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Ink Slingers

Journey Through The Desert: Lent 2021 Photo Journey

Lent 2021 begins tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow.

Shortly after Ash Wednesday last year, many Catholic churches were closed for a long time due to C*vid. Some are still closed. For many of us, Ash Wednesday and Lent a year ago mark the beginning of a time in spiritual desert; unable to receive the Eucharist for so long. For many of us it’s allowed us to grown in our faith; spurring us on to make greater efforts in our relationship with God. Lent 2020 was hard. Some of us feel like we’ve been living in Lent since March 2020 and haven’t left that  desert. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of where you’re faith is right now, Ash Wednesday 2021 marks a way to re-focus ourselves on Christ. 

Our 2021 Lent “Journey Through the Desert” Catholic Sistas Photo Journey helps us to do that. The words on our Photo Journey prompt remind us to look around our lives and be a little more aware of God’s presence. To reflect on those things present but also those things in the past. The Catholic Sistas Photo Journeys are set up to allow us to reflect on where we see Christ and where we’re lacking Christ and need growth.

 

Join Us

So if you need something to help you re-focus you a little bit more on Christ, or you just enjoy reflecting on your faith visually, consider joining Adrienne, Allison, Anna, Celeste, Laura, Mandi, Rosemary, and me (Rita).

Be sure to use #CSLENTIPJ (Catholic Sistas LENT Instagram Photo Journey)  so we can find your photos and share some of them in our stories!

And just a little side note, say a little prayer for us Texan Catholic Sistas (and many others in the South). We’re struggling right now with unprecedented weather that our state, city, and homes were not built to handle. 1/3 of my city (Austin Texas) has been without power since early Monday morning (parts of the power grid are frozen). So between unprecedented, record- breaking weather and C*vid still things affecting many thing, we’re entering Lent a little differently this year.

How the Lent 2021 Photo Journey works

• Each day has one word associated with it. Most of these words are from the readings for the day, some are about the saint of the day, and some are just related to the season of Lent. Snap a photo or find an old photo related to that word. The photo does not have to be faith-themed, as the goal of our photo challenges is for us to see God in our everyday lives and reflect on Him.

• Use the hashtag #CSLentIPJ and any other appropriate hashtags (#gray, #adore, #suffer, etc) when you post your Photo Challenge photos. This allows us all to search Instagram and other social media platforms for other participants. You can even follow the hashtag on Instagram so you’ll see all the photos posted from everyone participating. We will be sharing participant photos throughout the Photo Challenge, and the way we find them is through the #CSLentIPJ hashtag.

• While our main platforms for the Lent 2021 Photo Journey are Instagram, and Facebook, we are present on many other platforms. Tag us with @CatholicSistas on INSTAGRAMPINTEREST and FACEBOOK. And if you’re blogging about your Lenten Photo Challenge, link back to us or comment below with a link to your post.

• When you use the hashtag #CSLentIPJ on Instagram, it will enable us to find you on Instagram and possibly feature you in our stories!

• Click the graphic below to download the CSLentIPJ graphic for quick reference. Note that the dates of the weekends are a different color to help visually break up the days.

• Lastly, consider joining us on Facebook in our group CATHOLIC SISTAS – THE COFFEE HOUSE. Here we can share pictures of the challenge and we get to know each other in a private setting. Please request to be added and answer the group questions, and you will be approved as soon a moderator is able to add you.

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Ink Slingers Michelle Schroeder

Summer Projects

Summer Projects

After the sufferings and sacrifices of Lent, followed by the joy of Easter and Pentecost many of us face a bit of a spiritual hangover as the long, hot summer approaches. We may feel a bit lost or aimless as we navigate the days coming down from our Easter high which makes it a perfect time to start something new in your spiritual life. While there are many sources of inspiration all around, one thing that I find particularly inspiring is learning about the spirituality of the saints.  There are so many amazing people that have been lifted up as examples in our Catholic faith.  These people are not examples of perfection, but they are examples of faithfulness. Most of them struggled and faced challenges but, with God’s grace and their willingness, they overcame everything for the glory of God. There are two saints that I’m especially interested in right now and I’d like to give you a brief introduction to them.

St. Ignatius and his spiritual exercises really have me excited at the moment.  I admit, I had heard of these exercises before but assumed they were far too lofty for me to understand. But I kept thinking about my own desire to understand God’s will in my life and since the exercises are based in the practice of discernment, I had to check it out.  St. Ignatius gives us rules to help us learn how to properly discern in our spiritual lives. I love that.  I love rules, they help me make sense of things. So, I found a great podcast by Father Timothy Gallagher called Discernment of Spirits to help me get started. Father Gallagher explained each rule clearly and gave real life examples that were very helpful.  From there, my next step is studying more about the exercises and I’m currently reading through websites and articles to learn more. I’m looking forward to working on this all summer!

The second saint I’m walking with this summer is St. Terese. I am fascinated with her “little way” and, her boldness in faith. I wrestle quite a bit with feeling spiritually beat down by my failings so the notion that perfection isn’t necessary to be a saint is really appealing to me. St. Terese offers hope to those of us who try and fail often because her emphasis is on the trying part. How awesome is that? Although I had certainly heard of St. Terese and had some awareness of her spirituality, it was Father Michael Gaitley’s book, 33 Days to Merciful Love that really piqued my desire to dig deeper. Throughout this summer, I’ll be researching and reading more about this great saint as well.  

Without a liturgical season to keep the fire lit, it’s up to each of us to stoke the flame that was ignited in our soul throughout Easter.  As you move into the months of summer, I hope you will look for something to inspire you to grow in holiness, whether it’s a saintly project or something else. Just ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and you’ll soon find just the inspiration you need.

Categories
Easter Ink Slingers Liturgical Year Maurisa

Running to the Tomb

Running to the Tomb

“The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection” | Eugène Burnand

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

John 20:1-9

Eugène Burnand

I’m not sure which came first, my love for the beautiful painting by Swiss artist Eugene Burnand, or my love for this particular scene from the resurrection. Both resonate deeply with me. The exhilarating celebration of Easter each year brings me back to meditating upon them as a complementary pair.

Several years ago I was able to see Burnand’s most famous work in person in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.  The piece is absolutely astonishing and it took my breath away to see it up close.  I stood taking in the wondrousness of the scene and studying the master artist’s brush strokes for an extensive amount of time.  The soft colors of the painting’s setting suggest an early spring morning, close to dawn.  The disciples appear breathless with anxiety and exertion as the movement of the piece indicates they are indeed running. John’s hands are clasped tightly together in a posture of fretful prayer.  Anticipation fills his face.  Peter’s brow is furrowed with worry and his eyes are open wide in suspense.  One wonders what thoughts were running through their distressed minds. Were the two men panicked at Mary Magdalene’s suggestion Jesus’ body had been unexpectedly moved or even worse, possibly stolen? Or was it fretful hope in the Master’s puzzling teachings which filled their souls? 

What we do know from Sacred Scripture is that when they did arrive at the tomb—first John and then Peter—they saw and believed. Believed in the Resurrection which they had not understood until they saw the empty linens lying in the tomb. According to Bible commentaries, the author mentions the linens as proof Jesus’ body had not been stolen by grave robbers. They likely would not have stopped to unwrap the body or would have left the cloths and the tomb in disarray.  Another curious and important aspect much commented upon is the way in which the linens were lying flat, or deflated in appearance, as if His body had just disappeared from beneath or passed right through them.

Wow, right?

Can you even imagine the thrill they must have felt as they began to understand all He had taught them, what had happened within the tomb, and what it would all mean?

We have just recently arrived at the empty tomb. What a marvelous promise He has given us—that we who believe shall not die, but should have eternal life; yes, eternal bliss with the Triune God and all His saints and angels in heaven. This is the root reason I love these first few verses of chapter 20 in Saint John’s gospel and the awe-inspiring painting by Burnand. It is the Eternal Hope and Truth of the Resurrection they both represent.

Categories
Colleen Domestic Church Ink Slingers Resources Your Handy-Dandy List

Coupon Codes and Gift Ideas to Rock Your Little One’s Easter Basket in 2018

Coupon Codes and Gift Ideas to Rock Your Little One's Easter Basket in 2018

Have you planned out Easter baskets for your kiddos yet? Or are you like me and it hasn’t even crossed your mind – you’re just slogging through the last couple weeks of Lent? You’re in luck. We not only have a comprehensive list of gift ideas for your kids (or yourself… I mean, all the ?heart eyes? for some of these gifts!), but we have some fabulous shop owners who have graciously shared coupon codes so you can get these awesome products at a discount! And if you order soon, you still have time to get them to your doorstep before Holy Saturday. No last minute run to Dollar Tree for basket stuffers sounds great to me!

I think we’ve done everything except put the actual baskets together for you – and if you’re thinking it, the answer is NO we will not put the baskets together for you – ha! 😉 Nice try, YOU! Ok, there is a LOT to cover, so grab your coffee and let’s get started! Scroll and prepare to feast your eyes.

COUPON CODES


 

COUPON CODES TO ROCK YOUR LITTLE ONES EASTER BASKET

The Lemke Lodge

  • WHAT: From owner Alexandra – I make handmade goods, currently making bibs from upcycled materials for both babies and toddlers.
  • COUPON CODE: Use CATHOLICSISTAS20 to get 20% off any purchase

COUPON CODES TO ROCK YOUR LITTLE ONES EASTER BASKET

May Queen Quilts

  • WHAT: From owner Dixie – kids really love Happy Carrots {two designs here and here} and they are even good for teething. I also have lots of Easter and Lent table runners, many reversible for the seasons!
  • COUPON CODE: Use SISTAS2018 to get 10% off any purchase

COUPON CODES TO ROCK YOUR LITTLE ONES EASTER BASKET

The Little Rose Shop

  • WHAT: From owner Raquel – I’m a young, Catholic, mommy that is finding beauty and joy in making simple sewn crafts. Many of my items are Catholic-themed, but not all. This has been my way to rejuvenate the hectic life of being a working mother and wife. My sweet daughter inspires my creations and my goal is to bring authentic, one-of-a-kind, quality toys and crafts into your home.
  • COUPON CODE: Use SACRIFICE to get 10% off your purchase – valid through Lent 2018

COUPON CODES TO ROCK YOUR LITTLE ONES EASTER BASKET

St. Paul Shop

  • WHAT: From owner Katie – Hi! I’m Katie; stay at home wife and mother of one boy and due to have our second on Christmas Eve of this year. I feel very fortunate to spend my days being a mother and filling in my spare time with peg doll art.
  • PERK: Free shipping through Easter

OurLady'sAmory

Our Lady’s Armory

  • WHAT:  From owner Nick – Sturdy handcrafted gear for the battle-ready Catholic.
  • COUPON CODE: Use EASTER18 – good for free standard shipping (domestic only) and no order minimum.

COUPON CODES TO ROCK YOUR LITTLE ONES EASTER BASKET

Treasured Saint Dolls

  • WHAT: From owner Nicole – saint peg dolls and custom orders*
  • COUPON CODE: Use code CATHOLIC SISTAS to get 10% off

*Will be back from vacation on Thursday, March 15.

 

COUPON CODES TO ROCK YOUR EASTER BASKET

The Cozy Wife

  • WHAT: From owner Megan – coffee cozies seemed the perfect place to start. I’ve paired my love for coffee and crochet with my passion for my Catholic faith to create a line of awesome Catholic cozies. I design and make each cozy myself. Each is hand-crocheted and stitched to make a unique cozy that will wrap your coffee cup in love, warmth, and beauty!
  • COUPON CODE: Use code EASTERSISTAS18 good for free shipping on domestic orders, good through April 1, 2018

COUPON CODES TO ROCK YOUR LITTLE ONES EASTER BASKET

Fiat Fiber Arts

  • WHAT: From owner Emily – This shop is my way to share my passion with you. I love stitching and making toys for my kids because they act like it’s Christmas each time. And I love making them pirate eye patches and ninja masks and play crowns. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where they think I can crochet anything. When friends saw what I made they repeatedly said, “you could sell this,’ so here we are.
  • COUPON CODE: Use code SISTALOVE for a whopping 30% off! The code will work from March 1-April 8 – yes, one week after Easter!

GIFT IDEAS


Still in need of inspiration? We have a solution for that!

 

Tiny Saints

Use HAPPY20 to get 20% off your purchase

Shining Light Dolls

Prayer Pillow Cases

Glory Stories

Magnifikid

Downloadable Bookmarks

by Look to Him Be Radiant – $5

Printable Prayers

by Catholic Playground – $2.49

Future priest boys t-shirt

by Faith Factory Catholic – $12.99

Lego rosary

by Memento Moose $23

Catholic Bible Tabs

by Farm Girl Journals $15

12 Apostles coloring book

by Paperdali $8

Rosary Quiet Book Pattern

by Do Small Things With Love – $6

Star Wars t-shirt “The Lord Be With You”

by Faith Factory Catholic –  $12.99

Catholic buttons

by Pink Salt Riot – $6

Virgen de Guadalupe onesie

by Sweet Texas Treasures – $25 {free shipping}

Brown Scapular Onesie

by Marilyn’s Diaper Castle – $14

Saint stickers

by All Saints Shop – $2.50

Sports Rosary

by Sweet Oak Gallery – $14

Coupon Codes and Gift Ideas to Rock Your Little One's Easter Basket in 2018

Unfinished wood cutout ‘Catholic’

by Anne Layne Too – $11.70

 

And there you have it, friends! What gift ideas would you add? Have a code you want to share? Share it in the comments!

Categories
Domestic Church Ink Slingers Kasey Lent Liturgical Year

My Liturgical Suitcase: The Penitential Psalms

My Liturgical Suitcase
I never felt a weight associated with the liturgical seasons until I had children.

From the moment I held my eldest son, I knew I had the grave responsibility to raise him as a good Catholic in a world that, at times, can be a very hostile and cruel place.

Selfishly, I also wanted memories.

I wanted the cookie baking, card making, St. Nicholas shoes filling, Easter basket earning memories of a home that was built on the shoulders of a Catholic tradition.

The issue was that I wanted traditions that I hadn’t been raised with myself and I was floundering in the Pinterest perfect social media posts of bloggers and friends who had already found their secret sauce.

I was also a hormonal new mom looking for purpose and I was drinking deep from a well of insecurity.

So naturally, I tried everything.

I handpainted Jesse Tree ornaments.
I baked traditional Easter cookies that my baby couldn’t even eat yet.  
I spent hours looking for an Advent wreath that would fit on our tiny apartment table.
I agonized over the Masses I missed because of sleep deprivation and nursing troubles.

And ultimately, I felt like a failure. There wasn’t a way to do everything and be everything in the throes of early motherhood.

And then a streak of real life happened.

It started with a nasty bout of flu during the Triduum.

A pregnancy that made it difficult to enter our church because of the incense.

And recently, two Christmas seasons that were spent with very ill grandparents.

This past year, my sons and I flew across the country to be caregivers for my mother-in-law who had fallen ill during chemotherapy.

No tree.
No gifts from us.
And a church that felt foreign.

I cannot say this was ground zero. I will not lament over an important duty. It was the only right decision.

But it did break me.

It disconnected me from the constant stream of expectations I had built up for myself.

It gave me a suitcase with actual limits and asked: “What are you bringing with you?”

After essentials, there was room for three things: my Bible, my missal, and a cross to hang over the door.

As Christmas approached we were no longer hanging hand painted ornaments on a lighted tree branch. We weren’t singing Christmas carols or baking cookies. But we were returning to scripture every day. We were together and I could breathe into a season of hope in a time when I felt very alone.

For Lent, I have decided to simplify my season routine again and to focus on reading scripture with my children. My husband introduced me to the seven penitential psalms and I thought their history was worth sharing.

These particular psalms are grouped together not only because of their expressions of sorrow for sin but also because of their association with the seven deadly sins. They have often been interpreted as a type of spiritual ladder in which the reader embraces a separate virtue as he or she reads each psalm. Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly assigned them as such:

Psalm 6: Fear of Punishment
Psalm 32: Sorrow for Sin and the Desire for Confession
Psalm 38: Hope of Grace
Psalm 51: A Love of Purity and Mercy
Psalm 102: A Longing for Heaven
Psalm 130: Confidence in Divine Mercy
Psalm 143: Joy  

However, the grouping of these psalms extends much further back than Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly’s. St. Augustine of Hippo mentions them as early as the 5th century and is said to have had copies of them posted near his deathbed. Up until 1972, minor orders and those that received tonsure were assigned these psalms as part of a daily prayer practice.

Personally, I am planning to focus on one each Sunday of Lent, with hopes that I will reflect and re-read them during the weeks leading up to Easter. We are also holding on to our family fasting traditions, but I will be taking this time to reassess my general approach to liturgical living and to define the limits of my proverbial “suitcase.”

What am I bringing with me?

With Lent here, I have given myself more permission to look up from my daily “to-do” list. It’s been a hidden gift. I have had time to truly reflect on the talents of my friends.

Each of the Catholic ladies in my life has a beautiful and unique suitcase of their own- different shapes, depths, colors, and filled with different essentials. I have crafty friends that build Lenten roads that span the entirety of their house, friends that dig into their prayer life with saintly devotion, friends that attend morning Mass every week, friends that bake traditional breads, and friends that host every single person that is without a home regardless of their budget or chair count.

Truly, I am blessed with their example.  

Whatever you fill your suitcase with, I am honored to be traveling with you towards the same horizon. May you have a blessed and fruitful Lent.