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Advent – Day #11

December 9, 2015

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Advent PREPARE – Day #11

December 9, 2015

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Advent PREPARE – Day#10

December 8, 2015

Advent Preparations – Day #9 – Mercy Awaits

December 7, 2015

So today was a day spent at home, doing laundry, getting caught up on a few tasks here, and painting. The weather was gorgeous today. It was the perfect opportunity to send the little girls out to play while I watched from the kitchen table. I had my little painting project set up and I was content, big kids were schooling, baby was sleeping, and the girls were happy to play on the swings and the trampoline out back. It’s winter(ish) so there’s no bugs which makes leaving the doors and windows open even more appealing. I love high 60 degree weather!

At any rate, my little painting project is one that is sort of long-standing. I’ve been creating (along with the big kids) saint peg dolls. They are all over Pinterest and Etsy and I’ve had my eye on them for several years. I’ll blog more about this when they are finished, but today, I was working on the final dolls for this year of Mercy along with the kids’ patron saints.

Tomorrow, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, begins this year of Mercy. No doubt, God has a lot of work to do in all our hearts as the graces are showered upon our family, country, and world. I think the timing couldn’t be any more perfect. So as I layer paint upon these wooden shapes and these saintly images begin to become more distinguished, I’m praying our hearts would be more open to receive the depth of graces the Lord has to give us this year. I’m pondering how I will be challenge, how I will have to die to self just a little more, in what ways I’ll have to eat humble pie (my Achilles’s Heel for sure), and yet the glory that awaits on the other side of these moments of growth.

I’m also praying that the right meditation material cross my path in this journey and lead me to greater contemplation! Please pass along anything you find particularly poignant. I’m happy to make time for it in my day! A college friend passed this one along today; It’s Time for Mercy Sisters. I’m anxious to continue reading it just before turning out the light tonight. I, especially, want to take a look at the text contained in the links at the bottom of her post.

Blessings to you and your family! May mercy be upon you!

Happy feast tomorrow! Mother Mary, pray for us!

Advent Prepare – Day #8 – St. Nicholas

December 6, 2015

Oh happy day. Today is the second Sunday of Advent and the calendar tell us it is the feast of St. Nicholas.

Celebrating this feast is a tradition Nate & I adopted for our family separate from how we grew up. When I was teaching KG it was a tradition we were asked to encourage in the classroom.  Where does this tradition originate? Check out the St. Nicholas Center for all things St. Nick.

This is a special little mid-Advent celebration. We try to make the gift moments special by not rushing it and taking time to spend it together. This year, Katie changed into her new “Southern Darlin'” shirt and promptly started making french toast for breakfast. Oh my. It’s something we never make, but boy was it good this morning.

We then watched one of our favorite little Christmastime cartoons, Nicholas the Boy Who Became Santa.  It is such a great little way to introduce the origin of this great gift-giving tradition, outside of the Magi bringing Jesus gifts. We will celebrate that feast in January as a time to give gifts to one another…homemade gifts. It’s probably my most favorite celebration of the year, and has become cherished by the oldest kids also. I think Clare will partake this year for the first time. She’s finally at the age where she enjoys creating and could come up with a few great things to gift. She’ll love it!

The premise of Nicholas’s life was that he saw the beauty in giving gifts, giving of himself, giving whatever he had to bless another person. We will give of ourselves in a beautiful way during our Epiphany celebrations. Here, we’ve already begun thinking about what we will create for one another. Nate and I are cheating a bit, and combining efforts this year for a more elaborate “gift”. I can’t wait to share those celebrations with you. However, today, was the beginning of that gifting spirit.

To all our Nicholas friends, happy feast!! To everyone else, happy preparations on this second Sunday of Advent. May your preparations toward Christmas be richly blessed throughout this week.

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Advent Hope – Day #6 – The Wild Goose

December 5, 2015

So I didn’t get this post written last night. It was a full day yesterday and I was admittedly quite tired when I crawled into bed last night.

However, today, I’m sharing my morning meditation.

The Wild Goose is a video series given by a dear priest we knew in college. My memories of Father Dave are so rich. He was there to form Nate & I during our college years and I’ve read several of his published things since. Not only does he make me smile…gosh we had a great time in our 20s with him, but he truly has a spirit of God. Father always had a smile and a listening ear. I remember so many times when we spoke just in passing, always available even if just for a few minutes.

I love how human relationships can touch your heart and soul in ways that just aren’t easily explained. To see Father Dave on this video, to hear his words of love, to remember standing next to him so many years ago as he spoke both in person and from the pulpit, to remember we were just kids (before marriage and before parenthood), and to know that God’s love in and of itself and, as an extension, Father Dave’s preaching and vocation is still the same.

I am so very thankful for the richness of our Catholic faith. I’m eternally grateful for my own experiences of the Holy Spirit, awakened while studying and living at Franciscan University. The gifts of the Holy Spirit were sealed upon me at my confirmation, but not understood until my time at school. There were so many profound moments of love and growth of the soul as I delved deeply into prayer and lived surrounded by holy friends and adult formators while living at Franciscan University. My list of people who have shaped who I am today, my understanding of God, my experience of Divine love are numerous. My time at Franciscan was more than just a college degree, growing up away from home, or forming lifelong friendships. It was truly a time of experiencing Christ. It’s those moments, those places I lived while in college that I revisit when I want to center myself again. I’ll maybe blog about college another time, but I wanted to leave you with my meditation material for today.

Thank you Father Dave for bringing Christ to me again. There’s a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart. God’s love is alive!

Come Holy Spirit. Enlighten the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

God’s Love Poured Out

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Advent Hope – Day #5 – Where are you?

December 3, 2015

We have been using a little devotional reading at our meals this Advent. The Greatest Gift is more Protestant than I’m normally accustomed to reading, but we are going to stick with it for now. Thankfully, Nate and I live under the expectation that we simply infuse greater Catholic depth when it seems to be relevant. There is no exception here.

I chose this book on a whim as it included Jesse Tree ornaments and appeared in a homeschooling thread. I’m happy to see the kids begging to be the one to color the day’s Jesse picture. We read the bible passage when we say Grace Before Meals and our saint litany. The first person finished eating reads the Advent meditation to everyone else at the table. Knowing our evening was going to be rushed, we opted to read it at lunch today (and partially again at dinner).

The line in the meditation that struck me most was, “How would you answer if God asked, ‘Where are you?'”

I have to say my first response was, “Here. In the middle of the noise and activity of our big family life with young kids. You’ll find me in the middle of it.”

However, I am certain I’m not meant to read this bible passage quite so literally, right?

When I choose to DO my lists instead of being in prayer, or scurrying about instead of sitting in contemplation, or raising my voice instead of speaking charity, I’m no doubt running from something. My hiding from God is all the moments in my day when I am self-reliant, getting it all done. It is the activity void of holy connectivity. So…today I tried to listen more, sit longer, hold a bit more, connect more meaningfully in the everyday moments presented to me.

Today, it was relationships that were most on my mind. It was a consciousness to smile more, to use nonverbal communications to convey love. It was a setting down of things in front of me to be interrupted by a little voice.

I read many weeks ago the most fantastic meditation on motherhood. Admittedly, I’ve kept it open on my phone for many opportunities to reread it. It speaks to my soul in ways that bring me to my knees and often tears to my eyes also. For me, it is God’s voice directly spoken to my heart. It is the very desires I seek and yet so often miss in application.

Please take the time to read it. Read it as a mother of littles that needs the reminder. Read it as a dad looking upon the sensitivity of a feminine mother’s heart. Read it as a Grandparent who understands the reality in a different perspective. Read it as a child of God treasured by the Father in ways we can’t fully comprehend until we gaze upon his face. Oh the wonder of that moment; the Beatific vision. How magnificent! We shall long for nothing more in that moment.

Thank you Danielle Bean for your words of love. You are truly a gift and an instrument of God’s voice.

Check out this mini meditation:  A Mother’s Liturgy of the Hours

Today’s blessings included an abundance of childhood giggles and a house full of voices!

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