This is a basic breakdown of how we are living during Lent:
1. At Breakfast we are avoiding Pop-Tarts for the kids and bagels with cream cheese for me. Instead we are all eating toast, cereal, and/or fruit. Dan and I still drink coffee but we’re skipping the flavored creamer and using milk and sweetener instead.
2. At Lunch we’re adopting an “eat what is offered to you” mentality. The kids eat at school. Dan and I are trying to eat sandwiches at home unless we have lunch meetings. For meetings we are trying to choose salads or simple meat and vegetable combos in one plate only portions.
3. For Snacks we have oranges and bananas and applesauce for the kids. They also take cheese sticks to school.
4. For Supper we’re rotating basically three meal options: rice and beans (which we made for the first time on our own), spaghetti with sauce, and sandwiches or salad.
So far this is working great. We feel the tension of wanting more options but still feel satisfied. My greatest struggle was giving up Diet Coke. I really thought I was going to die on Day 2. Since then, though, I’ve thought it sounded good but I haven’t craved it like I was those first two days. I’m actually enjoying water. I also drink juice with some meals.
Our first Feast Day was on Sunday. It was a special time. The girls were out of town with Mom – see here – so just Dan and I and Jesse went out to eat together. We enjoyed the buffet (limit of one dinner plate and one dessert plate) and Dan lead us in a time of celebrating each other and offering prayer. That night was a party with Serenity – see here – so I was truly feasting all day! I think I’ll stay off Diet Coke even on my feast day, though; the book we’re reading recommends you avoid trigger foods even on your feast day.
Each night at supper we read the passage in A Place at the Table about a child in another part of the world. Then I read the prayer for that day and one of the kids follows with a prayer for the child we learned about. Not surprisingly, Ada, our 8 year old, is most involved, but the other kids are enjoying it as well. The first night I served only salad and Macy cried. At first I thought to myself that this was going to be a long forty days, but then I put on my tough face and told her that there are many children in the world who cry about their food but for very different reasons. Then I told the other kids not to baby her. (You can’t imagine how she’s wrapped them all around her finger.) It didn’t take long for her to join in and eat!
Tonight I made a banana cake from the browning fruit on our counter and I felt like a pioneer or something! We each ate our thick slices with so much appreciation! It was a big change from the usual way we scarf down Little Debbie snack cakes on our way out the door or while we watch something on Netflix. The tone we were trying to establish with this Lenten fast, one of gratitude and compassion, has certainly happened this week. I’m grateful.