Giving It Up

lent4There has been a lot of talk around our house the last couple of days about giving things up.  I’ve read Facebook posts by many friends extolling the giving up of bad habits, cravings, and addictions.  This morning, I read a blog post about an endeavor called “40 Bags in 40 Days” in which participants pledge to declutter every day for 40 days.  The decluttering can be of everything from closets to email inboxes.  The key is to get rid of unwanted and unneeded “stuff.”

I’m sure each one of us can name something in our lives worth giving up for 40 days, or perhaps forever.  My prayers go out to my brother-in-law who is giving up smoking.  Many know what a cross that is to bear, so I’m sure prayers would be greatly appreciated, which brings me to a question I have always asked myself.  Is it better to give something up or do something new spiritually?  I’ve struggled with this over the years.  The whole concept of giving things up is completely lost on me unless there is a real reason to do so.  Giving things up just to herald that you’ve done so just doesn’t seem to be the point of all of this.  I heard a priest, who has a radio show, say recently that when you give something up, you should use that extra time, money, space, etc. to do something good, help others, give to the poor, or otherwise allow someone else to benefit from your sacrifice.  And that’s really the key isn’t it?  Sacrifice.  We aren’t supposed to be trying to lose weight or have a cleaner closet.  The point is to sacrifice, to rid ourselves of the things that are making us unworthy in the eyes of God.

So, yes, I will be giving things up this year, and yes, they will be the regular things you’d expect – sweets and wine.  However, I’m going to take it a step further.  I’m giving up all restaurant food except for salad (a huge sacrifice since we tend to eat out more than the normal family).  What I’ve struggled with is how to make that into something spiritual that benefits others around me.  What have I come up with?  I will find the one thing on the menu that I want more than anything else, note the cost, and donate that amount to a good cause.  It may be an extra drop in the basket at church or a donation to Feed the Poor.  Whatever it is, I know that my sacrifice will be helping someone else and hopefully will help me in my journey home.

What are you giving up for Lent?

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

A Mother’s Love

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Nineteen years. Sometimes I can’t believe it. Tomorrow, February 12, marks nineteen years since I became a mother. I don’t know where the time went since the doctor first placed my beautiful Rebecca Kathleen into my arms, but they sure have flown by. Now she’s a sophomore in college, and it’s hard to grasp the reality that she’s pretty much all grown up. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Rebecca or her sisters, Katie Ann and Morgan. They are my daughters, my muses, and yes, as they grow older, my friends. My husband says he sometimes finds it hard to fit into our world, and I can understand that. Though we all try our best to include Ken in everything we do, we are like our own little club, my three daughters and I.

This past week, I made two trips to the emergency room with Katie Ann who was suffering from a bacterial infection that had our entire family and all of our friends very worried. When she came to our room at 3am two nights ago with a fever over 103, Ken asked if I wanted him to take her to the hospital. I think he knew the answer before he even asked it. If anybody was going to be in the ER with Katie Ann, it was going to be me. Not that Ken couldn’t have sat in the chair and nodded his head at the doctor just the same as I did, but I couldn’t have stayed home and waited. I was the one who had to be there to hold her hand when they inserted the IV, and I had to be the one to lay my head next to hers on the pillow and rub her back until she fell asleep. It wasn’t that daddy wasn’t good enough. It’s that a mother’s love must be manifested through action.

In A Place to Call Home, Susan becomes a mother overnight when Cassie and Ellie arrive on her doorstep. It’s her maternal instinct that drives her to discover what secrets they are hiding and protect them from harm at all costs. And in Picture Me, due out in April, it’s Melissa’s mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice so that her daughter can live. This is what we do as mothers: sacrifice, hold hands, pray, and most of all, love. It’s what my mother taught me, and her mother taught her. It’s what I hope my daughters will learn from me.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon. https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html 

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com