Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Lent, life, and a shrine: Spring 2023

Happy Ash Wednesday, everyone! We made it to an early Mass as a family today, and although it's a penitential day, I also experienced a deep joy...for beginning the day with a beautiful liturgy (with several other people, too!) and also entering the fantastic season of Lent. I felt renewed as we prayed together in the liturgy; today feels like a fresh start. We can begin again to plunge deeper into our relationship with God. We can refocus on the path of holiness. We can truly leave the past behind and step forward in faith, trusting that God will refresh and restore our weary hearts and souls.


Since it's so much fun to talk and think about food on penitential days: My husband recently started watching short food videos by Gordon Ramsay, and he's taken our family's scrambled egg game to the next level. (When I make food, I put together something super simple and throw it on plates; when my husband makes food, he creates gorgeous platters of deliciousness. It is always a treat when he prepares food for us!)

My husband put together this breakfast after Mass one Saturday morning.

The other day, my children called me out to the front porch because there were tons of tiny spiders crawling around in one area. It was so strange! (after my boys discovered these spiders, they grabbed one of their books to identify them, but alas, could not figure out what specific type they were.)

If you are curious how life is going with four young kids, who are all at exciting ages: On a recent weekday, after we returned home from a library story time, the 4yo declared that he was going to "look for bugs." Several minutes later, as I was putting a dirty diaper in the bathroom, this particular child walked into the bathroom to show me a small worm that he found. Then, after pondering whether or not he should eat the worm, he put it in a jar of dirt and we went to visit our neighbors. After our visit, this child went back to digging and found an even bigger worm, that he was very excited about. I asked him what the worm's name was, and my 4yo said: “I think I’ll name him after someone from the Odyssey…I’ll name him Heracles.” So, for the rest of the afternoon, he took Heracles all over the place, inside and outside, even asking me if I wanted to hold the worm. It was adorable, and definitely a bright spot in what turned out to be an intense week for me. 

With homeschooling, we have managed to stay fairly consistent with daily history class, so we just added in a short daily math class! My oldest has been teaching himself math for a while, and the 4yo has really been loving math picture books from the library, and we've seen some "lightbulb moments" which has been neat. However, after some discussion, my husband and I just decided to order an actual math workbook for our oldest, to see if he benefits from more of a structured process with his math education. He only just started it (we got him the Horizons grade 1 book) but is enjoying it so far! 

Recently, we finally got to visit the Blessed Stanley Rother shrine, which is definitely a big highlight of 2023 for us! Blessed Stanley Rother was an Oklahoma farmer-turned-priest who went to Guatemala as a missionary and was killed in 1981. Our family was able to attend his beatification Mass in 2017, and we have been eagerly following the progress on the shrine over the past few years. Visiting the shrine was such a gift, and I am excited to share more thoughts and reflections on the shrine, and to visit again. 

On that note, I'm off to make another cup of coffee and soak up some of the gorgeous sunshine. It's already been quite a momentous winter/springtime, and I am interested to see what other adventures come our way! 

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