Five Minute Friday: Visit

Here I am switching sides of the couch yet again, trying to get comfortable, while my twin boys twist and turn in my womb. My ribs are bruised, my skin stretched tight, and my spirit is slightly downcast. I am in the final weeks of pregnancy, but the days seem endless.

There is a certain irony in this waiting for my due date, while the Church awaits the Feast of Pentecost… There is this feeling of desperation in my bones. As I waited for the ultrasound technician to arrive at my Biophysical Profile last week, I uttered ceaseless “Hail Mary’s” under my breath. As I pull a chair up to the icon corner each morning I lose myself in the eyes of Christ Pantocrator and beg Him to give me the strength to continue.

I am trying to remain positive about my pregnancy, but it is hard. I must say that I am thankful that I am still mobile enough to clean the house and snuggle with my girls. I am grateful that my pregnancy has been without any major complications. I am happy that Aidan and Gideon are both chunky and growing ahead of schedule. But still there is this nagging feeling that I can’t go on much longer…

Come, Holy Spirit, fill my weary soul with courage and strength.

Come, Holy Spirit, visit our world and bring us peace.

Come, Holy Spirit, and usher the lost into the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

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Preparing for Pascha

My favorite time of year, without a doubt, is the Paschal season! I enjoy the Lenten disciplines and the solemnity of Holy Week that leads up to it. And then Pascha comes in the middle of the night… There is nothing more joyous than hearing the Church bells ring and congregation sing “Christ has risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life!” To me, this Feast of Feasts is more magical than any Christmas I ever had as a child.

As an Orthodox Mom I want to help my children experience the same excitement about Pascha that I feel. Here is a list of activities that we will be doing this year in order to get the children more involved. Perhaps this list will help you come up with ideas of your own!

1. Spiritual Growth

  • Since we are Western Rite Orthodox, we will attend Ash Wednesday Liturgy to kick off Lent.
  • We are going to recite the Prayer of St. Ephraim every night before bed. My goal is to have it completely memorized by Pascha.  
  • We will to attend the Stations of the Cross at least once during Lent.
  • We will sing Lenten hymns together as a family after dinner.
  1. Almsgiving
  • We are going to keep an offering box in our family icon corner. All spare change and money saved will go into the box and be given to charity.
  • The girls and I will be baking pretzels (a traditional Lenten food) for Daddy to take to work. We are going to place them in individual bags with the following message: “A pretzel to remind us of arms crossed in prayer, is a Lenten treat for us to share.”
  • The children will each fill up a grocery bag full of toys to donate to charity. This helps them learn how to give to the poor and helps jump start spring cleaning.
  1. Fasting
  • Every Wednesday and Friday we are going to eat three vegetarian meals. The girls are still too young to fast for the entire Lenten period, but they can certainly go without meat a few days each week.
  • We will read the Bible Story about when Jesus fasted in the desert.
  1. Family Bonding
  • We are going to countdown the days of Lent with a special calendar.
  • We will watch a few Easter movies together.
  • We will set apart Sunday evenings for family game nights.
  • We will paint red eggs.