26 December 2011

On the Second Day of Christmas

The past few days have been so enjoyable for me, and i am still enjoying!
  • Thursday: my husband and i kissed the kids good-bye, got in the car and headed down the road on a two-hour drive out to the town where my daughter & son-in-law manage a coffee shop and bed & breakfast; they had given us a night's stay as an anniversary gift!
  • Friday: our 23rd Anniversary!  We had a great breakfast prepared by our daughter, and spent the day with her perusing the shops.  Then we had lunch with our son-in-law, said our good-byes, and headed home.  I gave my husband 23 kisses & hugs (the chocolate variety; i gave him the others as well, but i didn't keep count!); i printed out "I love you" in 23 different languages, and i made a playlist with 23 songs from the year we married.  Then we watched "Big" with the kids, because it came out that year.
  • Christmas Eve: we set up the tree.  Our oldest daughter and our second daughter & husband came.  We went to church, where my husband and youngest son played guitar while my youngest daughter sang a song which my husband wrote.  We had a late supper of tortellini, spaghetti, and meatballs as well as assorted cookies for dessert.  We put up lights and decorated the tree.  I prepped the breakfast casserole and went to bed.
  • Christmas Morning:  it was so wonderful to come downstairs and see the lights!  I got up around 4 and had a wonderful prayer time by twinkle-light, then began peeling, chopping, mixing, and cooking our traditional Christmas brunch; this is my gift to my family.  The kids started getting up and saying, "Merry Christmas."  Everyone was awake by about 8, so stockings were opened (again); a few gifts and hugs were exchanged; i read the Christmas story from the Bible; my husband prayed, and we all dug into the food.  We had orange danish rolls, egg-cheese-chorizo casserole, cranberry-apple-pear crisp, potatoes with li'l smokies, assorted fresh fruits, crackers & hummus. Then my daughter and her husband left to have Christmas with his folks.
  • Christmas Afternoon:  my husband and two boys went to see a movie, while the four girls and i napped and had an impromptu jam session with guitar and voices.
  • Christmas Evening: we munched on leftovers and watched "Polar Express."  Then my oldest daughter went back to her apartment, taking my 17 year-old to spend the night with her.
  • Today: the shepherds have left, but the animals are still worshiping the baby Jesus in the manger, and the wise men have begun their journey, following the star.  We have enough leftovers to get us through the day.  My husband has the day off and is honouring some of the Christmas coupons he gave to the kids, spending some 1-on-1 time out with the 14 year-old this morning, the 12 year-old this afternoon, and the 15 year-old tonight.  I am sipping a gingerbread latte, listening to my Christmas CDs,  typing by twinkle-light, thoroughly enjoying this Christmas Season, which has only just begun!

Linking up here

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20 December 2011

A Daybook for the final week of Advent

This morning i am...
bare fruit trees silhouetted against the fainest tinges of colour in the eastern sky

"instrumental Christmas music" radio on Spotify

the slight lavender and citrus scent of the left-over wedding candles i am using in the Advent wreath this year

tea with milk & sugar and a toasted english muffin

This week i am...
decorating ~
Mary and Joseph are anticipating the arrival of the infant Christ
the angel choir are waiting in the wings
the shepherds will come out on Christmas Eve
the Wise Men will begin following the star Christmas night
the Advent wreath will move to the front door on Christmas morning
the tree will go up on the 23rd or 24th
we haven't yet put up an outside lights, and i don't know if we will; oh, well

giving ~
The Storehouse Food Pantry ~ take a box tomorrow
Pregnancy Aid ~ take a box tomorrow
trying to figure out what to give my wonderful husband for our anniversary

listening ~

A Christmas Carol  ~ aloud
St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas  ~ which i bought myself at Half Price Books!

a little get away for my husband & i to celebrate our 23rd anniversary
Christmas Eve & Day menus
ideas to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas and Epiphany (Three Kings)

pondering ~  

the O Antiphons & Magnificat with my prayer beads during my morning quiet time
for a peaceful week, focusing on The Greatest Gift Ever Given

05 December 2011

Advent Poetry

Today is Christina Rossetti's birthday.  I always want to read Rossetti in December, probably because she was born and died in December (the 29th).  She also wrote two of my favourite poems of the season, which were both set to music to become two beautiful hymns.

In the Bleak Midwinter:

Love Came Down at Christmas:

We also enjoy reading Christmas in the Stable.
This is a collection of poems, each written from the point of view of an animal or about the animals in the stable where the Christ Child lay asleep.

And this year I just may order this one for myself if one of my loved ones graces me with an Amazon gift card:  O Holy Night!: Masterworks of Christmas Poetry

04 December 2011

Humility at Advent

Today i sat in church, my non-denominational church, that doesn't do Advent, or sing Advent (or Christmas) songs, except at the Christmas Eve service, whose worship team i don't particularly enjoy, with a new-ish pastor whose preaching isn't particularly my style; i sat there grudgingly, thinking all of these things, and more.

we sang
I'm giving You my heart, all that is within
I lay it all down, for the sake of You my King

I'm giving You my dreams, laying down my rights
I'm giving up my pride, for the promise of new life

And I surrender all to You, all to You
And I surrender all to You, all to You 
(Surrender by Justin McRoberts)
she asked
Do we really mean it?
And He whispered
I want your heart.

Jesus humbled Himself to come to earth and live, work, walk, and die among us
Mary was humble
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her...
And Mary said:
      “ My soul magnifies the Lord,
       And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
       For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
      For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
~Luke 1:38, 46-48
Joseph, too
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
~Matthew 1:24-25
The King of kings was wrapped in humble cloth and laid in a humble manger
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
~Luke 2:6-7
My heart was the Bethlehem Inn, and there was no room for Him, because it was overcrowded with my convention on what His Advent should look like, sound like, feel like, be.  

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom i am the foremost.

~1 Timothy 1:15
Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus;
There is room in my heart for Thee!

linking up to

Keeping Advent ~ Week Two

Want to read about how other families are keeping Advent?
Visit the Nativity Carnival over at A Ten O'Clock Scholar. 

Sunday, 4 December:
2nd Sunday in Advent; light the candle of Peace
decorate our Saint Nicholas stockings
visit Main Street Bethlehem
special dessert: gingerbread

Monday, 5 December: 
hang our stockings 

Tuesday, 6 December:
celebrate Saint Nicholas Day
Gracious and good Lord, we bless you on this feast of St. Nicholas, your servant, who is an example to us of a life of charity and love. May we see in his life an invitation to imitate his good deeds. Make us always mindful of the needs of others and help us rejoice in the abundance of your goodness around us. Through Jesus our Lord.  ~Amen
have a special breakfast and open our stockings

Wednesday, 7 December:
choose gifts for Emmanuel & Benjamin (the boys we sponsor through a friend's ministry)

Thursday, 8 December:
read one of our Christmas books

Friday, 9 December:
bake cookies for the neighbours

Saturday, 10 December:
take a donation box to the food bank

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

click for my Advent playlist:

01 December 2011

December First

The end of November birthdays have been celebrated, and it is time to put away the autumn decor and fully embrace this season of Advent.

This arrived last night:
~an early anniversary gift from my wonderful husband.

So, here are my plans for today and through the weekend:

Thursday, 1 December:
set up the Advent calendar and box containing ornaments:
begin daily readings

Friday, 2 December:
make Christmas cards to send to troops:

Saturday, 3 December:
put up the lights 
watch It's A Wonderful Life (NBC)

Sunday, 4 December:
2nd Sunday in Advent; light the candle of Peace
decorate Saint Nicholas stockings
special dessert: gingerbread 

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

click for my Advent playlist: