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My Ash Wednesday

alec vanderboom

I took all four of my daughters ages 1 to 10 to an 8:30 AM Ash Wednesday Mass with me as the solo parent. (I left my 9 year old son sleeping in his bed, I wasn't up for the struggle to get him out the door on time). My husband was highly skeptical. Little Abigail has not made it through a Sunday Mass once in over 6 months. Yet she was great during Mass. She was a little talkative, which is problematic because her natural tone of voice is ALL CAPITALS. I kept saying "whisper, whisper" in her ear.

All considering however, Daily Mass was super easy. Way easier than Sunday Mass. I don't know if the difference was less people? Earlier time of Day? Or just a shorter time frame altogether? Anyway, I'm really encouraged to try to get back to going to Daily Mass once a week during Lent.

Because of Abigail's relative peacefulness, I got to hear the homily! A rare event for me in this stage of my life. Father Francisco was so sweet and encouraging. He's ideas for sacrifices during Lent were so creative and easy. Here are some that I remember

--instead of looking for the closest parking space, park far away. More exercise for you, kindness to other people in a hurry.
--instead of texting a friend, pick up the phone and call them
--if you are a young girl, offer free babysitting during Lent
--no TV or Computer after dinner, to make sure that you wake up more refreshed in the morning (I also thought it would make it easier to do a family game night during Lent without TV)
--Wear only 4 outfits during Lent
--Pick out a  complete outfit from your closet (clothes and shoes) and give it away to the poor
--Use Lent as a time to introduce yourself to your Neighbors. Make sure you know every person on your block.

I thought these ideas were so "easy does it." I liked thinking about Lent as a time for a gentle spiritual tune up, instead of a radical overhaul.