Podcast recommendation

As we are gearing up for Holy Week and Easter, I wanted to recommend The Lanky Guys podcast, The Word on the Hill, particularly this week’s podcast on Palm Sunday.

The podcasts are focused on giving insights to the Sunday readings. Their description:

The Lanky Guys (Fr. Peter Mussett and Scott Powell) are two utterly brilliant and charmingly witty Catholic theologians who host the wildly popular podcast, The Word on the Hill, which attempts to tie together all of the readings from the Sunday Mass.

They generally run 45 minutes, so I start listening in small segments before Sunday. It really deepens my prayer having this food for thought on the readings.

Two thumbs up recommendation!

Four More Days….

…until Holy Week. I’m not ready, but then I never am. I look at where I have failed this Lent. I have been very weak. But, as my spiritual director reminds me, there is always room to begin again, and this last week can be marked with great intense work.

Still, I am the little child who climbs into Jesus’ lap. I tell Him how he knows how weak I am. I can’t do any of this on my own. I ask him to please carry me and walk me through all the hard things of my day.

I just wrote a long piece at Catholic Culture: Holy Week Preparation. It’s long. Did I mention it’s long? But it’s good for me to write it all out to understand why I’m always tired at Easter. It’s a lot. Even if I were to only do the Liturgical Preparation and attend the liturgies, I think we would still be tired.

This week I tested my oldest son on some of his allergens. He is allergic to eggs, wheat and dairy, with dairy being his worst. He is near the age where he should be starting to outgrow the allergens.

Report:

  • He tried bread that had eggs, and he had no reaction.
  • He tried two saltines and had a delayed reaction (itchy mouth).
  • We had pancakes that included eggs and no reaction.

He was disappointed the wheat didn’t work, but I was so proud of him because he didn’t throw a fit or cry, but very grown-up.

Our final test on the egg will be eating them straight. He’s eager to try.

He couldn’t stop talking about the pancakes. He was just thrilled. And I’m thrilled, too.

And why do I put this on a Holy Week post? Because I am hoping to find some recipes that are wheat and dairy free, but can use eggs. You don’t know hard it is to make baked goods without eggs. It’s just a crumbly mess.

I dislike testing recipes in Holy Week, but I think it’s the best way. If you have any suggestions for recipes, please let me know. I think in particular I’m looking for Hot Cross Buns. The recipe can have sugar, it can be with almond meal or other paleo flours or other flours, it also can contain oat flour. I can substitute milk with almond milk. Butter I usually substitute with coconut oil.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Holy Week and Easter

Palm Sunday is four days away. You could probably tell by my posts that I’m finalizing our plans for Holy Week and Easter. I have updated my top bar with Lent and Easter. Somehow all my Easter posts were missing.

I have also added a new category, Printables. I have not linked all my posts yet, but it might be helpful to have that category, and then subcategories depending on the liturgical season.

It is still a work in progress in updating my blog, but I have promised myself to not take on any new project until Holy Week is a distant memory.

Below is a compilation of my Holy Week and Easter related posts.

Various Posts for Reading, Planning, Triduum

EASTER

Easter Eggs

Easter Vigil

Prayers

Crafts

Recipes

Prayers and Hymns for the Easter Season is similar to my Lent for Children Daily Display, O Antiphon Prayer Companion, and Christmas Prayer Companion which incorporates our favorite liturgical tools, an easel binder (or this one which is more expensive, but more durable and expandable) which we use daily at the table to highlight different thoughts for the liturgical seasons or feasts. The Easter season “Daily Display” which has a page for the week with Sunday’s Gospel (this is Year A) and artwork and antiphon and prayers for the week. The antiphon can be used before any prayer of the day, and the family prayers can either be used for morning and/or evening prayers, or meal prayers. The section in parentheses is for meal times. The artwork is full-color art images.

PrayersEasterSeasonpreviewEaster Season Display Year A 2014

The second is a little booklet with black and white images, the prayers from the daily display, plus the Collect Prayers from the Sunday Masses, and also the lyrics to some key Easter hymns. This is paginated to print double-sided, and then fold and staple into a booklet. This is for everyone to be able to read along during family prayers. Print the first two pages on cardstock for a nice cover.

Easter Season Booklet Year A 2014

 

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Jonah and Holy Week (re-post)

One of the favorite activities we do at Holy Week is the Jonah Project. This is a repost which includes printable forms of the Jonah. My original post on this tradition is here: Lessons from Jonah.

A tradition in our house has become Lessons from Jonah during Holy Week, which was inspired by Mary Reed Newland from her The Year and Our Children. Her original instructions can be read online here and here.

Our materials were looking a bit shabby, and since they were originally crafted very hastily, I updated them this year. I loosely followed Mrs. Newland’s instructions to create Jonah, the fish (or whale), and a ship, but I’m not artist, so apologies if you cannot recognize these figures:

Now for something to do. This is an activity that sums up all that Jonas teaches. The children use it during Holy Week. You need 9″ X 12″ colored construction paper, scissors, paste, and your choice of crayons, paint, or inks, and glitter. If you get glitter, don’t forget a tube of glitter-glue to use with it. All these things can be found in the Five-and-Ten.

The fish, measuring 8″ X 5-1/2″, is cut from a folded piece of paper with the top of the head and tail on the fold. Paste the tails together and spread apart the base so that it will stand.

The ship is 6″ high and 6-1/2″ long, with the top of the sail on the fold. This is cut from one piece of folded paper. Cut another sail from another color and paste over the first; spread apart to stand.

Jonas is 3″ high with his hands on the fold. Paste his heads together and spread his legs apart.

Use different colors for each piece and decorate them to suit your fancy. On the sail of the ship we painted a single eye, a symbol of the watchfulness of God the Father, who saw Jonas run away and sent the storm at sea.

These .pdf files you can print on cardstock, color and cut, and fold to stand. From past experience, I recommend not cutting out the white space over Jonah’s head, or there will be trouble standing him up. There are two options for the fish. The larger one I use, tracing on a folded blue 12 x 12 paper from a local craft store — “Cardstock Stack”. But since not everyone has this lying around, I provided a smaller fish to print on 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock. I’m considering laminating or putting Contact paper at least on Jonah, as he gets the most wear. If you feel creative, add another sail to the ship. Frankly, I’d like to research what the ship would have looked like, because mine is not a convincing water-safe vessel.


Mrs. Newland continues:

This is how they are used. Pour yellow corn meal on a tray (if sand is not available), and the figures will stand up in it. At the beginning of Holy Week, Jonas is in the ship. Standing in the prow with his arms flung up like that, he looks as though he is about to be tossed overboard Good Friday he goes into the fish. On Easter Sunday, the first child awake runs downstairs to take him out of the fish and put him on the shore, where he stands with his arms upflung in a great and joyful Alleluia! On the mast of the ship he tapes a cross, because the ship is a symbol of Christ’s Church, born out of the graces of the Redemption, and the fish is an ancient symbol of Christ. Icthus is the Greek word meaning fish, and each letter is the initial Greek letter of each word in the Greek phrase Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.

While the sand is a nuisance to clean, this is one week of the year I indulge in all the senses. Our base is a large wood tray with edges (the paintable kind from the craft stores), covered with aluminum foil (even the handles, so no sand comes leaking out). The shore and water lines are divided by a loose diagonal or straight line. The two different colored sands will go on either side. To keep the sands divided, I have used Sculpey clay, sometimes rocks on top of the clay or just rocks. The boys will touch it, and the colors will mix, but it’s a visual divider that we all like. (Note all these illustrations are from are old images, not the new ones above.)

We have reading to accompany our project:

Peter Spier’s Book of Jonah: My sons are immediately captivated by the story of Jonah, the odd names of Nineveh and Tarshish, and that wonderfully big fish. In discussing Jonah, I pointed out how he was in the fish for 3 days, just as Christ was in the tomb. And we put ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday to show repentance and change.

The Hard to Swallow Tale of Jonah and the Whale by Joyce Denham. Unfortunately, this book is no longer in print, but it’s worth tracking down a used copy or from your library.

While our copy of Spier’s book quotes directly from the Bible, some of it is a little lofty for a child. This book’s illustrations are fantastic, and the story, while not dumbed down, really reaches the heart of a child so he can understand how far-reaching is God’s compassion, and how Jonah was wrong to hide from God.

Don’t be fooled by the title to think the focus is merely on the whale part of the story, or a fictionalized or light-hearted approach. The book accurately retells the story of Jonah and Nineveh from start to finish.

And I found it wonderfully thrilling to see an illustration of the Jonah Project in another little booklet we read during Lent (Out-of-print, unfortunately), Spring and Lent by Rosemary Haughton.

While I usually put out Jonah on Palm Sunday, we’re a bit late this year…but he has time to sail on the boat before the fish swallows him.

May you have a blessed Triduum.

Via Lucis: Stations of Light Cards

I am really excited about my latest offering for the Easter Season!

I have created a little Via Lucis: Way of Light cards to print. They are similar to the Stations of the Cross cards, except the artwork varies and the only option is in color. I did not add extra prayers, but only gave excerpts from the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles on the back of the cards. Some of the text is longer and harder to fit on tiny cards, so I did have to cut some of the text and squeeze the fonts in some places.

I love the Resurrection accounts. I think these can stand alone for meditation. There is so much richness and joy in pondering that first Easter. My sons love just hearing or reading the accounts, contemplating the art, and singing Easter hymns.

WayofLightpreviewThese cards are based on the Via Lucis Art for Meditation and prayers I created for my sons. I have planned on writing prayers of meditation for each station and updating my Art Meditation to make it complete, but the cards are what we are using at this time.

Print these cards double-sided on cardstock and hole-punch on the top and place on a 1 inch book or binder rings or larger. Use a lanyard or pipe cleaner to create their own portable Stations. Print these double-sided on cardstock.

Stations of Light Cards in color

For little ones who are still learning to cut, I advise you to cut out from the text side so the text won’t be cut-off, and hole punch all through the same side, so the cards will line up evenly.

The best part is that I solved the printing problem with the cards. They now match up when they are printed on either side. I have updated my Stations of the Cross Cards, also. I’m sorry I couldn’t have updated it sooner for the beginning of Lent. This problems has been  been nagging at me and it took just some extra time with a fine-tooth comb to figure out the formatting differences. But all three versions are updated and should print correctly.

If you do not want to make hole-punched cards, Kathryn has a set of Stations of Light cards to print.

More about Via Lucis

1. Jesus Rises From the Dead (Matthew 28:1-10)
2. The Finding of the Empty Tomb (John 20:1-10)
3. The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)
4. Jesus Appears on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27)
5. Jesus is Known at the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:28-35)
6. Jesus Appears to His Disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36-43)
7. Jesus Gives the Disciples the Power to Forgive Sins (John 20:19-23)
8. Jesus Strengthens the Faith of Thomas (John 20:24-29)
9. Jesus Appears by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-14)
10. Jesus Tell Peter to Feed His Sheep (Primacy of Peter) (John 21:15-17, 19b)
11. Jesus Commissions the Disciples on the Mountain (Matthew 28:16-20)
12. Jesus Ascends into Heaven (Acts 1:6-12a)
13. Mary and the Disciples Wait in Prayer (Acts 1:12-14)
14. The Holy Spirit Descends at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)

For more information on the Via Lucis, read this except from the Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy published by the Congregation for Doctrine and Worship in 2001:

153: A pious exercise called the Via Lucis has developed and spread to many regions in recent years. Following the model of the Via Crucis, the faithful process while meditating on the various appearances of Jesus – from his Resurrection to his Ascension – in which he showed his glory to the disciples who awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14, 26; 16, 13-15; Lk 24, 49), strengthened their faith, brought to completion his teaching on the Kingdom and more closely defined the sacramental and hierarchical structure of the Church.

Through the Via Lucis, the faithful recall the central event of the faith – the resurrection of Christ – and their discipleship in virtue of Baptism, the paschal sacrament by which they have passed from the darkness of sin to the bright radiance of the light of grace (cf. Col 1, 13; Eph 5, 8).

For centuries the Via Crucis involved the faithful in the first moment of the Easter event, namely the Passion, and helped to fix its most important aspects in their consciousness. Analogously, the Via Lucis, when celebrated in fidelity to the Gospel text, can effectively convey a living understanding to the faithful of the second moment of the Paschal event, namely the Lord’s Resurrection.

The Via Lucis is potentially an excellent pedagogy of the faith, since “per crucem ad lucem” [through the Cross (one comes) to the light]. Using the metaphor of a journey, the Via Lucis moves from the experience of suffering, which in God’s plan is part of life, to the hope of arriving at man’s true end: liberation, joy and peace which are essentially paschal values.

The Via Lucis is a potential stimulus for the restoration of a “culture of life” which is open to the hope and certitude offered by faith, in a society often characterized by a “culture of death”, despair and nihilism.

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Lent for Children Daily Display Errata

christ adultery 2In today’s page for our Lent for Children Daily Display, Today my son and I realized I had two big mistakes number 34, Monday in Passion Week or 5th Week of Lent.

If your parish follows Year C (which will be in 2016), the Gospel on the following Monday of the 5th Week of Lent is John 8:12-20. But in all other cases, today is the Gospel reading from John 8:1-11, the women caught in adultery.

There was also a glaring typo on the accompanying text which I have fixed.

Here is the errata pages:Lent for Children Daily Display errata

And if you have not printed the entire display, I have updated the complete version:

Lent for Children Daily Display complete

I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

Quick Paschal Candle 2014

This is an update to last year’s Quick Paschal Candle design.

Make your own paschal candle for home. Use a simple tall white glass candle (available at most grocery stores) or a tall 3″ x 9″ pillar candle. Another possibility would be a tall (8″) beeswax candle in imitation of the beeswax candle used at church.

paschalcandleclip2014

Paschal Candle 2014

This is a .pdf version of the candle design. Print in color, and cut, leaving the amount you need to wrap around the candle. Either tape, or cover with Contact paper or clear tape or use ModgePodge over the image to apply to the candle, or print on sticker paper or decal adhesive film. Make sure to extinguish the candle when it gets close to the paper.

To the right and below are .jpg versions of the candle image. Click on it to view the full image and save to your computer. Adjust the printer to landscape and whatever size you need the image to print, since there are smaller and larger candles to cover.

paschalcandle2014

 

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I share my printables for free and I hope you enjoy them. A small donation of a few dollars can help me continue to create and share my work for free. Thank you for your generosity!

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Closing in on the Final Days

There are 18 more days until Easter, which is less than 3 weeks. That gives me a little panicked feeling. I have been thinking that April would never get here, and now it feels like it’s flying by!

It’s been a typical Lent for me so far, sometime the roller-coaster ride. God always prepares the best Lenten penances. My role is to recognize and embrace His gifts, but I haven’t been so successful at that all the time. I wrote a little post at Catholic Culture: Mid-Lent: Technology Helps To Avoid the Slump. It’s an odd topic, but I started thinking at the irony of trying to reduce outside noise during Lent and yet some of the very same technology and social media are my biggest aids for persevering in Lent.

If I had my act together, this is the time I should be making my shopping lists for Holy Week, square my calendar, and have items for my Easter baskets. That’s my goal this weekend to have some planning, but it’s no guarantee it will be done.

I had cardiologist follow-up appointment today. In his words, I had “bland” results from my heart event monitor, which is very good news. Everything else is on track and it’s just amazing to think that 3 /12 months ago I had major surgery and I’m clear to do anything!

My oldest son is still very concerned about my heart. It makes him nervous when I lie down on the couch when I’m not feeling well, even if it’s not related to my heart. We tried to not make too much of my problems in front of him, but he’s observant and a worrier. So today I asked the doctor specifically for him. “Tell your son that you are fine and he doesn’t need to worry.” I will continue to reassure him because I can see he really needs it.

I have been continually struggling with foggy brain and while I’m not completely exhausted, I’m still dragging a bit. I’m also dealing with being lightheaded from low blood pressure, so the doctor suggested to switch my beta blocker at nighttime to curb those effects. I’m hoping it will help.

I’ve been also dealing with ear problems, migraines and that “foggy” feeling, which I think is related to allergies. For years my seasonal allergy symptoms were rhinitis and asthma. The past few years it’s been the sinus headaches and congestion — but I forget every year.

But that sums up my Lent. I have been struggling to think clearly. It’s hard to write, be creative, read, have a conversation, plan and do schoolwork when your brain is just not working correctly and your head hurts. I know the majority of moms who go through sleep deprived nights know just what I mean!

I had an appointment with my spiritual director this week, and discussed with him the fact that I just don’t know how to do my 15 minutes of meditation or mental prayer well. My mind wanders, I lose track of time, and that “blank” time intimidates me, because I don’t know what to say. Father provided me some advice that was so simple, but so helpful for me! He suggested to just write down my thoughts during that time. I should have my  conversation with Christ on paper, sharing my concerns, my thoughts, my love, converse with Him during that time. I need to use that approach until I feel comfortable to do it alone. He said write on a legal pad and throw away when done.

It is working well for me. Such a simple solution, but really what I needed!

My mind is wandering, and I think my bed is calling!

Solemnity of St. Joseph

My birthday weekend was wonderful. Thank you all for the happy wishes and prayers. I have so much to be grateful this birthday, and I truly pray that this year will be uneventful, but full of growth and happiness and normality.

“God’s ways are not our ways”…but I can hope a little

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. This is a busy week for us, so I haven’t had much time or energy to do extra celebratory foods. I’m not apologizing — I am keeping things simple while I recover.

I did write a little post on Catholic Culture: Solemnity of St. Joseph: A Family Celebration.

And I finally uploading a 2014 supplement for the Lent for Children Daily Display. This contains only the Solemnities of St. Joseph and the Annunciation. Lent for Children Daily Display 2014 supplement

 

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Although I’m not really feeling happy. The day of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday looms ahead. I try not to do too much carbs and partying on Mardi Gras, because I will just regret it. Plus, having those leftovers mocking me — no thank you!

Lent is less than 12 hours away…and I’m already feeling defeated. Even taking on the smallest of penances seems daunting.

That is the heart of Lent, though. It’s not about what *I* can do, but it’s closing the door, and turning inward to pray. It’s having conversation with God, bridging that communication as a child of God. It’s the Little Way of trust and confidence. I am completely dependent on Him, and He’s waiting for me to just come to Him as the helpless child that I am.

Is penance and mortifications necessary? In a word, yes. But if they earn individual bragging rights without roots with Christ, then they will gain nothing.

So if you’re like me and feeling a bit overwhelmed at tomorrow…and the next 42 days, here’s a small idea. If the idea of “giving up” is completely overwhelming, just decide to choose small mortifications throughout the day. So instead of “I give up all sugar”, when a dessert or sugar is in front of you, delay the instant gratification. Wait 15 minutes. And then wait 15 minutes more. Each time offer that as a gift to God. Don’t feel guilty if you do eat it. You’ve already offered two gifts of mortifications.

In other areas which are not as tangible but probably the hardest, such as being joyful, speaking kindly, less grumpiness, I need to have a plan in place. First of all, I’m asking my Guardian Angel to give just a little split second reminder to ask for grace before I open my mouth. I’m open to other suggestions. I have over my kitchen sink a reminder, Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard, LORD, before my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips.”

What is most consoling is that even if I fall many times a day, God wants me to pick myself up and go to Him, my Loving Father, and ask forgiveness and the grace to try again. I will be the Prodigal Son for thousands of times a day!

So with that tool belt in place, let Lent begin! “I can do all things in him who strengthens me!” (Phil 4:13).