#HolyLens, Lent

#HolyLens, Lent 2015

Well, I changed my mind.

I’m allowed to do that, right?

I realized that I was going to miss seeing the #HolyLens posts on Instagram and sharing about our days and bearing witness to the little holy moments in each other’s lives. I remembered that taking tiny snapshots of those moments isn’t a burden- it’s a spiritual discipline. These photos (for me) are more than just photos. They are signposts of God’s grace in my life. I think I need them.

So, just in case that’s true for anyone else, I’m putting up some prompts for Lent.

Here are the prompts for this week. (They will be posted on Sundays for the week ahead.)

I hope you’ll join me. I know there are lots of other photo-a-day projects out there. The important thing isn’t to do this one. The important thing is to remind ourselves that God is always working, even in the most ordinary, mundane moments. This project helps me to do that. If it helps you, too, then please post your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #HolyLens. Let’s keep each other company as we look for the places God is present with us…even if we happen to find him sometimes between the forks and the spoons in the drawer or between the mismatched socks in the hamper.

Have a blessed Lent.

Previous weeks’ prompts:


On Silence. And Lent.

Sometimes, it seems like there isn’t quite enough of something.

I tug at the edges or let out the seams as much as I can, trying to make the pants cover the tops of her socks when there aren’t any other clean pants and we’re late for story time. I look through my yarn stash over and over, trying to find something to use to finish the sleeves on a tiny sweater when the blue yarn I need has been discontinued.  I twist and squish and fold and press the tube of toothpaste to coax out the last tiny bit onto three small toothbrushes, all of them moving targets in the hands of their owners, and I don’t have time to go to the store.

And when there isn’t enough time to write, I scribble my thoughts around the margins of my church bulletin and never get around to opening my computer.

I know this space has been very quiet lately.

I’ve been busy, of course, but I’m almost always busy…there are fourteen activities to fill every waking minute, it seems. The more free time I have, the more ways I find to fill it. Somehow, in the middle of doing school and post-Christmas resettlement and getting my family all healthy again from illness, it’s suddenly Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday? How did that happen?

I’m not at all ready for this. I don’t have Lent “planned.” I don’t have any lists or ideas of what we’re going to do this year to mark this holy time between now and Easter. I haven’t written photo prompts for #HolyLens, or gospel reflections, or blog posts about meatless meals to help inspire me (and maybe you, too). I haven’t changed the wreath on my door or prepared the candles for our table or thought about how we’ll do our family prayers.

I’ve done nothing to prepare.

I’ve been quiet. Reading, writing a little, knitting. Hanging out with my family. Sweeping the floor more often than I used to. Doing the laundry, and doing it again. Reflecting on my life and the gift of those people with whom I share it daily.

With Lent upon me, things feel different this year. I don’t have any activity checklists or new Lenten playlists or collections of helpful links or innovative recipes for cooking meatless meals. I’m feeling an irresistible pull to come inside and shut the door…an urge to look inward and sit quietly with what I find.

I don’t feel called to lead Lent this year. I feel called to pray. To be still. To sit and read and wonder and soak up what’s around me. To gather up what I have, even though it feels small, and offer it to God. I’m going to take my loaves and fishes, and instead of attempting to arrange them artfully on a plate and posting them on Instagram, I’m just going to bring them to Jesus and wait for him to tell me what to do next.

I don’t have any big proclamations to make. I’m not giving up blogging for Lent, but I don’t know how much I’ll write here. Maybe a little. Maybe more than that. Maybe not at all. I’m not swearing off social media, but I probably will take long breaks from it. I’m just looking for Jesus so I can practice walking with him, or sitting with him, or generally being wherever he is going to be, for the next 40 days.

And I’ll be praying for you.

If you have a special intention or prayer request for which I can pray, would you please let me know? I’d be honored to spend the next few weeks holding your concerns and needs. Please feel free to leave me a comment here, send me a message on Facebook or e-mail me.

Thanks for being my friends and for being patient with me. At the end of my life, I doubt anyone will say that I was an excellent blogger- I don’t follow any of the rules, ever. Even so, I’m grateful for every one of you who reads my thoughts here and shares this journey with me.

If you are still looking for ideas of what to do for Lent, try Auntie Leila’s post at Like Mother, Like Daughter. She’s so good at that kind of thing. If you’re feeling short on time and wondering how you can keep Lent as a busy parent, try this lovely, insightful post by Jenna at Call Her Happy or these practical suggestions from Sarah at Two Os Plus More. And if you want some reassurance that (like every year), this Lenten journey is going to be exactly how it is supposed to be, try this post from Laura at Mothering Spirit. I’m taking comfort from Kathryn’s words about Lent this year at Team Whitaker and Molly’s invitation to walk with Christ these 40 days and let our time with him unfold gradually as we go.

Finally, I’m trying to remember that sometimes, all we are called to do is to hold open a space for God. Even a small one is enough for him to use.

I’ll be around. A blessed Lent to you all.

Lent, meatless meals, recipe

Final Week of the Lenten Meal Plan Linkup: Easy Salmon Burgers with Wasabi Mayo

Well, we did it. This is the last week of Lent. Come Sunday, we can eat meat every single day for the rest of the year.

(Just kidding. It’s a good idea to eat less meat, you know.)

The final edition of our meatless meal linkup at Beth Anne’s Best and Two O’s Plus More is waiting to help you figure out what to eat for your last Lenten meal of the year on Good Friday. Be sure to check the Meatless Meals Pinterest board, too, for the master collection of all the ideas that have been shared this season.

My recipe today is a simple one. It’s adapted from my mom’s crabcake recipe and uses pretty standard pantry ingredients (with the possible exception of wasabi paste). If you don’t do a lot of Asian cooking, you might not have this on hand, but it is pretty readily found in the Asian food section of most grocery stores. (If we have it in my corner of rural Virginia, I bet you can find it, too.)

This recipe serves 4 adults (but works for my family of 2 adults and 3 small kids).

What you’ll need:

For the salmon patties-

  • 1 egg
  • 1 can of salmon, drained, bones and skin discarded
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger (can use fresh grated ginger if you can’t find the minced kind)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • oil for frying (I like sesame oil for this.)

For the wasabi mayonnaise-

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp wasabi paste…more if you like it spicy!

What you’ll do:

  • Whisk the egg lightly in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add salmon, bread crumbs, 1 Tbsp mayonnaise, soy sauce, minced garlic, minced ginger and green onions. Stir together until combined.
  • Form into patties. (You can dust the outsides of the patties with additional bread crumbs, if you’d like.)
  • Brush a large skillet with cooking oil to coat. Fry patties until one side is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip with spatula and fry on the other side until done, about 4-5 more minutes.
  • Add 2 Tbsp wasabi paste to 1/2 cup mayonnaise in a small bowl, using a fork to combine. Add more wasabi as needed to strengthen the flavor.

We serve our salmon burgers on whole-wheat buns with the wasabi mayo as a spread and other toppings (like spinach or grated carrots) as desired. Our kids like them with ketchup instead of the wasabi mayo. You can also serve without the buns and use the mayo as a dipping sauce on the side. They’re also really, really good with sweet potato fries.

Enjoy- and thanks for sharing your meatless recipes with us this Lent as part of our linkup.


#HolyLens, Lent

#HolyLens: Prompts for Holy Week

It’s finally here…Holy Week. The last week of our journey together this Lent. I’ve grown from seeing the world through your eyes (and your images) in the past six weeks. I hope you’ve found this project a helpful way to focus on some of the holy beauty that is present every day in our ordinary lives.

This week, our prompts run from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Please share these prompts in your circles and encourage people to join us, even if they haven’t participated before now. Holy Week is a wonderful time to practice seeing the sacred in our everyday lives as we prepare for Easter.

Here are the prompts:

Keep sharing your wonderful photos on Instagram and other social media, but also feel free to link up your favorite photos here in the linkup below. You can share any photos from this Lent as well as the photos you take this week leading up to Easter.

Thank you for your participation and support of this project. I’m grateful for each of you who have spent time with us this Lent and hope you feel it was meaningful.

Have a blessed Holy Week.


#HolyLens, feasts and seasons, Lent

#HolyLens, Week Six Prompts

Greetings, intrepid Lenten photographers!

Here are the prompts for #HolyLens, Week Six. (To find the prompts for previous weeks, go here.)

There’s only one week left after this one- we’ll have special prompts up starting Palm Sunday for Holy Week. If you’ve fallen behind, it’s okay to just pick up and keep going from here. If you’re just joining us, welcome…we’re happy to have you along.

Feel free to share these prompts and the Holy Week ones next week- it’s never too late to join in.

feasts and seasons, Lent, meatless meals

Lenten Meal Plan Linkup, Week #6: Curried Chickpeas

Usually by this point in Lent, I’m in a beans-and-rice rut and running out of inspiration. This year, I feel like the possibilities are limitless, partly thanks to Beth Anne and her recipe-sharing linkup. This week’s edition of the linkup for meatless meal ideas at Beth Anne’s Best and Two O’s Plus More is ready and waiting to receive your favorite meatless meal recipes. Stuck for ideas? Now is a perfect time to go check out what others have shared on the linkup and on the Meatless Meals Pinterest board

My contribution this week comes from the collection of 5 ingredients or less recipes at Stone Soup. Although not all the recipes are meatless, Jules offers great suggestions for cooking quickly and simply using what you have on hand.

Although at first I thought this was a strange combination of ingredients, I tried it one evening when we were in a hurry to get dinner on the table. It has become one of our go-to quick dinners. We almost always have canned chickpeas at our house- all of our children really like them, and they are so versatile. I put them on salads, in soups, and in curries and stews. Plus, everyone here likes hard-boiled eggs.

This recipe is so quick and easy that I can even prepare it at lunchtime (which is usually the most chaotic part of my day). It has the added bonus of being full of protein. After eating this meal, I always feel full. If you feel you need to add something else to it, you can put in canned salmon or tuna with the chickpeas, but I’ve never felt the need to do that.

What you’ll need:

  • 6-8 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped coarse
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or about 2 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bunch parsley, just the leaves, chopped (I cut mine with kitchen shears)

What you’ll do:

  • Boil the eggs using your favorite method. Jules has lots of information here about her method for boiling eggs. George swears by this method. I usually just put the eggs in a pot, cover them with cold water and put them on to boil when I’m starting to cook this recipe. I set them timer for 10 minutes- the eggs start boiling at some point, the timer goes off at some point and I take the pot off the heat. When I’m ready, I run the eggs under cool water and set them aside until it’s time to peel them.

(Do you have a favorite egg-boiling method? Is this something people get passionate about? I’m curious.)

  • Saute the garlic and onion until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder. Stir in the two cans of drained chickpeas and cook until warmed through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in chopped parsley. 

  • Peel and slice the eggs and top each serving of chickpeas with 1-2 eggs. This should serve about 4 people (it feeds 2 adults and 3 children at our house with extra for second helpings). To make it stretch further or to add more veggies, you can serve it over a bed of raw spinach like a salad. 

For more variations on this recipe and for lots of other great ideas using 5 ingredients or less, visit Stone Soup. Also, be sure to check out the Meatless Meals linkup and Pinterest board this week to see what everyone else is eating this Lent.

#HolyLens, Lent

#HolyLens Week 5 Prompts

Greetings, Intrepid Lenten Photographers!

I hope you are enjoying the prompts so far and are having fun finding the sacred in the mundane with your cameras. It’s hard to believe we’re already on week five…but here are the prompts. This list begins on Wednesday of this week:

Don’t forget to share the prompts…it’s not too late to join in the project.

Blessings on your week!