faith, mothering, and engaging the sacred world

Celebrating Ash Wednesday with Kids

Ashes, prayer, and sacrifice may all be parts of the way that adults reflect on their faith on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. The 40 days of Lent evoke the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness before beginning his ministry on Earth. This is a lovely framework for adults who use this time, as winter closes, to turn inward and refocus on God before the celebrating the joy of Resurrection, Easter, and Springtime. But these concepts are too abstract for young children. So, here are a few tangible ideas for sharing this time with children.

  • Have a special prayer time each morning with your family. Use simple prayers, perhaps thanking God for the birds who are starting to return, the coldness that comes before the buds on trees, and the preparation of the soil for a new garden.
  • In the early evenings, notice the changing phases of the moon. The days are lengthening during this time, and this is a tangible way to mark that change. Also, Easter will come after the full moon that follows the first day of Spring (the vernal equinox).
  • On Ash Wednesday, place a bowl of dirt on your kitchen table. This will be your centerpiece throughout Lent. On Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter), sprinkle some grass seed in your bowl. You will have grass growing in your bowl for Easter! (The Easter hare also may add a few died eggs to the dish for children to find in the morning).

Finding tangible ways to mark the festivals and seasons of the year is one of the ways that we center our home life on family and create traditions. These are three ideas we will be trying in our house this Lent. How do you share Lent with your children?

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

The Passing of January

Attention may be one of the best ways to show affection, but it cannot be the only way. For, in spite of my dearth of entries over the past two months, I really do love this blog and interactions with all of you. Shall I offer excuses? They do exist. They begin with the expected busy-ness and home-centeredness of December, climax with our family having to put to sleep our beloved dog, Godiva, six short days before Christmas, and end with a melancholic January, filled with rain and the sadness of loss. During this period, all of my energy has gone to pastoring and nurturing. Creative arts, including writing, had to take a backseat.

Now though, we have reached a new February in a brand new decade (Happy new year!). And I find that I have many things I want to write about. In the coming weeks, look for posts about animals and God, schooling decisions (B— starts kindergarten in the fall), celebrating Valentine’s Day, and creating Lenten family rituals. As always, I look forward to sharing with and learning from you all.

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

Wednesday Evening Poem

This evening, I found myself drawn to Christina Rossetti again. There is something about her poems that makes me want to curl up in front of a fire with a cup of hot cocoa and vegetarian marshmallows (which I recently, happily discovered). Rossetti composed several poems for Advent. The following poem is circa 1886. Enjoy.

Advent

Earth grown old, yet still so green,
Deep beneath her crust of cold
Nurses fire unfelt, unseen:
Earth grown old.

We who live are quickly told:
Millions more lie hid between
Inner swathings of her fold.

When will fire break up her screen?
When will life burst thro’ her mould?
Earth, earth, earth, thy cold is keen,
Earth grown old.

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

The Last Day of November

pinecone

Today is the last day of November, which means that it is the last day of National Blog Posting Month. My November challenge was to write for this blog every day, no matter how the day went. So, I posted when my 4-year-old was sick, when I was sick, when we were on a trip, when I was tired, and on a holiday. Here are a few things I learned.

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

It’s All Theology

Cursory readers of Basil & Butterflies may have some trouble categorizing its genre. Is this a writer’s blog? A religious blog? A “mommy blog”? A blog on natural living? Does it provide information or simply commentary? The seeming randomness here reflects my equally unexpected thought processes. But most regular readers may have put together the overarching theme of Ba&Bu: it’s all theology.

The core of my theology (thinking about God) is that it has to be lived or it is meaningless. I have an earthy concept of God, based on a Creator who became incarnate (took on flesh) in the form of a low-born baby. God’s good creation is full of unexpectedness like incarnation. Thus, we are called to engage this world for what it is: a sacred place where every being matters. We find God in relationships when we love, serve, welcome, offer hope, and are filled with joy and wonder. The ways we respond to one another and creation, the ways we affect one another, these are the opportunities to live a Spirit-filled life or not.

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

Beginning Advent

Sunday (Nov. 29) is the first day of Advent. The first Sunday of Advent always takes me by surprise because I have barely moved past Thanksgiving. (I tend to get really absorbed by celebrations). Still, Advent is one of my favorite seasons of the year. For four weeks, slowly, mindfully, joyfully, and with great hope, we get to prepare to welcome Jesus and celebrate his Incarnation (the savior of the world embodied as a baby—what a symbol of hope!).

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

Gray Friday: To Buy or Not to Buy

sale signAs we all know, the biggest shopping day of the year is the Friday after Thanksgiving. Generally, this makes it the perfect day for Geoff and I to stay away from shopping. Neither of us loves shopping to begin with, but when you add in massive crowds, flashing “deal” signs, and traffic-jammed parking lots, the day’s torturous elements far outweigh any money saved. More than that, there is something about the day that has rubbed me wrong since I was in high school and worked retail in a bookstore in a mall. I watched people crowding into the mall, moving quickly from store to store, rushing to make the deal times. The whole scene struck me as animalistic—humans as “consuming animals” rather than people.

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

Now the Day is Over

God grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end. Amen.

Sweet dreams.

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

Wednesday Night Poem

Tonight is Thanksgiving Eve. How many of us are up late cooking or straightening for guests? All so that tomorrow we can share a feast with friends and family, expressing gratefulness to one another and to God. The day takes effort to create, but really, all the best things do. It is a day for hospitality and hope, where one can imagine that anyone could knock at the door and find food enough. We give thanks for an abundance of love, peace, and a generosity of spirit.

Posting a poem on Wednesday nights is part of my Ba&Bu rhythm. It feels all the more appropriate on this quiet night before a lively, chaotic, and comforting day. As we put the final touches on our Thanksgiving feasts, I offer a lovely poem by Christina Rossetti. This is a poem of labor, life, and hope.

Peace to you.

Up-Hill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

Geoff’s Famous Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie

This year, we have had a hard time deciding which pies we want to make for Thanksgiving dinner. We knew we wanted to try a new blueberry pie recipe, leaving only one spot for two contenders: pumpkin pie or Geoff’s famous Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie. This was actually a silly quandary, born from my recent intrigue with pumpkins. After all, my southern heritage practically demands pecan pie.

If you are enjoying this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Continue reading

prev posts