Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Fat Tuesday Chez Pearl and Lenten Sacrifices

I woke up early this morning without an alarm, well before 6:00, and I'm embarrassed to admit that the first thing I did was reach for my iPhone to check my Instagram notifications. There was a reason that I was especially interested in the IG goings-on this morning.  But I'll get to that.

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to decide if I should give up or at least scale back on my Instagram activity for Lent.  I knew it would be a real sacrifice for me and I would miss it.  But I am often positively affected by many of the IG people I follow when it comes to matters of Faith, so I wasn't sure if it was the best Lenten sacrifice to choose.  Well, that wake-up call this morning convinced me that I might be just a wee tad too addicted (I mean, should my first thought upon waking be, "What's happening on Instagram"?!).  So I decided then and there that I am going to limit my time on the site significantly for the next 40 days; I won't give it up completely, but I'll do a sort of intermittent fasting from it.  I'm going to try to stick to allowing myself a daily one-hour window for enjoying any social media--Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but let's be honest: I spend most of my time on the latter--and when the window opens and closes will be dependent upon whatever else is going on in my life on that particular day.  For instance, my husband and I are going to Mass this morning and then trying to get some projects done around the house; so I'm going to save my hour of screen time for later on this afternoon, when it's time to take a little siesta.

If my boys are reading this (which they probably aren't!), they'll no doubt want to tease me, because it will remind them of that Lent years ago when I didn't give up TV altogether, but gave up watching my favorite show (which was in syndication, so re-runs could be viewed every day), Everybody Loves Raymond; and I didn't give up coffee altogether, but gave up my beloved Dunkin' Donuts road coffees (which I normally ordered at the drive-through window almost daily).  "Wow, Mom, way to go all-out!"  I know, guys, but I am weak--what can I say?

Anyway, on to the reason I was so anxious to get on IG this morning: last night we had our first ever Mardi Gras party.  My husband and I always celebrate Fat Tuesday, mind you.  We always try to eat as much of what we may be giving up for Lent, to feast heartily before we fast; but we've never actually hosted a real celebration.  So of course, just before the stroke of midnight (in case I decided that I was indeed going to give up IG until Easter), I posted some pictures of our grandkids from our little family Fat Tuesday shindig, and I couldn't wait to see who'd seen them and what they'd said.

I mean, the pictures were fun.  The little ones were looking awfully cute in their party gear.

But how weird to realize that the first thing I want to do in the morning is grab my iPhone off my bedside table and log onto Instagram...yikes!

So I'm scaling back--not giving it up completely (because, you know--what the meme says).

It's obvious that I need to make time for other activities that should take priority.  My first thoughts upon waking should be about prayer and daily devotions, not checking to see who among my Instagram friends (many of them only eFriends, not IRL friends) has been in touch!  I need to make more time for prayer, to be sure; and I'd also like to make more time for reading (actual books, not IG feeds!) and for writing.  I'd like to get back to checking in more often here at String of Pearls, even though blogging seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs.  I've noticed over the past few years that as my Instagram activity has increased, my blogging output has decreased significantly.  And I feel like blogging has been good for my well-being over the past 9 years.  Writing is such a wonderful emotional and intellectual outlet for me.  Playing with words is one of my favorite activities.  So this is where I hope to spend the bulk of my online time for the Lenten season.

Okay then, until next time, God bless you, dear readers!  And whether you've decided to make a small sacrifice or a heroic one to unite yourself to Our Lord and His suffering this Lent, remember: you're not perfect, but you're awesome.

Oh...and would you like to see a few more photos from Fat Tuesday Chez Pearl?   I'm going to assume that would be a yes.  :)

Postscript: We were getting ready to leave for Mass this morning and I saw a text notification from one of our daughters-in-law; so I opened my phone and just out of ingrained habit, I hit the Instagram icon!  Day one, and I already know it's going to be hard.  I exited the site immediately, but reprogramming myself is going to be challenging.  I think it's going to be even harder than giving up desserts, which I'm going to try to do as well.  Please pray for me!!


  1. I will pray for you! You may find it easiest to delete the app. That way you will have to log in when you want to see what's up, which hopefully will let you be more purposeful. But do what works for you!! Can you believe Lent is already here?

    1. Thanks for your prayers, Madeline--and for the tip. I may delete the app (if I can first be sure I remember which combination of email and password I used to start that Instagram account!). But even though I still have it on my phone, I did great yesterday! I didn't even use my full window--which goes to show that I must have been wasting so much time staring at that little screen. I'm actually hoping that I can extend this way of dealing with social media past Lent and make it my new normal.

      And no, I can't believe it's Lent already either. It seems like yesterday that my house was decorated for Christmas!

  2. Love the Fat Tuesday party! Looks like fun!

  3. What you said about not forgoing instagram completely is the reason I have decided not to either. I get such inspiration, encouragement, conviction and hope from some of the accounts I follow. I especially need that during Lent. Looks like y'all had a fun time yesterday!

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