For the first time in my life today I fasted. Really fasted. Don't get me wrong. I've managed to fulfill my Lenten obligations for fasting and abstaining in years past for the most part. Today, however was the first time I've ever done so simply for the love of our God, and for a desire to want to be closer to Him. What an amazing change in how the day went when I considered doing it to please Him only, rather than considering it a bonus way to shed a few pounds during the lenten season.
I must admit, I felt drained for a good part of the afternoon. And when I was most tempted to grab a snack, I chose instead to feast on His word. The house was quiet for a short time this afternoon as the older kids were at school, younger ones napped, and John headed out to work. It gave me about 45 minutes to search for some good Lenten reflections online. Just as I began googling, the doorbell rang. Someone had stopped to deliver a book of daily prayers and reflections. I'd just been gifted with a treasure called "My Daily Bread" Wow. I read just the first chapter and know I'm going to love it. It's just what I'd been hoping to find online. Thank you to my mystery friend for sharing His word with me just when I was most hungry for it! The lesson or theme in the first chapter was a reminder to stay focused on Him and our ultimate goal of Heaven. I concluded my quiet time with a rosary. What a wonderful way to get centered in our Lord just before the kids get home.
I'll admit, by evening I was quite a grump to be around. The kids will not argue that, I'm sure. We did manage to find some peaceful time together making a Lenten Prayer Tree though. We cut out paper ornaments in various Lent/Easter themed shapes...lambs, crosses, hearts, crown of thorns, grapes, fish, etc. The kids gave suggestions for various prayer intentions, people or things they want to pray for, and wrote them on the ornaments, which were then tied to a small tree in our living room. (I have a small "christmas" tree out year round that I decorate for all the seasons, but the idea I'd read suggested clipping a branch from a tree in your yard). Our plan is use the tree to help us keep these prayer intentions as we say our bedtime prayers each night. Later during Holy Week, we can add our usual Easter ornaments and colorful flowers, etc.
Overall, I'd say we're off to a beautiful start this lent. As with any journey, we're bound to forget something, have to stop for assistance somewhere along the way, and certainly realize we're packing more baggage than we should ever need. I can only pray that as necessary, I'll stop for His directions. Peaceful journey to you all!