Oh, it's Advent?!


...right?

Ugh, it doesn't feel like it to me.

It hurts my heart to even say that!

Since I got home from visiting my mom in MN for Thanksgiving I have been GO GO GO. I had the young adult Christmas party I coordinated this past weekend, which I thought I was going to kill me. I have had something to do almost every evening. I have a wedding this weekend. Work has been crazy.

I haven't blogged. I haven't called people back. I haven't emailed people back. I have barely touched my Christmas shipping. Which, for the first time ever, stresses me out more than I can describe. My house is a MESS. Mess. Laundry is piling up.

Everything is catching up. My nose won't stop running. I've got those aches. And all I want to do is sleep.

And, thank the Lord, today I did some of that. I called in sick. Slept until 10. Ate a leisurely breakfast. Plopped on the couch and didn't move for a while. Until I thought of all of the things above and started to panic. Martha talked me down from that ledge, popped some laundry in and cleaned the bathroom (it was horrible, you guys. I shudder just thinking about it. Blah). I sent some emails. Did some more laundry. Still need to think about Christmas gifts.

I feel better. I mean, my stress is less... I still don't feel 100%, but it's ok. At least I can see a little bit clearer.

I have also made the decision to stop worrying about a decoration a day for Advent. *crying face emoji* I absolutely LOVED doing this last year, but this year it's not enjoyable. It just makes me feel even worse about how UNprepared I am, every day that goes by and no new decoration is up. I feel as though I am failing this Advent season. I need to take a step back, regroup, look at what I wanted to accomplish and figure out what is actually going to work.

I know that God is preparing my heart for His arrival EVEN amongst the crazy that life feels right now. I know that He is with me at every, sometimes incredibly frustrating, moment. Even when I make mistakes. Even when I may have hurt people. I find comfort and joy knowing that our Lord is taking care of me- when I am going crazy.

I hope your Advent is going well, everyone! Please let me know... maybe your fruitfulness will encourage and inspire me some more. :)


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Preparing the Way {NAS}


I spent a RIDICULOUSLY long time making this.

I recently wrote about my slight frustration this year about seeing so much Christmas stuff welllll before Thanksgiving. I am not too sure why it's bothered me so much, buuuut it has. What I realized, though, is that I didn't do a great job of explaining why we wait. What is the big deal with Advent anyway? So, I thought I'd explore that a bit today. :)

First! Here are the ways that I will be focusing and being more intentional to help prepare for our Lord (as I previously stated):
  • Journal everyday with the Blessed is She Advent journal
  • Go to adoration twice a week
  • Put out a new decoration every day of Advent (it was really fun last year!)
  • Continue reading Scott Hahn's latest book, Joy to the World  (and review it)


Ok! So... Advent.

What's the deal? Well, listen. We are always preparing for something, right? Guests come: you get your house ready. Pregnant: you get all the baby things prepared. Big test soon: you study and learn all that you can.

And so, during Advent, we are getting ready for the most important guest (and baby! ha!) that has ever walked this earth.  We take the time to prepare, to hope, and to pray.

The Church gives us this time to prepare as a way to remind us (yet, again) that we should always be preparing for the Lord. No one knows when we will get to actually see Him, shouldn't we always be ready? How can we celebrate and rejoice something for which we haven't thoroughly prepared for?

Soooo, let's say you have a whole bunch of video clips that you need to make into some AWESOME movie, yet you hardly go through them and put some semblance of a movie together, how satisfied will you be? Versus, if you took the time to find the best clips, edited them, added music, etc to create your movie? Don't you think the latter would be more satisfying and exciting? You would be able to confidently rejoice in the quality of your movie!

That's kinnnnnnd of what Advent does. We are challenged to slow down, edit our life in certain ways, add some other things. All with hopeful anticipation of our Lord and Savior coming. So that when the day comes (Christmas), we can confidently rejoice in the Lord!

If nothing I have said makes ANY sense, then please enjoy this video. :)



Advent is about expecting, waiting, hoping and praying! What are you doing this Advent to prepare? Share all the deets with us! Link up below!


REMINDER!
We will not be meeting for December... cue sad face emojis! We will resume January 6!
I will miss not hanging out every week, BUT I will be connected with most of you through your blogs, Twitter or the 'gram. Oh! And, don't forget about Facebook!

PLEASE let us know if you have any topic ideas... the best way is to email us! :)

Friends, I hope you have such a wonderful Advent, joyous Christmas and blessed New Year!
Thank you for being part of this awesome community. So much love to you!!

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NAS: THANKS be to God








The obvious and probably expected: Thanksgiving Post!! :)
In what ways are you thankful? Talk about anything you want here, folks!








Here I am.... sitting in the airport, sipping my peppermint mocha (for which I went to a complete OTHER concourse AND rode the tram. Dedicated? Or addicted?), people watching, on my way to see my Momma for Thanksgiving... I am content. I am happy. I am so thankful.

I have so much to be thankful for. Family. Friends. Community. God. All the "things" that I have.

But, most of all? I am thankful for this life that I have. The life that I have been given. Even with all the crazy. The hard. The frustrating. The hurt. The worry.

{Excuse me! I had a last minute gate change and then completed my first WONDERFUL day of my #MNThanksgiving!}

Where was I?  Oh yes... my life. It is, indeed, a life worth living. To be able to see the beauty surrounding me amongst the dark is a treasure. God is pulling me along with his grace to a life that is more full and everlasting.

And for that alone, I am thankful. And so very blessed.

I hope you all have such an incredible Thanksgiving with family and friends!! May your day be filled with good people, good food, lots of laughs and joy. :)

What are you most thankful for?? Anything you are most looking forward to on Thanksgiving day?! Tell us!! And don't forget to visit Morgan to see what everyone else is up to! :)

December 2
Preparing the Way! {NAS Advent Post}
Happy Advent! How do you prepare you heart, home, etc. for the coming of the Lord? Are there specific recipes or traditions you partake in? Share with us how you are making way for our newborn King!

IMPORTANT!
We will be taking a break for Christmas now and resume with regular posts January 6, 2015!
If you have any suggestions for topics, pleeeeeeease let us know! :)





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Photo Dump (finally!)

I know it's sometimes more fun to look at other people's pics... so here is an update on life through some recent iPhone snaps. :) Enjoy!

Oh, and happy Christ the King and happy almost (liturgical) new year!! :) :)


Coll's 30th!

Juli and I like to take lots of selfies. :)

One day I will actually get to explore Chicago!

Beautiful Pittsburgh fall foliage!

Sometimes, you just have to wear dipey hats.

Those times when you find old forehead thermometers in the clinic. 

I did, indeed, vote.

Amazing.

I love this pic so much, it deserves the extra large size.

Jennine and I on the night of her album release!

Fraaaaaaaans.

A day at the park.

Finally got my hair did.

#sharejoy

Blessed to hear Audrey Assad live.
And hang out with cool people... even when we are purple.

SILLY FACES ARE THE BEST!

Homemade PSL. :)

Zuz leans in and caresses Mary's head and says, "Oh, I just love her so much."
#cradlecatholic #thebest
Learn about and pray for some amazing people.

It's evenings like this that I cannot believe I live in SWFL.

Cookie and frotty (frothy) milk date night!

Amazing Advent wreath, don't you think?!
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No Thanksgiving? No Advent? Just Christmas!


NO!

If someone posts another pic of their Christmas tree, I am going to to freak out. And do something crazy.

I don't know what. But, something not good.  Maybe. Well, probably not.

BUT STILL! a;jhfoweuabfnsld,fmnoawe... that's how I feel about that.  I am uber annoyed with the amount of Christmas things that I have seen SO EARLY this year. With all the Christmas trees, and carols and stockings and lights and, and, and...



Exactly.

I know up north where it's been snowing and freezing for weeks, maybe it feels more Christmasy and what not. But, no! It's not. Even if it feels like it outside. (And, oh, how I miss that feeling!)

We are so quick to put up our decorations, skip right through the holiday that makes us slow down and give thanks for our many blessings, and have it be Christmas. And then, be all sad when it's December 26th and we have to take down all of the cheer.

That's not what it's supposed to be. That's not the intention for the season. The season of Advent OR of Christmas. Because, let's all remember that Christmas is a SEASON not just a day. If the Vatican can leave their decorations up until February 2nd, then so can I! Oh, and I will.

I joined up with the Blessed is She chat on Twitter this past week where we were talking about preparing for Advent. It was so fun (and overwhelming... lots going on with those Twitter chats!)! It was also really encouraging to see how other women were getting ready for Advent, and how they were going to be intentional about preparing their hearts, souls and families for Jesus' birth. It was beautiful!

As a side note... you know what else was beautiful about that chat?? The fact that we as WOMEN were connecting. We are married, single, with and without kids, young and older (not old!!), all connecting because of our shared faith. Shared love for the Lord. And our desire to grow closer to Him. #beautiful #BISchat  ;) 

And then, at my young adults meeting the other day we also talked about Advent. And, I was a little disappointed and surprised by how so many people have no qualms about decorating early, listening to Christmas music, etc. What?! It's so hard for me to understand. Is this one of those times where my super traditional/conservative side comes out??

Maybe.

But, I like it. I don't want to rush Christmas. I already cannot BELIEVE Thanksgiving is in 5 days. FIVE DAYS. Why would I want to rush and get to Christmas already?

Our Church is beautiful in it's liturgical seasons. She recognizes our ability to speed through life. Yet she makes us slow down, think, reflect and pray. With our new year upon us, and our Advent season juuuuust about to start, it's a great time to make some resolutions about our faith/prayer life! And, life in general.

Here is what I am going to work on this Advent season:

  • Journal everyday with the Blessed is She Advent journal
  • Go to adoration twice a week
  • Put out a new decoration every day of Advent (it was really fun last year!)
  • Continue reading Scott Hahn's latest book, Joy to the World  (and review it)
And some liturgical new year resolutions, that will probably change, but for now:
  • Continue to go to confession weekly
  • Go on at leasts two retreats in the next year
  • Pray more fervently about God's will in my life.
  • Well, pray more, in general.

What about you?! Does all of this Christmas-really-early-business drive you crazy, too? And how will you be preparing for Christmas during Advent this year?

Please share so I don't feel alone in my efforts. :) :)



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