Thinking About Advent

Katie told me this morning that there are 60 days until Christmas. I haven't stopped to verify that (and it's taken me days to write this), but I'm going to go with it. I'm really, really excited about Advent this year. Kristin has been here this week and we're updating the Comfort and Joy  Advent bundle from last year. All the dates reflect this year, of course, and she's made some new printables and screensavers, including a daily sheet to keep your thoughts and plans in place.

For this year's purchasers, in addition to the Comfort & Joy Facebook group, we plan to check in with you live once a week on Facebook, via video. Yes! Facebook Live every  week to chat with one another and support and share--sounds fun, right? 

There are two distinct Advent products this year and I want to be sure that you understand what each one is. Today, we're focusing on Comfort and Joy . But, just to briefly answer questions about the Blessed is She Advent journal, here's a quick delineation.

In the Morning by the Manger is very different, but complimentary to Comfort and Joy .  I wrote the Blessed is She Advent journal, so those are my words, too. As it goes, this isn't really a case of either/or, but of "both." The Blessed is She journal is a Bible study. There is an abundance of scripture, an essay every day related to the scripture for you to think about, a prayer, and a journaling prompt. It's designed for your morning quiet time or a small group Bible study. I'm so happy with it and I loved writing it. It's all-new writing, written entirely last summer. I'm so excited about this new book, I made a video for you.

But back to the Advent bundle of ideas and encouragement:

" Comfort and Joy is a book of family celebrations of the liturgical year. It's about the active part of living this season in the community of a family. It's definitely geared towards mothers (though some single women have enjoyed it). And it's a compilation of essays and memories written over the last thirty years. The devotional part of it is a very short quote and prayer and an action item. " Comfort and Joy offers traditions and recipes and many, many "been there, done that" essays of encouragement. It also features a podcast, a Facebook group, a planning journal to print, and Facebook Live meetings. It's a bargain (only $11 again this year) because it's all digital.

The Blessed is She journal is art. It's printed and gorgeous. Really, click and see how gorgeous it is. Or watch the video. It's a quiet, personal gift to yourself. It's the contemplative moments of Advent that fuel the rest. It's a lay flat book that you hold in your hand and interact with in quiet moments every day. We're working on a trailer for that one to show you more. I'm going to do everything I can in the next few weeks to make sure people understand the differences. Next week, we're all about the Blessed is She journal and showing you how amazing it is. 

This week, it's " Comfort and Joy:


I've gathered all my Advent memories, detailed the unfolding of three decades of traditions, organized the gift lists, curated the recipes. I've passed the best of the best of my family's Advent and Christmas into the gifted hands of my first son's wife.

She made them into a beautiful book.

I hope you'll take it into your home, highlight it, cook with it, and let it bless you. Inside, you will find a short morning devotion for every day from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve--just a quick one page Think-Pray-Act. Then, there is an essay for further pondering, something I hope will inspire you. Sometimes, you'll find something to do with your hands or cook in your kitchen. Sometimes, I remind you to slow down and snuggle a small person. There's encouragement here, and acknowledgement that this season isn't all bon-bons and twinkle lights.

I even made a 45 minute podcast, so I can offer some tips on pouring grace for yourself. You can listen while you scrub bathrooms or bake cookies or drive to rehearsal. 

There is tangible support.

Please invite us into your celebration.

And all of it, the bundle--Ebook, printable Joy Journal, and podcast--is available to you for only $11. With your purchase, you can elect to be added to a closed Facebook group for further community as you prepare this season. It's for sale here.

I hope you'll walk with us to Christmas!

Here's what some people are saying about the book:

"So. I've been reading the daily advent quotes, prayers and reflections in the Ebook bundle that [Elizabeth] and [Kristin] put together this year and I've felt such a sense of calm and peace over the last few days. Nothing has changed except my attitude and perspective, but isn't that usually the most important stuff to change? That strangest part is that each day I've done one small thing to prepare for His coming rather than try to "GET IT ALL DONE RIGHT NOW" the way my results-oriented self usually wants to do it. Yesterday, we baked salt dough ornaments and I brought up our main nativity. Today, I got some extra greenery while we were out and beautified the mantel (I am love with how it looks! Simple but elegant.) The kids painted their ornaments. I'm moving from one required  task to the next, but trying to leave room in my mind and heart to say "yes" to the little extras that I normally think I don't have the time or energy to do. "Lord, give me the grace to be the mom and wife I can't be on my own." Anyway! This is too long! You can get the Ebook yourself...I do recommend it. "

--Dwija, House Unseen

Elizabeth Foss is a good friend of mine and has mentored me over the years in mothering and intentional traditions. As a mama of nine, she has much wisdom, experience, humility and perspective to share. She has put together a beautiful Advent ebook this year that I spent hours last night reading and pondering. Written from a Catholic perspective, her gentle voice will reorient your heart towards the Infant Jesus through teaching you to pray, to trust, to wait and also very practical suggestions for celebrations, feast days, recipes and crafts. I have read and looked at many Advent resources over the years, and this is the first one that really seems to understand the strain that mothers are under during this season and encourages and guides and gives lots and lots of grace. It's on sale for ...the price of fast food combo meal these days. This will be slow food for your soul. Well worth it. --Aimee Kollmansberger

My friend Elizabeth has written an e-book - mom to mom- just in time for Advent! I hope you will check it out😊. In this book, aptly named " Comfort and Joy", she shares the best of the best of her family's pre- Christmas traditions, spanning nearly 30 years. This amazing mother of nine, now a loving mother-in-law and grandma, offers gift lists, recipes, her thoughts and prayers. Elizabeth has a gift of inspiring other moms. If you're looking for something special for a fellow mother, this might be it. --Theresa Thomas

 I started reading this early because I couldn't wait until tonight. I just want to say, thank you Elizabeth and to your family for creating such a beautiful book! I'm in awe! It's more than I expected and I'm ever so grateful that you have shared your heart and soul in the pages. God bless you! -- Cheryl Kirkpatrick

Just purchased and took my first look at the Advent journal. It looks beautiful! I was starting to work on my own calendar so this saves me some time. Thank you for this labor of love! --Shauna Occhipinti