The Woes of Free Shipping: The Art of Waiting

I’m trying not to get into the holiday season too early. We still have 2 more holidays to go before we actually get to Advent and Christmas. But already people are starting to talk about Christmas gifts. And I’ll be honest, as a crafter I’m already knee deep in crochet projects for Christmas gifts.

I read something recently about small businesses, especially the home businesses that many moms are part of. Maybe it’s a small Etsy or Peter’s Square business, maybe it’s home-baked cookies at the farmers’ market or locally sourced honey. Often times, the products these small businesses may cost more than similar products you might find at Walmart or Amazon. And more often than not, they can’t support the free shipping we have been conditioned to expect, or even deserve.

The ability to buy whatever we want, and can have 2-day shipping to boot, has encouraged us as a society to become even more impatient than human nature already inclines us to be. Our attention spans, and capacity for waiting, continues to diminish. We can’t even wait for the holidays to arrive in their natural order of time. We are so excited for what comes next, instead of relishing what is now.

Even as I type this, I am anticipating what is coming, instead of being present in what is now. I almost said “As we look forward to Advent coming, it is a great time to slow down and practice waiting.” But you know what, why wait for Advent? Because I don’t know about you, but I could do with slowing down. My head is already starting to spin with Christmas present ideas, what to make for Thanksgiving, whether to host an Advent Bible study or not, how long our homeschool break should be, etc. Actually, I think that I always could use some slowing down.

So starting today, literally today, I am purposefully slowing down. Here are two things I am implementing immediately, hopefully with more to follow.

  1. I’m trying to drink more water. I’ve put a tracking system into my planner (just little water droplets to cross off, nothing fancy) to help remind me to drink more water. Because when I am hydrated, I’m less anxious, less stressed and my body is able to function as it was designed.
  2. I am saying a daily rosary. A bit ago I purchased a beautiful rosary bracelet from ChewsLife, a website run by moms in Michigan that has created beautiful rosarys for young and old. Literally, they have rosaries and rosary bracelets designed for little babies with safe, silicone beads that they can chew on and play with. It’s so cool. Their rosary bracelets for adults are lovely because they have a movable crucifix that you can use to hold your place, so that your rosary can stretch throughout your day (the only way I am able to get a rosary finished.
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    My ChewsLife rosary. See the hook clasp on the crucifix and Miraculous Medal? It fits perfectly between any of the beads to mark where I stopped to handle [insert crisis here].

Though not part of slowing down necessarily, there is another practice that I am going to be more conscious about employing. Before jumping on Amazon to grab whatever it is I’m looking for, especially if it is a gift, I’m going to start smaller. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Peter’s Square is basically Catholic Etsy. Which is so cool! Then there is Etsy itself, which hosts so many incredible Catholic products and shops. There is also your local area, where perhaps you have smaller artisans who take such time and care in crafting their product. When I find that perfect gift, I’m not going to shoot over to Amazon to find something similar but with free or quicker shipping. Instead, I’m going to be willing to wait, to pay for shipping if asked. It is a way to intentionally help support another, and to put into practice the art of waiting.

 

The Mass Box – It’s Official People

For those of you who have been around the blog for a while you will know that we LOVE our Mass Box subscription. The kids so look forward to the videos, crafts, and now the bonus Superbook DVDs. Recently, the Mass Box has teamed with the Christian Broadcasting Network and every monthly box includes a Superbook DVD. Anyone remember Superbook from growing up? They’ve updated the animation and characters but still encourage your kids to dive into the Bible stories.

I’ve been toying with the idea of branching out into the world of affiliate programs, but don’t want to get caught up in it. Do you know what I mean? So, starting slowly, I’m so pleased to share that I am officially a promoter and affiliate for the Mass Box.

We were one of the first families to try out this subscription box. Back in Lent 2016 Ashley and Raymond (founders of the Mass Box) sought out 100 families to do a trial run and give feedback for their idea. The response was overwhelmingly positive from us and from others, as you may have guessed since they are still going strong! We have loved growing with the Mass Box family. I have seen how attentive they are to the needs of families as they continue to ask for feedback, solicit reviews and ideas and engage in encouraging and supportive conversations with their subscribers.

The Mass Box is, for those who don’t know or need a refresher, is a monthly subscription box that helps prepare the whole family for Sunday Mass. The crafts are best for, in my opinion, ages 4 – 8 or 9, but they can definitely be done younger (with help) or older for craft loving kids. Each week there is a short Youtube video where Ashley and Raymond’s children do the weekly craft, explain the readings and how everything is connected. These videos are completely free for anyone – check them out! In the box comes everything you need to complete the crafts for the month. They also include a weekly magazine that has the directions for the craft, the readings and some activities that relate to the readings (word searches, colorings, Q&A, games, etc.). These magazines are perfect to bring to Mass for busy hands that need something to focus on. And on top of all that, as I mentioned earlier, now they are also including a new Superbook DVD each month.

Every single Sunday has a craft, magazine and video. Plus, because these people are totally legit and this is what sold me on the whole thing in the first place – they also include crafts, videos and magazines for all the Holy Days of Obligation as well!! You can also opt to skip a month or two if you know you are going to be on vacation or for some other reason know you will be missing the opportunity to do the crafts for a period of time.

The makers of the Mass Box have done a really nice job trying to offer a wide variety of options to fit families of all sizes. You can subscribe for the box with craft supplies for 1-4 children. You can also get a box for just a single month to try it out. There is also something called the Mass Box Lite which includes the craft materials for one Sunday, but the magazines for all the Sundays and Holy Days. You can also order just the magazines if the craft element isn’t totally up your alley. You can also opt to skip a month or two if you know you are going to be on vacation or for some other reason know you will be missing the opportunity to do the crafts for a period of time.

If this sounds like something your family needs, or you know a family that would benefit from this kind of preparation for Mass, please click on any of the links here. You will go straight to the Mass Box website and sign up. Click “Subscribe” at the top of the Mass Box homepage for the subscriptions, or click “One Time Shop” for the single order boxes. As an affiliate, I will receive a 10% kickback on any order you make (subscription or one time) when you use the links here.

If you need more evidence of the enthusiasm for the Mass Box, check out this video my kids took while unboxing the August Box.

This month, our favorite craft was using our Mass Box boxes to make sandals. Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs, directing them to take along for the journey nothing but sandals and a walking stick. Our walking sticks have since turned into fairy wands, but the sandals are still intact and used for spreading the Good News.

As I keep working on my Philippians 2 book, I’m beginning to hope for some more opportunities for this blog. But as all things, finances are part of the equation. My husband and I both appreciate this small way you can support these writing dreams of mine. Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

 

What We Leave Behind

There is a brief story in the Acts of the Apostles about a woman named Tabitha (which is translated as Dorcas within the text). Luke, the author of Acts, recounts how Peter was visiting a community at Joppa and on that occasion one of their number, Tabitha, fell ill and died. When Luke introduces Tabitha, he paints a vivid picture of who she was with just a few words.

She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.

Completely occupied. I am so challenged by this phrase, especially given my penchant for bouncing from one thing to the next. Right now I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series, because in a few months Ben and I are going on a belated honeymoon (yay!) to London, among other places. The books have, if I may borrow the phrase, completely occupied my brain! I have the books open on the counter, I even made a little book weight out of duct tape and pennies so that I wouldn’t have to hassle with opening the book when I have a spare moment to read a few lines. The problem, of course, is self control. Reading beats dusting and dishes any day.

After Tabitha died, the other widows and members of the community bring to Peter the tunics and cloaks she had made for them while she was alive. This is even more indicative of the kind of person Tabitha was. She didn’t just think about good works, she did them. She poured her labors and efforts into those cloaks so much so that they became treasured possessions of those who remained.

Reflecting on Tabitha has been slowly unhooking my mind from those things that keep it from being fully occupied with Christ. Is reading for myself a good thing? Yes, of course! Is it a good thing if it becomes my excuse to neglect my chores or to be short tempered with my children because I didn’t get to finish my chapter.

It comes down to living more purposefully in the present moment. God has gifted me with this day, this moment. How am I going to best use it to bring Him praise and love? Unintentionally, the spot in the kitchen I chose to keep my book happens to be right below an icon of the Blessed Mother I have. I didn’t notice when I started keeping my books there, it was just a convenient spot. Looking back, I can hear God chuckling at me, knowing this process of growth I would be going through under the watchful eye of my little Mother, not realizing until later she was guiding me all along.

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Just as Tabitha gave all of herself to her community, Mary too was “completely occupied” with doing the will of God. Mary teaches us to “ponder these things in our hearts.” The day to day, the big and the small, the joy and the sorrow.

Now, when I go to read and find myself quickly pulled away by the needs of another, I look up at the icon and do my best to thank Mary for the opportunity to read, and the opportunity to serve. I hope that this model of a mother who strives to care for herself as well as others is one that sticks with my children. I want them to grow up recognizing that a life lived in service is a life well lived.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com