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Consumed

Last week's gifts...
1318. Commendation from my doctor on Tobin's growth and development
1319. A sunset that lasted gorgeously for most of our drive to Fayetteville
1320. Tobin sleeping and Brooklyn contentedly talking to herself the entire trip
1321. Spending a restful morning quietly at home
1322. A dinner date with Adam (hurrah for local crepes!)
1323. and a London Fog made with honey
1324. Brooklyn and Tobin both cooperating for a visit to Adam's parents'
1325. Trying on bridesmaid dresses for a friend's wedding
1326. A coffee date with my Dad
1327. Catching up with a few friends after a morning service at UBC
1328. Remembering forgotten items before we were completely out of town
1329. Making it home before the ice/sleet descended
1330. An extra day off, all-four-together at home
1331. Pancakes and bacon for breakfast/lunch
1332. Staying up together with a wide-awake Tobin
1333. Getting all caught up on thank-you notes (they had rather accumulated)
1334. A happy day
1335. Knitting while Tobin decided to be awake at 2am
1336. Someone offering to take my cart after I got all of the groceries and Littles loaded - the nearest corral was three rows away, and it was really cold
1337. More Gerbera daisies than would fit in one vase - enough to share!
1338. A contemplative Ash Wednesday service at church


Lent - a time to target areas of unhealthy excess and replace them with better pursuits. Last year I gave up staying up late (I was wearing myself out trying to Get Things Done and still not doing them all - it was a frustrating exercise in futility). Once I came around to the concept that the world will not stop spinning if I go to bed at the same time as Adam (novel idea, that!), about three weeks into it, I decided it was something that I should probably keep doing, even after Lent was over.

Because, like listing gifts, if life change doesn't come out of it, then what was the point? To simply misery myself (and everyone I come into contact with) through a month and half of caffeine withdrawal, or unsated sugar cravings, or green-smoothies-for-breakfast? to binge on chocolate or yarn or whatever it was that I denied myself, as a sort of temporary exercise of will power, that ends with a heavy sigh of relief?

The End It Movement has been posting a lot lately (they're planning an awareness-raising day on the 27th of this month) and it's gotten me thinking about consumerism. Between my own End It Project, 7 for 31 last October, and my inherent personality, I'm not much of a consumer in the generally acknowledged connotation. But a few things have happened lately that have caused me to rethink my definition of consuming.

If "to consume" is simply to take without giving, then I do a lot of that. I revel in a sunset without giving praise. I accept a service without giving thanks. I enjoy another's beauty or talent without giving commendation or affirmation. I read and hear without giving thought. I expect forgiveness without giving grace. The list goes on, but that's enough for a sample. I may have the literal definition of consumerism more or less under control (examining need vs. want, ensuring that my source is ethical...) but I am still the very worst of consumers if I greedily stuff the gifts I receive, listed and unlisted, into my own pockets and drawers and journals and photo albums instead of passing them on in some way.

So if I repent of my consumerism in dust and ashes, then what am I to replace it with? Obedience to Eden's mandate - to be a co-creator with the One from Whom all blessings flow. To rejoice in His goodness and glory, to add to the beauty of my Kingdom-corner, and to be rightly consumed with pouring out all of the grace He pours into me. To grow in favor with God and man, sowing seeds of righteousness that spring up to benefit all who walk along the path, beautiful to look at and filling the air with graceful fragrance.

So, Lent. Has the conviction of a fast of sorts been prodding you this year?

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