it just had to dig it out. She thanked me for the offer of help and said she was suprised to see how many kind people she'd run into in the few days before that. It was heart warming to hear that kindness is not a dead cause.

annette said...

What an awesome idea!!! I've been looking for a way to make Easter more meaningful/memorable. I'm going to try this! Thanks! (BTW- thanks for a blog I can totally relate to!)

http://annettes-stuff.blogspot.com/

Elisa said...

I love this :)

Whenever I go through a toll lane on the roads, I pay double and tell the attendant that I am paying for the car behind me as well. Usually I don't get to see their faces when they are waved through for free, but it's a very cheap way to feel great for the rest of the day! :)

Elisa
No Added Salt

Brian said...

I know what you mean about Facebook. It's like crack. I turn on the computer and "Boom!" I have to log onto Facebook.

I like the random act of kindness for the next 40 days or so idea. Maybe I'll do it.

Anonymous said...

1:11 am? You, my dear, were supposed to be sleeping at that time!!!

I like your idea about given to others. Very cool! Have a great day!

Lori L.

BoysWillBeBoys said...

What a great idea! Our local Christian radio station has a "Drive-Thru Difference" day about once a month. It is a day where people are encouraged to pay for the order of the person behind them in the drive-thru. That would definitely make my day! Thanks for the reminder of the importance of doing for others. It seems we all get so caught up in trying to stay afloat in the craziness of our lives that we often forget to think of others.

Robin said...

That is a great idea! You've inspired me. I'm already thinking about what I'm going to do...I may not know until the moment happens but I'm thinking.....

Have a wonderful day Dawn. You make life a little happier for those lucky enough to read your blog.

I enjoyed the "getting ready for Easter" list....mine looks very similar.

Jennifer in Wisconsin said...

I do my best to donate my time with PTA and helping the teachers at school so they can concentrate on teaching my children. I'm not a big religious person but I came across this verse in an email I was sent and just fell in love with it.

Hebrews 13:2. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it."

Kelli said...

I love your list!! I have to say I do #7 every year too!! And did you know that they make the easter basket grass out of paper too! I started buying it a few years ago, and it is SO much less annoying than the plastic stuff!

We don't really do lent either, but I like your suggestion of doing one kind act every day. I may try that...though does doing stuff for my kids count because sometimes they are the only 'people' I see all day!!

Erin T. said...

Maybe you've posted it in the past and I don't remember, but what on earth is the Easter Monkey?!

Anonymous said...

What's an Easter Monkey?
And great idea about what to do for Lent.

Angie said...

I'm Orthodox so for Lent I'm giving up meat, dairy (including eggs), fish, olive oil, and alcohol for the next 50-something days. (I can have alcohol on weekends, luckily ;-) It's really not as hard as you'd think and the money we save on groceries goes to fighting international hunger. :-)

rayn0000 said...

I love random acts of kindness. It makes everyone's day brighter. Take it from a Mom with grown children....stop calling Mom about the menu. This will be an act of kindness that will reduce her stress!
You have such great ideas and are a really good person. It is a pleasure to read your blog.
Knot Mom

Catmeat said...

Hi Dawn, I think you can add another act of kindness you have done is sharing this idea with all of us!

Rick said...

Give another dollar to pay for the next person's fine.

Becca said...

So uhm. i thought you were Greek. How can you consider anything but lamb for Easter dinner?

noexcuses said...

I'm a protestant in an all Catholic family. In the past, I've given up something to set an example for the kids. I absolutely love your idea for the act of kindness! May I use it in my post today?

I still fill Easter baskets....one for you, one for you and one for me. One for you, one for you and two for me!

Great post!

Lois said...

Love your blog Dawn. There is a website called Do One Nice Thing at www.doonenicething.com that has great suggestions. When lots of people are doing the same nice thing there are huge results.

Thanks for the laughs. That's one nice thing you do for all of us!

Dot said...

It's so nice to see someone mentioning Lent. It's not just Catholics that observe it, Lutherans do, also. At least this Lutheran family. And I've given up coffee for Lent before. Not pretty, but I did it. I also gave up sugar in my coffee one year. That was hard too, but as you said, look what Jesus gave up. I like the idea of doing something nice for others, but I also think the sacrifice of giving up something in your life for this period has merit. Why not do both? You have a wonderful blog, Dawn. I tell everyone I know about it.

Michelle said...

Although I do not observe Lent nor Easter, I plan to take on the "random act of kindness" challenge. A few weeks ago, I was in the drive through at my neighborhood coffee shop. When I pulled up to get my coffee and pay, I learned the person in front of me had paid for my coffee! It completely made my day! I will do that for someone else, especially since I remember how good it felt to have someone do that!

Jenny said...

I'm Methodist, so although we don't celebrate Lent in the quite the same manner as Catholics, my family has always done the give-something-up thing. As a child, I loved telling my Mom that I was giving up broccoli every year...ha! Anyway, as an adult, I still do the give-up thing, but I've also added "taking-up"...as in, I give up something I like, but I also add something for others..taking up a habit of giving. I'm not yet what I'll do this year, as Lent kind of snuck up on me. However, random acts of kindness is a great place to start!

www.trueandreal.blogspot.com

Alicia From De said...

Ok what in the world is an easter monkey, and what happend at the ham saga of 98????

trin said...

Awesome idea! I just registered at the bone marrow donor program ($52 & a swap of cheek cells and you could be saving a life!).

Anonymous said...

Dawn, thank you for your suggestion for the days leading up to Easter. I am Catholic and I have a hard time every year trying to decide what I should give up for Lent. I like your idea WAY better! Think of what a beautiful world this would be if everyone was just NICE to each other!

Now, don't leave us hanging. . .WHAT is the Easter Monkey????

Donna in PA :)

obladi oblada said...

What an awesome idea, and do tell what an Easter Monkey is. Please?

Brenda said...

I love this idea. Although we are Methodist, our pastor suggest we do something - whether it be giving something up, fasting or whatever. The point is that each and every day you do something to think about what Jesus did for us. I think your idea is great and my kids will probably "get it" more than giving up something. Thanks for the idea!

jessicagv said...

This is truly what we should focus on. Why should we give up something when it feels so much better to GIVE something?

I try to do at least one or two kind things a day. Put change in someone's expired parking meter, help someone who is struggling trying to get all their kids back in winter coats at the mall. Once, I even emailed money to a virtual friend, who I had never met in real life, because it sure sounded like she needed it!

I always felt great after doing something for someone else!

Great post!

KKsMom said...

I did a random act of kindness today at McDonalds....I paid for my meal then told the guy I would pay for the car behind me

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This sounds so familiar!!!!

Steph

Kimmerie said...

I'm not Catholic either but I liked the idea of trying to do something good....
a few years ago I hit on the idea of giving up elevators! It has worked great for me. Exercise, baby! And if I come to a place where I have to use one (say, a 40-story building...) then for each single time I use the elevator I tack on a whole extra day at the end of Lent.

Alexis said...

I live in a college dorm room and for the next few weeks, the christian group which I am a part of is going around to a different halls every night, offering to take out peoples garbage. They are usually in complete disbelief when they answer the door and we offer, but in the end, it always leaves us with a great opportunity to share Gods love. This is a great way to minister to neighbors in dorms or apartments.

Jillybean said...

At Wal Mart I found easter grass that is EDIBLE!

Anonymous said...

Our church has the same focus for lent. We used to have Wed nite soup suppers and now we are going to try to use those as a dinner for homeless instead and every saturday there is a project people can participate in. The first one is building habitat for humanity homes in our area. I like this idea much better than the sacrificing of something because it focuses on what we can do in the world rather than depraving ourselves of something.

Wifey Dessert said...

that is a great idea!! thanks for sharing!!!

Julie said...

As a Catholic, I feel like I should explain a little about "giving up" things for Lent:
Many people of all faiths have really had a misunderstanding about it. We don't give up something for the sake of giving up. We give up things, while at the same time helping others. Most of us have forgotten the second part of it. Mothers, however, do it every day anyway. We give time & resources to our children every day. I think God gives us children in order to teach us how to love unconditionally, & helping us to fulfill the two great commandments: Love God & Love Others as God loves us. Jesus also taught that when we are loving others we are also loving God. So, we "give up" ourselves by being mothers & caring for our families. We can also choose to go beyond the family in our giving of ourselves, by volunteering in our community & churches, as well as doing random acts of kindness as you described. If we focus on doing this each year during Lent, we can keep it up after Easter as well. It will help us grow a little closer to Jesus each year, learning to LOVE as HE LOVES.
Enough of my sermon. Sorry if I've gone on too long, although I could probably write a book about my thoughts on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for spreading the goodness.

http://www.pdxtina.com/

Oh Boy...Oh Boy...Oh Boy said...

great idea. i was going to do soda because i need to give it up anyway but i totally forgot wednesday morning!
today my efforts are going to try to win a blogging contest in honor of my parents!!!
if anyone feels like helping, i just need comments left on this blog post....
http://lisanoel03.blogspot.com/2009/02/holding-down-fort.html

Candi said...

I like your "gesture of kindness" idea to prepare for Easter. That probably comes closer to the heart than most other things we do to "be ready." One of my favorites over the years is these little cards I made (business size) with a little bunny on it and (yes, I realize how corny it is, but it works) I printed "Somebunny's praying for you today!" When I had my morning quiet time I made sure to include asking the Lord to touch the life of each individual to whom I'd given a card in some unmistakeable way, so that they would know God was truly watching over them. I don't have any miraculous stories to tell to demonstrate that anything in particular happened to any one but I did have several people thank me for my prayers when I returned to their place of business or bumped into them around town. It was sufficient to let me know they remembered me. I believe God blesses any attempt we make to brighten another's day or lighten their load. Life is hard for lots of people and we need one another, even when we think we don't.
Off my soap box and onto my favorite Easter treat(s). Both involve eggs and both are fun and easy to do. 1. Prepare egg dye as usual (make sure you are are using an edible dye - most are but be sure - I use the Paas tablets with water and vinegar like in the olden days;) hard boil your eggs for the spiced (deviled) eggs for Easter dinner and remove shells as usual. Then dye the cooked eggs in the dye baths, set on paper towels to dry and refrigerate. Slice and spice and fill as usual. They make a beautiful addition to your Easter table. 2. If you have the Jell-o egg molds, here's a treat for the kids, make your jell-o for the hard set (I think it involves using ice cubes instead of cold water - it's been many years since I did this one) Before closing the egg mold put a chocolate covered cherry or a candy kiss in the mold and fill half full. after it has set well, use another color of jell-o and fill to the top. I could only make six at a time because you couldn't buy the molds back when so it took several sets to take care of everyone at the table, but the ooh's and ah's were worth it.

Jenene said...

My husband and I are giving up unnecessary spending for Lent. I know that basically everybody is doing that these days anyway. We also said we would, but then we didn't stick to it. So we're giving it another go. And I blogged about it!

http://jenene-imjustme.blogspot.com/

Michelle said...

Our sermon last Sunday was on the same thing... this giving up of things is sorta silly. I like your idea of doing nice things. I'm working on it, I swear! But who knows if I'll blog about it. It's kinda for me, but if people see that other people are doing something, then the inspiration....

And ummm details on this ham saga of 1998 and the Easter Monkey?

Starr said...

It was warm here (Omaha, NE) on Wednesday so I planned on taking my boys to the zoo after the 3 year-old got out of pre-school. I mentioned this to the other mom who drops her son off. She is a single mom. She said she had not bought her zoo pass yet. Since I had recieved two zoo passes for Christmas I called the zoo and asked if I could put the gift certificate in her name. She was so HAPPY when I gave it to her. It made my day. She even had her son hand me a thank-you note the next day. I think I may have a new friend!

The Preschool Teacher said...

There is an awesome animal charity I found on www.kaboodle.com
This guy bought property to house unwanted animals and stays there taking care of them. If anyone could use a helping hand its that guy!

Anonymous said...

There's an email list that sends out a daily emails with random acts of kindness done by individuals. It's nice to get a reminder of how simple it is sometimes to do something nice for somebody which can make a big difference in their lives. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aDailyDose/

Me said...

What is the Easter Monkey???

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