A Lent drop-out??

For those of you observing Lent, how is it going? Well, just keepin’ it real here on the blog…but I’m a big Lent failure!! For the first week, I did great…now, I’ve pretty much fallen off the bandwagon.

So, let me just tell you…I have stayed off of facebook AND the blog reading…so in those 2 small areas there has been success. However, I haven’t been able to stay off the computer all day long like I wanted to at first. The first few days, I was challenged in that I had a few phone calls with people needing me to send out emails right then. No problem, get on, send an email…get back off.

Well, then this past week I checked out a book from the library called Real Food. (remember my thoughts on Real Food?) It was great…it gave me websites to check. One click here, another click there and before you know it, I’m online off and on throughout the day researching. I kept telling myself that I was studying and learning how to feed my family more healthy foods…and that is the truth! And it is a GOOD thing…but I still wasn’t keeping up with my commitment to “fast” from the internet. Uggg…

Add in yet another factor…we’ve had sick kids for over 2 weeks here…2-3 days I’ve put movies on for the sickies and well, gotten on the computer! I’m telling you…it was kind of like cabin fever here for awhile and I was so ready for everyone to be well!! And, now, finally I *think* we are all better! Hallelujah!!

And the final “factor” in my list of excuses as to why I haven’t been able to stay off the computer…I’m struggling. I have said it before, but I seem to have this tendency in my life to have waves of ups and downs. This past week has been a hard one. I am finding myself feeling very overwhelmed…very frustrated, irritable. You name it. I don’t know what brings these times on…or really how to even bring myself out of them…but it’s been a hard week. Lately I feel like all my kids do is fight. (will it always be this way?) And some days I feel like if I hear anymore crying and whining I might have to do something drastic. I don’t know what that might be…but well, it would need to be drastic. Some days I feel like I’m losing my mind! I know all of these things are normal, kids will fight, kids will complain, kids will cry. But, it’s just been worse than usual. Or is it worse because I’m already feeling a bit overwhelmed? Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s the kids or if it’s me…but I’m feeling it either way. So, all that to say…you can pray for me!! I’m not sure what the problem is, or if there’s an answer…but you can pray for me, at least! 🙂

I’ve been continuing to memorize verses with Beth Moore on her blog, the 1st and 15th of each month we choose a new verse to memorize. Here is my verse from the past 2 weeks:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2.

Now, from the Message:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity. God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

So, I’ve been praying fervently that God would TRANSFORM my mind. Everytime I open His word or spend time in prayer, I’m begging Him to TRANSFORM me and RENEW my mind. I want to think like Him, to have the big picture in my mind, to not be bogged down and overwhelmed by my daily life. But, alas, I’m not there yet. It’s my prayer…and I’m still pleading with God for that transformation…but I know also that I have to keep going to Him daily. He’s not going to “fix” me and make things perfect for me here on earth. Otherwise I wouldn’t keep needing Him so desperately day in and day out. Otherwise I wouldn’t long for my eternal home with Him where there will be no troubles, no worries, no sickness and no pain. I’m clinging to that HOPE…the HOPE of Christ..and the HOPE of that FOREVER transformation that will occur someday. Praise God we have HOPE in Jesus!!

Litany of Humility

I came across this prayer and knew it was *for me!* So many things that I struggle with are listed in this prayer! I am not familiar or comfortable with praying “written prayers.” But during this Lent season, I am going to try it. My hope is that the times during the day when I find myself wanting to get on the computer or wanting to “connect” with other moms (which is why I get online alot of the time!) that I can pull out a prayer already written for me…and stay focused. Of course, I will still pray as I usually do, free-for-all, lol! But, some of these prayers are so beautiful and I really think it will help me to focus and concentrate on specific issues.

Litany of Humility
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)

Lent & Easter ideas

I have shared about how I will be taking a break from alot of my computer time during Lent. I did want to leave you with a list of Lent/Easter ideas…as I’m so excited about some of the resources I have found!Books & Resources

*this first book, Journey to the Cross, will be our “main” text in addition to the Bible. This book has 40 readings in it which are the events in Jesus life leading up to His death and resurrection. We will read 1 page/reading each day starting with the beginning of Lent, Feb 25th.
Journey to the Cross: The Complete Easter Story for Young Readers*This book, Benjamin’s Box is a story that you can read to go along with the Resurrection Eggs. If you have younger children and want to teach them the true meaning of Easter, you should really check into getting the Resurrection Eggs, they are wonderful! We will be doing this the final week leading up to Easter.

Benjamin's Box

 

*If you have younger children, the Resurrection Eggs are probably my favorite Easter resource ever! 🙂 You open one egg at a time (I know some families choose to open 1 egg today leading up to Easter) and each egg has one thing in it to help tell the story of Jesus death and resurrection. There are things in it like coins that Judas got paid for betraying Jesus, a piece of cloth that his body was wrapped in, a stone to represent the stone in front of the tomb, a cross, etc. I have seen these eggs at walmart, but most Christian book stores would also carry them.


*To go along with the resurrection eggs, a WONDERFUL video for age 3-6yrs (maybe) is Mrs. Patty Cake’s Eggstravaganza! My oldest is 7 years and she still enjoys it, but it is geared for preschoolers. She talks about the resurrection eggs, opens some of them and tells the Easter storoy along with cute, simple and singable songs for the kiddos!! It’s alot of fun!
Eggstravaganza, DVD

*This book called Mrs. Katz and Tush is a Five in a Row selection (our homeschool curriculum.) We will be using this book the week before Passover and Good Friday. This year I wanted to teach my children a little bit more about Passover and what that means. This book is a good introduction to that. I am also planning to get together with 2 friends and plan our own Passover meal complete with foods that they ate! I’m very excited about that!

Links and Ideas

*A neat and meaningful idea I read about last year was to take 2 boards/wood and nail them together like a cross. (hopefully David would do this part!) And then have each person in the family write down a sin that they need to confess. Then each person will nail their sins to the cross. (with daddy’s help.)

*Here are the Easter resources from Homeschool Share. (there are units for 2 of my favorite Easter books for children: The Parable of the Lily and The Legend of the Easter Egg, both stories about the true meaning of Easter for us as believers.)

*Here are lapbook and notebooking components for Mrs. Katz and Tush

*Here is a Lent blog called These Forty Days, this blog is from a Catholic perspective, many of the prayers on this site are beautiful and directly from scripture. Not all of it is in line with where I am theologically, but much of it is very useful for me as well.

*I am going to do this Lent Map/Countdown with the kids. Each day we will color in 1 square as we “countdown” to Jesus resurrection day!

*There are a few Lent and Easter handwriting/copywork pages on this site

*I love this idea!! This site shows you how to teach and show your children about the 10 Plagues. It is SO creative!! I’m definitely going to use this, starting 10 days before Good Friday. And then I read another friend’s idea to hang a red cloth over your door on Passover Night and Good Friday as a symbol and picture for your kids!

*Here is a sweet poem you can read with your kids, while eating jelly beans of course!

“The Jelly Bean Prayer”

Red is for the Blood He gave,
Green is for the grass He made,
Yellow is for the Sun so bright,
Orange is for the edge of night,
Blue is for the Sky He made,
White is for the Grace He gave,
Purple is for His hour of sorrow,
Pink is for our new tomorrow,

A bag full of jelly beans
All colorful and sweet
Is a Prayer
Is a Promise
Is a small child’s treat.

Other Children’s Books for Easter

The Parable of the Lily: Special 10th Anniversary Edition

Legend of the Easter Egg, The

 

Lent…and taking a break

Dear friends, I am not a part of a church that celebrates the liturgical year and/or the Lenten season. However, the more I have been reading about Lent, the more I feel the Lord leading me in this direction. Alot of the resources I have found are from more liturgical settings: Catholic, Lutheran, etc. However, as I read through some of the prayers and scriptures I find that alot of it is non-denominational and very fitting for this season we are moving into.

Lent is a 40-day season that comes just before Easter. If you are beginning on Wed. Feb. 25th which is Ash Wednesday, you do not count the Sundays in the tradtional “40 day” count. The reason they do not count Sundays is because Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection. The 40 days of Lent represent the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness. It is a time of repentance, devotion, surrender, renewal, soul-searching, and rededicating our hearts and lives to the Lord. Honestly, I am VERY excited and hopeful to see what God does in my heart during this time. I’m excited to see what things He shows me, what things He wants to change in me…as well as our family relationships growing deeper and stronger.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting 40 days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”…Jesus said to him, “Away from me Satan! For it is written: ‘worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ Then the devil left him and angels attended to him.” Matthew 4:1-11

The things the Lord has placed on my heart regarding Lent are…

*Jesus spent 40 days in the desert…I want to give HIM 40 days with more of my attention, prayers and heart.

*While Easter is the most joyous day in the lives of Christians, the time leading up to it was probably the hardest time ever in the lives of those believers living at the time with Jesus. I want to spend this season focusing on Jesus, what He did for me, spending time at His feet in prayer and worship, choosing the “better” for a season.

*I have read of so many people who observe Lent and how much MORE meaningful Easter is to them…to have focused on Jesus and his suffering and death for the weeks leading up to the resurrection will make Easter morning an even MORE joyous occasion!

*I want to “put away” the things that take up my time and take away FROM time with the Lord.

That said, I am going to be “giving up” my internet as far as the “fun” of it is concerned. Now, I do have prior obligations that will keep me checking for emails and such.

MY PLAN for Lent:

*no blog reading (this will be hard, I love reading all of your blogs!)
*no computer during the day until around 9pm daily and this will be ONLY for email checking and the occasional review (I am committed to TOS for these reviews and cannot just quit mid-year, I also have to check in on that message board, I will do at after 9pm a few times a week.) (I am also committed to sending out prayer email chains for our choir and women’s ministry that I will check at night, but not during the day.)
*no “surfing” including my teaching/lesson plans, I *hope* to have my units and school plans ready to go by Tueday of this week
*no message board reading (I am committed as a moderator of HSS, but will not be checking in for pleasure, I will check in with the “staff” message board there and ask them to email me if I am needed.)
*little blogging coming FROM me – again, I am committed to my TOS reviews and each of those has a deadline that I will be meeting. I also hope to share my Lent and then Easter plans with you, and come Caleb’s birthday I’ll have to post some pictures of my boy! But, it will be pretty quiet around here for the most part. Unless I feel the Lord leading me to share something specific.

IN PLACE OF: (what I hope to replace my internet time which has become WAY too time consuming)

*more time in prayer (I have bought a new prayer journal that I hope to record in daily)
*more time in the Word
*more time READING! Do you guys know how big the pile of books is that I have to read beside my bed?? The books that will be my first choice are books that will draw me to the Lord. I have a new devotional, a Lent devotional and a few books on faith that will be at the top of that list.
*David and I are going to be doing the book “Love Dare” from the movie Fireproof. This book is 40 days long and will be perfect for us to focus some time and energy into our marriage during Lent.
*more “fun” time with my kids – I’m going to make more of an effort to play games with them as 1 specific thing
*a little spring cleaning around the house
*exercise – I have been really, really enjoying how I feel with consistent exercise the past 3 weeks…I want to continue that and work towards a better daily routine with that

MY HOPES:

*for all areas of my life to grow healthier: physically, emotionally, spiritually
*to deepen my love and devotion for Jesus
*to deepen and strengthen my prayer life
*to hide MORE of His word in my heart
*for Him to change me…in ways that I may not be expecting, in any way He sees fit
*strengthen and deepen our family relationships – with David and with the kids