Life Changes…Changed Life….

This is actually a post I made for my friends on Facebook, but decided to share it here as well!

Ok, so it’s Lent for us. I know that the majority of my friends and family are NOT Catholic and many do not understand our customs or traditions..but hear me out on this one!

Lent is a time of sacrifice, self-reflection, and a time to get closer to God, to improve our relationship with him. It’s a time of dying and being reborn..a time to change something for the better.

I’ve thought a lot about Lent this year…months before it started, I was thinking about it. Why?? Because in years past, I’ve done what everyone else has done..given up something like chocolate, sweets or caffeine.

To be perfectly honest..giving these things up did not and has not brought me closer to God…and I have spent months now searching my soul for the reason why. What did I come up with? Really?? I realized that even though these could be considered a “sacrifice” because it was something I liked…it wasn’t something that was hard to give up past the first couple of days…and then I gave it no more thought..and it ceased to be a sacrifice!

With that revelation in my heart, I began talking with David and we started examining our life and our lifestyles…and realized that there were things we could give up and they would be a sacrifice..but that they would also make a difference in the world around us, and in our lives and in the process, bring us closer to God.

I started with plastic bags..yeah, I know, but think about this..how much of the time will you forget to take those nifty reusable bags with you to the store? How easy is it to just bring your groceries home in a plastic bag? The reasons are endless..but here are a top few reasons:

1. It’s too much trouble to remember the reusable bags

2. I don’t want to draw attention to myself!

3. It’s too hard to get the clerks to use them.

4. My life is too busy/easier to just use the plastic bags.

Ok…think about these 4 reasons..there are more..these seemed to be the prevalent ones in my conversations with others and with myself. ….drive down the highway and count the number of plastic bags that you see along the roadside and in the trees. Think about how long it would take you to stop and pick each one of those up..or how you would feel if your dog/cat/goat/horse/cow/bird/etc. got tangled up/swallowed/strangled in one of them…. Then, think about the birds and other wildlife that DO get tangled up in them, that ingest pieces of them, strangle in them..how polluted your streams get with them…

Now, does it seem like too much trouble? Is the attention a bad thing when it’s a change for the good of not just yourself, but mankind? The clerks learn quickly and it only takes a moment to explain what they are for. Your house is uncluttered by the fact that you do not have as many plastic bags in it.

I have gotten quite the chuckle out of poor cashiers that have turned my bags inside out and upside down, looking for a tag to scan..and the look on their face is priceless when I explain what they are and how to use them. They are uncertain of stuffing them full the first time, but over time, they get used to it.. and it’s teaching them something in the process..even if they don’t realize it.

Yes, sometimes we reuse the plastic bags..for cleaning the litter box..but right now, we have enough that we can clean the litter box everyday for months and not run out.

Another change in our life is to start being conscious of what we throw away..what can be composted, recycled, reused (like glass or plastic jars)…

We are also planting a garden and simplifying our lives and our belongings…taking things down to a manageable and functional level. Stepping away from the materialism of society and creating peace and tranquility….stopping the insanity of the “American Dream”

These are the things we are doing for Lent…and it has brought us closer to God..because now, everyday, we think of this wonderful world God granted us..to take care of and use carefully and we are aware of the damage we, as a society, are doing to it. Everyday, we strive to repair some little bit of damage and are thankful to God for what we have.

So yes,we home school, we use cloth shopping bags, I use cloth personal products,we strive to eat healthy, whole foods, we drive when necessary,we don’t use chemicals in my house, I don’t even use shampoo and I use homemade soap… We will do our best to do things to be good and grateful stewards of this earth and to keep materialism out of our relationship with God. We will strive to keep HIM at the top of the list..not an afterthought for when we have “time”. We will strive to be more aware of the world around us..a world HE created…and take care of it the best we know how.

And yes, I can hear it now..I’m a nut, I’m crazy, blah, blah, blah…and you know what? I think outside the box..constantly try to escape the box …..this is our choice..our family and you don’t have to do it, but know at least you have to think about it..because you read it and it’s on your mind! 🙂

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