Friday, December 30, 2011

Seven quick Between- Christmas- and -New Years- takes

1. Here are a few moments of our Christmas day. 

Morning--fortunately we do not get up ultra early. We go to midnight mass and this year didn't hit the sack till an eye-watering 3:30 AM. But we still had to rouse ourselves because we had some visiting to do in the afternoon. We do gift opening one person at a time so we can all admire and properly enjoy the effort each person took in choosing each gift to give. Or in Rachael's case--making each gift . Hers were spectacular. Many of our photos turned out blurry (see the bedtime above), so I probably can't do her work justice. I will only post a few of the pics in which you can make out human forms.

 Malaika's new coat.

Ben's China cymbal. That's his ecstatic look. Really!

                                       This is also Corrie's pleased reaction. As well as Justin.

Then we went to my friend Marie's for the afternoon and evening.

I like this photo. It has nice composition. And just the right touch of silliness.

 Melissa really liked that juice.

 Marie and I have been friends since we were old enough to realize we were alive. That's a long time. No reference to age here...except that the cropping did me big favors....she still looks good in the uncropped part. I am frequently mistaken for Elizabeth...

Our family really had a lovely Christmas together. It was a couple days filled with a real closeness, bonhomie,  peace and good will toward men and all that stuff.

  2.  A few nights ago, I dreamed I was a member of Congress, and people wanted to know my thoughts about all things political.The funny part was that I wasn't entirely sure if I was a member of the Senate or the House--lol. And yet--I was addressing a group about the current GOP race, and they still listened, even though I was obviously pretty dumb.

3+4-(cause it's not that quick) We recently had some dear friends over to dinner and had a lovely evening. We discussed all sorts of things. Both our families have been and are going through some rough stuff, and the topic would make it's way back to some of the weightier issues, especially how it all fit into the light of faith. The next morning, I was thinking on it all, and a phrase I heard Elisabeth Elliot say once, (years ago when I would listen to family radio while baking my own bread, etc..) came to mind. "Do the next thing." I have so often thought of this over the years when I was overwhelmed by life and paralyzed into inactivity. I always took it to mean to keep moving forward-- by inches, if necessary. There always seemed to be at least one small thing I could do in response to whatever problem I was facing. A lot of times I would just clean the house like mad, which has a way of helping me clear my mind. I could make a phone call, try to find resources to help with said problem, and of course, pray. Not just vague prayer here, but specific requests. Like--"Lord, we do not have money for heating oil, please send help"--or, "or, Lord, I have no groceries or money until I start my new job in two weeks, please send help!" Both these specific requests were answered. One pretty miraculously, the other in a more roundabout way, but my needs were always met. The Next Thing, sometimes is a Thing that we do not want to do, or face. Sometimes we positively dread it, but know in our heart of hearts that it must be. Sometimes it involves suffering. There are so many instances in life that cause us to suffer, and within those times are the many "next things" in which God is very present in love, compassion and mercy. When we look back, we can scarcely believe the graces He heaped upon us, but yet, if possible, we avoid those times. We just are not cut out, in our natural selves, for trust. Especially that nuts and bolts kind of trust that causes us to have to rely on him for our next step, or our next breath.
Anyways--I would ask  your prayers for this dear family, our friends, who are in one of those dire seasons.

5. The March for Life is approaching really quickly. I don't think I have yet warmed up completely from last year. (high temp. of 21 degrees...). But I have a stunning red hat to wear this year.

So, I've got the really important part covered, right?

6. New Year's makes me want to clean and do house projects. Does it affect anyone else this way? It really kicks in when I take down the tree and Christmas decorations. Which is roughly around Valentines Day. If I can get away with it.

7. I probably mentioned the Jesus Retreat in my last post--so excited for a couple reasons. One is that Bob and I will get away for the first time since our quasi-honeymoon. There is a tiny chance we will not be able to go---so pray for us and for my poor mother in law, who is in terrible pain from severe arthritis. I'll be fine if we have to miss, but if at all possible, I would rather go!

In case I don't get to post again before  I am back pounding away on my steno machine for school, and we are all back to the grind, here's wishing and praying for all (both?) of you, my dear readers.

Peace, Joy, and General Goodwill!



Friday, December 16, 2011

7 Quick Advent Takes, or, I'm free!

1. I am "off"(in a way)--from school until after Jan 1st. Hooray! Well, except that I have to turn in a grammar test. Oh, and learn two chapters of theory. Oh, yes, and practice enough to stay up to speed. And actually get up to speed. Oh well. At least I don't have any school for two weeks...(?)

2. By some miracle I have been able to do most of my shopping, get some decorating done, and make several batches of cookie dough put in the freezer. Rachael was a big help with most of that list. But I think knowing I wasn't going to have much time due to school and other responsibilities forced me to think about things a little more thoroughly than usual. So I guess that saying that says something about asking a busy person if you want something done really is true. Especially a busy person that has a hard time saying no. And Super Especially a busy person that thinks it's always possible to squeeze in One More Thing. Here is my grandson. He apparently is a hard core cookie maker and requires stripping to the waist to really get into it. Rest assured in our house, we are not as progressive as he. A comforting thought for all our friends and fam.

3. My husband plays piano, (if you haven't read here before)--and recently made a You Tube recording of Rhapsody In Blue. With it, he entered a contest sponsored by Music Minus One. He could win $1000, if chosen. To be in the running for the prize, he has to be voted into the top ten by the public. So, public, if you don't mind too much, please vote for him! Besides--he actually is good! Listen--

--you can give him as many as three votes!--go here-- and type Seppy in the search box.

4. Hope everyone is having a Blessed Advent! We got out our Advent wreath, but didn't manage to buy the candles for it until the second week. And then forgot to light them each Sunday. And I couldn't find where I had put the prayers. (what was that I was saying about the busy person thing?) Then, when my eldest son whom we rarely see, came for a visit, I lit three, because they are pretty, and it WAS Gaudete Sunday...
I think Malaika took her Advent calendar with the daily chocolate in her room to avoid anyone stealing from it for a snack--who knows she may be reading it daily on the appropriate day--or SHE may be randomly snacking on it...

Anyways, haphazard as it may be, I am looking forward to His coming, and thankful for all He is doing in our lives.

5. As a Christmas present to me, my husband is giving me a weekend at The Jesus Retreat! I just became aware of it, and it is happening the first weekend of the New Year (Jan 6, 7 &8). Of course he is going too, and we are stoked! It's held at the beautiful Black Rock Retreat Center in Quarryville, Pa. I think the registration is closing soon, but take a look.

6.We still have many prayer needs in the fam. My Corrie is facing lots and lots of challenges, from within and without. She is being evicted from her present apartment if they don't settle their delinquency by the 31st.  Melissa has housing issues as well, and also some spiritual issues going on.  Daniel (the son mentioned above) has so many responsibilities for a young man of  24, some foisted upon him. I bear some of the responsibility for it, though I don't understand the entirety of why he remains there, now that he has the ability to change it, I still ask your prayers for him. All seven need prayers for one thing or another, Meghann and her little fam., Daniel, Corrie, (and boyfriend Justin), Melissa, (and I'm not sure of his status-Adam) , Rachael, Ben and Malaika--also Bob and I.  I am so grateful for any of you who include us in your prayers. My overarching prayer is that we all end up with the Lord in heaven. Though it would be nice to live lives on earth that include and glorify Him.

7. It is nice to be able to listen to music with words! While I practice on my steno machine, I play music, but it can't interfere with my thinking, so it has to be instrumental.(okay, well yes it is true that it doesn't take much to interfere with my thinking)  So as I write this here is what I'm listening to--

Bob, Rachael, Justin, Steve (our newest member, a bass) and I hope to include this in our music for January's Pro life mass at Saint John's in Center City Philadelphia. We are told our new Archbishop, Charles Chaput, may be there! How exciting!

While not making any promises, I hope to blog a bit more in the coming days. But the meantime, have a  wonderful remainder of the beautiful latter days of Advent.

Peace and Joy!