Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Holy Experience: a Beautiful Lent Resource

I subscribe to the blog, A Holy Experience, written by Ann Voskamp. I am continually moved and challenged by her humble understanding of her God, and life here on Earth. Today, she shared an intriguing and deeply moving post about what Lent means to her, and I was so touched that I felt I should share it. Understand, Ann is not Episcopalian. At the same time, I feel that we can embrace our similarities and discount our canonical differences in some circumstances.

I hope her words bless you as they have me!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Place At The Table

The Episcopal Church seems to be moving toward making Lent more than just a time of self-sacrifice in solidarity with Christ. Rather, I see a move toward enhancing our lives- living them more completely, the way God intended. At our church specifically, we are working on physical, emotional, and spiritual health. This involves a variety of things, including physical exercise and eating healthier foods, making time for prayer each day, and giving to others.

I stumbled upon this book recently and I will be reading it during Lent. The author is a Christian who chooses to eat like most of the world does, rather than how Americans tend to do. I'm particularly excited because it chronicles his Lent journey (while I'm doing mine!) and explores our physical health as well as the physical/emotional condition of others. It seems to fit into my own journey over the next 40 days, and I share it here because I suspect it might just coincide with yours as well.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

 How are you celebrating Valentine's Day?

We are doing lots of fun things in our house, including making Valentines to give to friends and family, eating pink heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast, and playing a few Valentine's Day games.



This is pretty standard behavior, I think, but I want to be sure that we talk about God's love on this special day as well as romantic love. (I think kids get plenty of exposure to the latter in our society.) So, what to do?

We were off to a great start because in church last Sunday the children all made valentine cards which we will be delivering (as a church) to a local nursing home. We are all excited to be spreading God's love in this way, and the residents are excited to see the kids and their creations!



In our family we are also prepared to be "sneaky" valentines this year, who will be dropping off anonymous messages of love and friendship to our neighbors. (So if you live near us and read this blog, don't spoil the surprise!)

Still thinking about what your family will be up to today?

Check out these links for some more fun Valentine's Day ideas for kids:
Kid-friendly story of St. Valentine and several angel craft ideas
Valentine game and activity ideas
Valentine's Day stories, poems, and recipes

I asked a few kids last week during Children's Chapel about the roots of Valentine's Day- "where did it come from, and why do we celebrate it?" I wanted to know. A few kids had a general idea (maybe it had something to do with God??), but many weren't so sure how this wonderful holiday originated. That's not surprising since History doesn't give us a very clear answer, but I hoped that children would recognize the story of Father Valentine, a early Christian priest who helped young couples marry. Check out this quick video from the History Channel to buff up your own recollection of V-day's origins, both pagan and Christian:

(Note: it's a 4 minute video- please watch it first without your children because you may find that it contains ideas which are a bit "too old" for very young children)