Below, you’ll find a re-post from two years ago that includes all sorts of Lenten resources. Forgive me if some of the links are bogus. I started to click on each one to check them, but then Mary Elizabeth and Thomas started fighting over whose turn it was to play (destroy) Daddy’s guitar.
If you have an online resource for Lent, including crafts, recipes, or just an inspiring post, etc., please feel free to include the link in the comments section, and I’ll be happy to add it to this post when my children aren’t engaged in hand-to-hand or hand-to-guitar combat. One new resource I do want to share this year is the Soup & Stories series over at The Practicing Catholic.
Posts will be published on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays throughout Lent here at ThePracticingCatholic.com. Each guest blogger will share a recipe of one of their favorite soups. The recipe will be accompanied by a short story. This story might include an inspirational thought for your Lenten journey, a humorous anecdote from that blogger’s kitchen, or helpful cooking tips to accompany the recipe.
Earlier this week, we made new Lent Sacrifice Mice because we had lost two of them and one was looking ragged. The kids fill old, lonely socks that lost their match with stuffing material and transform them into mice (see photo of older mice below). Then throughout Lent, I tie knots in the tails when I see the kids making sacrifices. The shortening tails is a visual reminder of the sacrifices made and offered up for Jesus. Now I do have to explain to some children that making your bed in the morning is not knot-worthy; however, making your sister’s bed “just because” certainly is. I was worried Madeline, who is now 9, might not be as interested in making a mouse, but she seems to still enjoy the tradition and also loved helping Thomas make his little mouse friend.
We also enjoyed our annual Fat Tuesday celebration yesterday and gorged on Menchie’s. I asked the kids if I could get a photo of them because I so rarely get a snapshot of all four them. I did not request a silly shot, but that’s exactly what I got. Goofy, lively kids.
My husband returned home close to 7 pm and I had to abandon him with for sugar-high children to go to a birthday celebration dinner for a good friend. His penance started last night. The kids’ voices could be heard from inside the house as I was pulling out of the driveway; my car windows were not open.
As for me, I had a rather penitential experience at the Ash Wednesday service. Thomas was sitting so quietly on my lap, and I started thinking to myself, “Wow! This is getting easier. He’s doing so well.” About .02 seconds after these hopeful thoughts floated through my head, his asking loudly, “Where’s Jesus?” burst the serenity. Now it was sweet that he asked about Our Lord but when he wasn’t satisfied with my answer, he became quite angry. Like most 2-year-olds, he is very loud when he is angry. Where indeed is Jesus when you need Him to inject some graces into you so you will teach your children that God is love and God is not Mom harshly whispering through gritted teeth it’s-not-time-for-a-snack-be-quiet-right-now.
I scooped the angry Todzilla up and retreated to the back of the gym. (Our new church hasn’t been built yet, and the school celebrates liturgies in the gymnasium.) He was screaming, “Let go of me! Let go of me! Ow!” the entire shameful departure. Mary Elizabeth came (loudly) skipping after us. She does very well in church when Thomas is not there but when she sees all the attention I give him – even though it’s negative – she tends to act out as well. Not surprisingly, she started whirling herself around and then became dizzy and ran into the wall. Lord, help me.
It was definitely my time to ask where Jesus was.
I thought I’d finally found a safe nook to hide away in until I saw a big basket with balls stowed away in it for P.E. class. Oh no. If there’s one thing that makes Thomas happy, it’s throwing balls. If there’s one thing that makes him very unhappy, it’s denying him of throwing balls. When I tried to grab him, he screeched and sprinted away from me and proceeded to knock down these large protective pads that cover the corners of all the gyms. There was a loud SMACK, and the entire school turned around to gawk at us. Sweet Father didn’t even flinch and continued explaining the meaning behind the ashes to a group of children who were now completely distracted because of my noisy gang. I whispered, “Please God…” out loud. I pray far more fervently when I actually bring Thomas to Mass.
Somehow we made it through the service, although when Thomas received his ashes, he decided he wasn’t too keen on having anything on his forehead even though he usually wears most of his meals all over his entire face. “I want it off!” he said. I didn’t tell him what I was wanting at that point: SILENT, OBEDIENT CHILDREN AND A PEACEFUL, CONTEMPLATIVE START TO MY LENT. But like I wrote recently, we often don’t get to choose our sacrifices. What we want is often not what we need.
At any rate, perhaps you can glean some ideas for your Lent this year below. Or at least you’ll feel better about your start to Lent if you had a more peaceful Ash Wednesday. Or, if like me, your whole idea of a contemplative start to this season quickly crumbled before you as you had to wrangle wild children, you at least know you’re not alone.
Also, please share the traditions you embrace during Lent below. If anyone is giving up electronics or screen time in any manner, stay tuned for a book giveaway on old-fashioned games that will help strengthen family bonds – or lead to further sibling rivalry as sometimes happens in our home. Yet, we play on…
Lent really crept up on me this year. Fortunately, I have a stockpile of resources to help my family and me along my Lenten journey. In lieu of a thought-provoking post, I’m simply going to list some resources, ideas, books, etc. I’ve used in the past, plan to use, or dream of using when my life isn’t such a beautiful, chaotic mess.
I know I’ve missed some great stuff out there, so please feel free to share your own links and/or resources in the combox.
(Oh, and please forgive the funky formatting below. I’ve tried to fix it multiple times with no luck.)
Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Welcome Risen Jesus: Lenten and Easter Reflections for Families by Sarah Reinhard
Magnificat Lenten Companion (it looks like the hard copy is sold out, but it’s available as an app)
Around the Web
Christ’s Journey to the Cross: Lenten Insipiration for Mothers (an old reflective essay of mine)
Lent for Little Ones (an old post of mine, but we still put to practice many of the ideas I included)
Recipes (including lots of meatless dishes perfect for Lenten Fridays)
40 for 12 Menu Plan
This is an amazing resource my friend put together. It offers 40 days’ worth of meatless menus, shopping lists, easy recipes, and fun commentary. All the recipes serve 12, so it’s the perfect plan for large families who want to live out the discipline of Lenten abstinence.
Avocado Corn Salad with Tropical Smoothies
Tofu Parmesan (don’t judge it until you try it!)