preparing for lent, with a toddler

For a while now -- maybe a couple of years or so -- I've had an interest in celebrating the liturgical year, observing major feasts and festivals and liturgical traditions. I think it stems from my Lutheran upbringing steeped in liturgy. Before I was pregnant, I found myself browsing family blogs written by moms who are intentional about making church celebrations a part of their home life. Then I was pregnant, and then my marriage fell apart, and then I had a baby...and my interest in liturgy at home grew but my capacity to read shrank.

Now that I'm getting re-calibrated, I'm turning once again to liturgy, at church and at home. Really, liturgy is what drew me to the Episcopal church, and this rich church history of tradition and ritual is something I want to learn more of and teach my son.

Advent was kind of the beginning for me to dig back in, find the books, revisit the blogs, and get my head in the right place. Since then, I've been aware of what's going on in the liturgical year but I haven't done a whole lot of actual practice yet. And now, step one is right around the corner: Lent.

There's a real desire to carry Gabriel along with me and make these celebrations a part of his life from the beginning of his consciousness. He is not old enough to pick up on any of the significance of Lent, which leaves me a lot of room to get my feet wet and figure out how these celebrations might look for our little family. I'd like to involve him in ways that are age-appropriate, even though he isn't quite learning anything yet. It can still be a part of our collective memory -- the family memory. Celebrating the church calendar is something that we will say we do, that we've been doing since before the time he could remember anything.

Right now the primary resource is a book I found maybe a year and a half ago, called To Dance With God. I've read the book and it is rich with ideas, but it is so much more than a list of festivals and rituals. It's a resource for understanding the basics of theology, for finding ways to distill big concepts into things that can be grasped by people of all ages and experiences. I think maybe it's from a Catholic bent, but I could be wrong about that.

In addition, these are three of the blogs that I've found to be particularly helpful as I get my head around this whole church-at-home thing:

Like Mother, Like Daughter (this is actually one of my very favorite blogs of all time, hands down)
Watkins Every Flavor Beans (this one has a Montessori/Godly Play approach that I just love-love-love)
Carrots for Michaelmas (this one also has a homesteading/DIY sort of aspect, which of course I eat up)

At least two of these blogs are from Catholic families, though I haven't found that to get in the way of what I'm after. Episcopalians aren't necessarily too far from Catholics when it comes to liturgy, as best I can tell, though there is maybe not as strong of a push on the saint stuff.

If you're curious about celebrating the liturgical year, I'd recommend starting with any of the things I named above. I've found Pinterest to be another great resource, especially for digging up ideas for a specific feast or holiday (you can find my specific Pinterest board here). And there's also the good old internet search, beloved standby of mine (that's my referral link to Swagbucks, which I also love-love-love).


  1. Yea, Carrots for Michaelmas! Did you find her in other searches too or just what I sent? Like Mother, Like Daughter just won a Sheenazing award and Carrots was nominated. I let Haley (Carrots) know about Watkins that you found as well. You should link your post up to the Little HolyDays link-up from yesterday--it's not too late!

    1. Oh! If I'd thought of that, I would have done it!

  2. Hi Ashley! You're so sweet to link to Carrots. I saw on your goodreads that you're reading Bread and Wine. I picked it up for the first time this year and I'm loving it. I think it's the kick in the pants I need for Lent.

    Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas

    1. Thanks, Haley! I'm loving it, so far, though I haven't been able to "get it together" enough to read it every day.


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