Reflection: spring

Alright everyone, Lent has been kind of crazy. All the focus on internal work and spiritual readings has left me exhausted. Every Lent there is always something to push you, either with kids or health, there is always some struggle for Lent that comes your way. 

New York has not been kind to us Californians with the weather this Lent either. First there was a snow storm that left a brand new huge patch of snow and now there are non stop showers. Cabin fever is real. The community here seems to be non stop sick so we have been avoiding all people, making it harder to just hang out with the kids all day. 

Spring weather always seems to show up at the right time around Pascha/Easter. Last year Pascha was in May, way different than the Western calendar but the weather seemed to still go with the Lenten season. It was in the 30’s until end of April last year. This year seems to be the same. As Holy Week will be soon upon us it is already in the 50’s creating hope for glorious Pascha sunshine. 

As I sit and contemplate the spring and try to gear my thoughts towards the end of Lent, I leave you with this thought from St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

Contemplate the Lord Jesus in death:

  1. How all of nature trembled when He gave up the spirit, as though to protest against this criminal act of the race of men;
  2. How the earth quaked, the sun was darkened, the rocks were split, the veil of the Temple was rent, and the graves were opened.
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Snow day

Oh New York when will spring actually come? 

We are getting another snow storm here in NYC. Sigh. Being screen free parents can be hard and tempting at times especially when everyone around you has gone to the library to get movies for snow day for their kids. Well here we go, what do we do all day…

  1. Go out- there is no bad weather just bad clothes. 
  2. Read books about snow day- our favorite are The Mitten, and The Hat, also I Spy books
  3. Feed the birds- we just got a bird feeder that attaches to the window and all the winter birds are having a Feast outside our window.
  4. Make forts- provides hiding games and small reading nooks.
  5. Board games- Dinosaurs Escape, Friends and Neighbors we enjoy cooperating games.
  6. Play bowling, basketball, baseball… inside.
  7. Bake something- nothing like a good smelling house on a snowy day.

These might sounds like a lot of work for people especially when kids fight and make a huge mess you’d rather not clean up. It is a lot easier to put on a movie sometimes when they are whining about being bored, but why not let them be bored? 

    Homeschooling: Lent

    Here are some things that I try to do different for my family during Lent. We do have books we read throughout Lent some are pictured above. 

    In the Candles Glow– Great story about a girl that says prayers in front of candles. Great illustrations. You can get it through Ancient Faith Publishing.

    Saint Herman of Alaska- He is one of our favorite saints and this book is a favorite for kids showing them his life and devotion to prayer. This one is from SVS press

    Monk who grew in prayer- Wonderful book about the hours of the church as prayed by a monk.

    Joseph and his brothers- we found this one at the monastery I believe they are on Ancient Faith Publishing also.

    Orthodox kindergarten- This book is great for 2yr olds, it is a lot of simple things that the child can identity in the church and different icons also. This one is from Ancient Faith also.

    We are getting Pascha Passports this year here is the link:

    https://lenten-embassy.myshopify.com/collections/lenten-journey-for-the-family

    It is affordable, a great teaching tool and beautiful!

    Most of my teaching will come from the Good Shepherd program. Our first presentation will be on the altar and then I am mostly going to focus on Jesus’s life throughout Lent. Using the geography presentations, the Good Shepherd presentation, Annunciation, then Holy Week. More on those later. 

    I just wanted to mention a thought on simplicity. With kids, less is more, some parents feel like they have to do all these things for the child to “get it” or understand the importance of Lent. I get it, because it’s important to us as well. However, sometimes choosing less activities and simpler ones can make a world of a difference in how kids progress things. In a book Religious Potential of a Child, the author has many examples of kids having that want of a connection to their Creator, with many examples of kids with no knowledge of God having that yearning. In terms of simplicity and teaching I try to think about that and think of opportunities for living discussions not only activities. 

    How are you doing Lent with your kids?