04 December 2013

Advent ~ Some Perspective

On Monday I was stressed and discouraged; I wrote about it, but more importantly, I prayed about it.

I found some quiet moments, and I took a few deep breaths.  I picked my 19 year-old daughter from work at 10:30 Monday night, and when we got home, she spontaneously decided to bless me by cleaning the kitchen!  Waking up early Tuesday morning, I stopped looking for Advent devotionals, prayers, readings, etc., and I did the ones here and here.  I set up our wreath and candles.  Last night, I did some decluttering, and some more praying.  Again this morning, I lit a candle, prayed, tried to be still, tried to listen.  Then I put on my playlist, and I did some more decluttering.  Tonight, I cleaned the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers out of the fridge, and I am making a shopping list.

I have a better perspective.  Advent is a time of preparation after all, and it is a season.

I read a great post here and was encouraged:
" Where we are is just where we are. Thankfully, God knows where that is and is perfectly capable of finding us and meeting us there. Advent is a season of preparation...a whole season to get ready! It is nice to have some things in order beforehand, but scrambling around in a dither to make everything ready before Advent even starts isn't really good for anyone.
I am starting where I am, taking one baby-step at a time, preparing my home and my heart, and focusing on the Light.


02 December 2013

Advent ~ True Confessions

I bought Advent candles.

That's it.

My house is a wreck.

Seriously.

No. Seriously!

I have spent wasted the better part of the past week on the computer: looking, bookmarking, typing, sprucing, decorating.

On the computer.

The first day of Advent came

and went.

That's it.

I make excuses: "Not everybody's here; I haven't found the wreath prayers that i really want; my husband and kids don't even care about Advent; I can't get anybody's help; excuses; excuses; excuses!"  The truth is that I would rather plan than do; I would rather be lazy than work; I would rather withdraw and avoid than embrace the much-less-than-idyllic reality of my life.

But isn't that the reason He came?  Isn't that the reason for Advent ~ the reason for the season?  Wasn't everything about His coming oh-so-much-less-than-idyllic: Roman occupation, unwed mother, a stable, shepherds, fallen humanity . . .

. . . me?

Yes, He came for me.

 I need Advent ~ not my house, and more than my kids ~ I need Advent ~ deep in my soul ~ I need Advent ~ not just something that looks like Advent or sounds like Advent, but His coming.

" Into my heart, into my heart,
Come into my heart, LORD Jesus.
Come in today; come in to stay.
Come into my heart, LORD Jesus. "



30 November 2013

St. Andrew's Novena


I fell in love with this novena during Advent last year:

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 30

16 years ago we welcomed a bouncing baby boy into our family
~ after four girls!  
  I always wanted a boy with blonde curls and big blue eyes;
he was that and oh so much more. 
 When he was a toddler he would sit in my lap, reach his arms up and around backwards, and choke the life out of hug me.
 I love his smile and his generosity and his exuberance.
 He does things every single day to make me proud.
He is growing up to be such an amazing young man!

Thank You, God, for Joshua! 


29 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 29

Today, I am thankful for my five lovely, talented, creative, intelligent daughters!
I was leery of mothering daughters, because my relationship with my own mother had been rough at times.  Well, it hasn't always been easy, and I have made a lot of mistakes.  But, it has also been wonderful, and they are wonderful.  So, thank You, Lord, for stretching me and blessing me oh so abundantly!

Day after Thanksgiving Daybook

Outside my window...
it is cold and frosty ~ a rarity here in Central Texas.

I am thinking...
about Advent.

I am thankful...
for a wonderful day spent with all of my children yesterday.

In the kitchen...
are dirty dishes and leftovers ~ signs of abundance.

I am wearing...
longhorn tee, orange pajama pants, a brown cardigan, and socks.

I am creating...
space for Advent: in my home, my life, and my heart.

I am going...
for a morning walk with my 17 year-old daughter; otherwise, today is definitely a stay-at-home day for me. 

I am wondering...
why anyone would ever want to participate in the day-after-thanksgiving-shopping-craziness!  I am not judging; i just really do not understand it.

I am reading... 
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home in very small pieces in the evenings.
An Irish Country Christmas on my nook.
Little Town on the Prairie and One Thousand and One Arabian Nights with my kids.

I am hoping...
to get the house tidied up and ready for Advent.

I am looking forward to...
my older son's birthday!

I am learning...
to be grateful.  (At least, i am trying to.)

A favorite quote for today...
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” 
~Melody Beattie

One of my favorite things...
pumpkin!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • Saturday: Joshua's 16th birthday
  • Sunday: 1st Sunday of Advent
  • Friday: Saint Nicholas Day

A peek into my day...
I want to enjoy my husband being home, eat leftovers, and watch The Bells of Saint Mary's later today on the movie channel.

28 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 28

I have so very much to be grateful for today ~ and every day, but my Aunt Nita is at the top of the list, and today is her birthday! She is my Mama's best friend. I am named for her, and if i am half as amazing as she is when i grow up, i will be content. Thank You, God, for putting her in my life.


27 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 27

Thank You, God, for my husband!
He is so good to me.  He is generous, affectionate, kind, and funny.  He is a terrific daddy, and he takes such good care of all of us.  He wakes me up and takes me to bed when i fall asleep on the couch.  He does his own laundry.  And, my oh my, is her ever-so-good-looking!

26 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 26

I am so thankful for kids who help, for my son who cleaned out the fridge for me as a surprise while my daughter was helping me with the grocery shopping!

25 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 25

Heavenly Father, thank You for my life!
It truly do have life in abundance, and i don't thank You for it often enough; as a matter of fact, i complain far too often.  I am sorry for that; please forgive me for taking your blessings for granted.  Thank You for everything that has happened in my past, both the good and the bad.  Thank You for working all things together for my good.  Thank You for loving me and saving me.

24 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 24

Dear God, thank You so much for my son, Luke!
 He amazes me on a daily basis, and it is such a blessing to be his mama.
 I love spending time with him.
I love his hugs; and listening to him play guitar; and watching him play football.
 He brings joy to everyone around him.
Please bless him today on his birthday and in the coming year.
May he grow in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

23 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 23

O LORD, 
thank You for Your Word and Your Church 
and Your saving grace and mercy!

22 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 22

Thank You, God for the internet.
Thank You for the lovely women i have "met" in cyberspace.
Thank You for the things i have learned and the ways in which i have been encouraged and blessed.

Advent Plans with Bigger Kids

I am joining the Living Liturgy Advent Link-up!

My youngest is now 11.  I have 2 that have moved out and 2 adult children living at home, who are busy with work and classes.  My teens are just busy.  Plus, our Monday enrichment classes and my tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays will continue throughout the first 3 weeks of Advent.  This is certainly a work in progress.
  
Sunday Nights with the family:
  • Joseph & Mary begin their journey.
  • Wreath and Candles
  • Scripture and Prayer
  • Special Dessert
    • 1st: Wreath Cake
    • 8th, 15th, & 22nd: to be decided; I may just make a different flavor wreath cake each week 
Tues, Wed, & Thursday Morning Time with 11 & 14 year-old:
  • Jesse Tree  ~ I participated in Michelle's Ornament Swap.  (Since we will only be doing it three days a week, we will probably not do every one.)
  • Poetry, Art, Music, & lots of other books we have
Fridays with 11, 14, & 16 year-old:
  • Morning Time Messiah ~ I love Cindy's idea, but I think we will go at a slower pace, doing it only on Fridays and continuing it beyond Advent and Christmas, possibly even throughout Lent and Easter.
  • Teatime and Project
    • (6th) Saint Nicholas ~ stockings; orange rolls; candy canes; hot chocolate
    • (13th) Saint Lucy ~ danish woven paper heart baskets; gingerbread; coffee
    • (20th) O Antiphons ~ to be decided (I like Tonia's link here.) Perhaps I could make doughnuts, since they are Os!
Saturdays with whoever wants to participate:
  • Family Outing/Activity
    • (7th) Walk Through Bethlehem at a local church
    • (14th) to be decided; I would like to find somewhere we can do volunteer work as a family 
    • (21st) Solstice ~ (John 1) put up lights; make wassail; build a fire; make s'mores
23rd is our 25th Wedding Anniversary:  We usually decorate the tree.
24th Christmas Eve:  Joseph & Mary arrive at the stable; Shepherd's Pie for supper; Midnight Mass

to see all of my Advent posts, click the banner:

21 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 21

A Thanksgiving
by John Kendrick Bangs

For summer rains, and winter's sun,
For autumn breezes crisp and sweet;
For labors doing, to be done,
      And labors all complete;
For April, May, and lovely June,
For bud, and bird, and berried vine;
For joys of morning, night, and noon,
      My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!


For loving friends on every side;
For children full of joyous glee;
For all the blessed Heavens wide,
      And for the sounding sea;
For mountains, valleys, forests deep;
For maple, oak, and lofty pine;
For rivers on their seaward sweep,
      My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!


For light and air, for sun and shade,
For merry laughter and for cheer;
For music and the glad parade
      Of blessings through the year;
For all the fruitful earth's increase,
For home and life, and love divine,
For hope, and faith, and perfect peace,
      My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

20 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 20

Thank You, Lord, for the privilege to homeschool!
I just love homeschooling, and I am so grateful to be able to do it.  We have always homeschooled, and my oldest is 23.  God willing, we will continue until my youngest, who is 11, is finished.  I learn a great deal from teaching my children at home, and I truly love their company.  I can't imagine not homeschooling.

19 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 19

Thank You, God, for my Mama! 

She and i had a rocky road for a while ~ Daddy always said we were too much alike ~ but as adults, wives, and mothers, we were close friends. A friend's father once said of her that she was the smartest woman he ever met. She was her high school valedictorian, went to SMU on a scholarship, and later earned her master's degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She was a teacher through and through from a family deep and wide with teachers and professors. She just loved children, especially rambunctious preschoolers. She was my biggest homeschool supporter. She survived hard times and tragic losses throughout her life:  Her father left when she was seven, and her mother died when she was 17.  She lost two precious children and almost died herself in a terrible automobile accident two years before i was born.  She buried her "knight in shining armor" 11 years ago.  She has alzheimer's .  But she accepted it all with faith and grace, and it made her stronger. I didn't always understand her strength, but i respect and admire it now. I love you, Mama; Happy Birthday!

18 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 18

Dear Lord,

You have given me so much, exceedingly, abundantly above all that i could think or ask.  You have blessed me in ways that i am not even aware of.  I am healthy and safe.  I have a loving husband and seven amazing children.  I have a home and friends and a supportive church family.  My husband has a job, which he enjoys, working with people he likes, and he has found favour in the eyes of his bosses.  There is a roof over our heads, food for our table, gas in the tank, and the bills are paid.  Most importantly, i am loved by the Creator of the universe!

16 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 16

Some of the most important people in my life were born in November, beginning with my Daddy.

He was born on November 16, 1926 in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas.  He was the epitome of his generation, The Greatest Generation.  He lived his life and walked out his faith with quiet dignity.  He was hardworking and humble. He had an understated sense of humour and a talent for drawing.  He enjoyed music and history.  He cheered the Cowboys during the Landry years, the Seahawks during the Largent years, the Mariners during his retirement years, and the Longhorns always.  He wanted to be a pilot, but because of poor eyesight had to "settle" for being an engineer, which he did for 40 years.  He was intelligent, generous, and kind.  He loved my mama, and hated it when she and I didn't get along.  She called him her "knight in shining armor;" i called him my "daddy doodles," because he always drew little cartoons when he signed my birthday cards and the letters he wrote to me when i was away in college.  I wish i still had some of those letters.  He was the finest example of a Godly husband and father that i have ever known.  I am so blessed to have been Daddy's Girl for 39 years, and i am thankful that we will be together again someday!

15 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 15

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, - a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.

~George Herbert

14 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 14

Today I am thankful that I didn't get the job that I applied for at the library; God has a better plan.

13 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 13

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

12 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 12

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, 
they are the charming gardeners 
who make our souls blossom. 
~ Marcel Proust 

  • Our friend and master mechanic, Ron
  • Our friendly neighbours, Milton and Antoinette
  • My friends, who have given me employment, JoAnn and Cheryl
  • My friends, who encourage me, Julie and Stephanie
  • My way-back-when friend, Juli, who found me on the book of faces, and picked up right where we left off year ago
  • My adult daughters, who have become my friends

Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives 
and remembering what one receives. 
~ Alexander Dumas

11 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 11

 It's the soldier, not the reporter
who gives us Freedom of the Press.

It's the soldier, not the poet
who gives us Freedom of Speech.

It's the soldier, not the campus organizer
who has given us the Freedom to Demonstrate.

It's the soldier, not the lawyer
who has given us the Right to a Fair Trial.

Its the soldier who salutes the flag, 
serves under the flag, 
and whose coffin is draped by the flag
who protects the protestor's right to burn the flag.


~ Father Dennis Edward O'Brien
USMC


Thank You, God, for those who have served and sacrificed.
Thank You for the freedoms I enjoy and they safeguard.

09 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 9

Heavenly Father,
I thank you for this day;
for the fun we had with family and friends;
for the cool fall weather;
for the good food;
for the laughter and the cheers.

08 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 8

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

  • Thank You, God, for the stunning sunrise this morning.
  • Thank You for caring for me and my family.
  • Thank You for providing for us, even when we don't know how.
  • Thank You for my car.
  • Thank You for my friend who gave me such a good deal on my car more than 5 years ago.
  • Thank You for not letting my car break down on Wednesday or Thursday when I really needed it.
  • Thank You for not letting my car break down far from home or on a busy highway or at 11 o'clock at night.
  • Thank You for getting us safely off the road within walking distance from home.
  • Thank You for my husband's good news at work this afternoon.
  • Thank You for doing exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.

07 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 7

A General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost,
be all honor and glory, world without end.

Amen.

~from the Book of Common Prayer 

06 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 6

Psalm 136

Amplified Bible

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; 
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods, 
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords, 
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever—
 26 O give thanks to the God of heaven, 
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!

05 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 5

The Football Edition
  • This year I am thankful for the opportunity of watching both of my boys play football. (As well as watching my daughter cheer for the second year.)
  • I am thankful for the job I had this summer, where I was able to earn enough to help pay for both of my sons to play football.
  • I am also thankful that I got to work side by side with my 15 year-old son every day at that summer job.
  • I am thankful that our entire family was able to spend a weekend in October at the beach because of football and the summer job.
  • I am thankful for the Christian men who freely give their time to coach my sons, and for their Godly example on and off the field.
  • I am thankful for the boys that my boys are forming friendships with on and off the field.
  • I am thankful for the other football mamas that I am getting to know.
  • I am thankful for the whole family atmosphere that revolves around football practice, games, road trips, etc.
  • I am thankful that for the next two weekends: the football games are local.
  • I am very thankful that neither of my sons have been injured.
  • I am thankful that football is almost over!


03 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 3

  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, 
and comes down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
~James 1:17
 

02 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 2

Psalm 138

Of David.


 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.

 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
 and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.

 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

01 November 2013

30 Days of Giving Thanks ~ Day 1

Luke 17:11-19

English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Father, help me to be thankful like the one leper.  I know that You have abundantly blessed my life! 

 

30 October 2013

Autumn Morning Time

I am loving Cindy's 31 Days to Morning Time series!

Our own MT has suffered over the last few years, since I had to start working, becoming minimal as well as sporadic.  Now that I am home again we are finding our way back to a more regular rhythm.  We have managed 2 or 3 Morning Times a week; although they sometimes don't happen until afternoon!  Our Autumn Term began the day after Labor Day and runs through the Friday before Thanksgiving.

    Another inspiration from Cindy:  
    When we are finished I say the priestly blessing (Numbers 6:24-26) and then "The Lord be with you" and my children answer, "and also with you."

07 September 2013

this autumn i will...



Wordle: autumn list

~doesn't that sound so much lovelier than bucket list?

06 September 2013

Six Word Friday ~ still

predawn ritual: candlelight, scripture, prayer.  i
want:   to listen   to be still.
soften my heart;  make me teachable.

The New/Old/New Normal

It has been a very hectic summer...year...five years. 

I have felt as if I was in limbo; I don't handle that feeling well.  Meanwhile, life did go on, and I survived. 

But now. . . life is changing, and I am excited about those changes. 
My husband is once again working in an office after working from home for the past several years, and I am a full-time-stay-at-home-mama again after working part-time (full-time this past summer) for the past several years.  We loved having my husband at home, but there was a definite downside to it as well.  And I hated leaving home to go to work, although I was very grateful for the job(s).

I still need to supplement our income, but God has graciously provided a way for me to do that; I am homeschooling a friend's children two days a week right along with my own and getting paid to do so!

We began last week, and so far all is well :D

15 March 2013

A Playlist for Lent

I am quite a bit late posting this, but here is what I have been listening to when I am at home.

08 February 2013

What I Will Be Reading During Lent

I am so excited!  The Cloistered Heart arrived today!

I discovered The Cloistered Heart Blog when the author, Nancy Shuman, left a very kind comment on my blog last summer, and her writing there has truly been a blessing to me.  Almost immediately, I placed her book on my wishlist and was finally able to order it this week, just in time for Lent.

Is anybody else reading anything special during Lent?

07 January 2013

Thirteen

There is just something about the beginning of a new calendar year; isn't there?  It seems natural to take a fresh look at things; rework schedules and routines; make changes.  I don't want to look all the way to the end of this year, but I have come up with a list of 13 things that I would like to accomplish during the first 13 weeks of 2013 (ending the day before Easter, so I am already 1 week in.):
  1. pray through the Psalms
  2. memorize Psalm 119:1-48 ~ I have been wanting to memorize Psalm 119 for several years; this year I am committing to it ~ 4 verses a week!
  3. lose 20 pounds
  4. choose, begin, and complete 1 sewing project ~ I was given a sewing machine for Christmas!
  5. finish the cross stitch that my daughter gave me for Christmas
  6. get rid of 13 boxes/bags of clutter
  7. have 6 dates with my husband
  8. have 1 day of solitude
  9. write 13 notes/letters
  10. read 3 books
  11. do 3 craft projects with my 10yo daughter
  12. put 5% of each paycheck into savings
  13. learn about the Daily Examen and begin to practice it

04 January 2013

New

The words are not new, but
in this new year may i
be guided by them each day.
faith, hope, love abide, these three;
~ the greatest of these is love.

linking up with Adrienne for:
Click on the button to read more.