Readying the Heart and Home During Lent!

>> Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I am forever compiling a list of worthwhile Lenten reading for both Mom and Dad and for the children...especially picture books! We love to add books to our home library and display the Lenten books in a special reading basket by my nursing chair. What are your favorite books to read during lent?
Please send me a quick note telling me of your favorite Lenten reads (tappclan (at) hotmail (dot) com ) and I will post your recommendation to our ever growing list for all to enjoy!

Do you ever feel behind in your great ideas? I certainly do. I realize that the children and my daily duties always come first. Serving God this lent in the ordinary is always my first priority, but I still long for the extra hand to be creative and to be on top of "fleshing out" each liturgical season as it comes upon us with lots of wonderful hands-on lessons and lots of wonderful living books for both young and old. I have come to realize that taking time out for such things teaches a lesson about the importance of living the active life of seeking out God in all the little things and actually finding Him there.

One thing more I realize is that I am a work in progress. God is so good, he knows that...he made me that way. So here I am trying to get my act together to share lent in a more meaningful way through the "stuff" that our "school" is made of....the curricula. .. and I feel like I am "behind" again. After all, lent has already begun! Then I began to think of the time before the computer came into our home, I was lucky to do one extra thing each liturgical season. Now, I am known to do many and I am known to want to do too many....anyone else know the feeling?? I am so blessed to know many wonderful homeschool moms and dads through the net and you have forever blessed our lives and home. It is such a grace to be able to share such things with each other. Please share how you live the liturgical season of Lent in your homes! Let's share!! Please send me links to your blog posts and even if you don't have a me and we will get it up here!

What do we do? Well, there are many things because we slowly added in new things as each new year came upon us and some of the traditions became as automatic as brushing your they were more fun than stressful. Go easy on yourself and see what this Lent inspires you to do!

One thing that I did for my younger ones one year was to print out Lenten coloring pages and give it to them in a purple folder. I told them whenever they wanted to be quiet with God for a little while to just carefully color one of the pictures and think about how much God must love them and think about the ways they can show that they love God. It worked so well. I still have the finished folders with the little love notes to God that they dictated to me to write for them on the back of some of the pictures.

Another favorite Lenten activity was going on a Stations of the Cross scavenger hunt. One of the wonderful 4reallearning ladies posted this activity several years ago explaining that they put together these items in a stations of the cross box. In our case, it was a heart shaped basket. How my large motor boy loves to pull out each item as we reach that station. It helps the kiddoes to focus on the moment.

Katherine Mulderdink from 4reallearning wrote these beautiful stations of the cross for children that are available for a very small fee. My children love them and IMHO are more than worth the 1.68 for the download. The children sometimes turn over the paper and record their own reflections on the back. We then place them in clear page protectors and place in our Liturgical year is one with the smaller rings. We keep them in this binder for lent then place them in a larger permanent binder of their work for the year. It is a lot better than carrying the big one around all the time and it shows that THIS is what we are focusing on now.

Another favorite activity here is the Jesus Tree that we have fashioned out of felt. We use this to follow the gospel through Lent.

As we ready our hearts during lent, we also ready our home. We have posted the Stations of the cross (laminated on purple paper) around our home. We also printed out the Lenten calendar that Julie posted and we colored those pictures and laminated the calendar on purple paper. We post each week on the side of the refrigerator for easy viewing (I keep the other laminated weeks close by in a plastic magazine holder...ready to go!) The lamination keeps it clean.
Under that we colored and hung the Child's examination of conscience that was in the 2nd grade lesson plans for CHC and laminated that on purple paper too. (can you tell I love to laminate things? You can get a cheap one from Walmart, but clear contact paper works great!) The great thing about posting things on the fridge is that everyone goes there several times a day...a holy reminder, even if it is not read!

Consider setting up a special prayer corner for private prayer. This could be your fireplace mantle, a little table or a shelf in a book case. On ours, we place a purple cloth and place the basket of the stations of the cross items. We have a little basket of rosaries and little prayer booklets including the stations of the cross for children. There is a framed pic of fine art that I change every week. I set this frame on a little easel that I picked up at the craft store for pennies. I also place a candle there but we do not light it. I KNOW that if I do allow lit candles we will have problems with the little ones, so I just explain that your heart needs to pay attention to God as you spend this special time with him so just imagine that your heart is all lit up with love for Him...I post a little card in front of the candle saying this. The children love it! (Isn't it funny how some things strike them?)

The dining room table has a purple cloth on it covered with heavy clear plastic. Under it are various Lenten pictures and pics of the holy land's stations of the cross that I once got from Dumb Ox. (If anyone knows where I can find another copy of this let me know!)
Some of the pics are from Catholic catalogs and some are from Catholic junk mail...some are just printouts from Lenten Google searches for fine art. On Holy Thursday we place this last supper tablecloth on top of the purple one. This does look nice this way with the purple showing through.
On the center of the table is a grapevine wreath that we glued toothpicks to for for each day. Because this can be a hazard if the children drop the toothpick on the carpet and gets stepped on (go ahead and ask me how I know ;o) we permanently fix ours on the wreath. Come Easter Sunday, we place a decorated Lamb cake in the center of this crown and all the toothpicks have sprouted silk flowers!

Ooh before I forget, I also am looking for your favorite Lenten music recommendations! It is so nice to have it playing in the background as the children work on their Lenten art projects. Email me with your favorite ones!


Nissa 8:13 AM  

Excellent post, Donna Marie! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

meredith 3:10 PM  

This is beautiful Donna Marie, thanks for sharing all the wonderful links, this is so lvely for everyone this Lent, God Bless!

Alison 10:30 PM  

I have added to our blog our lenten cross. I wasn't sure whether it was here you wanted us to share or not. It has been really encouraging listening to the Lenten reflections by Father Augustine

rebecca 12:17 PM  

40 Days with the Messiah and Quantum Grace are two of my favorites for Lent.

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