Lent Links

Lent Links

Ash Wednesday is next week and I don’t feel ready really.  But I’m thinking about what I want to do. I think I’m going to give up Facebook again. Or give it up except for a very strict half hour a day. I haven’t quite decided yet. I’m going to give up chocolate too and try to cut down on all sweets exceptions pre-planned for birthdays and baptismal anniversaries (Anthony and Sophie), holidays and Sundays.

I’m going to try to focus on spiritual reading. If I do any fiction, it might just be starting Les Miserables.

Here are some things I’ve been reading that have helped get me into the Lenten mood:

Bearing has one of the most helpful posts ever, thoughts on the cross from The Imitation of Christ:

  If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry and lead you to the desired goal where indeed there shall be no more suffering, but here there shall be. If you carry it unwillingly, you create a burden for yourself and increase the load, though still you have to bear it. If you cast away one cross, you will find another and perhaps a heavier one.

At Like Mother Like Daughter Leila proposes some Lenten reading

At Da Mihi Hanc Aqua Fr Philip, OP has some thoughts on poverty:

Our poverty will need to be a different sort. In order to successfully preach the Good News in postmodern America, we must be impoverished of despair and rich in hope; poor in apathy and rich in love; profoundly broke in mistrust, greed, anger and rich in faith, generosity, and hospitality. In other words, we must adopt and live-out the poverty of Self that Christ himself lived for others. We have nothing to be despairing about; nothing to be angry about; nothing that is our own to hoard; and we have everything we have from God to give and see multiplied in the giving.


A couple of good ones from Simcha: For God, Or for Your Bod?  Some Thoughts about Fasting and Dieting

Now, if you are interested in fasting as a spiritual exercise, but are concerned that vanity will blot out any benefits, there are some ways around it.  Here’s one example:  I can’t fast when I’m pregnant.  If I curtail my meals as proscribed, I would pass out (which would not be not good for the baby I’m carrying, or for anyone in or around in the car I’m probably driving).  So instead of cutting back on the amount I eat, I will eat only according to nutritional value, and only eat foods I don’t especially like.

You can get creative in a similar was if you are undergoing a voluntary fast. You know, better than anyone else, what you want to eat.  Sit down and figure out what you can cut out or replace.  You can deny yourself all sorts of pleasures without actually losing weight!

and Lenten Rookie Mistakes I think I’ve probably made most of these at one point or another.

After reading this list of don’t and more don’ts, do you feel a little taken aback—a little less confident about your powers to turn yourself into a better person?  Are you starting to think that there’s really no way you can make up for your sins on your own, and that you’re going to need ten boatloads of grace from the Holy Spirit to even get through the day, much less forty days straight?

Ah!  Now we’re getting somewhere.



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  • That Scared is scared video, wow!!! What a gem. Thanks for sharing it. Really lovely.

    Have you seen the web series Written by a Kid? I think you’d enjoy. Similar concept: child tells story, filmmakers make the movie. Sometimes animation, sometimes a combo of live action and animation. The first one, starring Joss Whedon as a guy on a “Squat Team” (and featuring a rather touching cameo by Dave Foley) is hilarious. My favorite so far might be La Munkya, though. I think. Hard to pick. I love kids’ stories. smile

  • Valerie, We’re great thanks. I have snow pictures I need to post. Working on that now.

    GeekLady, The x-rite color challenge is fascinating. My eyes are going crazy trying to do that. I think I’m going to have to do it in very short bursts with long breaks. I would definitely love to see comparison between men’s and women’s scores. I think I may have to make Dom take it.

    I love the xkcd color chart too. I think the article referenced it, but I didn’t click through to read about his methodology before.

    I agree totally about your ruling the world. At least as far as charting is concerned. You have my permission to take over.

    Yes, about throwing someone in the deep end. Teaching through fear i never very effective.


    No, I haven’t seen it. Now I must go check it out.

  • Geek Lady, I got tired of fiddling and the colors were dancing all over the screen so I gave up. My score was 42. I could tell things were wrong but I couldn’t fix it because the color of a given square would shimmer back and forth. Not sure what that says about me.

  • I got a 0 on the color test. I wonder what that says about me. (If it makes a difference, I have a brand of synesthesia where I turn abstract concepts into colors. For example, I do math by changing the colors of numbers, which makes no sense to anybody but me…)

    I also liked your color article, especially the part about how even though modern Japanese distinguishes between blue and green, all of their idioms for “greenness” use the old word that has become the word for “blue.” I find idioms delightful in general; they’re like little snippets of history.

    Oh, and when I read the second article I spent several paragraphs being annoyed because the colored tiles were obviously blue, green, and TEAL, not blue, green, and green. wink

    One of my Facebook friends posted the “charting” article the other day. My main takeaway was “Luteal phases are TEN to sixteen days!” I probably latch onto that because my thoughts on charting are complex and surprisingly emotional. I could write a whole blog post on it, but I probably won’t any time soon.

    I think the introvert article contains the fallacy of irrelevant extremes. Basically, her argument is, “If they don’t speak up in class, they won’t speak up ANYWHERE EVER!!!11!!” There’s a big difference between “I don’t understand why this word is an adverb” and “No, I won’t go sit on the back of the bus.” (When I don’t understand the lesson, I go home and read about it, and then I get it. Asking the teacher about it is pointless.) In general that teacher reminds me of George V as portrayed in The King’s Speech—which is not a compliment. (Love that movie, incidentally.)

    The “love” article strikes me as a person choosing terminology just to be provocative. I’d be way more interested in reading her theory if she gave it a different name, but I’m an oddity. No doubt the actual title of her book makes it fly off the shelves.

    Okay, now I’ve actually read the article and I can definitely get on board with the concept that a romantic relationship is not the be-all and end-all of love, but…ugh, ugh, ugh. I can’t get over the way the article frames it.

    Also, I love how they very carefully avoided mentioning breastfeeding in the paragraph about oxytocin. You certainly can bond with your infant without it (you should see how attached my adopted brother is to our mother…), but it seems silly to leave it out of the list of examples.

  • It was a poem about a near wordless conversation between the narrator and the woman who was his mother. They tiny sounds, the silences, the words nearly spoken between them broke my heart and made me want to read more by Seamus Heaney.

  • Color:  Have you ever heard of the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test?  It’s supposed to test hue discrimination ability, and you can take one online here:

    It’s very interesting, since it has no naming requirements, it’s a good clinical indicator of color discrimination.  I haven’t gotten Mike to take it yet for a comparison, but my own is extremely good.  I only get one or two out of order in the pink-purple set.  I’d love to see a large population comparison between men and women using this test.

    xkcd has done a color survey as well, but it’s more about how names are assigned than actual hue discrimination.

    On charting:  I’ve been in love with charting since I found out about the concept in college.  They wouldn’t let me take a class while I was single, but I read everything I could get my hands on (including some of the original Billings publications).  This whole “don’t teach unwed girls about charting or their cycle, it promotes licentiousness” is a big fat load of hogwash in my opinion.  When I rule the world, every girl is going to get a comprehensive class at fourteen about the basics of the menstrual cycle, and at 18 (to give everyone’s hormones a chance to settle) on charting.  I cannot shake the thought that my miscarriage problems might have been identified and treated years ago if only I had an OBGYN who knew something about it!

    On Introversion:  that lady made me reall mad.  In addition to not knowing squat about introverts, she’s also fundamentally unkind to those with social anxiety!  While shy people do need to learn how to function and speak up in a harsh world, randomly calling on them (and penalizing them academically) is no better a teaching method than throwing someone afraid of water into the deep end of a swimming pool – wire method produces more panic than learning!

  • Sojourner,

    Oh synethesia fascinates me. I wonder if that does make you more sensitive to colors.

    I still haven’t seen The King’s Speech. It’s been on my list to see ever since my sister raved about it. And then got obsessed with reading biographies of King George and other members of the royal family.


    Oh Heaney can definitely break my heart. I don’t love everything he writes but some of it…

    Geek Lady,

    I suspect I would do much better with color chips than on a screen.

    I used to argue all the time with my mom when she’d call purple what were clearly shades of red on the burgandy end of things.

    A previous landlord of ours was color blind and painted the back hall pink thinking it was a shade of beige. We all laughed about it and teased him immensely.

  • Re the colour test: I’ll confess that I scored 127, about what I did a year or so back when I tried before. Same colours this time giving me trouble – the blues/greens. The differences seemed very subtle to me, but my grown daughters could easily distinguish between them.

  • Melanie, I’m not really surprised.  I have to do a lot of graphical work as part of my job, and I’ve discovered I’m very sensitive to fine gradations in hue.  But not everyone can handle all that staring at a screen, it’s rough on the eyes.  A proper test would use color chips, instead I think.  And it’s even possible that I wouldn’t do as well with color tiles versus the computer test!

    I’ve been fascinated with color perception for twenty years now – ever since I had a big argument with my dad and brother over what color a specific type of alien was in the original XCOM game (true story!).  They swore pink, but I saw it as a rather lurid purple along the lines of the crayola color orchid.

    Another interesting thing with color is that color vision deficiencies are hugely more frequent in men.  They aren’t unknown in women, the wife of a college friend is at least red/green, and maybe also blue/yellow colorblind… but it’s much rarer.