How’s Your Lent Going? (A Letter to God)

How's Your Lent Going?

Dear Lord,

I feel like I am already failing at this Lent thing. You know what I planned to do, what my intentions were. You also know that I haven’t consistently done any of the things I set out to do.

Give up all to drink except milk and water? I fell on Day Two when a coworker brought me a fancy drink from Starbucks. Pray a Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day of Lent? I fell on Day One. Really. Ensure that I set aside 15 minutes a day to read Scripture – and then actually do it, reflecting on what I read and prayerfully pondering Your Word? I fell on Day Four, because it was the weekend.

I’ve fallen a lot.

I know there’s still time. I know the season is young. It’s only Day Six (not counting Sunday.) But this, this is the time I usually start to rationalize my failures.

“Well, that penance was really too hard.” “That prayer routine is too unrealistic.” “That self-improvement plan was too intense.”  And on I go.

It’s so easy to do this when I fail. To console my ego. To lie to myself.

Remind me, Lord, that on your Way of the Cross, you fell – not once, but three times. And you’re the Messiah, so it makes sense that I fall waaaaay more often. How humiliating, how hard that must have been for You. And yet – and yet you struggled to Your feet, balancing your crushing cross, and You got back up. You kept moving forward.

Help me keep going. Help me persevere.

Love,

Wendy

 

Restore. Renew. Revive.

I’m weary, y’all.

The last time I posted was December 11, a mere two weeks before Christmas, and five days after learning we {happily} are expecting our fifth kiddo.

During the past several weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed with liturgical celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, separation from family over holidays, a life-threatening incident with dear friends of ours, the beginning of a new college semester, tensions in my oil-industry employment, the prospect of an upcoming move, planning my sister’s wedding, a lingering cold, and of course, first-trimester wrapping all of the chaos in a cozy blanket.

So…yeah. Weary.

For the past two years during Lent, my internet friend Elizabeth Foss has offered an online workshop for weary women called “Restore.” With Danielle Bean, Elizabeth co-wrote my favorite devotional, Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Elizabeth’s writing is calm, peaceful, and sprinkled with the wisdom of a woman with nine children who has been mothering for almost 30 years. Her posts on family life helped saved my marriage when Superman and I struggled with reintegration following deployment.  I have wanted to participate in the Restore workshop each time it’s been offered, especially the year my hormones were abnormal and affecting every breath I took. I felt so completely oppressed. I watched longingly as other women on social media, most with far more crushing life circumstances than mine, commented and photographed their experiences with the program. Elizabeth integrates prayer, reflection, and daily creativity-stimulating activities to administer a healing balm to souls. I know the program works, because I saw friends like Bobbi find their way out of burned-out chaos into the beauty of New Life in the springtime of their souls. Elizabeth talks a bit more about the workshop here: Video from Elizabeth on Restore

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7 Quick Takes – Lent Already?! [vol.15]

7QT hosted by This Ain't The Lyceum

I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite sure where the first few weeks of Lent went, let alone the entire months of January and February.  Apparently, it’s two and a half (three? I seriously do NOT know) weeks into Lent already.  Let’s take a look at a few of the things going on in Chateau du Cajuntexasmom as we sojourn, disoriented, the Lenten desert together.

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Why I Am Not Taking An #ashtag Selfie

Have you heard about the USCCB’s #ashtag selfie contest?

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Last year, as part of a Lenten photo challenge on Instagram, I posted a photo of my ashes. I felt weird about doing it at the time, but couldn’t figure out why. Today, it clicked.

If you haven’t yet been to Mass today, here’s an excerpt from the Gospel of Ash Wednesday:

“Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract attention; otherwise you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win human admiration. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward.” Matthew 6:1-2, NAB

I’m not usually one to publicly take the USCCB to task, but this one is leaving me scratching my head.

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Living the Liturgical Year With A Fork And A Knife

As a mom of four who works outside of the home, it’s always particularly challenging for me to try and find ways to bring the Liturgical Year of the Church alive for our family.  A few years ago we decided that we were determined to do a little something special on favorite feast days during the year to drive home the idea that our Church is a Church of celebration.  There is much throughout the year to celebrate, enjoy, and live our hope in joy!  We started out slowly, celebrating each child’s patron saint’s feast day.  We usually do this by making cupcakes or letting the child pick what we eat for supper that night. Slowly, we began adding little crafts or special foods for other feast days.  Along the way, I have come to realize that the easiest way to highlight a feast day is by preparing foods for supper or dessert that accurately portray the type of cuisine local to the region where the saint lived.  For instance, on St. Joseph’s feast day (March 19th), I make my good friend’s recipe for mostaccioli as an homage to his popularity in Sicily.

Mostaccioli for the feast of St. Joseph....mmmm
Mostaccioli for the feast of St. Joseph….mmmm

Another time, we had goldfish crackers on the feast of St. Anthony, which led to a great retelling of the legend where the saint couldn’t find anyone who’d listen to his sermons – so he went to a nearby stream and preached to the fish!  One day when I was feeling particularly adventuresome, we invited a few friends over to make cornbread and wooden spoon dolls to celebrate the feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.  Most of the time, though, dinnertime is the best time to enjoy saint-centric conversation and foods. Continue reading