Monday, November 17, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the....Already?

As I waited in a parking lot for Jason to pick up some snacks for his Sunday School class, on a very warm, smokey Sunday morning, I couldn't help but feel completely annoyed by the huge and beautifully adorned Christmas tree displayed in the middle of the strip mall, standing there like a desperate plea for us to buy something plastic and/or from China. I can't stand it. Can we please wait until after Thanksgiving, people?
However, the Nativity is on my mind, as the fast has begun. I'm learning to love the rhythm and cycles of the Liturgical year. I'm also trying to make it more tangible for my children. Today I broke out our Advent calendar that has a saint to read about for every day from the beginning of the Nativity Fast to Christmas. Last year, Hannah really enjoyed doing this and would say every evening, "Whose feast is it today?" I'd like to plan ahead better this year and make or do something special for some of those saints like make spruce tree cookies for Saint Herman of Alaska's feast day, and find a good Saint Nicholas book to read and then decorate the house for Christmas on that day. I don't want the season to be gone in a flash, and then feel guilty that I didn't really take advantage of it.

An Orthodox Christian is encouraged to use times of fasting (though it is always good to do so) to replace tv or other distractions (ahem...internet) with spiritual readings, good for the soul. This year I am reading Wounded by Love by Elder Porphyrios. Jason recently read it and really enjoyed it. I honestly think it has made him a more gentle and patient father since reading it. He's read some excerpts to me and I found them quite captivating. So far, it's been an enjoyable read.

For the kids, we're still reading out of Hannah's Children's Bible every evening. I normally will read some of that and then one other kid's book, or a chapter of some children's literature. We read Little House in the Big Woods, and then Little House on the Prairie back to back. We debated on reading Plum Creek next but decided to start The Chronicles of Narnia instead. I just love Lewis, and reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has been a treat for me and her. Reading some of his books such as The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters really prepared me for Orthodox Christianity, as a friend of mine has said before as well. Lewis is such a wonderful Christian author, and I'm so excited my kids get to read/hear these gems.

Jason and I have made some Christmas gifting plans I'm looking forward to as well. We are going to make the majority of our gifts this year, and I found some really good and do-able ideas out of some books at the library. It's so nice having a handy husband (though he dislikes the word handy - he really is). We've got most of our supplies ready, but I can't tell you what we're making because it's a secret. :) It involves wood. Should be fun. Jason and I have also decided to buy each other's Christmas gifts from a thrift store. I hate feeling worried about money and it always gets tight at Christmas, so rather than running up credit cards and giving ourselves ulcers, I think we've found some thoughtful solutions to no presents at all.

On Saturday we had an ultra sound of our little butterbean. He or she is doing just fine in there. We've decided to keep this baby a surprise and asked to not find out the sex. So I'm eagerly awaiting the birthday and the joy of finding out what we are having as we have him or her. We waited for Hannah and that was so much fun. Nothing like it. Any guesses?

Finally, here is a picture of my mom and I (sorry Mom, this was the only picture that came out) when we went to see Wicked last week at the Pantages Theater in LA (which is a gorgeous venue btw) with some of my mom's coworkers. It was a very impressive production and I thoroughly enjoyed our evening out. We also had a lovely dinner at The Stinking Rose, and I think I've just now recovered from the garlic overdose!

And one last thing - my prayers are going out to everyone close to the terrible fires that were creating havoc. Everyone I know is OK, thank God. My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes and belongings.


Blogger Mimi said...

Lord have Mercy, Lord have Mercy, Lord have Mercy!

I love how you are commemorating Advent! Yay!

10:26 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

And, you and your mom look fabulous!

10:26 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

Where did you get your Advnet Calendar with stories of saints for each day? I'd love to find one!

1:40 PM  
Blogger tifandtheboys said...

we have made our boys gifts too- our biggest focus the past two years is in giving relationally... because God sent his son, to be in relationship with us.... believing that that is what the gift is about.... giving of yourself. keeping it simple, joyfilled and in peace. Have a silent night my sweet dear friend, and never loose sight that our God came on this early morn to give to us the fullness of love. Merry Christmas.

3:48 PM  

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