I've been making a concerted effort to mentally prepare for Lent which is a mere five days away! I have to say, of all the seasons, Lent is my favorite. So, here are some activities/plans/realizations I've reached during my rev-up for the season of repentance.
1. Children at Mass
Having been away from Mass for nearly a month and not being "whole" in family attendance for the past few weeks, I have really missed attending with my peeps surrounding me. It is a challenge, each and every time but, like most things, it gets better with routine. We chose today at 10 AM for our reintroduction. It was a funeral, as it often is, and that made it even better. I don't take photos in church (bad form) but I do wish today someone would have been filming us for a reality show. At one point, Mr. G was across the aisle playing hand peek-a-boo through the pew with the funeral director. We are in the last pew and he wasn't there for Mass so, I let it go. Frankly, if we're going to make it as a 6-person-parade to more daily Masses (we are planning to add at least one per week, two for the older kids) we are going to have to come to some middle-ground as far as behavior. As a starting point, if the big ones are participating/paying attention enough to be properly disposed for Communion and the little ones are not making noise, I am good. I always feel bathed in grace when we are there and I know God loves little people. So, this Lent, instead of worrying about being perfectly behaved, I'm going to concentrate on the blessings around me and do all that I can to help them learn and interest them in the miracle that is the Mass.
2. Cleaning out (Things)
Today we made a trip to Washington City Mission with a van full of "stuff" to donate. I counted 6 garbage bags of toys/shoes/clothes and other assorted items. This makes me so very happy. It seems as though we are always drowning in "things" and more often than not, that makes me lose track of what is important (I know this is true for the little people). Home school makes it even more difficult. All of this is a great learning opportunity for the kids. Learning to use what you have, share with those who have less, and making a reasonable judgment of how much is "enough". It excites me that this, too, is becoming routine. How wonderful if, once grown, helping others springs to mind often!
3. Cleaning out (People)
That sounds kind of bad. Let me explain...today, without really planning it, I happened upon an amazingly clear real-life-lesson for the kids. Without going into it, it dealt with "friends" who call themselves that but act in contrary ways and actual friends who are examples of love and care. We have been through the "why does 'Annie' call me her friend one day then ignore me the next?" scenario a few times at school and it's a tough thing to learn. I am still learning it! So, today, when the kids got to see, in succession, a situation that would not be how a friend would act immediately followed by the warmth and joy of true friendship, I'm not sure it could have been made more clear - even to their tiny minds. How blessed I was to have that opportunity for myself as well. In these days of shortened time and increased commitment, it was nice to have something held immediately in front of my eyes, the message that not even I could miss. This Lent will be a time for me to examine my relationships to determine then nurture what is real.
4. Real Love
I love St. Jerome, don't you? He kicks my behind on a few things but, on the whole, I find myself nodding my head in agreement to most of the things he has to say. So, when I spent the past weekend mired in a disagreement with both my husband and very dear friend, I knew it was all good. I was willing to speak my side, as were they, and it was resolved. Disagreement is common in any loving relationship. The willingness of all involved to work through the issue and grow from it instead of walking away is such an amazing gift to me. I am so very blessed.
Having been housebound for a while, I have missed all the opportunities to frolic in the white stuff. So, just for me, "Titan" is arriving on Monday. I am absolutely GIDDY. I know, it will be a drag for all the school kids who have already missed enough school. What can I say? Home school is never canceled ;0)
Wishing you happiness, health and snow for the next few days. Have a wonderful Mardi Gras and glorious entrance into Lent!
When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting
- St. Jerome