5 Ideas for Lent

Ash Wednesday is next week and I, for one, am excited for it! For a lot of people, Lent is about “giving up” something, such as candy, or coffee or whatever. Other people consider the penances of Lent a drudgery. That’s too bad. Lent isn’t about giving up something and then becoming frustrated – or giving up – when you fail. That’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for! Now, I’m not saying not to give up something for Lent. There is an important place for sacrifice and denial, but Lent is WAY more than that.

5 Ideas for Lent

Lent is about renewal!

The beginning of a new year is a time when many people make resolutions to lose weight, to do “this” or don’t do “that.” August and September is the beginning of a new school year and a time when kids (and adults) resolve to make “this year better than last year.” Of course, technically, everyday is a chance for a restart. But Lent is unique. Lent is a time that is especially meant for a spiritual renewal, even more so than the Advent and Christmas Season. Lent is a time to recalibrate our souls and remind ourselves of what and WHO is important in life. And, it is a time to refocus and rekindle (or deepen) our relationship with Jesus and with the Blessed Trinity.

Therefore, the purpose of the “mandates” of Lent, prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving, is to help us go deeper into the truths of our faith and our relationship with Christ, NOT to give us yet “one thing to do or not do” for the next six weeks. Thus, I’d like to invite you to rethink your strategy for Lent this year. If you have been in the habit of giving up something for Lent and it hasn’t worked for ya, how about instead of giving up something, give yourself something. Here are five ideas of things you can give yourself for Lent:

1. Give yourself the gift of Confession.

If you haven’t been to the Sacrament of reconciliation in a while, now would be a good time to go. The Church requires Catholic to go to Confession at least once a year for a reason. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing and an opportunity to encounter Christ in a very special way.

There are a lot of people who are afraid of going to Confession or who think it is a waste of time. “Why go to confession to a priest when I can tell my sins right to God?” However, confession is a gift from God that gives us special graces, allows us to grow in grace and to come back to Him when we fail. I strongly encourage you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church in regards to confession. Do the research on why Confession is important. It is really a very important sacrament!

2. Give yourself the gift of the Eucharist.

If you aren’t in the habit of going to daily mass, now would be a great time to start – even if it just one or two days a week – or just on Saturdays. The readings for Lent are just as powerful during the week as they are on Sundays.

There is a lot of focus today about the community aspect of Mass which is important. However, we also must never lose sight of the purpose of the Mass. It is the center and source of our Christian Life! When we receive communion, we receive Jesus Himself. We take Him into our souls and our hearts. What an amazing and profound blessing and gift that is!

3. Give yourself the gift of prayer.

The rosary is a particularly powerful prayer and it is a wonderful way to meditate on the mysteries of Our Lord’s Life, Death and Resurrection. It is even better if you can pray together as a family. Also, many Churches offer the Stations of the Cross each Friday which is a beautiful way to enter one’s self into Our Lord’s suffering. If you can’t do that, try to just spend a few minutes or so reading the Bible and Lectio Divina.

There are also a lot of retreats and devotional booklets that are published for the Lenten Season. If that helps, pick one of those up and use it to help guide your prayer. Better yet, scrap that and just talk to God as you would a friend. He is always ready to listen! It may seem strange at first but we can, and should, speak from our souls and pour out our heart.

4. Give yourself the gift of reflection.

Prayer isn’t all about talking! It is also about listening and reflecting on what God wants to tell us. One way to do this is by jounaling. When you journal, you can certainly write down your prayers. However, you can also write down notes, scriptures, and insights that you get during prayer. You can paste prayer cards and pictures, doodle, and make it your safe and private place of encountering God.

To help you do this, last year I created a Lenten Prayer Journal. It is an unguided prayer journal sprinkled with scripture verses from the Mass readings, blank pages, and a section for specific prayer intentions. It is my heart’s desire that the journal be a comforting and “magical” place for you to grow in your faith and love for God.

(P.S. From now until March 1, 2017 – Ash Wednesday – you can get the printable pdf. version of the journal for only $5, regularly $12. Go here to purchase and download instantly. Go here for a free sample of journal. Go here for the paperback version of the journal on Amazon.)

5. Give yourself the gift of intention.

Finally, above all – no matter what you do the Lent – let it be intentional and focused. Be fully present to your devotions, family or whatever it is you are doing or not doing for Lent. That alone will transform your Lenten experience!

So many of us, myself included, live life too reactionary. We don’t take the time to think things through because we are too busy rushing from activity to activity and responsibility to responsibility. This year, take a few minutes to look at your calendar. What can you delegate, reschedule or remove so that you can give yourself some breathing room and mental space?

Now, let’s support each other.

Tell me, what are you doing for Lent this year? What are you going to do or not do in order to truly deepen your relationship with Jesus and renew your spirit this season? By putting it out there, it will help you stay accountable and give me the opportunity to pray for you!

As for me, I am focusing on the Nineveh 90 challenge. We are only a week in and it is proving to be a challenging and yet powerful experience. It is definitely helping me to be more disciplined in certain areas, that’s for sure! I still may give up something specific on top of this but I haven’t decided yet. 🙂

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Join Us for a Rosary Crusade!

The Rosary Evangelization Apostolate is hosting a 54 day National Rosary Novena. It starts on the Solemnity of the Assumption (August 15) and ends on the Feast of the Holy Rosary (October 7).

54_day_promotional_image

According to the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate, the primary intention of the rosary is “For Family and Marriage,  including for Peace, Sanctity of Human Life & Religious Freedom.”

For more in formation you can go the the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate promotion page, or go to Catholics United 4 Freedom which also gives information on how to pray the rosary.

Please, please help us spread the word! Tweet to your followers, Share on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or anywhere else you hang out online. Thanks!

I Love This Quote

I found this quote on Pinterest and just had to share it with you:

Doubt kills(Photo Credit)

I love this quote because it is a wonderful reminder to stay strong and believe in yourself. Don’t let fear and doubt stop you from reaching your dreams!

Bookmarks, Bookmarks Everywhere!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve re-activated my Etsy shop! I love putting together printables and paper crafts. It is a creative outlet for me and I find it relaxing.

My focus the last couple of days have been creating gift tags and printable bookmarks. If you have spent any time here at Simple Catholic Living, you know that I love to read and I love books. Well, I love bookmarks just as much. 🙂 I collect them actually. (Even the wedding favor for my husband and my wedding was a bookmark!)

Here’s a peek at the gift tags and bookmarks I made yesterday:

blue and yellow gift tags

Blue and yellow gift tags

Corner flower gift tags

Corner flower gift tags

faith can move mountains

“Faith can move mountains” bookmarks

scripture bookmarks

various scripture bookmarks

Aren’t they cute? I will be making more and adding them to my shop sometime today. My plan is to create/add more printables weekly to my shop, as time permits. They won’t just be bookmarks or gift tags, either. I plan to add other paper products such as origami, notebooks, stationary, and other printables as time goes on, so check out my shop regularly (or follow me on Pinterest, where I will be adding pictures of new paper goodies as I make them).

By the way, if you are an email subscriber to Simple Catholic Living, check your inbox later on today for a special discount code to get  20% off anything in the shop. If you aren’t an email subscriber yet, fill out the box on the side bar with your name and email address and the discount code will be waiting for you when you confirm your subscription. 🙂

7 Quick Takes: Random Edition

— 1 —

Normally, I like to do “themed” 7 Quick takes. My brain naturally works in an organized, systematic  manner and I like focusing on one topic at a time. But this week, I couldn’t come up with a theme so I figured I’d give a whirl at being random. 🙂

— 2 —

I’ve started my third online college course en route to getting my bachelors degree in English. This semester it’s chemistry. I found out that I have to take some general education courses that I didn’t take the first time I was in college. 🙁 I”m not thrilled that I have to take general courses, but it is what it is.

— 3 —

And can I just say that I’m only a week into the course and it is HARD and a lot of work. I’ve never had a mathematical or science-y mind, so I was expecting it to be a challenge and this course is proving to live up to that expectation and more!

— 4 —

Speaking of chemistry, if you have a simple way of explaining how to balance chemical equations let me know!

— 5 —

The Lord has been putting this scripture in the forefront of my mind and heart. First I read it in the bible, then a friend called and shared the scripture with me, and then put it before me again yesterday. Its 1 Peter 1:6-8:

“In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials,so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.”

— 6 —

Do these look freakin’ delicious or what?! Found these on Pinterest and I SO WANT to make these soon!

baked chocolate yummyness

Pinned from Judy Richey via http://www.bakedperfection.com/

— 7 —

Yesterday I finished MONTHS of helping a friend edit her début love-inspired novel. Woot! It was a lot of work but very rewarding and I’m just as excited as the author for the book to come out! She is self-publishing the book and in the next step I’ll be helping her format the e-book for Amazon.

That’s it for this random edition of 7QT. 🙂 Have a great weekend everyone!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

My Top 7 Guilty Pleasures

You have probably heard of Chris Brogan. Right? He’s a pretty popular and well-known blogger. I came a cross this post of his the other day that inspired me to write this post. His suggestion (#40) is actually a top 10 list, but I decided to adapt it to a top 7 for QT. And since I don’t think the list needs any further introduction I’ll just get started:

My Top 7 Guilty Pleasures

— 1 —

Ice Cream. Oh, my. Ice cream is my downfall for sure. I would eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or anytime if I could!

— 2 —

Books. Let me loose in the Library or bookstore for a few hours and I’m a happy camper. 🙂 I have a hundred books on my Kindle that I probably will never read. I’m a minimalist at heart (just ask my husband) and frugal but not when it comes to books! I love being surrounded with books and things to read.

— 3 —

Dark Chocolate M & M’s. What woman doesn’t like chocolate?! I actually wasn’t a fan of chocolate until I grew up and discovered the deliciousness of dark chocolate. Especially M & Ms. When I was expecting Andrew M & M’s was my #1 craving and to this day I still love ’em. 🙂

— 4 —

Roller Coasters. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I’m as far from being a risk taker as they come. Physically I have to be because of my CP, but I’m also rather timid and not one for doing crazy things. But I love me some roller coasters! It’s my one thrill. LOL!

— 5 —

So You Think You Can Dance?. Dare I confess this here?! I’ve stopped watching almost all TV, except for movies that I either rent or tape. Most TV is mindless, moral-less crap; however, I absolutely LOVE So You Think You Can Dance? ! I love all the different styles of dances featured on the show. I love the music. I love the costumes (although the lack of modesty bothers me at times). And I love how they change out the different judges each week, especially in the beginning of the season.

— 6 —

Pinterest. It’s addictive. Not quite as addictive as ice cream or books, but addictive all the same. LOL! It’s a great place to find ideas, to stay organized, to showcase your favorite things. It’s a great place to go for motivation and inspiration. You could also use it for marketing and promoting your own blogs and products. Most importantly, it’s just plain fun! Not a member yet? You can request an invite here. And don’t forget to follow me.

— 7 —

Angry Birds. It’s the dumbest game ever. And Frustrating. And the music is annoying. I have it on my Pandigital and I love it. 😳 What is angry birds you ask? it is a game where you have to swing the birds across the screen to break the fortress of the pigs who have stolen the birds’ eggs. So dumb and yet so fun. I guess that’s what makes it a ‘guilty pleasure.” 🙂

As I often do, I’m now turning the tables on you. What are your top guilty pleasures? Do share in the comments!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


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10 Thanksgiving Crafts From Pinterest

Thanksgiving is only a couple short weeks away, and I’ve been looking for some simple (and fun) craft ideas. I’ve mentioned this before, but my new favorite place to look for ideas is Pinterest; and, I’ve found some cute ideas there for Thanksgiving. Here’s just a few:

1. Be Thankful.

Be Thankful

Pinned by Tilisa Howell

 

2. Thanksgiving Hat Crafts.

Thanksgiving hat crafts

Pinned by Chelsea Ewert

 

3. Placemats.

placemats

Pinned by Rebecca Phalen

 

4. Story of Thanksgiving Crafts.

Story of Thanksgiving

Pinned by Cindy Schival

 

5. Turkey Craft.

Turkey

Pinned by Ashly Dower

 

6. Paper Crafts.

Paper Crafts

Pinned by Christy Kramer

 

7. Thanksgiving Wreath.

Thanksgiving Wreath

Pinned by Jacqueline Mills

 

8. Thanksgiving games and crafts.

Games and Crafts

Pinned by Brenda Kirk

 

9. Thanksgiving card and craft.

Thanksgiving card and craft

Pinned by Marri

 

10. Thankful Box.

Thankful Box

Pinned by Ann Hathaway

 

Aren’t these great ideas? I particularly love the thankful box! Do you have any favorite craft ideas to share? Leave the idea or link in the comments. Thanks!

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

Words to Live By: When Facing a Storm

Dance in the Rain(Photo Credit.)

Words to Live By: Kindness

I love this quote by Mother Theresa:

Our words have power. We have the power to break to build up those around us with our words. What are your words saying?

(Photo Credit from Pinterest)

Ten Fun Craft Ideas from Pinterest

I was poking around Pinterest the other day and came across some fun craft ideas I’d like to try. Here are some of them:

1. Pillow Craft. Looks like a fun fall project.

Pillow Craft

pinned by Connie Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Cardboard tube craft. My son would love this!

Cardboard tube

pinned by Kayla Stoops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Clothes pins craft. Aren’t these adorable?!

Clothespins craft

pinned by Julie Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Picture frame. Cute idea for a gift.

Picture Frame

pinned by Amanda Jenson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Handmade cards. I love making home-made cards and do so frequently for different occasions.

Handmade cards

pinned by Tiffany Cottam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Candles. These are so pretty!

Candles

pinned by Vicki Hodgman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Button Crafts. Another craft my son would enjoy.

Button crafts

pinned by Sarah Sasac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Rolled Roses. Not sure how complicated it is to make these, but they are beautiful.

Rolled Roses

pinned by Justine Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Quilting crafts. I have been wanting to learn to quilt for a long time.

quilting craft

pinned by Cristin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Christmas Crafts. I’d like to make some homemade gifts this year, so I better start thinking of Christmas now!

Christmas craft

pinned by Paula Coreg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What craft(s) are you working on or planning to start in the near future? Do share!

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)