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Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

Dec 4

god-looks-for-you
Today I felt broken 😦 a different broken. Instead of my heart hurting- it was my mind, my pride… This morning I was feeling so out of whack, I was distracted and then I thought we could have a nice family time, reading our advent book, but I was such a mess – nothing was working and I was making ugly angry choices and trying to control again—ughhh. – and I so hate when I do those things!


“What Adam and Eve didn’t know was that there was a thief in the garden, an enemy of God. Satan is like a wily snake that slithers on at the corner of everything and entangles around you. And if he can trip you w a lie so you fall away from closeness w God, he can snatch your happiness, steal God’s glory, swipe away your love for God and leave you robbed. 

So that snake sneaked up to Eve, wrapped his own lie tight right around her and hissed his poison right into her heart: God doesn’t really love you, doesn’t really give you good-enough things. God doesn’t really give the gift of love all the time.  Eve fell for it. She ate from that one tree God had forbidden only because He loved her, because He didn’t want her to die!  But Eve swallowed the fruit’s juice, and the snakes lie and death began to flow through her veins.

And when you trip you can end up such a bloodied mess that you go and hide, you can fall off the path and end up lost in the long grass. “

 

Just like eve, the serpent hissed this morning that I could have everything my way today (after a hard day yesterday) and I took the fruit of control and swallowed down that old lie yet again, and it sapped my joy, stole my peace and robbed me of His life till I too felt I was dying…

And all I wanted to do was go hide from the world, from everyone- even God.

I don’t feel that way too often, but it always, always surprises me when it comes… and it always swallows me whole.

I did not like the person I was… And I felt ugly and awful and like such a failure, that it was as if nothing and no one could ever make it right again…

And nothing was able to reach me, I felt like hiding even there at Mass… went up to receive feeling hopelessly unworthy and even then I knew I was still out of sorts, a mess- and this storm in my soul was not passed…
Only later, in the afternoon as we read these words in our advent book, did God’s truth make it’s way back into my ugly heart and everything began to make sense again, as if the world was finally back right way up.

 

“When we’ve fallen and we’re lost God comes w one question, where are you?  Your God looks for you when you’re lost. He calls for you when you’re ashamed and broken and hurting…  Whenever you fall, fall short, whenever you sin, God whispers to you w a love that wraps around you like a gentle arm: wherever you are I will come find you. Whatever you’ve done, I will always keep looking for you, until My eyes see you, till My hands of healing reach you, till I can hold you close again to my heart. “

 

As I’m feeling so broken and so lost, that I don’t even know the way back to God, He comes looking for me. So now matter how lost and alone I’m feeling, how deep the venom has gone, He will still be able to find and rescue me, and make everything right again.

And He does this for all of us, because that’s who He is.

 

All excerpts are from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.

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Advent Day 21 – Expanding Our Heart

By Father Robert Barron

Sometimes we are made to wait because we are not yet adequately prepared to receive what God wants to give us. In his remarkable letter to Proba, Saint Augustine argued that the purpose of unanswered prayer is to force expansion of the heart. When we don’t get what we want, we begin to want it more and more, with ever greater insistency, until our souls are on fire with the desire for it. Sometimes it is only a sufficiently expanded and inflamed heart that can take in what God intends to give.

What would happen to us if we received, immediately and on our own terms, everything we wanted? We might be satisfied in a superficial way, but we wouldn’t begin to appreciate the preciousness of the gifts. After all, the Israelites had to wait thousands of years before they were ready to receive God’s greatest gift.

Even if we are on the right track and even if we desire with sufficient intensity what God wants to give, we still might not be ready to integrate a particular grace into our lives or to handle the implications of it.

How badly do you want Christ this Advent?

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We’re staying with my in-laws over the holidays because DH’s sister will be coming back for a visit. As a result my day is a little out of whack and I forgot about Quick Takes until now. (and I also forgot to watch the 2nd episode of Minor Revisions 😦 )

Friday Dec 14

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Little one laying beside me soundly sleeping
my 3 yr old cooperating for me to get a special photo of him when he says his prayers
running fast clearing obstacles in my house and feeling like I was flying
grace for the first time to immediately recognize and correct when I have wronged my children
watching at a distance (through the window) as my oldest asked for God’s help to behave better

Evergreen wreath and pomegranates deep red
tiny arils bursting with sweet juice
Marveling as the kids cleaned up their entire room in about 3 minutes all because I counted to 30
Extras hands making light work
Regaining order and cleanliness
All 3 of us together blessing a clean house

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All three of the boys watching tv on the couch together
Hands to fold, a heart to care and lips to lift the hurting up to God in prayer
A bunker for the Holy family and their animals, to hide them from the bad soldiers
Thank You Lord that tragedies like that have not come near to us, that unlike so many mothers, I still have with me all 3 of the children that I birthed.
That all my children are healthy, only suffering injuries that can be made all better by a kiss from mummy
DH’s kindness and generosity towards a friend.

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-the church turned into a theatre, an alternative to the media
-a deeply insightful movie that truly enriches my life for having watched it
-an empty chapel, Jesus there now, just for me
-being so near to the source of all love

The porch and yard lit up with coloured lights
Little one gazing up at me, great big eyes full round
Utter fascination and wonder at just one little element of God’s creation
A sleepy baby being very silly (falling over upside down etc on the couch)
Floppy joe – little baby walking with pjs too long
A new thing, something is changing, I can feel new grace in me, birthed out of the colds and my willingness to praise and stay close to God even in the suffering

Saturday Dec 15
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A packed theatre full of excited kids
The boys waiting patiently for their first movie in theatres
A heartwarming Christmas classic
Stepping out again to a fluffy snowfall

finding the fireplace both DH and I liked – on sale (now just to wait for more to come in)

A crafty girls’ night
Flower angels
Fancy glass mugs
Creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows
A sweet assortment of Christmas cookies
spending that last part of my baby’s birthday with him and his godmother and friends.

Sunday Dec 16
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A warm bowl of spicy chili full of flavor
green cabage leaf bowls
Creamy sweet chocolate pudding

Monday Dec 17
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A fireplace flickering on my kitchen counter
One last google search and finally finding another adorable camera bag for a fraction of the price of the real leather ones.
Children singing arms raised in praise
All of us here together

Tuesday Dec 18
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My oldest and the baby hiding under a table while my middle son takes their picture!
A piston cup race to Bethlehem – ‘We have to race to Bethlehem’
Boys watching as a truck tow the old trailer away
Watching them recreate the scene with a truck and a toy house
The sweetest words of faith – My oldest Tyler stomping around the livingroom, ‘I’m making footsteps so baby Jesus can find me.’
My soul/will waking up at last to cooperate with grace and finally get things done

Wednesday Dec 19
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Surprise of Familiar faces at mass
My oldest’s hands together like an angel, in imitation of one of our friends at church a few rows back
Knowing I was right where I belonged at Mass this morning, despite the freezing rain and snow.
Baby staring intently at Jesus in the monstrance through the glass door
A quiet morning visit with friends
Warm tea and falling snow
Sparkly pinecones
The kids with blankets on their heads imitating the characters from the nativity story
Baby hugging the baby doll close
Baby Jesus peeking out of the pocket
Mary and joseph receiving baby Jesus from the advent calendar
Adorable confusion about the true Christmas story (7: And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them… ‘ in the upper room!’ – Tyler)
Baby jesus in the exersaucer

The boys heads glued to the Christmas tree at the end of their bed, faces of wonder lit by the tiny lights
My oldest telling a story to the baby as we both waited for him to fall asleep
a special box with our name on it
A deep brown wood mantle with the perfect curves
Our family photo finally in its place of honor
flickering ‘firelight’
DH and I seeing our vision for a new living room come to life

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Thursday Dec 20

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Snow cross out my window
My living room tidy and organized
Watching baby discovering his prayer shelf

Mary, joseph and the animals walking on a cross to jesus
My 3 yr old joseph with a towel on his head watching the Nativity movie
Re-enacting the nativity story

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helping the kids decorate their own little tree
A quiet moment alone by the fireplace with Christmas hymns
Getting out the door for 2 weeks with EVERYTHING.
The sound of an old familiar voice, after a long absence
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Whoops, I’m little late getting up today. Not like I was up late watching Minor Revisions or anything…

Here’s my week of gifts, 7 quick takes = 7 days of the week :).

Fri Dec 7
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Grace on the phone – my best friend giving the gift of faith back to me
My 3 yr old’s determination to have the new bottle of juice – to himself: ‘ it’s heafy, I haf to be vewy cahful’ bawwww

Sat Dec 8
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Big kid tenderly holding daddy’s face nose to nose during the rosary
Nativity figures doing the conga while waiting for baby Jesus
Middle son and a mr potato head mustache, only a week too late
A nativity curtain call at the edge of the table
Big kid underneath the couch cushions while the world goes on around him
Baby’s joy at finding him there
Nativity figures on their look out posts
Twilight blue and the wet glow of headlights in the side mirror
Green and red reflections, on the pavement
A night out
Finally understanding why I have not been very good at shooting pool, and learning how to do better
laughter and Goofing around
2 more games at the end of the night since we had only gotten to play once

Sun Dec 9
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Baby blueberry smiles
2 boys in a chair sharing a book
Sink plug suspended in time
My little penguin reading
Unity of mind — DH and I discovering we were both ready to change up the livingroom

Surprise blessings – that we are actually going to have a fireplace in the next few weeks, a blessing I hoped for someday, but never thought I’d have any time soon
God’s perfect timing, all of this happening just as my brother is moving to a bigger apartment
baby peeking out from his snowsuit, only his eyes visible
Jet trail beams radiating out from a cloud
The sweetest penguin, the silliest monkey and the cutest little turtle
-little stars singing into the mics
Irony on a sock

Family dinner by advent candelight
Going to help my brother move some furniture
Walking into a cozy living room with – an electric fireplace.
The fulfillment of a little personal whim, a loved one’s priceless reaction when he saw the red van instead of our car
DH sitting on the couch watching one of our praise videos on youtube
All 3 kids and I singing bedtime praises to God, arms and voices raised
The littlest one walking all around the room waving his hands and squeaking with delight
My littlest’s clear exclamation of recognition as he reached for the crucifix, ‘thas Jesus!’

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Mon Dec 10
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My big kid hair tousled still trying to sleep in
My oldest content to read for a while today, out of the book of his choosing
Assorted tiny letters spelling out words
A gift from my 3 yr old- a winter rosary decoration for my dishwasher
My oldest in the next room with his big heart, singing through his entire repertoire of songs to help his baby bother go to sleep
Being a pillow for someone you love, even when it’s horribly uncomfortable

Tues Dec 11

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Raindrops twinkling in the sun like stars on the sunroom windows
My oldest fairly competently reading through several pages more of the more more more book.
Walrus baby
Little feet crossing the wood floor
Baby clapping two mismatched car shoes
Little one in peaceful slumber
A surprise extended chat with my mom on the phone
-a beautiful image of Mary, womb round with God
-encouragement in my spiritual walk
-a clean slate
Cloud patches in starry sky

Wed Dec 12
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Morning sun on the wall in the ktichen
Confession and the grace I received last night, since I am too sick to go to mass today
DH staying home to help out
Today feeling crummy I’m thankful for the gift of faith, to provide both purpose and comfort in my suffering
A much needed morning nap
Prayer over the phone – the amazing things God is doing in my best friend’s life through our friendship
Thank you for opportunities to bring healing and wholeness to the lives of my friends
baby sleeping peacefully next to his sleeping brother’s feet

Thurs Dec 13
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-waking up the first morning after being sick when you start to feel better
-my oldest leading rosary with his younger brother on the couch when my throat was too sore to read
-a card to bless others and practice mailing things
-thank you for new resolution and a symbol of that commitment
Real change, the grace to remember to stop and speak respectfully
Baby pointing excitedly at babies on my computer monitor
An entertaining and soul-nourishing reality show
Getting a glimpse into the life of a blogger I’ve been reading since I started being interested in faith
Seeing the complete picture too, complete with scorpions, conversion history, her life today and even a few surprises
Informative and interesting Christmas facts during commercials
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This year in the Catholic Church has been declared the year of faith. To a lot of people this seems odd, unnecessary. Why would we as Catholics need a year of faith, don’t we already live that? It would be like if Tim Hortons declared, the year of coffee. We’d all be confused, I mean for them, isn’t every year the year of coffee?

We can say then, that it is a year for us to reach out with faith to others. But, before we can reach the world we HAVE to let God reach us.

Catholics, Christians, just stop and think for a moment, how different would your life be, if you didn’t have faith? How different would your life be, if you really lived and BELIEVED your faith?

Many people discover God’s great love for them, join a faith community and continue to attend, participating in the same manor each week and they are content, but they never go beyond that point. They believe, they hope, they pray, but they never grow. Love is meant to be dynamic. Would it be a good thing if we could say that every single married couple loved each other now with the exact same love they had on their wedding day, if they didn’t love any more or any less but with the exact same love? No! Love is meant to grow with time. And it’s the same in our walk with God.

Regardless of where you are in your walk with God, where you have been together, God has so much MORE He longs to give you.

In this year of faith, God has more. More for you. More for every person in this world.

This reflection is based on a series of talks by Michael Dopp at an Advent Mission at our parish.

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This is a great site, I definitly want to look at more later, but for now I share for the rest of the world who didn’t know about it 🙂

Catholic Child

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Today I put together a set of 24 advent calendar scriptures to use with the kids. Each day when they move the counter in their advent calender, etc, there is a little paper with a couple lines of scripture to read. The scriptures tell the Christmas story, a few verses at a time. I heard the idea from another mom at our Alpha group, and I thought it was a great way to bring a little more of Christ into the days leading up to Christmas. Alas, I’m only getting them printed today, so I’ve missed half the month, but I will play catch up with a couple a day, and with any luck my DMIL will read them with them while I’m in the hospital…

The mom said she wrote them out by hand one year, then found a neat printable version online. Unfortunately she was unable to find it again for me, but since it’s easy to find any verse from the bible, and in any version, I copied the scripture texts off the internet. I’ve combined a few of the Gospels to get the complete story, and made a few changes to help it flow, but you can do what you like with it. I left the verse numbers in, and I used the Revised Standard Version text. Since neither of us could find a good set of ready-to-print advent calendar scriptures, I thought I’d post mine here, so that anyone else who likes can use them with their kids as well 🙂

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24 Scriptures for the Month of December.

–1–
[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God; [3] all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1).

–2–
26: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27: to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1).

–3–
28: And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29: But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30: And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (Luke 1).

–4–
31: And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call him Jesus. 32: He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33: and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and his kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1).

–5–
34: And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” 35: And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. (Luke 1).

–6–
36: And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37: For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1).

–7–
38: And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1).

–8–
[18] And the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she was found to be with child from Holy Spirit; [19] and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. [20] But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; [21] she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1).

–9–
[22] All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: [23] “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1).

–10–
[24] When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took Mary as his wife, [25] but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1).

–11–
39: In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40: and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted her cousin Elizabeth. 41: And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42: and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43: And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44: For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. (Luke 1).

–12–
46: And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47: and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48: for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant. (Luke 1).

–13–
From this day, all generations will call me blessed; 49: for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. (Luke 1).

–14–
50: And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. (Luke 1). 51: He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, 52: he has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53: he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. (Luke 1).

–15–
54: He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55: as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.” (Luke 1).

–16–
56: And Mary remained with her about three months, and then returned to her home. (Luke 1).

–17–
1: In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 3: And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. 4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5: to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Luke 2).

–18–
6: And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be delivered. 7: And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2).

–19–
8: And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9: And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10: And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11: for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12: And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2).

–20–
13: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2).

–21–
15: When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16: And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17: And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; 18: and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19: But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2).

–22–
20: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 21: And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2).

–23–
[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, [2] “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” [3] When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; [4] and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. [5] They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: [6] `And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'” (Matthew 2).

–24–
[7]Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; [8] and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” [9] When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. [10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; [11] and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold-because he is a king, frankincense because he is God, and myrrh because he will die. [12] And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. (Matthew 2).

There is another printable version that can be found here but I wanted a bit more of the story. This version would be good for really little kids, like under 2.

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