Sunday, February 10, 2013

Brainstorming for Lent

Lent is rapidly approaching, and I've begun finalizing my plans for the year, although the handy little Lent planning book that I used last year is packed away somewhere with the other theology books that don't fit on our book shelves these days and so are biding their time down in the basement, waiting for a day when I'm organized enough to find a place for them to live (it's partially for there own good... because Mae Bae is very hand with a crayon these days... and she's constantly looking for new canvases...).  

Yesterday I suggested to Paul that the whole family give up going out to eat for the entirety of Lent.  He agreed instantly.  It's not that we eat out a lot.  But at least once a week there comes a time when we're out doing errands and lunch time comes around and we grab something quickly and get on with our errands.  I try to scour the coupons I receive and put them in my wallet to have with me for these particular moments (I'm giddy with couponing pride if I can feed the whole family when we're out for $10).  And I'll admit it, I'm likely to be the one to miss it the most, since it's nice to have an occasional break from cooking from scratch.  

If I could I would give up trying to figure out what Patrick's allergies are and just eat veggies and fruit and meat for the forty days, which would be challenging in an entirely different way than the introducing new foods and watching him get sick is.  Last night we had another disaster when I didn't realize there was an allergen in the ice cream I ordered (we'd been given a gift card, which was such a treat for the girls).  

Before we went out to ice cream I went on the store website and checked out the allergen sheet.  I saw that there were quite a few ice creams that would be okay. It's not Lent yet, after all.  I attempted to memorize my choice.  I got to the store and saw the ice creams that they actually had and completely forgot what was okay and what wasn't (I need to print these things out).  They didn't have the flavor I remembered.  I ordered vanilla.  What could be safer than vanilla, right?  And since he seems to be doing alright on dairy I thought I'd give it a try.

Eggs.  There are eggs in Cold Stones French Vanilla ice cream, in case you're wondering.  Which led to a red and swollen faced Patrick last night, crying for a couple of hours because his tummy really, really hurt.  And I guess we've now confirmed eggs as an allergy.

But I digress.  

Also on the Lent list for this year is simplifying.  I want to purge our house and donate what we don't need.  I'm going to try the "bag a day" thing again this year.  I'm hoping to work my way through the basement too.  

I'm trying not to go so big that I'm overwhelmed this year.  And I'm carefully avoiding anything that has to do with limiting food, because I made that mistake when I was nursing Sadie and found out why nursing mothers shouldn't fast.   If you're pregnant and nursing don't even think about fasting.  Not even a little bit.  Find something else to give up.  You need food for yourself and for your little one.  And no matter what people who've never tried it might say, it is not a good idea.  There's a reason for the exemption and it shouldn't be ignored.

 I'm still thinking about what I'm going to do on Friday's and Ash Wednesday in place of fasting.  And I'm going to be adding in more reading and prayer.  We already do a family rosary at night, and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone considering it (especially by candle light, our kids think lighting candles and praying is awesome and it makes it easier for them to sit still).  

What are you doing for Lent?  Do you feel ready?  And any big celebration plans for Fat Tuesday?  I'm thinking of trying a wheat and egg free King's Cake if I can figure out a recipe!  


  1. I'm going to go to mass daily,

    The baron is going sweat drinkless, so water, black coffee and nothing in his teas.

    We are both doing no meat all through lent, and hard fasting every Friday until dinner an then it will probably be a thin veggie broth soup aw well as hopefully stations.

  2. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do for Lent. I feel like Lent really snuck up on me this year, plus we have two birthdaysin our family during it (Heidi's is on Wed (Ash Wednesday) and John's is Feb. 26th, so Lent always makes it more challenging. So far, I think I'm going to try to do 1 extra, daily Mass each week, and an extra daily prayer. I'm not really sure what to give up though...I need to think about it. Possibly one particular message board.

  3. Also, as far as fasting while nursing goes...well my kids nurse until they are over 3, so my "rule" is that I do not fast if I have a baby less than 2 years of age (as I do this year, baby is still exclusively breastfed at this point..only 5 months). However, I do fast if my nursling is over 2 and I'm not pregnant, there were a few years where that happened and I haven't noticed it affecting my supply too much.

  4. We're giving up eating out/take out as a family. We're figuring out what we are doing individually. I'm thinking about going to daily Mass a few days a week, but I'm not sure if our toddler will agree with that decision. My biggest hurdle would be getting myself dressed and showered in time to get to 8am Mass.

  5. I'm pregnant and nursing this Lent, so I decided to give up sugar - which basically means cakes, cookies, ice cream, any "sweet" thing - though fruit is going to be okay (head off cravings). As a person with a major sweet tooth, it'll be a sacrifice but it won't be at the level where I am putting my health or my children's health in any kind of danger.

    I'm also committing to go to adoration for one hour a week. I sometimes "feel bad" or that I'm being "lazy" for not doing any hard fasting, but I'm just not in a position to do it. And I need to learn to be okay with that.

  6. I'm reducing my Internet time and semi-fasting (no lunch) every Friday. I'll probably also take up something else for Holy Week--perhaps giving up sweets.

  7. Count me in on the list of pregnant mamas who will be giving up sweets this Lent. I've gotten pretty bad about it (I found myself thinking after dinner last night, "What should I eat for dessert tonight?" Not good). I'm also making a commitment to praying the rosary once a day during Lent.

  8. Not sure what I'm doing myself yet, but what I am doing for friends is giving out copies of "The One Thing is Three -- How the Most Holy Trinity Explains Everything." I just finished the book and it is at the top among the many I read. (I'll be writing a review shortly).

    It received kudos from Scott Hahn and Teresa Tomeo, who I deeply respect, along with a number of teachers from seminaries. It teaches complex doctrines so simply. (Let me know if you want a copy).

  9. I'm having trouble preparing for this Lent. I kindof feel like Jennifer Fulwiler's husband in her most recent quick takes: "There's nothing left to give up. My life is Lent." Of course there is always something to give up but homeschooling a 7 and 5 year old while caring for a 3 1/2 year old, 22 month old and 5 week old, some days I feel stretched very thin and could cry if someone told me I really wasn't doing enough when I'm already doing all I can as best as I can. Some days are good, but not every day goes smoothly and just about every day is crazy busy.

    That said, I have a book on the life of Christ I've been wanting to read, so I'm picking up that for my reading. I don't get to read every night, but at least when I do get to read, I'm reading something fitting.

    Melanie Bettinelli also had the awesome idea of leaving sugar out of my tea… I don't drink coffee, so I drink soda or tea for my caffeine and giving up the sugar I put in it is a little thing I can do that won't crush even a bad day.

    I also want to get back my morning prayer. I let it slip after Brigid was born, so I'm going to do that every morning.

    I'm trying really hard to weigh what I can do and what is reasonable to do against a season of my life that is simply already very busy and very demanding. I just hope I strike the balance well and don't do too little or try to do too much.


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