Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lent Starts Tomorrow... Are you Ready?

Happy FAT Tuesday!
From Catholic.org
Happy Feast day of Saint Jerome Emiliani! Pray for us.

Dear Readers,

Don't you hate it when people ask you if you are ready for something? I never know what to say... because I never know how I'm going to change from one season to the next.

Lent is upon us. It's a spectacular time on our Church Calendar. A time in which we draw nearer to our Lord, by acknowledging that we are sinful and that He died for our sins.  It is a time in which we are called to sacrifice (give things up/fast/abstain) and to reach out/do for others (Almsgiving).  Many of us, in fact, most of the Catholic Women/Men I know, are close to the Lord all year. But this time of year, we have to dig deep and explore our faults and gifts. Like I told my son, there is nothing we can sacrifice or do that could ever match what Our Lord did for us. And so - we do our best. Lent is a time of PENANCE!

Read about Catholic Requirements for Lent, here:

  1. USCCB Statement on Penance and Abstinence 
  2. Pope's Lenten Message

As I think bout fasting and Pope Francis' message about Lent, he really wants us to understand that what we give up has to MEAN something. It has to be HARD for us. It can not be superficial. For instance, in our home, we are meatless all year long on Fridays. And so - it is NOT a sacrifice for us to abstain on that day. We must find another form of penance, like a family Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. Sure, we don't TECHNICALLY have to. But we feel it is best.

Another thing... there are plenty of devotional books to buy. There are plenty of groups you can join "to have a better Lent". But I would encourage you to get your Bible out and pick one devotion that you will do this Lent. In my experience if you try to do to many different ones in an effort to please others (or the unwillingness to chose, just in case you miss something), you will not give any of them enough attention). Does that make sense?  Penance is PERSONAL.

What are my goals, you ask... well, I've recently learned that if you tell others about what you are giving up it takes away from it in some way. We are to give things up and do things for others - JOYFULLY - and so, I will give you the general idea, but I won't be going into detail.
  • At home, we will be stepping up our family prayer time and doing more family activities (which I hope and pray carries over throughout the year).  
  • We will be giving up a couple things too - both individually and as a family. 
  • We are also doing some things for others - as a family and with a group.  

Here are a couple of ideas for you in terms of Devotions:
Here are a few places to go for Family Lenten Ideas:
  1. Catholic Icing - So many great ideas to help children understand sacrifice and almsgiving.
  2. Joe Poprocki's Lenten Activities - Again, fantastic ideas.
  3. Real Life @ Home - 40 Lenten Activities for 40 days (she also has a 10 activity one).
  4. And of course, most of the bloggers on my "Catholic Sites I love" page will post all kinds of Lenten things. Yes - I do need to update it.

I think I say the same thing every year. But truly - meatless meals are not hard (to me). Let's not make them hard.

Italian Food -  Lasagna: Substitute the meat for squash or eggplant. In fact, you can also substitute the pasta using squash or eggplant (just don't boil beforehand).  Spaghetti sauce can easily be meatless, so can baked ziti. Again - add squash and other veggies to give it substance if you want.
Alfredo sauce is fantastic over veggies and pasta. Pizza: Veggie Pizza, Cheese Pizza... there are endless combos that don't include meat.

Mexican Food - Cheese, bean or veggies are all you really need in burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, etc.

Seafood - Shrimp Tacos. YUM! Fish - baked, broiled or fried. Lobster, crab legs, clam chowder,  scallops, smoked salmon - honestly the possibilities here are endless.

Classic American - 
  • Grilled cheese & tomato soup. EASY! 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  • Baked fish (or fried if you like or fish sticks) and fries or salad.
  • Loaded baked potatoes. 
  • Chili with squash & beans instead of meat 
  • Tuna Sandwich
  • Egg Salad Sandwich
  • Salad
  • Tuna Pasta Salad is a great Saturday Lunch (make your tuna for sandwiches a little crunchier, and add your favorite pasta (maybe a little more mayo) and serve with fruit.
Beans -  Beans get their own category and are your new best friend during Lent. Beans & rice and salad are an easy thing to make. PLUS - there are so many different kinds. Great bean and veggie soup recipes all over the Internet. You can buy veggie stock. LOVE

I don't know if it is because we live in Texas and we have such great produce options all year round, but Meatless meals do not scare this girl. And I hope they do not scare you either. I will be posting various sites that I use probably Friday... maybe I'll do a 7QT post about it - you just never know.

As a tease... this is my new favorite Veggie Site. LOVE! Oh My Veggies!

I hope you have a great week. My book review may be postponed to next Wednesday (instead of tomorrow), but I will be back this week - blogging more.

I would love it if ANYONE would leave a comment or two. Sigh.
I do love talking to myself, but it's always nice to hear from others.

Oh, I almost forgot... My husband is out of town. Once he gets home, I will show you how we decorate for Lent.

Be blessed ya'll!
Hugs & love,

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