I find myself:
::noticing God's glory
It's gray outside. Just warm enough to defy snow, endlessly gray. I think I much prefer snow.
nothing. Silence is a much appreciated gift this morning.
::clothing myself in
Boyfriend jeans. Eddie Bauer. Pretty much my entire bottom-half wardrobe consists of these jeans. Oh, look! They're on sale.
::talking with my children about these books
Those advent books begin our days. Every day a "new" book or two; it never gets old. I've added Kersti and St. Nicholas to our collection. Katie has been reading it aloud to me while I sew. We've been listening to a Dickens Christmas Collection.
::thinking and thinking
about priorities. Every day is a dance, isn't it? Each day presents its challenges and its choices and we make them. To live intentionally is to make them thoughtfully. Someone recently said to me that she didn't know how I do all that I do. In the same breath, she pointed out that my house wasn't perfect when she came to visit. Well, there you go! I was living in my house that day, moving from one meaningful project to another, allowing my children to do the same. The house wasn't dirty, but it was prioritized. I knew that we'd get to the "messes" later. I had a plan and the plan was for those projects to happen on that day (mostly because the curtain would go up on them that night;-).
Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it's a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.
~Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
::carefully cultivating rhythm
I'm applying the prioritizing strategy above to each day, sometimes to each hour, in an effort to stay in rhythm and not to lose my step. Or my peace. I've lived Advent in a large family long enough to know that it will all fall into place. As long as I am diligent and purposeful, everything that matters will happen, even if it does sometimes seem to be a crazy mess.
::creating by hand
I really, really need to get clicking on that second (and third) Boyfriend Scarf . My hands are very stiff and achy--no doubt protesting the gluten that has crept into my diet. I'm nearly finished with teacher's gifts. And I have my eye on this fabric for after Christmas and before New Year's. I'd like to make headbands for Karoline's class and maybe a ballet bag or two. Do you have a favorite (not too terribly complicated) bag pattern?
::learning lessons in
humility. My boy suffered some big disappoinments last week. And I had some of my own. When he tells me how he feels, I can honestly say, "I totally understand." There's a blessing there. I'm grateful for it.
::encouraging learning in
A little Christmas botany. There's a Christmas tree farm very close to my house. We have an artificial tree because Patrick cannot breathe in a house with a real tree and we value breathing. But one of these balmy days this week, we're going to go (without him) and learn a little about evergreens. We've had great success teaching basic botany with books like Pine Trees and Golden Field Guides. We can identify and draw various evergreens. And then, there are of course, the storybooks:
Please come join our community of prayer.
For my friend Megan and her family and for the repose of the soul of her beautiful mother, Cynthia McMullen.
For our dear friend Shawn Kuykendall, who is suffering terribly, and for his family and friends. Please get to know Shawn a little better here. Leave it to Shawn to get The Washington Post into the National Cathedral to consider God.
For another young friend whose life is being rocked by cancer; her surgery is scheduled for Friday.
For Elizabeth DeHority.
For the repose of the soul of Eldo Merlin Foss.
the house is clean enough. Really. Last year, I heard voices as I cleaned and decorated and tried so hard. This year, I know what is enough. And this is enough: to apply the principle above and to prioritize thoughtfully. The house needs to serve us. We must have clean laundry, eat from clean plates, use clean bathrooms. But that polished perfection of a Southern Living Christmas spread? Something was sacrificed if that is what happens in a real house. It might be that the sacrifice was perfectly in accord with the intentions of the homemaker. I have to keep reminding myself that my priorities are different. They are different from my neighbor's (She has two children, both in school all day, a two-career marriage, and they don't even celebrate Christmas, anyway. But boy howdy, is it ever clean over there!). They are different from the homes in which my husband and I grew. We're writing our own script. Hushing the voices in order to hear other ones.
I'm really praying hard about those priorities and intentions. Pretty sure the key to peace for me is here.
::crafting in the kitchen
Patrick and Zach missed Thanksgiving dinner this year. They weren't allowed to leave Charlottesville so they couldn't come home. The dinner served after soccer training that day was an Italian pasta dinner. Even the Saturday after Thanksgiving dinner that my stepmother hosted for her kids was too early in the day for them to make it after practice.
Today, those boys come home at last! And you better believe we're going to have a Thanksgiving feast:-)
for the mom who came alongside me in the mess of costumes and lace and tulle and safety pins, who somehow saw it throught the same lens I did and poured herself into making that vision come to life. I'm grateful for a very long conversation in a coffee shop on a day when I felt crushed by the heavy load of motherhood. This fall has brought challenges like no other. I know that she is God's gift to me, the way He has assured that I will always have "two or more" to gather in His name.
::loving the moments
when, despite the tears and the frustration and all the self-doubts that came with rehearsals, that sweet ballerina proves to herself that there is great grace and beauty in strength and diligence. Oh, my gracious! She totally nailed it and what a triumph it was! (My only wish? That I had watched at least one performance from the audience instead of from the wings...)
living the liturgy
I've decided to make O Antiphon ornaments to add to the Jesse Tree. I've lost the cubes for our O Antiphon house and, well, it sort makes sense to me to combine them...
::planning for the week ahead
Let's see... There's the re-scheduled St. Lucy's Day that needs to happen. I'm thinking that will be tomorrow morning, before Zach flies home to Michigan for Christmas. Then, I need to take Mary Beth to enroll in community college classes for dual enrollment credit next semester. Maybe tomorrow for that, too. I have to plan three different family Christmas dinners and shop for them. There's the Christmas Tree farm... Still have one child for whom I haven't shopped and a few more gifts to finish sewing. Stephen still has three soccer practices this week and there's a full week of dance lessons. Oh, and it's time to order a new calendar for next year;-).