Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The penitential pracitces of praying, fasting, and almsgiving begins today.Today is a day, along with every Friday throughout the Lenten season, where we as Catholics will not eat meat. As a holy day we do not snack between meals on these days either (this is the fasting part). While it is OK for the very young, very old, or pregnant (or for those who otherwise need to eat many small meals throughout the day for their health) to snack during this time the rest of us obstain from doing it. (*The top two sentences that I highlighted came directly from another site, which I will give the link to in just a moment.*) The Cracker Jacks, though they have not yet made their first communion (due to our several moves in the past) have been joining us in every aspect of Lent for the past several years. Peanut is only just now five years old and she'll still be allowed some snacks today if she truly needs one, YCJ also sometimes has a hard time due to her blood sugar and if it begins to make her feel "off" she'll get something that will tide her over until the next meal. During this time we also obstain from deserts (this is hardest on the campers).
I have heard from some of my friends, some who are Catholic, that "Fat Tuesday" is just for eating paczkis (a wonderful Polish doughnut), Madi Gras, and general dabachery. It really ends up irritating me. My husband is the one I will quote here as what he says to our children makes the best (and easiest) sense to our children, "Fat Tuesday is not just a day where we eat paczkis, it is not just a day that people in New Orleans party, it isn't just a day to go wild and have fun. Fat Tuesday, even though it's not a real holy day it is the day that we can eat all of the good things that we will miss for the next 40 days. Lent lasts 40 days and during that time we give up a lot of the things we may like, like sweets, to honor the Lord and show him we are faithful. This is not all we do during Lent. But, I don't want you guys to ever think of Fat Tuesday as just a day to party and "get fat"."
One of the fun things we do in our house for the Lenten season is to join in with the videos and activities at Holy Heroes for their Lenten Adventures (this is the site that I took the first two lines of this post from as I couldn't have thought of a better way to say it, and thus I give them credit). During Lenten Adventures, a free program by the way, you as the parent will get an e-mail every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during Lent with videos and activities that your children can watch and do. Of course it's fun to join in ourselves as well. This helps to reinforce the meanings and teachings of the season for my children (and sometimes myself). Other than listening to the videos today we'll be coloring some pictures that talk about Ash Wednesday later.
Another thing we're trying this year is Magnifikid (we've got the free sample for March right now and are reviewing it for our own purposes). So far we're really liking this series, there's one little booklet for each Sunday and one for Ash Wednesday. I am beginning to think that we'll be using this series year round and buying a set for each child, which is a pretty good investment of money for us, but so far I think it is worth it.
There are a few things that we're giving up for Lent of course. One of the big things for the campers is that they're giving up all of the bad habits that they had written on their "evil twins" ( read more about them here ). And to kick that off to a good start I had the campers rip up their "evil twins" and throw out the pieces, then say a small prayer to God to help them give up these bad habits. ECJ popped up with, "I'm still trying this new thing called truth." *Ahem* Well, at least that was truthful. They had a lot of fun while doing this and were glad to see those scary (they did a really good job at making those pictures scary) things off of their door, ripped up, and thrown out. I spent a few minutes talking to them gently about how much we (their parents) and God love them so much more when their not doing these willfully bad things.
As for me I'm taking the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge and I've enlisted Daddy to help me with this. So perhaps we'll end up with 80 bags in 40 days! I began today with a little project but am thinking of working on yet a bigger one this evening if time permits. Yes, this was a small step. But that table filled 3/4 of the bag and gathering more junk off of my kitchen counter filled the rest of it. Honestly it took me less than ten minutes, including polishing that old table.
That's not all we're doing for Lent but it's a good start to the day. I'm linking this up today with Campfires and Cleats and Equipping Catholic Families for the Keep Love in Lent Link Up. I truly believe that love needs to be kept in Lent. For now I must be off of here, it's time to head to the church for our ashes and if we're on time we'll even make Mass!
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