Now that hormones are causing less interference between me & the Spirit, I'm finding my best starts in the morning are courtesy of opening up the Bible.
I carried an adult Bible through to the lounge this morning, to sit quietly with my early-rising 5 year old (she slept until 6.30am this morning, which is a minor miracle in itself.) "I want a story," she asked. I'm doing New Testament study at the moment, so we had the first chapter of Mark. It has only a small reference to Jesus being in the wilderness, but also stuff about John the Baptist eating only wild honey locusts there. ("Was he HUMAN?!" Sophie asked.)
So we got talking about time in the wilderness, Lent, and what we know people are giving up. (I believe their Daddy is going to spend less time on social networking sites, something I try to do every day, and is tricky when you have a blog, especially one that has finally got comments up an running.) I explained it's not all about giving up - you can start doing something. We sponsor a girl in Guatemala from a family less well off materially than us; the kids have some understanding of the devastation in Haiti. We give them token pocket money for them to spend, save, and give to charity - during Lent I think we're going to direct this money to a pot for a cause or causes we feel is right. Coupled with some sort of project where we get the world map out and start talking more about the world and others in it. Because asking them to give up chocolate or sweeties isn't going to cut it for me; it's not going to increase their understanding of blessings, sacrifice and helping others like a 40-day focus on the developing world (and parts of our own country) will. The children are just beginning to get their heads around the fact that Jesus made the biggest sacrifice he could in order that the world's people would just love, help and be kind to one another. I figure that giving them examples of that is something that would benefit the whole family at this time.
PS - I might blog about my own personal project for Lent at a later date. Again, it's about putting in, not giving up. As I don't booze, I pretty much avoid chocolate, cakes and biscuits, and pregnancy doesn't call for much caffeine, those things are pretty much covered (although, coincidentally, I WILL be commencing my pregnancy exercise routine next week...)
PPS - No sooner had I started to mull Lent over in my mind than I came across Christian Aid's focus on counting our blessings & thinking of those less fortunate - seems perfect for our family!