Lately

**Winner for the Radiant Magazine giveaway was Kelly H.!!**

 

Lately, life has been full. Busy. Intense. Hard. Unexpected.

I have made mistakes, begged for grace, thrown my hands up to heaven in exasperation.

I have been up a mountain, in and out of snow boots and tank tops, shoveled, roasted marshmallows, pulled weeds, washed trucks.20160416snowApril

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In about 3 months, my husband and I will celebrate our 13th anniversary. In less than a month, we’ll have a new address. In less than a week, my kids will have finished another school year. Six years of homeschooling will be under my belt (but don’t think me an expert–I am more eclectic in our approach than expert!).

It is possible that the last 6-7 months have been among our hardest yet. A new baby, specialty doctor appointments for 3 kids, 2 surgeries for my hubby.

If I’m being completely honest, some days have been pretty darn hard. But I am not going to dwell on that. There is so much to do, that I simply cannot get caught up in how hard my days are. Finishing a school year is enough. Add in an up-coming move? The to-do list itself could possibly overwhelm me at any moment.

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Yes, life has been pretty hectic. In these last few months, we’ve also celebrated. Easter was beautiful and we spent a delightful afternoon at my parent’s house that day.

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On a Friday afternoon, we crowned Mary and ate donuts.

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Last weekend was our oldest son’s First Holy Communion.

Little Man makes his own smoothies now. This is huge. Any time a kid gains independence, especially in the kitchen, life is simpler.

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My oldest and I ran a 5K together. Through the fog and cold, up a mountain and back down. She beat me in her first-ever 5K! We’re pretty happy to have finished in under 45 minutes (even if just barely). I’m looking forward to more races together.

I escape with sewing, and soon I hope to share more details about a project and online shop opening.

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Life has been full. Hectic. Good. Please pray for us in the next several weeks, while we finish the school year and move!

Radiant Magazine Giveaway

Last week I was delighted when Radiant Magazine reached out to me. They’re offering one of my readers a print copy of their newest issue, set to release on May 15!

Radiant Magazine is a Catholic Magazine covering traditional topics of the Church and applying them to the modern lives of young women. Their new 2016 issue, Radiant Grace comes out in print May 15 and is available for pre-orders now: www.be-radiant.com. You can check out past issues online here: http://www.be-radiant.com/issues.html

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This new issue sounds so exciting! Packed with a fun fashion spread and modest (darling, too!) swimsuits from Jessica Rey, articles about St. Rita and St. Faustina, a letter written by a young mom who lost her premature baby to her older son about his little brother, ideas about detoxing your routine, and even information about a faith-inspired workout by Pietra Fitness. That’s not all!

I don’t know about you, but I love a print magazine. Flipping through the pages, admiring the photos, reading and re-reading the articles…Print can’t be beat! I am pretty sure I’m going to have to order myself a copy of the magazine!

Enter the giveaway below, and ONE WINNER will have an issue mailed to them by the Radiant team!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Child’s First Faith Activity Book {review}

You have about 230 days until Christmas to whip up some sweet gifts for the toddlers and preschoolers in your life. Don’t roll your eyes at me through the screen! I have a fabulous book to share with you, from Jen at Faith and Fabric.Felt Bible Activity Book for Quiet Time - Miracles of Jesus
The Miracles of Jesus is a brilliant activity and story book. Once assembled, it will be a perfect quiet book for Mass, storybook for bedtime, and activity book for any time. The pages tell the wonderful stories of Jesus’ miracles, engaging a child’s natural curiosity and need to feel and touch while also igniting their imagination about the miracles Jesus performed.Felt Bible Activity Book for Quiet Time - Open
As the pages turn, children will practice snaps and velcro and more. They will delight in stories about Jesus reaching out and making fantastic things happen in people’s lives. Each page shares the story of the miracle, an activity your child can do with the manipulatives on the “picture” page, and a short lesson. This is such a fun and creative idea. I cannot wait to get started on a few for my own littles and my Goddaughter.20160503miraclescraft

Grab your own copy here {affiliate link} and be sure to also follow the link in the ebook for a page on Jen’s site, dedicated to buying all the supplies needed! You don’t have to go to the craft store at all if you don’t want to, she has everything you need set up for ordering. The ebook also is packed with over 40 pages of clear instructions, templates, and printables.

Oh, even the less-craft-inclined can make this happen. You don’t have to sew very much, you can choose glue, and Jen has written such great instructions that this is totally possible for all levels of crafting. Have a blast with this. Your children and grandchildren and Godchildren will enjoy it so much!

Mary, Mary {celebrating the Queen of Heaven}

If you’re a mother, you know how delightful the first flowers picked and given to you by your child are–even when they are dandelions. And more often than not, the tiny bunches of flowers and hand-crafted bouquets brought to me are bright yellow poofs of dandelions, even still. Aren’t they sweet, though? Weeds or not, they are picked and bundled and given with love and a huge smile.

I’m 35 years old, but I feel more like a child bringing dandelions to my mother when it comes to honoring our Blessed Mother, Mary.

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” – St. Maximillian Kolbe

I want to do something special in her honor, and celebrate her love for us with my children. I want them to know her love and protection, and somehow I hope that celebrating in special ways with flowers and food and drink will spill over into their hearts, and make a lasting impression. I want our celebrations as a family to instill a love for our Blessed Mother that stays with our children for a lifetime.

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It’s nearly May. My days are so full (still) I can barely think in peace for 5 minutes, let alone come up with original ideas for a Marian celebration.

Thank goodness for wiser women who have done the planning already! All I have to do now is gather a few ideas and make them happen, praying that even my simple attempts at honoring our Blessed Mother will delight her as much as thoughtful gestures from my children delight me.

Here are the ideas I’ve picked from the myriad of great suggestions in the blogosphere. Please share what traditions and ideas you have for your family, too!

Make some food to enjoy, combined with some prayers in honor of Mary. I like the idea of tea and treats, personally. Catholic Cuisine has more ideas than I could ever try, so take your pick! I especially like the idea of herb tea to go with food. It wouldn’t be a celebration without a sweet treat, such as macarons blue macarons(which I love to make for Marian feasts), or meringues like a throne of clouds for the Queen of Heaven, or cake.

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Flowers. Of course, any flowers will be a lovely addition to your table and prayer space, but if you are wanting to bring a little symbolism into your floral choices, consider any of these, including roses, lilies, geraniums, and so many more.

Prayer. Anything Marian, such as the Hail Holy Queen, Memorare, or Rosary. I might see about memorizing the Hail Mary in Latin this month. Another special idea is to consecrate your family and children under Mary’s protection. You can use a simple prayer such as this or this, or if you are more ambitious, try the 33-day preparation/self-retreat as St. Louis de Montfort promoted.

I will probably choose a weekday and use many these ideas as part of a special Marian celebration, and crown our statue of Mary. Why not a weekend? It just happens this year that most of our weekends are already full, so a weekday will work better and stand out more to my children. Choose any day that works best for your family!

“If you ever feel distressed during your day, call upon our Lady, just say this simple prayer: ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit, this prayer has never failed me.”
– Blessed Mother Teresa

Of Swim Lessons, Life Lessons, and Blizzard Forecasts

It’s a Friday afternoon in the middle of April, and I’m sweating in my hoodie and jeans at a swim lesson. The humid air is almost stifling, feeling a bit to my physical senses the way life feels to my emotional and introverted self.

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In the last several weeks, we have faced surgery, move news, Easter, and scheduled another surgery. Add in homeschool, homework for the regular school kids, re-doing homework when the toddler attacks, and oh, dinner, laundry, errands, sleep…

I am tired. Spent. Yearning for quiet, prayer-time, answers, time with my husband.

Problem is…none of it is happening without more effort on my part.

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Exerting effort when I am exhausted makes me cranky, but not putting in the effort for prayer or quiet or sitting for 10 minutes with Fence before we both crash makes me even crankier.

It’s been weeks since we had time (made time?) for Chickadee to swim, something that she loves and has helped her in a rough several months. Today, we’re here, and honestly, as much as I hate the interupption to the afternoon and the dinner that still needs prepping as soon as we step in the door, I am glad we made the effort to be here.  Hard things are upon us, and a few more weeks of being able to swim will hopefully help Chickadee come out on top, still positive and hopeful for new things this summer.

I need to do the same for myself, make the effort to do what gives me life and brings calm, so I can also face the next several weeks with grace and strength. God-willing, I can be a source of strength for all these little people who will undoubtedly have several meltdowns between now and settling into a new place and routine.

My brood has been learning some key life lessons this week, taking every ounce of grace and energy I have, plus my introverted word-quota for the entire month. We’ve covered respect of self, others, the beauty of body and soul, respect for bodies, self-defense, the importance of good family relationships before friends…  I am so glad to have these conversations with them, to guide them and build them up. But you guys, there aren’t enough quiet moments or Oreos or Doctor Who on Netflix to recharge me. Or are there?

Maybe not Oreos or Doctor Who episodes, but there are quiet moments. Hiding in the stillness of the moments before the boys wake and tummies growl for breakfast, there are my quiet moments. Before Small Fry was born, I often woke up by 6am to pray and declutter my head and the counters, prepping for the day. I’m getting back into the habit, because those minutes in the stillness are life-giving. God breathes beauty into my day with the sunrise, and fills my heart with grace in prayer. The “Heroic Minute” challenge hosted by at the Saints 365 blog is inspiring me to get up even when I’d much rather not. Those short minutes really do make a difference in my day.

Of course, I still want a day of going nowhere so I can sew and declutter and sort our homeschool books. Tomorrow’s forecast, full of winter storm warnings, just might deliver the “stay-home” day I need.

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Most days, by the time I have 20 minutes of solid quiet, it is 9pm and I would rather not bother with words, spoken or typed. It’s probably part of being an introvert mom of 6 kids–there is not ever quiet here. I think, for a little while, I’m going to be quieter on the blog, until we settle down again and, routines kick in again. I do have some creative projects in the works, which will be exciting to share soon. Pray for us! I pray for you, too.

What Donuts and Habits of Learning Have In Common

Donuts. Yum. I certainly could go for a donut with my afternoon coffee…or anytime coffee.

And experiential learning? Learning because life and the world is exciting and mysterious and worth knowing about? The best kind. Every child ought to live with life-long learning as part of their very being. The pursuit of truth and goodness and beauty makes life grand. Textbooks simply do not and cannot satisfy our innate longing for these best things in life.

I desire for my children to want to learn, to always seek truth, to constantly push their personal limits. And so I am renewing my goal for providing experiences and opportunities to learn and grow. One way we have done this recently is with cooking and baking.

I love Food Network shows. “Good Eats” with Alton Brown (back in the day) helped inspire me in the kitchen. My kids love to watch “Cupcake Wars” and the occasional “Worst Cooks in America” episode. Several weeks ago, we watched an episode when the contestants learned to fry donuts. The inspiration and desire to fry homemade donuts was instant. Even my self-professed baking- and cooking-hater wanted to make donuts. I made it happen.

My 9 year old, Sweet Pea, was first to create a recipe. 20160112Mdonuts1She eats gluten-free, so her recipe was also gluten-free, and entirely from scratch. She wanted to make a yeast donut, so she added some yeast. In the end, they were successful enough to eat! 20160112Mdonuts4She learned about what to do differently next time (such as using more yeast), and even made her own glaze! While she mixed, she kept track of her ingredients on the dry erase board. 20160112Mdonuts3Let me tell you, it was all I could do to not insist she use more yeast; but this about her learning and experimenting, so I kept my mouth shut!

The next day, my 11 year old, Chickadee (the kitchen-hater), made her donuts. Processed with VSCO with c2 presetFor always declaring her dislike for all things baking and cooking, she went all-out and made a great batch of Krispy-Kreme copycat donuts. She found and followed a recipe, all the way through frying the donuts.

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You know what happened in all this? Learning. Experimenting. Tasting. Laughing. Problem-solving. Questioning. Exploring. All the things I want for them, happened with donuts. They were inspired by something, worked out a plan and a goal, and followed through to the end.

This kitchen experience was the first to kick off a new scrapbook/recipe journal for the girls. They wrote their recipes in a new notebook, and have since added several more creations. 20160121MrecipebookWouldn’t you know, my kitchen-hater has added more to it? I love this on-going experience. They are free to dream, plan, experiment, measure, taste, and create. They are keeping notes, writing recipes, and sharing the process in directions. So much critical and creative thinking goes on. I only say, “have at it!” and encourage them, then get out of their way!

I am so pleased with this new learning process for us. It may be gradual, but the habits forming and taking hold are so worth it. Finding inspiration, making a plan, experimenting with methods, writing down amounts and tools and processes…this is life-long. I cannot wait to see how these habits grow and spill into other areas of learning.

7 Ways for 7 More Days of Easter

Happy, glorious, Easter!!!!! It is such a joy and gift to be past Good Friday. I don’t know about you, but reaching Easter this year feels like sweet relief. Finally, the finish line! (only, just a taste of the true finish line, which of course is Heaven)

I know many of our families are still carrying heavy burdens, be it illness, or separation, or depression, or any other struggle. I pray for you daily. But Easter is hope and joy and a reminder that–God be praised–this isn’t all there is. Perfect life and happiness await us.

We feast now, after so many days of fasting. I ate more than my fill, for sure! Feasting can be, and should be, more than eating fancy brunches with family, and finally having that Cadbury egg! (though who doesn’t love the Cadbury eggs?!)

photo by Little Flower Studios

photo by Little Flower Studios

This year, my husband and I are going to try to celebrate the Octave of Easter–a whole eight days of Easter solemnity!–a bit more intentionally. Ok, I admit, one of the ways was a last-minute sort of plan, due to some miscommunication and mishaps with Easter baskets…but it is what it is and we’re going to extend the celebration through this week. Please do not feel obligated to make an extra shopping trip if it stresses you out. More than half of these ideas require no shopping whatsoever. (yea!) What follows are simple suggestions that came to me earlier today (not kidding, I’m that kind of planner) and I since I want to actually accomplish a few of them, I’m sharing my ideas with you for accountability. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired and able to do a few to help your family also enjoy the many days of feasting!

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1-Fun and games
Egg hunts–just hide the empty plastic eggs! My kids are thrilled with the idea of hunting all over the house for eggs again. If you have kids in school, you don’t even have to make them hide in their room while you hide eggs around the house. Hide them while they are at school! Or, hide the eggs when they go to bed if you’d like a bit of chaos before breakfast. That’s always fun, right?
Extra game-time with the kids this week sounds fun, maybe make time for a quick card game or board game before dinner! And another exciting surprise we’re adding is special fun gifts from Daddy, as part of another egg hunt, later in the week.

2-Dessert!
Enjoy all those chocolates and treats. Maybe bake another sweet something or special dish one night this week. I have a few recipes saved on Pinterest that I didn’t make yet, and hope to bake one or two for an afternoon treat this week.

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Wake up and spend some time in silence, with the stillness and beauty of a candle and the sunrise…and pray. Join me and the other women in the Blessed Is She community with the On the Way: The Road to Pentecost study. I’m eager to get started. There is also a FB group if you like online chats and accountability and sisterhood.

4-Stay in touch
Send some cards to friends. Print some pictures from the weekend and send them to faraway relatives or friends. We have friends all over the country, who we haven’t seen in years, and sending a card and updated photo now would definitely bring a smile to our elderly neighbors in other states. Or, send a note to a friend in need. Or (also!), give a note of appreciation to your priest!

5-Learn about Divine Mercy
Divine Mercy Sunday is the final day of the Octave of Easter, and such a great feast in its own right. I’m only now beginning to appreciate this feast, especially since I’ve been reading and praying through the personal retreat by Fr. Michael Gaitley 33 Days to Merciful Love. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a favorite prayer of my husband, and this year we’re praying the novena as a family. It’s beautiful. (well…one kiddo complains every night and hasn’t grasped why we’re praying it for nine days in a row, but he’s coming around). We’re learning the prayers, my husband invites the kids to lead a decade of the short prayers yearning for mercy on the world, and I hope to learn more about the feast this week together. The official website will be my starting point, and as I learn more, I hope to share about it in a few days.

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What a great time to keep up with works of mercy! Our joy in the Resurrection should inspire us to live our faith more fully, and to spread the love of Christ in action. You can pray for the dead, buy food for the food bank, donate to a local Catholic charity (did you fill rice bowls for Catholic Relief Services?), send clothing and jackets your family isn’t using to a local shelter, and more.

20160327alleluiabanner7-Decorate your house for the season, with signs of life and joy
Fresh flowers, an “Alleluia” banner, or even brightly colored silk flowers make for a joyful addition to your home! Who says Christmas should have all the great decorations?

Happy Easter, my friends! May you be richly blessed and showered with His love and mercy this season.

Last-Minute Liturgical Living: Holy Week Ideas

Once upon a time, I planned ahead and decorated so nicely for changes in seasons.

Now, it feels more like a scramble, but even now as we are in Holy Week, you and I can still create a liturgically-themed space in our homes. Yes, even you who swears she does not have a crafty bone in her body.

First, remember that our focus is on the sacrifice of Christ and his Resurrection.

Second, Martha Stewart we are not.

With that cleared up, I start with a prayer space. The idea is for Holy Week to be simple, meaningful, and prayerful. It is a perfect week to focus on the Gospel stories, the Old Testament history and lamentations, and quiet, personal prayer. This is why a special prayer space is meaningful and my first priority over other things.

We have a little table my husband built, and it placed it in our family room with our couches. This is where we gather every night as a family to pray, and it is my starting and focal point for decorating. You can be as elaborate or simple as you want!

The basics: a crucifix. Simple as that.

Extras: statues, candles, cloths, other holy images. What I have is gathered from around the house.

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This morning I grabbed a red piece of fabric from my quilting stash. See how simple? I didn’t even iron it, because I’m lazy and last-minute. Ironing would nicer. If you have time to swing by a craft store (not Michael’s, since they don’t carry fabric), you can purchase a fat quarter of fabric for your table. They look like this at JoAnn’s. 20160320fatquarterBuy a few! White for Holy Thursday and Easter, red for Good Friday, and plan ahead for ordinary time and get green, if you like. You do not have to sew anything. Take it up a notch and sew the edges if you want a more finished look (and if you have time.)

We are still using purple votives this week. wp-1455333633846.jpgIt will be so beautiful to bring out a white pillar for Easter! I am going to use a jar scented candle, because I already have it, and wrap it in burlap and lace.

For Holy Week, our palms adorn the table. On Good Friday, all we will have out will be the red cloth, a rustic (hand-tied) cross made from branches from the yard, and the crucifix on the wall. I set out this children’s Way of the Cross for us to read and pray with each day, especially on Good Friday.

For Easter, the red table cloth is replaced by white, the purple votives disappear, and flowers grace my table. Fresh or silk or paper, it does not matter! Adding the color and sign of life makes the table so joyful! I also plan on painting “alleluia” onto this paper banner I grabbed from the clearance section at Target. 20160320bannerIt will hang across our mantle.

Now you’ve gathered a few ideas for a Holy Week prayer space…what next? The Triduum. Oh, how I love the Triduum. It’s been years since I was able to celebrate from Holy Thursday all the way through the Easter Vigil (the vigil is just so hard on my kids!)…but I do bring the family to Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday. This year, we are going to also celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass! My son will be in the children’s choir, and since he also makes his First Communion this year, I think it will be a very special time.

Truly, the best way to live this week is in prayer and celebrating the liturgy at church! Whatever else you choose to do, do it because it helps you enter more deeply into your devotion to our Risen Jesus, and not because any blogger or Pinterest pin made you feel like you had to.

One year, I went all-out with a themed meal for Holy Thursday…but now, I skip it. I literally do not have time for all the things. Instead, I choose to focus on the story, the prayers, and the liturgy with my family.

We do enjoy baking hot cross buns together on Good Friday. Beyond that, our time is spent decorating eggs, baking for Easter (if I’m hosting), and enjoying each others company. One neat recipe that seems simple–and I’ve always wanted to give it a try–is for Easter Story Cookies. These come with a story to tell with your children as you prepare and bake, for another way to teach and help them appreciate what Jesus did for us.

Other resources and ideas:
Downloadable and printable Holy Week prayer
Fr. Mike Schmitz on how to pray through Holy Week
For recipes, Catholic Cuisine always has great ideas

 

“Get It Done”: My Life Hacks vol. 1

A mom friend I have asked me to blog about my life hacks…and I have avoided the idea because I feel like my hacks are more random attacks on life, like hacking through a jungle with a macheti, than they are shortcuts and tricks.

I’m really not clever enough to invent hacks.

But I’ll try to think about what intentionally makes life easier. Thus, I begin “My Life Hacks: a Collection of How I Fake It ‘Til I Make It Confessions”.

Volume 1: 30 Seconds At A Time

If I had a nickel for every time I hear, “I don’t know how you do it!”, I would have a lot of nickles. My piggy bank would be full and I could cash it in for enough to buy me a one-time carpet cleaning. To answer, most of the time, I say “one day at a time,” or “by the grace of God” (which is exactly the only way), but I realized today that *when* I get “it all” done, it is mostly in small bursts of 30 second-5 minute intervals.

You laugh.

I do not kid.

You see, in 30 seconds, I can take out trash, load lunch dishes in the dishwasher, get meat out to thaw for dinner. All necessary, all so fast. It just requires my purposeful use of 30 seconds to do so, instead of (confession time) checking my phone for FB updates.

In one minute, I can wash a few pesky dishes by hand. Collect laundry. Fluff and straighten pillows. Put away mail. Adjust my messy bun. Maybe even brush my hair first and do a tidy bun! (<<This always makes my girls happy. They aren’t fans of the messy top-knot look.)

Messy hair, don't usually care...but apparently even Small Fry takes note.

Messy hair, don’t usually care…but apparently even Small Fry takes note.

In two minutes, instead of rolling my eyes at insulting political memes on FB, I can log off and brush my teeth. Chase my toddler and start a tickle fight. Switch the laundry. Peel carrots, cut apples, slice cheese for snacks. Quiz my girls on their poetry. Wipe down the kitchen counters.

In three minutes, I can read a short board book, start a blog post, reply to an email, schedule an appointment.

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Give me 5 minutes? Hot dog, I can look like a grown woman who leaves the house on occasion! Five minutes is enough to put away odds and ends, read another book, start a board game, review vocabulary, ask for a narration about a history or science lesson, get ready for a walk, pray a decade of the Rosary, read the daily Mass readings, or journal a quick prayer.

It’s so simple, right? It’s being intentional with small chunks of time that is the trick.

The other, life-changing, secret tip? I don’t get it all done. I accept that I live in a bustling home with 7 other humans, and “getting it all done” makes no sense. This is a loud, messy life. Children are growing up in my home. We make meals. Do laundry (constantly). Share time with family and friends. We live. Instead of stressing about a sparkling house with all the laundry folded, I work on getting the most important things done (meals, tidy kitchen, family prayer time). After that, relationships and homeschooling and getting to school on time. Following all that, we all pitch in and most days, “get it all done” equals “enough is done well”.

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So there’s my great fake hack. I simply accept that I don’t get it all done.

On The Way

How is Lent, ladies? My Lent hurts. Stressors are high, my daily physical and emotional loads increased, I caved and ate sugar. See, my oldest girl baked–twice. And after the second cake, I decided I had to try each of them. I mean, any kid baking is a pretty big deal. My oldest? A HUGE deal. Those cakes are goooooood. So, I tripped up. Fell. Failed, I suppose. Meh. I will give up sugar again/still for the rest of Lent.

Avoiding sugar is kind of a silly thing, though, especially if it is just for my health (which it is also good for). A fast without prayer and almsgiving loses its spiritual cleansing effect. So I have also been praying, but not so spectacularly, either. I have these great intentions, of getting up early, just 10 minutes early, to pray in silence. Then I hit snooze. Or I slip up and read email instead of Scripture. Or I just can’t muster to sit in silence at all. Yet, I keep trying. I haven’t given up on Lent, nor have I turned away from this journey of my life, geared towards Heaven.

Thank goodness Easter on March 27th is *not* the destination. I mean, it is a goal, and (hallelujah) for reaching Easter in less than 2 weeks, so we can rejoice and celebrate and indulge again. But Easter on the calendar is not the destination.

Nope. These days of Lent are a mere drop in the bucket of our great pilgrimage to the full-shebang, Easter-for-everyone, eternal celebration of LIFE in union with God. This Lent is refining us. We will rejoice and celebrate on Easter, and for many days after. We are an Easter people! Thank God for Easter, so we can taste a bit Heaven, experience a teeny bit of the amazing joy to come, and give us hope and strength to keep walking on this way.

You remember that Easter lasts for 50 whole days, right? Pentecost concludes Easter, and is effectively the birthday of the Church.

Soooo…what are you going to do to keep up the momentum? What will propel you once the sugar coma has passed and you’ve enjoyed (or regretted) indulging on whatever you gave up for 40 days?

I have an idea or two. Have a better one? Please share. I can use all the tips I can get. As Holy Week approaches, pray with me to choose the best way to keep the joy alive after Easter Sunday.

1- Leave up the Easter decorations, all the way until Pentecost.

2- Read Easter and Resurrection stories with your family. (the following links are affiliate links to Amazon.)
**Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day by Carol Benoist and Cathy Gilmore–a delightful tale that is a new favorite for us, gifted to my youngest from his Godparents
**Little Rose of Sharon by Nan Gurley is a beautiful tale of self-sacrifice
**The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg tells the story of the hope we have in Jesus’ Resurrection, using the egg as a tool for teaching
**Easter Eggs for Anya by Virginia Kroll is new to us this year, about the tradition of decorating psanky eggs
**The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward is my childhood favorite, about the little bunny who dreamed of being an Easter bunny, and finally had her chance after raising a brood of little bunnies.

3- Keep working on a personal discipline. This pilgrimage ain’t over yet! A runner doesn’t stop training and eating healthy once they complete a race. They keep up the lifestyle. This is true for our spiritual lives! Keep your soul fit with constant nourishment and discipline.

4- Start a new book, about a saint, or one that helps with your spiritual life. Maybe the “33 Days to Merciful Love” consecration would suit you. I am enjoying it right now.

5- Keep praying! Build the foundations of a close relationship with Christ, by spending time with him.

6- Journal. I find that when I journal in prayer, my thoughts focus more on Christ. My time is deeper and better spent.
I cannot wait for the newest devotional from Blessed Is She and Colleen C. Mitchell, created just for the Easter season, On the Way: The Road to Pentecost. (affiliate link)

Let me know if you choose the devotional by Colleen. I’m really looking forward to it, and maybe we can discuss it here together!