Celebrating the Solemnity of Mary & a New Year

We fly to thy patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
Sub Tuum (3rd Century; Oldest Known Prayer to Mary)

A Happy & Blessed New Year to All!

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Life with boys…

It’s a belt threaded through a waffle, laying nonchalantly in the hallway.


I won’t bother to ask because I know they won’t tell.

The Joy of Christmas

Each year, Christmas preparations become even more enjoyable. Our oldest had a very short wish list again this year which helped to simplify our shopping and sets a nice example for the younger ones. Taking the focus off of presents is slowly being realized.  The Love brought by the Christ Child is palpable.  As our family develops a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Christmas, we’re all able to better focus on the truly important aspects of the season.

Since we’re not quite settled from the move, a lot of our traditions like the Jesse tree and reading a chapter each night from an Advent storybook were on hold.  But there’s  a nice feeling in knowing that along the way, we’ve actually developed family traditions that the boys have come to expect this time of year. We did, however, make pizzas on Christmas Eve, a decidedly new family tradition, and began the meal with our older tradition of Oplatki, which incorporates my husband’s Polish and Czech heritage.

In our cozy living quarters, we’ve spent much more time in physical proximity to one another.   That alone has made for a special Season.  Hopefully, the family unity that is developing will continue to grow each day.

more stockings for Grandma & Grandpa

apricot jam from our summer harvest–add a dozen farm fresh eggs in a Christmas basket for a country gift for friends and neighbors

beautiful view on the way to visit friends

highlight of a country drive

Twas the night before Christmas…

beautiful manger scene at our church

The Lord’s House at Christmas…the best place to be!

Fourth Sunday of Advent

 
 
O my Jesus! would that my heart were well prepared and smooth for Thee! Assist me!  O my Savior to do that which I cannot do by myself.  Make me a humble valley, fill me with Thy grace; turn my crooked and perverted will to Thy pleasure; change my rough and angry disposition, throw away in me whatever impedes Thy way, that Thou mayst come to me without hindrance. Thou alone possess and rule me forever.  Amen.  

on blogging

I love engaging in a good discussion.  Connecting through eye contact, body language, and the occasional interjections like  “Oh my!”, “Really?”, “Seriously?” and the like, all make for great conversation.  But I’m still trying to get my bearings with this whole blogging thing.  Blogging readily allows us to share thoughts and ideas,  to use writing as a creative outlet, and to record memories through journal posts and pictures.

Yet, there’s the other side too.  I feel a subtle pressure to post regular entries even though I may not have the time or the inspiration to say much.  But if I post too many entries, or if my entries are too long, I feel like I’m “talking” too much.  Blogging is one-way communication, and I’m not too keen on that part.  Like the pants that make my rear end look too big, I surely wouldn’t want this blog to  make my mouth look unusually large either.  Without the visual and verbal cues we get from communicating face-to-face, a blogger could potentially be boring a large audience of people and using up precious band-width space.

There can also be a fine line between reading a blog post and those Christmas letters that many are receiving this time of year. (Don’t get me wrong.  I actually like receiving Christmas letters, but it’s the ones bordering on boastful and/or cheesy that give all Christmas letters a bad name.)

Am I overthinking the whole thing?

In a nutshell, I just don’t want our family blog to be a dreaded Christmas letter-of-sorts clogging up the internet.

And now look…I’ve talked way too much and put everyone to sleep.

Yep, I certainly need some help with blogging.

Third Sunday of Advent

Advent Wreath with 3 candles lit.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

I have found it very important to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope.  When I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God, something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen for me.

To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life.  It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings.  It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life.  It is living with the conviction that God molds us in love, holds us in tenderness, and moves us away from the source of our fear.

O God, by the redemptive grace of Jesus, help us to give up our compulsions to control completely our future and to turn more of our lives over to you.

From “Living in Hope:  Advent Meditations from the Writings of Henri Nouwen”
 

Easing Into Country Life

We’re still sifting through the excess at our old house, trying to be very careful about what we bring into this much smaller home.  But we’ve got new license plates, farm chores, and choppy internet connection, so we’ve taken the first steps toward becoming country-folk.

farm fresh eggs

Our new home has 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms, a living room, eat-in kitchen, and a laundry room.  It’s cozy.  A glorified cabin.  And so far, we love it.  From a housekeeping perspective, it’s much easier to clean without getting overwhelmed.  From a family perpective, this self-imposed physical closeness has quite the potential for fostering greater family unity.

Of course there are home improvements (big and small) that I’d like to tackle down the road, but my desire to take these things on is tempered by the memory of the snowball effect that took place when we remodeled our last house.

view from our living room

There’s a peace that awaits us in simple living.  We’ve had a taste of it these last few days.  The art of keeping life simple will always be one of our struggles, but this move to the country has been a most wonderful help.