Last year was my first time observing Lent. I really loved the experience of simplifying, paring back, and making sacrifices for the purpose of preparing to be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil and to grow closer to Christ. Each time I felt a small amount of suffering as a result of one of the penances I took on, I just thought about Him. It was pretty awesome.
So this year, I’m truly looking forward to Lent again. Here are Seven Quick Takes on my thoughts about and plans for Lent 2015:
First of all, I have to provide a link to a great article from Daniel Bearman – Acts of Idiot Praise. It’s about what to do on Sundays during Lent. It clarified for me the concepts of fasting and abstinence and penance and how these relate to what we’re doing during Lent and what we’re supposed to do on Sundays.
For my penances, I’m giving up a few things and taking on a few things.
What I’m giving up:
Facebook. Though I love Facebook for keeping up with friends and family far away, it has become far too much of a time drain for me (if you usually follow my blog via Facebook, you can follow me with Instagram, Bloglovin’, or Twitter instead, or you can subscribe in the sidebar to get posts emailed to you, which is my preferred way of reading the blogs I follow).
Spending. I imposed a spending ban on myself in the fall, which was needed and it was great. I have a tendency to get far too much homeschooling stuff that we don’t need and Amazon Prime is my best friend/worst enemy. I lifted the ban for Christmas, but I will be taking it back up for Lent. I’ve been doing all of my birthday and Easter buying in advance (Miss’s birthday is on Ash Wednesday and Sis’s is in March). I’ll be limiting spending to necessities like groceries (see below) and gas and such.
What I’m taking on:
Pantry and freezer cooking. In an effort to simplify and be less wasteful and more frugal, I’ll be limiting my grocery buying to primarily perishables like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. I got this idea from Kendra, and since we have a pantry full of food and a freezer full of pork and other stuff, I’m going to use it up. Wish me luck.
Lenten journal. I already do the daily scripture readings and devotions from Blessed is She. I got their Lenten journal too, and I’m excited to do it.
What we’re giving up as a family:
Ice cream. We did this last year too, and it was a great, basic thing for the girls to experience giving up something specific for Lent. I let them choose what to give up this year, and they chose ice cream over chocolate (a nearly impossible choice, in my opinion). We’ll have a big ice cream party on Fat Tuesday again, and include brownies this year in celebration of Miss’s birthday on Wednesday.
What my girls are giving up:
I asked each of the older girls to give up something in addition to ice cream, and I love what they came up with, with zero guidance from me, I might add.
Miss chose to give up coloring. This is actually a big deal for her, as it’s one of her very favorite activities.
Lass chose to give up asking for toys. She’s in this phase where she asks to have everything she likes. I repeatedly remind her that she can’t have everything she wants and that if she really wants something, she’ll have to wait until her birthday (which is in August), so I’m super happy she chose this.
Last year we did the Lenten calendar from Catholic Icing to count down the days of Lent, and these printable cards from Team Whitaker to pick acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving each day. This year we’re combining these activities and doing this calendar from Traci Smith. We’ll put stickers on it as each day passes and we complete the activity to make it a fun countdown. I printed out the blank one she offers on her site, so I can choose the things we’ll be doing, using a lot of the ideas on the already prepared one. We’ll have various penances, prayers, and almsgiving activities to focus on for each day of Lent.
Yes, I know I need to get going on this!
We’re doing the bean jar for Lenten sacrifices. I’ll let the girls put a bean into the jar for each little sacrifice they do, and then on Easter morning they’ll be replaced with jellybeans.
Awesome Lent-related links:
Lent Cometh: Perhaps Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know to Have the Best Lent Ever – By Kendra from Catholic All Year – Kendra has so many good posts with ideas for Lent, and this one has links to all of them.
Simple Lenten Traditions for Families (With Little to No Prep Work) by Lacy from Catholic Icing
9 Ideas for Observing Lent with Kids by Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas
Walking Through Lent with Small Children by Sarah from Two Os + More
The Lenten Season in Our Catholic Home by Jessica from Shower of Roses
Or you can check out my Lent Pinterest board for a few more ideas.
What are you doing for Lent?
I’m linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes today (a day late).