Liturgical Living for Beginners

LiturgicalLiving

Liturgical living. Its something I have been thinking about starting for a while, but I have never quite known where to start. As I pause to ponder liturgical living in our small family, I realise its something we have already begun; the Advent wreath on the kitchen table, lit every night, shoes outside the bedroom door on the 6th December for the feast of St Nicholas, pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, celebrating name days… These are things that we learned from our parents. They may not have called it liturgical living- these things were simply family traditions.

Today, Christianity is counter-cultural. Against the backdrop of today’s post-Christian culture, liturgical living is an important witness to our children, families and community.

This weekend, a new liturgical year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. I plan to begin anew, being intentional about liturgical living. While websites, blog posts and Pinterest boards are full of inspiring ideas, they can be a little overwhelming to a newbie like me. Here are 7 simple ideas for liturgical living for beginners, to get the liturgical living ball rolling!

  1. Mark your feast days on your calendar
    • Here in Ireland, the Dominicans produce a fantastic free calandar, with all feast days etc. printed on. Pick a calander up from your parish, and hang it where you will look at it every day!
    • Use the Universalis app, or add Universalis to you Google Calander (that’s what I did, its easy! Click the link at the bottom of the page)
  2. Choose a few feast days to celebrate each month
    • We began with our own name days, and pick a few of our favourite saints too. I also wish a happy name day to friends and family members, and use the occasion to send them a text, email or card.
    • Do you have a family patron saint? What about your parish patron saint? Celebrate them too!
    • Choose a novena to pray every month or so. Pray More Novenas offer a great, free, service, delivering the novena prayer to your inbox every day.
  3. Create an altar, or prayer focus
    • Don’t put it off, waiting to create the perfect space. Rather than wait, I put a statue of Mary, a few candles. a picture of St Therese and the bible on our mantelpiece- its a perfect prayer focus, and focal point for the room.
  4. Keep holy the Sabbath Day
    • Growing up, shops were closed on Sunday, there was no vigil Mass in my parish and Sunday was a day for worship, Sunday lunch, family outings and activities together. After I left home, things began to slip and, until recently, Sunday was a day for chores, shopping and finishing off work. We recently re-evaluated how we spend out Sundays, and have decided to be more intentional; to make Mass the focal point of the day, to cook something special, to avoid chores and shopping and to spend time together as a family.
  5. Pinterest
    • I already mentioned how Pinterest can be overwhelming! Don’t be put off! Start your own Pinterest boards for each month (I find searching by month narrows the search, making it less overwhelming and more relevant!)
    • Pick a few recipes, craft activities or colouring pages to do each month
  6. Don’t just go to Mass on Sunday…
    • How about making a regular weekday Mass, on your own or as a family? First Friday, Saturday morning, or a weekday Mass? Perhaps your parish has a weekday evening Mass you could attend together.
    • Pick a Saturday of the month e.g. 1st Saturday, to go to confession together. Mark it on your calendar- create an event if you have to! Celebrate your absolution by going for hot chocolate together afterwards!
    • Make sure you observe Holy Days of Obligation. There are slight variations depending which country you live in. In Ireland, there are 6 Holy Days of Obligation:
      • Immaculate Conception (8th December)
      • Christmas Day (25th December)
      • Epiphany (6th January )
      • St Patrick (17th March)
      • Assumption of Our Lady (15th August)
      • All Saints (1st November)
  7. Books
    • Read a book related to the liturgical season. As I write, we are coming to the end of November, and I have been reading Holy Women by Pope Benedict XVI, and learning about some amazing female saints. Hopefully I will be able to share some of this stories with my daughter when she is older
    • Read the autobiography or biography of a saint who has an upcoming feast day
    • Buy a book for Advent or Lent. Magnificat Magazine publish excellent Advent and Lent companions
    • Don’t keep your bible tucked away! Leave it somewhere you see it, so you will pick it up more often

What tips do you have for liturgical living? I would love to hear your ideas and inspiration!

Thank you Kelly for hosting 7 Quick Takes! Head on over to This Aint the Lyceum for more quick takes

 

Making time

Making Time #BISsisterhood Blessed is She

Do you ever feel like life is a treadmill? Like life is a series of events, meetings and endless to-do lists? I am the kind of girl who likes to get to the bottom of her to do list before she sits down with a cuppa so oftentimes, that means I never sit down! There is just so much to do, that if I just keep going, it will get done eventually.

Well, that’s the theory but, as you can imagine, it never pans out that way. Discontent surfaces on two fronts: my unfinished to do list, and never getting round to putting my feet up and unwinding with my husband…

In our fast-moving, multi-tasking, tightly-scheduled lives, the idea of making more time sounds like an impossible dream. But, is it?

If I were able to make more time, I would watch my daughter go to sleep, instead of running through my mental lists while I am at her bedside… I would pick up the phone and call a friend, instead of pinging a text message because its quicker… I would sit down with my husband and immerse myself in his favourite TV show, instead of concentrating on my knitting, and not really watch the show at all.

And what about God? I confess,  I often run out of time with Him too. There are times when I fall asleep while reading my Magnificat. Sometimes, I am so tired I say a very truncated night prayer. Often, I rush through prayer without giving God a chance to say something to me. And spending time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament chapel seems like it’s no longer an option with a one-year old toddler at my side…

How can I make more time? By putting God first; I could forgo a lie-in to read my Magnificat. I could spend that coffee break reading Scripture instead of a magazine. I could turn off the lunchtime news and pray the Angelus. During a jog or a walk, I could pray the rosary before I let my mind wander. I could make an effort to get to daily Mass on a regular basis. I could even co-ordinate nap time with adoration, and sit in silence with Jesus. Making time can seem impossible, but if we are able to make time for God, then He’ll help us handle the rest.

This post is part of the Blessed Is She link-up on the theme of making time. Head over there to read more posts in the link-up.

7QT: Travels, Studying and Toddler Life

7QT Talking about Family Travels Studying and toddler life talking about familyAnother week has flown by.  I’m linking up with Kelly at This Aint the Lyceum for 7 quick takes of the week. These are my quickest ever takes. Hold tight. Here we go!

  1. Flying- Last weekend I flew with a new airline at my local airport called FlyVLM. What a wonderful surprise I had on board- the plane took off and landed early, it was a great flight and we had complementary drinks, sandwiches and chocolate! Ooh, and the views. Check out the view of County Wexford, Ireland, above. Beautiful, huh?!
  2. Maryvale– Did I mention I am doing a MA in Marriage and Family? Well, the purpose of my trip was a study weekend in Maryvale Institute, a Catholic distance learning college. I had a blessed and joyful weekend with the students, staff and Bridgetine sisters.
  3. they say i say talking about familyThey Say, I Say– I am not academically minded by a long shot. I love reading but when it comes to essay writing, I struggle. My tutor suggested this little pocket book which has really helped me get my head around academic writing. I totally recommend it!
  4. Naptimes– Back to real life, baby Teresa is figuring a new nap schedule. Two days this week, she had a monster two hour nap. Just when I was thinking “I could get used to this”, she napped for 30 minutes. The whole day. One half an hour nap!
  5. Sweetcorn fritters– My new favourite food, and Teresa’s too! We’re addicted! I tried these for the first time a couple of weeks ago but have made a double batch of them. They are so yummy, for toddlers and adults alike! They freeze well and you can cook them from frozen in 8 minutes.
  6. Running– still running, post couch 2 5k! Mixing up my runs, doing some 30 minute runs, some 5k+ runs and chopping and changing my routes.
  7. Card making– Ah! Gone are the day-long card making sessions, experimenting with design ideas and making a host cards for different people and occasions. When I have the opportunity, or the necessity, to make cards, I come to the craft table knowing exactly what I am going to make and make ten of the same, simple design. Keep it simple, do it well!

Thank you for hosting, Kelly! Why not head on over to check out more quick takes!

7QTs: Jogging for Beginners

comes Jogging for beginnersI was never a runner. It’s hard to believe I am now, but I have just finished a Couch to 5k (C25k) plan, and can run for a full 30 minutes! This is the second time I have done this plan. (My first time was a few years ago, before my wedding, but I didn’t keep it up.) Jogging has three main attractions- it’s free, all you need to get started is a pair of runners, and it gets results! I figured it was the best way to get back into shape after having a baby- I could do it with baby in tow, at a convenient time and with minimal expense. So I started again…. Here are seven tips I have learned along the way:

  1. NHS Choices Couch to 5k

    My couck 2 5k programme

    Find a good Couch 2 5k programme You can find them online, on podcasts, apps, and in books and magazines… I used the NHS Couch 2 5k programme, which consisted of 9 weeks worth of podcasts. Laura, the narrator, told me when to walk and when to run, as well as giving tips and motivation.

As well as listening to the podcasts, I would use an app like Map My Run or Endomondo to track my progress. This is a real motivator as you can see how many calories you burn after each work out and see your distance increasing as the weeks go on.

  1. It’s just a light jog C25k programmes usually start with interval training- walking for a bit, then jogging for a bit. The girl on my podcast often said, “Remember, its just a light jog”. I found this really helpful to remember as it took the pressure off.
  1. Route It’s good to vary the route. This comes naturally as the weeks go by and you are running further. If you are running on a treadmill, why not run outside? If you are already running outside, why not try a lap of the park instead of sticking to the pavement. Sometimes I go for a short drive and run somewhere beautiful, like a nature park or the beach. Changing the scenery mixes things up. Variety is the spice of life, right?
  1. My running buddy

    Equipment The first time I did a C25k programme, I knew by week 4 – 5 that I was going to stick with the programme, so I invested in some trainers, fitted at a specialist running shop. This made the word of difference to my feet.

The second time I started the C25k, I would bring baby T along with me. I didn’t need a special buggy for the first few weeks as the running distance was short and I was slow… again, when I knew I would stick it out, I bought a second hand jogger buggy online.

  1. Take a break I began to enjoy running so much I wanted to run consecutive days. However, it is really important to give your muscles a rest and chance to recover, and avoid injury. Why not do something else with that energy? Go for a walk, or a swim…
  1. Prayer Initially, I started praying when I was looking up a big hill, praying a decade of the rosary to get me to the top! Towards the end of the C25k, I found that jogging was a good way to incorporate prayer into my routine. Now, I often pray a whole rosary during my jog. And I offer up any suffering! Its also a good way just to get some head space and think about any ideas / problems or figure out what’s for dinner!
  1. Believe in yourself I am not a natural-born runner. I will never forget the time I ran for two minutes for the first time and looked back on the distance I had covered. I had a real sense of achievement! C25k programmes are designed to build you up gradually, minute by minute, not drop you in the deep end with a 30 minute run. I trusted in the programme and believed in myself. If I had a bad run, I wouldn’t beat myself up- a bad run is better than no run. If I didn’t feel ready to move on to the next week, I would repeat the week. By recognising your progress and believing in yourself, you can do it!

I finished the Couch 2 5k plan this week and I have already set myself a new goal- a 10k run in two months. Watch this space!

Would you like to take up jogging, but have a question? Or, are you a already a runner and have a comment or tip? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to Kelly from This Aint the Lyceum for hosting 7 Quick Takes. For more quick takes, head on over there!

7QTs: Early Mornings, Journaling and a 1st Birthday

7qts talking about family

Another week has flown by! I’m linking up again with Kelly from This Aint the Lyceum for 7 quick takes on the week that was!

  1. Marriage Referendum – Next month, there will be a referendum in Ireland to redefine marriage. If the ‘yes’ side win, then Ireland will become the first country to introduce same sex marriage following a referendum. Last Friday saw the launch of the ‘no’ campaign. Its going to be an interesting few weeks.
  2. Sleeping Baby T

    I can’t believe this little girl is one!

    1st Birthday My baby is now a toddler! We had a lovely day, a walk to see some deer, a small family lunch, presents, coffee cake (homemade!). I was worried the excitement would be too much, but even though she’s only one, I think baby T had a lovely day!

  3. Early Mornings As baby is only napping once a day at the moment, I’m trying to find more time in the day to get things on my wishlist (things I would like to do but aren’t important enough to make the to do list) done. Husband suggested I get up an hour earlier… now, this seems like an obvious, fair suggestion but since becoming a mum, I have learned that I take the sleep where I can, so this was a painful suggestion. Anyway, Tuesday and Friday mornings I woke up an hour early, bright eyed and bushy tailed and crossed off a few things on my to do list and my wishlist, which gave me a great start to the day. I might try and make a habit of it!
  4. Spiritual Journal I used to keep a spiritual, or a prayer journal, and I found it really helped my faith develop. Somewhere along the way, the practice ceased, until this Lent, when I started journaling again in the Blessed Is She Lenten Journal. I vowed I would continue but there was a slight delay between finishing the old one and starting the new. I am glad to say before the delay became prolonged, I have started journaling again!
  5. Toddler Book On the subject of journaling, poor baby’s baby book has gaping holes in it and the idea of going back to fill in the gaps is, at the moment, a daunting prospect. So, while I was shopping for a spiritual journal, I also bought a toddler book, to mark the start of a new era!
  6. sewing seedsGardening Lots of seeds to be sown in April, and time is running out! I planted tomatoes and beetroot in seed trays, and put some rocket and garlic in containers.
  7. Studying and blogging Did I ever mention I am doing a part-time distance learning MA in Applied Theology? I’m currently doing a module in the socio-political context of the family. It’s incredibly interesting and challenging, and there is a lot of reading and information to take on board. I have decided a good way to process my thoughts would be to write some short blog posts about key aspects of the subject. Watch this space!

Thank you Kelly for hosting! For more quick takes, visit This Aint the Lyceum!