Monday, February 16, 2015

Lent 2015: Preparing Our Hearts

The season of Lent is upon us.  Are you ready?  I spent some time this weekend planning for our family practices during this season.  I hope this will be a good year for us as a family to institute some new, good family habits to help our home life center more closely on Christ.  At the same time, today, my heart grieves for the Christians murdered yesterday.  This Lent, I will be praying especially for the end to the violence in the Middle East.  Please join me. 

I'm planning to take the boys to our church's Ash Wednesday service.  M loves going to Church, and I think the application of ashes will help to demonstrate the change in the Church seasons for him.  Then we will come home and take down our Valentine's decorations and (hopefully) begin learning some new prayers and Christian songs.   

Personal Prayer Time:  I'm planning to get up 30 minutes early on a regular basis so I can return to a personal prayer time and devotional study each morning.  I'm planning on reading Scott Hahn's Signs of Life (it has 40 chapters, that aren't too long, so hopefully I can get through a chapter a day).
Prayer Chain: Over the weekend, I cut out 40 strips of paper and wrote the names of forty people/families/causes on each one.  I'll let M pick one each morning, and then we will pray for that person/family/cause that day, and turn the strips into a prayer chain of color to decorate our home for Easter.  I set out to do this last year, but didn't, and I can't really recall why it fell apart.  But I'm ready this year!

Fasting/Family Disciplines
My Individual Fasting: I will be observing the no meat fast.  I'm also going to give up soda (diet coke/coke zero), sweets and french fries.  My favorite food!  In light of recent events in our world, that seems rather trivial, but I will be trying to focus on increased prayer for persecuted Christians and peace in our world!  I'm also going to fast from iPad/random phone browsing during the day for me.  If I'm going to be internet-ing, it needs to be purposeful and not just random scrolling while I'm giving our sweet baby a bottle.
Family Practices: I asked my husband about trying out the "count to 40" before meals idea that I learned about from Kendra's blog at Catholic All Year.  He is on board, so we are going to try it this year!  I'm excited.  I'll also put out a bean jar, which hopefully will be filled with beans of good deeds, to be replaced with jelly beans on Easter.  M is only 2, but he is so observant, so I'm hoping these kinds of practices will plant seeds that will grow over the years.

I'm aiming to live more simply and donate any savings.  I'll be limiting what foods I buy to perishables as much as possible and eating out of the pantry and freezer.  I think I will also allow M to choose something from the pantry to donate to the food pantry each Friday.

I'm looking forward to challenging myself to a renewed focus on and closeness with Christ.  I want to listen, really listen to Him so that I can more closely follow His will for my life.  I hope that your Lent is full of God's blessings!

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