Lenten Promises

ashAsh Wednesday is here. Sure, most people think of today as one or more of the following:

  • people get that cross on their forehead made of burnt palm
  • start of the Easter season
  • start of the Lenten Season
  • no meat of Fridays

In actuality, it begins a 40 day period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. It mirrors the time that Jesus Christ spent in the desert, fasting and reflecting, being tempted by sin, Satan to be more precise. As a child, we are told that during this period, we should give something up. My childhood priest would pick a different class every year to watch over his stash of bubble gum. As I entered middle school, I began giving up things I thought would help me lose weight, like soda and chips. In more recent years, I’ve gotten my dad to participate. While I still can’t get him to stop smoking, he does give up his favorite drink of cherry brandy.

Side Note: You’ve mastered giving up cherry brandy! Pick something more challenging!!!

Within the past couple years, my view of Lent has changed. A few years ago, after my mom got clean from a prescription drug addiction, I talked to my priest and asked if my Lenten Promise had to mean I would be giving something up… If I could try to improve my relationship with my mother, instead. That’s when I began to see the true meaning of a Lenten Promise. I really liked how Father put it tonight at mass, “Hey, we’re all sinners! But that does not mean we are to be ruled by sin.” Father Hurley’s homily, as always, made me examine my life.

So here’s my conclusion on Lent:

This is the time we not only repent, but also “refocus” our attention, as Father put it. Lenten Promises are not about giving something up. It’s a time we focus on on how we can live more like Christ, how we can live in a way that reflects God and his message. (But if you ask me, we should be doing this self-examination thing way ,ore often than just Lent.)

This years Lenten Promise:

This year, my goal is to refrain from self injurious behavior. In this term, I include binge eating, purging, and cutting. God would not want me to hurt myself. God created us in His image. When I hurt myself, I’m really hurting God.

2 Songs

Now I just feel stumped! Music is my constant in life.

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2 Songs…

  • All You Need Is Love

I chose this because it sends a great message. This world is so full of hatred and harm. It could all change is everyone adopted this. The Beatles are geniuses being able to place it into one simple lay mans sentence.

  • Keep Your Head Up

Andy Grammer has a way of putting me in a good mood with his songs, whether its the beat or the lyrics. This song does both. When I feel down, I tend to really be hard on myself, so this song is a good reminder I can turn things around.

Can I cheat and mention that these two songs by MGK really resonate with me? They remind me of my eating disorders, the demons in my life that haunt me every day.

D3mons featuring DMX

“Every night I hear them f***ing with me.” Those taunting whispers in my mind that tell me I’m not good enough, I ate too much, I’m a failure, etc…

“Please God tell these demons to stop f***ing with me.”

Lead You On

This entire song I could equivocate to my life, the sruggle and suffering, how I alienated myself from others… everything. “Overdose on your love so I can’t have it again.” When these eating disorders consume my mind and body and I feel as though theres nothing left in my life… At many points during my recovery, I wished the same thing.

3 Films

Wow! Only three?! I better make these good!

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3 Films…

  • Jesus Christ Super Star

jcssI guess “obsessed” might not be a strong enough word… I may or may not own the 1973 version on VHS, DVD, and have the soundtrack on CD. I may or may not own the vinyl recordings. I may or may not own the 2000 Great Britain version on DVD and CD. I may or may not have seen the show performed live 7 times. And I may or may not have met Ted Neeley (1973 Jesus of Nazareth) for one of my birthdays… I could probably put on a one man show…Yeah…. I might have a problem…

  • Armageddonarm

Oh, Bruce Willis, how I love thee…. I love Bruce in every movie/show I’ve ever seen him in. I actually met him once, too! I loved the concept of ordinary men saving the world, the strong love he displays towards his daughter… Plus the cast is absolutely fantastic! Its always on FX. Its one of those movies that I never get tired of watching. I remember my mom and I watched it so many times, we made a song about it when I was a kid. Oh, and another happy memory… that and Mulan were the double feature at my first drive-in movie! Its the only movie I’ve ever laid on the hood of a car to watch.

  • The Ten Commandments

chYes, its an “epic” movie, but its a classic! I look forward to this every Easter season. Some scenes I can recite by heart. Charlton Heston is fantastic in everything he is in, but he blew this one out of the park! His delivery, the language, the voice… everything! Even the terrible 1956 special effects, which, come to think of it, aren’t as terrible as you think they would be…

(I  started this challenge last May.. I don’t know why I didn’t finish it… Its about damn time I did, don’t you think?)

Chocolate Angel

mass prodYes. I’ll admit it. I’m most definitely one of those Valentine’s Day cynics that think it was solely invented for the chocolate and greeting card companies. Actually, I feel about Valentine’s Day the way I feel about Christmas: once a day to be remembered, now corrupted and scewed by humans and selfishness. It’s technically the Feast Day of St. Valentine. Today, its a day that we tell everyone we love them, give candy, flowers, and cards, and overexert ourselves to impress someone else. Today is the day we persecute ourselves if we don’t have a date. But why just today? Shouldn’t we be telling those dear to us how much we love them everyday? Are we really any better or worse, with or without a date? Why just today? Shouldn’t we be performing random acts a kindness everyday, rather than picking one day a year to blow too much money on a dozen roses and a box of gourmet chocolates, that will die in a week and we know we will regret eating, anyway?

choc penis

With this lovey-dovey, Hallmark/Russel Stovers-centered week, coming to a close, I did begin to think about what I’d like to find in a partner. I guess you could call it my Match.com ideas:

I think a lot about the future. I know I’m 23. I’m young. I’m still a baby in this world, but my hopes and dreams are that far beyond my age. I want something real. A family man. An honest, hard worker. An animal and music lover, who appreciates black and white pictures and musicals. Who knows who Abbott and Costello, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, and the Rat Pack are. Someone who can dig The Twilight Zone. Someone who lets me cook for them. Someone who supports me, understands me, comforts me, and loves me despite how incredibly screwed up I am. Show me. Show me something real. That we are a team. That we can do anything, achieve anything. Be the people we want to be. Be successful, pay our bills, smile, laugh, cry, dance, sing, never go to be angry, go to Church, visit our families, and so, so much more…

Moving on and stepping off this soapbox, lets get to the goods… every channel I turn on is doing a million specials on chocolate. (Apparently, Valentine’s Day is the only day people consume chocolate.) So, in this chocolate theme, I give you a low calorie chocolate angel food cake and mixed berry compote. Sweet enough to get at those cravings but light enough to eat your feelings on V-Day and not feel guilty.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Mixed Berry Compote

based off Trisha Yearwood’s recipe.

serves 12

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  • 2/3 cup cake flour (measure after sifting)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Compote

  • 2 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda (how sweet do you want it?)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, and 3/4 cup of Splenda. Set aside.

WP_007683Using an electric mixer, with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt until foamy. Sprinkle the cream of tartar over the egg whites and whip on high until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the remaining 3/4 cup Splenda, about 2 tablespoons at a time.

Using a spatula, gradually fold in the flour mix, about 1/4 cup at a time, into the peaked egg whites. Pour the batter into an ungreased 9-inch angel food cake pan and bake about 30 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour. While the cake os cooling, combine all compote ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, continually stirring, for 2-3 minutes. This makes about 1 1/4 cup of compote. Set aside to thicken and cool.

Once cooled, loosen the cake from the sides and center of the pan with a knife and remove cake from the pan. Sift the powdered sugar over the cooled cake. Slice into 12. Top each piece with 2 Tbsp of compote and dig into a light, yet decadent treat sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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The pairing of a slice and the compote comes to about 75 calories! I can dig that. In fact, I think I’ll dig in!