Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Long Wait for Christmas





Christmas, it finally arrived.  This was the first year I really felt I was able to live the Advent spirit.  The waiting, the doing of things slowly and intentional, the not doing of some things all together.  Since November, there has been a lot of waiting, a lot of hesitant, but joyful anticipation all leading up to a few stressful, but wonderfully happy days.  Oh yes, I got to live Advent quite fully this year and it was well worth it.

I had my own private Advent calendar ticking on my phone.  A couple more days, a couple more weeks, but my calendar was counting up, not down and then on Christmas day that wonderful mark in the calendar - 12 weeks.  Second Trimester.  It was here, wonderfully coinciding with the end of the long wait of Advent and the joy of Christmas.

The week before was full of doctors appointments, blood tests, big results .... and all good news.  Finally, after almost three years of waiting; good news.

If we continue to be blessed, to be fortunate we'll meet this new little soul around the fourth of July.



Thank you for your support over the last few years.  Thank you for knowing about and caring about my four other children in their short lives.  I know our luck doesn't change the reality for so many of us out there, that there are still friends and readers here hoping and hurting.  I won't forget you, I won't stop praying for you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Finding Your Fiat - Tickets On Sale!!!

As of this morning ticket sales for the "Finding Your Fiat" Conference I helped dreamed up with Bonnie and Abbey (and a big cavalry save from Annie) are live!

This is a small women's conference that will take place next summer in Peoria, Illinois on June 24th and 25th.

Friday night there will be a talk from Jenna of Blessed is She and music from Marie Miller, along with drinks and appetizers and a chance to relax and enjoy some company.

Saturday will be the conference with key note speakers Jenna and Meg, with more music from Marie Miller and six breakout speakers to choose from to customize your experience.

This is a conference for all women - single, married, discerning, old, young, children, no children.  We wanted to make a special weekend that focused on bringing us all together and sharing and supporting the many ways God asks us to say "yes" to his plans in our lives.  Each of our speakers has been asked to say "yes" to a different plan.  We'll have single women, working women, stay at home mothers, wandering missionaries, women in the throws of young children and women who have homes full of older children, women who've been given many children and women who've stuggled to fill their homes.  They're all women who've heard a unique call from God and answered it - none of our speakers have a similar life, but all are living out beautiful lives for God.

We hope this conference will be just what you need and we hope that you'll feel at home and welcome.

You can find more information about speakers, tickets, local accomodations and more on the conference website HERE


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Waiting













Still so much to do, but so much done over the last few days.  After way to long with one member of this family out with a bug of one kind of another (I'm talking since Halloween) all of us were finally able to tackle some long overdue cleaning in the house.  It had reached "We've named the dusty bunnies" threshold and teetering into "I can't clean up the dust bunnies, they've accepted us as one of their own" territory.

In a fit of organizational frenzy, we tackled the living room, kids room and kitchen over the last few days.  Books and toys are rearranged, boxes of things are ready to go to Goodwill.  I have clear space on my counters (well until life continued one today); one thing I've come to learn is how much have clear, uncluttered space affects me in my house.  It feels good to have things tucked away.

I even got a little shelf up in the bathroom to help keep the sink cleared as our "one-butt" bathroom is definitely lacking in the storage area.

I even snuck out of the house the other day and got a haircut.  Probably not the biggest news, but I haven't had one in around 6 months and I feel like a new person.

Christmas is slowly creeping in.  The Christmas tree is up and I kind you not every string of lights we owned was dead when we tried to light the tree this year.  Even the outdoor lights we'd hung and lit a few days before died on that same day.

The straw for Baby Jesus reward system is working nicely this year.  I think this is the first year he really "gets it" in terms of the build-up to the holidays.

There are a few things left on our to do list before the holidays.  Getting a few things sent out.  Wrapping up gifts,  Getting greenery, which I'm hoping to do tomorrow.  And baking!  I'm ready for shortbread and deviled eggs.

The only "bad" thing is that it's been unseasonably warm here - like in the 60's warm.  I'm a winter loving girl and it's breaking my heart that it's too warm inside and out to use our big stack of firewood in the garage and I just haven't felt like knitting or doing any of my other winter type things.  I don't think I could survive somewhere that didn't have real seasons to mark the holidays.  Christmas needs to feel like winter for me or it's not quite right.

In the end, though I feel like I'm getting a lot of practice with the waiting part of Advent this year.  There's been a lot of waiting and a little more waiting to come - projects, festivities and other things have all synced up with the Advent season this year making Christmas feel like a bigger event than it has in the past.  I'm learning a lot about waiting and preparing - not just my surroundings, but myself.

Monday, December 7, 2015

St. Nicholas Arrives






St. Nicholas has arrived.  I'm really liking what our St. Nicholas traditions are becoming.  What was once just gifts of pretty wooden animal toys has become an intentional filling of the manger.  "Santa" is planning on surprising Henry with a Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus this year on Christmas when we fill up the barn with "good deed" straw.

I'm really hoping my advent story collection that I picked out this year is a good one.  We'll dive into that tonight.

We managed to get to school with only one chocolate eaten - pretty good by our standards.

And this year St. Nicholas left a letter telling Henry that he's doing a good job learning to be good, and suggesting a few spots that Jesus would like him to improve on (eating dinner and being good at church).  It ended with a suggestion to go through our toys and give some away and he left three "Giving Coins" for Henry to give away to other people.

And so we march forward - more cleaning, a little more planning - always something to do around here.  =)

**I get my wooden toys from here.  If you email them they can send you their full list of items which is fantastic**

Sunday, December 6, 2015

In Good Time






Slowly, slowly.  That's been the apparently theme this year.  Things have gotten off to a very slow, but very enjoyable start.  Various projects and things have been requiring me to pace myself and it works.

Decorations and cleaning are going in stages and it feels right for Advent.  Like those last few weeks anticipating a new baby, things get done, but often slowly.  A bit of work here, a rest there.

I want to remember for next year that St. Nicholas Day is a good day to get things going.  It was nice to give myself a week after Thanksgiving to get things done and not rush the Advent stuff.  Of course it's important, but catching up on four or five days of Advent calendars and little traditions at once later in the week still felt just as good.

Now I feel ready to pull out the rest of the Christmas books, and the lights and maybe a book for myself off the shelf.  Early this week it just felt too soon; too rushed.

There are still plenty of thigs to do, corners to clean, decorations to get out, and lights to be strung.  But somethings you just can't rush.  All in good time.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Announcing the "Finding Your Fiat Catholic Women's Conference"!!!

Some friends and I have been working on something behind the scenes for a couple of months now and today is the day I finally get to tell everyone. 

This summer, June 24-25, Bonnie EngstromAbbey Davis Dupuy, Annie T. and I will be offering a Catholic women's conference called Finding Your Fiat.


From Bonnie:

"We really believe it will be great. We talked about what we wanted in a conference (a fun, come as you are night out + talks given by women we know and admire who can speak to our hearts about our lives + affordable!) and then we set out to make it happen. 

We kept things simple (no vendors, no swag bags, nothing too fancy) which kept ticket prices and our stress levels low. We focused on bringing in great speakers and a yummy lunch and booked a parish hall so we could have access to Reconciliation, Mass, and a quiet chapel to pray. 

Our speakers will be amazing! Jenna Guizar and Meg Hunter-Kilmer will be keynoting and our growing list of breakout speakers already includes Annie Tillberg and Marie Miller.

Friday night we're co-hosting a Girls' Night Out with Blessed Is She and it will be wonderful. So. Much. Fun.

Tickets will go on sale soon but we wanted to share the date and info with you now so you can make plans and possibly add it to your Christmas wishlist. 

You can learn more about the Finding Your Fiat conference at our website. And I hope I can see you this summer!"

From Molly:

We want you to know that this is first and foremost about meeting women where they are - we hope to have something to interest older and younger women, mothers, single women, women discerning their vocations or facing struggles in their lives.  Among our two keynote and 6 breakout speakers we hope that there is something for each of us.

We want this to be something that is just fun, no stress.  By offering Friday only, Saturday only and Weekend Bundle tickets we hope we can help fit your schedule and budget.  By keeping things simple in our venue, decor, group size (tickets are limited!) and other offerings we hope you feel at ease.

We hope this is just what you need and hope to see you next summer!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A St. Nicholas Lesson



My 7th grade Religious Education stuents picked St. Nicholas as our patron Saint for the year, and with his feast day coming up I wanted to do something special.  So today I put together a little goody bag of St. Nick related things for them.

Included:

  • An Orange: A Traditional gift symbolizing St. Nicholas' giving of gold.
  • Candy Canes:  Representing his Bishops "crozier" or staff.
  • A Prayer Card: Because... Catholic.
  • Candy Santa:  Because.... I get to send them home once they're sugared up.
  • Chocolate Gold Coins: A Traditional St. Nicholas gift, symbolizing the gold he left to save 3 poor girls from slavery
  • A Band-Aid:  Because sometimes you get a little over-zealous defending your faith.




Our St. Nicholas approves.

The last thing I have for them, not shown, is a Gold Sacajawea Dollar.  I plan on giving them these at the end of class with the rule that the coins are not for them to keep.  They must find some way to give it away, secretly, before Christmas.  They can help a friend buy lunch or putting in the offering basket or the Salvation Army kettle or leave it as part of a tip if their family goes out to eat, but the rule is they can't tell anyone about it.  St. Nicholas gave his giving in secret because he knew that getting recognition for good deeds isn't what's important and I want to give them the opportunity, even if it's just a dollar coin, to feel what it's like to give with no expectation of receiving anything back.
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