Flipping for Lent

It’s Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras.  It’s the last day of ordinary time before Lent begins tomorrow. (For those of you confused or seeing double…this post mistakenly went up a day early…but hopefully now it’s the proper day and date…my bad..see, busy distracted me….)

So, I have been pondering and praying and stewing and thinking…and I think I’m going on a blog hiatus.  For now, I’m doing it as a Lenten exercise. I want to live and feel an intentional quiet (or, well, quieter….let’s not lose our heads).

I’ve been drifting away from the blog just because I’ve been living a bit more in the moment than I used to, or was.  Sometimes that whole “in the moment” was gladly welcomed, indeed, cultivated.  And sometimes, it, um….wasn’t.  By which I mean, it was steamrolled over me and I was just working on breathing and dealing with the fire, or meltdown, or juggling act of the minute.

But Lent arrives.  It’s the perfect gift of time and space to open up my head and heart more and more fully to those in my immediate here and now.  And to God himself, of course.  It’s time for me to pray better, or try.  To shut up and listen better.  To be more here, here.  Or there, there.

I fear feeling isolated.  I fear not being able to sort through my ponderings well enough and somehow going a little crazy.  I think by typing.  And just journaling privately doesn’t do it, it feels redundant somehow.  But I think that Lent is about letting go of fears and crutches.  This is a big one for me, a comfy chair to nestle in and think aloud, so to speak.  But I feel drawn to move away from it, for now.  Maybe for good.  Maybe not. I reserve the right to change my mind and to come back swinging.

I’ll wish each of you who might stop by a blessed Lent.  I will miss you and this little community and it’s links beyond.  But this time, now, it’s time….for now.  Maybe we’ll share another espresso soon.

Attachment School, lent and trust

Lots of thoughts bouncing round my brain as I contemplate the approach of Lent and the two wild boys rocketing around me on this rainy Sunday afternoon.  Forgive the rambling: I need to try to sort out the threads in my head on this blustery day.

It seems that my approach to raising these kids, all my kids, has become more and more a focus on attachment and connecting.  It is a much more holistic approach, in a way, than we used to do….although that seems like an odd thing to say. It’s not that I raised my first sons differently, or less, or with less love or “all in” approach (heavens no, I couldn’t possibly love them more or have done more than I did with what I had at the time)….but rather, that I knew less, was less confident in the worth and reach of the boundless love we had for them.  I/we felt we had to make sure that we filled them with….oh, as much as we could of everything. Every fact, experience, tidbit of knowing, doing, etc…it was rushing past us and could we possibly capture it all?

Now, it seems that the bigger, harder, more intensive thing to do is to fill them, any and all of our kids, with as much as we can of…us. By which I mean, connection.  Our time, our presence, our mindfulness, our ‘no matter whatness” of our love for them…at the same time as we gently nudge ahead and hold boundaries.  We encourage and console.  We trust and hope.  But maybe we don’t have to be doing the DOING of filling that kid-jar of self…rather we need to let them unfold a bit more.

And I think this whole-ness of approach to the parenting, now, is an older, fuller, more relaxed and  more encompassing way, in a way.  Even as it’s a looser, relaxed and trusting way.  And, school, for now, for these little boys, must also run these rails.  Because I believe that it is what will launch them best. It is actually a way of schooling that I can only call Attachment Homeschool.  Attachschool?  A blend of unschool, homeschool, living life, attachment parenting.  Loving no matter what, all in.   If they are allowed to relax into the who of themselves, and secure their attachment to the us of our family, then they have the most powerful launchpad that there is. They will have the toolbox to become who they will and are made to be.

There is a price to it. It is the dear cost of hope and trust.  It means spending effort to beat back the demons of fear and worry and fretting. Mine, of course. It means trusting in these kids, who they are all meant to become.  It means cracking open my rusty crusty soul and trusting in God himself who made them and brought them here, to us.

And so as we approach the desert of Lent, one of my most difficult Lenten exercises will be to trust in the learning of these boys.  To let them relax into themselves and me/us.  To LIVE our family life as fully and mindfully as I can.  To live this liturgical season as fully as I can, with the family and all the kids.  Not easy.  Sounds so.  But, so not.

Because for me to step out into the desert in faith and trust…well, it’s a desert for me for sure.  That’s where all my demons screech and thrash.  But, lent approaches.  I’m girding up.  I’ve got the crowbar out to break open the iron doors of my trust and control and let them step out of that musty box and into the fresher air of faithful hope.  This lent is a time to be still and listen and pray and watch the blooms that are found, even in the desert.  Some of those are the most beautiful; even so for the struggle of it all.


Three days.  I wish you a deeply blessed spare and rich Lent.   I’ll pray for you, if you would, please pray for me.

Stations Week 3

Once again, it’s time for the Stations of the Cross.

Every Friday in Lent I’m putting up the link to the Stations of the Cross.
It’s an uber Catholic thing….but then again not.
Anyone can meditate on the Stations of the Cross, and lent is the perfect time to do so. 
It is a rigorous walk, in prayer…and has it’s own hard beauty.
Take a look, read, pray if you are inclined.

This year I’m linking to Pope Benedict’s Stations, the meditations are great.  Go here for the prayers.

Painting by Michael O’Brien

And, for you techies out there, this app is a gorgeous thing, with beautiful paintings by Michael O’Brien.  Totally worth the download!

Stepping forward.

Today is the day.  Ash Wednesday.  I’ve written a bunch about this in years past.  But this link at Aggie Catholics has the yearly roundup (always updated to be current w/ good links) and here is what’s important to remember as well.  So, instead of my yammering on about it, this video below is a good quickie summary for us attention and/or time challenged folks. Take a look, it’s the fast 411 on Lent.

So, wishing you a rich and good Lent.  Into the desert.  Steady on…..

Flipping Out

Oh yeah, it’s Fat Tuesday!

Or, our personal favorite: Shrove Tuesday.
Or, many other’s personal favorite: Mardi Gras.
Or, Fasching.
Or, Carnival.
You get the idea….

Yup, it’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the eve before the fast. The vigil before the beginning of the season of Lent.

Because you can never have enough pics of flipping pancakes...it's just fun (click pic for source)

Now some of us love those Mardi Gras celebrations, floats, beads, revelry….and it is our biggest American Carnival tradition. I’ve never been a big one for the real Mardi Gras. Maybe because I’m not from the Big Easy and I am simply a foreigner to it all. Maybe because I could never hold my liquor, or maybe because I’ve never been a night owl, or maybe because those masks (like clowns) just tend to creep me out. I don’t know.

But I do like the tradition of Shrove Tuesday and even more so with children. It’s a minor thrill for them to have pancakes for supper, it’s a fun and positive start to a challenging season. It’s nice to sit around the table and go over all the Lenten resolutions and discuss what we’ll each work on individually and also as a family. The kids look forward to this and remember it, each year, and it’s a good way for them to understand the richness to be found in both feasting and fasting. It’s a tradition, it’s bonding, it’s literally sticky (kids, syrup, ’nuff said).

So, Happy Shrove Tuesday.

A timely new world record! (click for source)

It’s not an official Church feast day, but it certainly is, unofficially, a popular and traditional day of feasting. And really, a little cheer right now is much welcome and how can you not grin at an image like this?

Enjoy your own Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday. Let’s go eat some pancakes.

{text reprinted from 2009, because Shrove Tuesday is fun no matter the year, and I”m busy clearing out my cupboards…I’m sure you understand!}