Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent 2009

We celebrated on Tuesday with our third annual Mardi Gras party! What began as an awesome event with my brother's family two years ago has become a favorite tradition, though on a much smaller scale and with our lonely family as the sole participants. No matter, though; we still know how to have fun! The children helped me decorate the dining room and we colored an assortment of masquerade masks. Dylan printed out an activity book he created by copying and pasting from various websites, which included the recipe I needed for our King Cake! He was so eager to help and made a wonderful assistant! My little Sous Chef, I call him. :)

I feel almost a sense of relief at having finally entered Lent. For a while now I've been feeling so stressed and overwhelmed, and it feels no nice to have a reason to slow down, simplify, and reflect. I printed out an archived Catholic Update from American Catholic called "Day by Day Through Lent: Fasting From Our Clutter" and I look forward to experiencing this personal "mini retreat" of sorts this Lent.

Upon a recommendation I read in Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler, we've also decorated our home a bit more for Lent this year. We've hung laminated Stations of the Cross along our hallway in the past, but this year, I just can't figure out where in the world they are! One would think it would be obvious, but sadly, around here you just never know. Why wouldn't they be in the logical place? See why I'm so eager to meditate on clearing the clutter as mentioned above? :)

Anyway, I really like what we've done instead. I discovered some lovely little black and white illustrations of the Stations of the Cross while searching online, and they are the perfect size to adorn our mantle. (The framed prints are special, too: they are copies of the Lord's Prayer and Profession of Faith that Darren received when he joined the Church at Easter in 1998.) We plan to pray the Stations of the Cross every Friday as a family, as we've done during Lent for the past two years.

The bookcase beside the fireplace has, over the last several months, become a focal point for seasonal displays. Having decorated it for Advent, winter, and Valentine's Day, I decided that it would be nice to arrange a few simple Lenten pieces here, too. I started with the most perfect granite sculpture, etched with three crosses, which had up to this point been sitting out on our back patio. I was determined to make a crown of thorns, too. I hadn't the faintest idea how, but figured a stroll through Darren's desert garden might provide a bit of inspiration. I was in luck! The sprawling branches of a small mesquite shrub bordered the walking path and I was startled by the size of their spines. I couldn't remember having seen it there before, so it must have been divine intervention! :) Darren agreeably helped me fashion a crown from two flexible branches, and it is amazing.

I've begun a Lenten Bible study with the children, borrowing from Jessica's archives at Shower of Roses, and I love it so much. We're not making symbols for a Jesus tree, but I've compiled just a list of the daily readings from the New Catholic Picture Bible and printed the corresponding coloring pages for each child. Jessica, thank you so much for sharing all your hard work!!!

Also, in addition to our daily morning prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Morning Offering, and Guardian Angel prayer), we're also saying an Act of Contrition because I really want the children to start learning it and Lent is the perfect time to start! I also have a list of specific prayer intentions for each day of the week. This is another idea discussed in Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler, and although it suggests making a large calendar to include these prayers and other activities, I decided to simply type them up and include them with our morning prayers and Bible Study. (Jessica, however, has posted a lovely example of her family's calendar!)

And of course, we just had to make another Lamb of God poster. I especially love this year's because it reminds me so much of the little lamb Kristen received in her Easter basket last year. We'll add a cotton ball each day and have a cute fluffy white lamb by Easter!

I feel like there's more I wanted to say but I can't remember what and Darren is sweetly reminding me that my computer time is up, anyway. :)


Melissa from MN said...

Thank you for taking apicture of your lamb poster. It is simply adorable, and just the look I was keeping an eye out for!

God Bless!

Shannon said...

you're such a sweet mama, Melissa. Thanks for sharing all your Lenten ideas.
I'm also really liking your new blog look!