TGIF

Fridays.

I get up on Friday and I’m doing my own little “meat free penance” thing. Then I go about my day, doing my penance thing, and I think, “oh, I shouldn’t have a muffin today (even though it’s the only day I have time to swing by the bakery), it’s Friday.”

And then it gets on a little further into the day and I think, “Oh, I shouldn’t have chips with my sandwich, it’s Friday.”

And then later in the day I say, “Oh I should just have water, not this soda—it’s Friday.”

Later, maybe I shouldn’t turn the heat on in the car—and def not the radio—because, well, it’s Friday.

And during Lent, I have even more of these kinds of thoughts.

And anyway my Friday pretty much goes on like that until it’s Saturday.

Family Lenten Practices Calendar

I love this idea!

Traci Smith

LENTENPRACTICESCALENDAR2015

So excited to share this family Lenten Practices calendar! (PDF HERE)  Each day there is either a prayer [P], service/almsgiving [S] or fasting [F] activity. The activities aren’t terribly time consuming and can be adapted for a variety of different ages. On prayer days, a word is given that can be a prompt for a prayer (either written or drawn). On fasting days, simple things are abstained from for a day to give the experience of sacrificing something to focus on God. On service days, a simple service activity is featured.

Looking for a simple daily devotional for adults? I wrote one available for purchase from Chalice Press!

Pastors and educators, please feel free to download this calendar and include it in your newsletter or bulletin. Happy Lent!

Like this resource? Get more resources like this by subscribing to my newsletter, liking my author page on Facebook (don’t…

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Leaves.

Witnessed this convo in the school lunch line today. Little boy came up for seconds– as long as they clean their plate, they are allowed seconds. He still had some spinach and strawberry salad on his plate. Miss Virginia told him he had to clean his plate first.

“Do I have to eat the strawberry?” he asked.

She nodded yes– half paying attention and half counting back my change. So he started to walk off. Being a persistent one, though, he turned back and asked again.

“Do I have to eat the strawberry? I don’t like strawberries, but I do like leaves.”

“Ok,” she answered, “you eat all the leaves and I’ll ignore that strawberry. Then you can have seconds.”

Leaves. I am officially that little boy’s fan.

Quick Vegetarian Picks

Someone asked me to share with him my top 5 or 10 favorite restaurants with vegetarian fare. True to my form– here is my “brief” reply:

Breakfast:

Continental Bakery

Over Easy on Hollywood

Lunch:

Golden Temple

Zoe’s

Newk’s

Organic Harvest

Bottletree

Marikarios (for dinner, too)

Dinner:

Jackson’s

Nabeel’s

DoDiYo’s

Chez Lulu

Tsoi’s Asian Bistro

La Paz

Highlands

For breakfast I can go with a group of friends to Over Easy on Hollywood and order plenty straight from the menu, though I’d need to be a bit more vigilant if I were looking for vegan—plus they have the GOOD Royal Cup coffee!

Continental Bakery—downtown or in Mountain Brook is always a winner for anyone, meat-eater or vegetarian.

Golden Temple is a great place for lunch. They have a different daily special which I’d almost always recommend. The regular sandwiches are delicious, too. I don’t think a meat-eater would miss it, but there will be no meat on the menu.

Zoe’s has great vegan and vegetarian choices right on the menu and they do not feel like an after thought, which is always nice. Newks has a few good veggie items, though I think it would be quite boring for a vegan.

Organic Harvest in Hoover has a nice lunch counter. They are a bit slow but you know your food is fresh.

Bottletree is actually not my top favorite. The service is less-than-stellar and most of the time what I’ve eaten there I know I can make at home and I’d like it better. That said, I don’t always make it at home. Plus, they have a veggie dog with pimiento cheese that is worth dealing with the grumpy staff.

I like to go to restaurants for dinner where I don’t feel like I’m choosing from the two (or fewer) vegetarian options on the menu. Also, I like for everyone else to be able to order “normal things”.

DoDiYo’s will usually have plenty of vegetarian options for entrees and appetizers. The meals are definitely not afterthoughts, but very good stand-alone dishes. Seems a good portion of those dishes are also vegan. My favorite is the Imam Baldi, an eggplant dish.

While Jackson’s does not have a ton of vegetarian dishes, they do have at least one per category. I put it on the list because they have a great Portobello “cheese steak” sandwich that is very tasty. I had an unexplainable craving for a Philly cheesesteak one night and this fit the bill!

Nabeel’s is always a winner. Sometimes their nightly special will even be vegetarian, though rarely vegan. You can probably do some tweaking to find a vegan meal on the menu.

Chez Lulu always has great choices and, of all these restaurants, I’d say their wait staff is the most knowledgeable when it comes to asking vegetarian and vegan questions about the menu.

Highlands rarely has a single meat-free item on the menu, but they will make you anything with the ingredients they have that night—and that includes a lot of veggies.

For “ethnic” ideas, I think La Paz has some tasty veggie choices for a Mexican flair.

Tsoi’s Asian Bistro on Rocky Ridge has a bazillion tofu and/or veggie dishes. I like their spicy eggplant, General Tso’s tofu and their Tofu Panang.

Surin West used to be a big favorite of mine. I haven’t been in a while, but their Tofu Panang and Tofu Larb were my favorites.
Marikario’s on Southside has an extensive vegetarian Mediterranean menu.

Fortune tellers, seers and folks who “just have a feeling”.

Do you ever feel like you know what is going to happen before it does?  Do you have a weird connection to events?  Do you know the next song about to play on the radio?  That the phone is about to ring?  The winning lottery numbers (please email me if you do)?  Do you know or feel things before they happen but just don’t know how to explain it?

What do you think of all that?  Are coincidences a real thing?  Are weird events all explainable?  Is this something that is of God– or not?

 

Holy Hour of Reparation

Holy Hour of Reparation

Last night a small group of the faithful prayed a Holy Hour of Reparation in a small Adoration chapel in Birmingham, Alabama. Hearts were heavy with the news of the planned black mass to be staged on the campus at Harvard. A friend asked if I’d like to meet at the chapel to pray so I, being a convert having only a few prayers memorized, began googling for prayers of reparation. I found a few.

Then I ran across an entire Holy Hour of Reparation. I printed the prayers and shared with other members of the Vespers group who’d be there on Monday. Subsequently, I learned that the prayers I had found online were actually part of this. The prayers are beautiful and I recommend anyone and everyone grab a copy or ten of this book to have on hand for Adoration and other hours of prayer.

Holy Hour of Reparation

 

Our small group, who prays Vespers together on Friday evenings– Non Ancora Arrivati—Saints-in-training, but not yet arrived— met at a small chapel in town that has Perpetual Adoration. As we waited on everyone to arrive some of us stood outside and discussed our plan of action. See, technically, this particular Adoration chapel has a “policy” of only silent prayer. At one time they even nixed reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (which is said every hour on the hour) aloud. While they’ve gone back to reciting that out loud, the rest of the hour is silent.

Would we ask the committed Adorers for that hour if it was okay? What if they said no? Would we stay and pray in silence or perhaps take our group into the Church or parish library? What if we received only a reluctant “yes.”? Would we do it anyway?

We agreed that this hour of prayer was so very necessary that we would take any kind of yes and run with it.

We asked each of them if they would mind— explained our reason for being there– and even had copies of the prayers to share with them.   Each of the Adorers was more than happy to pray with us! Each said they wanted to do something but didn’t know about these prayers in this particular Holy Hour of Reparation.

By the end of the hour we there were 15+ people in this small chapel praying fervently in Reparation to Our Lord.

The prayers were so beautiful. They were so powerful and so moving.

We left the chapel amidst an amazing palpable joy. I think this hour may have changed a few of us. For good.  When I made it home I checked my messages. One from our group who could not attend had sent this:

 “They backed down. Cancelled it. They announced it about an hour ago.”

 

Thanks be to God.

But one of the folks I follow on Twitter reminds us all of this:

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I think that this Holy Hour of Reparation is a necessary prayer. This is something that needs to be prayed often.   I hope that Non Ancora Arrivati will continue to pray this regularly. I hope many others will, too.

 

 

The Hustle and Bustle of Lent

I had grand ideas of what my Lenten sacrifice would be like. I would give up That Thing because I knew it was taking away from my prayer life. I’d give up my Thing and grow closer to God. Easy peasy- holy life. Yay!

No.

I’d go to Confession once a week, like I usually do during Lent, which is more frequent than the rest of the year. I should try to add Saturday morning Mass on most weekends– which is difficult, as it’s not offered at my parish. But I’ve done it before.

No. And No.

This year, during Lent, I made it to Confession less often than usual. Not less often than my usual Lenten schedule, but not even as frequent as I do the rest of the year. Saturday morning Mass? I was halfway through Lent before I even remembered I should be going! And my Thing? That I gave up? I slipped so many times. It started out pretty well. I gave up my thing. But there wasn’t any change. I didn’t add in prayer (which was the plan). I guess I felt like I still just didn’t have the time. Pretty soon I was giving up my giving up. It was brutal.

What happened? This year Lent seemed BUSY. Is Lent always busy? I thought I was going into a vacuum this Lent and that the exterior world would not distract me. Instead, my calendar was full– and it was all Church stuff so it must be ok, right? Yeah, but this isn’t a realization that I should give up my full schedule. I’m saying I want make my life more prayerful inside of it.

See, I find myself thinking that to retreat within myself is the way I will grow closer to God. I’ve always been certain of it. I think I’ve wanted to live a life of prayer since a million years before I became Catholic, and maybe even before I knew that God is. This year I wanted my Lent to be a monastery. Instead it was a chaotic free-for-all. Regular life got in the way of what I had planned on being a holy season of penance and preparation.

As I limp toward Easter, I recall my miserable failure at keeping my Lenten promise, but I have hope entering this Holy Triduum. I looked at Holy Week and figured I’d give it another go. I’m going forward with a renewed Lenten promise– giving up That Thing I said I’d give up, even if it is just for a week and remembering, really, why we even do this. I’ve joke that my Lent was such a #Fail and that I’m looking forward to Holy Week, and now the Triduum for Redemption. Well. Aren’t we all.

I went into Lent thinking that I’d give up something and make more room for prayer. More time for The Lord. That’s not what I want to do though. I don’t want to make room for Him. I want only Him and this other stuff, I can’t let get in the way.

Onward ho.

God bless.

Triduum Fast

Short and to the point.

Catholic Sensibility

crucifix.jpg Many Christians keep a serious fast on this day, Good Friday. Many of these Christians do not know that tomorrow, though optional, is also kept as a day of fasting, according to the guidelines given today: only one full meal, plus two small meals not quite equal to the volume of the full one.

One diocese does promote this, I see. They suggest the replacement of the usual food and entertainment with prayer, charity, and spiritual reading.

I’ve been reading some Robert Barron during Lent, especially The Strangest Way. Go to his web site, Word on Fire, for some insightful material, including a YouTube of his review of the film Fargo.

I feel so flush with stuff … stuff from reading, stuff from liturgy, stuff from prayer, stuff from my daily life, that there’s nothing really to report or say. I don’t have time to write a novel…

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Veiling the Statues for Lent

Veiling the Statues for Lent

It’s unnerving to me every year. The veiling of the statues during the 5th week of Lent through Holy Week. All year long I find myself letting my eyes fall upon the Crucifix of Our Lord and that is how I pray. When my mind might start to wander during Mass I turn toward the Crucifix and regain my focus.

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With everything covered I feel lost.

If my mind wanders, I look for my Lord but I don’t see him. I have to concentrate on my prayers to stay focused because there is nothing externally to help me do that. It feels sad and lonely and empty in the Church right now.

I suppose that is the point?