At the very edge of the beginning of Lent!
But first of all, I have to share a little bit of Mardi Gras with you...
It's kind of a recent invention...the Mardi Gras tree. This one was at school in the cafeteria. I'm kind of neutral on the whole thing. I guess it's a way to get the maximum use from a Christmas tree.
And then there's the King Cake - a much older tradition. There is a place in town - a donut shop - that sells THE best King Cakes ever. But price is an object this year...some serious financial deficits working their way through our household, but Mardi Gras is not Mardi Gras without a King Cake.
So, we made our own. We took some of those highly nutritious canned cinnamon rolls out of the refrigerator. Stretched them out, braided them (my boys learned how to braid), and arranged them in a circle. Then dear hubby decided that he wanted filling in the king cake. So....I made some microwave lemon curd (because one thing we have in abundance is fresh lemons!) and he set about adding filling. The kids took the icing out of the packets and added food coloring so that we had green, gold, and purple - Mardi Gras colors. All in all, it wasn't the best tasting cake ever, but we all had a good time making it. My teens enjoyed it...saying it might become a family tradition! You moms who have teen boys...you know that is like the ultimate complement.
Other Lent prep.....let's see, I think I ate every piece of chocolate in my desk at school before I left on Friday. I almost always give up chocolate for Lent. I wasn't sure I was going to this year, because Lent seems like it should be more than that...but I still may. I can offer it for my 5th graders.
I went to confession on Saturday...figured I'd beat the Lent crowd. ;-) My fifth graders have been giving me the blues, and that is mostly what I went with. They are so, so needy, and I am so, so spent. My penance tied in nicely with the homily, and I assume if there were any other sinners, they got the same thing, but, as often happens, it was a perfect fit....spend some time in prayer asking God to show you how He wants you to be compassionate shepherd, bread of life, and giver of hope. That IS what we are called to be to others, but so often we fall short.
I spent a wonderful peaceful hour or so at the adoration chapel last night having this conversation. There were some new insights and ideas. One is that I don't provide any of this...God does. Through me. And for that to have any chance of success, I've got to stay close to the source.
The giver of hope, I think, is where I struggle the most. I look at them, and realistically, I don't see a lot of hope. I didn't come up with a whole lot of answers there. Hopefully, God will see fit to reveal a few as I stumble along. This is a conversation that will be continued.
And so the dreaded fifth grade is one of my main lenten focuses this year - the almsgiving, the fasting, and the prayer.
Beyond that, I just want to be open to the possibilities the Good Lord puts in front of me. I want to pray better. I want to love better. I want to be more like Him by the time Lent is over.
We should pray for one another.