Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rejoicing in the Midst of Sorrow

I posted all the previous music videos well in advance of their publication, and now they are coming to an end because today is as far as I got.  Not because Christmas is coming to an end, but because a great sorrow has struck our family, and we will be burying a beloved father and father-in-law this weekend.

His death was unexpected because, though he had recovered from pneumonia just before Christmas, he was feeling well and strong Sunday night.  He passed peacefully in his sleep, just as we would all wish to go.  The whole family is devastated and heartbroken, and struggling through that numbness that allows them to do all the necessary planning and preparation.

I probably won't have time to post anymore Christmas music after today, but I will still be rejoicing in the Savior's birth.  Last night, I was missing the joyful light of the candles in the Advent wreath, so I...finally...replaced them with new white ones, and we ate our pizza with the glowing reminder that, despite our heavy hearts, Christ had come to save us.

Today's Christmas carol is In Dulci Jubilo and I've put the English translation below.  The last verse is especially worth reading.

God's peace to you all!  May your year be blessed!

Good Christian men rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say
News! News!
Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before Him bow
And He is in the manger now
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye hear of endless bliss
Joy! Joy!
Jesus Christ was born for this
He hath ope'd the heav'nly door
And man is blessed evermore
Christ was born for this
Christ was born for this

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall
Christ was born to save
Christ was born to save

Merry Christmas - Day 7 & Happy New Year!

More from The Messiah today.  This is the Santa Barbara Choral society---the singing is beautiful, the video is fun.

What are you doing today?  Are you still celebrating Christmas or preparing for tonight's festivities?  I always love midnight Mass for New Year's, just as I do for Christmas, but this year we must make do with a daytime Mass.  That's okay, as long as we start the year with Mass and dedicate it to Him who saved us.

May God bless your family in 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas - Day 4

I love these Piano Guys!  Not only is their music beautiful, but they always look like they're having so much fun doing it.  If playing good music and entertaining is God's will for them, I suppose we should all be so joyful doing God's will for us!

Merry Christmas!  May the joy of the Christmas season fill your heart all year long!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas - Day 3

A flash mob at the National Air and Space Museum.  Why are flash mobs always so fun?  Because everyone in the area enjoys the surprise and we're all enjoying it together?  Sounds like a little bit of Christmas to me, even when it isn't Christmas music!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas - Day 2

Merry Christmas!  We are going to spend the rest of the day digesting last night's feast (and all the goodies we ate all day long)!  We will probably watch some movies and play some games...maybe even go outside and shoot arrows.  And we will ask God to shower many graces and blessings on my husband and all the parents who have to go back to work today while the family continues the holiday festivities.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas - Day 1

Merry Christmas!

I'm going to try to post little bits of Christmas joy every day during the Christmas Season---at least until January 6, that is.  I've gotten to where I don't mind so much the early Christmassing by the stores and the neighbors, even if we're not doing much early celebrating at home.  But I do mind the complete cessation of Christmas activities and music on December 26!  So, this is my little part in remedying that situation.  Take the time to enjoy!

God bless!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

O Antiphons

One of my favorite songs is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" whose verses are based on the O Antiphons which are part of the Divine Office.  I think they're part of the evening prayer.

Here's a beautiful set of videos of them being chanted, and you can follow along with the square notes!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pre-Christmas Quick Takes


Advent draws to a close and the children are getting excited!  They'd be way less excited if they knew how much underwear is going to be under the Christmas tree.  Or that some of their gifts aren't even purchased yet because I don't know what to get them.

Funny how they can ask for stuff all year long, and suddenly, I have no idea what they want.  Does that happen to you?


I certainly like for everyone to be happy and have something special that they want for Christmas, but I don't think demand letters gift lists are quite in the spirit of the holiness of the season.  I'd like to buy things I think they'll enjoy and use.  But I'd also like to avoid the extreme of seriously useless and weird gifts like the ones I may have received as a child.


So, we're just a few days out from The Holiest Night of the Year, which is what I'd really like to be focussing on, and there are too many things on my Still to Buy list---Like those things that you can't get from Amazon, you need to go into the store to get, but all your plans to do so have been shattered, like the windshield, by unexpected activities.  You have those, right?  Do you also have the cracked windshield?


It has been so crazy around here that we haven't been able to do any homework (like the fun Advent activity of diagramming sentences that I had planned!) or even Christmas Crafts like these fun flowers:  (and if that Pin shows up, you can seriously give me a fist pump!  If not, sorry.  I'm not a career blogger.)


I'm breaking my Advent rule about not listening to Christmas music before the 25th.  I'm finding it one of the few things that reminds me why all this craziness is happening and helps keeps me sane.  (I think it's helping a little.  I don't burst into tears every day!) I do turn off the really crummy, modern covers of classics because those are never helpful.  Or the ones that avoid the real Reason for the Season.  Here's a modern rendition that I do like:

What are you listening to?


I am totally looking forward to decorating our naked Christmas tree!  I think this is the latest we've ever done it.  Generally, we do it on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, but we went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Peter Jackson Smaug that day.  Afterward, we were tired and Meg had acquired a fever, so it hasn't gotten done.  Still not sure exactly where that fits on the calendar.  It might not be a Family Event but a Mom Drags Out the Ornaments and Lets the Kids Have at It type thing.


It's time to power down those phones and electronic devices to enjoy Christmas.  The only exception being last-minute Amazon purchases!

Hugs!  Enjoy your Christmas, I'll be back for the 12 Days of Christmas!


Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Monday, December 16, 2013

'Twas the Week Before Christmas Daybook


Outside my window...
A sunny day!  It was chilly, but pretty nice out in the sunshine.

I am thinking...
About how many things there are to do before Christmas.  And not just before Christmas, just TODAY.  I've been going all day long and I feel like I haven't got anything accomplished!

I am thankful...
That Pete is home from college for a couple of weeks!  He makes me laugh.

From the school table...
Studying for exams for next rest of the week.  And if Meg gets out of her sickbed, we'll be diagramming a lot of sentences for practice since she did not do well on her Language Arts exam.

In the kitchen...
Whatever I can scrounge up tonight.  I made a list, but didn't have time to shop!

I am wearing...
Black jeans, boots, sparkly top.

What I’m doing with fiber...
Knitting as fast as my fingers will go when I have a chance to do it!  I've given up on the socks as a Christmas present simply because I've been focusing on other gifts.  I think they'll be birthday socks instead---for a person with slightly smaller feet (smaller feet = less knitting!).

I am going...
To the Advent penance service tonight at church.  Taking my college boy and going because I couldn't get to confession last week.

I am wondering...
When will I find time to fold 6 loads of laundry today?

I am reading...
Les Miserables on the Kindle.

I am looking forward to...
Checking off everything on my list, being finished with shopping, wrapping, and running around.  Relaxing with my family and watching Christmas movies.

Around the house...
I bought the tree 2 weeks ago, and it stayed in the garage in water for a week.  Now it is in the house with lights on it, but I don't know when it will be decorated!

One of my favorite things...
Sitting by the fire with a good movie, my family, and my knitting.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Bi-locating, shopping, wrapping, choiring, praying.  Praying should be first on that list.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, December 9, 2013

Living in the Moment

Do you live in the moment?  Or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person who goes from moment to moment simply reacting to the events around you? (me! me!)

So often, I have goals for the day, whether it is to get certain things checked off my list or to behave in a certain way---smile more, bark less---the list keeps me accountable.  While I'm pretty good at checking most things to-do off the list during the course of the day, behavioral goals seem to escape me.  I don't think it really works to make a list that says:

  1. Avoid sweets
  2. Be patient with Child A
  3. Let go of your anger
I mean, if I'm patient the first time, can I check it off my list and then yell the next time?  Or is this a list that is never checked off?

I heard recently on the Taylor Marshall podcast (which you ought to listen to at least once since he gives good spiritual and practical tips) that you should make your short (3-4 items) to-do list during the course of your morning prayer so that you know what God's will is for you that day.  Again, I think it's pretty easy to do three things on your list and let other things wait when you know which ones take precedence.  

What is not so easy is resisting the temptation to yell, or to leave the cookies (today it's peppermint fudge) untouched.  Because...
  • I can stop eating sweets when the fudge is gone, or tomorrow,
  • I didn't get up set over that last infraction of the rules, but this one is really bad,
  • I can forgive so-and-so, and be thankful for the lesson in humility, but can't I just tell him how I feel first?
Know what I mean?

Here's another example that has happened all too frequently over the years...You sit down to read a lesson, usually on religion, and the students start acting up.  Pretty soon, you're so frustrated that you have to walk away---too angry to give a proper lesson in Christianity.  If you don't do the lesson, you-know-wins; if you do the lesson while furious, I think he still wins.

So, when it comes to behavior modification (your own, that is) how do you pull yourself back into the moment and bring Jesus with you?  Sometimes, all too rarely, I'll throw out that prayer of desperation when things are really bad.  Other times, when it's just difficult but not terrible, I don't remember to pray or ask for help.  I just keep soldiering on.  Or worse, I don't even remember that I had a goal to be patient or stick to my diet.  My current feelings, whatever they are, just take over.

How do you keep yourself mindfully in the present?

Rainy Advent Days


Outside my window...
Cold, rainy, dreary, and dark.  While we were away for 5 days visiting family over Thanksgiving, all the beautiful autumn leaves fell from the trees and the grass finished turning brown for the winter.  We came home to a very dreary neighborhood brightened only by the Christmas lights that folks put up.  I never thought I'd say this, but thank goodness for those earlybirds!  And, while much of the rest of the country contends with snow and ice, we still have rain.

I am thinking...
about whether my slowness to celebrate Christmas, waiting until Dec. 25, that is, actually translates into a love of Jesus and joy for His coming in my children's eyes.

I am thankful...
That we got to see my dad and sister, and we had a pretty nice trip, ridiculously long drive notwithstanding.

From the school table...
Monday.  Monday.  Rainy.  Cold.  Monday.  Fire in the fireplace.  Does any of that spell P.r.o.d.u.c.t.i.v.i.t.y to you?  Me, neither.

In the kitchen...
Last night it was totally gluten-free white mac and cheese.  The pasta was rice, quinoa, and corn (I think), with white cheddar cheese.  The sauce was thickened with arrowroot powder instead of flour.  *I* thought it was great; no one else complained, so I think it was alright.  Normally, someone would say something, however mild.  But we ended the white dinner with chocolate (not white) fudge with crushed candycanes and hot chocolate for the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

I am wearing...
Jeans and long, grey cardigan.  It matches the weather.  Cushy, fur-lined Uggs which are cozy for putting my feet up and knitting, but are the worst for walking the dog in the rain.  Yes, the feet stay warm and dry, but the pace slows to a crawl since they're so hard to walk in.  How do young people wear these things????

What I’m doing with fiber...
Knitting a hat for Meg.  I'll show you Wednesday (I hope), but I can't wait to be finished with it.  It's bamboo yarn and I hate it!  My hands are so sore, especially my right wrist which is not capable of lifting anything moderately heavy because of the stupid yarn.  I have another ball of this yarn, and I think I'll post it for sale on Ravelry because I dread the thought of knitting with it.

Ha! Done with that.  The wrist is slowly healing; still requires ice on a daily basis.  I'm working on a lovely, merino wool sock now that does not hurt.

I am going...
To avoid running around in this weather, but my resolve is inversely proportionate to the things I need to do.

I am wondering...
When it will ever stop raining.

I am reading...
My new bedtime reading book is Les Miserables.  At 5 minutes per night....That's about 10 years worth of reading based on some guy's estimate that it took him 45 hours to read it.  I'm pretty sure there will be some skimming involved!

I am looking forward to...
A peaceful Advent season.  And Christmas, especially having my children all together for a few days.

Around the house...
Lots of laundry today.  Blankets crumpled up everywhere.

One of my favorite things...
Sunny skies.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
The usual.  School, carpools, AHG, a Christmas concert at school.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
We cut off the end of the Christmas tree, so now we have Jesse's "stump" for the Advent wreath!  It even has a tiny sprout on the side.  lol.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, December 5, 2013

PHFR - Thanksgiving Recap

round button chicken

Haha!  Not really.  ;-)  These are my "new" Uggs that my sister bought and decided she didn't like, so she gave them to me.  I like the slouchy knit look better than the stiff suede ones, so there's that, but they slip off the heel and are hard to walk in without shuffling.  They sound like house shoes to me!


On our trip out to Missouri for Thanksgiving, we stopped to tour Washington University in St. Louis for that boy in the letter jacket.  (For the record, he loved it.)  But never mind those beautiful, cold children in the picture----look beyond where the sun is shining on the trees and see the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition location!  I know!  Straight out of "Meet Me in St. Louis"!  So. excited.

I wonder if the LMLD Library Project librarian would approve of my Christmas gift from Dad:  all 12 of the Andrew Lange fairy books!  I have several on Kindle since they were out of print, but he's been collecting this Folio Society edition for me for years.  So. excited.  It would be nice to have time to sit down and read some!


The Thinker Rabbit at WashU.  Weird.  And then, every winter someone knits him a sweater in the dead of night.  


The first 6 hours of our drive to MO looked like this, only a good bit darker for the first 4.  Thank heavens we hadn't planned to go to Virginia!

The other real is that all actual Thanksgiving photos are on my sister's camera and have yet to be uploaded and shared.  Probably because she just finished washing the sheets and cleaning up after our invasion!  I don't think she's used to having 7 extra people sleeping in her house!

Go visit all the other lovely ladies at LMLD!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yarn Along

The knitting is a hat for my Meggie.  It's a more colorful version of this one, which we both love, but the white one is mine.    I'm using a bamboo yarn that she picked out because it was soft and colorful.  I really don't care for bamboo textiles----even though bamboo is fast-growing and invasive, it takes a lot of chemical processing to make it a satisfactory fabric.  A more compelling reason never to use it again is that my wrist is extremely sore from it.  My hands ache a little, but the right wrist is really Not Happy!  I've been knitting constantly for the past month or so, and it was only after starting this hat, and working on nothing else, that my wrist started hurting.

Anyone want to buy a ball of white bamboo yarn?

I borrowed Grain Brain from a friend after hearing Dr. Perlmutter on a podcast.  I've been hearing bad things about wheat for years---first from the low-carbers and primal/paleo crowd, and I experience(d) first hand it's addictive qualities, then there's Wheat Belly explaining those addictive qualities, and the fact that it's so hybridized as to be a completely different plant from the one Jesus had experience with.  Now, neurologist Dr. Perlmutter pulls together all the studies that show the negative effect of wheat and sugar on the brain, and gives us his own clinical experiences of patients whose problems are frequently improved or completely eradicated by a low-carb, no wheat, high fat diet. 

There are a lot of people pushing this type of paleo/primal/LCHF (low carb/high fat) diet for various reasons.  Hmmm...Could they be on to something?  I think so.  At my house, we still eat wheat, and way too much at that, but we eat a very whole foods diet with lots of meat, eggs, veggies, whole milk, real butter, coconut oil, etc.  There is absolutely no attempt to avoid fat in this household (except tranfats), and all the bloodwork for me and my DH is excellent.

It's definitely worth a read if you have any kind of health issues that are mysterious or affecting your brain health.   Personally, my brain fog disappears when I eat/drink/ingest 1/4 c. of coconut oil every day!  Being able to think clearly and express my thoughts disappears if I remove it from my diet for a few days.  And after my mother dying of a neurodegenerative disease that was pretty horrific, I'm all for doing what I can to avoid any of that!

Happy reading and knitting!  Stop by Ginny's to see what everyone else is up to!


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