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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Remembering Mama on her 90th birthday

Mama birthday

Every morning I wake up to the strange sensation that something is just a little off - that something is missing. I get up and get on with my day and push that sensation down a little farther. Most of the time I don't even think about it anymore. Nowadays it's just there a little bit in those few seconds between sleep and alertness. It's the realization that my mom is no longer there. 

I didn't miss an early morning call from her to start the day - because there wasn't one. She won't be calling to chit chat, she won't be coming over to help homeschool the kids, she won't be sitting down to play the piano and sing, and she won't be there if I try to call her. 

This isn't a big anniversary of her death yet - that will be next year. But it is a big birthday. 90 years is a big milestone. It's one I had hoped and prayed that she would get a chance to celebrate with us. Afterall, people do live to be 90 and even 100, so it's not out of the realm of realism to think we might have had that time with her. 

To think of her today draws me back to the traumatic and sad events around her death. But on her birthday  I'd rather concentrate on her life. 

What stands out to me the most when I think about Mama was her faithfulness - to God and her Catholic Faith for sure!  Mama was a strong prayer warrior. When she said she would pray for you, she meant it. Funny, I don't remember her saying the rosary at all - maybe just a couple of times. But I do remember her having set devotion time in her room and prayer books marked and ready for her to go through a daily routine. Maybe that harkened back to her time in the Brethren Church, I don't know, but Mama loved her prayer books and had many of them as well as several bibles. 

Mama was faithful to her husband even though they were separated for most of their marriage. She always worked towards reconciliation until she ultimately got it!

maryrose and pedro esquibel

Mama was faithful to her daughters. Through her example, I learned that motherhood doesn't end just because your kids grow up. It changes, sometimes painfully, but it never ends. Mama became one of my best friends, my mentor, and counselor and we were closer than ever as the years progressed. 

rosie 005


She was also a faithful daughter, sister, niece. Mama taught me the importance of being in a family - an extended family. She honored her parents, she cared for her brother, and she made family time with extended family a priority through correspondence, letters, cards, calls, and visits. 

december 2009

So, on her 90th birthday, that's what I want to remember the most about her and try to emulate that in my own life. Happy birthday, Mom. 


A cake from her birthday party 10 years ago.