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Friday, March 07, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday

  Lent has begun!!! Are you struggling to get 'motivated' or 'do you lack ideas'?  Well, today's theme is for you then.  Below you will find 7 ideas we've used and all of them have worked really well for us. Maybe one will work for you? Maybe not, but the important thing to remember about Lent is that it is meant to be a time for personal spiritual growth.  You have to do or NOT do what seems to be the right thing for YOU.  If you don't like my ideas...I don't really care, but what I do care about is that you grow this Lent. That's is what God wants!
Several years ago we made this calendar.

Before Ash Wednesday or sometimes on Ash Wednesday the kids and I would sit down and decide together what we'd give up or 'do' each day of the week. Every Monday would be the same sacrifice. Tuesday's may be some sort of Almsgiving. Wednesday maybe another sacrifice. Thursday might be adding a certain prayer into our prayer time, etc.  This worked really well while our kids were little.  I've found that for little kids it was hard to give up one thing for the duration of Lent.  This works for us because each sacrifice was hard, but doable even at age 2-3.  Plus I liked that we weren't doing only sacrifices. We also practiced almsgiving and prayer.
One of our very favorite traditions has been praying the Stations of the Cross as a family.  For a long time we've used these candles which have a black and white drawing of each station on them. They look really nice when lit.

This book has really simple wording and works well with young children who are antsy and just need 'simple'.

Meal ideas for Lent? Again, this is just US. There are, I'm sure, a lot more ideas out there.
Breakfast- We'll do breakfast for dinner...AKA least 2 times during Lent.  We love quiche. We love waffles, pancakes and french toast casserole. As well as egg sandwiches. YUM! I'm hungry!

Here are some of our other well used meals: 1.Salmon or some other sort of fish (we aren't huge fish lovers, so I usually do one night of fish and then another Friday with a shrimp pasta with veggies-the kids LOVE both of these).
2. Bean Burritos-simple
3. Cheese or Veggie Pizza- or BOTH because each time we order pizza we need 3 larges.  I usually save this for a busy Friday night. Like during Irish dance/St. Patricks day parades and shows.
4. Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup. Great for a chilly night.
We always choose one sacrifice to do as a whole family.  Honestly, there are a million ideas. We mainly try to choose something that is a challenge, an area where maybe we are 'weak' and desire change and growth.  Remembering that Lent is a time when we sacrifice, but we are not supposed to go around with a 'sign' that says 'I'm giving up ___' for Lent.  That just takes away from the quiet sacrifice that our family feels much better about.  I know sometimes 'what we gave up' has to come up when planning for a large family, but we try really hard to not discuss our family sacrifice especially.
DH and I have our own 'stuff' we do as well. I really admire and look up to DH all the time, but especially during Lent. He is so strong. He picks some really challenging things and he is so good at denying himself.
  This year the kids are THAT much older so they decided on their own that they wanted to print a small version of the calendar in Quick Take #1 and write in their own sacrifices. I am very proud of them. I'm working with the 2 littles the same way I have done in the past.  But I'm so happy to see our older children taking the faith and making it their own...without me making them.  It actually bothers me to see parents forces their kids to 'do this' and 'do that'. We believe that when they get to a certain age- determined by their parents observations of the childs spiritual life- it is necessary for them to take their own steps toward holiness.  I don't want my kids overwhelmed in the negative sense of the word, by our faith. We are enjoying watching the gradual unfolding of each childs personal love for Our Lord.  Some faster, some slower, but each one beautifully being drawn closer to Him. One of my most treasured 'mommy moments' is when a child ASKS on his own to go to mass. And when she asks on her own to go to confession.  God bless them in these moments of deeper conversion!
Lastly, just want to say even if you make a small change and you're successful with that you have made Our Lord so proud. We are each at a different place in this spiritual journey.  May God bless each effort you make. And may God bring you and your family closer to Him by uniting you to His suffering this Lent.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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