Ash Wednesday – Day 1

Day 1 and if you’re like me, you were thinking ahead of how you might spend this Lent, thinking you want to maximize the experience, as if you were limited to this time period. You’re not, are you?

So I read the first reflection and decided I had better slow down. I thought about how we so often want to toot our own horn, brag about our accomplishments, say something so someone will take notice of us. As I consider what I will shed this Lent, (my wife would say, “How about some pounds?”), I wonder if I could do so without telling anyone. I wonder if they would notice.

Is it even important that they do? God notices. Isn’t that enough?


p.s. – The 2 ebooks are available as free downloads today, 2/13: I Believe (the year long one) here and Irrational Joy (Lent only) here.

Practicing What You Preach

Two days until Ash Wednesday and the thought occurred to me: Why not use my own Lent reflections book? I mean, what did I write it for anyway? Sometimes I think my own awareness is not where I think it is, and it takes several promptings for me to say, ‘Oh yeah, I will do that myself.’

Another thought that struck me yesterday, on the Chinese/Vietnamese New Year, is how often we take time to mark our lives, to renew and work toward change. New Year(s), birthday, Lent, Yom Kippur, Ramadan. Each culture finds a way to catalog life, sectioning it off into manageable portions.

So, follow along with me this Lent as I share some thoughts each day on my own journey.


p.s. – the ebook is available as a free download through Ash Wednesday.

New Lenten Reflections ebook is out!

Irrational Joy: An Alternative Path Through Lent, is now available on Amazon here. Free borrow for Prime members, 99c otherwise. But, this coming Sunday through Ash Wednesday, the download is free, it’s my Lent promotion. (Since previous journals have been available on this site for free, I wanted to give readers a chance before Lent begins to grab it as well.)

Here’s the cover:

Cover of Lenten Journal

In it I use a technique that I’ve named RADAR for the process of change one might use to make a change in one of their habits. It’s an acronym for Realization – Awareness – Discovery – Action – Reflection.

The Realization is a discernment process whereby one comes to accept that they want to make a change.

The Awareness phase is one of becoming aware of when this behavior occurs, and what triggers it.

The Discovery process is when one looks at what alternate actions or responses might replace the habit in question. (Notice I’m not calling these bad habits. I’m merely saying they are an ingrained behavior which you’d like to change. It’s your response to some situation or environment, and you’ve come to realize it is not helpful to you.)

Action is when you actively replace one habit with another.

And the Reflection phase is one of looking back at how you’ve changed and assessing the process. Change in many is miniscule, and sometimes goes unnoticed until someone else remarks on the difference. The Reflection process attempts to review the differences and see if the change has had the effect that you intended.

If you choose to follow one of my Lenten journals this Lent, I’d be happy to hear of your experience.


Slow Down the Rat Race in Your Head

Ever feel like you’re mind is running on steroids, jumping from one thought to another, racing to the next task on your GD (gotta do) list?

How do you slow it down? How do you quit measuring where you are and just be there? I’m sure there are plenty of meditation sites that cover this idea. Have you ever noticed that most ideas aren’t new, they’re just packaged in a way you now understand? Well, this might be another one.

I’m looking at this upcoming Lent as a different time. Not a quiet time that will pass in 47 days and then I’ll return to where I was before. No, a time where I will become aware of some part of who I am, or more directly, who I pretend to be, and look at how I might make some adjustments to the pretend changes to a more realistic view of myself.

In other words, to show others who I really am. If you’re interested, the journal is due out before Lent and will have some days of free downloads. (It’s cheap, anyway, at 99 cents.)


New Lenten Journal Coming

A new journal to be used for Lent is in the works and should be available before Lent begins. If I can get the paperback ready in time, that will also be available. The main difference is the paper book will contain color photographs to assist in reflecting.

The approach with the journal is, hopefully, somewhat different that what you are used to – no giving up things, no doing extra good works – nothing like that this time. When I thought about Lent and its intentions, I realized or thought that for many people this is just a ‘time-out’ time, a quiet time that is soon forgotten in the Easter season.

I am coming at this Lent in a different way. One thing I read years ago was that you couldn’t change someone; however, by changing yourself, you would force them to change as they would now have to deal with someone new. The focus of this Lent, in the new journal, will be one of self-discovery and change – something that might lead to a permanent or more lasting movement in your faith and life.