#holylens for Theme Thursday

I mentioned yesterday that I had a few more thoughts on Advent. Mainly that translated to what I’m doing for Advent personally. The honest answer is not much. I had a devotional or two that I was planning on working my way through, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

One thing I have been trying to make a priority is to get the daily Scripture readings done (I use the Blessed is She devotions, sent to my phone because it’s super easy and the devotions are not so full of theological profoundness that I can’t keep up at 6:00AM – not to say there isn’t a place for those profound thoughts, but my little brain has a hard time keeping up so early…)

Anyways aside from that I’ve been participating in Abbey’s Holy Lens project, mostly on instagram (but here’s the link to the FB group page if you’d like to jump in over there.).

I *try* not to overthink the whole thing, but sometimes I do… I love the idea of finding a simple everyday moment or thing that turns my attention to Our Lord, and usually causes me to remember what was read in the readings for the day.

So, without further ado my #holylens photos so far this week:

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#sign

For stopping.. or slowing down as may more often be the IRL case of this particular sign… But a sign nonetheless that this is the season of waiting.

~

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#words

It’s a book – there are words – I didn’t have any “great insight” for this prompt

~

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#root

I’m pretty sure this was a prompt last year, and I’m pretty sure I used this same plant. It’s the only one I can even remotely see the roots of. And I like the new shoots coming off one of the older ones.

“root of Jesse” and all that.

~

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#satisfied

Honestly don’t remember what any of the scripture readings were on this day (so I had no tie in), but we had a full breakfast and were very satisfied with it.

~

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#rock(s)

All day, I thought the prompt was stone {*shrugs shoulders*}. I just have this image of everything resting on the rock that is Jesus and I hope to be reminded of that as I daily step over these little rocks that are in our driveway.

~~~~~

Linking with Micaela @ California to Korea {also if you’re on Instagram check out #holylens, or feel free to do so on FB}

Week one of Advent ~ a p,h,f,r post

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Testing… testing… 1.. 2… 3…

This thing still work?

Ok, good. Been a little while since I’ve posted anything other than strictly photo posts. And, well, actually I guess this post is a photo post too, but maybe it’ll be just a little more than “here’s a picture – have a nice day” type of post.

It’s a good thing Advent is a season of waiting and preparing for the feast of Our Lord’s Nativity because if I had to have everything done as of Nov. 29 I’d of failed. I’ve really been thinking of doing a little bit more in, say, the decoration department, on specific holy days/feast days (For example: decorate the tree on Gaudete Sunday). But, nothing is set in stone there, or organized in my mind, so we’re just kinda winging it over here and trying to not do too much at once.

~pretty~

phfr advent 1

This is going to be our Christmas Tree this year. It stands maybe 3ft tall. It’s propped on a coffee table pushed against a window in hopes that Z. (age 13 months, and totally into everything toddler-ish) will not do too much damage to it.

The story of this tree: It was pulled out of the basement at the apartment we used to live at (about five years ago). Before that it had sat in said basement for a few years and before that I don’t know… It used to have functioning fiber-optic lights (which stopped spinning last year and died completely this year). It also used to have a strand of normal colored Christmas lights, which also stopped working this year. So…. I took off the old regular lights (which were clipped on???) and restrung it with the white lights. {I guess this could fall into the “real” category}

Anyways, at night it looks nice. And once we get all the ornaments on I’m sure it’ll look just fine 🙂

phfr advent 1-7

Oversized wreath, adding cheer to our living room. Thank you Jesus for friend’s daughters wanting to earn a few extra dollars by helping out around the house and who are willing to straddle radiators and tables and put screws in the wall the old-fashioned way (with a screwdriver).

I think I may put a few decorations on it, but… I don’t know yet. I’m enjoying just looking at it for the time being. Also, it’s “real” evergreen so it adds a nice Christmas-y smell.

~happy~

phfr advent 1-3

This week I started “circle time” in our homeschool. This is a loosely formed idea about spending a chunk of time first thing in the morning doing literature reading, Scripture reading, memory work… things like that.

So far we’ve managed to get to our read-aloud book all days and we’re set to finish it tomorrow (which is good because I’ve run out of library renewals). But this set aside time first thing after breakfast has really helped to get the mornings going and it’s also allowed us a chunk of time to spend reading our Christmas picture books.

Last year, I was disappointed that we didn’t really get a chance to read them as much as I wanted to, but this year we’ve already made good headway in getting to books on the stack.

This time has also allowed us to do our other Advent countdown things:
* Tony Wolf Advent Calendar (this one on Amazon) the kids LOVE it. This is also filling in for our Jesse Tree this year. I guess it doesn’t technically fall under Jesse Tree category, but I’m finding myself needing a break from trying to make that happen this year.
* a seek and find Advent devotional for kids that I’ve had for a few years, but never used. So we’re trying it this year.
* {Ideally} we’d be including our Names of Jesus countdown chain (idea from Abbey @ Surviving Our Blessings) The chain is made, and hung up… and that’s as far as we’ve gotten. But it doesn’t seem like it would take much time so we may do a few double-up days to catch up.
* {Ideally} we’d be doing the Advent calendar that my mother-in-law mailed to the kids. It’s pictured at the end of the post, but I just found it again today after it fell out of the school shelf… oops… so tomorrow!  😉

phfr advent 1-5

We’ve managed to get our candles made and put in a wreath. Most breakfasts and dinners we  manage to get it lit. And I’ve been doing a verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel…. some of the time. Other than that we haven’t managed to do any other prayers or devotionals around the wreath. Although, again, I did just come across a few things I printed out last year… so maybe soon?

~funny~

I don’t know if I have any “funny” Advent photos yet. And other than Zachary insisting that ALL Christmas books remain on the floor: At ALL Times… I don’t really have any funny stories just yet.

~real~

Definitely lots of Real.

phfr advent 1-4

Empty hooks waiting for stockings over our fireplace (and under our Little Oratory – which bonus: is MORE clean now than it was last week)

Also, should be noted that we still only have five hooks up, even though last year we had six stockings (?) and I’d love to add a new hook for the new baby. So… more hooks needed. Soon. Because one of the things I planned on doing on a specific day was hanging the stockings on St Nicholas Day. Just seemed like a good idea…

phfr advent 1-6Errrmmmmmm…… Our Nativity will be going here.

Just as soon as I get the rest of Thanksgiving stuff cleared away.

{Note Advent Calendar waiting to be used}

~~~

I have a few other Advent-y thoughts that I’m planning on {much more briefly} jotting down tomorrow. So until then.

Also I’ll put the link in for the Like Mother, Like Daughter {phfr} post in the AM.

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