Saturday, February 16, 2013


It's that time of year again, Lent! One of my favorite times of year that really gets me doing a little soul searching in a self-set challenging way. Could lead to a even a small yet positive change in yourself. I also love the message behind this beautiful symbolic time (I'm not gettin' preachy, don't worry.).

Some look at Lent as a time to give up something food related in hopes of losing those extra few pounds. Some try to pick a habit to break, like cursing, for the next forty days. Me? Well, I've  tried to make a real effort during the Lenten season to choose something I can fully commit to. Not only commit to, but really feel the "tough love" of giving something up and really feel the season's message.

I gave up peanut butter my freshman year of college. This was a particular challenge because peanut butter had oddly become my security blanket (which explain the additional pounds that magically appeared on my booty.). It would call to me in lonely times and I was pulled to it, spoon in hand, ready to twist the red top off and scoop a soft peanutty mound into my salivating mouth. The Jiff jar had some sort of hypnotic power over me. I'd been fighting the urge for some time and I just needed to something to make me really commit to giving up the hard stuff (Just for clarification--I do mean peanut butter. It's not code for anything else. I'm just strange enough to have an addiction to PB.).

By the time I decided my daily PB intake was going to have to stop, I'd already been improving my health lifestyle for several months. Joined Weight Watchers, had a trainer, and was pretty dadgum committed to feeling healthy again. PB was just a way for me to cope with feeling sad or upset--That first freshman year was really tough on me. A spoonful always made me feel better, but it never lasted for long. I had to find some other way of feeling happy without using food as a feeling suppressor. Enter Lent.

Something about having made a promise to the Man Upstairs makes you really stand strong. The result? PB free and happily less dependant upon, but I still have to reign myself in now and again. I learned a few ways to channel whatever emotions I would have smothered in the creamy goodness. Still, I have my moments when I hear the jar of PB call to me from the kitchen.

Junior year I gave up coffee and tried to teach myself to like tea. That had to be the WORST idea I've ever had. I'd been in school for a solid year and a half (fall, spring, summer, fall, winter-mester, and half-way through spring) when I thought it sounded smart to kick my caffeine habit. In retrospect, it was probably not smart to quit cold turkey like I did. Quite a few headaches the first couple of days seriously tempted me to start chewing on coffee grinds. Can you imagine?

But I made it and with a better liking for tea in the end. I know there were quite a few early mornings and late nights where I spoke to the Big Guy and asked for some help making it through the day. Ain't no way I was going to survive on green tea after being up until 2:00 am and going to a 8:00 am class.

Sometimes Lent isn't always about giving up but trying to be better. So two years ago, I tried to count a blessing a day without repeating and I kept a journal the whole time. All I can say is: Whoa. Baby. It was actually quite a challenge! First of all, remembering to do it every day was tough, but that was the point. I didn't always say "thank you" for the good things in my life as often as I should have.

Second, all I challenged myself to do was find one different blessing a day and after the first, I don't know, week, week and a half, I got a little stuck. I know. How do you start to run out of counting blessings in your life? Well, I did simply because I'd always counted the same ones over and over so it sounded like an easy enough challenge (What an oxymoron right? Easy challenge. Emphasis the "moron" part for me.). The longer I stared at my journal, the more apparent it became that I didn't really see all that  I had in my life.

I couldn't have picked a better time to try this out. I was out of school for the first time ever, had a masters, a ton of auditions lined up, a serious lack of income, student loans coming 'round the bend, and was completely terrified of all that was happening. In short, I was lost. And scared. And a little sad. Being lost, sad, and scared is not the best color on me, but I know this activity was a blessing in an of itself. It made me pull myself up by my bootstraps a little, open my eyes, and say, "Holy Hannah! I am going to be OK!" I like a quote I found, "Sometimes in my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed!" Helps you put your "big" problems into perspective.

This year. Man. This year I've chosen to restrict my screen time including my facebook time.

I know, right?

Well, let's put it this way. I spend way to much time on there and I don't use it in the most positive light. I usually "stalk" the people who's lives seem to be absolutely wonderful and far better than my own (We all do it, that's the whole point of facebook is to see who is doing what when and where. Don't judge.). Green actually is a good color on me, but not the jealousy kind.

I guess you could say that in a way I'm a little bit of a masochistic facebook stalker--hurts so good that I keep going back for more. I love to see what fantastic lives people are leading and it seems great and then it tailspins into this mental issue where I get sad and down on myself. "Why am I not doing that?" and "I'm missing out" or "Why does everything seem so fabulous for them?" Well, duh, Julie. Like anyone is going to post the seriously sad things or unhappy things in their life. I suwannee. Sometimes I just have to shake myself.

It's a sad truth to admit. For probably the last year I've been telling myself to just sign off, delete the account, get rid of it if you can't handle it. But then I remember my beloved peanut butter and our love/hate relationship. You shouldn't through the baby out with the bath water. I need a little self control. My family is on still on there and especially since I'm having a hard time visiting as often as I'd like, this is a the best way to see how they're doing.


SO. I'm limiting myself to two check-in's a day (I don't count being on instagram and posting photos from there. I have to set myself boundaries!). I had no clue how often I get on facebook out of habit! Just click in and roll through all the news feed. The last few days have been really difficult not to just click the icon on my phone. I see my finger reaching for it and my brain starts screaming "NOOOOO!!!"
 If I didn't do that so much, maybe, just maybe, I'd be out living my life and enjoying things around me a bit more instead of questioning what I'm missing out on. What a concept! I'm truly hoping these forty days of limited activity of the F.B. will help me find a little more happiness, stop living vicariously through a screen, and create my own adventures. So far it feels pretty good. And extremely hard at times.

If you're participating in Lent, good luck to you. I know what an individual challenge it can be and how a little word of encouragement goes far. Whatever you get out of it, a few lost pounds, less of a sailor's mouth, or just a little self peace, I hope you find it. I think there's no better time to try and change than in the spring. It just fits with how everything else in the world begins to change, too, so you don't feel quite so alone.

On that note, go out and enjoy this beautiful day! Try hoppin' off facebook yourself and see what you can really do with that time. Happy Saturday ya'll!


  1. This was seriously beautiful and inspirational, Jules! I really needed it today. I especially love the blessings journal idea. I love you so much...even though I don't get to see you, and I'm so proud of who you've become (and always were!).

    Love ya,


    p.s. It's taking everything in me NOT to quote a goofy movie right now.

  2. Oh Brooke! You are so sweet! I didn't know you were following me, too! Thank you so much for your kind words--I'm glad you enjoyed it! I do miss you terribly, Friend! I love you and I always smile whenever I think of you (and quote "Goofy Movie" in my head!)!


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