Renaissance: (n.) a renewal of life, vigor, interest, etc.; rebirth; revival
Real Food Renaissance: (n.) A cultural movement reviving the preparation of the traditional, healthy, real foods that our ancestors thrived on, but that our present culture has abandoned in favor of convenience.
Today begins our 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for the greatest of all feast days, Easter Sunday.
Last night we had a Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras celebration of sourdough chocolate chip pancakes which the boys said tasted great! And, unbelievable as it seems, I think their bellies were full!
Filling the bellies
Later this afternoon, after the two older boys return from serving Mass at the Sisters', we will be working on making a salt dough crown of thorns and putting together the family altar. I'm hoping to have a purposeful Lent this year.
With academics running smoothly and the boys done with most of their work by 1:00, using the afternoon time to focus more on celebrating the Liturgical Year seems a real possibility.
We are a little over a week away from Lent. I've started some preparations, but, as always, there is so much to do and not nearly enough time.
The children and I have begun discussing what they are going to 'give up'. As usual, we always get the child who says, "I'm giving up cleaning my room." This year it was Bella. I just smile because the little ones don't know that this joke is probably centuries old.
After all the giggling dies down, we talk about the reasons why we give things up. Does God really need us to give up candy or computer time? Eventually, through questioning, I can pull out the answer that, no, God does not need us to give up these things, WE need us to give up these things, these creatures. Because drawing closer to God means pulling further away from the world. By mortifying the flesh, we become stronger and better able to choose God's Will in our lives. I try to guide them to give up something that hurts a little. Next week they will write it down on a piece of paper and place it near the crucifix... a symbol of their little gift to Our Lord.
For the little ones, a really great Lenten tradition is to make a crown of thorns with salt dough and toothpicks. As little sacrifices are made, one of the thorns is removed from the crown. The goal is to have removed all the thorns by Holy Thursday. We'll be working on that project toward the end of the week and I'll try to post pictures and a recipe.
Also on my 'to do' list is to compose a Lenten idea plan for meals. On most evenings of the rest of the year, our meal consists of a soup course, main course, cheese course and on feast days, an occasional dessert. During Lent, there will be only one course and I will focus on soups, bread and cheese. It is always hard for me to not only cut back on the variety in eating, but also the variety in the cooking. One of my pleasures in life is creativity in the kitchen. Giving up the creative for the mundane will be one of my mortifications.