Adding some intention to ordinary days

‘Tis the season for vacations! I’ve been on vacation – from blogging. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to get away this summer with your family, spending time building family stories. (You know; the sagas that start with: “Remember the time…”)

lots of air time at the state fair

You planned your vacation, right?

What about the other, oh-so-ordinary family-together-times?
  • Meals around the dinner table?
  • Trips to the grocery store, post office, and other mundane errands. (Maybe not with the whole family but at least with you and the kids?)
  • Chore time, reading time, or just hanging-out-together time.

All these seem pretty routine and ordinary. What about using them as a chance to build memories of a different sort?

Spiritual growth memories.

Can some intentionality be brought into play? (Let’s face it, raising kids takes a little bit of planning!) How about some of these ideas:

  • Perhaps at the dinner table you play a game that leads to discussion? (Try this one or some of these.)
  • Perhaps as a part of your next errand out you allow a certain happenstance (every dog seen or every blue car) to spark the announcement of a grateful. And let that lead into talking about how being thankful is good for your health! (Read here for other family-friendly ways to practice gratitude.)
  • Perhaps the next time you are chilling together you brainstorm a place in your home to remind you that God is near?

How are you using every day, even ordinary, non-vacation days, to intentionally work on building your family’s spiritual growth?

Photo credits:
A remember-when story in progress, by my niece, Sarah Clouse. Used with permission.

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Ordinary Time? Make it extraordinary!

Did you know that we are in Ordinary Time?

It may still be summer and nights may be feeling like fall, but according to the church calendar this is Ordinary Time. Admittedly, this time of year can feel ordinary — plain, average, lacking special distinction, rank, or status. The dog days of August?

In this case the “ordinary” in “Ordinary Time” comes from the word ordinal, meaning rank in a series. We can consider Ordinary Time as counted time. Have you ever noticed the “count up” happening on the worship bulletins, “ninth Sunday after Pentecost,” “tenth Sunday after Pentecost,” etc. Next Sunday ask your kids to notice what week we are on!

A chart showing the percentage of time for various sessions of the church year
Ordinary Time occurs from the day after Pentecost until the first Sunday in Advent. This year it lasts from June 13 to November 26, 2011. That’s a long time – it takes up the biggest chunk of the annual pie shown on the right. Incidentally, Pentecost is the smallest slice of the pie – it lasts only one day! (Pentecost, celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday, marks the day when the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ disciples.)

It would be easy to consider the days of Ordinary Time not as ordinal time but as, well — ordinary! Other occasions in the church calendar are marked by rich meaning: Christmas, Lent, and Easter — no question, something big is happening in those areas of the church calendar! But there’s nothing special happening in Ordinary Time.

Or is there?

Might I challenge you to change your perception of Ordinary Time by practicing one small, ah, ordinal thing?

Count the extraordinary in the everyday ordinary.

One child helps another wild flowers

Seek God in the ordinary events of life. Whether it is in the natural world around you or the wonder of people interacting, or something as simple as laughter. Notice the presence of God in the commonplace. Keeping an ordinal list can help you obverse the extraordinary ordinary that is happening all around you!

Where did my list-making start? Read more by clicking on this button…

Button to access the web site: A Holy Experience.

kids on a dock Two women share a laugh Puffy white clouds against a blue, blue sky

How will you note ordinary time as extraordinary?

Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Kids on a dock photo by anolobb who licensed this photo under: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic. Rest of photos, from my archives. View the chart I created here.