Hello my friends, and happy Shrove Tuesday! I thought I'd hop on quickly and share a little about our Lenten journey this year ... :-)
I tried to keep it pretty simple (read: do-able) because I'm working with my younger two boys, 6 year old Little Bear and 18 year old Earlybird who has autism ... and our days have been anything but simple lately. As I organized this project I tried to keep things appropriate for their sensitivities, but also arrange things so that all of us can be involved to some degree - the older kids as well as my husband and myself.
To kick off our journey, Little Bear and I will read Make Room for Lent. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and meaningful children's book I've ever read. With sweet illustrations and gentle prose it conveys a thoughtful and loving message to children, helping them understand what Lent is all about and giving them easy ideas to follow.
And tonight we will have our traditional "Carnival" feast of pancakes, bacon, whipped cream and hash browns! Then tomorrow morning Little Bear and I will receive ashes at church and on our way home we will purchase supplies to create (and then bury) a new and sparkly "ALLELUIA." (We've long since lost the pretty golden letters in this post and the little plaque seen in this post has gotten a bit dinged up.) Once the letters are all "gilded" they will be hidden until Easter Sunday at which point they will make a surprise and grand re-appearance ... ;-)
I have set up our journey visuals in the library along the front of our fireplace mantel:
We'll be using a few things to help us count down the days of Lent as we walk with Jesus on our (His) journey. I set up a long strip of paper (this paper roll, cut to length and folded in half) along the front of the mantle and used a rubber stamp to create a path of footsteps in the sand ...
I have 40 post-it notes ready to go, and on each day of Lent we will write down a little something to offer up for that day - something to show we are thinking of Jesus and walking beside Him as best we can - and then we will cover a pair of steps with our note ...
Here's an idea of what it will look like ...
I've started a list of ideas so I can help the boys decide what to offer each day. With my kids it's best not to plan too far in advance though, so on "unplanned" days I'll be asking them to think about what they'd like to offer.
Some days our offering will simply be a prayer said together, or a food pantry donation or perhaps an hour of quiet with all devices turned off. Other days we will observe a special faith tradition or make a Lenten craft. For example, on this coming Sunday (St. David of Wales Day) we will fly our dragon kite and enjoy a daffodil cake after Sunday dinner ...
And this Thursday we will finish setting up our Easter grotto, a craft we began earlier this month ...
This is a broken clay pot I found in our garage! I thought it made a rather convincing grotto when glued to its saucer. We'll be covering it in natural materials - bark and/or moss most likely, depending on what we find on our nature walk! We will also add pebbles to the base where a small tea light (blessed on Candlemas) will wait all throughout Lent before being lit with Easter fire.
At the far end of the mantle, yet to be properly set up, we have a cross made of branches from our yard. This will hang in the doorway throughout Lent, and on Easter Sunday the boys will wake to a cross just teeming with life! I will have wrapped it with greenery and flowers, but best of all, a whole bunch of pastel post-it butterflies (see top pic) will be floating from the end of our journey across the wall and doorway and all around the cross itself. The cross will also be adorned with that lovely ("resurrected") Alleluia!
And so that's our Lenten Journey this year!
I am so happy for this new season to unfold - it's a special time of year in both the liturgical and natural sense. Lent means we are nearing the end of winter, and though it's been unseasonably mild here in New England so far, we're not out of the woods yet! We've seen some of our worst storms in March so we'll just see what Mother Nature - and the jet stream - have in store for us!
Thanks so much for joining me here today, friends ... I wish you all a beautiful evening and if you observe, a wonderful and fulfilling Lenten season ahead. Sorry to have missed Tea last weekend but I hope to be brewing up a fresh pot sometime soon!