The Lent 2013 Challenge Wrap Up: “I learned something today” X 40

  1. Appreciate the time you have. Before this project, I could regularly be heard to say, “I don’t have time.” The hardest part of the Lent 2013 Challenge wasn’t going meatless. It wasn’t even surviving on $90/week for five people. The hardest thing was making a healthy meal for five different palates, all within 20 minutes. Oh, how I’ve missed making fresh pita and homemade bagels. I have a better understanding now of how very, very hard it is to avoid processed foods when your time is truly and honestly spoken for by other aspects of survival, like holding down a job… or trying to find one. 
  2. The work done by a “stay-at-home” parent has real, concrete, monetary value.
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    I’m assuming you now see how little value our culture has for a parent who stays at home instead of going out to work. Sure, we hear platitudes, “Of course you work, honey. You just don’t get a paycheck.” I already knew this going in to Lent 2013, but the work I do as a homeschooling mother is the equivalent of our family hiring a cook, laundry service, (very bad) cleaning service, three private school tuitions, private transportation… shall I go on? I save our family tens of thousands of US$ per year. Why is it that if a woman earns that much, she’s a valued employee, but if she saves that much, Google autofill describes her as a lazy, annoying, stupid leech?Just because you don’t see what you’re giving your family in terms of dollars and cents, girlfriend, your worth is beyond rubies.

  3. The domestic church is becoming more important than ever. Or, The way to evangelize the anti-Catholics may be through their stomachs. When I first started this blog over a year ago, I thought I would draw most of my readers from those Catholics who, like me, are trying to find our way back to traditions that once gave us identity and our choices greater meaning. Sure, I have a few of those visiting. What has been even more humbling and sweet to me, however, is the many (well, not many, but several) non-Catholic, even full-on-atheist vegetarian and vegan visitors who have spent a moment or more in my family’s virtual kitchen. If I had only tagged my posts “Catholic,” these people would have skipped over it as if I had tagged them “misogynistichomophobeswhopromotepedophilia.”Right?

    As Ven. Fulton Sheen said, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” No, you probably should not receive a consecrated Eucharist in which you don’t believe (if you value your integrity, anyway)… but you can come on over to my kitchen table, and I’ll feed you some love and laughter and a slow cooker of vegan black bean soup. Can you still hate me then? Can you still say I hate you? The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ on earth. The domestic church is how we can be that Body of Christ in a world hell-bent on crucifying us.

    Before you pick up those nails, though, would you like a freshly-baked pita?

  4. If you plan on doing something to care for God’s people, even if you don’t have the start-up capital, He’ll find a way to provide. When we started this Lent, it was my goal to give to our local food cupboard one of each of the tools that we used the most in our Lent 2013 challenge, paid for out of the money we saved on our new, voluntarily low budget. So, how exactly was I going to get a quality slow cooker, a microwave and a hand blender all for $70? I just shrugged and said, “God, You want these people to get small appliances? You’re going to have to provide the money, ’cause you know what we have on hand, and it ain’t much.”A few weeks later, a reader (who shall remain anonymous unless she comments and claims it) sent us $200. We went shopping tonight.
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    Tomorrow I’m taking First Shift shopping, because they decided to buy the stick blender. Okay. Gotta go get a hankie…

  5. Bloggers:  don’t ever bemoan your small audience. I’m not Jennifer. I’m not The Anchoress. Guess what? Ain’t. Even. Bovvered. By God’s grace, it just recently occurred to me, I never gave up my blogging “mission,” if you will, just because my highest number of hits in one day is 80, and that was last year. I know plenty of people who give up what they love because it’s too hard to get the attention that they want. True humility is true freedom. If you don’t need validation from others to do what you know is good and right, then there’s nothing to stop you. Which brings me to…
  6. Never say “I can’t do that. It’s too difficult,” unless your next words are, “without God’s help.”   
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About Erin McCole Cupp
Erin McCole Cupp is a wife, mother, and lay Dominican who lives with her family of vertebrates somewhere out in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. Her short writing has appeared in Canticle Magazine, The Catholic Standard and Times, Parents, The Philadelphia City Paper, The White Shoe Irregular, Outer Darkness Magazine, and the newsletter of her children’s playgroup. She is a contributor to CatholicMom.com and has been a guest blogger for the Catholic Writers Guild. Her other professional experiences include acting, costuming, youth ministry, international scholar advising, and waiting tables. When Erin is not writing, cooking or parenting, she can be found reading, singing a bit too loudly, sewing for people she loves, gardening in spite of herself, or dragging loved ones to visitors centers at tourist spots around the country. Find out more about her novels and other projects at erinmccolecupp.com .

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