If I had the ability to order my perfect day, it would involve line items like waking up at 7:30am (completely well-rested), a 20 minute siesta around the 2 o’clock slump, a scalding bath before bed, and dedicated time to write and sew.

Truthfully, as I contentedly raise little humans, I am glad to get just one of those things worked into any day.  But the past few weeks, as our kitchen project has us living out of suitcases like gypsies, I haven’t seen any of those things, much less had to time to dream of them.

Somehow, this week has still been restful.  A forced period where you can’t do much home maintenance, even if you wanted to (it’s hard to cook when you don’t have a sink, without a dishwasher, it feels futile to eat on anything but paper plates, and there’s no use in tending to carpet that is going to be ripped up in a week).  So many things have been chopped from my plate this week, and as long as I can ignore the chaos it is creating for a little bit, I can find my respite.

The only time of day i find myself ravenously hungry is about half an hour after all the girls fall asleep.  It doesn’t matter if I ate dinner half an hour ago, or at all, I will crawl the walls trying to find something to satiate my hunger and slake the thirst that assails me then too.

During the day, I never really feel a pang of hunger, though sometimes recognize an odd feeling of dizziness or nausea and know that it’s probably time to eat, but come about 8-8:30pm, you will find me in the kitchen, decompressing over a bowl of cereal (the perfect bedtime snack because it speaks to both the hunger AND the thirst.)

It is Lenten season.  A time of reflection and preparation we did not observe in our homes growing up, but something I was introduced to in college. (and I think it has since broadened much more outside of the Catholic tradition).  It’s a hard one to explain to the girls. “Instead of getting something everyday, (like Advent), you have to give something up!”

N and I typically “give up” the same thing, to keep company with one another and hold each other accountable.  It always brings up interesting discussions about discipline (we both approach it very differently), temptation (once again, very different), and creates a warm feeling of what we have to look forward to when our period of fasting is over.

I try not to talk about it too much, publicly, because in many ways, doesn’t this defeat the purpose of a Biblical fast?  But for the sake of penning the experience, I can tell you that this year, as well as most other years (I tend to skip the years that I am pregnant, as I feel pretty self-righteous about what I am already sacrificing), we are fasting from sugar.

Lodged right after the saccharine holidays of Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, we are ready for Lent to slow down our ramped up consumption of the unnecessary filler that has become all to common place in our home, due to the above.  Because sugar is so addictive, it is really hard for us.  Embarrassingly so. And my body reacts as if it is going through withdrawal, with headaches, and night sweats, and scheming.

But if you can hold out long enough, you will turn the corner eventually, and the offender will lose its dominance in your life.  That’s the goal, anyway.  Going without sugar changes your palette and even your tolerance for it.  I am now enjoying foods that once would have tasted bland, but now are satisfying in other ways because they are fatty (like an avocado), or naturally sweet (bananas, carrots, almonds). And to the contrary, sweet foods that I could have easily passed over in the past (a store bought cookie), suddenly make me weak in the knees.

I have a fondness for church message boards, the kind you see with the illuminated backgrounds and black, blocky letters (always capitalized).  I always read them. Down here in the Bible belt, they are all the more common too.  The punny ones make the smile, the eyeroll inducing ones send me snitching back to N.  The Bible verses make me think, and the obviously flawed doctrinal ones make me cringe.

I appreciate a church that can keep up with a weekly rotation of it.  They will not grow weary in their diligence, and my driving entertainment value is thankful for their efforts.

There is one I have passed often this week.  It doesn’t have a verse or sinners in the hands of an angry God mini-sermon, just a punchy “Sacrifice, Sacrifice, Sacrifice”.

That’s it?  I thought as glanced over, hastily eyeing it on my way to school pickup.  Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.  I AM, I thought as I first read it as a command.  I am sacrificing so much.  YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I AM SACRIFICING RIGHT NOW.

I drove away, disappointed, thinking perhaps a word of encouragement would have helped me feel better about ALL THE SACRIFICES I AM MAKING RIGHT NOW.

But the next time I felt a little slighted by the girls, it suddenly welled up in my brain.  Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.  Like a drummer pounding out a beat. The next time I lost (several hours of) sleep, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, a quiet rhythm in the lonely dark.  The cookies, the novel I can’t quite finish, the me time.  It’s all on the line and often gets slashed, usually in order to give importance to something else.

So is the call to the mother, and may we be more sanctified because of it.  Easter is coming!

-smk

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