Gathering My Thoughts Amidst the Beautiful Mess

I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

There's nothing like an ice storm to make one catch her breath and wonder anew at the awesome artistry of our Creator. Awesome. In every sense of the word.


::listening to 

The Nutcracker station on Pandora. I love that my littlest can identify every piece of music from the ballet. Never gets old to hear her pipe up no more than a few notes in to every song.

::clothing myself in 

These amazing boots. I am a big fan of Dansko shoes and pretty much live in them. I baby my feet, I admit. I don't wear heels. I'd rather not wear shoes at all. Still, even with all the babying over all these years, I have a pretty significant neuroma in my right foot. Even the slightest narrowing hurts bigtime (no more TOMS for me). Dansko are nice and wide and very supportive. And these sweet boots are warm, too. I'm wearing them all the time. I got them at that link on a great sale. And I will wear them for a very long time, no doubt.


::talking with my children about these books

Those advent books are wrapped and ready! We've begun the picture book-fest. So nice to hear the old familiar stories. And I've tucked away the first book for our new granddaughter's collection. It's the first thing I've bought for her.  And everyone thought I'd head straight to Hanna Andersson! This is the first book I remember Michael reading to Christian. And Christian had it memorized, so I'm sure it was the first book he ever "read" to Patrick. Karoline read it to Sarah yesterday and there is no doubt Sarah will read it to her baby niece next year. We all still love it so well...




::thinking and thinking

about Christmas shopping. I have purchased exactly two gifts so far. Two! My strategy for life in the past couple of years is to carefully consider a week at a time, plan it all out and then do each day as it comes. If I look further ahead, I hyperventilate. It occurs to me that this might not be a good strategy when it comes to acquisitioning for Christmas. Still, I'm short on brain space right now.


Reverend Mother always says when the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window. 

(Maybe that's why it feels so drafty in here. Lots of open windows ;-)

::carefully cultivating rhythm

Advent has a rhythm of its own and even when it's turned on end, there are still the old, familiar traditions, perhaps in new spaces, that bring rhythm to its heartbeat.

The above could also be read: I dumped the contents of Christian's and Patrick's stockings into paper bags while standing with the rear liftgate of my van open in the freezing rain in the parking lot of Klockner stadium on December 6th, but by golly we celebrated St. Nicholas Day!

All good. Different, but good.


::creating by hand

I finished my first Boyfriend Scarf out of Quince Puffin. I love it! Now, I need some blocking advice. I have no special soaps or oils or anything here at home and no plans to leave the house today, but I do need to block today because I'm going to give it on Thursday. So, please, please chime in. I need you!

I've already cast on another. 

::learning lessons in

the Oxford comma. No, not really. I love the Oxford comma and  I don't really care much what Oxford says, I'm going to keep right on using it. 

::encouraging learning in


Want to curl up with some beautiful books and dream of gingerbread? Here's an old post with lots of ideas so that you could do just that and even call it school. And here, are some truly wonderful books.

Gingerbread friends

Gingerbread Friends

Gingerbread baby

Gingerbread Baby












::begging prayers

Please come join our community of prayer.

For college students, facing the trials of exams and more.

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.

For Elizabeth DeHority who kept her Tuesday chemo date last week and is visiting her sister in England.

For the repose of the soul of Eldo Merlin Foss.


::keeping house

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. 






::crafting in the kitchen 

 We blew up the kitchen with confectioner's sugar and ten tons of candy yesterday. It was so much fun. The nice thing about this beautiful mess is that it all cleans up with a little hot water, a rag, and a mop.

I used Candy Cottages and mini cottages this year. I figured they were a wise investment since we never eat the gingerbread houses (we spray them with acrylic so the bugs don't get them). The kids seem pleased. We had a sweet friend join us, so I did get one of these so she could take it home with her (psst-that's a ridiculous price on Amazon. Harris Teeter has them for $10 and you can get them at Costco, too). We did bake some real gingerbread for eating. Nicholas declared that he likes gingerbread but hates molasses. We're all still trying to figure that one out. 

::giving thanks 

for snow days.

::loving the moments

when the day moves along, busy all day, with good things to do. My to-do list is overwhelming if I look at more than one day at a time and it would be easy to get discouraged (and sometimes I do), but truly, there is no life I'd rather be living and no one else I'd rather spend my days with. It's all good, even if it is real work some days. It's sweet work; a beautiful mess.






living the liturgy

Oh! Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Lucy and the Sunday of Joy! We are nearly caught up on our Jesse Tree (definitely fell behind in the beginning, but we're getting there).  I feel ike this advent is going at the speed of some sort of Acela Polar Express. I'm trying to slow down, trying to walk softly and gently. This week is so full of advent joys it's likely to move in a beribboned blur. 


::planning for the week ahead

 There will be those liturgical points of light.

And there will be dress rehearsal and Opening Night and Closing Night, a Princess Tea performance day (2 shows), and a Nutcracker Tea performance day (2 shows). Oh, and then there's this other little thing: the NCAA Final Four, also known as the College Cup. Patrick will play (please pray he plays) the semi-finals in Philadlephia on Friday Night, also know as Nutcracker Opening Night. Kickoff should be right around the same time as the Sugar Plum Fairy dances her solo. Mike and I will hope that my cell phone works backstage (it won't). He's going to Philly. I'm going to the show. Then, if Patrick wins Friday night (please God), we'll both be able to go to the finals on Sunday.