Friday, December 11, 2015

Small Success Thursday - So Much Good

Hi All,

Sometimes I feel like I am talking to NO ONE. But I know people at least view my blog, so all I can do is hope and pray that my words in cyberspace make a difference.

With that said, I wanted to welcome you to Small Success Thursday. Yes, I do know it is actually Friday... moving on....


Hop on over to Catholicmom.com and check out Small Success Thursday. The link-up is open for a while and it's fun to read. The thing is, even in the worst weeks, we can find successes - IF WE LOOK FOR THEM! And we really should look for them!

My Small Successes this week were...

Cookies for Dad. My dad had several massive strokes a few years back and we think he has small ones here and there. At any rate, he could not travel to the Army-Navy game this year. And so - I had an idea Monday to order some cookies for him to take with him. Oh my goodness. If you are in Fort Worth, look up the Tiny Kitchen Cakery. First of all her husband is a wounded vet and I think we should support Military Families. Secondly, her cookies are to DIE for.



No Stress Craft Day. Having a craft day and not being OCD while it was going on. I mean - my child was panicked that I was allowing the mess. But it was a craft day. Crafts get messy. A few families were going to come, but only one showed. She brought four children - and truly it was just right.  Sure it took a couple hours to clean up, but we really had fun. Here is a sample. The rest will be on my craft blog at some point.

Making Luminaries.

Not Doing It All. We are enjoying Advent instead of stressing about it.  We really are. Sigh. In years past, we have simply done too many things... a little scaling back and voila! FUN!

And now I am going to bed. It's not late, I'm just exhausted. Tomorrow we have Arm Health Clinic, Christmas Pageant Practice, School (yes, we homeschool and we haven't finished this week), and cookie baking.

Have a blessed weekend.

Love and hugs,

Em

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Finding JOY

Good morning.

First, let me say - Happy Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
Many people don't understand why Catholic's celebrate and venerate this day. We believe it is the day Our Blessed Mother, Mary was conceived and we adore her as the Mother of Our Lord.


In our Faith, this is a Holy Day of Obligation. We will be at 7am Mass to start our day off right. We are so blessed in our Faith.

About JOY. Well, this year, my word of the year was Determination. I was determined to do a lot of things. Many I did, some I did not. But I'm going to concentrate on what I accomplished and not dwell. Because my word of the year for 2016 is JOY. Yes JOY!


And so, my friend Becky Sorensen told me about this JOY sign from Lowes and we went and bought it immediately. It will hang there all year, over my kitchen sink, in the room I spend a lot of time in and one that is the center of our home. JOY. So, if you need me in 2016, I'll be finding JOY in the little things...  HERE is the link if you want to find your word for 2016. Make sure you tell me what it is. I'll be praying for you.

Oh - and one more thing. Yesterday, I promised to share some links of things that you could use to explain Advent to your children.

Advent Wreath Coloring Page
Jennifer @ Catholic Inspired's Advent Activities
Lacy @ Catholic Icing's Advent Activities

There are about a jillion other blogs and sites you could use. Just search on Pinterest or Google. Amazing people out there.

I like to keep it simple. And please, for your sanity, do not try to do it all OR second guess your choices.

Have a great day.

Hugs & Blessings,
Em

Monday, December 7, 2015

Moments - Updates & Advent is Upon Us.

Dear Friends,

Happy Monday...
How are you today?

It's beautiful here in Fort Worth. Cool but not cold... the rollercoaster of "winter" is about to start... high 60's and low 70's later this week, but by mid-week, next week, we may see our first flurry. Gotta love it.

Advent:

Are you enjoying Advent?  We really are. Marque has been home for a week or so and it's been nice doing the family readings and lighting the candles with him home.  Yesterday, in the Advent Calendar, the card said, make homemade hot chocolate and watch Polar Express. That was a great way to end our weekend.

I have to be honest, this has been a hard year for me personally. Lots of loss, friends sick with cancer, and other health-related things. I've been doing so much for others, I haven't had time to blog or craft or anything. To top it off, Marque's travel schedule is so thick right now, we are not going anywhere for Christmas (we didn't for Thanksgiving either). And so - it's kind of a bummer. So I have found several sources to remind me throughout the day, what Advent is about. I need to take stock and be uplifted. You know?

I am really enjoying several Advent Readings this year.

Advent is a time for family, for re-assessing your heart and making sure you are moving in the right direction... for readying yourself for Christ. Last night our conversation as a family was about being ready all the time, you know "but mom, aren't we always supposed to be ready?" Yes, yes we are.  And during Advent we concentrate even harder on weeding out what we've not gotten right and working on things.

One of the first Devotions on the Best Advent Ever, there was a bonus video by Jen Fulwiller (I don't really know her, but I call her Jen because you know, I know her "in my mind"). Anyway.. she talks about striving for perfection, and she is describing what I have been going through "in my mind" about my conversion, about never being good enough, etc. I had not been able to put it into words. And I'm so happy I listened to this clip. Day 4, Best Advent Ever. So now you know, I have been beating myself up, comparing myself to others... not "getting" everything about our Faith, and really struggling. But I could never put it into words because I was too busy stressing over it. HA

I am really enjoying this Advent because I have let that go. I don't feel like I have to do everything everyone else is doing. I'm no longer confused about what Catholicsm is (yes, I was confused by the people, not the teachings).  I also realize that I am not "good enough" for God. None of us are, but HE loves us, imperfections and all. And people - no one can take that away from you (or me). Thank you Jesus.

In 2012 or before, I honestly can't remember... I created cards for our Advent Calendar. Specific things I knew we did and some I knew that we needed to do. I've seen many people selling them online and though I don't mind the entrepreneurial spirit, I say, get some business cards (Avery, but be careful of the glossed ones because your ink won't stick to them if you have a laser jet printer (ask me how I know - ha!)) add art or a border, and print them out for yourselves!! I just redid ours (he's 12 now) and here are the kinds of things that are on our cards:


These cards make our Advent Calendar so much more meaningful than a little chocolate or a toy in the calendar. I am not shaming people who do that. Just sharing ideas.  Later this week, I will share some resources for explaining Advent to a child. 

School:

We are really enjoying 6th Grade. Today is Monday, and since we go-go-go all weekend, I let him sleep in, when I can, on Mondays. I actually have pictures of science to share, but I think I will save it for a separate post. I'm going to tell you about the science curriculum we are using. We LOVE IT!

Christopher is a natural at editing. He does well, instinctively in English. Like me, that makes it harder to learn. No seriously. It's like, I GET IT, MOVE ON. But we have to know the names of the nouns, etc. lol Poor us, we are learning together. HA

Church:

We are really enjoying our Parish. As converts, we really struggled to find our home. The first Parish was love filled. But their Religious Ed and other things left a lot to be desired. The second Parish was very spirit-filled and Pious, but not friendly. But this Parish seems to be the right amount of both and we are thrilled. I feel like I am telling the Goldilocks story. HA  

Home:

Well, we never did get our home painted. Sigh. And I am glad we didn't. We ended up needing to replace our appliances (microwave and stove/oven did a tandem die, so we replaced the whole suite).  
I may have already told ya'll. SO if I am duplicating, forgive me. But here is a picture of our kitchen all decked out in stainless steel:



We had Thanksgiving here, just us three... and we loved these new appliances. Truly blessed. 

I hope to blog more. I really do have a lot to say, but I'm perpetually behind and frankly, in this season, the blog is not my priority. I am working on a plan. Thank you for your patience.

Love, hugs & blessings,

Em