What are you giving up for Lent? Nothing!

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Yeah!!! It’s spring! We’ve made it!

There are daffodils out, pink and yellow primroses and catkins (no idea if that’s the right word, but I seem to find myself calling all spring-time, yellow-polleny-fluffy things on trees catkins) and the air smells hopeful.

At the same time T has now been to her new school for two weeks and is settling more quickly than we dared to even dream she might. She’s still on-the-edge-tired by the ends of the day but she’s going, and is going out of the house for clubs and groups outside school too. Just a remarkable change for which we are so very thankful to God. We even did school this week with Daddy away, and the wonderful help of a friend, I wasn’t sure that was going to be possible when I looked ahead last week.

This time last year I had already shown you all our plans for lent but this year I haven’t even had the head space to make any plans at all – and here we are in lent. It happens, and it’s okay. Someone asked T the other day what she was giving up for lent, she replied ‘NOTHING!’ – which caused a giggle or two.

However I came away from that conversation feeling quite freed in an unexpected way. No we haven’t given things up, instead we’ve kept tight hold of God – not intentionally for lent, just out of sheer necessity. The last few months have felt a little like it did when I was a child and was holding tight to a parent as we got safely to our destination through a crowded market or street – I’ve always hated being in crowds, everyone and everything pressing in and having to constantly adjust and dodge. As a child, holding tight didn’t stop the experience being a tough one but it was my tangible point of certainty that my parents would get me through. As a family we’ve had a lot of adjusting and dodging to do, it’s been full on and at times has felt like a crowd constantly jostling into us but I have been aware of that tangible point of certainty despite not being able to see over everything to the destination.

So, no we’re not giving anything up this lent – we’ll keep pressing on with God as we are, holding tight. I would, of course, love to fit in time to read a book, and when we get sunny spring days like today I fully intend to get back out into the garden and care for it. All of that will be more than enough of a Lenten challenge this year!


Lent ideas 2019

How very quickly the seasons of faith come around again. Pancakes have been eaten, and today the season of lent begins. What does lent look like in your family life?


If like me you are still wondering if it might be possible to find the energy to be intentional about remembering lent – and want some ideas to explore, here are some for 2019!

  • Julie over at Happy Home Fairy has prepared a countdown to Easter, 40 days with Jesus’ words. A colourful, ready to use however it fits into family life for you, free printable. I can imagine cutting these out and slipping into lunch boxes, or hiding as a treasure hunt each day. They could be displayed once read, hung from some branches brought in from the garden, or pinned up on the fridge and ticked off day by day.
  • For something completely different, how about a lenten movie night. Great list of movie ideas and activity printables at 1 Cor 13 parenting.
  • Baking prayer pretzels together, info from Mina at Flame Creative Children’s Ministry. 
  • I have adapted a lent-in-a-bag idea I found here at Build Faith, making the written material a little simpler and clearer. Download my version here.



  • I love the idea of a Jesus tree (like a Jesse tree, but rather than looking at the echoes of Jesus in the lead up to his birth, a Jesus tree focuses on the life of Jesus). There is a lovely free printable by Jennifer at Little House Studio with lots of ideas that could be used but don’t have to be – and some colour in ornaments with devotions.
  • T’s Godmother has sent her ‘Through Lent with Jesus’ by Katie Thompson which is full of daily activities, puzzles and readings. I’ll look forward to looking at that with her.


If you’ve been following for a while you may remember a couple of years ago I put together a set of free printable weekly activities tied in with my book ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’ which explores why Good Friday can be good. I’ll be posting these again over on my publishing website.

You can also find more ideas for lent on my previous posts about lent ideas.


lent is nearly here

It hardly seems a minute since I managed to get Christmas decorations down and packed back away, and here we are, Lent begins next week!

So I’m taking the opportunity of blogging about such things as faith habits at home as my excuse to spend some time enjoying pinterest – should I say, researching – looking for the many great ideas out there that other families have tried.

(By the way I collect together the ideas I find about faith at home on my pinterest board)

Ideas that have caught my eye this year are:

How beautiful!!  It's a visual walk through the days of lent to Easter.


This visual walk through lent posted by ‘rhythm of the home’

I wondered if it could also be made together as a family throughout lent, taking turns to add a thumb print (or even a painty foot print) each day.

‘Catholic Icing’ have a printable lenten calendar that could be coloured in each day. A simple visual countdown is really helpful for breaking lent down into something that can be imagined, and the end can be ‘in sight’.

‘Flame Creative Kids’  has a whole list of wonderful, creative, prayer and thinking activities including this lovely stained glass window design.

 ‘GodVenture’ ‘s new book takes you through lent looking at the story of Lazarus with stickers, story, prayers.

‘Dunlap Love’ directs me to a way of doing a lenten tree – like a Jesse tree – and has some free printable ornaments to laminate and hang up each day as a Bible verse is read.

And also ‘Wee Little Miracles’ tells me how to go about making and using this beautiful spiral to the cross with cardboard, burlap and modelling clay. She is planning to take turns to place a stone into a ‘cup’ each day to mark the journey through lent.



I will also be posting weekly ideas, practical and crafty and with free printables inspired by my book ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’ which explores the meaning of Good Friday. They’ll be posted on my clearly nurturing publishing website.

There are so many lovely ideas for creating sacred space, and a pattern of prayer and Bible reading together through lent. Now the hard bit is deciding which we will try. I am imagining we will combine a reflective habit like one of these with some intentional blessing of others.

Maybe joining in with the 40 acts challenge or by collecting food for the local foodbank, or similar project adding some items every day as we pray (we have a project our church supports that works alongside asylum seekers and refugees, and there are others too who would welcome donations or things or of time).

Lent is a time to focus together with God, to reflect on our own faith and trust in him, and his beyond words grace poured over us. A time to look at the world around us again but with eyes heightened and alert, and with hearts stirred by prayer and renewed sense of purpose. (And my prayer is that in the middle of our unpredictable and rather complicated family life there will be a thread of all those hopes running through our lives together in the run up to celebrating Easter, because God is in our midst)

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Blossom songs

Sometimes life just has to pause while we praise in the moment…

My littlest has this down to a T (yes I know!), always has- I on the other hand am a work in progress.

What’s your praise song been this week? I often hold a song during the week, or maybe the words of a song hold onto me. This week it’s been ‘What a beautiful name it is!’:

What a beautiful name, a wonder-full name, a powerful name! It has led me to praise in the mundane moments. It has stilled me at times when my head and my heart was full. It has enabled me to look ahead and trust when anxieties have come. It has coaxed me to pray. It has reminded me whose I am.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11 NIV)


Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name…(from ‘It is well’, Kristene DiMarco)

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just a phrase: exploring metaphor

‘It frightened the life out of them’

Don’t worry Mummy, it’s just a phrase that means it frightened them a LOT.

Just one of the many phrases we have encountered this week that just have to be learnt!

‘He was at a loose end’ – we came upon this one in a Paddington story. When I asked T what she thought it could mean she explained that he was balancing carefully on the scrumply, tatty end of an unrolled piece of paper. I love the image. Like someone getting to the end of the to-do-list and not sure where to put their foot next as it peters out beneath them.

‘Bob’s your Uncle’ – don’t you mean Rob Mummy, and he’s not till Aunty Em & Rob get married… (that made me smile, she’s quite right! And what a silly phrase ‘Bob’s your Uncle’ is!)

‘In the wars’ heard at school. ‘It’s when you bump into something about 3 times in the same day. You say it like that because when people were in the war they were hurt.’- T.

‘In a minute’ – ‘No, not in a minute Mummy, NOW! Your counting makes a minute really really long.’ – T. It’s a longstanding cause of annoyance this one, I try really hard to say ‘as soon as I can’ or something more accurate like that but, especially in the mornings when I’m still half asleep I still find myself saying ‘In a minute T’!!

I’ve got the eye of a tiger’ – from a song, and sung frequently in our house translating the line as ‘I’ve got a tiger in my eye’ – sounds painful! This one’s socially accepted meaning is yet to be learnt by T!

‘proud as a peacock’


We drove into town this afternoon, and on the way go passed a cattle market. Today there were sheep to look at as we waited in traffic. We had a long discussion about whether they were lambs (since Daddy commented on lamb chops!). As we got moving again the worship song we were listening to talked about the Lamb on the throne… ‘even the song is talking about lambs Mummy’ – T. ‘Oh yes, but it’s not chatting about lambs like that, it’s talking about one person who was described like a lamb’, me, ‘You mean Jesus?’, T. ‘People wrote about Jesus being like the Passover lamb..’, Andrew. ‘Ooh I love the Passover meal, when is it Daddy?’… and the conversation moved on!


Given more time, (and if the interest is there of course) this is such a rich theme in the Bible. So many layers of meaning that come together when we hear  Jesus described this way. Of course yes the Passover Lamb – he is our promise of rescue and mercy. His blood (his life given) marks and covers us in the same protective way as the lamb’s blood covered the door ways on the night of the final plague. The houses of the faithful were passed over as the plague came, killing the firstborn.

The sacrificial lamb. Within the sacrificial system, given to God’s people, animal sacrifices were made as peace offerings, guilt offerings, for atonement, forgiveness of sins, as a sign and renewal of covenant with God. Animals chosen had to be pure and perfect, their blood sprinkled on the altar to make a way for God’s people to come near to God having been purified and made holy, acceptable, right to be in God’s presence. The book of Hebrews reminds us that these sacrifices had to  keep on being made to keep a right relationship with God. But Jesus’ sacrifice when he died to bring us to God, to make us holy, forgiven, pure, is the ultimate sacrifice, the once for all, no need to be repeated sacrifice, he is THE perfect, spotless lamb. We are forgiven, our guilt is taken away, we can be at peace with God.

It is also interesting that throughout the Bible we are described as sheep, the people of God in need of a shepherd. And here is Jesus being described as the perfect lamb. One of us, fully human just like us but perfectly human as we were always intended to be! He stands in our place, offering back to God what we can never manage to bring in all our brokeness and imperfections. He takes us into God’s presence.

‘Mind blowing’- (dictionary definitions) astounding, staggering, you would expect it to be the results of a hallucinogenic drug, too much for the brain to handle or process, affecting the emotions intensely.