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

Too much of a good thing + Big Announcement!

I think by now most of you know I enjoy crafting. It is something that fills me up, that brings me joy. As a mom, I want my kids to have a love of creation and creativity. I enjoy sharing my projects with them and letting them help pick out colors, materials, etc. I also love to learn new craft skills (see these cookies or my brief stint at crochet pattern design). As a person, I am a learner. Some people thrive under pressure, others in peace and stillness. I thrive in any type of learning environment/learning experience.

The desire to learn this new craft become all consuming. I am slowly pulling my head out of the sand from such a period of time – English paper piecing people, it’s super awesome and I love it! However, like all parents have said to their children, there can be too much of a good thing.

My outburst of energy and excitement for the new thing completely outshines all the other projects and sometimes, responsibilities, that need my attention. For obvious example, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here, for which I sincerely apologize.

I love this blog. I love the space to write, a place to share my thoughts, ideas and hopefully my feeble witness to our beautiful faith lived in the everyday ordinariness of my life. As I’ve mentioned before, I am as surprised as anyone that this blog is still even a thing, since my usual habit pattern is to follow the bright shiny new craft/project until another one comes along. That is almost what happened these past few months.

No, I haven’t been English paper piecing this whole time (for those who didn’t click the link, basically it’s a kind of hand sewn quilting method). I was writing, a lot actually. Just not here.

I’m pleased to announce, and hopefully by announcing it here I will find the inspiration, stamina and discipline to finish, that I am in the process of writing a book.

Yikes, I said it. Yes, I am writing a book. 2 if I’m perfectly honest, but one is more of a long term goal versus the immediate project. I’m avoiding saying “trying” because that’s the kind of attitude that has filled up too many craft bins of unfinished “bright shinies” that no longer hold my interest.

So, this book. It’s actually in a rather different direction than what I usually write. The book is tentatively titledĀ In the Person of ChristĀ and is an in-depth look at St. Paul’s Christological hymn in Philippians 2:5-11. The idea springs two places. First, from the popularity of the Lent and Advent Lectio Divina journals. Second, from a blog post I read about a group of monks who have all 150 Psalms memorized so that they are able to say their daily prayers without needing any texts. Amazing, right!?!

From my general and theological reading, and conversations with friends, it has become apparent to me (and this is also apparent to many other Catholics), that our love for God’s Word is quite simply, lacking. We know a few stories, some nice parables, perhaps a miracle or two, but that’s it. The Bible isn’t often an integral part of our daily prayer, and our primary exposure is readings at Mass. There are books upon books, videos upon videos, about the Scriptures. These are fantastic resources, but they can be often large, overwhelming, or simply contain too much information for any fruitful prayer to result.

We should love the Scriptures. We should be able to keep it upon our lips and hold it at the forefront of our thoughts. My book will, I hope, inspire you to pray more deeply with this specific passage as well as see the fruits of having a Scripture passage memorized.

This book is part journal, part guided lectio, part Scripture study and part memorization tools. Here’s how it will work. I am breaking down the hymn into its individual verses. Each chapter begins with the focus verse and a page for guided lectio divina and journaling. This is similar to the lectio divina journals. Then, after praying with the Scripture, I offer a well researched and concise study of the verse. I have spent a great deal of time reading articles and listening to lectures about the Christological hymn. St. Paul packs so much into these few verses, it’s incredible! That is why I wanted to take it slowly, verse by verse, so we can really soak up and allow God’s Word to mould our hearts.

The final piece is memorization. There is something to be said about the things we can rattle off without thinking. How many songs do we know by heart? How many math facts can we say without thinking? What stories and fables from our childhood do we still remember? Our brains have an incredible capacity for information and when we work at it, for memorization. How wonderful would it be if, like those monks, we had a Psalm for when we are worried, or when we are bursting with joy? In this case, by the end of the book you will have memorized 7 of the most powerful verses in the New Testament. The message of these verses quite literally changed the world.

This book is still in progress, but I do have a draft of the first chapter to share with you. I would love to hear your thoughts, feedback, comments, critiques, anything that you think would help make this project a success. (A quick note, I do know that some of the footnotes may not be complete/in the proper format yet. As I said, work in progress) My aggressive timeline is to have a final draft in the hands of an editor before we start up homeschool in mid-August. Click on the link below to see the draft.

In the Person of Christ Chapter 1 Draft

I hope you enjoy this sample. If nothing else, please pray for the success of this book and the people who will read it. It is my deepest wish that through it, they fall more deeply in love with God and His Word.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com