Was This Our Best Lent Ever?
As a Protestant, there was one thing that really intrigued me about Catholics.
They took Easter and the 40 days preceding it, seriously.
Maybe I should share that whole journey from Protestant to Catholic sometime? I don’t know. Maybe. What say y’all?
Fast forward almost 19 years and here we are. Another Lent in the books. How was yours? Did you walk away changed? The same? Indifferent? Worse? I think I’m all those things, and then some, this year.
We were certainly more purposeful in our celebrations, as a couple and as a family. There was the painted churches tour, for one. That one’s been on the bucket list for a while.
The kids did our PFA basket (prayer-fasting-almsgiving). Although we weren’t religious (ha, pun intended) about doing it every night, the kids really held up their ends of the bargain when it came to their Lenten sacrifices. Will gave up his pillow and only drank water. I know, even I couldn’t give that up. John Paul and Anna-Laura avoided sweets and even passed on some birthday treats with friends. Impressive. Luke and Clare still get some leniency on their sacrifices. Age of reason and all that.
This year, I signed up for some online reflections that were delivered to my inbox. While I did love getting that message every morning, these 40 days taught me that I needed something more substantial. Like a book. I did that last year and really grew in my understanding of sacrifice, faith, love and understanding. The emailed reflections were nice, but I’m not sure I’d do that again.
There was one thing I did do this Lent and it proved very fruitful. I said “wait” to almost every obligation that came my way and instead, took Lent to pray about if it should be a “yes.” I’m a doer, so that delayed yes proved very difficult for me. But what I learned is that by delaying my desire to say yes, I was able to say yes to other things and really ponder and pray about where to spend my time. In that sense? Best Lent ever.
I also started working out again. While the scale says I’m nearing pre-pregnancy weight, I’m trying hard not to be focused so much on the numbers, but rather on how I feel. And I feel so much better than I did pre-workout days. That’s a win.
During Holy Week, I logged off social media (and blogging). Yes, I totally missed blogging. But, social media? I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would. In fact, there wasn’t much phone time during the week. So, instead of being all “I wonder how I can photograph that for Instagram,” I was all, “let’s go play outside.” In fact, Will gave me lessons on how to do a layup on the basketball court. We had a blast. I’ll tell you that I’m really struggling with my love-hate relationship with the social. I’m an extrovert, so you know I love it. But every time I read or see something about a friend, it always plays out so differently in real life. Facebook tells me they had a blast on that family outing. In reality, when I see them in person and ask about it? They hated it. Every minute. This valley between real and “real” is so vast.
On the blog, you get 100% me, but maybe only 40% of my life. Does that even make sense? During Lent, I began to fear that people perceived my life to be perfect or without its crosses. That is not my life. And I’m pretty sure it isn’t yours either. Now I’m rambling. Sorry!
We ended Lent with a bang, attending the Chrism Mass (Gianna made it almost the whole way through – miracle!) and then Scott took the bigs to Holy Thursday and Good Friday Masses. Sweet Gianna kept me hostage at home, but I know it won’t always be that way.
During our five-day Easter break, we spent time with my parents breaking in their new patio, visiting the Schoenstatt Shrine, Easter egg hunting, doing yard work, cleaning the house, hosting Easter lunch and driving to see Central Texas’ bluebonnets. I promise to share more pics this week. If you’re not from here, bluebonnets are kind of a thing. A rite of passage every spring. There’s a whole post about that, though. We even began praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, with a little assistance from a CD, made by our former parish Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
In a word? Lent was sanctifying. There is a beautiful person in my life who needs so much love. Every time I complained, or began to feel discouraged during Lent, I turned my prayers heavenward. We shall see what the Holy Spirit has in store. I pray your Lent set you on a path to be changed. If not? It’s never too late to start. Ever.
And, because I haven’t done this in forever, here’s what we wore Sunday! Linking it up, too.
Scott’s suit/tie: Dillards and Target
Kathryn: Dress (Polo Ralph Lauren outlet), Shoes (Dillards), Jewelry (Charming Charlie)
Will/John Paul: Pants (school), Shirt (Dillards), Bowtie (Petite Peanut)
Anna-Laura: Dress/Cardigan (Gymboree), Shoes (Stride Rite)
Clare: Dress/shoes (Gymboree)
Luke: Shirt (Gymboree), Pants (from a friend)
Gianna: Dress (Gymboree), Shoes (on loan from a neighbor)
Sounds like a great Easter! I always chuckle at things I see on Insta and FB. People always trying to pretend things are fabulous when I know they aren’t. It truly leaves me shaking my head.
And congrats on being close to pregnancy weight! I am so far away that it’s really depressing. Being 45 and trying to lose 20 pounds of extra baby weight is a lot different than being 33 and trying to do it…big sigh… But I’m going to keep at it because I really want to feel and look my best. Although, my perception of “best” may have to be adjusted a little.
Great post. Yes, you should share your journey to Catholicism. It’s part of who you are.
Great post! I too share your love/hate relationship with social media. I am trying to change my attitude about FB to think of it more like I am taking my “friends” on my Adventure of Life. The good, the not-so-good, and everything in between. Your Easter family picture is just lovely. Oh, and I love conversion stories, so my vote is YES! Many Easter blessings to you and your family!
Loved this Lent! Though our life was CRAZY in oh so many ways- I took up meditation (game changing), cried nonstop through a Good Friday service that felt tailored to me, and deepened my relationship with Christ which is why I loved it though it was a crazy 40 days. If you’re walking or running, we should hit the trail with the strollers. So nice to be out in nature.
Your Lent and Easter sounds amazing.
I just don’t understand one thing 😀
Is Lent in the US just a catholic thing? Here in Germany it’s something both catholics and protestants do. I’ve grown up with these 40 days before easter so it never occured to me…
You know, that’s a good question, Barbs. We live in the Bible Belt, so maybe not the best judge, but I don’t remember much of Lent at all growing up Protestant in Texas. The 40 days preceding Easter were largely a Catholic thing. In fact, Holy Week wasn’t even a thing. We did honor the Triduum, but we didn’t really call it that. We only celebrated a Holy Thursday service, then Easter on Sunday.
Thanks for the answer =)
For us here in Germany it starts on Holy Thursday which is still a full work day but there is usually an evening service. Then we celebrate Good Friday (which is the most important one for protestants) where all the decorations in our church are taken of and the bells stop ringing until Easter Sunday. On that day there is usually a resurrection celebration and a service. Last day to celebrate is Easter Monday with a big service especially for families with children.
One thing I always wanted to write is, that I really enjoy your blog. As a non-catholic who was always interested in other religions and denominations it’s really great to learn more about catholic customs 🙂
Good for you, Kathryn.
What a great recap! Love your honesty! I must say, your Will reminds me so much of a young JFK. Every time I see a pic of him I think it! His hair is quite remarkable!
It is pretty awesome. JFK is our nickname for him!
your family is so beautiful! And I am glad you used the word “Sanctifying” to describe your lent. Isn’t that the whole point? I hope mine was too, in some little ways, but Knowing I didnt do as much as I could have, I decided not to fret and instead to embrace these 50 days of Easter and just as much an opportunity to be sanctified and grow in holiness!
I’d love to read your conversion story!
Yes! Would love to hear the Protestant to Catholic conversion story. I’m always intrigued by these.
I stumbled on your blog last week and I’m thrilled. I was finding it difficult to find fellow Catholic mom bloggers.
I wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed those once a day lenten reflections straight to my inbox. Despite the every day craziness, I sought out time to reflect and read the bible before my day started. I miss the everyday push to do that. For me it was truly a blessed Lent.
Again, I’m so excited I’ve found you. 🙂
Oh, I’m so honored you landed here. There are some really fantastic mommas in the blogosphere.