lent 2015

I unplugged yesterday (didn’t go online once–it was wonderful) and spent my time preparing my home, my kids and my heart for a Holy Lent.  Last lent I was so disappointed with myself.  Due to poor planning and even poorer follow-through instead of feeling renewed once Easter arrived, I felt frustrated.

I am determined that this year will be better.  Lent can be such an amazing and transformative time.  Won’t you join me and prepare for a Holy Lent?

In the comments, please please please share with me what you plan on doing to make your Lent as Holy as possible!  I’d love to hear!

Here are a few simple things I have added to my life (or eliminated from my life) in hopes of a vibrant renewal, and closer walk with God.

1. Dedicated (and organized) Prayer

lent prayer

This Lent I am finally doing something I meant to do months ago–diving into the beautiful Blessed is She ministry.  Have you heard of this?  Blessed is She is a site with over 30 writers, all Catholic Women.  Each day a different writer shares a reflection on the readings of the day.  Subscribe and the reflection will come straight to your email.  Easy.

I have decided that every morning when I am nursing the baby to sleep for his morning nap is my “Blessed is She” time.  I simply grab my phone, pull up the post from Blessed is She, which is conveniently in my inbox and, also conveniently, has the readings for the day fully written out.  I get the reading for the day and a powerful reflection to bring my life and my thoughts back to God.  Head over there, sign up.  It’s beautiful and so powerful. It’s an amazing ministry.

Along with this, I also ordered the Lenten Journal “Only One Thing” from Blessed is She.  It is wonderfully simple and I am enjoying writing and reflecting at the beginning of nap time each day.

lent prayer rosary books

Besides my individual prayer, my husband and I are going to work on deepening our family prayer this Lent.  We plan on putting my Rosary Quiet Books to good use and teach our children to pray the rosary with them.

If you’d like to make your own Rosary Quiet Books, don’t forget that I’m offering the pattern for 50% off now through Easter in my Etsy shop–just use the coupon code HAILMARY at check out!

13-Lenten-Finger-Puppets

Along with the Rosary Quiet Books, I hope to spend each morning when the baby is sleeping, teaching my older 2 a small lesson.  I plan on using these Lenten Finger Puppets I made last year.  Follow the link for all of the templates, if you’d like.

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Beyond making time for prayer, I am working to make time for spiritual reading.  Lately I have been sorely lacking in this department–I just get so wrapped up in and excited about my blog and patterns that I don’t leave room for much else.  And I’m not the person I want to be because of this.  But, lately I have been reading this book, Blessed and Beloved from Kimberly Hahn,* and although I am only 1/2 way through, I have already been deeply challenged as a wife.  I needed to be challenged, and I am excited to see what fruit this might bare.  Overall, it’s an easy, and very powerful read.

lent sacrafice

It just won’t be Lent without giving something up (at least for me).  Along with try to keep our Whole30 going, we, as a family, have decided to cut out TV completely.  Yup, it’s off and the kids and I even spent some time coloring signs and taping them onto our TV–just so that we wont forget!  (PS–that crucifix silhouette can be found and printed HERE).  I really wanted the kids to be part of this, so that they understood why they weren’t getting their 1/2 of TV a day.  We took the words from the divine mercy to placed on our TV–“For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world”.

My Gus fully understood what was happening yesterday–and let me tell you, he was not happy.  But, I think a month+ of no screen time will be good for us all.  I think it might be harder for me than for the kids.  I really loved that 1/2 hour of calm as they watched Daniel Tiger!

lent cleaning

So, it’s not like I don’t or haven’t been cleaning my house, I have been, but this Lent I want to focus more on service because I can really give into the sins of pride and self pity.  Living in a house with 3 kids 3 and under, things get messy fast and I can get bitter and do my work with a less than charitable heart.  I want to improve this, and I want to start teaching my children the honor of work so that they might take pride in our home.

PS–my little Bernadette has already become quite a help when it comes to cleaning the kitchen floor (she has long been a help in messing it up!).  We got this cordless Shark Sweeper* a few weeks ago and Holy Cow, it is awesome.  Did I say it’s cordless?  The kids love it.  After every meal one of my kids heads over there, grabs it and just starts cleaning.  Pinch me!  I must be dreaming!

lent decor

And finally, in all of the cleaning that we did yesterday, I put a lot of our decor away.  I like my house to be clean and distraction free (because I am so easily distracted!) during Lent.  I also pulled out a few very simple things to decorate our house, like this Lent Nail and String Art I made a few years.  It’s simple and it offers something for me to reflect on.

I’ll leave you with this picture of my family from Ash Wednesday mass last night.  We went to the evening mass, in below zero temps.  But, it was a beautiful liturgy and the kids (despite Bernadette while we were taking this picture) did really well.

preparing for a holy lent

Thanks for being here–and have a Holy Lent!

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