My new favorite way to pray

I don’t know how I didn’t think of this sooner. After all, I got the idea from one of my closest friends here in Charlotte and I see her (and her kitchen) regularly. 

You know how there are always people you promise to pray for… but how often do we really do so? How can we possibly remember every person who has asked for prayers? 

I had tried just having a family prayer journal, my goal was to look at it daily and, in it, list the various intentions from friends and family. But, let’s get real, I don’t sit down to do that every day. Perhaps some of you do… it’s not possible for me. I’m not a morning person. Getting up before I need to be up is a lost cause. 

I mentioned a friend that I got this idea from. She has a little white board propped up behind her sink where she lists specific people to pray for. How easy is that? How many times per day do we moms (and dads) stand at the sink? The problem for me was… I didn’t have nearly the counter space she has. And… I didn’t really want just a plain white board hanging above the sink. 

I created a picture frame dry erase board. I found an old picture frame. I printed a beautiful scenery painting of Calvary, ghosted it out a bit so it was just barely visible. And then I wrote on the glass of the frame with dry erase marker. Huzzah!

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(intentions are blurred to respect the privacy of my friends & family)

I have been praying for and keeping these intentions closer to my heart in the last week than I’ve possibly ever done so. I look at the names listed probably 20-50 times everyday! And I can offer up each bottle scrub, each pan cleaning, for those intentions. It doesn’t get any better than that. 

But then… I also wanted to remember specific people on specific days. And I wanted to keep up better with Saints’ feast days. Again, another idea stolen from another friend. Back when I was doing fertility testing, this other friend texts me one day randomly to say: “Hi! I hope you are well today. I had you on my prayer calendar to pray for so I know you had an doctor’s appointment of some kind but I don’t recall what…. but I am praying for you!” I was beyond touched! I had only mentioned this appointment in passing to her and, she remembered! What peace it brought me to know that someone was praying for me… I had been nervous about the tests! 

Now that I had my prayer intentions at the sink, It only made sense to put a prayer calendar up too.  I simply made a copy from my church calendar! So all the major feasts are there already… and I have space to write-in my own:

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(intentions are blurred to respect the privacy of my friends & family)

 

And, a top the calendar, is a weekly schedule to focus on certain other intentions each day:

Sunday – our family

Monday – our godson

Tuesday – all special intentions

Wednesday – all those trying to conceive or adopt

Thursday – all who are ill

Friday – all who have died

Saturday – all those who are pregnant

Now, I can not only focus on important intentions each time to go to the sink, but can remember specific events and people on certain days and more inclusively remember everyone who has asked for prayers. I still list specific people in our family prayer journal and look at that at least once per week (on Tuesdays!) so I can recall those specific intentions. 

Do you have an intention I can hold in prayer for you? Please email me: laurenrupar at gmail dot com!

My thoughts on this start of Lent

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I have to admit, I was really looking forward to Lent beginning. I have resolved to do some things this year that I pray will improve me: spiritually, emotionally, and physically. 

And then, at about 11:30 last night, I got a very painful headache. It’s much better now but is still slightly lingering since 15 hours ago. It’s annoying. And a little scary. And truthfully, has pushed my focus on Ash Wednesday mostly out of my mind. Which is part of why I resolved to sit here right now and right this post… so at least a little part of me can focus on it today. 

It doesn’t help that Henry is sick either.  😥 

We’re basically a mess over here. 

But… I stop and think about it and know: God meets us where we are.

My kid has a low fever and has been coughing for the last three days or so. I’ve been losing sleep listening to those coughs at night. 

My forehead is aching slightly for the last several hours and, as soon as I finish this post, I’ll be crawling into my own bed until little cries wake me up in about an hour and a half. Babies needing bottles and diaper changes. 

God is here. In this moment. He knows what I need. And, seriously, I have no idea how people get through these days (and worse) without knowing He’s got their back. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Father. Thank You, Spirit. 

I am thankful…. simply for the fact that there is a relationship to be had with this Almighty God. That He hears me. He knows me. He feels for the day I’m having. 

Maybe these words don’t really have much to do with Lent… but it’s where I am today. I am thankful. 

And, just to keep slightly more on topic, here’s what I’ve chosen to do this Lent. These are what a lot of people would likely label “not your typical Lenten promises,” but they are things I’ve contemplated and realized I need to improve myself, my relationship with God, and my relationship with my friends & family.

  1. showeringShower at least three times a week. Close friends of mine might be grossed out to know this is not usual for me. (Sorry!) I think part of it is my struggle with anxiety and depression but showering has simply NOT been a priority. Eat or shower? Eat. Shower or nap? Nap. And then, the last few weeks, I’ve discovered how much better I feel when I do shower (and blown dry my hair). I feel refreshed. I feel more confident. I feel more alive. So I’ll be doing that… regularly. 
  2. Eat within two hours of waking and continue to eat regularly through the day. I’m sure I’m not the only mom that this happens to, but there are days that 1 PM rolls around and I realize that the only thing I’ve put into my system is coffee. Not good. I know that spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I need food. I get caught up in feeding the babies, scrounging breakfast for Henry, putting clean dishes from last night away… and I forget myself. Not good. Need to focus on taking care of myself so I can take better care of others. 
  3. FN-FACEBOOKNo Facebook on my phone or iPad. And only checking Facebook on my computer once per day. Even removing the Facebook app from my phone didn’t work. I need to be stricter with myself. I waste too much time on Facebook (when, hey! I could be showering or eating!)

These are all big changes for me so, at least right now, I’m not resolving to give up anything else. Usually I give up sour cream or soda. This year, I’m going to resist adding more things to “give up” and work more on these self-improvements. 

So… here we go! I wish everyone a blessed and fruitful Lent. 

Lauren

Lesson: Regarding Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent

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I’ll be doing some brief daily activities with Henry about Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent!

Letter Focus: L for LENT

Number Focus: 14 for the Stations of the Cross

Shape Focus: Heart (crossover from the Feast of St. Valentine); we will also discuss God’s love for us

Religion Concept: Cross of Ashes


 

Activities:

At the age my son is at, I am resisting the urge to organize these activities by day or week… we might use these all in one week, they might take us through all of Lent! That’s okay. 

Craft: Cut & paste hearts. Talk about what the heart symbolizes: love, life (blood)

Activity: Create Stations of the Cross poster to follow along with during Lent. My plan is to review these a few times each week or at least on Fridays.

Coloring: Ash Wednesday coloring page

 


 

I’ll be posting more activities throughout Lent so stay tuned!

Spirits

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The spirits are lifted so easily on beautiful days like this… high near 70… sun shining… it’s warm enough again (finally) to wear short sleeve shirts. You can smell the joy and hope in the air. Let me bottle this so I can let it out and breathe it in when it’s skin-soaking cold in a few days or weeks (it’s too early in the season to expect this to last… not a complaint, just a fact). Close my eyes and remember this. And smile.

The spirit is willing
But the flesh is so weak

Our flesh thrives so much better in these beautiful days. But our souls learn how to thrive in all weathers. Dear Lord, help me get there.

Hidden

We mothers lead a hidden life.

I wonder if Mary ever sat at the table eating her midday meal alone. Jesus only wanted a few bites and then needed to race off to play with His toys. Joseph was off in his workshop building diligently to provide for his family. And Mary sat alone… with the tinkering sounds of Jesus’ toys and Joseph’s tools in the background.

And she held these things in her heart.

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Advent Christmas Eve: Christ’s Birth

Ornament: Jesus

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Bible Passage: Luke 2:6-20

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.

The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

Coloring Page >>


“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.”

– Luke 1:68-69

We are overjoyed: Jesus has been born!

We have waited patiently through the four Sundays of Advent and now our precious Jesus has arrived. We approach His cradle with joy and respect. How small and helpless He seems; yet He is our mighty and all-powerful God, given to us in the form of a tiny Baby.

What an amazing Gift! What need do we have for anything else? Our Jesus has come to save us because He loves us more than we will ever know.

Dear Infant Jesus,

You have come to me to save me from my sins because You love me so! I have a precious gift for You, Jesus: my heart.

Take my heart, dear Baby, and mold it to be like Yours: loving and kind and holy. Thank You for coming into the world and for loving me so perfectly.

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 25: Visitation

Ornament: Mary

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Bible Passage: Luke 1:39-56

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.


 

“Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me.”

– Malachi 3:1

Mary’s cousin Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist just a few months before Jesus was born. John was a very special child of God. The Old Testament tells us that before the Messiah comes a “messenger” will come before Him. John the Baptist is that messenger!

John told the people that the Messiah was coming. He did not even know that his own cousin, Jesus, was the Messiah, who would save us all from our sins.

John reminds us even now to prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming. We are preparing for His arrival at Christmas, but we must also prepare for when Jesus will come back to Earth a second time. When that day comes, we will all be judged for our sins and either go to Heaven or be sent to Hell.

Dear Jesus,

I eagerly await Your coming into my heart! I wish to join You in Heaven one day.

Help me to choose what is good and turn away from what is bad so that I can one day be with You forever.

Amen.

 

 


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 27: Journey to Bethlehem

Ornament: Manger

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Bible Passage: Luke 2:1-6

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.


“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

– Luke 1:46

Once again, we see the great importance of Mary in Jesus’ birth. Mary’s words to her cousin Elizabeth reflect how much Mary trusted in God. She says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” This shows how Mary knew that she, as a mere human, was nothing, but that God showed through her to others. We are all called to show God’s love through our words and actions.

Mary also said, “My spirit rejoices in God my savior.” She understands so well how wonderful it is that God had saved her from sin and death. Do we allow our spirit to rejoice knowing God has saved us?

Dear God,

You gave Mary to us as a wonderful example of how to love You fully and accept Your will in our lives.

My spirit rejoices in knowing that Jesus is my Savior! I am so blessed to be loved by so great a God!

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 26: Joseph

Ornament: Joseph

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Bible Passage: Matthew 1:18-25

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.

 


“Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!”

– Zephaniah 3:14

Christmas is almost here! How joyful and excited we are! Have we prepared ourselves fully to meet Jesus’ at the manger Christmas eve? He is coming to save you – have you prepared your heart as a birthday gift for Christ?

It is so easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. We can get overwhelmed with the lights on all the houses, the gifts piling up under the tree, the wonderful smells of Christmas cookies baking in the oven, but let us not forget the true reason we are celebrating: Jesus will be born soon, cold and shivering in a stable without even a crib in which to lay His divine head.

Let us continue to stay focused and prepare our hearts as a gift for Christ. After all, it is His birthday!

Dear Jesus,

I am so joyful that Your arrival is so near. Help me to stay focused on You Lord, during this season and always.

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 24: Annunciation

Ornament: Angel

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Bible Passage: Luke 1:26-38

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.

 


“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

– Luke 1:28

What does it mean to be “full of grace”? We say these words at the beginning of each ‘Hail Mary,’ but do we know what it really means?

God freed Mary from all sin so that she could be worthy of being His mother. This is why the Archangel Gabriel greeted her with the well known words: “Hail, full of grace!” He was describing exactly what she was: filled with God’s grace so completely that there was no room for sin!

Because Mary was sinless, she is a great example to all of us. She still had many troubles in her life. She suffered greatly to watch her only Son die on the Cross! Even though she felt pain and sorrow, she never lost her temper or said mean things or hurt anyone.

Dear Mother Mary,

Help me to be more like you. I want to be holy and to remove sin from my life.

Please ask your Son to give me grace to be a pure and good child of God.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

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About

Hi, I'm Lauren. Mommy to two, nanny to two, wife, teacher, homemaker, Catholic, artist, writer, friend, sister, daughter. Here you'll find everything from updates about our family, info and advice about parenting and homemaking, or pretty much anything else I feel like writing. Welcome!