Pre-Holiday Links and Resources -Advent 2018 and Christmas

With Thanksgiving this week, Advent is following quickly behind it!

But besides the busy preparation for Christmas, there are a lot of things we can do to really observe the season of Advent! Over the years I have collected links and resources for the holidays that I thought would help me and my family prepare our hearts and spirits to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.  I haven't done everything on this list.  Some of it is a wish list, but there was something in every link that I thought was worthwhile.

Perhaps first on the list is actually getting our homes ready for the holidays:
Holiday Grand Plan or join their Yahoo Group E-mail List Declutter and Clean!
Also DeClutter and Organize on Facebook. 

and get your planner ready~  Advent and Christmas Planner from Catholic Icing or Advent Planner from Wildflower and Marbles. 

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7-Quick Takes

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Join the other Quicktakers at This Ain't the Lyceum

1. I'm on day 6 of the Christmas Novena and I've managed to get all 15 repetitions in every day! The part of the prayer where you insert your special intention has really forced me to slow down, and pray about what I am really asking God for. I started out by asking for a quick end to the law suit, but the kids pointed out that I probably should be more specific. So now I am praying for a quick, fair end to the suit and I am also praying for the man who is suing me. I don't know if it's helping him, but I am feeling so calm and less anxious that praying the Novena is really more of a gift to myself this advent season!

For those who asked, here is a video about the handgun that I own. And yes it's pink. I thought if I were really going to get a concealed carry license, I wanted something that blended more with what I might be wearing and something that didn't scream SHE'S GOT A GUN!

3. Calvin and Sarah visited over Thanksgiving. We got to spend about 16 short hours with them. It sure went by quickly. But it was a good visit with lots of fun, conversation and a few pictures. Plus we got to meet their new puppy, who is really quite adorable. Life is so funny - I finally get a daughter-in-law and  my son takes her 8 hours away!  I really enjoy talking with Sarah and listening to her ideas. I think she has the heart of a matriarch in the making because things like family and tradition really mean a lot to her - and I just love that about her!

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4. I am trying very hard not to be like my grandmother!   I read her letters to my mother about how sad and lonely she is about Mom moving to the other side of the country after her wedding, and I totally and completely understand where she is coming from!

But I question whether it was the best thing to keep telling my Mother that?  How did it make either of them feel any better? and after all, my grandmother moved a state or two away from her mother, but I don't see any insight in these letters from my grandma that this is part of the circle of life.
On the other hand, my mother kept these letters all of her life, so maybe they did mean something special to her.

I did post on facebook -

Calvin and Sarah left this morning- We had breakfast, Calvin drilled me in handling my gun, the kids played the piano and laughed and talked, hugged and watched them leave the house - I made it all the way through just fine until Noah said, "See Mom, you didn't even cry!"   Dang it!!

Quite a few of my friends, who are in the same part of life, commiserated with me, and that helped a lot.

5. An article about Rosie's team competing in the state championships made it into a local paper. Even though Rosie did not get a medal at that meet, they mentioned her because she was just one place off.

The photo, was one of mine and unfortunately I was not credited.  They apologized for that though.

6. There was a little story behind that meet. There were almost 100 girls competing in the 5th and 6th grade girl's state championship.  Rosie came in 16th, but only the first 15 girls got medals, including Rosie's friend and running buddy.  I was proud of Rosie. She congratulated her friends, she took it graciously when her coaches told her she ran well and that there was always next year. But I knew it hurt to be that close but not close enough.

I also believe that it is okay to grieve!  It's one of my pet peeves that we don't do grief well in this country and I don't think it's healthy either.

So I took Rosie somewhere private and I said, "Rosie, you ran very well today and I know it hurts not to win a medal. It's okay to be a little disappointed about that. I'd worry about you if you weren't a little disappointed."

And then she buried her face in my stomach and had a good, long sob.

When she was done, she went and stood by her friend while she waited for her name to be announced as the 10th place medal winner. I was very proud of my girl then too.

7. I know how to make Christmas less commercialized, and focused more on Jesus and being grateful and less on unimportant things - get the Little House Christmas Treasury!

Nothing says "be thankful" better than reading about a family with almost nothing, celebrating and loving each other, making due with what they had and what they could afford!