Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CWBN Blog Hop -- How We Pray, Fast and Give During Lent

Happy Tuesday!

Here's a little PSA - LENT BEGINS IN 8 Days! Yes, Lent Begins on Ash Wednesday, which is March 1st this year. In fact a week from today is Shrove Tuesday (or Fat Tuesday), better known as Pancakes for Dinner in our home! You're welcome for that...

Happy Feast day of Saint Peter Damian. This man was mistreated by his brother and orphaned, and he had an affinity for helping the poor. You should click his name and read about him!  Here is the first line about him in that post from Franciscan Media:
"Maybe because he was orphaned and had been treated shabbily by one of his brothers, Peter Damian was very good to the poor. It was the ordinary thing for him to have a poor person or two with him at table and he liked to minister personally to their needs."
I love this. To me, it embodies the "giving" part of Lent. But I'll get back to that later.

I am joining up with Allison Gingras and crew for the CWBN Blog Hop. It's a monthly, blog post geared toward a pointed topic. And it's awesome. This month's topic... How We Pray, Fast & Give During Lent Please go to Allison's blog and check out all of the other bloggers. There is so much talent! And if you like a post, leave a comment. Bloggers LOVE that!

Before I start my post, I urge you to read the Pope's Lenten Address for 2017 called, "The Word is a gift, Other Persons are a gift"  It's a powerful message. Beautiful. Humbling.

How We Pray During Lent.

My family usually adds the Divine Mercy Chaplet during Lent - we purpose to do this daily.  This year, I am joining two different Book/Scripture studies to enhance my prayers life. 
  1. One is called Walk In Her Sandals - Experiencing Christ's Passion Through the Eyes of Women,  By WINE: Women in the Evangelization. I actually had a chance to review the book and never got there review done. I can tell you that it is spectacular. And I can't wait to do it as a group with Allison Gingras and a few others at the St. Teresa's Online Book Club (FaceBook group).
  2. The second one is called The Bible and The Sacraments. A local friend is hosting this, in person, during Lent and I am so excited. This is an in-depth study of the Sacraments. And what a great time to study it - during Lent.
In some ways, Lent was easy when my son was younger, because there are so many children's books out there. We are looking for a book for teens. If you know of one - please leave me a comment. We are really blessed to be Catholic, the daily readings during Lent are awesome and we always have much to talk about and study. There are Friday Fish dinners and the Stations of The Cross. It's really a beautiful and humbling time of year.

How We Fast and Abstain During Lent.

Let's talk about what Fasting Means. Fasting means LESS of something -- most people associate it with food. Abstaining is giving something up (like Meat on Fridays). But to me, fasting during Lent is deeper than just Food. Ask yourself, what am I willing to give up and what am I willing to GIVE of myself, as I work to cleanse my heart and mind from sin? Some people give up their time volunteering or praying. Some give up things. I'm not 100% sure of everything we are doing here in our home, because I am limited by surgical recovery this year. I intend to ask Father some advice on what I can do this year. Perhaps I can pray for more people? I already volunteer at Church. And there is much to be done.

Throughout the year, whenever possible we adhere to meatless Fridays. Many Catholics don't know that if they don't give up meat on Fridays, they have to do another form of Penance. So since we do (though I confess, we don't always get it all right) mostly not eat meat on Fridays, we add a couple meatless nights/week during Lent. So we give up Meat in a bigger way than we need to.

We are blessed to live in Texas where the veggies are good and fresh all year round. Plenty of farms around to get Fresh Produce from. So it's really easy, if we wanted to, do do a Meatless Lent (except I think there would seriously be a revolt in my home). 

Here is the list I posted last year of some of our basic meatless meals. We are not a fancy home, so it's pretty basic:


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

Portabello Mushrooms are a great substitute for meat on a burger. Plenty of recipes on the Internet.

How We Give(up) During Lent.

The question we must as ourselves here is What Can I do to Better the world? There is no way that we can hope to sacrifice as much as our Lord. But Lent is not supposed to feel good. We are supposed to go WAAAY out of our comfort zone and do things for others.

As Saint Teresa of Calcutta said, Be The One! Be the one that serves the Lord like no other. Be the one that gives and loves and purposes to do for the least of His! This is what we must give during Lent.

I have a call into Catholic Charities to see what their needs are. We have packed bags for homeless, spent time at the Food bank, and many other things. They do so much for our Community, I want to see what they need this year.

I have a few suggestions of things I'd like to do. I may not get to them all, but I hope to:
  • Visit a Nursing Home. Maybe bring children and have them interact.
  • Invite our Priest to dinner or bring them dinner.
  • By a random stranger a cup of coffee.
  • Spend more time in the Word.
  • Give $$ to a Catholic Charity.
  • Serve a meal to homeless or people in need.
  • Donate to the local food bank.
  • Give gently used clothing to charity.
  • Have a baby shower for a local Pregnancy Crisis Center.
  • I have overdue thank you notes and I will be getting them out before the end of Lent.
  • Forgive someone you haven't.
  • Don't gossip or even listen to it.
  • *this year, because of surgery I am very limited on what I can eat. I plan to offer up any anxiety and emotional distress this causes to the Lord to help the souls in Purgatory and the Suffering of this world. I can not have bread, pasta or rice for six months, no sugar either. My diet for the past month has been liquids.  And I also plan on NOT COMPLAINING! Sigh. A friend gave me this idea because it really coincides with Lent. #thestruggleisreal
You get the point. The list is endless.

When it comes my time to get into Heaven, I can not hope to have done enough. But I do hope that God sees how hard I tried.  I leave you with this quote by Mother Saint Teresa of Calcutta:

I hope you will leave me comments on how you do things during Lent! I love to hear what others are doing.

Love, Hugs & Blessings,


  1. Ask yourself, what am I willing to give up and what am I willing to GIVE of myself, as I work to cleanse my heart and mind from sin?....WOW! This is great advice! I especially loved the last part, as I work to cleanse my heart and mind from sin. Thank you for such a wonderful post, I loved it all.

    1. That is the hardest part and the most important! Thanks for the comment!

  2. This is such a great post, Emily! Full of practical ideas (and meals!). I love the emphasis you put on making the world better; I think that is something we often forget.

    Oh - we do meatless Fridays all year, too!

    1. Sometimes I think it is futile in terms of making the world better, but ya gotta try!

  3. Emily,
    Your post has great information, ideas and suggestions! I know I don't realize how much we eat meat until Fridays in Lent. :) I would love to incorporate more meatless Fridays beyond Lent. Thanks for all your meal ideas too! Enjoy your Lenten studies and have a blessed Lent!

    1. Thank you Tracy!
      I have a ton more recipes. LOL If you ever need one... let me know.

  4. Great post! We also do meatless Fridays all year and only during lent introduce 'bread and water' meals! xxx

  5. Great post, Emily! So many ideas...I always need more meatless meal ideas! Thank you!

  6. This is such a great list! Thank you for sharing how your family makes Lent meaningful.

    For some reason I keep being drawn to visiting residents of a nursing home - I just hope it isn't too weird for me to reach out and say, "Hey, I want to bring my kids and just come spend some time with strangers!"

    I am going to need to sit down with your giving list of ideas with my husband and see what we can reasonably commit to, since service activities are definitely something I want to teach my children from an early age.

    Thank you for these ideas! (And, some recipe ideas...)

  7. You can ask the Nursing Home if they have anyone who doesn't have family who visits. These people particularly LOVE children. LOVE!!!
    Thanks for the comment.

  8. Emily, this is pretty much the most comprehensive Lent post ever! Thank you for sharing! I'm gonna borrow some of these...

  9. Great ideas! I am doing the Walk in her Sandals book too and focusing on prayer and patience this lent :)

  10. Nice ideas for meatless meals. I'm really enjoying devotionals these days. Our diocese put together a devotional and I'm working through it this Lent.


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