A Place of Preparation – The Kitchen

Stand in the center of your kitchen. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths. As you open your eyes, take stock of your kitchen space.

Our kitchens are centers of our homes. This is where we come to prepare the food which will nourish our bodies. It is also where we store our food as it awaits preparation. We store quite a bit in our kitchens when you open your cabinets and really look. There’s food, yes. But there’s also pots and pans, mixers and cutting tools, utensils of wide variety, hot pads and storage containers. Then there’s the appliances. Would you be able to name all the appliances in your kitchen, blindfolded?

I love my kitchen. I am a person who loves to cook and bake. The act of feeding my family is one of the biggest ways I show my love for them in a concrete way. I enjoy the way my children’s eyes sparkle when they walk into a fresh tray of muffins or brownies. I love when they run to tell their siblings what’s for dinner because they are so excited they can’t help but share the good news. I love their curious faces as the peek around the corner and ask, “What’s that I smell?”

Before I can cook any of these delicious treats or hearty meals, a solid grocery store run has to happen. I am also a list person. I absolutely have to have a grocery list running at all times or I would never get everything (and let’s face it, as a mom of 6 kids, as I walk in the door from the store I’m writing something down for the next trip). I am vigilant to keep certain things stocked so that I’m ready to shift dinner when plans change or to make an extra batch of cookies for a friend.

What is the “kitchen” of a spiritual life you may ask? If the kitchen is where store and prepare food, then I envision the kitchen of my spiritual home to be where I keep my daily spiritual tools. These are things like daily prayer, monthly confession, the reflections on the Hallow app (more on that at the end of this post), spiritual reading, etc. These are the habits and practices that keep me on the path God is laying out for me. Just as we all have morning and evening routines as we wake up and go to sleep, there are spiritual routines we can choose to maintain. They are part of our daily sustenance for our daily work.

As we look at our physical kitchens this week, here’s a list of ideas for ways to give your kitchen extra time and attention, to make it a place you want to spend time and energy creating nutritious and delicious food. Let me know in the comments what areas of your kitchen you spent extra time on. I’m thinking my refrigerator and freezer will be much brighter and more organized by the end of the week.

  • Wipe down cabinet interiors and exteriors
  • Clean baseboards, especially those under the cabinets
  • Sweep and mop in the same day
  • Empty refrigerator drawers and clean interiors
  • Empty freezer, clean where needed and check expiration dates before organizing
  • Check pantry for expiration dates
  • Add 5 items to your grocery list to donate to a food pantry
  • Assess your appliances – how often do you use each one, is it still a necessary part of your kitchen
  • Completely clean off countertops, clean and organize. Put away anything that does not belong
  • Clean any windows and doors
  • Clean oven door interior
  • Clean oven overall
  • Run a cleaning cycle on your dishwasher
  • Clean coffee maker/tea kettle

As we look more closely at our spiritual kitchen, take some time to write down what you keep stored there. Do you have a rosary you haven’t used in a while? Did you ever finish that spiritual book you were gifted at Christmas or your birthday? Have you signed up for an Adoration slot like Father has been requesting at Mass for weeks now?

What practices are you keeping up with? Do you read Scripture daily, say an Our Father before bed, pray a rosary on the way to work? It is important to recognize the things you are already doing. During this week, pay attention to how you feel about your established practices. Are you content, settled? Do you think you could do more, want to try something new? Lent is an excellent time to dust off old practices or let new ones inspire us to deeper prayer. Just like we go into our kitchen every day to prepare food for our daily living, we ought to be spending time in prayer, feeding our soul with connection to God’s presence in our life.

If you are looking for something new to add to your spiritual kitchen, I cannot speak highly enough of the Hallow app. I use this app for a variety of reflections, including a daily Gospel reflection by Jeff Cavins. I also listen to both Fr. Mike Schmidt and Bishop Barron’s Sunday homilies there. If you are familiar with the Litany of Trust, it’s there. The Bible in a Year? There. The Rosary? Yep. A gorgeous chanted Rosary in 5 languages? Yes. Kids’ specific content? Brand new and so well done. And so much more! There is a free version and a premium version (premium is $60 a year). I am part of a community called Hallow Heralds, people who love this app and wish to share it with as many people as possible. If you are interested in trying it out, the following link will gift you 3 months of premium access completely free. I do not receive a kick back or anything, it’s a gift from the Hallow community to you. I would love to hear if you know about Hallow, if it’s something you find a helpful tool in your spiritual kitchen.

Next week, we will spend our time in our Dining Room/Main Eating Area.

May God bless you

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

A Place for Welcome – The Front Door

Let’s kick off Ash Wednesday with a step outside. Since this is a short week to begin Lent, it seems appropriate that we begin at the beginning and the first things first. Every home has a main entrance through which you enter your home. Some homes function with two entrances. There’s one for the family coming home from grocery shopping and day to day activities. Then there’s the official “front door” where you greet guests, pick up packages and decorate with holiday wreaths. Depending on your home set up, consider this reflection for the main or “official” front door of your home.

We want our home to be an inviting space and first impressions matter. We all have driven through a neighborhood and unfairly judged the homes based on their curb appeal. “Did you see the color of that door? Oh my, there’s a couch on the porch. Why do you think they chose that statue? When have they last trimmed their bushes?”

I am not saying you need to go and higher a landscape firm to overhaul your flower beds or contract a painting company to redo your front door. There are a few simple things you can do this week to help your entrance be an inviting place.

  • Clean any windows on your doors or near the entrance, inside and out
  • Wash the door
  • Shake out door mats and launder if possible
  • Sweep steps
  • Depending on your weather and season, begin preparing flower beds.
  • Ensure proper holiday decor is up and presentable, if applicable

What about our spiritual entrance? How do we welcome Jesus into our spiritual homes? In order for Jesus to come into our lives, we have to invite Him. We need to participate in the life of the Church through prayer and the sacraments. Most importantly, we need to attend Mass to receive Jesus in the Word and in the Eucharist and we need to go to Confession. Each week at Mass, Jesus offers Himself to us in the Eucharist. In His generous love He found a way to remain with us here on earth even after His ascension. When we receive Jesus’ Body and Blood (I know, Covid), we ask Jesus to come transform us into His own Body. We change, if we unite ourselves with Him.

We know that we don’t always live up to our call to holiness. We fall, we falter, we turn away. We let this world get the best of us. We need healing and strength to continue on our journey. While we will talk more about the Sacrament of Confession at a later point during Lent, it doesn’t hurt to begin planning to go from Day 1. The Church asks that all Catholics go to Confession at least once a year, though we are encouraged to go more frequently. Receiving the Sacrament of Confession is like throwing open the doors of your spiritual home and welcoming Jesus to come inside.

These first few days of Lent, reflect on the following words from Pope Francis’ Lenten message from last year. How do they inspire you to pray, fast and give alms for this upcoming season?

Lent is a time for believing, for welcoming God into our lives and allowing him to “make his dwelling” among us (cf. Jn 14:23). Fasting involves being freed from all that weighs us down – like consumerism or an excess of information, whether true or false – in order to open the doors of our hearts to the One who comes to us, poor in all things, yet “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14): the Son of God our Saviour.

Love is a gift that gives meaning to our lives. It enables us to view those in need as members of our own family, as friends, brothers or sisters. A small amount, if given with love, never ends, but becomes a source of life and happiness. Such was the case with the jar of meal and jug of oil of the widow of Zarephath, who offered a cake of bread to the prophet Elijah (cf. 1 Kings17:7-16); it was also the case with the loaves blessed, broken and given by Jesus to the disciples to distribute to the crowd (cf. Mk 6:30-44). Such is the case too with our almsgiving, whether small or large, when offered with joy and simplicity.

https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/lent/documents/papa-francesco_20201111_messaggio-quaresima2021.html
Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

A New Idea for Lent 2022

Lent is fast approaching even though it is starting so late this year! It has been quite a while since Ash Wednesday hasn’t been in February. For anyone else who is suddenly realizing that February is practically over, Ash Wednesday is on March 2, less than a week away.

The past few years I have written full length Lenten reflection journals. The Lenten journals primarily focus on praying with the ancient practice of Lectio Divina. This year, in full transparency, I was stuck. I didn’t know what to write, I didn’t feel inspired and I was struggling with what God was asking me to say, or not say. Around and around I went until Ben pulled me aside and asked what on earth was the matter with me. It took a while to find the words to express my frustration and desires. It was so good to talk to him about the problem and together, I think we found a good solution.

There is no journal this year. I am sorry for anyone who was looking forward to a new journal. The old ones are still available, still free and, hopefully, still relevant to your Lenten journey if you wish to use them. There is a new page at the top of the home page where all the Lenten journals can be found just like the Advent ones.

This isn’t to say that there won’t be some new and exciting Lenten content coming your way. While a whole new journal was overwhelming, a dedicated weekly newsletter felt much more doable and as Ben and I talked, a theme settled in my heart and I found so much peace. This is where God wanted me to focus this year.

Starting on Ash Wednesday, and then each Sunday of Lent following, there will be a post here asking you to consider one room or space in your home. How is it functioning? What purpose does it serve? What spring cleaning needs to happen here to make it a flourishing space that works in your family? Next, we will translate that physical space into a spiritual one. I help you to consider your spiritual “home” – the make up of your soul and its relationship with God. How does this aspect of your “spiritual home” work? What spring cleaning is needed? How can you spend some intentional time in this space of your spiritual life as we journey through Lent?

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to sign up to receive an email each time I post new content. This way, you won’t miss any of these Lenten updates!


As many of you know, Ben is in the Air Force. We are thankful that he is presently home with us as the world continues to respond to the actions of Russia in Ukraine. As the situation continues to unfold, I would be grateful for your prayers for our military members and their families. Pray for their leaders, and their leaders leaders. Let us join Pope Francis’ prayer for peace:

“And now, I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus taught us that the diabolical evil of violence is answered with the weapons of God, with prayer and fasting,”

“I invite everyone to make next March 2, Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting for peace. I encourage believers in a special way to devote themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”

Pope Francis, General Audience, Feb. 23, 2022
Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com