My blog tends to catch me at the highs or lows of life. I'm particularly tired tonight, and I think it's because I've had several particularly long days of work and lots of desserts in the past few days. A couple people at lunch today at Partners hypothesized that eating sugar makes one feel groggy and sluggish. I've given up sugar for Lent at least twice before, and it's my plan again this year. I'm actually quite looking forward to it. Sometimes food can be a kind of bondage and fasting has a great way of freeing us.
As part of this Lenten initiative, I decided that I would try to use up what's in my chest freezer downstairs. The majority of what's in there is chicken broth, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and peaches, so this is going to be a fruit-sweet month. Good timing! I will keep you informed of my progress in emptying my freezer.
I have found two creative uses for my freezer food this Monday. I'm hosting a children's ministry committee meeting for church. The other challenge in making this meal is that our group has a vegetarian, two gluten intolerant folks, and one person who avoids dairy. After much deliberation, I decided to make a pot of chili with tomatoes from my freezer. To this, people can add in sour cream, shredded cheese (also from the freezer), and onions and/or scoop up chili with gluten-free Fritos or corn tortilla chips. I'll make a big salad with a balsamic dressing. For dessert, I'm going to serve vanilla ice cream (thank you Tillamook and Fred Meyer for the sale this week!) with lightly thawed peaches and blueberries and homemade hot fudge sauce. Yum! I'm also making a gluten-free, no-bake cookie that has cornflakes, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips.
It sounds extensive, but it's really a ridiculously easy meal for company since so much can be prepared a day or two before. So, slowly but surely, I will clear out the old in the freezer and make room for the new.
Tonight, I volunteered with a friend from church at the Mead Food Bank. We packaged food based on the number of family members. I was in charge of the fruit station. I grabbed a random can and happened to look at it before putting it on the scale: shoestring beets. I almost gagged. I sneakily moved that can to the back and grabbed a can of sliced peaches instead. As I continued to pile cans of fruit cocktail, applesauce, and pears in plastic bags, I had to wonder. Since when did I become so fortunate that I had so much wonderful, fresh/frozen fruit in my freezer? Volunteering, like walking and fasting, gave me a new perspective.
I'm praying that this Lent will be all about new perspectives. I need a new perspective on my sinfulness, so that I understand Christ's mercy and grace more fully. I need a new perspective on life to realize anew that life is enriched by love of God and others. I need a refreshed view of food as something to enjoy in its proper place. Lent is about stripping away the old to bring in the new life of Christ, and I'm ready for it.
How do you plan to mark the season of Lent? Will you add a discipline? Give up a negative habit? I'd love to hear more about your plan.