Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mom Squad Blog Giveaway - The Mass Box

"Preach it!" I actually said those words while watching the intro video on The mom-dad team who created The Mass Box recalled that they want to do crafts and activities with their kids that help them grow in their faith and prepare for Sunday, but by the time they search out the idea and get the materials together they are out of energy and patience. Yep. We are in the same boat, my friends!

So imagine my excitement that as I was hearing these words in the video, my boys were unloading their Mass Box and all the perfectly packaged craft materials and instructions (for all of Lent!) were there, ready and waiting!

Photo copyright 2016 Abby Brundage. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright 2016 Abby Brundage. All rights reserved.
Here's the gist according to The Mass Box team:

Introducing the Mass Box - a program for 3-7 year olds to help your family get ready for each and every Mass with craft supplies, kids missals, and coloring sheets delivered every month to your door!

We take the work out of getting ready for Mass so that your family can spend time together preparing instead of searching the internet for ideas and collecting craft materials. Everything is ready, and we've even made a YouTube show called Catholic Crafts with Clare to help prepare you and get children excited about the Mass and the crafts.

We are in a pilot in the Mass Box for Lent 2016. Trial kits are in the mail now! We begin full production - for every Sunday and Holy Day - at the end of Advent. Please pre-subscribe for your family to receive the Mass Box starting in Advent!

I'm part of this pilot program for The Mass Box and lucky you - you can be too! I have one to give away. The only requirements: 
1. You have to "like" The Mass Box on Facebook and post pics of your kids doing the activities.You're a guinea pig, after all. 
2. You have to come pick it up here at Spirit FM

Here's how to enter - just post in the comments what you are doing this Lent - are you giving something up? Adding extra prayer time to your day? I'd love to hear your ideas! I'll pick a winner at 6pm tonight and post an update on the blog with the winner's name. 

The first activity is Ash Wednesday and there's one for this coming Sunday, so you'll miss a couple of activities, but this particular box takes us all the way to Easter Sunday. My favorite parts so far -
The instructional video starring their daughter, Clare. I like that it takes the guess work out of the craft for us less-artsy folk. I also love that in the conversation between Clare and her dad, Clare isn't reading a script that makes her sound older than she is. He asks her a question and she says, I don't know! And dad gets to teach her. Hooray for honesty! Here are the results of our first go at The Mass Box!

*Update - I wish I had four to give away! Kathleen is the winner!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Chains of God's Embrace

Chains by Radoslaw Wyjadlowski (2007) via 
45 minutes. I can tell you when about 45 minutes have passed during Sunday mass because that's when my boys start fidgeting. And HOW CONVENIENT! That's right at the consecration. The time when I want more than anything, for the sake of my own spiritual growth and that of those around me, for them to just sit still already! I try pointing at the priest extending the Eucharist. I say, "Listen! The bells!" And as a last resort, I issue the ultimate threat: No post-mass donuts! Dun dun duuuun!

Last week the most curious thing happened. I was kneeling  while my two-year-old stood next to me on the kneeler. I had my arm wrapped around his waist, because sometimes actual  physical restraint is the best method of keeping him still (plus I like to channel my inner "Elasti-Girl" and use my stretchy arms). After he had remained still for a few minutes, I moved my arm and just placed it on his tiny little man hip. He grabbed my hand and pulled it back to it's original position, so he was once again held tight and enveloped by my grip. I got a kick out of it and waited a few moments and tried again. Once again, he move my hand back, showing that he preferred to be in the tighter grip with my arm completely around him.

We (you and me specifically, but also people in general) are so afraid of rules and restraint. Aren't we? We want to make our own decisions and not let any one (or any Church, really) tell us what to do. One of the most common arguments against religion is that it is "a set of rules". Why can't we see that these rules and restrictions are God's arms wrapped around us? I want my kids to sit still for the good of others and for their own benefit, so they see the miracle before them. So does God!

The amazing paradox in all of it is that when we embrace the "rules" we also come to embrace the embrace! God's arms don't feel like chains. They feel like a protective, caring hug. But that comes from knowing Him too. I doubt my little guy would have enjoyed being gripped by a stranger, but my arm was comfort to him.

Is there a teaching or position of the Church that you struggle with? As parents we have a unique perspective of why boundaries, rules and structure are important - necessary even, so why do we fight them? Is it fear? A lack of trust? Pride? How can we embrace the Church which wants to extend God's embrace to us?