Posted by: christinelaennec | February 13, 2013

The start of Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  It’s also a year today since my mother-in-law, Norah, died.  Outside, it’s snowing and there is more snow on the way.  The Dafter has made it back upstairs after her breakfast, but is in a wee collapse on her bed, propped up and unable to speak for the moment.  So in some ways it does seem a bit bleak today, and appropriate that it’s the start of the season (in the Christian calendar) of sacrifice and reflection.

For the past few years, I’ve done Christian Aid’s “Count Your Blessings” calendar through Lent.  I like that the focus not so much on giving things up – although the idea is that you eventually give money, as you would if you gave up chocolate and gave the money you’d saved to charity – but rather on being aware of how much you already have.

Christian Aid's "Count Your Blessings" 2013

Christian Aid’s “Count Your Blessings” 2013

Perhaps some people would find it bothersome that it presumes a very “First World” affluence, but for me, this is the reality.  So for example, this week’s focus is on education.  Today’s entry says “Around 24% of children of primary school age in sub-Saharan Africa and 7% in Southern Asia do not attend school.  Give 30p if there is a non-fee-paying primary school where you live.”  Tomorrow’s entry says “Children under-five of educated mothers – even mothers with only primary schooling – are more likely to survive than those of mothers with no education.  Give thanks and praise for your education and for the doors it has opened for you professionally and personally.”  I may be out of pocket on Wednesday when it asks, “Give 20p for each favourite childhood book you can still recall well.”

I also like Christian Aid’s witty slogan:  “We believe in life before death”.

The past few days I’ve seen some snowdrops bravely coming up.  The ones in my garden would take a professional macro lens to photograph, they are so small still.  But here are some from a nearby garden.  There are even some emerging crocuses:

Snowdrops, 10th February 2013, Aberdeen.

Snowdrops, 10th February 2013, Aberdeen.

Despite the snow and the cold, the days are definitely stretching now, and I’m pleased that we’re now working our way towards Easter and springtime generally.  So much to look forward to!

I hope your week is going well!



  1. Thank you for this positive post today Christine. I was feeling very miserable and sorry for myself, having had to cancel lunch with a friend due to the snow. That Christian Aid calender sounds like a great idea, I wonder if it’s available online? I hope the Dafter is soon feeling better and that this snow disappears tomorrow!

  2. I hope you both have a cosy day, give my love to The D. xx I have mine home for longer too, thanks to the weather. 🙂 xx

  3. What a worthwhile thing to do for Lent! It’s amazing how much we take for granted in our Western culture, really. I hope you’ll share some more of your Lenten journey with us?

    I’m blogging my own attempts on my alternative blog (, but I’m pretty apprehensive about how they’re going to go!

    God bless you during this time and in all your preparations for the big move xo

  4. Hope the Dafter soon will feel better..I love your snowdrops…
    Er x

  5. What a beautiful post, Christine – I love the “life before death” adage, too. How appropriate that we reflect on the goodness of life and how our fortune can be used for the benefit of others. ❤

  6. There are a lot of traditions associated with the various bits of the Easter season and the lead-up period, aren’t there? Many people (e.g. me) tend to just take the “good” bits (e.g. pancakes on Shrove Tuesday) and ignore the underlying meaning, while others seem to go through a lot of the rituals (good bits and bad bits) without really trying to make sense of them. Lastly some people are asking what the season is really all about and attempting to create new and appropriate responses. Clearly you’re in the last category. It could be arguable that such people have greater integrity than the rest of us.

  7. I love your snowdrops. Such small flowers but so beautiful and they are so cheerful. Thanks for the reminder to be grateful for what I have.

  8. Never heard of a Christian Aid’s “Count Your Blessings” calendar – but that’s not saying much there is so much out there to read and be a part of. But I like the idea of reflecting on the goodness of life in this form..
    Glad the weather is brightening up your soul…and looking forward to spring and so m I…

  9. Thanks for sharing photos of the snowdrops…so promising and positive 🙂
    as is the Christian Aid’s idea to celebrate Lent through both thanks and giving!

    I just posted some photos of our first rosy red camellia blooms, but Mt. Hood has been hiding this past week.

    Blessings to you and yours as you continue to prepare for your move.

  10. Blessings to you and your family on the one year anniversary of Nora’s passing. I am sure she is always close by and watching over her loved ones. That is a wonderful idea for passing along our many blessings in our affluent societies onto those less fortunate. We do take so many things for granted that others can only wish for. I hope your dear daughter is feeling a bit better. That is something never to be taken for granted – our health- and I will be saying a prayer for the Dafter today. Love the snowdrops – a hopeful sign that spring is near.

  11. Wish you more snow, but I guess it’s soon spring for you! I agree, the days are longer and so much more to look forward too:)

  12. Thinking of Auntie Nora too – Anne & Family xxx

  13. Oh, lovely snowdrops! Nature rebirth is always something I look forward to 🙂
    Have a lovely Valentine’s Day (well, evening) with your beloved ones.

  14. Great idea for Lent. Concrete ideas are always helpful to me. I hope the warmer weather brings some relief to the Dafter. Blessings!

  15. Such a good idea, this “Count Your Blessings”! The snowdrops are beautiful. I can’t wait to find some of my own to plant for next year. Snow flurries outside today but I don’t think it will amount to much. Our temperatures are forever fluctuating this winter. However, I am looking forward to a tea tasting this afternoon at my house — my sister, a friend and I have 8 teas to taste!!!

  16. Thanks to everyone for all these great comments. Lorna, thanks for finding the link, and Laura, for the link to your own blog!

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