Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spring,Lent,Starting Over...Renewal

"You can't see plants growing-unless you speed up a film-but you know that they do. Each day tiny changes take place. It's the same with your life." --Author Unknown

It was a little over a week ago, that I opened our backdoor and stepped out into a lovely afternoon of spring sunshine and weather. The air was the perfect, comfortable temperature.  There was no pressure of the beating heat or bitter cold on my skin.  It felt light with the wind just barely sweeping past.  In south Texas we hope for many spring days like this one, but one never knows in this area as is the case in other parts of Texas, Louisiana, and much of the south. 

I took in the beauty of the day as I proceeded with the spring gardening and seed planting preparation. I love this time of the year when we have the opportunity to do this preparation of the coming of spring.  The sound and feel of the hoe chopping up and mixing the hard dirt making it soft,  the refreshing feel of the water being sprinkled from the hose, digging into that dirt and feeling it between your fingers especially when it's moist, taking in the smell of fresh dirt and grass, and hearing the birds and creatures of nature singing along as you work. Our orange tree this year has more blossoms on it than we have seen since living here and the sweet smell fills the air around you when standing near.  My daughter has her own garden this year (because that's what she has to do before she is allowed to get her own fish) and you can see new little sprouts of green as the new little stems have pushed their way through the dirt. The Fig, Pomegranate, and Crepe Myrtle trees have begun growing new leaves. (Of course, the Oak leaves are just now falling off leaving much of the yard covered in little bits of brown that we hire neighborhood kids to come and deal with which they rake non-stop...not that they care. Who doesn't love a hug pile of leaves)?

 Anyhow, I find it very refreshing and therapeutic.  I have several aunts who have said it is their own form of therapy in their homes. I have to agree. In moments where I feel I need to take a moment of quiet or let go of the noise and mess that life can bring, taking a moment to go work in the yard of even walk in the yard helps to put me back in a state of thinking more clearly and peace. Even if I have to make myself get out there. 

Spring is a time of starting over. New life begins. The plants and trees start over in a new cycle of growth. New chances are in store and a new day can be made. It is no coincidence that lent begins towards the end of winter usually, and leads into the beginning of spring (or at least down in South Texas that is usually the case).  

Lent is just that.  A time to start over. A time for new growth. A time to stop and reflect on how we can become a better version of ourselves. What habits do we have that are worth changing? Is there a particular weakness that I can focus on changing? Do I need to ask for forgiveness for something that has been bothering me in the back of my mind or that I have ignored? Am I growing in character, charity, and on my journey to/with God? 

"...and that is really the point of Lent, the goal of fasting, abstinence, and all our Lenten observances: to grow in charity toward God and neighbor." --Jeff Young, Catholic Digest 

"Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life." --Pope Francis

The 40 days of lent are a good time to really form habits so that when Easter comes, these new habits are set and will stick with us for the rest of the year. You may think that it sounds like a New Year's resolution and to be honest, this is the time when I think about resolutions, instead of in January, and really focus on instilling them.  I am so much more dedicated when I am in the mindset of thinking of these things as being done for our Lord Jesus and growing more in charity as someone who follows him rather than something that I just do in January. Not that I could not have that lenten mindset in January, it is just so much easier in the Lent season during that time when we are really reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

Sometimes we choose to give things up for lent (except for Sundays). This is a great way to practice delayed gratification and discipline.  

This lent I have decided to learn something everyday on how to teach my children about respect, focusing a lot of chastity but also respect in every aspect.  Also, to make sure I do not pick up my phone during Lincoln's bath time and nap time.  Instead I can interact with him or take time to pray and reflect. 

I also thought this an appropriate time to "renew" or "restart" the blog here. Over time I have had this idea that I have to have a very specific "box of things" to write about here.  I started the blog to keep track of activities I do in music therapy and with the kids at home.  I wrote about topics on here to be reminders to myself. I ended up thinking of more topics I wanted to include, and moved on to "music therapy" "family life" and "kids" activities but still trying to fit it all in. I have had a hard time pinning down exactly what I "should" write. I think it has limited what I write and the way I write. I was afraid of writing about topics outside of the category because it would be too broad or not in the belief system of some people.  I also was very factual and blunt at times and may have sounded like I am a closed minded or prideful. 

So I am starting over as myself.  Trying to be real and not being afraid to just write about my own life whether it be music therapy, family life, failures, and also my spiritual life, even if it is different than other friends or family who might read. Apparently writing about my own life and experiences is okay! If I have 0 readers that is fine because this is a place I can come to rejuvenate myself in writing and in reading my past experiences.  

So here is to spring, lent, and renewal.  

Preparing the veggie garden. And Sandy's tail. 

Orange tree blossoms

Orange tree

Very important! Citronella to fight off the South Texas mosquitoes. 

Weed like grasses. The part of spring I could live with out.