Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

4 Thoughts on Letting Go of the Past

Future-Past

For many of us the season of Lent began this week. It’s a time of sacrifice, reflection, and atonement. But for some people, things in the past torment them and they carry it around like overweight baggage that will never squeeze into that overhead bin. We all have things in the past we’d like to change; perhaps we’d like forgiveness for something we’ve done or to forgive what’s been done to us.

Yet somehow we just can’t let it go.

Why is that? Jack London said “To be able to forget means sanity.” I think he’s got something there. So here are my thoughts on letting go of the past.

  • Do it for your health, both mental and physical. If you think having something gnaw at you for decades has no impact on your health, you could be in for an abysmal diagnosis in the future.
  • Don’t agonize over mistakes. No matter how big, we’ve all made mistakes. I’m not saying you shouldn’t own up to them, acknowledge them, or apologize for them. By all means, you should try to make things right if that is possible, and say you’re sorry if you can’t. But then you have to let it go. (See paragraph above.)
  • Everyone deserves forgiveness. Yes, that is how I feel. If someone is truly sorry, they deserve to be forgiven. And if you have a hard time forgiving something terrible, huge, then start by trying to understand Practice empathy, try to see things from their point of view, decipher why they did/said what they did. And if you just can’t forgive someone (yes, I know that is a reality) at least maybe you can find some answers for yourself and move on. Hopefully with less pain.
  • If you don’t forgive yourself, you’ll never reach your full potential. Yeah, yeah, I know that sounds hokey. But it’s true. I’m not talking about being successful or wealthy, I’m talking about the whole picture. If you are carrying a load of self-loathing, you’ll never be truly happy or have meaningful and healthy relationships. (See paragraph above.) Or worse yet, you may go around blaming everyone else for things that have happened to you. That is not fun for anyone.

So no matter if you’re religious or not, take some time to reflect as we wait out the end of winter. Are there things you need to settle to really let go of your past? If so, take care of business. Do it for your health, for better relationships, and as Jack London said, for your sanity.

Roxanne Wilmes is a freelance writer, author, ghostwriter, and thirty year survivor of the restaurant and hospitality industry currently with AmericInn Hotel & Suites.

44 Random Acts of Kindness

Homeless

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the kick-off to the Lenten season.  Many people give something up for Lent.  This year I think I’m going to add something instead.  I did a little poking around and came up with my favorite 44 ideas to show random acts of kindness.  In no particular order:

  1. Plug someone’s expired parking meter
  2. Deliver treats to a neighbor or coworker
  3. Leave a few quarters behind at the Laundromat
  4. Donate time/money/merchandise to a local charity
  5. Cook a meal for someone
  6. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you
  7. Give a meal to a homeless person
  8. Take someone who doesn’t get out much to the movies
  9. Offer a ride to someone who can’t drive
  10. Cook a healthy and delicious meal for your family, and eat it together
  11. Hand out hand warmers, gloves, hats, scarves, etc. to homeless people
  12. Write an anonymous compliment on a Post It for someone
  13. Treat someone to a gift of fresh fruit
  14. Send a thank you card to someone
  15. Share something you have of value or a personal talent
  16. Start a spare-change-savings-jar for a cause of your choice
  17. Leave change in a vending machine
  18. Organize a pot luck for your child’s teacher(s)
  19. Anonymously send dessert to another table when eating out
  20. Bring flowers to someone at a nursing home or hospital
  21. Leave a big tip at a restaurant
  22. Give a gas card to a young driver
  23. Give a bottle of water or Gatorade to a bus/taxi driver, mailman, garbage collector, etc.
  24. Give cocoa or coffee to crossing guards
  25. Deliver cookies (donuts?) to a local police department
  26. Pay someone’s toll
  27. Send someone a letter, a real letter delivered by the post office
  28. Connect with an old friend
  29. Tell your spouse and family that you love them
  30. Give someone a compliment
  31. Tuck a note in your spouse’s or child’s lunch
  32. Instead of floral centerpieces at meetings, fill baskets with nonperishable food to donate
  33. Do something nice for a fire department
  34. Show your gratitude to a soldier—See how here
  35. Give a small gift to a new mother anonymously
  36. Think back to a time when someone helped you, send them a thank you
  37. Send a note of gratitude to a teacher you remember fondly
  38. Spend time with someone in hospice
  39. Send an email to a business where you received good service and tell them about it
  40. Reach out to a friend or family member dealing with major illness or death
  41. Visit someone who is alone in a nursing home—the staff can tell you who needs visitors
  42. Give someone a night of free babysitting
  43. Brush the snow off someone’s sidewalk or car
  44. Treat a senior to a pedicure

Feel free to borrow any of my favorites. Or come up with your own. There’s one for each day of Lent, but why restrict yourself? Random acts of kindness, especially the anonymous ones, are welcome every day. And they just make you feel good.

My Body Needs A Reboot

vegetable-cutlets

It has come to my attention that I may not be as young as I think I am.  This has been rudely pointed out to me by a nagging case of “Trigger Finger” that locks-up the middle finger of my right hand.  The very first thing they tell you is that it’s more predominant in women over 40.  Really?  Do you have to just come at me like that? How about easing into it a little?  Tell me it’s because I do so much hand/craft work, or too much keyboarding, not the age thing right out of the gate.  Geesh.  So, when I started thinking about what to give up for Lent this year, it seemed like a glaringly obvious answer; I need a reboot.

With computers, a reboot will cure many an ill.  I’m hoping that will be the case for me.  My initial sacrifice was going to be no alcohol for Lent.  It’s not like I’m in need of an intervention, but let’s be honest, Mama likes wine.  Well… it’s only 46 days.  And it is supposed to be something that is really a sacrifice.  Actually, the traditional Lenten sacrifice is forty days because Sundays are excluded as days of celebration.  Aha!  A free-day once a week…this is sounding better.

Then I thought, hey, while I’m at it, why not really make this a worthwhile month-and-a-half?  I’m a huge believer in the healing powers of food.  We already eat a lot of vegetables, but maybe I could focus on some that are known to reduce inflammation and help my finger.  Hmm…okay…

In doing my due diligence, I found out that there are a few foods that the arthritis folks say could help:

  • Olive oil
  • Citrus fruits, berries, and cherries
  • Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes (orange hued vegetables)
  • Whole grains
  • Ginger
  • Pineapple

I like these foods, so incorporating them into my reboot shouldn’t be a big deal.  I’m also going to try to do better at getting to bed early.  I am by nature a morning person—much to The Hub’s dismay.  Usually my brain is going a hundred miles an hour before my feet hit the floor in the morning.  Since I am most productive and creative at this time of the day, it shouldn’t be wasted lying in bed.

And of course the other piece of the reboot has got to be activity.  Since it’s been below zero most days in Minnesota this winter, there’s been no running outside.  That’s no excuse to not use the equipment we have inside.  I need to do at least 30 minutes of something most days of my reboot to really make the most of it.  After all, it won’t be long and we’ll be sleeveless, complaining about the heat!

 

Vegetable Cutlets…Mix and match your faves!

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 C corn
  • 1/2 C peas (frozen is best, canned may be too soft)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/3 C Panko crumbs
  • 1/3 C bread crumbs
  • salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like

Peel potatoes and carrots.  Cut them into 3-4 pieces and put them to boil until fork tender.  Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil until slightly browned.  Drain the water and run potato and carrot through a ricer or mash them gently into a mixing bowl.  Add in the egg, corn, peas, onion, and garlic, stirring just to combine.  Roll the mixture into 25-30 balls.  In a bowl combine the bread and Panko crumbs.  If the crumbs are not already seasoned, this is a good chance to add some extra flavor.  Squish the balls down a little and dip into the crumbs, pressing a bit to make sure they pick up the crumbs.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with non-stick spray.  Place the cutlets onto the sheet and bake at 375° for ten minutes.  Remove from the oven and carefully flip the patties over; bake for another ten minutes.  Enjoy!

 

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Social Responsibility

Couple DiningLast night on the way to dinner my husband and I were discussing today’s blog.  We were talking about several topics such as Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to eliminate Styrofoam, what we gave up for Lent, and a couple other things.  We had it mostly locked-down, and I’m sure it would have been witty, extremely pertinent, heck, maybe even award-winning!  And then we got to the restaurant.

As we stood along the wall in the bar waiting for a spot to open up, a twenty-something brushed past us and took his place at the front of the group of us waiting.  When two stools opened up, I made my way over and proceeded to hang my coat on the back of the chair.  All of a sudden Mr. Twenty-something barged up to us and announced he had been waiting longer and these were his stools.  What?  I didn’t know what to say!  Several people sitting nearby were watching us as our faces reddened with embarrassment.  Not wanting to prolong this scene, I removed my coat from the chair, took my husband by the arm, and went back to the wall.  His girlfriend was mortified.

The couple next to them (about the same age) got up from their stools and came over to us and told us to take their place.  We sat and had a glass of wine, occasionally observing the poor girl next to us.  Mr. Twenty-something, in all his chivalrous glory, ate a meal-for-two as fast as he could; using his spoon to shovel the noodles onto his fork.  He never looked up or said a word to her.  When the bartender brought over their pizza, she just continued to anxiously nibble at her salad while the petulant child persisted in gorging himself.

Luckily our wait next to them didn’t go on much after this.  However, our conversation about it did.  Have we gotten so used to short bursts of communication through social media that we’ve forgotten how to show courtesy and good manners?  Individual social responsibility involves looking at your environment and working to make it better.  That means treating others with compassion, whether it’s random acts of kindness or just acting with common sense.  It means being held accountable for your actions.  And sometimes it just means giving up your seat, especially if it wasn’t yours to begin with.