Final Lenten Labyrinth

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Lent did not seem to rush by or to trickle; it went along just right as Goldilocks would say. For me, I think part of it was keeping the labyrinth journal throughout Lent. It forced me (in a good way) to look at my day, both before it began and then to examine how it went later on and keep track of my activities. I mostly stuck to spiritual activities, but some secular ones seeped in, especially when I spent quality time with my family or if I completed writing assignments. Those things got me up in such a positive way, I couldn’t help but meditate on them and incorporate them into my spiritual journey for Lent. I enjoyed switching the colors between journaling, and I enjoyed recognizing close moments with G-d in the micro-narration as well as in the moment.

With Lent finished, and other responsibilities beginning, I thought I would try my hand at a spiritual journal. I started it on the 19th and didn’t pick it up again until yesterday. So far not an auspicious start, but I don’t intend it to be a daily journal; I’m attempting to keep it pressure free. It occured to me to begin it when I started keeping a log for my Cursillo grouping and Ultreya tripod and close moments. I thought I should keep those and have access to re-reading them and be able to always be advancing in my spiritual life.

Here are the final pictures of my Lenten Labyrinth Journal. It is definitely something that I found rewarding and something I would consider doing again. As you can see below the cut, I needed a second labyrinth to cover everything during Holy Week, concluding with Easter.

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Inspire. April.

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To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.”

Phillip Andrew Adams

Palms from Palm Sunday.
(c)2022

This week marks my massaversary. Two years before I received my sacraments, I began attending church services. It was during Holy Week that this started and it marked a profound change in my life. Attending mass, sitting alone in a pew reading Scripture didn’t make all my problems go away; they didn’t suddenly create a magical turnaround in my mental health issues, my personal issues, my crisis, but it did create light in the darkness, both metaphorically and literally in a bright light vision. I met new people who influenced me in all the positive ways you want friends to influence you. I discovered a group of people who were glad to know me, and provided material help despite not knowing me from Adam. I saw what a calling was through their actions, and I saw what it means to walk with Christ.

I was welcomed with great joy, and I continue to be.

My massaversary is more than simply a date on a calendar or a memory of long ago. It is present, it is here, it is now, and I am welcomed with great joy whenever I enter the church and cross my self with the holy water from the font in the gathering space.

Even in an empty building, I am welcomed because Christ is always present.

I will try to put words on my feelings in small ways as the week continues on, and as the Lenten Journey ends and Easter begins.

Lenten Journey – Week 5

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As we celebrate Holy Week, we are still looking back on Week 5 of Lent. Last week was another busy week. My labyrinth (photos below cut) had to be continued on the back of my card. I wrote about our church’s soup ministry during Lent and that had some profound close moments and memories. Even though I missed rosary last week, I had dinner with my family and sometimes that has precedence. I’ve been working on Felicia Day’s book, Embrace Your Weird, and it’s really forcing me to look inward which is perfectly in tune with the Lenten desert.

Also, last week’s Last Supper retreat was so much more than a one day experience. It really brought so much out of what the retreat house means to me. It was something of a spiritual experience in just being there, amid the familiar faces and places. It was wonderful.

Now I prepare myself for the Triduum – the last days of Christ and the beginning of eternal life. We need to walk through the fire so to speak, carry our crosses and come out on Easter Sunday reborn. I’m looking forward to it.

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Lenten Labyrinth – Week 4

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Publishing these in the middle of the next week gives me time to reflect on the week that’s passed, reevaluate my journey and see what changes need to be made in my spiritual life. It’s a when, not an if. There are usually a few. I think I’ve put writing in the center of the labyrinth since even my spirituality involves an excess of writing, but I feel that there must be more that I’m looking for when I get to the center. I may take a walk later this week (or more probably next) at one of our local labyrinths.

I’m also a little stuck on the exercises in Felicia Day’s book Embrace Your Weird. She suggests filming yourself. (Not going to happen.) But I still need to step back and watch myself with new eyes and then answer her questions. This guide is for fostering creativity, but I find that the parts of my life are so interconnected that I can’t help but reflect on my faith and spirit. I’ll pick it back up this afternoon when I get home from my errands. I think I’ll do my daily readings then as well.

I still haven’t been able to answer what it is I’m being called to, although I feel the tugging.

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Week 3 – Lenten Labyrinth Journey

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If you look back at last week’s labyrinth and compare it to this week’s, you’ll see what I saw: this week’s is a lot less active than last week’s.

And that’s okay.

Every week, every day is different, and while sometimes we are overwhelmed with activity, other times we are Baby Bear levels of just right (thanks Felicia Day for that description), and often we won’t know how we feel about each until the week is over. That was one reason that I chose to share the previous week’s labyrinth, after the week was over, and I had a couple of days to reflect and process how things went. This is titled Week 3, but I am living in the middle of Week 4.

This has given me a chance to look back and reassess. Am I reading enough? What am I praying for and should I pray more? Should I add people to my prayer list? I began grouping on Monday and this will continue indefinitely twice a month. I was confronted with taking action, and realized that I really do need a little intentional time; time to intentionally spend with G-d, in prayer, in meditation, contemplation, and discernment. That sounds like a lot of work! It can be, but it can also be a time to rest in the spirit, and see things from different angles and perspectives. Rest in the Word and in words.

How is your third and half-fourth weeks of Lent progressing? Are you feeling your way through the desert?

I’ve added another downloadable sheet to the home page. This is the coloring sheet I designed for Gish‘s Book Bash in reference to Florida’s discriminatory law not allowing schools – children and faculty – to say gay. I don’t understand a society that is afraid of a little word. Anyway, it IS okay to say gay, and more importantly, it IS OKAY to BE GAY (or any of the other LGBTQIA orientations and genders).


Lenten Labyrinth. Week 3.
(c)2022

Through the Labyrinth: Lent, Week 2

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Last week was kind of extraordinary. I am making great effort to attend Mass on Sundays on Facebook regularly, religiously if you will. There is a routine of the mass structure at our parish, and I’m sure it parallels many parishes: Music, Announcements, Prayer for the Deceased, Stand, Processional, Mass begins.

When there is a change to this, I can tell simply by who is milling about near the altar during the first musical portion. On this second Sunday of Lent, I saw our parish trustees. I felt tense. I felt anxiety creeping in and when they approached the ambo and stated that they’d be reading a letter from the Bishop, it did not help my tension and anxiety.

As I’ve mentioned previously (probably too many for some), my parish priest died suddenly in October and we’ve been waiting to hear about a new priestly appointment. This was that announcement. I held my breath, not that I have any control over the choice or know many of the priests very well, but still, I waited with literal bated breath.

It turns out that I do know this priest who will soon become my new priest. I actually cried. I was happy (and am) that he will be joining our parish. I’m feeling excited as I write this, nervous but not apprehensive and I think the announcement was the catalyst that set my week on the right path, although it was a very busy week planned (as is this one).

You will see from the labyrinth photos that I ran out of room and needed TWO more extensions. Unbelievable. The one negative was the my writing retreat scheduled for next week was cancelled, but again, I can muddle through and self-direct my own writing retreat while simultaneously doing a writing/reading scavenger hunt.

I had several close moments where I felt G-d’s presence palpably, I listened and learned, I wrote and I drew and I kept up with my readings. The week was overflowing with grace and spirit.

Looking back on last week, I am also looking forward to this busy week. Celebrated my son’s twenty-fifth birthday last night and today I am Zooming all day.

I feel good.

Lenten Labyrinth, Week 2.
Part 1.
(c)2022
Lenten Labyrinth, Week 2.
Part 2. (Plus book list)
(c)2022

Friday Food. Lent and Leftovers.

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Friday night Lenten meal.
(c)2022

It’s hard to find food for Fridays in Lent. Our family doesn’t eat fish at all. My son and I will enjoy a fish fry during Lent, but the rest of the family still needs to eat something so we’ll usually go with a pasta or pizza and my son and I will hit the church’s fish fry at least once. Cracker Barrel also at least once.

Last week was an off-pay week, so we were being frugal, and it was leftovers on the menu. The problem for me was that leftovers was pork loin. My daughter didn’t want the pork and decided to make eggs, so I asked her to make some eggs for me. I like my eggs well done scrambled.

She and I divided the leftover over white rice, which I microwaved. I added butter to mine with peas and a couple of leftover packets of duck sauce and then mixed in the hot scrambled eggs.

It was such a simple meal, and it was very satisfying and delicious. I feel like having it again sooner rather than later, although to be honest, tonight will probably be pizza.

What are all of you eating for your Lenten Fridays? And if you’re not observing Lent, what is your favorite simple but delicious go-to meal for a Friday night?

Lenten Journey: 2nd Week of Lent

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1st Week in Lent.
Labyrinth. Journal. (
c)2022

Yesterday as I began to look at the new week’s labyrinth I realized how important mass has been to me in more than a spiritual way. You’ll see the picture next Wednesday, but this is what I wrote yesterday morning:

“I do notice that the days I go to mass are filled with other things. Whether it’s errands or prayer or publishing/scheduling here. I am invigorated to do more. I also haven’t felt that for some time.” And in parentheses I added, “This is a busy week though.”

I know I’ve had to push myself to do some things since the fall, and it hasn’t been easy. Of courses, the pandemic hasn’t helped. Like, at all. October has always been an unsettling time for me. What should have been a fully joyous time led in a few short weeks to a devastating time and unconsciously I’ve held that uneasiness yearly. I only recognized it when it was brought up to me and I try to lessen the difficulties by being aware and looking inward. When my priest died this past October, let’s just say that did not help my spirit.

As I write this, I’ve only just realized that his death and my mother’s are exactly two months apart (seventeen years apart though). That’s some coincidence. Or something.

My parish church announced this weekend about the forthcoming appointment of our new pastor, and I didn’t realize the stress and anxiety that I’d held inside myself. The ease I feel now that the appointment is certain is palpable. I’m sure it helps that I am familiar with this new pastor, and I’m looking forward to my continued journey in the faith and the church. I do think that this news has had a positive effect on my spirit and may have given me the punch in the arm I needed to return to my previous level of interaction (in several parts of my life).

Just as it takes one thing to stop us in our tracks or put us off the path, sometimes all we need is that one little (or major) catalyst to jump start us. This was one of them.

I also have two workshops/lectures, one day of reflection, another class, an interfaith meeting, and preparing for a retreat at the end of the month, plus my oldest son’s twenty-fifth birthday. And I’ll be cooking three meals this week, which is a lot for me lately. (Real meals, not hot dogs or pasta. Possibly more on that Friday.)

Here, in the middle of this second week of Lent, I feel an optimism, a hope that my Lenten journey will continue to be meaningful and will set the path for the rest of the year after we mourn the Crucifixion and celebrate the Resurrection in the days and weeks to come.

Have a peaceful and blessed Lent. May the week land gently.

First Week in Lent

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As similar and routine as each Lent can be, each Lent is also unique in the felings it conjures up. The different readings, the different reflections, the different books chosen for study in this year as opposed to the last one. Further down you’ll see my first two weeks of the Lenten Labyrinths that I’m journaling with over the next thirty some odd days. There are two for the first week because I wasn’t thinking and began on Ash Wednesday and then began another one on the first Sunday. Looking at it each day lets me think intentionally about what I’m doing during this Lenten season.

Today is Wednesday, so there was a soup delivery from my parish earlier today. Funny story: I was sitting in my dining room on hold with my insurance company, and I hear my husband. I ignore him because I’m on the phone, then I hear banging on the door. I look up and out my kitchen door and I see a mass of grey hair, thinking my husband got locked out, although I can’t figure out how since the last time I saw him he was in his office. I get to the door and it’s Tom from church with the soup, standing in my mudroom. (I usually put out a garden table on Wednesday, but I forgot and it’s snowing, so he came in the unlocked (for the kids) door.) I thank him profusely and take my bags of very hot soup.

I sat in quiet contemplation, savoring each spoonful of hamburger barley soup, thinking (or is it praying over) the people in the parish center kitchen stirring and dividing the soup into individual plastic containers. I taste each vegetable and I dip the bread until it practically disintegrates in the hot, tomato-y broth. Each bag has a necklace with a cross and a medal of St. Peregrine. I do not know this saint, but I will spend some time this afternoon reading about him and studying what he is known for.

I think about how food brings us together even when we’re apart, and I look forward to this quiet, solitary ritual every Wednesday until Holy Week.

What are you pondering this first week of Lent, the first moments entering the desert?

Lenten Labyrinth. Ash Wednesday through Saturday 3/5/22.
(c)2022
Lenten Labyrinth. 1st Sunday in Lent.
(c)2022

A Lenten Labyrinth

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Lent is right around the cor – hmm…I guess it’s here.

I’m not ready. My prayer life is struggling, and the idea that I need to make a forty day plan for myself is giving me hives. It’s daunting. Between new bouts of covid isolation keeping me from in person masses and spiritual gatherings and my continuing struggles to come to terms with the sudden death of my priest this past fall, I have been having difficulties in focusing on my prayer life. I read constantly. I finally resumed listening to podcasts this morning while I was setting up my medication. My daughter has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow so my plans for 9am Mass to receive my ashes will need to be adjusted. I made three phone calls yesterday and mailed a letter. I’m not sure what this has to do with Lent or prayer or anything other than keeping the chronic depression at bay.

I’m still at ‘what do I give up‘ part of the process and I just don’t know. With mask mandates ending and war in Ukraine, the giving up decision of my Lent feels superficial and not at all relevant.

Should I stop drinking soda? Watching TV? Starbucks? Giving up the internet for a couple of hours a day? (Heaven forfend!) Cheese? Chocolate? Cigarettes? Alright, that one would be cheating; I don’t smoke. Can I give up being judgmental for forty days? I’m not sure I can manage forty minutes.

What is a worthy of sacrifice that doesn’t strike me as trite or worn out?

However, there are some things that I have worked out: a weekly Scripture series through March, a weekend retreat, reading, and art journaling with the use of a Lenten Labyrinth (pictured below).

Beginning tomorrow, I will read Learning to Pray by Father James Martin, and Life is Messy by Matthew Kelly and a daily devotional: Daily Reflections for Lent: Not by Bread Alone 2022 by Amy Ekah and Thomas Stegman. I’m sure there will be more reading as the days go by, but these three are on my goals list.

I will pray the rosary at least weekly.

I will make one pilgrimage, although I’m not sure to where yet.

I will work diligently on my Labyrinth Prayer Book.

I will attend Sunday Mass on Facebook and commit to attending one daily mass in person during the week.

I will keep up with my labyrinth in the art journal. It is similar to the spiral journals I shared a few years ago after my trip to Wales. I plan on looking at it daily and trying to draw or write something relevant. I have enough copies for a new labyrinth each week.

I also have included a downloadable clean copy on my home page for anyone interested in journaling through Lent. (Sorry about some of the crooked lines.)

(c)2022

I think the most important thing I can impart to readers and to myself is to be easy on ourselves. Focus on the three Lenten principles: prayer, fasting, almsgiving.