What is Lent and why do I observe it?
LENT. I'm giving up Facebook. I'm giving up chocolate. I'm giving up bread. I'm giving up soda.
But why? Do you know? Is it just "the thing" to do?
Lent is far more than that to me. It has deep significance and meaning. I don't take it lightly, or flippantly.
For me, Lent is step one in prepping for what is the most important holiday in my faith. Easter.
If you are not a Christian this post won't hold much meaning for you. Please don't be offended. This is just me, explaining why I do something. Why something holds such great meaning for me. Truly personal.
So if you're curious?read on. If not, it's ok?click away?there will be something far more fun and light hearted next week. We can still be friends. I don't judge you. You don't judge me. Deal?
I could try to explain exactly what Lent is, and why I observe it. But my friend JT postulated (I LOVE that word!) far more eloquently than I ever could. JT is the pastor at New City Church - the church we used to be a part of in Michigan?the church that we still love so dearly. He is the same man up front on Sundays as he is all week long - that is a rarity! He loves Jesus. He loves people. He also loves the Celtics, but that's a total side bar and completely irrelevant! New City Church is about making disciples?period. Come as you are. Leave completely changed. If you are ever in Grand Rapids, Michigan please stop by. I GUARANTEE you will be welcomed with open arms!
Anyway?.I asked JT if I could post his words about Lent and I got the thumbs up! Yes!
Today is the beginning of Lent. Lent is a season of fasting as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's resurrection. Why should we fast during Lent?
First a little history: the regular observance of Lent is older than the regular observance of Christmas. Lent is so ancient that Irenaeus (born less than 20 years after the apostle John died) wrote about the various ways people fasted leading up to Easter. This makes Lent very, very old in the church. Our church fathers thought it was a good idea, but why should we?
The truth is God doesn't want your M&Ms or your coffee or your after-dinner snacks. Lent is a voluntary choice to give up something one enjoys, something that is good. It is a voluntary "suffering" that is intended to remind us of Jesus and his suffering for us. You might be wondering how giving up M&Ms or coffee in any way compares to the suffering of Jesus; it doesn't. Even if we crucified ourselves we would not truly be experiencing the suffering Jesus experienced, because Jesus endured God's wrath for our sin. We cannot mimic the suffering of Jesus?nor do we have to. His suffering will completely end our suffering.
Instead, fasting during Lent is a tool that is intended to help us focus on the final days of Jesus and what resurrection really means for us. This is why Lent is a 40-day fast that lasts 46 days: we do not fast on Sundays. Because each Sunday is a mini-Easter (and a celebration of the Lord's presence among us) the one who fasts breaks his fast for that day. If you give up M&Ms during Lent, enjoy them every Sunday, rejoicing that Jesus will one day end all suffering.
Lent is not really about giving up something, but remembering something. The resurrection of Jesus is what ends suffering. Lent isn't about showing God how serious we are or how disciplined we are. Lent is not about becoming more productive or breaking bad habits or forming good habits. It's not a "40 days to a new you!" Those things may happen, but Lent is a reminder of just how important resurrection is. As we look forward to our Easter celebration, let us remember our Lord's suffering and celebrate him for taking our place and ending our suffering. Let's do this by observing Lent.
Come, Lord Jesus.
As you enter this season of Lent, I pray your hearts are right. And that you see...one day we won't have to endure this season of fasting anymore. Because one day?He is coming again!!
Wishing you an amazing weekend!
Body Image. Fitness routines. Diet. Exercise.
One question I am asked to address all of the time is about body image and fitness. What do I do? How do I feel? What's my "thang"?
Hmmm. Let's start at the very beginning.
For some reason, I found myself obsessed with my body and weight at a very young age. I remember sitting in my third-grade classroom wearing some hideous polyester pants and looking down and thinking how fat my thighs were. Then, of course, there was the girl who decided calling me big butt Bertha would make HER feel better. 30 some years later?those words still ring true in my ears.
Therefore, I remember thinking and feeling from around 12 years old that I should be dieting and I should be exercising ALL the time. Reality? I was not overweight. Maybe I wasn't super skinny... But I was avidly involved in sports and already fairly tall.
If I felt that pressure 30 some years ago. What in the world kind of pressure are our sons and daughters feeling today? I wasn't even reading seventeen magazine yet. And goodness knows commercials were nothing like they are today. My heart breaks when I think of the pressure that our children are under. That WE are under.
Not having the benefit of YouTube fitness videos and/or Tony Horton, I just did what I thought would work. Eat less. Walk around my house on my butt?awkward. And do anything Jane Fonda recommended! I so desperately wanted my big butt to look good in parachute pants and guess jeans! I can actually remember praying that I would become anorexic. SICK!
I poured myself into volleyball then basketball then softball. Sports were my life and I loved every second of it. Besides I actually enjoy working out so running ladders was exciting! Don't be a hater.
College/post college. Throw in a tumultuous relationship. A difficult, competitive art program. Then a bad marriage which ended in a yucky divorce with an individual who put a lot of pressure on what I looked like and how I presented myself. Disaster. I became OBSESSED with how I looked. So I exercised and dieted and exercised and dieted. None of it made me feel better, or even look the way I felt like I was supposed to.
Fast forward. As of today, I am 44 and 6 months. That's a nice way of saying I'm almost FORTY FIVE. I can hardly believe it. But you know what. I'm loving my forties.
I think for the first time I really KNOW who I am. I am deeply in love with a man who loves me for me. We have four amazing (not perfect) kids. I love what I do.
However, I still struggle with body image. It's a million times better. But now I get to throw in the aging factor. Who knew how fun that would be? But I have matured. It's no longer about being "skinny". I have learned that beauty is so much more. It's about embracing what we have. Loving ourselves. Shining from the inside out. I know that's easy to "say". But it's so very true.
You are beautiful. You are.
For me truly embracing that means I feel good about my body. Feel. It's not about look. And I feel the best when I am exercising and being healthy. That's me. That's who I am.
I decided to get more serious about my fitness regimen. I do love working out. I hate the gym (there are people there!). So I purchased the Body Beast program from Beach Body. It was something different. Oh.my.word. Did that change things? Lifting weights every day. I have muscles. Real ones. That I can see!
Then came my "busy season" Christmas into Valentines Day. I slacked a bit.
Jump start. New program. Tony Hortons P90X3. Now I've done P90X before. And I adore Tony. But the workouts were 60-90 minutes. I don't have that kind of time. P90X3?30 minutes. I have 30 minutes! I have been doing them faithfully for several weeks and I FEEL so good! My son has been doing it longer?and he is so buff right now! Geesh. Where did all that cute little baby fat go? And his cute chubby thighs? I digress!
I also have significantly changed my diet. Ok, not changed. I've always been a healthy eater, and I have an amazing amount of self control. But I started counting calories. Not just counting, tracking. I was amazed at what I would "just eat". Now that I count. I don't do that. If I want chocolate or wine?I work it in my count for the day. So I never feel deprived. Just accountable.
Combine these things and I truly feel good about me. I feel better. I sleep better. I have more energy. I am happier.
Life is too short to worry about fitting into a magazine image that just doesn't exist. I love watching my girls embrace sports and fitness. I love seeing them confident and poised. They are beautiful?from the inside out. And it shows. Same with "buff boy".
Take care of the body God gave you. You only get one. Just little tweaks. Maybe 30 minutes of sweat a few times a week. Something to care for you. Because you ARE beautiful. You shine. And you should feel as amazing as you look!
I feel like I wasted so many years obsessing about something that was shallow and selfish. I have so much more to offer than that. As do you. When I see you?I notice your smile. I "hear" your spirit. I want to know what excites you. What you are passionate about. Not your jeans size.
It's time. Get your shine on. I am. Take that 45?.50? I'm coming for you!
(I got my hairs did yesterday?didn't she do am AH-MAZ-ING job?)
If you have an "ask Lisa" question?email me. Obviously, I'll tackle anything. And you? You get a $25 gift certificate to use in my shop if I choose your questions! Yay!
The best skin tool EVER ? my new favorite thing
You know those certain things you wish you had? You think about. You corner fold the catalog page. You study online. You might even put it in your cart. But you don't buy it.
You even have friends tell you it's awesome.
Still. No go.
It's expensive. Is it really worth it?
Then you look in the mirror at your skin.
You think. Not bad. I mean not bad for 44. But?not great either.
You're not getting facials. You're not spending a fortune on "magic" creams.
You begin to justify.
He got the hint!
Hello my precious.
Meet Mia. I didn't name her. Really. She came with a name! Clarisonic is the go to name in facial cleansing. Originally developed for skincare professionals to be used in treatment. Then recommended by dermatologists?blah blah blah. I had read the hype. I had heard people say they love it. I wanted one. I needed Mia. But they are expensive! Ranging in price from $99 - $225. The Mia, the smallest, least expensive model was a great deal on QVC. A great way to give it a shot.
Well guess what? I love her.
She deep cleans.
She is gentle.
She has sonic power.
She is pink.
What's not to love?
I believe my skin is smoother. Brighter. Softer. I have very few wrinkles. Is that due to Mia or good genetics? Probably a little of both.
Here are some of Clarisonic's details?.
If you have ever considered a Clarisonic?I say go for it. Your skin is worth the investment. And honestly? It's cheaper than a lot of the hoopla out there people are willing to pay for. 60 seconds. Morning and night.
Did I mention she's pink?
Hey, I wonder if Mia can make my horrid goldsmith hands look good? I wonder what would happen if I use her with my Satin Hands? Oh my?.the possibilities!
This is my honest opinion. Because I really love Mia. Clarisonic doesn't know I posted this. QVC doesn't know (or care). This is all about things I love. Things I just want you to know about. My favorite things!
If you own one I'd love to know what you think?
Fashionable Handpainted Silk - how to wear a head scarf and a GIVEAWAY!
I have a slight obsession with scarves. Slight. Ok, maybe a bit more than that. It's one of my go-to fashion statement add-ons. A good scarf can add so much to an average every day look!
Problem? I'm super picky. Picky about color. Picky about length. Picky about width. As much as I love my scarves I have tired of them. I have searched for something new, but I've been super unimpressed with anything I found. Mostly tacky. Mostly bad quality. Mostly just yuck.
Then I found Elizabeth. Ok, Elizabeth found me?and I'm so glad she did. I am a huge advocate of buying handmade and I do it as MUCH as I possibly can. Elizabeth, get this, hand paints silk scarves?and neckties?and wraps. HAND PAINTS. Mix that handcrafted factor with a beautiful scarf, and I'm completely swept away.
Her work is truly amazing. And her heart? Oh my?never have I met such a sweet spirit. She has been so encouraging to me and my business. Elizabeth is a mommy to 3 wee ones under the age of 5! (I remember those days!) An American married to a Lativian and living in Lativa?that's pretty exciting!
What Elizabeth says about herself:
Painting silk is something silent I can do while my children nap, it doesn't disturb their sleep and when I put on my headphones and turn on some music I can enter into my own little realm of peace. Let's face it, all Mom's need a little quiet time in the years when their kids are all 5 and under! :)
When I paint I let my imagination soar with the music, and the colors begin to come alive and bold in this symphony of silent music flowing from my brush.
Elizabeth told me to choose anything from her shop. It was so HARD! I chose this beautiful red based scarf. First because I love red. Second?it totally matches my hair! But seeing it is NOTHING even close to the experience of holding it in your hands. It is exquisite. And the painting? Gorgeous! I am madly in love with this scarf! She generous has offered us a 15% discount on our orders using the code NEWFRIENDS in her Etsy shop! I truly don't know what to choose next! She will even custom create a scarf or tie for you! Can you imagine a bridal party in matching hand painted accessories? What a perfect gift! AND?she is giving away a $25 gift certificate to use in her shop! YAY!
Use the rafflecopter link at the bottom of the post to get your entry in. Contest ends NEXT Tuesday, March 11 at midnight.
Now let's talk fashion and scarfs. I just want to show you a couple of ways to wear your new hand painted scarf. This scarf is absolutely the perfect length and width for the way I like to style my scarf.
The basic double wrap tie is what is in the photo above. That is my standard go-to. But look at this style. The scarf is braided INTO my hair then pinned up. If I can do this all by myself. Anyone can. I really should post a tutorial!
How about a scarf necklace?
Or, what about this totally boho look my Isabel is rockin? She better not steal my scarf though?having her model may not have been the best idea!
And there is always the standard "neck wrap". Took my boring, yet completely adorable tissue tee into something far more fashionable!
What's your favorite look?
Even more important question. What will you choose? Here are my top 4 picks?today :)
Don't forget to enter to win a $25 gift certificate to Elizabeths Etsy store! I can't wait to see what you choose!(if you are reading this as an email?please click through and enter on my blog!)
lisaa Rafflecopter giveaway
Just be nice. And grateful. And loving. Is it really too much to ask?
I had a completely different blog post written for today.
But something has been weighing heavily on my heart. So much so that I'm not functioning well. My thoughts are all jumbled together.
Last night, I thought I had it figured out. My expectations of others is too high. And I'm easily disappointed. I still believe there is great truth in that. Possibly a personality flaw?
However, I think there is more to it. Ultimately, I think I am saddened by the state of humanity. I am fully aware that we live in a fallen world that is full of sin and darkness and evil and yuck. We see it every day. But I guess there is a part of me that just wanted to believe that people are "better" than that. That in general, we WANT to be kind, grateful, happy, honest, loving. That we want to build each other up.
That is not the case.
And it really shouldn't surprise me.
Honestly? I've disappointed many. I've hurt many. I've been unkind. Unfair. And maybe just plain mean. But I don't believe that is who I am. I think I'm a human that has made grievous errors in life. I think I truly am trying to rise above all of that. To choose joy. To choose to make others happy. To make a positive influence on those around me. Well?. that's who I WANT to be.
For me personally?.as a follower of Christ?I truly have ultimate joy. What I believe and who I believe in gives me hope for tomorrow?strength to face trials?a grateful heart...and love. Not...when I feel like it love. Not...when they love me first love. But all the time. Why? Because He loved me first. Pretty straightforward. So I guess I'm MOST disappointed by those who profess to share the same beliefs with me but don't act accordingly.
But what about humanity as a whole? What if we all took time to?
- give more hugs.
- say thank you and mean it.
- go out of our way to give compliments.
- give more. take less.
- listen more. speak less.
- hold hands more.
- choose joy.
- lift people up.
- pet more dogs.
- let it go.
- change our tone.
- be friendly.
- don't assume.
- be silly.
- enjoy the sunrise.
- look people in the eye.
- volunteer our time?not just give our money.
- lower our expectations of others.
- be grateful. be grateful. be grateful.
- be less judgmental.
- speak kindness.
- give. give. give.
Those are just my ramblings. Quick. Off the top of my head. Things that I need to work on. Good grief I need so much work.
There will always be ugly in the world. Pain. Suffering. Hate.
We don't have to be a part of it.
We don't always have to try to be first. Striving to get ahead.
Someone behind you might need a hand.
Trust me?that reach behind you will give you more joy than any success or money or title or accolade will ever bring.
Here is to impacting humanity. Because we can.
Talk back to me. I'd love to know your thoughts.
Thanks for reading?.