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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “The absolute best way to become the person God created you to be is to be in constant communion with Him. Through prayer we quiet the busyness of our mind and are able to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit, therefore allowing us a greater awareness of His will.

“Surrender is an act of letting go of your plans, your desires and ideas. It doesn’t mean those things are lost. It means those very dreams and desires become more than you ever hoped they could be when aligned with His will… ” — House of Joppa

+ “God is not more in love with a future, holier version of you. He loves you now, fully. He wants you to believe He loves you even in your brokenness and mess.” — Ashley Morgan Jackson

+ “I love me a good “give this up for Lent!” list but I always find myself defaulting to this advice from our former pastor: What do you keep taking to confession? Start there.” — Kathryn Whitaker

+ Our best advice as you prepare for Lent: make a plan for what you’re going to replace it with too.

+ “Repentance is never just a turning from sin. It’s also a turning towards Jesus.”Emily Stimpson-Chapman

+ “Lent should suggest to us these basic questions: Am I advancing in my faithfulness to Christ, in my desire for holiness, in a generous apostolate in my daily life, in my ordinary work among my colleagues? … What better way to begin than Lent? Let’s renew our faith, hope and love.” — St. Josemaria Escriva

+ “Recalling concretely how God blessed me and guided me in the past, even when I couldn’t feel Him, helps me trust He’s here now. It also reminds me that God does indeed know what He’s doing. He has a plan, and it’s good. If you’re struggling to find God in your present, try looking for Him in your past. Name the blessings He poured out during times of struggle—blessings you wouldn’t have without those struggles. Then give thanks. If you need to, write it all out. Stick the litany on your mirror or in your planner. Glance at it often. Meditate upon it. Pray it. As you do, the hidden God will emerge from the shadows, and reveal Himself to you. He is there. And if you cling to Him, He will guide you through this present darkness. And the next. And the next. Until the day comes when there is no darkness. Only light.” — Emily Stimpson-Chapman

+ Liturgical Decorating for Lent: The family is the domestic church and so I see decorating your home for Lent in a similar way to how our churches are prepared for Lent. Yes, there is certainly a focus on less — But colors, images, beautiful pieces of art — and sacramentals can also help enhance our focus on Jesus in the desert during Lent. You can decorate with purple, the penitential color of the Church. As some churches may remove the Holy Water in their fonts, you can too. The pieces you display around your house can be powerful reminders of the pillars of Lent. They can help you pray more, and re-direct your gaze and focus throughout the day. Here are a few Lenten pieces that I included in this week’s Collection. You can still sign up for it here.

+ Creating a Lenten Prayer Space

+ “Prayer is nothing else than union with God…” – St. John Vianney

+ “There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.” — St. Augustine

+ 7 great daily habits for Lent and the whole year // 5 temptations during Lent and the antidote

+ “My husband Jamie is the love of my life, but sometimes I don’t treat him with enough courtesy or interest. I have to remind myself: Don’t be nicer to a stranger on the street than I am to my own husband.”Gretchen Rubin

+ Some simple ways we can positively exemplify marital love to our children:
1. Praise your spouse. Speak of them well and often to your children.
2. Delight in their presence. “Welcome home!” “It’s good to see you! I’ve missed you! You’re my favorite!” 😀
3. Gratitude. For everything – especially the little things. Say. It. Out. Loud!!! We all love a little thanks!
4. Be affectionate. Your kids will pretend to hate it. It’s their job. Kiss anyway. 😘
5. Serve one another – meals, coffee, chores, whatever. But JOY is the key ingredient…. read the rest here, from Susan over at Sole Searching Mama

+ Faith-filled reminders in the kitchen

⭐ Here’s what’s featured in this week’s Catholic Wife, Catholic Life Collection.

I share these every Monday and they always include: two gluten-free recipes, a reflection & prayer based on Sunday’s Mass readings, and links to budget-friendly fashion & Catholic home decor. When I’m creating them, I always look up the upcoming feast days and find pieces to complement them so that you can have some examples of how to decorate for the different feasts & Liturgical seasons!

Those who sign up for the newsletter now also get:

+ a 25% off promo code to use with The Catholic Company! 
+ a 15% off promo code with House of Joppa
+ a 15% off promo code with The Little Rose Shop
+ a 15% off promo code off $40 purchases with Telos Art.
+ a 15% off promo code with The Little Catholic
+ a 15% off promo code with West Coast Catholic

+ a 15% off promo code with January Jane Shop
+ a 15% off promo code with Annunciation Designs.
+ A free download of this black & white Our Lady of Czestachowa image.

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You can sign up for the Collection here. When you sign up, you do still get access to past newsletters.