Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The big ones hurt the most.

My kids made a crown of thorns of their very own using the recipe I mentioned in an earlier post. They had a great time mixing, kneading, and rolling the dough into their crown and all the while, kept asking questions about Christ's passion and death. As they placed the thorns into the thick dough, Gus spoke to Jack about how painful it must have been to have such sharp sticks encircling Jesus's head. (This just goes to show how powerful active learning can be with children. It's one thing to talk about Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins, but the lesson becomes "alive" when children work with their hands to create a symbol of His sacrifice.)

Each time a child does a good deed for another, they get to remove a painful "thorn" from our salt-dough crown. Gus is always mindful to take the biggest thorns out first.

Gus: Mom, I'm going to take this bigger thorn out, since it probably hurts the most.

No matter how big or small the sin, it hurts God and distances our relationship with Him. The more we sin, the more thorns in his crown. Regardless of our human flaws and shortcomings, He still loves us and beckons us to be reconciled to him. May this Lent bring us closer to Christ and to fullness of life He promises.

Monday, February 18, 2008

If it is yellow, let it mellow. (gross!!!!!!!)

In case you have not heard, my area of the country has been living with a severe drought situation for the past 8 months...give or take. The governor has encouraged all North Carolinians to cut water consumption by at least 20% or more. Low flow faucets and showerheads are flying out of stores, rain barrels are being used to collect dew along with the few precious drops of rain that we get. We are turning off the water when we brush our teeth, fixing slow water leaks, taking shorter showers and refusing water at restaurants. No hand watering of lawns, filling swimming pools or washing of cars is allowed, unless you want to risk a fine of $1000. And when it comes to flushing toilets, the saying here in North Carolina goes like this: "If it is yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."(ewh.) As long as our reservoirs contain less than 45% of water, Stage 3 restrictions will continue. Needless to say, many businesses are suffering under this drought. Especially landscapers, car washes, and nurseries.

The other thing that is suffering is my car. While I can live with a dirty car on the outside, the inside is another story. Oh, I can vacuum and scrape up old lollipop sticks, French fries, and cookie crumbs...but I cannot scrub my floor mats. Doing so would require that I use water from the hose. I did not realize this until I was well into the process. After cleaning the inside of the car to where it was gleaming...I realized I would have to put the nasty, crusty, sticky, stained floor mats on top of my freshly vacuumed carpet! I confess that I was tempted to use my garden hose and headed to the back yard to assess the situation. Luckily, it rained yesterday and I thankfully found a few gallons of fresh, clear rainwater in the galvanized tub set up near my back porch. It's amazing how much you can clean with so little water! In no time, I had my boys hand scrubbing my nasty floor mats! A great lesson for all of us.

Throughout this drought I am reminded of how MUCH we have in this country. Where so many around the world must walk miles for fresh, clean drinking water, all we have to do is open our faucets and fill our containers with all we need. Sacrificing a small bit for the good of the community/world is a good thing. In the long run we all benefit, and learn to appreciate the finite resources that God has placed in our care. Acting responsibly, even when no one is looking is its own reward, and God expects us to do so.

Pray for rain.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Crown of Thorns

To continue getting my family in the sacrificial mood for Lent,
Danielle Bean, suggests this easy "Crown of Thorns" activity and recipe.
Read the article on how to make your very own!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lenten Sacrifice-Not going well.

I'm really not prepared for Lent this year. Usually there is a nice long break after the season of Christmas where my "religious body clock" recuperates from the joy (and exhaustion) of Christmas and enjoys a well placed Ordinary Time consisting of at least 7-8 weeks. But this was not meant to be this year. Lent is earlier than it's been since the year 1825, and no one told my "body clock" that it needed to prepare. But here is the fact of the matter: When mom is not prepared for Lent, no one around this house is ready for Lent either.

When I asked the kids what they wanted to give up/do for Lent, each of my children looked at me unenthusiastically and chanted what they would give up/do for Lent. Their sacrifices started out pretty good, but went down-hill fast.

Here is the list:

Becca: Pray the rosary every night
Nick: Change Henry's diaper more often
Jack: No chocolate
Gus: Can I give up school?
Henry: No pulling of siblings hair while yelling, "Die, die, die"

On Fat Tuesday, Chris and I took the kids to a favorite Chinese Restaurant to celebrate the beginning of Lent with a feast. The dinner conversation evolved into what mom was going to give up for Lent. Oh, the kids were fast and furious when suggesting possible options for their mom:

Nick: Mom, maybe you could, like, stop yelling at us to do our chores and instead use a soft voice. (All nodded in agreement.)

Me: I'll consider it, Nick. Thanks for the suggestion.

Becca: Maybe you should give up going to
Panera Bread for your daily tea fix.

Me: Well, that's a possibility; although VERY challenging.

Becca: On second thought, you better not give that up. It would be hard on all of us if you did not get your caffeine.

Me: Huh. Very Funny.

Chris: Maybe you could hold your emotions in more.

Me: Wha? (I held my emotions in on that one. Good start.)

OK well, you see where all this went. Downhill people. Downhill! You see that I have my work cut out since I plan to work on two of my family's three suggestions. (There is no way I could give up my tea and work on the other two suggestions with charity). There is nothing like having your family decide what you need to do to sacrifice more. The whole dying to self and sacrificing more for others makes good sense and challenges me, especially when God speaks through those I love.

Are you still needing ideas for how to celebrate Lent in a more meaningful way? Be sure to check out Our Sunday Visitor's Downloadable Lenten Calendar It is colorful, attractive and ready to print out. You can hang it on your fridge, or give it to members of your bible study!

Busted Halo has a wonderful article called, 25 Things you can do for Lent. which is generous with options for the person needing something new to practice.

May you all have a wonderful and blessed Lenten season, and here's to family...always keeping us humble before the Lord.

Ash Wednesday

"Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Math Homework

Because I lack any time to write a real post, I'll give you all a picture instead. Here we have poor Nick, struggling with his Math homework. We also have dad, struggling with a good approach to help Nick understand his homework. Did they succeed?
Yes they did, but not without wailing and nashing of teeth from both sides.