Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Countdown

Look how big he is. I can't even.

There's something special about the week before Christmas and these last few days of Advent. This year my schedule is so light this week and it's wonderful-- even P doesn't have any evening or weekend work events. Remind me to do this next year. It's so much more peaceful than a last minute rushing week before Christmas!

I took both kids to church yesterday for our Day of Grace so that I could make it to confession before Christmas. This was my first time taking both into the confessional but they behaved really well and since neither one can talk I think my secrets are safe, hee hee. J/K. Our new associate pastor is from India and is so loving and kind. He told me that in confession we give Jesus a Christmas gift He desires-- we give Him our sins, so that He can forgive and forget them and we can let them go ourselves. What a lovely and profound thought. I love the sacraments, and all the mercy and grace God showers upon us through them.

Today G and I made sugar cookie cutouts for the first time. Full disclosure: she was in a toddler mood and cried when I said let's make cookies. Oh my. Once she got started she loved it though, and it was such fun to begin one of my past favorite traditions as a kid, now without my own child. Maybe if I'm feeling brave after naptime, we'll even frost and sprinkle them together.

As for the practical prep for Christmas, I'm mostly there-- or at least have a game plan for it all, ha! I have everyone's Christmas Eve Mass outfits picked out, and the gifts that will be given on Christmas are wrapped. My inlaws' Christmas is not until the weekend after Christmas so I'm giving myself some leeway with those! My Christmas menus are planned (simple yet festive!) and I just need to pick up a few last minute ingredients. I mailed most of the Christmas cards today since our family photos arrived late. So all in all, the things left to do aren't stressing me out and I'm relishing these last few days beforehand.

My Advent has been unexpectedly full of spiritual growth. It started off pretty rough (see my most recent post on but I'm so grateful for the ways God guided me to greater hope, peace, joy, and love by practicing greater simplicity, surrender, and gratitude. My least favorite thing about being a stay-at-home mom is how easy it is to get caught up in your own little bubble and the daily "hardships" of it instead of having a larger worldview that comes from constant interaction with others on different paths that you meet in the workplace (especially for me as a nurse). It just takes a more concentrated effort to stay above pettiness, selfishness, pity and all that. That being said, I've definitely been praying for some people close to my heart this year and I'd love if you'd send a quick prayer heavenward for them...

-a friend struggling with infertiliy
-a friend from church whose toddler was diagnosed with leukemia
-a single friend struggling with depression

These sweet women show me strength, grace, and beauty in the way they are carrying these crosses but I know they'd appreciate some prayers for extra hope and peace in this season.

Thanks for sticking around for this old-fashioned, nonspecific blog post. Though my blog sometimes feels ready to retire, I'm grateful you stick around to connect with me. If you have your own prayer requests, drop them below in a comment and I'd be honored to pray for you.

In these last few days of Advent, may the Root of Jesse's Stem give you hope that He is growing you to blossom even when the pruning hurts. (I love the O Antiphons...)

In His peace,

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Currently // December

Linking with Anne as we all discuss what we're currently...

gifting // Homemade lotion bars made with shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax! I poured it into my silicone heart-shaped cupcake pan so they were so easy to pop out when dry and they look adorable. I also have crocheted lots of earwarmers of different styles, including this adorable crown pattern for kids. I have no idea how I found the time to do these things when I look at the pile of homemade gifts, but it's very satisfying to my creative heart.

baking // treats to enjoy during the Christmas season instead of Advent. I've been trying to find ways to "live liturgically" when it comes to the actual Church liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas instead of just doing all the Christmas stuff during Advent. (And I just can't wait with the decor so that's out, haha.) This has been a perfect thing for me-- baking things and freezing it. I love stocking the freezer and knowing we'll have all sorts of goodies to celebrate the true Christmas season and make it special and long-lasting.

singing // O Come O Come Emmanuel each night around our Advent wreath with the first candle lit. It's so precious to hear our little girl try to sing with us, and there's nothing that says Advent to me more than candlelit prayer. Love it.

mailing // Just bills today, haha! I'm still waiting on our family pictures to come in mail to slip in our cards this year. Normally I create cards on Shutterfly with our family picture but somehow we've collected several boxes of beautiful Christmas cards so I decided just to tuck in a 4x6 of our newest family picture. I kind of like the old-fashioned feel of that anyway.

I'm normally not a big fan of the "Pinterest kissing poses" haha, but this one
turned out kinda cute.

decorating // hopefully some sugar cookies soon. But otherwise, all decor is up and sparkling! That's one thing I can't save until Christmas! But for me, all the decorations give such a sense of peace, beauty, and anticipation that they seem like Advent decorations. Wink, wink.

This is the only picture I have uploaded but you get the idea...minus the black antenna my husband hung on the
tree to get the football game to come in!!!