There was so much good stuff out there this week to inspire your Lenten practices.

Christine Warner has a guest post over on Mama Monk detailing how they fast from electrical appliances during Lent. Wow. Brushing Our Teeth by Candlelight is both powerful and terrifying. Reading it, I want to do it. I doubt my ability to do it. But I am definitely intrigued.

I’ve just started Ann Voskamp’s book A Thousand Gifts, and I love this hands-on guided meditation on forgiveness. It’s just absolutely lovely. If I didn’t think it would end up all over my landing, I would have this take up permanent residence in our peace corner this Lent. Maybe I’ll find a way to make that happen.

I am a type-A, firstborn control freak with mild OCD that has been diagnosed by several certified professionals. Mostly it’s not a big deal, although it does mean that I get visibly agitated if we can’t go through Target in what my daughter calls my “special order” and I really REALLY like to make lists.

But every now and again my perfectionism and OCD gets in the way of my doing what I really want to do. I feel so paralyzed by the need to find the perfect system that I never actually get started doing what needs to be done. I just get bogged down by the details.

Happy Shrove Tuesday! We’ll actually be having pancakes tonight. And sausage. And eggs. And something scrumptious for desert. And we’re actually getting coats and shoes on to go get fasnachts now. For you non-Central-Pennsylvanians, fasnachts are yummy fatty doughnuts served the day before Ash Wednesday. Growing up in Amish Country, Shrove Tuesday was actually known as Fasnacht Day. Actually, I don’t even know if I can get a decent fasnacht around here. But if I take a day trip to Lancaster just for fried treats, no matter how delicious, my husband would probably have a fit.

The asceticism of Lent comes to train us, like spiritual athletes, to keep our eyes, with Jesus, on the road to Jerusalem. Then perhaps we will come, like Jesus,  to see the sick and the lame, the outcast and the foreigner in our own world and bend to heal them, stop to listen to them, reach out to raise them from the dead edges of society to new life. ~Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year

Lent is one of those elements of Christian practice that binds the Christian community to one another and to its beginnings. It ties us to the core of us that is not transient., that is not changing, that does not fail us. Lent gives the lie to isolation. We are not alone. We walk with the church throughout the world on this journey to reveal. We walk, too, with One who has gone before us to bring us home again. ~Joan Chittister

A blessed and peaceful Lent to all who walk this journey with me.

One last idea for counting the days during Lent. This one is nice for the younger set.

We have lavender for meatless days, yellow for Sundays, and dark purple for the rest of the time. Some people write ideas for Lenten activities on each link, but we find keeping up with the chain to be enough.

Here is one way my older children mark Lent. The way our doors are set up in the kitchen, Katie Grace (who took the picture) had to stand in the kitchen closet to take the picture, so please forgive the broom!

Basically, it’s just footsteps, and a cross for each Sunday. I also write in special feast days and mark off fast days with a little fish. Each day, they color a footprint to take us closer to Easter.

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Yesterday afternoon the boys and I planted our Lenten Garden.

First Michael filled the dish with soil. We took the advice of Jen over at Ancient Hearth and used a piece of floral foam to anchor our flowers. Next we sprinkled the soil with wheat berries.

After we sprinkled on a little more dirt, Nicholas sprinkled the seeds with water.

Daniel had fun exploring some little bugs he found at the craft store and wanted to add.

Now there’s nothing to do but to wait for the seeds to sprout.

Taking down the Alleluia at church.

We desist from saying Alleluia, the song chanted by angels, because we have been excluded from the company of the angels on account of Adam’s sin. In the Babylon of our earthly life we sit by the streams, weeping as we remember Sion. For as the children of Israel in an alien land hung their harps upon the willows, so we too must forget the Alleluia song in the season of sadness, of penance, and bitterness of heart.~Bishop William Duranti (1296)

I finally know what I’m doing for Lent.

And the space between ourselves sometimes is more than the distance between the stars…