Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Lenten Journey (2015)

Lent has started! It's almost the second Sunday of Lent and I praise and thank God for the wisdom and grace He has given me and my family to continue our Lenten family traditions and to start new ones.
I consider this is a miracle because I have a newborn baby whom I breastfeed on demand. I thank God for sustaining me and giving me energy to lead our devotions and activities. I thank God also that it seems that my two older boys are enjoying our activities.
Let me share what we have started so far. 
Ash Wednesday was a full day in our home.
We changed the curtains and throw pillow cases changed into lavender. We also changed the cover of our altar into the same color.

My eldest son made Lenten banners.

My two older kids made the Alleluia banner and hid it.

I asked my eldest son to write "From: Jesus" in the gift tag
and on the opposite side of it, "salvation" and "eternal life."
We started using the Lenten calendar I printed the day before. For alternative Lenten Calendar ideas, click here.

Lenten Calendar from Catholic Icing blog.
The kids dropped coins on our alms box (a cereal box turned into a coin box covered with purple paper and with the word ALMS written on it).
I declared that for the entire season of Lent, our family will fast on our favorite dessert: ice cream and chocolates. So on the night before Ash Wednesday, my husband and I had a brief Valentine date at a nearby ice cream store. ;)
We've started observing the abstinence of meat on prescribed days like Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. I put to use the 4-week Cycle Menu Plan for Lent that I made . Click here to go to my post about meatless Fridays of Lent.
And since we love music, we started reviewing and singing songs usually sang during Lent. Last week, my eldest son who can play the piano oido and who is starting to learn how to read notes learned how to play the song Hosea.

We went to Mass on Ash Wednesday and had ashes on our foreheads.

It's our baby's first Ash Wednesday!

As part of our new Lenten tradition, I have started reading the Bible or Bible stories from the kids' Children's Bible over breakfast. Then, I reinforce with a bit of storytelling as well when I read from my Bible.
After our storytelling and Bible reading, I sometimes ask the kids to make a drawing based on the story that they just heard. Sometimes, I ask them to color coloring pages about the stories that I told them. I also ask my eldest son to answer some worksheets related to our topics. Sometimes, he answers word searches, mazes, questions or fill in the blanks worksheets. I search the internet for ideas. I also get some help from the Holy Heroes site for inspiration and activities. I choose only what I think my kids are ready to do at this time/age.
Just like in the past, I reinforce these lessons and stories by letting them watch some videos on our topics/Bible heroes/characters. One of the recent videos I let them watch is about the 10 Commandments.
The kids so far are enjoying these activities. I hear them a lot talking about the Bible characters and stories we have discussed so far. Sometimes, these stories become the theme of their pretend plays. 
We have also resumed our night prayers as a family. For a while we just listen to the kids say their night prayers in the past months after I gave birth then we send them to bed to sleep. This Lent, we started praying again with them after they say their night prayers.
Lent is indeed a season of grace and I thank God for His grace that is new every morning. His grace is what enables us to keep on keeping on in our faith walk. It's what enables us to be faithful even after we fall and make mistakes along the way. It's His grace that reminds us of His unconditional and steadfast love. It's His grace that gives me encouragement to continuously strive to be more like Him in all things, especially in parenting my kids.
This year, I do not have a new verse to guide me throughout my Lenten journey. I have decided to stick to the verse that I adapted years ago. I believe that I need to be reminded of this verse a lot so I can grow closer to living it out. My verse for Lent again this year is: "Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."
I pray that God would continue to bless the rest of our Lenten journey.

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