Earth Day Means Caring for the People of the Earth, too

Today is Earth Day. Along with caring for earth's natural resources, we need to care for the people of the earth. We Catholic and Orthodox Christians just completed Lent. During this time, we give things up and sacrifice pleasures in imitation of Jesus's sufferings. Just because we're in the Easter feasting mode, doesn't mean we should forget Lenten virtues.

The Bible enjoins us to sacrificial giving year-round. Sacrificial giving isn't just giving of our excess. It's giving till it hurts to help someone else. Like Lenten fasting--it's giving up FOR someone else. We should feel the burn. That's how we know it's genuine. This is just a little example.

I gave up buying coffee shop coffee. Actually, I've cut down on all coffee. I love it, but the caffeine makes me jittery. Then I'm not very nice. Also, Starbucks (et al) is expensive. I save that money to give for hungry kids. I think I can do without a luxury, so children can have necessities.

At mass on Ash Wednesday, Father preached about how feeling temptation was integral to our Lenten journey. This year, that came home to me in a very personal way. I've noticed that I struggle more with temptation, sin, depression, even despair during Lent. I think that temptation, to drink coffee or indulge, is part of what makes giving sacrificial and meaningful. Read on.  How Temptation Makes for Better Lenten Fasting, Sacrifice 

Low Cost Candy Free Easter Basket Ideas for Little Girls

I'm the original minimalist mama. I've always done it natural, sustainable, frugal and recycled. On holidays, I made simple, DIY gifts. Here are candy-alternative Easter basket ideas I've used for our daughters. Quality. Instead of filling her Easter basket with cheap toys made by slave labor, choose items she can use and enjoy all year: bubbles (here's my Easter party article with a cheap, homemade bubbles recipe), sidewalk chalk, jump rope, playground ball, Chinese jump rope, lawn games, craft dough (see my article on recipes for homemade Play-Doh, Moon Sand, Silly Putty linked in this article.) Read onInexpensive Candy Alternative Easter Basket Ideas for Little Girls 

Holy Week, Easter activities for Families

Catholics, Orthodox, and other Christian traditions, follow the penitential season of Lent before Easter. Lent concludes with Palm Sunday which leads into Holy Week and culminates on Easter Sunday. This most sacred and somber week includes the Easter Triduum, with Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday or Easter Vigil. I converted to Catholicism 19 years ago and homeschooled our four children for 10 years. My children tell me that some of their favorite memories center on our Holy Week observances. For families looking for the full Palm Sunday-to-Easter experience, here are activities from my journey to guide you. These activities have merit for non-Catholics, as they help bring families closer together.  Holy Week, Easter activities for parents and children

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