Gathering my Thoughts at the Beginning of Advent

I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

Mike and I took a ride out to Rappahannock Cellars last weekend. The vineyard and winery is our go-to place for a date. It's about an hour from our house, but it feels like a getaway. We took the long, circuitous route that really gave us a chance to inhale mountain beauty of the Virginia variety. Even stripped bare of leaves, I love those hills so much!


::listening to 

Girls reading pictures books.

::clothing myself in 

A ridiculous number of layers. I guess my thyroid is wacky again. I absolutely cannot get warm and stay warm. Upon anticipating another outdoor game in near freezing rain, I bought myself some new boots yesterday. Last weekend, I still couldn't feel my feet three hours after we got home. Since I keep shoes forever (I still wear boots as old as Katie and she's eleven), I do not feel guilty. Much.


::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. I have a few new ones to share with you, too. Maybe tomorrow.

::thinking and thinking

 About depression. I'm not depressed. But several people I love are depressed. Several people. Think on that a minute. It's astounding, really. I'm learning a lot about depression these days. It's pernicious. It's life-threatening. It's serious stuff. Here are some good links I've found.

Depression and the Mind of Christ

A Christian Looks at Depression

Diet and Depression

Loving Someone with Depression (the link to hyperbole-and-a-half is really good--language warning, though)



 "I never wrote down to anyone; and whether the opinion condemns or acquits my own work, it certainly is my opinion that a book worth reading only in childhood is not worth reading even then." C.S. Lewis

So, choose those picture books carefully and plan on reading them for a lifetime:-)


::carefully cultivating rhythm

We are woefully out of rhythm around here. Not the school day kind of rhythm. That's fine enough. It's the family rhythm that's off. We're missing each other, finding each other in unfamiliar places, struggling to connect. I'm clinging tightly to the Liturgy of the Hours. I'm also looking to those traditions so long established. Some of them will have to change to be sure, but I'm becoming more persuaded that it's important to make the effort. I think I hope that will find ourselves once again in the familiar of the liturgical year.


::creating by hand

Yes. We are. Beginning today, we are all about crafting meaningful gifts. We also might just have some Snow Queen tutu magic in the works.

I'm trying to finish a scarf for a man who works miracles at JMU. Might take a miracle to finish..

 (photo credit: Kristin)

::learning lessons in

grief. We all experience it so differently. Grieving with someone and walking someone through her own grief--all very tricky. (I wrote that two weeks ago.) I'm still learning those lessons. I do feel like this walk is made more difficult because we are separated geographically and because of the intense season we find ourselves in in our own circles of work and school. 

::encouraging learning 

Yesterday, I made a spur of the moment to dig deep into Tomie de Paola with my little girls. It's a rich unit and there's more than enough meaningful work for us there. I'm going to work on a PDF of those plans because they are old and the full benefits of technology are clearly not being utilized in their presentation.

::begging prayers

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. Pleaseget 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 today and hopes to travel to visit her sister in Englad next week!

For the repose of the soul of Eldo Merlin Foss.


::keeping house

I mostly hit my goal of having things super clean before decorating. there was some simulatneous cleaning and decorating, I admit. and there are still items left on the to-do list. Whatever; I'm diligent if not perfect.


 (photo credit: Kristin)



::crafting in the kitchen 

I'm absolutely terrible at making a dish I cannot eat and then refraining from eating even a little of it. So yes, I've eaten wheat. And I'm sick because of it. My joints ache so badly it's hard to do the regular daily things like stir a pot of soup or scrub a kitchen counter. My stomach is utterly confused. If I didn't know before how important a strict adherence to this diet is, I do now. But the reality is I knew before--and I ate it anyway.

::giving thanks 

 for pastor's wives who pray with me. Not my pastor's wife (Catholic pastors don't have wives), but one I'm blessed to call friend.

::loving the moments

When my big boy calls just to talk.


 (photo credit: Kristin)

living the liturgy

I've been thinking and praying about ways to ensure that our liturgical traditions are enduring. I want my children to go into the world and take these traditions with them. I see it a little already. Paddy texted from school Thanksgiving Day and wanted to know if we still had our old Christmas tree. We didn't, but you better believe I had Amazon deliver a tree to Paddy and Zach as soon as possible. Paddy is very allergic to pine, so this artificial tree will serve him well for years to come.



 (photo credit: Paddy)

But there was more. I was sure there was more. It's the relationship with Christ that we really want them to take and the traditions are a means to an end; they're the touching and smelling and tasting of the richness of a life of faith. So, we do all those things, but sometimes call for something very, very still and very, very focused.

Oh come let us adore Him. 

Mary Beth and I have discussed it and we both want to take advantage of the opportunity our little mission church offers to go to Adoration four days a week. We might not be able to each go each day, but I think we can help each other get there every day it's offered.  We can sit in silence in the presence of God.

All the rest is icing on the gingerbread.

St. Nicholas day is Friday. It would have been Granddad's 90th birthday. I haven't got a firm vision for the day's celebrations, but it sure would be nice if Patrick got some playing time in Klockner Stadium on that day and it would be very fine if UVa won. So, if you've ever been the type to offer a Hail Mary for something athletic, I'd sure appreciate it;-).


::planning for the week ahead

I'm going to force myself into a store. Maybe tomorrow. I need a few things for Nutcracker costumes. I need some more towels for embellishing. I do not like the store in December. Any store. And my introverted self quite agrees with Sarah Annie when she says that this whole week should be a "Pajama Day." If only...