Happy without chocolate. #Character #Growth

Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God. ~ Thomas a Kempis #quote

Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God’s sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God. ~ Thomas a Kempis #quote

Because you are smart and you love chocolate, you may be thinking, “How absurd to be happy without chocolate” or even better, “Why would anyone choose to be without chocolate in the first place?”  On most days I agree! But today isn’t most days.

I abstain from chocolate during Lent.  When I was a kid, I would walk right by the corner store, which was actually the front room of a family’s home, that sold the penny candy I adored.  Instead, I would take my pennies to the container at school that collected money for the poor.  So did all of my friends.  I learned three important lessons from this ritual.

I can give up something I love and I’ll be OK.  I loved those Swedish Fish candies. To not eat them or watermelon Jolly Ranchers or Atomic Fire Balls was a big thing to a little kid.  As an adult I’ve needed to give up much that I have loved. Relocations have torn me from cherished people and places, and miscarriage has broken my heart, for examples.  Yet, I knew I would survive the loss.  Grieving and time heal.

Although I was a poor kid, I learned that there were others worse off than me who needed my help.  It is a bitter-sweet lesson to know that while I don’t have everything I want, there are people who don’t have what they need.  And a little kid donating change can help.  Imagine how much a generous adult can help others.

There are seasons in life to help keep it interesting.  While I don’t recall loving Lent (or Advent) as a kid I definitely remember loving Easter and Christmas.  The eager anticipation of difficulties being lifted! Of celebrations and gifts!  Of candy!  Instead of trying to avoid sacrifices, losses, and grieving, I saw their connection to abundance, gain, and joy!   To this day, I prefer a life of ups and downs and zigs and zags to a bland existence of monotony.

So for forty days I’ll be happy without chocolate.  And on Easter morning, you can guess what will be in my basket.

I would love to hear about your childhood and how you learned about sacrifice. Or share anything else you related to here.  And tell me about your favorite candy, if you don’t mind 🙂 

Sending my very best to you on this special day ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc 

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33 thoughts on “Happy without chocolate. #Character #Growth

  1. I have developed a taste for dark, dark chocolate through the years, I can’t hardly eat any other sweet now….milk chocolate, blah. As a fellow poor kid growing up, I loved ice cream….it meant happy days at my house!! So….giving it up was so tough, but I was one of those kids that once I set my mind on something I did it. 🙂
    Now….I have to admit….I look ahead at Lent usually through my fingers across my eyes….wondering what’s down the pike. I know that sounds sort of twisted, but it’s more in the vain of Jars of Clay’s “Mercy Song.” “I will sing of your mercies that lead my through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy…..”
    Easter is the overwhelming river of joy….but holy cow, Lent can be a doozy around here. Much of that is related to late winter early spring being a very difficult time health wise for my medically fragile kids. I just spent the weekend and came home Monday night after my 15 yr old had a horrible asthma flare. I am spent on this Ash Wednesday…..and staying home with him tonight as he is teetering again…..sigh….yes…Lent has begun….and I have a lot to offer up.
    The Thomas a Kempis quote helps so much….yes Lord….yes Lord….

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    • Oh (((Diana))). I hear you! Since I’ve blogged two Mondays in a row about family difficulties, I’m now joking that Lent arrived early this year at our home. And some years, Lent finds us HARD so we don’t need to look for it :). How is Lily? Send her and all your children my best. Let me know how your next few days (and Lent, for that matter) go. I’m praying for you ❤

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  2. You probably got the picture, but in my sleep deprivation I wasn’t very clear….my son was at the university hospital three hours away this weekend for an asthma tune-up 😉

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  3. My Easter treat memories involved two mandatory items, the “make or break” treats were Gertrude Hawks chocolate and peeps. These days the peeps add color and good memories of Easter past, but I can’t bear to eat them. Gertrude Hawks chocolate is another matter, there is some benefit of being out west because Gertrude is an east coast girl and that is where I would like to keep her. For me lent is a time to take stock of the sufferings ( big and small) and losses I have encountered over the year and a time to remember the sufferings others have shared with me. Lent provides me with the opportunity to have these burdens lifted so I can do it all again, to spend another year with those I love.

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    • Dave, will you marry me? 🙂 Yes, yes, yes…Gertrude Hawks chocolate! Oh how I LOVED the peanut butter cups and other seasonal shapes! During Easter I should do a post about local chocolates…how about See’s Chocolate? And Peeps! I was never a fan but if they aren’t there for Easter, that just doesn’t seem right 🙂 Thanks, Hon. See you shortly ❤

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  4. Hmm Chocolate. I am a huge fan of chocolate filled with fruit like strawberries or cherries. Those are my favorite and also “Toblerone” which is a brand from Switzerland… As regard to chocolates from USA I adore Snickers!!!… Best wishes Angie, Aquileana 😉

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    • Aquileana, how sweet that you like Snickers! I, too, love chocolate covered fruit. I make my own covered strawberries and even raspberry cups – YUM! And Toblerone is awesome.

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  5. When I was a kid there was such variety of candy to choose from. Some of my favorites were mary janes, chic-o-stick, bit-o-honey, just to name a few. These are considered classic/old school candies now. I don’t eat as many sweets as I use to, but my favorite these days is an almond joy. (headed for the vending machine now)
    Thanks for this wonderful post Angie.
    Syl

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    • Oh Sylvester, you name all those ooey gooey candies that I remember getting stuck on my teeth! I mean REALLY STUCK from attempting to chew them. YUM! I guess adults aren’t as included to find candy stuck to their teeth as endearing as children do 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting and good for you treating yourself to an Almond Joy. Chocolate fans, unite!

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  6. I remember the value of Lent growing up, but I never looked forward to it lol! Now I am one of those twisted people that actually get excited about the idea of sacrifice and order. I will be missing my Reese’s especially, my current favorite…but See’s Victorian Chocolate will always be number one. I really enjoy all the many opportunities to say, “I love you,” to Jesus by parking a little further away, taking a shower colder than I like, waiting to ‘scratch that itch’, reaching out to those I haven’t connected with somehow, getting up a bit earlier…little things, little opportunities throughout the day to deny my self in order to love Him better. Thanks for your lovely blog…love to you!

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    • There’s my friend, Diane! Yes, the idea that little things can be big things is so helpful in life. Little loving actions really are big. Little sacrifices really are big. They somehow multiply exponentially, sort of like compound interest, lol! And what a relief. If my sense of purpose is connected to doing something so big and so great then it would be easy to fall into traps of being overwhelmed to the point of being frozen. I’m glad that you, too, are happy in sacrifice and order during this season! And let’s track down some See’s Victorian Chocolate to go with some craft beer and a movie, yes?

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      • “little things, little opportunities throughout the day to deny my self in order to love Him better.”

        Thank you for directing me here, Angie…and for your insights, Diane.

        As I wrote in my blog, I’m new to this Lenten observance, so all your stories and most especially your enthusiasm are are welcome and encouraging.

        Thank you!

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      • Oh, all the best Mary! As my friend Angie would say, “I’m rooting for you!” :). And to dear Angie: Thanks for the great topic!

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  7. We are giving up candy over here – Michael’s first time experiencing Lent. The struggle is real. Thanks for the lovely post…and for making sure me/the boys had a chance to sacrifice and tithe during Lent growing up.

    I think we get to do Easter baskets together this year!

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  8. Well, I am Greek Orthodox ; according to the Greek Lent you abstain from all meat / meat products, eggs and so on. One can say that the Greek Lent is a way to live as a vegan / or at least vegetarian. We always kept it , I loved it , I can’t imagine Easter without Lent .
    When the kids were small I just didn’t buy / cook anything that is ‘meaty’.
    I got them used from the baby age!
    In the meantime my younger daughter is almost vegetarian so there is no problem at all. The older one keeps the 7 weeks as well and me I am proud to say I have completed the ‘veg’ stage , so I have Lent the whole year 🙂
    But I do something additional , I focus more on nuts instead of chocolate as you do for example.
    I wish more people understand the spirit out of it , that you show strength when you just say ‘ No’ to little induldgments.

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  9. I didn’t grow up with Lent, but I did understand about sacrificing for, and helping others. It’s good for us to remember that the world goes way beyond our noses. 🙂

    I was always a Snicker’s Snacker, and a Milky Way lover. And chocolate covered cherries. 🙂 I miss chocolate. It’s not part or our diet, but every so often I’ll sneak in a Hershey’s Kiss, or a couple of M&M’s, if I’ve gotten them for the kids. Going without makes them that much more of an indulgence when I do get to have one.

    I have to share one of my favorite jokes. Someone once asked my husband (a former Catholic) what he was giving up for Lent. His reply?

    “Restraint.”

    I laughed for an hour, imagining the look on the person’s face. 😀

    Have an awesome, Angie! ❤

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    • LOL, that sounds VERY Catholic! And I should know, as a Catholic 🙂 Tell Dane I laughed!!!!

      As I’m learning about you and your diet, just curious, why doesn’t chocolate fit? Oh, for a small chocolate treat, I like to add a tablespoon of semi-sweet chips to 2 tablespoons of nuts, seeds, or dried fruit. YUM!

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      • Some people on a ketogenic diet do indulge in a small bit of very dark chocolate once in a while. 🙂 Very dark because it’s lowest in sugar, and one of the keys to a ketogenic diet is eliminating sugar (in all its forms!) and carbs. Everyone has different glucose tolerances so while some can have a little, others have to stay as far away as possible. You might think of it as finding out we have an allergy to sugar and carbs, because of the way our bodies respond to them. If we do indulge, there. will. be. consequences. And then it’s a matter of choosing whether or not you can live with them. If you can’t, you don’t indulge. 🙂

        Does that help?

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