Cleaning Out to Be a Better Disciple - The Lent Plan 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hello everybody! We just got back Sunday night from a whirlwind house finding trip in Minneapolis and I think we found a house! More on that later as we make our housing decisions official.

Since we're planning on moving right after Easter, I'm working the moving preparations into my Lent. I started doing that because that was a logistical reality of our moving timing, but I like how the mindset that we need to be ready to go where ever we are called has changed how I'm approaching this Lent.

I am still doing the three prong take on, give up, and pray on focuses that I have used in past years, but I feel like this year has become a little more disciple-like - preparing myself, body and soul, to pick up and go.

Here's the plan!

Take On and Give Up

These two things go together this year. I'm taking on the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge and giving up all of the clutter I have been holding onto. Some of those are sentimental things that I cannot justify holding onto, cleaners I have been saving just in case I need them, craft supplies I have never used after storing them for nearly a decade, etc.

I made a very structured plan for myself to keep myself on track. You can check out my themed, color coded, display-of-type-A-gone-crazy plan on this post.

The 40 Bags idea is not just about physical clutter, but also has to do with digital, emotional, and spiritual clutter. Having a focused time on addressing that ignored baggage sounds like just the ticket for preparing to start anew.

I will be taking off Sundays and other feast days that would normally be exempted from the Lenten fast. The feasts make the fasts all the more meaningful!

Pray On

Since there is so much going on, and lots and lots of life changing decisions to make in the coming months, I am going to be focused on discernment this Lent. Setting aside particular time for 10 minute listening, 10 minute free write, and a dedicated rosary everyday.

When I know I have logistical discernment to do, I like to include the writing aspect so I can see how my thinking changes and what ideas and thoughts popped up.


I decided to run one last Endow study at my parish before we move. We will be working through the Aquinas Part 2 study that focuses on understanding the theological and moral virtues and applying them to our own lives as women in the world.

Because we are meeting most of the Fridays of Lent, I wanted to make this session a little more retreat-like. We are lucky enough to be able to use the former parish convent space which contains a BEAUTIFUL chapel. Our deacon has agreed to expose the Eucharist for us during the half hour prior to the meeting. So we get a half hour of adoration, a great study to feed our intellect and grow our understanding of faith, and some tea and fellowship time with other Catholic women every Friday for the 8 week session.

We start next week! There are still a few slots - if you are in the Berkeley, CA area, send me an email if you wish to join us.

This post is part of the CWBN Blog Hop with #HowILent theme! Check out the hop to reader how other Catholic women are doing Lent this year.

How are you planning your Lent this year? Do you do take on, give up, pray on?

40 Bags in 40 Days Plan - AKA. Time to Get Ready for Moving!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Even before I knew we would be moving so soon after Easter, I had planned to participate (for the first time!) in 40 Bags in 40 Days with White House Black Shutters.

I normally do some deep cleaning during the Ember Days but this year more purging of stuff felt needed. Now that we are likely moving shortly after Easter, I'm taking the 40 Bags project even more seriously.

Because I'm still my Type A self, I made a color coded themed chart with specific topics for every 7 days of work! I do intend to take Sundays and feast days off. I tried to vary the themes to have some more physical weeks and weeks that were lighter. It's a marathon not a sprint here.

Paper clutter tops my list of things to clean out since it is probably the largest problem to tackle. I think it will have the largest visual impact too. I'm hoping that helps give me the inertia to keep going on the things I REALLY don't want to do....namely cleaning out the kitchen stuff....

Anyone else participating this year? What's the biggest area you want to tackle? What have you been avoiding at all costs?

Car-Free with Little Kids

Friday, February 3, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

We have been very blessed to live in an area where having a car is not necessary. I have not personally driven in almost eight years, and we have never owned a car. Many family and friends assumed we would need a car after our first child was born, but I especially love being car-less with kids. They develop a lot of walking stamina and leaving the house is as simple as putting on shoes, and maybe strapping on the Ergo, and LEAVING.

It's not possible in every area, but, if you want to give the car-less life a shot, here's how we make it work.


Budget lots of travel time

Little legs have a max speed, so it normally takes me a good 20-30 minutes to get somewhere that's a mile away. I've found it's worth it to take a more pleasant route that is a few minutes longer, than the quickest, but less beautiful, path. 


Practice different terrain and going longer distances

We live in a very hilly area so my early walkers all get lessons in how to go up and down hills. (It's more complicated than you think.) We also ease in to longer longer (and hillier) distances bit by bit with the toddlers to build up stamina. The goal is to get my 3 year olds comfortably walking a mile.


Backup Babywearing

Just in case the toddler is less ready, or just less cooperative today, than I had hoped - I bring a backup Ergo in my tote bag. It beats carrying a deadweight toddler (or worse, a squirming toddler) in arms until you get to your destination.


Cut down on what you need to bring when out and about

Space is at a premium when you have to carry anything you might need while out. I have a zippered tote bag of sand toys that comes along to the park, and I bring water bottles for everyone, but that's mostly it. I don't carry snacks, backup clothing for the potty trained, or toys and books. Therese is most of the way to potty training so I don't need a diaper bag (or bottle bag) right now.

Figuring out what you really need and use is important to achieve feeling less like a pack mule.

Get a transit card

We have these lovely transit cards in my area that are loaded with funds that are applied when you touch the card to a reader before boarding a bus, train, or trolley. There are often discounts for using the cards (instead of buying a pass every morning), and it's phenomenally faster with kids.


Join a carshare

Eventually there comes a need to go further than your legs, or the bus lines, will allow. For things like hikes and Thanksgiving visits, we use a car from our local carshare. There are cars located all over the city and you check it out for a period of time. All of the carshare companies have their own rules and rates so shop around. (For weekend trips, it's often cheaper to rent a car from a traditional car rental. Again, shop around.)

Additional note: invest in a carseat that is lightweight and easy to install. Those bases are not helpful when they don't stay in a car.


Make use of delivery services and DIY

We live very close to a grocery store, but carrying bulky or heavy things home is still a challenge. I've made use of the Grove Collective, Amazon Prime, and for bulk wipes, cleaning supplies, formula, etc. 
I also DIY a much of things that I just didn't want to carry home anymore - bone stock and hand soap are my biggest ones. Now they're cheaper and better than what I was buying at the store AND I don't have to carry them home. - win!

What questions do you have about being car-less with kids? What did I leave out? Share your tips too!
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