A few weeks ago, Lauren and I went to visit my younger sister, Bobbie in her new house in Natchitoches, Louisiana. We left pretty early in the morning and when we arrived Bobbie wasn’t answering her phone- she was still asleep! To kill some time we got gas and did a little exploring on Front Street and the surrounding area, playing Pokemon and snapping photos.
We’d both been before, but Lauren had only seen it at night. Natchitoches is a really historic and adorable town, especially Front Street. I wanted to share with you some of the pictures from our adventure! For more information on visiting (and pronouncing) Natchitoches, you can visit this site.
On the 25th of March, Lauren begged me to go with her to this “open house” a local animal rescue/ rehabilitation center was hosting. I am a huge animal lover, so it didn’t take much convincing!
The Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.) is the only known rescue and rehabilitation center for exotic and indigenous animals in the entire state! You can find out more about them at their website: learnaboutcritters.org
The open house we attended was a chance for people to come and see the facility, meet the animals, learn a lot, and meet other animal lovers in the area. We had a blast! The birds were very talkative and our host, Micha, was extremely knowledgeable and kind. He had a ton of resources available for us to take home and encouraged us to reach out with any questions and to share the information with our friends and family.
At the time that we went, there weren’t any other visitors so we had a lot of time to look around, talk with the founder, Micha, and gush over the little snakes, turtles, birds, lizards, and even a chinchilla!
I highly recommend visiting the LEARN facility and liking their Facebook page to keep up with any events they’re participating in or hosting. Lauren and I also made it to the R. W. Norton Art Gallery‘s Blossom Festival where LEARN had a booth with a few creatures and tons of information- well worth the trip! There is so much to learn about the local wildlife and it’s a great place to get younger people interested!
Please remember that I speak only for myself and not for all Catholic people.
Goodbye Mardi Gras, it’s Lent!!
Most of my friends know that Lent is one of my all time favorite seasons. To non-Catholic/Christian people that probably sounds a little strange, but at the end of Lent as we enter Easter I always feel renewed in my faith.
Basically, Lent is a 40 day season that starts on Ash Wednesday (today, the day after Mardi Gras) and ends before Easter. It’s a season of repentance, prayer, solemnity, reflection, and fasting. There is a lot to the season of Lent and of Easter, much too much to get into here! If you’re curious this is a great resource for the basics.
A lot of people know Lent as the time that Catholics aren’t eating meat on Fridays or are “giving up” something. Quite often people will also take on a task or practice for their Lenten journey. In the past I have taken on going to daily Mass, praying the rosary a certain number of times a week, or adding 15 minutes of prayer to my morning and evening. When I was a kid I’d give up things like fighting with my sisters, candy, or staying up too late.
One of the many things emphasized during Lent is the resistance to temptation, hence the “giving up” of something dear. Personally, when I’ve given something up, whenever I miss it or stumble I am reminded of why I do it: to fill my life with Christ instead. This is also true for me when I take on something.
I wanted to share how I am celebrating Lent and what it means to me, but it is a very personal and reflective time so this is the only post I will be making about Lent.
Here is a list of what I am giving up and taking on for Lent this year:
While fasting is generally (to my knowledge) only required on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Fridays during Lent, there are little fasts I want to add to those. These include beverages other than water, fast food, and microwave popcorn. Those three are things I have found myself becoming quite gluttonous with lately.
Part of the reason I created this blog was to help me deal with the feelings of frustration and lack of control I have been letting rule my life since moving home. Lately, those two things have been manifesting themselves as lack of patience and anger. My girlfriend and parents have spoken up about how I am more short-fused than ever before.
This makes three deadly sins! *nervous face* I let things that are not immediately important pass me by either completely or until the last moment. I make up excuses to not do things or to only do the minimum required. Having done some introspection in the past few weeks, I have recognized that a lot of these feelings stem from feeling I have no control and wondering if it’s really worth it. So… this may be harder to tackle than just not procrastinating.
Going to Mass
I went to a Franciscan-Catholic University for my undergrad, so making it to church every Sunday was easy. One year my dorm room was even in the same building as the Chapel!! I loved my community, I loved the priests, I loved the choir, I loved going to daily mass, I loved everything about it. Now that I’ve moved home, I can’t stand going to the church my parent’s attend. I couldn’t connect with the priest or the choir and at church events the conversation was always about drama and complaints. I’ve let that discomfort keep me from going to Mass the past six months, but that was only one of a ton of Catholic churches in my area! I’ve been lazy!
Praying the Rosary
One of my all time favorite things about Catholicism is the fact that it is universal. Any Catholic church, anywhere in the world will have the same readings, same responses, same vestments. I love it- my faith is a community. Praying the Rosary makes me feel connected to that universal community- my universal community. I find myself asking, why aren’t I doing more of something that makes me feel so great??
There you have it! Let me know in the comments where you’re giving up or taking on for Lent, or if this is the first time you’ve ever heard of this “LeNt.”