Taking a Prayer Walk in the Morning

Taking a prayer walk in the morning

What better way to start the morning than taking a walk?  But let’s not lose this opportunity to pray!

My favourite prayer to pray while walking is the rosary.  It lends itself very well to the repetitiveness of the sound of footsteps on the ground.  I often contemplate a specific scripture or Word from the Lord while meditating on the mysteries of the rosary.

At least once a week, I like to pray the Jesus Prayer while walking around town.  As I walk by each house, I pray for the people in those houses – for their needs and their intentions.  I usually walk very early in the morning before anybody is out and about, but if I walk a little later, I’ll stop and pass the time of day with anyone who is looking to chat.

I live in a very small town and it takes less than 1/2 hour to cover all of the houses, but your neighbourhood is probably just the right size for you.

But don’t stop there, you can also take a similar walk around your home.

Going from room to room, pray for your family members who occupy those rooms.  As you wash the dishes, pray for the people who ate off those dishes.  As you fold the clothes, pray for the people who wore those clothes.

Prayer is an important ministry.  Miracles happen because of prayer.

So spread the love, and pray for your neighbours.

 

Christian Purim

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

purim - Happy Purim

I love the story of Queen Esther in the Bible!  She is such a strong woman of God, willing to put the needs of her family and her people first.  Pur refers to the lot that was cast by Haman to decide which day to wipe out all of the Jewish people in Persia.

However, Purim is the celebration of the rescue of the Jews from extermination.  It is one of the most festive Jewish holidays.

Our homeschool co-op is celebrating this Jewish feast today as a wrap up to our biblical and historical unit study.  Today is not the actual date of Purim.  It is celebrated in February or March.  The date changes each year.  You’ll have to look it up.

I might just make this a yearly festival in our home.  I love the joy surrounding this festival!

In remembrance, a fast is observed the day before Purim (to remember the 3 day fast that Queen Esther made in preparation for meeting the King and pleading on behalf of Her people).

The book of Esther is read aloud.

People dress up and wear masks at masquerade parties (to symbolize the masked hand of God saving His people).

Triangle shaped Hamantaschen cookies filled with jam, chocolate or even meat (similar to the 3 cornered hat that the antagonist Haman presumably wore) are made and eaten.

Gifts or money are given to the poor (at least 2).

Gift baskets of Purim treats are given to friends.

And a huge festive meal is shared with family and friends.  It is a chance to explain the religious significance of Purim.

Coming soon…The Gospel of Matthew

 

gospel of matthew save the date dot wordpress dot com

I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about starting this Bible study with you.  God has been calling me to read and study scripture more, and I thought, why not do it here, with you? Scripture comes so much more alive for me when I have someone to share it with, and I’m looking forward to seeing how God is working in your lives.

We’ll be reading the Gospel of Matthew one chapter a day.  First, take the time to read the chapter through quickly, as a story.  Sometimes I read it through a second time historically, looking at the setting and seeing the people as they would have been affected by the events unfolding, trying to see a theme.  Before reading the chapter through a final time, I sit still before God.  I ask Him to open the eyes of my heart and to reveal to me which verses He wants to bring to my attention.  Which verse is my favourite, and why?  Which verse(s) challenge me, and why? And what practical steps can I take to live this out?  Is there a verse, or a whole section that confuses me?  I take the time now to research it a little, then just let it rest in my heart, knowing that even if I don’t understand it now, I may someday in the future. There is plenty that God can speak to me in the verses that I do understand.  I take time to meditate on His Word, and contemplate what it means in my life.

In a nutshell, this is a rundown of the steps for reading each chapter.  When it comes to sharing it here, I will focus on one verse from each chapter that spoke to me in a special way. And I hope you will do the same.  I look forward to reading your comments. Remember, this is what God is speaking to you, and it can be as individual as you are.

ABC Bible Sharing Method with blue heart

For the more adventurous, try this in a small group setting.  This method works best when you do one chapter a week, but can be done daily as we are doing.  The Gospels work especially well with this format.

Everyone needs to prepare their sharings ahead of time.  To start, usually the challenges from the previous week are discussed.  How well were they lived out?  Next, the verses in the chapter are divided equally among the participants and each person takes a turn reading.  Different translations of the Bible make this interesting, sometimes clearing up difficulties right away.  Starting with “A” – a title – each person takes a turn sharing.  Continue with “B” – best verse, “C” – challenge verse, and, finally, “D” – difficulties, each person taking their turn.  If someone is in need of prayers, take the time to pray with them.  A snack to start or end the sharing time is appropriate.

Sharing this way builds bonds within the group.  It is important to keep all sharings confidential and to listen carefully when someone is speaking.  There should be an appointed leader of the group to keep everyone on track.

I’ve seen this format used with groups of couples and groups of women. I’ve even used it with my children.  It’s a good way to get them to think about Scripture and learn to implement it in their lives.  But of course, you can used this Bible sharing method with any group of people, with a group of 4-6 being the ideal so that everyone gets a chance to share as much as they need to.

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Kids the Faith (and free printables)

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

It is possible to surround our families with a whole Christian and Catholic culture.  And this can start at home.

I love it when I find great teaching aids.   I have found a few sites that are just loaded with lots of great ideas for teaching kids.  I’ve used them and hope that you find them useful too.  Most of these sites include free printables.

Not only are these sites a great treasure trove of activities and printables, they are filled with real life experiences of sharing our faith with our kids.  They are up building and up lifting.

I’ll be adding more sites as I remember them or come across them.  Please include a link in the comments to any other sites that you know.  I’m happy to add your site to my list.

Drawn 2 B Creative

Real Life at Home

Catholic Icing

Catholic Inspired

Look to Him and be Radiant

Equipping Catholic Families

Holy Heroes Advent Adventure – free daily videos

Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure – free daily videos

Holy Heroes Summer Faith Adventure – free summer Vacation Bible School for at home, or in your backyard

7 (oops 8!) Ways We Celebrate the True Meaning of Easter

8 ways we celebrate the true meaning of Easter

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

So many things to do with the kids for Easter to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday!  These are in addition to our church’s services.

1. The Tradition of Resurrection Eggs

Our set has 12 plastic eggs, and each egg contains a trinket and the corresponding scripture to take us through the Passion of Christ until His resurrection.  For example, we have a plastic donkey to represent the donkey Jesus rode on into Jerusalem.  We also have a dime to represent the silver coins paid to Judas for betraying Jesus.  A toothpick represents the spear used to pierce the side of Jesus.  You can read more about our resurrection eggs in this earlier post.

2.  Divine Mercy Novena

This novena, which lasts 9 days, begins on Good Friday and finishes on the Feast of Divine Mercy which is the Sunday after Easter.  The Mercy Chaplet is a set of prayers prayed with your rosary beads.  There is also an intention for each day of the Novena.  It is never too early to introduce your kids to this wonderful prayer!  Here’s a link to the Novena and Chaplet prayers.

3.  Family Time by Candlelight 

Good Friday is a great time to turn the lights off as evening comes, stay off of your computers, phones and devices, and spend the evening playing games by candlelight. We actually did this on Sundays during Lent, and plan to do this when we get home from our church’s Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

4.  Decorate Hard Boiled Eggs for the Egg Cracking Ceremony

We usually boil and decorate our eggs on the Saturday of Easter weekend.  There are so many wonderful ideas to be found on Pinterest!  Our ceremony takes place at the beginning of our Easter meal.  We each take a decorated hard boiled egg and we turn to the person next to us.  When everyone is ready, one of the two people exclaims, “He is risen!” and the other answers, “Truly He is risen!”  Now we smash those two eggs together.  The person whose egg is still intact finds a new partner with an egg still intact and the fun continues until there is only one person left with an intact egg.  It’s a lot of fun!

5.  Write a Thank You Letter to Jesus

We haven’t done this one yet, but I’m anxious to do it this year.  Everyone writes a letter to Jesus, thanking Him for His Love and His Sacrifice.  After dinner, we all share what we’ve written.  If you haven’t written letters, you can still take time near the end of the meal for everyone to share.

6.  Easter Egg Hunt

What do eggs have to do with Easter?  The shell represents the tomb where Jesus was laid after His death, and a cracked shell represents the empty tomb after Jesus’ resurrection.  Easter is not Easter without chocolate.  One or two of our older kids is in charge of hiding small wrapped chocolate eggs around our yard.  When they’re all hidden,  the younger ones race to find them.  The person with the most eggs gets a special treat, while all of the eggs are pooled together and evenly distributed.  We usually find the odd chocolate egg here and there for weeks after Easter.

7.  Empty Tomb Rolls

We take large marshmallows, roll them first in melted butter, then in a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Now we wrap the marshmallow completely with Pillsbury Crescent roll dough. Sometimes two of the crescent roll triangles are needed to cover one marshmallow. Now we bake them according to the package directions and the result is an empty crescent roll!  We serve these at our Easter meal.

8.  Hot Cross Buns

Good Friday wouldn’t be the same in our house without hot cross buns!  These buns are cut with a cross to represent the crucifixion of Jesus and are spiced to represent the spices used to embalm Him.  This is the only day of the year that I make hot cross buns, and we eat nothing during the day before they are served.  We serve our hot cross buns after the Mercy Chaplet which we pray together as a family at 3pm – the hour of Jesus’ death.  The kids often invite their friends to join us for the buns, and as an added bonus they also join us for the Mercy Chaplet. Our church gathers for the Way of the Cross in the evening, and it is led by our youth – including some of our kids.  Check out my hot cross bun recipe.

Easter 2001 and my First Miscarriage

Easter 2001 and my first miscarriage WOLF

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

The thing each expectant mother dreads:  miscarriage.  It was the year 2001.  I started spotting on Good Friday.  What a fearful sight!  This was my 8th pregnancy, but my first experience with a miscarriage.  I was scared, but I started working on an action plan right away.

I knew that I had to take it easy if I wanted to try to save this baby growing within me. My mother had successfully saved my brother with complete bed rest for most of her pregnancy.

How could I manage doing nothing for the next 6 months???  I had 7 children already, and my oldest was only 8 years old.  Just the thought was overwhelming.  Even though I didn’t choose complete bed rest, I did decide that I would try to avoid anything strenuous, take life at a slow pace and avoid heavy lifting.  I was still planning lots of bed rest and ready to get the kids to help in every way possible.  I was willing to sacrifice for this little one.

This first day though was a shock.  My husband was off for the weekend.  He would take care of the kids and the house, and I was to spend the weekend in bed.  All plans were cancelled.  This left me with plenty of time by myself to think.

I remember laying in my bed listening to the sound of my family beyond my closed door.  Even though I tried, sleep evaded me.

I thought only of this little one growing within me.  I gently caressed my belly, my heart filled with love and my eyes filled with tears.

It had actually been a very hard year so far.  I won’t go into details here, but trust me when I say it was hard.  I had already been through so much.  I sure didn’t want to go through this now.  I was afraid and I was hurting.  In the silence of my bedroom, my soul cried out to God.  I reached out to Him, and He answered.  The fear lessened and I trusted.  No matter what happened, God held me and my little one close to His heart.

Saturday morning arrived.  I had spent the previous day in bed, with visits from my kids. The littlest had snuggled with me and nursed whenever he was hungry.  My husband had quite competently taken care of everything else.  Now, I spent a little time with the kids at the kitchen table and we decorated Easter eggs.  Then back to bed.  Except for the eggs, I got out of bed only for supper and for the bathroom.

I think this was the least I had done since my first child was born.  I just slept, read, ate and prayed.  God knew that I needed a rest.  I just wish it hadn’t come with such a price.

Sunday morning I miscarried my baby.  Even though I had known from the beginning that this was a possibility, it still hit me.  I felt empty.  What was I supposed to do now? How was I supposed to feel?  It was like life was going on around me and I wasn’t a part of things.  I did however feel peace.  I thought this was the wrong thing to feel, yet it persisted.

My husband piled the kids into the van and drove us to the hospital.  They took me in right away.  A quick exam revealed that it had been a complete miscarriage and nothing more was needed.

I remember the doctor asking me if this was a wanted pregnancy.  Assured that it was, he then expressed his condolences.  I wasn’t insulted by his question, just saddened by it. What kind of society do we live in when a doctor needs to ask this question first?

I was alone during all of this because my husband was watching our 7 kids in the waiting room.  It didn’t take long though before I was released and we were on our way.

We were home before noon.  Easter morning mass would have just ended.  The kids were finally able to eat their Easter treats and that kept them busy for the rest of the day.  I again took myself to bed, this time to rest and recover.  Again, there was so much quiet time to think and to pray.

It wasn’t lost on me that this miscarriage had begun on Good Friday and had ended on Easter morning.  I thought of Jesus as He hung from His cross on that first Good Friday. He gave His life in sacrifice for us so that we might have eternal life.  It was as if He spread His arms wide and said, “I love you THIS much.”  My little one was most likely dead on Good Friday too.  He imitated His Saviour and reminded me of His love.

That first Easter morning revealed Jesus’ resurrection.  Death had no victory over Him. He had conquered evil, and now evil knew it had no power over Him.  Jesus was Life, and He gives us life, life to the fullest, when we trust in Him.

Now we had our own resurrection to celebrate, a real reminder of Jesus’ resurrection. Every Easter would be a chance to remember.  My life, and the life of my little one, had always been in Jesus’ hands.  That didn’t change now just because my little one was no longer here with us.  His life continues.

Heaven is the life we all aspire to.  A life where there is no more pain, no more death.  It is also the life I aspire to for each of my children.  Knowing that I had a little one already in heaven was a victory to me.

A life where there is no more pain, no more death.  This was God’s promise to me as it is to each of us.  All these struggles I had been going through this year, they were nothing in the grand scheme of things.  Jesus had already conquered evil.  God had a plan for my life.  I was to love and care for those God entrusted to me, and raise them in full knowledge that God also had a plan for their lives.  A plan they could trust.  This is why I was filled with peace, because I trusted.

I would miss this little one that I never got to hold in my arms.  I would never get to watch him grow, never hear him laugh.  However, I believe He is somewhere even better than anything I can ever imagine.  I believe that he prays for me and his family.  I believe I will meet him one day.

Our own little saint – perfect in every way.

The Rosary

how-to-pray-the-rosaryThe rosary is my favourite prayer.  It is a time to meditate on the life of Jesus and refocus the priorities in your life.  There won’t be a time that you pray the rosary that you don’t learn something new, something that God speaks to your heart.  It is a personal retreat in days filled with turmoil.  It is Mary showing us the way through her Son Jesus.  It is simply… awesome.  Don’t be afraid to start slowly and build on it.  There’s plenty of time.

Prayers Used in Praying the Rosary

Mysteries of the Rosary – can be prayed daily in their entirety or broken down into days