For You, Daddy!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Giving Up. And Taking On.

The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

I was raised Catholic. Today, I would like to think of myself as a good human being who embraces certain Catholic practices.

 

Participating in a procession held on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

  

 Catholics have Lent and Muslims have Ramadan. 40 days and roughly, 30 days long, respectively. Both periods are meant for increased prayer and reflection, and personal sacrifice. Are there any other religions or streams of thought that have similar periods marked specifically for this? Please share. I would like to learn. And maybe adopt some of those practices.

I left home for college at the age of 19. As I tend to in every new city or country that I live in, I try to get to know every possible facet of the place. It helps me understand the people better and it makes me appreciate the different life there so much more. That knowledge and experience then adds a little colourful piece to the big, resplendent jigsaw puzzle called ‘Life’.

Until I left home at 19, I was still considered a child, and therefore, was not expected to “give up” anything for Lent. I love eating. Which is why I was horrified when Big Bro would fast all day on Good Friday. The rest of us at home had very scaled down meals that day and I hated those! Hee hee! “Boring” food was torturous enough; not eating at all was simply unthinkable for me.

Then I left home and I very conveniently left all those practices at home, too. Until I moved to Saudi Arabia. By my mid 20s, my horror at the thought of starving to death fasting had turned to curiosity. I read more about why Muslims fasted during the month of Ramadan. I liked what I learned and I decided to give fasting a shot since my Muslim colleagues did it without a murmur.

 

This image is from http://molaali.4mg.com/

  

The first year, I fasted on Fridays alone, being the first day of the weekend in Saudi Arabia. Emboldened by my success, the next year, I fasted on Fridays and Saturdays i.e. the entire weekend. I finally worked my way to fasting every alternate day. I did not attempt the full, dawn-to-dusk-for-a-month fast like the Muslims because I had already gained the insight and experience I sought, and because I was concerned I would lose weight, something I can ill afford to date.  

During those years, I fasted only to see if I could will my mind to stay away from food. It was hard, but I did it. And I felt great!

After I left Saudi Arabia, I decided to apply my well honed, um, fasting skills during Lent. I pulled it off with ease every Friday. That is why I do not fast all day on Fridays any more. Not even on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday. Fasting all day is too easy for me now. The bigger challenge for me today is staying away from things I love eating.

During my second Lenten season after Saudi Arabia, I decided to jump in at the deep end. I gave up chocolate or some form of dessert that is the wonderful ending of my lunch and dinner every day. I suffered. I grumbled. I ranted. To everyone. And the whole purpose of abstaining that year for Lent was lost.

A few years of decreased wailing followed, and I am wiser today. As I got stronger i.e. I made less of a ‘woe is me’ scene, I gave up my absolute favourite food items – desserts, pork preparations and certain other favourite dishes i.e. steaks, grilled meats and biryani (a fragrant, South Asian pilaf).

This year, I have upped the ante the highest I can go. I have given up meat and fish as well. Avoiding meat and fish is not terribly hard for me, but I chose to give them up because I enjoy them very much. I also want my Lenten sacrifice to have a bit of a green lustre this year.   

Oh, there are two other things I gave up last year and now again, this year.

1. I have restricted my PC time to my e-mail and blogs of people I know personally, and those I have been following before Lent began.

2. I listen to Choral or Classical music all  day instead of my usual Pop and Rock during the week, and Country and Classical on Sundays.

 

    

So that’s the “giving up” bit of my Lenten practice this year again. Giving up then spurred me to take on something else now that I had a little more time on hand. So here’s what I took on last year, and again, this year.

 

1. More time in prayer. (Not doing a good job there. My motor mouth has nothing on my Duracell-bunny-brain.)

 

2. More time reading the Scriptures. (Not terribly exciting for me.)

That’s it. Those are the only two things I’ve taken on for Lent. I pretty much like the way I live my life the rest of the year.

Now, I’d like you to meet two bloggers I stalk I’ve RSSed. Take a bow,

MJ (http://www.mjmonaghan.com/)

and

Chris (http://misslisted.com/).  

This past weekend, I read MJ’s post ‘My So-Called Simple Life‘)http://www.mjmonaghan.com/2012/02/25/google-facebook-twitter-simple-amish/)

and then, I read Chris’ post ‘love is a verb…‘ (http://misslisted.com/2012/02/25/love-is-a-verb/)

Somewhere along their respective posts, MJ said, “Amish” and Chris said, “Lent”. A couple of things clicked and clanged in my head and this post was born.

 

One of my Lent projects is to make sure I hug each of my children every day that I’m with them.    

The above line of Chris in particular, was what sent the ball rolling in the direction of MJ’s third question.

3. What changes have you made to simplify your life?

I am going to answer that here because these are changes I have made over the years and I follow them all year round. They involved giving up some things and taking on other things.

First and foremost, I have to say I have learned from watching my parents exemplify the ‘Non multa, sed multum’ way of life. In Latin, that means ‘Not many, much’ or ‘Not quantity, quality’. So it has never been too hard for me to give up or take on certain practices because among a few other things, Dad and Mum stressed these two thoughts about most choices we, three children at home, would make.

1. Will it make me happy?

2. Will it hurt anyone?

That said, here are some of the bigger changes I have made over the years. I practice these all year round now.   

 

1. Cyber Life: I do not have accounts on Facebook*, Twitter or any other social medium; just e-mail and this (4 month old) blog. My decision to not jump aboard the social media bandwagon is the same for not posting more frequently here. You can read those reasons on the ‘About My Blog’ page.  

*I have access to Big Sis’ Facebook account because I put up her photo albums and update her Profile picture. I like doing it for her. She likes me helping her out.

 

2. Television: I have slotted one hour a day for TV, except for certain events like award shows and significant live events around the world. One hour or less of telly time each day is easy for me because my beast is reading.

 

3. Diet: I used to eat meat and fish every day. For the past 4 years, I’ve still been eating fish every day, but I have reduced the meat portions to three, four times tops, a week in an effort to reduce my contribution to greenhouse gases. Not only has my carbon footprint reduced, my conscience is lighter, too. Although, my bragging about my green ways has more than doubled. I do not want to remedy that because bragging about it makes me feel good.  

 

4. Travel: For six years now, I have been using public transport as often as I can (which is 95% of the time) because it helps the environment and the forced commute on foot to bus stops or car pool spots doubles as exercise. Planning ahead is key when using public transport.  

 

5. Social Life:

a. When at home: I do not attend every social function I am invited to. Just belonging to the same social circle is not criterion enough for me to oblige anyone. I go only if the acquaintance has been kind to me, my family or my close friends. Traditions and social obligations mean jack little to me. This practice gets me into trouble, but I go to bed happy at night knowing that I did not force smiles or spew empty words at some meaningless-to-me fancy do.  

 

b. When away from home: I work all week and I play all weekend. Play includes one day at least, out of the house doing something I like. It can be as cheap as a reading and falling asleep on the grass in the local park or the most expensive choice (for me so far) of going for a play or concert. Almost every weekend includes friends coming over for the weekend or me going over to a friend’s for a sleepover.

And this is how I try to embrace some of the wholesomeness (in my opinion) and simplicity of the Amish life, not just during Lent, but the entire year. And from now on, I’m going to add Chris’ practice of hugging my relatives and friends even more. If that were even possible. 

 

Could I BE any more of a hugger?

     

Thank you, MJ and Chris, for generously letting me steal your ideas  share your posts which resulted in this mash-up post of mine.   

A slight change of pace now.

Today is Elvie Rose’s birthday. Who is Elvie Rose? I dunno. Personally, I mean.

This is Elvie Rose’s blog. (http://flowersblooms-elvierose.blogspot.in/) I got in touch with her because I wanted to use one of her pictures for the post I had originally planned for today. (That post has been re-scheduled.) She gladly agreed and then she told me it is her birthday today. I love my birthday. She was nice to me. I decided to surprise her!

From the food hound in me to the doggie lover in you – Happy Birthday to you, Elvie Rose!

  

This image is from http://www.zazzle.com

    

I’m going to end on a green note. Chill. I am not going to bore you all with yet another strident verse of, “I love Mother Earth! Am I cool or what‽” This is a different kind of green, Emerald (Isle) green specifically.

It was MJ’s birthday two days ago i.e. 28 February. Happy Belated Birthday, One Of The Very Nice Bloggers I’ve, um, Met! True to your Irish roots, here’s a birthday (hangover) wish.

 

This image is from … egad! I did not save the URL of the e-card site when I saved this image and I cannot find that site now. 😦

What do you mean, “Kate, how could a nice young lady like you talk about MJ’s … underpants?” Do you think I started it? Nah uh.  He started it. Here.

 
 
 


Thank you, The Book of Terrible , orples and mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post. Thank you, Bucket List PublicationsThe Book of Terrible , orples and mj monaghan for liking my last post.

***********************************************************************

P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 



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14 Comments »

  1. Wow what a manifesto! I’m impressed and inspired. I like your mention of the values your parents instilled and the “quality not quantity” lifestyle approach…this is something that is more and more important to me as I get older. I don’t like wasting my precious time and money! Anyway, it is truly great to live your life with intentionality (is that a word?)…and it sounds like you put a lot of thought into many apsects of how you live your life. I’m glad my hugging project inspired you, you’ve now re-inspired me! – Chris

    Like

    Comment by Misslisted — Thursday, 1 March 2012 @ 9:57 am |Reply

    • >Wow what a manifesto! I’m impressed and inspired.
      – *beaming* Thank you, Chris!

      >I like your mention of the values your parents instilled and the “quality not quantity” lifestyle approach…this is something that is more and more important to me as I get older. I don’t like wasting my precious time and money!
      – I learned a lot subconsciously from them. One of the biggest lessons was saying “No” to some requests from outside the family. They knew some of their family duties would suffer if they agreed to something trivial or showy only. Years ago, I learned to say “No” with ease, but I have yet to pick up on their finesse of delivery.

      >Anyway, it is truly great to live your life with intentionality (is that a word?)…and it sounds like you put a lot of thought into many apsects of how you live your life.
      – This leaves the door wide open to my ways being ridiculed, mocked and gossiped about. It hurts, but for the most part, I also remember another of Dad and Mum’s ‘Rules of Life’ – let only the opinions of those closest to you matter.

      (Yes, intentionality is a word. I checked the dictionary because I wasn’t sure myself.)

      >I’m glad my hugging project inspired you, you’ve now re-inspired me!
      – Let’s hug to that, yes? ((hug)) 🙂

      Kate

      P.S.: You agreeing quickly to let me “borrow” your post for ideas with this one helped a huge deal. My work does not not afford me much time to think quietly, and even less PC time. Once I got the go ahead from you (and MJ), I got to work on putting the big pieces together. I had 4 other kind bloggers to update about the change in schedule because I had “borrowed” their images for the post I had originally scheduled for today. The Leap Day yesterday helped with the crunch. What I’m trying to say is ‘Thank you’ again, Chris!

      Like

      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Thursday, 1 March 2012 @ 11:02 am |Reply

  2. I was surprised that as a child you weren’t expected to give up anything for Lent. We certainly were, candy and desserts being the obvious choice. Also there was a strict rule—no meat on Fridays. Eggs or fish were all right. When I decided to stop being a practicing Catholic learning to eat meat on Friday was a hard step after all those years.

    Like

    Comment by Cheerful Monk — Thursday, 1 March 2012 @ 4:38 pm |Reply

    • >I was surprised that as a child you weren’t expected to give up anything for Lent. We certainly were, candy and desserts being the obvious choice. Also there was a strict rule—no meat on Fridays. Eggs or fish were all right.
      – Now that you bring that up, yes, we observed the ‘no meat on Friday’ rule. It was not something the children had a choice in. I remember some mumbling, but we were told why and I was okay with no meat on that one day every week.

      The sweet tooth did not submit as easily. Dad and Mum abstained from their post-meal fix, but they did not force that on me (or any of us, children). They talked about it, yes, but did not force us. I’m glad they didn’t because sweets were the very things I chose to give up when I first decided to venture deeper into this Catholic practice during Lent. I like the fact that I was drawn to this rather than being compelled because by then, I had understood the reason for the abstinence and it became (and still is) the meaningful practice it is supposed to be.

      I also remember how my Muslim colleagues’ young children would get very excited days before Ramadan. They could not wait to begin their fasting! They normally had to be around 13 to start, and those just under that age would be very disappointed that it wasn’t their time yet. I do not know how much they understood the spiritual significance behind the fasting, but I do know I was definitely not like them at that age! 🙂

      >When I decided to stop being a practicing Catholic learning to eat meat on Friday was a hard step after all those years.
      – That’s exactly like me in reverse – learning to not eat something sweet right away my meal was hard at first. Today, it’s a breeze. Cheers to mind control! And hopefully having grown up spiritually!

      Kate

      Like

      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Thursday, 1 March 2012 @ 9:24 pm |Reply

  3. My daughter LOVED the doggie pic!
    My personal fave was the graphic featuring ‘Ol Horn Head” leaving!
    As usual, great post!

    Like

    Comment by The Hook — Friday, 2 March 2012 @ 9:07 am |Reply

    • >My daughter LOVED the doggie pic!
      – Any dog pix work for me! Those words were spot on for me, so I “helped myself” to it from that commercial site.

      Say ‘Hello’ to your daughter for me. I remember you mentioned her in one of your earlier posts.

      >My personal fave was the graphic featuring ‘Ol Horn Head” leaving!
      – That made me smile when I first saw it, too! I like to incorporate humour where I can.

      >As usual, great post!
      – As usual… no, wait. That’s not what I meant. Thank you, Hook. I do not take any compliment for granted. I don’t expect them either. Hope for a bone? Want a scrap of recognition? Oh, yeah! But expect any? No. And take for granted? He ..ck, no!

      Kate

      Like

      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Friday, 2 March 2012 @ 10:37 am |Reply

  4. Hi For you, Daddy ! Thank you for mentioning my name in your blog and for your birthday greeting. I am touched by your gesture and I thank God for meeting a nice person like you in the blogosphere..Great and inspiring blog !

    Like

    Comment by Elvie Rose — Friday, 2 March 2012 @ 1:40 pm |Reply

    • Hi Elvie Rose,

      >Thank you for mentioning my name in your blog
      – Well, I had originally planned on doing it when crediting the photograph you had generously agreed to let me use. That post got shelved, but another good reason came up – your birthday!

      >and for your birthday greeting.
      – You’re welcome! I like my birthday. That you told me about yours meant that you liked yours, too.

      >I am touched by your gesture
      – I, too, am touched by unexpected gestures or words from people I know them and do not know. It is not hard at all to be nice to people. So I try to do what I can. Except when I’m hungry, tired, sleepy or I’m reading. 😉

      >and I thank God for meeting a nice person like you in the blogosphere..
      – I have been pleasantly surprised, too, to meet mostly nice people out here. There are a few who I think could be nicer, of course, and I think the other side of the thought spectrum is essential as well. Too much sweetness and we’ll become an e-nation of diabetics, I tell you.

      >Great and inspiring blog !
      – Thank you. I have learned a lot from other bloggers, too. New and different stuff, of course, but I have also learned how to deal with difficulties better, shown how to enjoy the simple stuff even more and been reminded be nice to all creatures – two legged, fur, feather, scale and all.

      Kate

      Like

      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Friday, 2 March 2012 @ 9:51 pm |Reply

  5. Greetings Kate,

    “The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    ************
    I’m with Gandhi on this one. I claim no religion even though confirmed into the church. To me organized religion is a good excuse to kill each other in the name of God, Allah, or whoever else happens to be the head honcho. To me Life itself is God which is to say that living thing, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral, plus the spiritual aspects, of all of these things are God. Of course, I ramble on about such things, whereas Gandhi is more to the point, so I’ll second him. I am generous though, so if you’ll like 20 pounds or so to fast away for me, I will be happy to donate to the cause.;)

    Your parents seem to be very wise people indeed. …..
    First and foremost, I have to say I have learned from watching my parents exemplify the ‘Non multa, sed multum’ way of life. In Latin, that means ‘Not many, much’ or ‘Not quantity, quality’.
    Anyone that has moved a few times can tell you, enough with the stuff. LOL
    I have given more stuff away over the past few years, through a couple of moves and have not missed it one bit. It was almost liberating to lighten my load.

    Lastly, Kate in having read through (aside from the fact that I envy your travel experiences… I’m bad), I sincerely hope that you will never find frogs in your underwear as your travel through life. That sounds like a real bummer. Although, I suppose there are a few people that might find it rather kinky. 🙂

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I read it yesterday as well,but didn’t have time to stop and comment, so re-read today, so I could visit and share with you as well. Bless you and your lovely family Kate. ‘Til next time, Marcy.

    Like

    Comment by orples — Friday, 2 March 2012 @ 7:12 pm |Reply

  6. Hi Marcy,

    >To me organized religion is a good excuse to kill each other in the name of God, Allah, or whoever else happens to be the head honcho.
    – Unfortunately, there are some who miss the point completely and land up killing people of other beliefs. And even when they don’t kill, they create walls of suspicion and hatred between themselves and other groups.

    >I am generous though, so if you’ll like 20 pounds or so to fast away for me, I will be happy to donate to the cause.;)
    – Thank you! With my high BMR, extra pounds are a year round requirement for me. 😦

    >Your parents seem to be very wise people indeed. …..
    – For the most part, yes. But they are human and had their share of shortcomings, and yes, I dare say it, stupid decisions. Nothing drastic, thank goodness!

    >Anyone that has moved a few times can tell you, enough with the stuff. LOL I have given more stuff away over the past few years, through a couple of moves and have not missed it one bit. It was almost liberating to lighten my load.
    – With Dad and Mum, it wasn’t so much about material possessions, but with things they did. They didn’t stretch themselves thin. I remember them actually enjoying what they did, at home or for others. I also do not recall them dreading doing something or moaning about it later. They declined requests a lot of times, and in retrospect, I think it was good because those people did not suffer in any way since there were others to assist them.

    A lot of times, we think we have to do something, or ‘What will they think if I don’t agree?’ Unnecessary worry, in my opinion. Put yourself first; then you will give your best to yourself and whoever else.

    >(aside from the fact that I envy your travel experiences… I’m bad),
    – Yes, I’m blessed to have the gumption and the choices to move around the way I do, but you’re not bad for envying that, Marcy. I like your honesty. I also like reading about your life on your blog.

    >I sincerely hope that you will never find frogs in your underwear as your travel through life.
    – Yikes! And thanks! About three years ago, I had attended a nature camp and the wildlife teacher found a tree frog which he requested me to pet because he knew of my apprehension with creepy crawlies (and leapies). I survived that, but I will never voluntarily attempt contact with anything that can make me run for my life. Ha ha!

    >Although, I suppose there are a few people that might find it rather kinky.
    – *giggle* Well, I’m glad someone can have a good time.

    >I enjoyed reading your blog. I read it yesterday as well,but didn’t have time to stop and comment, so re-read today, so I could visit and share with you as well.
    – That’s okay. Happens a lot to me as well. Often, I want to comment when I read blogs, but I cannot because I am crunched for time. But when I can? I ramble away! 🙂

    >Bless you and your lovely family Kate.
    – And you, too, O Member Of My Cyber Family!

    Kate

    Like

    Comment by For you, Daddy! — Friday, 2 March 2012 @ 10:56 pm |Reply

  7. My crazy friend, hope all is well with you. I’m speechless … for a few moments. I read this post several days ago. I sometimes have to let your posts sink in, and then come back to them. hehe

    I love your lenten post. You have selected some wise areas to focus on for the season. Some of them, you have way more self-control than I do – namely, tv and the cyber world. MJ and MLB love our tv – purely for “learning” though *wink, wink*.

    Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. It was fabulous. Got more books to add to the To Be Read pile, amongst other items.

    Do give an update on how the lenten activities are going when you get some time.

    Au revoir
    mj

    Like

    Comment by mj monaghan — Tuesday, 6 March 2012 @ 6:50 pm |Reply

    • >My crazy friend, hope all is well with you. I’m speechless … for a few moments. I read this post several days ago.
      > Thank you so much for the birthday wishes.

      – You’re welcome! I’m so happy that your reaction was more fun than I had hoped for. Do you remember you wrote this is in Chris’ post?

      >I think she’s really doing it as a birthday tribute to me – the 28th of Feb. hehehe
      Right Kate??

      – As some wise person long, long ago said – Be careful what you wish for.

      >I love your lenten post.
      – Thank you. I thought I’d write that because I learn even from reading about other people’s practices. If I could afford the same service to someone else, why not? It calls for me to rake myself over the coals in public, but that kind of attention, I can deal with.

      >You have selected some wise areas to focus on for the season. Some of them, you have way more self-control than I do – namely, tv and the cyber world.
      – Those are the two most wanting areas in my life not just during Lent, but the rest of the year as well.

      Over the past few years, I have begun making myself aware of the tiniest of nice things and “happy coincidences” that occur in my life. I taught myself to immediately mumble a ‘Thank You’, too, to the Big Guy in head (although I blab out loud mostly). I’m happy with this practice of mine. But sitting quietly, and reading the Word, and reflecting. Oh. So. Hard.

      >MJ and MLB love our tv – purely for “learning” though *wink, wink*.
      – Oh, that’s totally required, mj! Gotta get ourselves an edjumacation to get anywhere in life, yeah?

      >Do give an update on how the lenten activities are going when you get some time.
      – Okay. I’ll do that in my next post.

      Oh, one more thing,

      >My crazy friend,
      – Bye bye, Pot. This is Kettle signing off.

      Kate

      Like

      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Tuesday, 6 March 2012 @ 9:25 pm |Reply

      • I like that, Kate – “This is Kettle signing off.” So true.

        Pot

        Like

        Comment by mj monaghan — Tuesday, 6 March 2012 @ 9:36 pm

      • Yo Pot!

        It’s nice that people can josh around and not get too serious about things in cyberspace. Goodness knows, I can be too serious for my own good at times.

        I believe it takes some amount of maturity to acknowledge one’s shortcomings, and a whole lot more to laugh about them. Not that being “crazy” is a shortcoming. Heck no!

        You grow up the day you have your first real laugh — at yourself.” ~ Ethel Barrymore. (1895-1957. Drew Barrymore’s great-aunt.)

        Kate Kettle

        Like

        Comment by For you, Daddy! — Tuesday, 6 March 2012 @ 11:21 pm


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