Before I really get into the gist of this, I'm going to tell a short story about a little girl. [Editor's comment--this "short story" is actually longer than the actual purpose of the post. Such is life.] She's a sweet little 20-month old. A big ball of cuddles (and has learned to say "I need you, Mommy/Daddy..." in the most plaintive voice). She's also a thumb sucker, which, frankly, I don't mind in the slightest. Nope. In fact, we less than anxiously awaited the moment when she would figure that coordination procedure out to get thumb to lips reliably when she was a wee tot as she followed in her big sister's pattern and eschewed all things pacifier. That thumb has served her quite well until of late when she has sucked all the moisture out of her skin. Something like that. Combined with the dry, dry winter air, her sucking has opened up a biggish gash at the top and smaller gashes along the bottom. Red. Dry. Skin. But that little pipsqueak hasn't complained except telling Daddy once that it hurt. Little heart. Suffice it to say, she's on antibiotics every 6 hours to reign in the infection that started and Mommy is playing the need-to-moisturize dance, which is also somewhat precious as she'll just hold her thumb out as if it's poisonous after getting dosed with Lansinoh. (I just read one of my favorite bloggers, and she's very Texan, so I feel that some of her style has crept into my story here. Forgive me!) Luckily for all, she has not reacted to this dose of antibiotics yet, else we may be in danger of repeating ER-crisis-2013. (By the way, we still haven't received a bill for that. Does anyone know what the protocol is for that?)
Here's the real purpose for today's blog. We've decided to do away with processed breads during Lent. The biggest purpose to this is that I am very much looking forward to the making of bread either by hand or even bread machine as a ritualistic, thoughtful time to step away from the crush of hyperactive mode mixed with the inanity of Mondays and Fridays. I'm hoping that it will become, even if just for a few weeks, a habit of rhythm and purpose. There's a basic, sustainable thumping in the kneading that I always enjoy. Flour coats my counter or table and it feels earthy and determined just as the ashes smeared on the forehead do.
I've been mulling this idea for about a year now and have chewed it down to what makes sense for us. "Bread" will not encompass every grain product, meaning we're not giving up cereal quite yet. Yet the daily bread will be replaced with that which has come by some amount of sacrifice of time and energy in order to create it, and we will all have a hand (figuratively and literally) in this practice. There is room for more of this in our lives.