Thursday, December 22, 2016

Last weekend we had a beautiful snowy day. I had a lot of fun watching the birds and taking photos. Luke had a great time sledding with one of the neighbor children on the little slope across the street. 

Amy, Emmeline, and I have been busy baking our traditional cookie favorites. Amy took this platter to work this morning.  

This week there were peaceful days of snow, and birds, and long starlit nights. There were also hectic days of holiday preparations and work. I have cleared my calendar of appointments next week and am looking forward to a restful Christmas holiday filled with books and games, movies, treats, letter writing, and maybe some knitting and walks in the winter woods. I haven't had time to knit at all this season, and Seth has been asking for a new pair of slippers. I want to knit myself some new mittens for my birthday in January. I am hoping that after the holidays I will have a little more time to do those things and also post here more often.

From my house to yours, wishing you a bright and blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Two weeks into Advent and nineteen days 'til Christmas. I love the tradition of lighting candles for Advent. The first Advent candle is for hope and expectation. The second is for the coming peace. The third is for joy that the promise is almost fulfilled. The fourth is for the love that God has for mankind. 

Yesterday it snowed! It was just a dusting really, but it made everything sparkly and pretty. 

Presley watched the snow out the front window, and then contemplated the meaning of it all. Besides being a pugilist, he's also a philosopher. He is very fond of Christmas and extra treats.

Monday was a rare day--my oldest children all had it off from work, so we went to our favorite Christmas tree stand and played among the dark and spicy pines. Then, we fed the 'Christmas goats'. My favorite was the little blue eyed black one that had no horns.

Emmeline wore the hat I knit in fisherman's rib for her last year. Pink is her favorite color.

Inside the Christmas shop, it was warm and toasty and full of glittering wonders. We oohed and ahhed over miniature houses for the tiniest elves and needle felted Christmas mice dressed up in wee fair isle scarves.

In the greenhouse there were Christmas cacti 'trees', bright poinsettias, and a friendly bear who was giving out hugs.

Afterward, we had cups of cocoa and gingerbread. It was pretty wonderful. We really needed a happy day together after a month of too many doctors' appointments and problems and just overall gloom in the world. The news and internet have become so negative that I had to take a break from both for several weeks and remove myself from the clamoring voices.  

I need Advent more than ever this year: a season to reflect, repent, and prepare for the Lord's coming. 
♥ Mornings spent in quiet prayer: What fills my heart?  Have I loved God and neighbor with all of my heart, soul, and mind? Are the aims and intentions of my life informed by Sacred Scripture and Tradition or by the whims of the world? What false narratives have corrupted my mind and made my path crooked?
♥ Evenings spent praying St. Andrew's Novena (15x daily from the Feast of St. Andrew--November 30th--through Christmas Eve):
Hail and blessed be 
the hour and moment 
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem,
in piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God!
to hear my prayer and grant my desires
(mention your intentions here)
through the merits of 
Our Savior Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother.
♥ Days spent removed from the noise of the world as much as possible, creating a 'Christmas mood' in my home: an atmosphere of light, good will, comfort, and joy.
♥ Re-aligning my path to follow the True Light. 

According to National Review, sixty students and some faculty members recently marched across the campus of Providence College to the president’s office, demanding action against English professor Anthony Esolen for writing an article published in Crisis magazine about the 'totalitarian diversity cult' that has taken over the university (a private Roman Catholic institution in Rhode Island). This is important because there is a growing intolerance for Christians throughout the world, particularly towards Catholic Christians who are being silenced, harassed, ridiculed, and persecuted in record numbers.  Peter Viereck († 2006) American poet, political thinker, and historian once commented that "Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of the liberals." 

Michael Kirke has written another eye-opening article on Garvan Hill about what is behind the moral shift and deconstruction of western culture in "No Phantom Menace--the real thing." It's worth reading, even if you believe that Christianity is responsible for everything that is wrong with the world. Why? Because if you don't know all of the sides of an issue and haven't given it careful consideration, then your opinion is uninformed, and you really don't know. I wonder how many people took the time to research both sides of the Dakota Access Pipeline project/protest before taking a stand? I wonder why it is that many vegans are also pro choice?  I wonder why Artists for Love left out whites, men, and Christians (the most persecuted religious group in the world) from their list of who they are "standing with" when their mission is "to remind others that we are standing together, united in love and acceptance" ? Their list is: 
We Stand With You:
Indigenous people
the disenfranchised
All people of color
And anyone feeling alone or scared
We all bleed red when we are cut. We all have the same needs for food, shelter, clean water and air, work, health care, education, and love. Why can't we stand with all people? I see no difference between the "left" and the "right"--both sides are dominated by hate and greed no matter how often the word love gets tossed around. 

The world needs Advent more than ever--a change of heart towards God and neighbor.
But, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith upon the earth? (Luke 18:8)