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Hello Lent

This has been a Lent with a whole new element of penance, as I’ve never been in the last month of pregnancy during Lent before, and expecting a baby before Easter.

A few days in and I can clearly see, this year that perhaps the main sacrifice God really wants from me right now, is for me to willingly accept my suffering in whatever form it comes w this pregnancy, and later with labor and delivery. … ( I can’t offer what I don’t have, hence the acceptance part) . The time has come, instead of feeling sorry for myself, to humble myself and willingly offer this holy work to the Lord , ‘this too for love of You! ‘

As for the rest of my Lent, I had made a plan, but then a few days before Lent started, God decided to take over:

So I was praying the 3rd luminous rosary mystery, and this line really stood out: ‘The time has come, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the good news!’ Then I felt God saying: ‘this lent, the time is now. Turn away from all your wayward tendencies, these things that just don’t fill you, walk w Me instead, more and more, for as you journey closer w me these 40 days, I will strip you of these last few obstacles still holding you back and drawing you away. Come Easter, you will be new child, believe, My light is coming, quickly! Let go of your own plans, that I might plan your lent instead.’

Well, now He had my attention.

I already knew some of this, but I love how God just simplified everything, it doesn’t feel like a burden making sure I’m remembering what I need to be doing lol!

Sweets. The time has come. You will be strengthened like never before this lent, and Sundays will be a little taste of heaven.

Screens. That’s the other great distraction you are drawn to. The Facebook thing, as before. All social media. Let go of that pull, the world is not for you. PUT THE PHONE DOWN!

Charity- respect, gentleness, softer tones. PATIENCE. SERVE OTHERS ahead of yourself. Humble- before your family, and before Me.

Choose silence, this lent you are to grow greatly in silence. And Let go of control and choose My way and watch, watch what we can do together! You do not need anything extra to read, except the respect book, for that is a powerful tool. If I need you to read something I Myself will put it on your heart.

And write. Child I want you to continue to channel grace through that blog, as much as you can. Make this your prayer.

The fast I choose, is to free you. Free from sweets, and speaking. Learn to listen. Free from the pull of screens. And free from the doing, of ANYTHING that is outside of My will for you at that moment. Humbly choose My way.

And Fridays? Not what I want Lord, what do You want?

Fridays, your primary sacrifice, is to be tears. Return each Friday w fasting and mourning, over souls. I require no great penance, your heart is already there, all I ask for your Friday is that your heart would be completely united w Mine, in reparation for sinners. For souls. Allow yourself to cry, first over all of your own sins, over those of your household, and others…. then, cry over the sorrows, injustices, deceptions and lies, over the ugliness of sin, and over the world you live in, the world that I made. Cry, for souls, cry out for My mercy for them! I will surely hear and honour the gift of your heart!

So this has become my Lent this year, less sweets and screens, plus more silence, extra charity to my family, and extra humility… Especially when it comes to my suffering.

A few Lent Links:

Even if you do nothing else for Lent: http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/

http://catholicism.org/suggested-lenten-penances.html

http://www.christiethomaswriter.com/kids-ideas-blog/40-lent-ideas-kids/

http://callherhappy.com/40-lenten-activities-for-kids/

past lents:

2014

2013

2012

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Fri Aug 16

– happy little lightning bug holding a diaper

– beauty in the sky, God in the clouds overhead
– little lightning bug trapped in a car
-feather!
– the power of sock monster
– singing cat chat songs softly to stop baby from crying till we were at the rest stop

– finally being able to delete photos to fix my phone

– rosary on the grass by Timmy’s, and two feathers!
– baby drinking from the empty beer can

– cozy evening by the fire
– one last visit w friends

Sat aug 17

– Blandford’s newest campground
– tiny feather on the picnic table
– baby playing w 4 different balls
– feather 🙂
– seeing the visitors off

– time to REST, while baby napped beside me, I caught up: type a day of gifts, read a day of Word Among Us..
– one on one time to hear from God

-butter pecan ice cream sweet like pineapple
– the coolest toy cell phone
– putting back the periwinkles
– stinky skuuunnnnk !!
– golden hills and wide open sky

Sun Aug 18

– a visit tot he neighbor’s yard
– heart happy-church w my whole family 🙂
– kids being little angels there
– all of us talking w other parishioners, part of the community

– feather!
– a teeny tiny white feather in the grass
-time alone to put together the cloud album
-clean counters

– a feather w blue tip
– baby hugging and kissing the Jesus statue, they’re the same height!!

– laundry and prophecy- cloud is moving
– a window visit to Derek’s apt and w his parents
– baby making the glory oh Lord cross on his lips before the gospel

Mon Aug 19

– God sent a kitty to delight all of us this morning 🙂
– 3 boys w books/materials around the school table
– I’m iron man, cause that’s how I am so irony!
– that Spyro came for a visit (t and j)
– and that I’m in my iron man shirt
– him w his little eyes closed in prayer for the psalm
– baby sound asleep clutching Mary

– God blessing me with a house full of sleeping children so that I had time to
pray along w my fasting
– a delicious meal
– out alone w God
– feathers!
– 4 special keys by the side of the road
– one last candy left, sweet like a vanilla cupcake
– Smurfs on Derek’s big tv

Tues Aug 20

– BBQ doodles
– tomato cucumber sandwich, mmmm
– being well on schedule for lunch etc, despite starting the day an hour late!
– now I’m making home cooked meals every night: the fun of getting to cook and try new delicious recipes

– kids declaring an apple party
-at last, a playroom layout that works!
-and a space for the play kitchen next to the real one
-at last, the red and blue matching school desks we were promised, delivered and in our house!

-baby with his own feather
-apple soccer
-the feather game, not 3 but FOUR – and how he would bat the light one with the big one and watch it float down
– the cutest little wooden aderondak chair by the side of the road
-An airplane grocery cart with FLAMES on it!

Wed Aug 21

– an encounter and an awesome opportunity
-little brothers holding hands walking up to the church
– being overcome before Jesus on the altar
– baby kneeling before the blessed sacrament
– a plethora of unopened toys to trade for smurfs
– smurfs!
-tiny ice cream cones w our happy meals!

– more treasures by the side of the road, knex, a nice blanket, a photo board and a kiddie pool!
– “hey party planner, plan my birthday!”

– sweetly broken at the foot of the cross, what He did for me
– a jet trail spanning the length of the open sky- My love for you, no beginning and no end

– my oldest took it upon himself and changed the toilet paper roll, and he put it the right way 😀
– 3 boys w a few centimetres of water
– someone took a drive all the way over to Jesus 🙂

– words of great wisdom as God continues to lead me through more of the Old Testament
– the best made up bedtime bible story ( condensed)

Thurs Aug 22

wisdom and realization regarding the negative impact of entitlement
– Dinos at the ready in my school cupboard

– baby w the flag for O Canada
– Dino activity pad w puzzles to solve
– the set of Dino books I bought last spring at the bookstore, I’m so glad I went ahead and picked them up 🙂
– Dino tail to guide my little reader through the words
– 3 boys all standing on the couch in anticipation of their Dino show

-thanks to letting go of expectations; though I am really tired, we are having a great day!
-scribbles all over my beautiful dining room cabinet: THANKFUL, that it’s pencil.
– easy leftovers and power for lunchtime
– chalk drawings of the trees

– cheese, a knife, construction paper strips and a straw: Making Babybel poke balls for movie night 🙂

– news on fb, PRAISE God! A Protestant speaker who has an amazing story and who has become very interested in Catholicism, is going to convert, AND become a PRIEST!! What a redemption!!
– diaper Cheerios

– prayer walk, my favourite time of the day, this time walking up the hill w You just makes me giddy w happiness!
– a feather dove!
– the clouds, Lord, you make me weak in the knees
– Pokemon movie night 🙂
– critters on a plate

– HARD grace. Hard to be grateful, but, every crucifixion means a resurrection.

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Lent 2013

It’s Lent already. I actually knew it was coming this year, but unfortunately, I am really no more prepared than last year.

I did feel the need this year to specify ahead of time what would and would not be allowed for the NO treat/no seasoning fast.

-Fasting-
40 days – No treats: sweets, desserts, chips, pop, cocoa, candy, whipped cream, cookies, chocolate, creamer in my coffee…
OK: light caramel with yogurt and apple, light sugar in my tea, light creamer in my coffee, applesauce, muffins, bread pudding. Jam, Cheese spread, cream cheese and jelly on crackers ok. A sweet dressing on my salad is ok.

Weekdays -No Internet, fb, email, blogging- in morning (after 7:30am), and no computer after 5. (The extra free time can be used for decluttering as well as extra time for prayer and reading).
OK: type notes/gifts – in the morning, posting qts on Friday.
Tues – no computer. Period. (Tues is already a fast day and I don’t want to miss out on weekly quick takes on fridays.)

Fri – No seasonings: No salt, pepper, garlic, herb, spice or jam. (No meat either, of course.)
OK: peanut butter, salad dressing, tomato sauce.

Good Friday – No Computer. No seaoning. Sparser meals.

Prayer
Me – PRAYER at some point (each letter stands for something)
Kids – I think we wil just keep doing the daily mass readings at school time, rather than focus on scripture set this year.
1 Station of cross after lunch – with kids.

Alms
– patience and grace – lower voice and no jumping to conclusions: give the benefit of the doubt. POSITIVE.
– Giving jar if I can find it –

The Kids will have the paper chain and their lent activity from last year: counting items for the giving jar. (if I can find it!) I also really need to do something about some Lenten décor – I have a few Christmas things that still need to disappear and I really wish I had some purple fabric or something…

——————————————————————–
Update:
On Ash wednesday I re-introduced them to Lent and I strongly suggested the kids give something up several times, but they really weren’t having any of it, they didn’t want to part with anything they cared about. I did explain that was the point but they just weren’t interested. I figured it was something to talk about again next year, but then later my oldest told me he did want to give something up, so we got a box and he and his brother put a bunch of toys in. I was so proud!

I did find the giving jar, and a small number of coins for us to count out. I also found a number of purple articles of my clothing that let me bring a bit more liturgical color to my displays.

http://catholicicing.com/2010/02/lenten-sacrifice-ideas-and-activities/

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Ever since I learned this about the patron Saint of our church, I can’t get it out of my head.

Saint John Vianney

“During the first few weeks he spent time visiting each of the sixty families in his parish. He would talk to them about every aspect of life. What he was really doing was making a moral assessment of his parish. He found that the people’s spiritual lives were in great need of restoration. They cared little for the church having been seduced by the pleasures common to every age…

The new cure understood the meaning and value of the words ‘ This kind can only be cast out by prayer and fasting”. Father Vianney began a one-man campaign of prayer and fasting, offering all his sacrifices to God for the conversion of the people in his parish.

Many considered his penances too severe. He slept on the floor, went for days without food, and for several years ate nothing but a boiled potato each day. But the graces borne from his sacrifices brought clarity to his mind, and they flooded his soul and the souls of his parishioners with abundant grace.

The cure preached boldly and without reservation about the evils of his community. . . The people reacted violently at first, but in time, the cure’s prayer, fasting and the example he set began to reap a tremendous harvest.”

These words have stuck with me because they spoke VOLUMES to me.

(Exerpts are taken from Rediscovering Catholicism, a book by Matthew Kelly)

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Jan 13

Photobucket

The other night I sort of feel I received a word from God in a dream, a word of hope. This week the SUM community has been doing a group fast, 5 days from Mon – Friday. This was my first time particpating in a group fast like this; there was a distancing of ourselves from things that usually occupy our mind and hearts, and a real spirit of readiness to hear from God. It seemed with such a fast this was an expectation, that God would use this time of our greater awareness and attentiveness to Him, to reveal things that were hidden, to speak a special word to us, especially concerning our unbelieving spouse (or perhaps others that were on our hearts).

In my dream, the last thing I heard before I woke up was this rather odd phrase – spoken essentially by God: ‘Hope, I’ve added water.’ Normally I wouldn’t pay much attention to the strange thoughts in my brain, but in my dream the words came from God Himself and they stuck with me for some reason. Something else struck me as well, because it was in a creation-type context: it was not just an increase in water; it was as if God was adding water where there was none before. And, while I was thinking along the lines of creation, the meaning that spoke to me most was in the context of the woman at the well and the living water that Jesus gives; that God had now given this water to my unbelieving husband. My heart understood it as a message to hold onto my hope and BELIEVE, because the Holy Spirit was now active and working in his life/heart.

The next day, I sought confirmation for what I felt had been revealed to me in my bible. I opened first to genesis – and in creation, God doesn’t add water, but everything begins with the waters… Then I sought out the story of the woman at the well. At first I thought it was in Luke, but with the HS I realized it must be in John, and then was able to find it and sit down with it.

The words ’the water I will give him’ and the part about the spring welling up, they leapt off the page with new meaning. They brought tears of joy and hope to my eyes. Then, quickly I found myself doubting, did that really happen, those words jumping off the page to me or was it only because I wanted them to? – (It was true that I didn’t successfully open randomly to that page – but that story was the direction the spirit led me when I first received the words.)

And, still I wondered. It was like it was too good to be true.

I had decided the night before, that I would try to hold Jesus’ hand (to have Him present) throughout my whole day today. So, still pondering w Jesus close by, I felt him watching me and seeing my doubts and urging me to greater faith as He reminded me gently to BE; to live in this moment, to accept this gift, to just be and receive. So I did, and I’m holding onto hope – and His hand.

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