Advent is Waiting

This phrase makes me think of the animated movie Atlantis. In order to convince Milo, the scrawny bookworm to take the plunge and go on an expedition to discover the lost city, the financial backer Preston Whitmore says to him, “Atlantis is waiting.” This phrase always gets me, the excitement and anticipation. I wish someone would come around to each of us before a big decision and whisper with that same enthusiasm, “_____ is waiting.”

Friends, Advent is waiting. It’s only a few days away. Are you ready? Am I ready? It’s too bad we don’t have a Preston Whitmore who organizes our whole life ahead of our decisions so that the answer is obvious. What we can do, however, is take these opportunities the Church regularly builds into the liturgical year. Advent is the perfect time to step back, slow down and build momentum in our spiritual life.

This year’s Advent Journals are officially here! There are two different journals, both in pdf format. One narrows your focus to the 4 Sundays of Advent. Each day of the week you read one of the readings, and at the end of the week there are a few reflections. On Fridays, I’ve offered a few key themes and images found in the readings and expanded on their importance. On Saturday, inspired by the overall themes of the Sunday, there is a reflection on one of the aspects of Jesus. The Homily Notes space from last year is still there and can be used for additional note taking. Also, and this is so exciting, I figured out the booklet printing issue from last year so there are 2 versions of this journal, one in Booklet Format and one that is A5 size. If you print the A5 size at home you will need to cut the pages down after printing. If you choose the booklet be sure you select “booklet” or “book fold” in your printer’s settings.

Keep in mind that this journal is preparing for the upcoming Sunday of Advent, so it starts this coming Monday Nov. 25!

The second journal is a repeat from last year. I love using Lectio Divina for Advent. I’ve updated the dates and Scripture verses but the rest of the journal is much the same from last year. The last page is still blank if you would rather select your own Scripture verses. I did not do a booklet format for this journal because of all the writing space so there is only one version of the Lectio journal.

Remember, these journals are totally FREE for you to print, so you can grab both and see which works best for you. Or maybe you will find both inspirational. I’d love to hear which you chose and why. Feel free to share this post with anyone and everyone. It is my Advent gift to all of you.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

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.
    IMG_2498
    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.

 

O Antiphons

They’re here!! I love the O Antiphons of Advent. These ancient prayers are what make up the text to my favorite Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel. I never get tired of it. The O Antiphons are used as part of Evening Prayer the last 7 days before Christmas Eve. So today is the first day:

O Wisdom of our God Most High,

guiding creation with power and love:

come to teach us the path of knowledge!

Each of these 7 days I’m going to be posting on the Daily Graces Facebook page which Antiphon is for their day as well as a short prayer that echoes the idea of that antiphon.

If you haven’t already, check out the page and be sure to “like” it so you get all the Antiphons. I’m purposefully not posting these daily in the blog in an effort to decrease email traffic during these last days of Advent. I don’t know about you but my email has been exploding the last two weeks with sales, promotions and gift guides. While one or two were genuinely helpful, it’s been a chore to go through and delete delete delete.

If you’re trying to spend time away from your computer or phone to help you better prepare your heart for Jesus’ birth, be sure to check out the USCCB page which has all the Antiphons listed. You can copy them down and pray them each day without needing any technology besides pen and paper! Or if you have access to Evening Prayer the Antiphons are listed there as well.

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Well I’m not used to posting from my phone and accidentally published this before it was finished! I wanted to wish you all a blessed Gaudete Sunday, a Happy Advent and a very Merry (early) Christmas!

May peace and joy always reign in your hearts and your homes