our little tiny St Lucia wrap

Benedetto di Bindo. St. Lucy. ca. 1410. Institute of Art, Minneapolis.

Today the Church celebrated the feast of St. Lucia. This day is an extremely popular day in Scandinavian countries, Sweden in particular. A full quarter of my heritage is Swedish so I have been enjoying getting to know some of the customs celebrated. Growing up we didn’t celebrate, but I’m wondering if my grandmother had any customs she celebrated. I meant to call and ask, but.. chaos here the last few days. She reads the blog though, so maybe you could share some thoughts if you have a minute?

Anyways, I found this bit over at CatholicCulture and especially enjoyed the following:

In the liturgy of the Church, Saint Lucy has held, and still holds today, the inspiring position of a saint whose very name reminds the faithful at the middle of Advent that her own “light” is only a reflection of the great “Light of the World” which is to start shining at Bethlehem on Christmas Day. It is as if she would say: “I am only a little flame in Advent showing you the way:

Behold, the Lord will come And all His saints with Him, And on that day There will be a great light. Alleluia.

I love that we get to celebrate things like this in the Church!

I had plans to be just a teensy bit more organized and pull off the whole St Lucia “parade” with our Lucia bread this morning, but…. it didn’t happen. So I made the bread this afternoon (and it almost didn’t rise… second time this week my dough has had a hard time rising, thoughts?). And we ended up inviting my parents over for dessert and coffee.

The kids had a great time though. They were jumping up and down, rushing through baths so they could “run downstairs and have Lucia bread”!

I did manage to get a little crafty a few days ago and attempt a crown. It needs a little lot of work but it turned out like this:

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I also realize that she isn’t wearing a white dress or a red sash, but that’s not something we own, and I didn’t think of it with enough time to even attempt making one. I’ve not ever attempted clothing either, so that sounded just a bit too daunting at this time. I’ll keep an eye out for something in the next year though, so maybe next year we’ll be “appropriately” dressed.

She wanted to wear the crown but she didn’t want to carry the bread (which incidentally turned out great!) :

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She did pass out the plates with slices of bread to everyone.

The kids had fun passing the crown around:

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We also have a few favorite stories we like to read:
Hanna’s Christmas by Melissa Peterson
Kirsten’s Surprise (American Girl (Quality)) by Janet Shaw
These books are pretty much “mommy, can you read this to me” over and over once they’re brought out or borrowed from the library. They love them so much.

And that’s going to be it for us from this Lucia Day.

I’m linking with Audrey Eclectic for her St Lucia Day Blog Procession

{p, h, f, r} ~ Advent week 2 {attempt #2 at posting}

{2nd try to get this posted as before I guess it didn’t work? ~ so sorry if you tried and didn’t get anywhere}

Welcome to this week’s edition of {p, h, f, r} where we:

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

{pretty}

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My parents tree and wall cross. I love this cross. I was playing with some photos I had taken last weekend and found one of the photo editors on my phone had some textures… so this is one result 🙂

~

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I finished this Nativity Project I started! Yay a completed project!!!!! I used the silhouettes from this site and transferred them to wood. They turned out OK, not spectacular, but they’re OK, and I like them. (And I finished a project, did I say that already?)

~

{happy}

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When we first brought home the tree and got the lights on, Karl came downstairs and admired it. Then he piped up “look, I’m hugging the tree!”. (This is apparently something they do often when they take walks with my mom – hug trees) 🙂

~

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Happy to unwrap and rediscover ornaments!

~

{funny}

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so, yeah, I walked into the living room the other day after a few minutes of tending to dinner, and I found this!

{real}

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Katherine’s ornaments

~

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Sometimes we take measures to occupy the baby

~

{in the category of all of the above}

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Just love ❤

(that’s my parent’s tree skirt. I assume someone made it for them at some point, they’ve had it for as long as I can remember)

~~~~~

all photos taken with and edited with my iPhone

finding God in the everyday

I’ve been doing a photo-through-Advent thing (details on the HolyLens project over here). It’s been a very tangible way I’ve been able to “see” God in the day to day. Which is kinda the point, but it took me a few days to get that through my head and to really make sense of it.

One day last week, I forget which one now, but the prompt was “prepare”, and I took this picture:

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I detailed it: preparing for a diaper change, which we do a lot of around here (or something like that). I almost didn’t post that particular photo because I thought to myself “this isn’t holy, I shouldn’t post this as something ‘holy’ “…. And then I thought about it a little more and decided that this little every day moment was holy because it’s part of my “job”, part of my vocation.

A few days later I read in one of my Advent devotionals:

We need to practice seeing God where we are. Practice makes perfect… And if we start practicing, if we make the choice to see god… to find God, in every situation, in every place, in everyone, I bet the more we do it, the easier it will become.

(Confirmed my thoughts about the picture.)

I’ve been struggling a little with “where I am”. Mostly because I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that the nitty-gritty of my everyday motherhood is where I’m at to serve and find God. I mean, I realize the importance of what I do, I’m not discounting that, but realizing that God sees me there, seems almost surreal. Almost like, how in the world could that be a place God could meet someone? How is that diaper change the place where the God who created the universe, want to meet me? How? Because that’s where He’s called me. It may have taken me five years, four kids, photography and a diaper change to begin to realize it, but better late than never, right?

It makes me excited for waking up tomorrow and seeing where else I can find God… or maybe, more appropriately, where He can find me. I know the moments may still be hard, and there will still be things that don’t go right, but seeing God’s glory in them is far greater than just “going it alone”.

 

Advent ramblings

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Happy New Liturgical Year!

For the last few weeks I have been kinda avoiding thinking about the fact that Advent was starting today *gasp*, which means Christmas is in four (4!) weeks *gasp* (again). John caught Father mentioning that at Mass this morning and turned to me and excitedly whispered “Christmas is in four weeks!”, barely containing his glee 🙂

I love this season of preparing our hearts to receive Jesus again. There are so many beautiful traditions and devotionals out there that can be used for helping us along. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all, and too easy to get caught up in the “must do it all” camp. I feel like I’ve spent so much of the last few weeks just getting my feet back underneath me that it seems even more daunting this year than some of the other years.

One of the devotionals I found (from Jenny @ The Littlest Way) says this:

Instead of doing more, more, more… what if we stepped back… took a deep breath… and decided this Advent instead of doing more- we would just be… more?

Let’s be in the present moment more. That’s where we will find Him. That’s where we will be with Him; you know, the baby-born King.

So, when I read that it completely resonated with me because I couldn’t even fathom trying to DO anything else this year. That being said I’m going to try to pull back a little bit on the Advent-doing. I’m going to be keeping our regular stuff, but most likely a simpler version of it.

The run down:

With the kids/as a family:
* Advent wreath with devotional Jared’s mom wrote up.
* Reading:

The Jesse Tree
We tried this last year, but the kids weren’t really able to sit through it. We’ve been doing a lot better sitting through chapter books recently, so I don’t think this’ll be a problem.
* A paper Advent Calendar given by Jared’s mom. The kids LOVE these!
* This ornament Advent calendar given by a family at church.

* Reading lots of picture books about Saints who have feast days in December, Christmas stories, etc… Maybe this year I’ll write up a post of some of our favorites 🙂
* A punch out Nativity scene with activities for each day. Also given by Jared’s mom.
* We’ll also be putting up our manger scene, once I go get that from the basement.
* I’m also wanting to try a “gifts to Jesus” basket/box which you fill with your “good deeds” or “acts of kindness” and you wrap up and give to Jesus on Christmas Day. I thought that would be a way to make things more “real” for the kids.

* We have big plans to get a REAL tree this year!!!!!!!!!!! Really can’t tell you how excited I am for that 🙂 (Last year, we just never got around to getting one.)

For me personally, I’m planning on a few devotionals (the one above) and one other. And I’m also doing the HolyLens Project put on by Abby @ Surviving Our Blessings. I’ll probably mostly be participating in that on Instagram.

And…. that looks really long now that I wrote it out. Especially since we have a full month even without all the little extras.

Oh, one more thing, The Catholic Women’s Veiling Devotion Group on FB is doing a few veil giveaways (hosted by Emily @ Our Home… Under Mary’s Mantle) in the next week (and some additional ones in the following weeks). There is a giveaway happening now and ending this evening, so be sure to pop over and take a look around. You can read some of my thoughts on veiling here!

Alrighty, enough rambling from me for one day 🙂

~Ruth Anne

 

Advent wrap up

Before Advent is too far in the past, I wanted to take a minute to wrap up how Advent went overall, especially in the “unplugged” department.

So, what did I learn:

1. That my house actually can be cleaned in a timely manner, but I can’t have Facebook on my phone. It’s took me almost all of those weeks of Advent to get used to not having 24/7 access to my FB account. And now that I’m on the other side of it (still no FB app on my phone), I don’t think I want to go back. I still like checking in, but I don’t feel a pull like I used to. I’m less stressed because I’m not trying to do something around the house (i.e. clean up or read a book with the kids) WHILE at the same time endlessly scrolling through people’s posts.

2. That my patience is actually findable when I’m not trying to keep in constant touch with the social world.

3. I ended up doing some reading after all, which ended up being good. I think I’ve decided that God can speak to me through books if I’m willing to listen.

4. I did a lot of “being quiet”. Not in the sense that I stopped talking (I’m not an outgoing talkative person), but in the sense that I was able to “still my mind” and listen. Listen to God, and to my husband and to my children. In a sense to be less distracted. It’s good to get that practice in, because I have some amazing people in my life who too often aren’t listened to wholeheartedly just for the sake of “distractions”.

I think that’s about it. I want to thank Haley for putting us all up to this! It’s been eye opening to see the negative impact social media has had on my personal family space (impact I didn’t even know was there), and now that I’m aware of it, I hope to keep the negative-ness away and focus instead on the positives.

AdventUnplugged
~Ruth Anne