"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy will." ~ Luke 1:38

Monday, February 18, 2013


This is a re-post for several quick ideas to help keep some Love in Lent

I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by

Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

Usually, I keep written assignments, work progress, etc, on our dry eraser board, which we keep in the hallway of our learning room area.  Impulsively, I erased everything and wrote these FOUR letters:

At the end of the day, when I walked passed the board, I noticed this added illustration (from Conductor, my 15 year old):

Thus begins our Lenten season.....

We make a list of our Lenten Commitments:


The evening (and week) before ASH WEDNESDAY, our family goes through our pantry 'using up' the 'excess'. 

SHROVE TUESDAY, or Shrovetide, is the time used to prepare for LENT.

By 'using up' the 'excess' we are better able to keep to our Lenten Commitments or Promises - as it relates to fasting or abstinence. 

My children LOVE Shrove Tuesday also known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday!

We free ourselves from the "prohibited articles of diet", therefore keeping a simpler fare, allowing us to keep our focus more on CHRIST (and less on 'ourselves').
Living Lent:  Abstain from meat on Wednesday AND Fridays.

As a mother and preparer of meals...food is a big deal in our house, which comprises a decent portion of our days activities, time, mindset and effort.

We begin Ash Wednesday with the Holy Mass and usually have
LENTIL SOUP as our 'one full meal'.


Zucchini, spinach, carrots, fingerling potatoes....whatever we have on hand...and lentils!

 Soupe du jour ~ Soup of the Day! Worth the Wait.
Living Lent:  The Code of Canon Law and our bishops remind us of other Works of Mercy and means of doing penance:  prayer, acts of self-denial, alms giving and works of personal charity.

I used one of my favorite cookbooks "Twelve Months of Monastery Soups" by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette.   Everything in this cookbook comes out delicious; a must have cookbook!

Some traditions include making Hot Cross Buns

and Pretzels, as well as RESURRECTION ROLLS for EASTER...


CREATE FOR ME A CLEAN HEART ~ and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
                                                                                                             ~ Psalm 51:10

"We Will Give Something Up To Lift Others Up!"
Our family participates in the RICE BOWL project, through Catholic Relief Services, that helps those in need;
and by giving food items to the St. Vincent de Paul Society through our parish.


We began 40 hour devotion in our parish for Lent, two years ago.  Continuous prayer before the (exposed) Blessed Sacrament...an ideal time for the sacrament of Confession is after you have had time to reflect in front of Our Lord:  Gazing upon him in both the Monstrance and on the Cross...

We helped our pastor to organized a 40 hour devotion...a true spiritual retreat!
Refreshments for the late night adorers...

(my personal favorite...this devotion was introduced to us by our pastor)

 Ancient chants retracing the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ; The devotion incorporates prose and verse, chant and reading, prayer and meditation, inviting participants to reflect on the mystery of Christian redemption, the Passion and death of the Christ.

The Lamentations take the shape of a three-part cycle; one part is sung each Sunday afternoon service. Each of the three parts has a parallel form and structure, with repeated musical motifs.

   The Lamentations highlight the very emotional nature of Christian spirituality, inviting a personal identification with the Suffering Lord and His Mother. The devotion is followed by Benediction and Holy Mass.

These are some of the books that we will be reading this Lenten season:


ON THE HOLY FATHERS...since we heard the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, we began reading THE POPES:  - an amazing book on the full list of the Popes, compiled by the Prefect of the Vatican Archives, Monsignor Angelo Mercati, published for the first time, by the Holy See in its 1947 Yearbook.  I have the sixth edition, expanded, printed in 1999.

Did you know that the word "amen" in religious ceremonies is attributed to St. Clement I's time (88-97) as well as the "Dominus Vobiscum" (The Lord be with you) said at the beginning of Mass?

ON FORTY DAYS...learning LOVE for God's Word, in short story form.

LENTEN BASKET ~ Filled with Books, Movie, & Purple cloth to cover Saint Statues & Crucifix (during Holy Week)

My children will drop a bean in a jar with every prayer, good work, sacrifice...at the end of the Lenten season, they are replaced with JELLY BEANS!! 


A Family Retreat with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is highly recommended, there are plenty of wonderful films appropriate for viewing during the Lenten Season


Keeping our 'Liturgical Supplies' organized, helps us to Live Lent..as well as Easter, Advent, Christmas...

these removable hooks are both practical and time-savers

Our Pastor publishes this in our bulletin:
A List of "Give Ups" for LENT
1.  Give up bitterness; turn to forgiveness.
2.  Give up hatred; return good for evil.
3.  Give up negativism; be positive.
4.  Give up complaining; be grateful.
5.  Give up pessimism; be an optimist.
6.  Give up harsh judgments; think kind thoughts.
7.  Give up worry; trust Divine Providence.
8.  Give up discouragement; be full of hope.
9.  Give up anger; be more patient.
10.  Give up pettiness; be more mature.
11.  Give up gloom; enjoy the beauty around you.
12.  Give up jealousy; pray for trust.
13.  Give up gossiping; control your thoughts.
14.  Give up sin; turn to virtue.

Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.
Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!
UPDATED LIST 2/20/2013:



  1. Wow your list of ideas is AMAZING! I especially love the special Lenten foods, and the basket of books, movies, and decorations. I think anything arranged in a special basket is inviting to children and I can imagine my kids would have such fun checking out all the special Lent stories and activities.

    Hope your Lent is a beautiful spiritual journey! May God bless you.

    1. Thank you for visiting...and a very blessed and fruitful Lenten journey to your family as well!

  2. You are so crafty! I love the REPENT, ending with the cross- in fact all your pictures are so beautiful. I'm printing out your list of "give ups" as a reminder to myself.

    God Bless!


    1. I'm so glad that you can use the "give ups" list!

      I had all the letters in the REPENT, but the T...and the cross had come to me in a letter/pkg. for free; it was meant to be!
      God's grace to your Lenten season!

  3. Very good post...It wasn't until recently that I've begun to hear the term "Shrove Tuesday" I live in Louisiana and Mardi Gras is a very big deal in our town. Many people start celebrating it on Epiphany (or the feast of the Three Kings) and continue the celebration until Mardi Gras Day. I love all of your ideas on how to include the whole family in the spirit of Lent and I will definitely be implementing some into my family (as soon as my daughter grows to understand it) Thanks for sharing...


    1. Thank you! I started all these little traditions & devotions (gradually adding more)when my children were very young...they get after me if I leave something out!
      It was recently that I learned the the word "Carnival" was derived from the latin "carne vale" or "farewell to the flesh"...our Catholic Faith it SO deep!
      Louisiana has deep Catholic roots, too!
      Have a grace-filled Lent...

  4. Hi Valerie, I saw your blog linked up over at Catholic Inspired and Keep Love in Lent and came over to say hello! I'm happy to "meet you" over cyberspace. I'm a first grade religious education teacher and am always looking for ideas to share our faith. I would to know your book titles from that picture if they're appropriate for young children. Also wondering where you found the Stations of the Cross picture? Can that be downloaded and printed? I also immediately recognized the Lenten Prayer at the end of your post. It's perfect, isn't it? I recently posted it over at Community of Catholic Bloggers to share with others. We are on the same wavelength! May your Lenten Journey be fruitful and filled with God's love!

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Noreen!
      The Stations of the Cross picture is a poster set that can be found at Discount Catholic Store, here is the link:
      I also have them in individual 8x11 pictures, but I cannot remember where I purchased those...I use two sets, one for home & one for my 1st Communion class -they are really beautiful & vivid! The "Way of the Cross" book pictured also has those same beautiful illustrations; you can find them at www.catholicbookpublishing.com or the link:
      The Centurion at the Cross and Jesus Enters Jerusalem are for grades K-4, although the publisher is not Catholic, you can find them at catholicsupply.com or link:

      I'll try and make a post with others...

      Have a wonderful Lenten season, and God bless your work and those children that you teach!

  5. What a wonderful array of ideas here, Valerie! Thanks for the cookbook suggestion -- I'm always on the lookout for Lenten recipes. The Quarant' Ore looks extremely inspiring, and your photos are a lovely tribute. Your list of "Give Ups" is ideal. (I could probably use these more than my four-year-old...) I'm wondering if there are specific DVD's that you recommend for young children for Lent & Easter? God bless you for the gifts and talents you're sharing!

    1. Thank you, Regina! Not pictured, but two family favorites that your 4 yr. old might enjoy are:
      The Animated Passion (For the Whole Family!) ~$5.00 sold on Amazon. Also,
      The Miracle Maker (a clay-like 3-D animation) ~$10.00
      Have a blessed Lent & Glorious Easter!

  6. Valerie, I can type "thank you" a hundred times, and that would not be enough. Still, THANK YOU for this post. You did not only provide tips for activities, but also context and motivation. I am especially reminded about the practice of adoring the Blessed Sacrament. By the way, I love how Conductor followed up on your whiteboard "writings". Blessings...

    1. One hundred thank yous, Marcia!! I was so inspired by your recent post on your retreat...I'm going to use this Adoration time to simulate that; so needed for the good and health of the soul.
      I admit, my heart was warmed when I saw Conductor's "writings"; I'm happy that is what Lent means to him!

  7. Some wonderful thought, ideas and suggestions. My favorite is a Lenten Box. We will have to make our own perhaps as a means of continuing to draw near! Thank you:)

    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie...have a very fruitful Lenten season!

  8. You have got this all figured out! I just kept scrolling, drooling over the food (how do you get your pancakes to looks so nice??), enjoying the book recs, wanting to do it all. Thank you!

    1. LOL. I'm still figuring and learning...and I have all you wonderful bloggers to thank!
      Sometimes the pancakes are good, sometimes they're great; I happened to capture them on a great day, I guess.
      Have a holy Lent and joyuous Easter!!

  9. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful ideas. We do the sacrifice jar too. I never thought about replacing them with jelly beans. I'll have to try that this year.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting, Monique! One year we didn't have as many beans in the jar, and I was tempted to fill the jar with as many jelly beans. But then I thought about how God gives back to us abundantly, two-fold, we can never out do Him! So I got out a bigger jar and overflowed it with jelly beans...explaining to my children that God's Love is Huge and Real and He Loves Us So Much! We did better the following year. ;o)

  10. You are a very organized lady! and very ambitious, too. I love all of the things you have listed. We've participated in 40 hours devotion before and it is a very beautiful devotion.

    1. LOL. I'm organized until I'm not organized - then my workd goes sideways and everything comes to a standstill. But I keep trying.
      I am so encouraged when I hear of others participating in Adoration...what a beautiful thought! Thank you for visiting and sharing this!

  11. I love the sacrifice jar! :) That idea is so nice! I will follow that, too! Also, I never ever get to reading and reflecting. I will also do that.

    Thanks for the ideas!

    1. Thank you, Ginger! I have times when I don't get the reading or reflecting in that I would like, too; but everything we do can be a 'reflection' of God, for Him. Our work, can be the work of God...Thankfully He knows our hearts. Have a blessed Lenten season and thank you for visiting here!!

  12. Wow, this is a beautiful list of ideas! We have so many of the same books that you have, and our children enjoy going back to them every year. Traditions build beautiful memories!

    1. I agree, "Traditions build beautiful memories!" That's beautiful! Thank you so much for visiting!

  13. I love your idea of the sacrifice jar, too. I'm not sure though if my eldest son can grasp it already. But maybe my husband and I can start that practice. I recently wrote about being like a mustard seed and dying to self so that we can give life to others. I think I will choose some seeds for the sacrifice jar. Thanks for sharing!

    1. What a great idea to use mustard seeds! I Love It!! Very meaningful - even our littlest of deeds are Wonderful in His eyes...Thank you so much!

  14. Hi Valerie,

    I must say I enjoyed reading your post! I like all the ideas you mentioned to live lent and to love lent, as the title of the post implies, with all the food you make, the books you read, the movies you watch, the prayers, the Masses, the sacrifice jar, the almsgiving... everything just seems fitting for the season of lent. I really like the way you began your post, by the 4-letter picture showing the word LENT, and especially your son adding his artistic skills with his lovely drawings.

    Well, thanks for sharing the love of lent with us.

    May God bless you, your home, and your family.

    Have a blessed Lenten Season.

    1. Thank you for visiting here, Adib! Praying you and your family have a blessed and fruitful Lenten season as well!

  15. Wow - it seems like you are having a very intense Lent! Those are all great ideas! Have a very blessed Lent!

    1. I am hoping to experience some real change here at home - really inundating our lives with 'everything' Lent, 'everything' Christ. Hopefully we can keep the focus on Him. Then, when Easter comes...

      Thank you for visiting, I've really been enjoying reading your blog! I love how you and your husband have similar blog names...Words on Heaven, Eyes on heaven. Beautiful!

  16. What wonderful Lenten ideas you've implemented for your family. I loved the list of "give ups". I will have to look up that book on Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. Your lentil soup looks amazing. Also, how tidy your cupboards are is truly inspiring!

    1. Thank you! If you like soups, you'll love Twelve Months...I also have Brother's "Simplicity" Cookbook - which has a complete menu for different occasions.
      I admit, I made sure to (seriously) tidy up before I took the picture. But it has remained tidy for a month now!

  17. Nice post, great pictures! So many ideas and resources! I love the Lenten Basket and the list of "Give Ups". Thanks for sharing! We've been giving up a variety of things and also adding a decade of the Rosary before dinner each day.

  18. Your home looks so beautifully put together with the books, cooking ideas ect! What a blessing. I love what you included from your pastor, that prayer could be printed and read everyday as a reminder of how to live. I especially liked "instead of gloom, enjoy the beauty around you." What if we spent lent focusing on beauty in sacrafice instead of gloom? Thank you for sharing all your beautiful ideas. God Bless.

  19. Hi Valerie~What a beautiful Domestic Church you've created! I need a whole liturgical closet...I'm still stashing in a couple of different places...Love your organization! I'm still making my way around to all of the blogs. Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by over at my place too:) God bless your Lenten journey!

  20. Hello there! I am bent on doing the Lent basket and the bean jar this year. This is a classic post, Valerie, and it's worth reviewing every year. Thank you yet again!

    1. Hello Marcia! I have my Lent basket out...and I need to put together a bean jar- my children will always participate in this without my prompting. It is a good reminder to offer the little things within the day...forming good habits. God bless!


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