It’s that time of year. The time of dark quiet mornings, grey skies, and repentant hearts. Here are some must haves:
1: Confession – gotta do it. Clean that soul. Let the light in.
2: A quiet and contemplative prayer spot – Mine is the desk in our bedroom. I have a little icon, some candles, my rosaries and prayer books, and some silk flowers that don’t look nearly as picturesque as the ones in the flower shop but they do the trick. Now that you have the spot, you need the…
3. Dedicated prayer time – Easier said than done, in a house of little children and early risers, which is why you need…
4. Alarms – Alarms are the only way I can get up early enough to get those few minutes of quiet time before my husband leaves in the morning. They are also the way that I can keep to resolutions about school time, workouts, etc. I use my iPhone, but would love to find a less millenial-cliche type option.
5. A good prayer book, and a good spiritual reading book – I would also include a good light reading book on this list, but if you are holier than me, maybe you can just stick with the spiritual stuff. For prayer book I stick with the Liturgy of the Hours (I have the awesome full 4 volume set). For spiritual reading I am bouncing back and forth between “Introduction to the Devout Life,” by St. Francis de Sales, and “Strangers in a Strange Land,” by Archbishop Chaput. I am between books for light reading right now. For Lent I would try to go for something not too bottom of the barrel, maybe one of the less heavy classics. Trollope or Dickens, maybe?
6. Notebooks. ALL THE NOTEBOOKS. – this is definitely not Lent specific; this is just my life.
7. Good pens – see above.
8. Laudate app – this app is the, ahem, Stuff, when it comes to prayer apps. It has everything. Lately I am using it for scriptural rosary podcasts to pray with, as well as the daily Mass readings and Liturgy of the Hours when I can’t reach my actual prayer book.
9. Audiobooks – for kids who give up screen time
10. Sparkling water (or as we call it “fizzy water”) – Can’t have that alcohol? How about some mildly flavored water with bubbles instead? (Yeah, not the same, but that’s Lent for ya, folks.)
11. Larabars – for those of us who give up or cut back on treats. Problematic when they are so delicious that you have to give them up too…
12. Fish sticks, lentils, canned beans and canned tuna – Cuz Friday comes every week, peeps! And it’s always at the END of the week, so all those gourmet meals you had planned on Sunday are long distant memories. Fish sticks, lentil soup, hummus, minestrone, tuna casserole, repeat. …Or just throw in the towel and do cheese pizza.
13. Fresh Flowers – Lent in Minnesota comes at the most depressing time of year. It is also the time we think a lot about how sinful we are. Sometimes you just need a little reminder that God doesn’t hate us. You can do like I do and buy purple or blue flowers, just to stay on message.
14. Stations of the Cross booklet – I lost mine and need a new one! Getting out to Stations with all the kids isn’t always easy, so I want to do them together at home. Then I remember I LOST MY BOOKLET, so I have to try to look them up on my phone, which is terrible. Don’t be like me. Get that booklet.
15. Coffee – Forever. Always. Every list. During Lent we downgrade our regular daily coffee to whatever is cheapest at the store, however, you gotta love that Sunday coffee! Specifically, the Bialetti Moka stovetop espresso maker is the world’s best device, allowing you to make delicious espresso at home for those special Sunday morning lattes. MMMMmmmm, a little foretaste of that Easter rejoicing…
Have a blessed Lent, friends!!