Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

4 Reasons to have Your Christmas Shopping Done by Advent

graphic via vecteezy.com

It's finally starting to get a little cold here in Northeast Ohio. The leaves are starting to turn beautiful colors too. Today as I was heading for our homeschool co-op day, it occurred to me that I only have four more lessons to teach before Thanksgiving break. And that means that Advent is less than six weeks away!

This year the first Sunday of Advent is on December 2. 

For the past couple of years, I have managed to get all of my Christmas shopping done, or at least have everything ordered, by the first Sunday of Advent. That meant that I was able to spend most of Advent getting things wrapped, decorating the house, and most importantly, really delving into the mysterium and quiet spiritual preparation of Advent. 

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I usually buy little things here and there all during the year. I bought several things during Amazon Prime Day and have had them hidden away. I also have been going to the craft shows and shopped the sales. I'll finish up on Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

Here are some ways that early shopping has benefited me and my family.

1.  I avoided the crowds! I'm not out at the mall or outlet center with everyone else trying to scope out the best Christmas deals. By shopping early I can see what's available and then only go to the stores that I need to visit. There was less drama and anxiety in the parking lot too. The shopping mall is just not as crowded in October and November as it will be in December!

2.  By shopping early, I can take advantage of the deals when they come up. If I order something online, I won't have to pay for expedited shipping because there is plenty of time for my items to arrive. 

4. With my presents safely stowed away or en route, I can take my time to wrap them nicely and include personal cards and notes. I can wrap when I have time instead of hurriedly trying to get it all done on Christmas Eve. 

 5. All of this advanced gift preparation leaves with a feeling of security and satisfaction. That makes it possible for me to fully concentrate on the season of Advent. I can spend more time on the Jesse Tree meditations, Liturgy of the Hours and rosary. Advent can be a contemplative time instead of a time of stress and anxiety.