Posts filed under ‘Holidays’

Lenten Ideas to Help Us Focus on and Become More Like Jesus

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan. And I wrote about the following: When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held.)

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan.  . . . .  And I wrote about the following: . . . . . When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held Evans.)

I dabble in Lent. For the past 8 years I’ve done various things: given something up (social media, unnecessary spending), added something (usually a spiritual discipline), donated (money and items) to a good cause, and prayed more. I don’t attend a liturgical church, so I don’t really know what I am doing.

In my past Lenten observances, I’ve never done well at fasting. I’ve never spent extra time in confession. And come to think of it, many of my other attempts were also lame.

But I did these “lame” things to prepare myself for Easter. And while they were done imperfectly and probably incorrectly, I did achieve my goal. By the time Easter came around, I was more focused on the Redeemer of my soul, Jesus. My thoughts & actions were a little more like His.

Here is a cool video about Lent. It is only 1 minute 15 seconds. “Lent is not a list of Catholic Resolutions nor is it a Catholic Endurance Test. . . . It is a campaign for holiness. Instead of giving up chocolate, how about giving up sin.” OUCH!

This year I am keeping it simple. The idea generator in me wants to add a bunch of things to this list. But I typically over-estimate my available time, energy, and resources. So there are only 3 things on my list.

(1) I am giving up negativity in all forms: pessimism . . . uncalled for anger . . .  criticism . . . complaining . . . worry . . . gossip . . . impatience . . . swearing . . . mean talk . . . pride . . . discouragement . . . hyper independence . . .  and victim- and scarcity-thinking. . . . I want to be purposeful about my thoughts and about what comes out of my mouth.

I don’t normally have a problem with negativity, but I think these next 40 days will show how well I really do or don’t do in this area.

(2) I am adding in Gratitude. I will write down one thing I am grateful for every day. And I want to be more purposeful abut looking for God’s presence in my life and in the world. I am sure this will give me many things to write on my gratitude list.

(3) I will read only about Jesus. I want my thoughts to be more focused on Him. Right now I have the following books in mind.

Here are some other Lent ideas. As I get the time and energy, I will pop into the following links and try one or two of their ideas.

40 Days of Prayer Doodling.  This is a visual, concrete,and different way to pray.

40 Days of Signs & Symbols.  Each day a different sign or symbol from Christian history or art and its meaning will be posted. Your challenge is to consider its meaning for you today OR post a picture of something you saw today with a similar meaning OR share a thought as you reflect on this symbol.

40 Ideas for Lent Rachel Held Evans has compiled a list of 40 ideas to help us in this season of reflection, penitence, and preparation. I especially like how she starts off the list with 5 questions. If nothing else, do the 5 questions.

A Lent Where #BlackLivesMatter: 10 Ideas for Black History Month and the White Church. Use the Lenten season to truly immerse yourself in Black history and the current reality of people of color… if a white congregation has truly observed Black History month, then it will have naturally found itself wading, likely deeper than ever before, into the themes of Lent, that season of self-examination and repentance.

Declutter 40 Bags. Focus on getting the unnecessary stuff out in one spot per day. Don’t go nuts and tackle five spots because you want to prove something. Don’t get all bummed out because you missed a day (or ten). Just focus on one. spot. per. day.

Do Lent Generously. 55,000+ people are doing 40 days of giving back, doing good and living generously.

An infographic list of 20 odd ideas for teens (or anyone really).

Lenten Wilderness Meditation Practice. Every day for 40 days, we invite you to spend 10-20 minutes OUTSIDE in prayer/meditation/just being (rain or shine)!

Photography. InstaLent Photo Challenge or this photo-a-day project.

Write 40 Encouraging Notes. 

Your Turn . . .

  • If you’re participating in Lent this year, what will it look like?
  • Have you tried any of the above ideas?
  • What would you add to the list?

Related Posts . . . Read about my 1st Ash Wednesday here.

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5 Ways to Make Someone’s Day on Valentine’s Day

Use one of these ideas to help someone have an awesome Valentine's Day.  Graphice by Krzysztof (Kriss) Szkurlatowski.

Use one of these ideas to help someone have an awesome Valentine’s Day. Graphic by Krzysztof Szkurlatowski.

Valentines Day and even the whole week is so hard for some. It can be hard whether you are in a relationship or not. For many people there is rejection baggage connected to this festive day.

At this post I told how I got over some majour Valentine’s Day heart ache. I shared how I made this formerly HARD holiday not so hard. At this post I shared 20 Ways I Handled My Breaking Heart (from divorce).

Because my healing has in large part been the result of actions and words from others, I want to write about how I (we) can make someone’s day this Valentine’s Day. This will impact their week and maybe even life.

I was inspired by this post.

Usually dejected folks fill this day with tear-jerker  movies, chocolate and other mood-altering foods, and of course moaning and groaning. Let’s do something different!!!

Here are my 5 Ways to Make Someone’s Day

ONE. Be hospitable. Invite a friend or more over for a meal. Serve comfort food, have a potluck, or offer an array of cheese, crackers, and fruit. Eating with others can be the best tonic for a sad heart. Add some conversation and a game or two and you have a recipe for a heart-warming evening.

Read posts I’ve written about hospitality. (1)  3 Ways to Encourage Others Year Round (2) Hospitality Field Trip Refreshes and Teaches

TWO. Tackle a huge project together. There is a sense of awe and gratitude when something BIG is DONE. You also have great memories of working together and feelings of satisfaction.

Ideas include:

  • a room makeover – even something like painting the walls is so mood-altering in a good and lasting way.
  • Enter a valentine Run. Here is one in my area.
  • Declutter a room or boxes of photos.
  • Spend a day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Here is the link for Sacramento. 

Read about this project I did with others . . .  CNC Sewing Project.

THREE. Be Silly. This day is normally seen as a romantic day full of serious talk about commitment, compliments, and gifts. But when it is a rotic day (romantic without the man), there is no romance. So why not make it a meaningful and silly day.

  • Indulge in a secret persona. Wear fake mustaches or fake tattoos. Dress up as a super hero and go to lunch. Last year I had a sparkly unicorn painted on my cheek at a child’s tea party. Do you know that NO ONE said anything as I did my errands that day? NO ONE! But I felt silly and light-hearted.
  • Watch I Love Lucy reruns. Laugh at the silly antics.
  • Play with bubbles. Make a gigantic wand. Get coloured or scented bubbles. Go to this Pinterest board for a BUNCH of ideas. Or this one has good ideas too.
  • Give a bouquet to your friend, but not one of flowers. How about a bouquet of nail polish, tools, glow sticks, or balloons. The Dollar Store is a great resource for finding balloons and unusual items. Kids (of all ages) enjoy these. NOTE: Is it harmful if you breathe some of the helium and talk in a Donald Duck voice? It certainly is silly.
  • How about soaking each other in silly string? It’s called silly for a reason.

Read this silly post . . . 5 Silly Reasons for Gratitude.

Read other posts I’ve written about laughter. (1) Laughter Has My Gratitude (2) Laughter Quiz (3) How to Be Happy, Healthy and Holy

FOUR. Do Random Acts of Kindess (RAK’s) together. Lots of folks do RAK’s as part of their birthday celebration or during a holiday season. How about doing this on Valentine’s Day? Getting out of our own life and comfort zone into the life of someone else is a sure antidote to the blues. And it sure encourages others.

Here are lots of IDEAS for RAK’s at my Pinterest board.

NOTE: Wouldn’t it be fun to put a page like this in a public restroom or on a public bulletin board? I got the idea from here.   

Read this post I’ve written about RAK’s: Pay It Forward – New Theme for the 12 Days of Christmas.

FIVE. Have a mini worship service. Plan out a time of prayer, singing, and praise. You could even listen to a podcast. Share what you most appreciate about God and ways you’ve seen His faithfulness in the last year. Light lots of candles. Be sure to have some yummy food. Food and fellowship always go together, right?

Read this post about worship . . . Two Results of Proper WORSHIP & How to Experience It.

Your Turn . . . What will you do this Valentine’s Day to cheer up someone?  . . . Share something that has helped make this day not so hard for you.

Related Internet Post . . . How a Table for Two Becomes a Table for Many

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3 Ways I Made My Day on Valentine’s Day

God will never leave me nor forsake me. That is the TRUTH.

God will never leave me nor forsake me. That is a TRUTH I concentrate on.  . . . And you know what?  . . . Christ knew all  about my “yucky” bits even before He gave me His unconditional love.

Valentine’s Day and even the whole week is hard for some. It can be hard whether you are in a relationship or not. For many there is rejection baggage connected to this festive day.

I know. For years I’ve had issues with this holiday. It was 14 years ago, the weekend after Valentine’s Day, when my (now former) husband told me he wanted a divorce. So for many years I’ve relived that rejection every Valentine’s Day. Now I don’t feel that pain.

I did three things.

  1.  I concentrated on telling myself the truth. I am not perfect but I am lovable. God, the Bible, and important, healthy people (in my current life) tell me so.  . . .  I have a list of Bible verses that I frequently read.  . . . I practiced believing people when they complimented me.  . .  .  I went to therapy and coaching to sort out the lies from the truth.  . . .  I also did the things mentioned in this post: 20 Ways I Handled My Breaking Heart (from divorce)
  2. I made different memories on Valentine’s Day and week. It helps that one of my nieces was born on February 14th. Each year we have an ice cream waffle breakfast and a family dinner that night. I also do special things for myself that week  . . .  craft . . . watch Oscar nominated movies . . .  and spend more time with folks who LIKE me.
  3. I made other people the focus. . . .  I sent kiddy Valentine’s cards – because they are silly people smiled when they opened them up. . . .  I did Random Acts of Kindness. . . .  I called up some folks I haven’t talked to in a while.

Read Thursday’s post 5 Ways to Make Someone’s Day.

Your Turn

  • What is your attitude regarding Valentine’s Day? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
  • If it is thumbs down, what can you do to change your perspective and thus feeling about this week and day?
  • What action step will you take today?
  • Go read this Anti-Valentine’s Party post. This could be a fun way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Related posts. 



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3 Ways to Encourage Others Year Round

Those of you with "fur people" know how encouraging it is to receive love from them.

Those of you with “fur people” know how encouraging it is to receive love from them.

Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Birthdays are natural times of the year to think about others. I like to give gifts or write things in the card that encourage the recipient. Don’t you? But encouraging others doesn’t have to be, nor should it be, limited to these publicly endorsed times. 

Henry Ford once said that “the ability to encourage others is one of life’s finest assets.”

So let’s work on encouraging others more regularly. But besides the obvious way of giving a gift, what else can we do that shows our affection and thanks?  What are other ways to encourage those special folks in our lives?

If you don’t know about the 5 love languages, go here for an explanation. To order the book by Gary Chapman go here. “Talking” a specific love language to each person can make a big difference in how well each one feels loved and of course encouraged. 

Besides speaking love languages, here are three ways to encourage others. 

ONE. FAITH. Did you know that we can encourage each other by sharing our faith? “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours, ( Romans 1:12, New Living Translation). In a face-to-face conversation, through electronic media, or with pen and paper, share about your faith with someone else.

  • Reveal how God has helped you in personal growth.
  • Tell how Scripture has helped you meet a challenge.
  • Go over a past sermon or Bible study and expound on the encouraging bits.
  • Expose how a faith crisis actually brought you closer to God.

Read other posts I’ve written in faith. (1) Mother Teresa’s Faith Crisis: Similar to Mine? (2) 5 Reasons to be Grateful to God (3) How to Get Out of the Gutter

TWO. HOSPITALITY. What is hospitality? Merriam Webster says it is (1) generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests. (2) the activity of providing food, drinks, etc. for people who are the guests. Richard Krejcir adds to this by writing,  Hospitality is a willingness to share, with discernment, what God has given us, including our family, home, finances, and food.”   

Ever notice how you feel when given especially gracious hospitality? I feel welcome, liked, and special. I leave that person’s company feeling encouraged! I bet you do too. So today be hospitable by being generous and friendly to others with . . .

  • Food
  • Time
  • Family – Share your family with others.  Being with family (doesn’t even have to be your own) feels so comfortable and healing
  • Affection.

Read other posts I’ve written on hospitality. (1) My cooking means someone died? (2) How Messy Is Too Messy or When Is It Clean Enough To Have Folks Over? (3) Hospitality Field Trip Refreshes and Teaches.

THREE. PRAYER. I simply talk to God about someone.

Many times I let that person know I am praying for them. I am encouraged when others tell me. I tell them through a . . .

  • Text
  • Private Facebook message
  • Postcard or card
  • Phone call

Read other posts I’ve written on prayer. (1) Prayer Impacts Us in 5 Ways (2) 10 Benefits of Praying With a Group (3) Know Why God Answers Prayer?

Your Turn . . . What is your favourite way to give encouragement? Receive encouragement?

Related Posts . . . 

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C: Easy to Make CLAY Crosses Using Homemade Dough

These crosses were made by kiddos in the Kindergarten/1st Grade Class

These crosses were made by kiddos in the Kindergarten/1st Grade Class.

Homemade clay is easy to make, inexpensive, and can be used in a variety of crafts and art projects. And there are many recipes available, even gluten-free ones. Since my daughter wasn’t participating and no one else is gluten intolerant, I used wheat flour.

I recently made up a salt, four dough for the kiddos in our Sunday program at church. I used 2 cups flour, ½ cup salt, and 1 cup water. I ran out of white flour so I used up some old wheat pastry flour (that I was afraid to use for baking). It made the crosses look like they were made out of stone. I think it was because of the flecks of wheat in the flour.

These are some of the crosses from the 4th/5th Grade class.

These are crosses made by Gavin (5th Grader).

Previously when making this salt dough clay, I’ve used food dye to colour it. Gail Bartel (from That Artist Woman) suggests using acrylic paints. So I tried that. I like using the acrylics better than food dye.

  • There is a wider range of colours.
  • And the paint didn’t stain my hands, counter, or clothes. Yes, I can get that messy!

The clay was successfully used by the preschool to 5th graders to make crosses.

I love how each cross is so distinctly different. These are made from another student in the 4th/5th grade class.

I love how each cross is so distinctly different. These 4 crosses are made by Eliana (4th grade).

The bead and clay cross instructions and examples from Gail are found here.

 We will make these again next year.

  • We might make some of them into magnets.
  • And I will test to see if these would hold up as a rear view mirror decoration.

Your Turn . . . Share a project you’ve made using homemade clay dough.

Related Posts . . .

  1. 4 Types of Home-Made Ornaments Using Decoupage, Dough, Clay, & Fabric
  2. Grateful for Creativity and Life
NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.
During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.
Today’s letter is C. The topic is the Homemade CLAY Dough.

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CNC Easter Sunday Reminder: 1st service is 9 am. 2nd service is 11 am.

Easter is almost here. And like you, all the staff and I have been busy getting ready for The Celebration.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  (John 11:25-26)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

  • We are excited about serving breakfast before both of the services.
  • Pastor Mike is all set to deliver his 1st person drama. We will surely get a fresh perspective of The Resurrection. and see that it changes everything!
  • The children (nursery-5th grade) will receive a goody bag.
  • The first breakfast is from 8-9am. There is lots of seating at this time.
  • The 2nd breakfast is from 10-11am.
  • It’s okay if you haven’t bought a ticket yet. You can pay on Sunday.
  • Cost is a suggested donation of $3.50 p/p. First-time attenders pay nothing.
  • There will be classes for the Nursery and Preschool-age children for both services.
  • All other children/teens are invited to attend service with their parents.
  • No adult classes will meet this day either.


The Preschool will be open for both services. However, the kiddos will NOT meet in their usual room.
  • They will meet in the old office (in the church) by the little parking lot.
  • There is a Preschool sign on the window and door.

I am soooo ready to celebrate this miraculous and TRUE event with you all.  The Resurrection changes everything. Jesus Is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

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Lenten Reflection: Who Am I?

I am more than a shell. My being was made on purpose for a purpose by a good God.

Who am I? I am more than a shell. My being was made on purpose for a purpose by a good God.                                          My “shell” is predetermined. But I can change my interior world. And that is what I hope to do this Lent. I want to root out selfishness, moodiness, & blame. And I want to invite and pursue love, as defined in 1st Corinthians 13, to  mold me, change me, & perfect me.

My church background doesn’t include practicing Lent. But for the past 5 or 6 years I have been intrigued by this season. I adopt a practice or two as a way of preparing my heart, mind, and soul for Easter.

This year’s Lenten practices (2013) include giving something up and adding something into my life. Teri from Clever Title Here talks about this idea of adding in and taking away.  Reading her post confirmed the direction I was to go in this year.

Teri says, “If you do decide to go for a new discipline, I suggest letting something go as well. Sort of a two-sided coin–rather than filling up MORE, make a trade-off.” Go to this link to read the rest of the post, Lenten Discipline. She also lists some resources there, too.

I will do the following in 2013:

ONE. GIVE UP time on the internet like Facebook, blog hopping, and just-because research.

  • Do only what is needed for work or for Lent (like the photo challenge).
  • ADD IN . . . Read Jesus books, pray in colour, photo-a-day Lent challenge (maybe)

TWO. GIVE UP unnecessary spending.

  • This will mean preparing ahead by making meals at home, staying away from Amazon’s one click in order to buy books, and leaving my debit card at home. Those small impulse buys really add up.
  • ADD IN saving $ for a charity project. I haven’t decided which one yet. But I will donate a sack of groceries to the St John Vianney Food Bank.

And I will be doing some items from this resource: 40 Ideas for Keeping a Holy Lent

I’ve written very little about my journey. But I have written the following . . . Lent Quiz . . . .  Two Sentences About Lent . . . . Three Reasons to Celebrate Lent . . . . Ash Wednesday Quiz . . . . Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes a Youtube presentation by Busted 

Your Turn . . . Tell us who you are.

NOTE: These shells are some of a handful that I brought back from my trip to New Zealand in March 2011.

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60 Acts of Kindness, Intentional & Random to do my 60th year

The Finish DateMarch 1st, 2019
74 days to go.

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