Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Adopt A Cardinal

I was so excited to hear of this neat website where you can Adopt A Cardinal!
Maybe some of you have heard of this but I had to share it, just in case.
The idea is similar to the Saint Generator...You pray a short prayer that the Holy Spirit will match you and your family with a special Cardinal to pray for starting now, through the conclave and Pope election process.
Who knows...You could be praying for the next Pope himself!?  Regardless, it is an honor to be personally involved in praying for this momentous time in history!
Our family is humbled to be assigned to pray for Cardinal Angelo Scola!  We have actually heard of him but we now have a new Lenten mission to find out more as we offer our most earnest prayers.
Who are you praying for?  
+If you are so inclined, I invite you to come back and share if you decide to commit to this wonderful opportunity+

As he departs his post, Charlotte from Waltzing Matilda created a marvelous new coloring page for Pope Benedict XVI.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lenten Burlap Calvary Canvas Art

In my previous post, I mentioned a new found love that I have for using burlap to decorate Lent in the home, as it represents sackcloth used in early Christian penitential sacrifices.
When I picked up this burlap at Hobby Lobby last week, I picked up white canvas boards and these products there as well.  I had a very special project in mind...
The Hill of Calvary has a meaningful place in my heart, not only as the place of Our Lord's Passion, but also the burial place of my dear, late, husband, Chris.  The cemetery where Chris is laid to rest is Calvary Cemetery and it is fitting that he is buried at the top of the hill, as he too died on Good Friday, (1994) sacrificing his life...Defending his family in love.  I never stop missing him, especially as Lent rolls around year after year.
It's difficult to find Calvary Hill artwork so I decided to make my own.  This came from the heart alone~NO skill required but cutting and glueing! (I still claim my craft-handicapped disability;-)  It is very easy and inexpensive.
Step 1:
Use masking tape to outline the crosses on 3 black pieces of felt.  I used an 11x18 size canvas.

Step 2:
Cut-to-fit and cover white canvas frame with burlap and hot glue.
Step 3:
Cut out the felt crosses, using your masking tape as a guide.
Use a few pieces of the scraps to design your "hill."
Step 4:
Leave masking tape in tact to prevent the glue from seeping through.  Use tacky glue to adhere the backside (masking tape) to the burlap frame.
Step 5:
Do you save old buttons?  My mother-in-law does!  We used them to fill in decorate the hill...All colors, shapes, and sizes, to represent all of us whom Christ died for out of the greatest of love.

My 10 yo daughter wanted to use paint to design her own Calvary Canvas.  I was inspired by something similar that my friend Christa did on white canvas last year for Easter...I think she found it on Pinterest?  If I gather the link, I will certainly share it here. {I recently joined Pinterest so I'm trying to fumble my way around there without spending too much time on it!}  My friend Patty also used a similar technique for some cute snowflake art.

Instead of white, we used the extra burlap we had to wrap this 5X7 canvas. (Same procedure mentioned above)

She used masking tape to design/mark her crosses...
Then picked colors of acrylic paint that she thought represented the sky on Good Friday and painted over the masking taped crosses.
It didn't look very attractive until we peeled off the tape when it dried!
This 5x7 size fits nicely inside a large wreath...

But she opted for her room! 
(We had this stencil on hand so she added the word Hope at the bottom...Fitting indeed:)

+Praying your Lent is leading you closer to Calvary, where we find hope at the Foot of the Cross+

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lenten Home Decor~{Sackcloth Addition}

One of my favorite hobbies is looking for easy and inexpensive ways to bring the liturgical season into the home ie. The Domestic Church.  I spend time doing it because I really enjoy creating a meaningful environment with visual reminders of the beautiful Catholic faith that I love so much!  I find grace in a little sacred space...

Last year, I wrote a post about peeking into our Lenten purple world.  We kept much of it the same but this year, I added a few more symbols (like sackcloth) to our home. 
When thinking about Lent, some easy ways to decorate in the home might be to use the following items:

Grapevine wreaths and nails to symbolize Christ's crown of thorns and His death for us.

(I found these smaller size wreaths at Hobby Lobby for $1.99)

Burlap (Sackcloth) to symbolize repentance and sacrifice. There are many biblical references back to early Christians using sackcloth in this manner.  I am so excited about this new addition at our house!  The ideas are endless and it's very inexpensive.
(Hobby Lobby)
I had fun draping this around and also have some other fun plans to come:)
Here is our updated entryway with sackcloth...
(This was actually a free burlap feed sack from a local animal feed store)

The color violet (purple) to symbolize penance and sacrifice.

Candles to symbolize Christ's light...No darkness can distinguish.
(This was a very inexpensive craft from the past)

Rocks to symbolize the terrain of Calvary and the tomb as we reflect on the Passion of Christ.

Sand to symbolize Christ going into the desert, prior to the Passion events.  It may also represent our own Lenten journey into the desert.

As I mentioned, I really liked adding the burlap/sackcloth decor to our home this year and talking to the children about it.  Today's reading about Jonah in Nineveh added great teaching material...literally:)  
"When the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth."~Jonah 3:1-10~
(This burlap sackcloth {above} was on sale in the Easter section of Hobby Lobby)  It comes in a roll and is very easy to work with, as is the regular burlap I mentioned in the beginning of this post.
+I used it here on our Dining Room Table+
These inexpensive supplies came in handy to decorate Lenten candles...These would also make nice gifts.
Just a little hot glue is all it took to adorn this violet candle with sackcloth accents, circled by a mini grape vine wreath/crown of thorns.
Another sackcloth display idea...
And another idea would be placing a twig Cross in the middle of a grapevine wreath...
We made a few twig crosses and tied them with violet ribbon... "Free" decor, courtesy of the great outdoors:)
We, like many families, use sacrifice beans to fill up an empty jar in hopes that Easter brings sweet Alleluia (jelly) beans:)
That's about it for now...
My hope is that some of these ideas will help you find a little grace in your sacred space.
+Lenten Blessings!+

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

AHG Lenten Kick-Off~Socks of Love

"I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by
Raising (& Teaching) Little SaintsTruly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

Our American Heritage Girls troop had a great Lenten Kick-Off with Socks of Love.
This was such a fun and successful service project that I came up with for our Youth Group last year... SO it was a joy to bring it on board and introduce it to AHG:)  We were able to join forces with our Youth Group to (almost) double our almsgiving efforts this year!  
Not all of the girls in our troop observe Lenten practices but it was a great service, nonetheless.

Our local homeless shelter has an ongoing need for travel size items for their overnight guests.  The idea behind Socks of Love is to provide a clean pair of socks, filled with all of the necessary items for the shelter to give out to those who come to them in need.
  • We start by collecting travel sized items and long knee/ tube socks.  Crew socks work as well (but not as well as the full knee socks). 
  • Stuffing items include shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, chap stick, hand sanitizer, kleenix, sunscreen, lotion, etc.
  • Like-items are then sorted into gallon ziplock bags to keep them together for better assembly line work.
  • One of the socks is placed inside the other, prior to stuffing. (This makes it look like we are only stuffing one sock)  Having one inside the other also helps not to stretch the socks out too much.
  • About 10-12 items fit into the long knee socks.
  • 6-8 items fit into crew socks.
It's surprising how quickly we stuffed all the socks!

Some of the girls worked on writing out tags to tie around the top of the socks when stuffing was complete.
We tied off the top to prevent items from falling out and included a tag with a loving scripture verse:)
Our AHG troop stuffed a total of 57 socks!
The Youth Group stuffed 70 socks for a grand total of 127 Socks of Love all together!
The Gospel Mission received gratefully on Ash Wednesday:)
This is a great way to share *LOVE*
What service or almsgiving does your family do during Lent?

Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013!  We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer, and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of GRUMBLE.  

Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!

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