Busted Halo

Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.

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February 22nd, 2012

Simplicity During Lent


I was at Target the other day looking at coloring books for Olivia who is an avid colorer. There were about 100 options. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the choices but I still stood there staring at those books for about 10 minutes. Why? Because I couldn’t find one, single coloring book. Every book was a coloring book and something else. They included a pack of triangular crayons, or stickers, or paints and paintbrushes, or glow in the dark pens, or secret messages that could only be revealed if smeared with Cheeto-covered fingers. I couldn’t find a simple coloring book. All I wanted was a book full of pictures that lacked color. There was none.

I often get annoyed when things are more complicated then they need to be. I already feel like I’m constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I don’t need things that add to the crazy. I need more simple in my life.

As Lent begins, my theme for these 40 days in going to be simplicity. What is going on in my life that I think I “need” but don’t really. What seems as essential as water but maybe isn’t? What extraneous stuff is crowding out the thing I should be doing most? I want to turn down the noise in my life and listen more closely to what I should be listening for: God. I want to detach the sparkly pens, the pop-up pictures, and the decoder ring. I just want to be a coloring book. Plain, simple, blank and let God color in what God thinks I need.

The Author : Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft
Vanessa, a Notre Dame grad, loves the Catholic Worker Movement, Catholic education, and overbearing Mexican mothers, which she may or may not be. She lives in Austin with her husband and five daughters and is a freelance writer. You can find Vanessa at v.kraft.im or follow Vanessa on Twitter @laluped.
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  • Jim

    This is great, thank you for shaking me up and getting me on track. Simplicity will get me re-focused on the things that really matter.

  • Vicky

    I love it! Your articles move and inspire me to be a better person. Thank you for being a mentor to other women and mothers.

  • Zachary Hubbard

    Well said Vanessa! Simplicity is something we should strive for all the time. I think you will enjoy my “Divine Simplicity” blog:


  • Laura

    Love it.

  • Lisa


    This is great! A reader on my blog shared your post with me. I too am simplifying for Lent. In 40 days I will have PURGED, cleaned and organized 1 whole house!



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