Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead


Ero Cras
December 24, 2011, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Advent, Children, Christmas | Tags: , , , , ,

Emmanuel

Rex

Oriens

Clavis

Radix

Adonai

Sapientia

ERO CRAS: I will be there tomorrow.

I love a good old timey Latin Advent acrostic!

We are having a relaxing Christmas Eve day before going to my folks house for Christmas Eve dinner.

Our sweet boy has been dying to put the ornaments on the tree for weeks and will be so excited for the chance to decorate it tonight. Tomorrow we will eat cinnamon rolls, light the Christ Candle in the center of our Advent wreath, go to Christmas Mass, and then spend the afternoon with food and presents at Daniel’s parents house. I’m so grateful we’re not traveling one bit!

I’m so excited for Lucy’s first Christmas! She is the happiest and sweetest of babies and I can’t get enough of her precious baby scent and amazingly goofy smiles. I cover her little face with kisses all day and night.

She’s getting nice and chubby!

“Every baby is the sweetest and the best.” Name that quote.

 

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First Advent: Repost
December 12, 2011, 11:45 am
Filed under: Advent, Motherhood, Our Lady, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , ,

This is a repost from last year of a piece I wrote for our beloved Landing Literary Society in Waco about what pregnancy taught me about Advent and I’m thinking of sweet friends who are expecting this year during the Advent season (hi, Jen, Jeni, and Emily!)

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I was huge. Not just big—gigantic. Even before I entered my third trimester, well-intentioned old ladies would pat my shoulder and say, “Any day now!” encouragingly as I waddled my way through the grocery store. Considering the raging pregnancy hormones running through my system, I’m impressed that I didn’t slap any of the kind-hearted dears. I was huge.

As it neared the end of November, I started wearing flip-flops exclusively because my swollen feet wouldn’t fit into anything else. I think I gave up on other footwear after one particularly bad day when my husband had to help me get my boots off as I helplessly yelled inchoate phrases about being the only woman who would be pregnant forever. My maternity coat didn’t fit anymore by the time it was cold enough to wear it which enraged me further. When I wasn’t at work, I was lying on the couch or in the bath tub trying to remember what it felt like to be able to see my toes.  Then I would see a tiny limb change position—reminding me that my massive tummy housed a moving, living child.

As December neared and Advent began I considered this season for perhaps the first time. I had lighted Advent candles as a little girl and been excited about Christmas coming but had never considered the season as anything except a Pre-Christmas countdown. I came to realize that this is as incomplete an understanding of Advent as a definition of pregnancy as simply the nine months preceding a birth.

While I tried to remember what my feet looked like, I remembered the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I confess that I had never thought much about her before. I had never felt that we had anything in common until now. But as my belly got rounder and rounder and my back got achier and achier, I remembered her. She has done this, I thought. She has felt her child move in her womb, perhaps even responding to the sound of her voice or her song. She experienced this miracle of life taking place within her.

In our modern disenchanted age we have not completely lost our fascination with the miracle of new life.  Whenever I dragged my sleepy pregnant body to public places my experience was different than ever before. Little children looked at my belly, fascinated, sometimes even trying to give my belly a pat or lift up my shirt to discover if there was really a baby inside. Other mothers smiled at me and grandmothers reassured me. My ordinary child, this new ordinary life, elicited such a response of amazement. How much more miraculous is the coming of our Lord?, I began to wonder.

For unto us a child is born.  Unto us a son is given.

I was expecting my son during the season of expectation. The word comes fromexpectare—to wait, to hope, to look for. I did all this things. At first there was a contentment in the waiting and the hoping but eventually the groaning, miserable discomfort led to a readiness to be delivered of the tiny tyrant reigning over me from my womb.  A week before my due date I was so exhausted and so tired of bumping the counters with my colossal tummy and getting up 10 times a night because the little angel had given my bladder yet another energetic punch, that I began to lose it a bit. I couldn’t go to work one more day.  I couldn’t fit behind my desk. I couldn’t sleep. Until the discomfort crossed a certain threshold and I was struck with a desperate desire to be pregnant not a day longer, the pain of delivery was alarming to me and I remained unprepared.  Now it did not frighten me. Anything but this. I started to understand that it is not until we are exhausted, ill with our condition, miserable, that we are ready for Christ—when we can really desire to be delivered.

I kept thinking about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Was she as desperate to give birth as I was? I considered with wonder how when her baby boy was delivered, he would in turn deliver her, deliver me, deliver my own unborn son.

As I waited in joyous, miserable, anxious expectation, I started to understand an inkling of what it must have felt like to wait for the Messiah, Mary’s son. I begin to understand the Joy born to the world on Christmas and present with us now as I heard the sound of the first beautiful and strong cry of my newborn son. I realized in a new way how to wait with groaning and expectation for our Lord’s return in glory. It was my first Advent.



Advent Candles and Resources
December 1, 2011, 11:09 am
Filed under: Advent | Tags: , ,

“The liturgical year is not an idle discipline, not a sentimentalist definition of piety, not an historical anachronism. It is Jesus with us, for us, and in us as we strive to make His life our own. It is goad and guide to the kind of personal spirituality that is worthy of the Jesus whose commitment to the Word of God led Him all the way to the cross and beyond it—to Resurrection.”

(Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year)

Our entire extended family has been a bit out of commission with a pretty miserable cold for the past week so this post is coming a little late. We’re a little bit behind on everything but we’ve been getting ready for Advent. My mom ordered an Advent Candle Making Kit from Toadily Handmade, the only company we could find that offers 100% beeswax advent candles. Benjamin had a BALL making the candles. He thought it was simply grand. They were so easy to make and look so pretty.

He also made a wreath at Marmee’s house last weekend. I’ll post pictures of it when I have a minute.

I’ve found several really helpful Advent-related posts:

Ideas for Celebrating Advent:

Karen Edmisten’s A No Panic Advent: The Monstrously Long Post 

In the Heart of My Home’s Planning Ahead for Advent and Christmas (which I totally failed to do)

My post from last year: Various Things Related to Advent

Advent Book Lists:

Waltzing Matilda’s Favorite Advent/Christmas Books and Advent Basket of Books

Advent Calendar’s:

Passionate Homemaking’s Our Simple Advent Calendar

Simple Mom’s An Easy, No Frills Advent Calendar

Advent Reflections:

SlowMama’s Hello, Advent

My Mom’s blog, Margo’s Corner also has several Advent related posts

And when our household is completely better from the cold that’s been plaguing us (I think it’s just Daniel now that feels crummy), we plan on doing some sort of Jesse Tree. Any great ideas for that?

And don’t forget that tomorrow is that last day to enter my giveaway for beeswax candles from local Full Moon Apiary. Win some candles!



GIVEAWAY! (NOW CLOSED) Beeswax Candles from Local Apiary: Full Moon Farm
November 26, 2011, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , , , , ,

While the boys enjoy a well-deserved nap, Lucy and I are relaxing and coming up with a Giveaway for you, dear reader, as I enjoy a post-Thanksgiving-madness/week-of-illness cup of tea. We’re all mostly better, just a little congested. Benjamin’s breathing is easier and Lucy never got a fever, so I think we’re out of the woods with this bug before the new week begins. Yay!

And here’s the giveaway…

Two beautiful beeswax candles from Monticello, FL Apiary, Full Moon Farm! You can see Full Moon Farm around at the Lake Ella Farmer’s Market and other Tallahassee farmer’s markets as well as Tupelo Bakery and the Jefferson’s Farmer’s Market in Monticello. You can also check them out by “liking” Full Moon Apiary on Facebook which has updates about which days they will be at which farmer’s market. I love to support local business and I LOVE beeswax candles. Their natural color and scent is so wonderful. At Lucy’s Baptism, Fr. Tim mentioned when explaining the lighting of candles in the rite that beeswax is the preferred substance for liturgical candles, not only because of its high quality and clean aromatic burn, but also because the bee is a symbol for Christ, tirelessly caring for His Church. Another reason to love beeswax!

It’s a great time for candles as the season of Advent approaches (tomorrow!!!) followed by Christmastide. You could use one for the Christ Candle in the center of your Advent wreath or you could save your candles until Candlemas in February and have them blessed for use in domestic liturgical celebrations for the year.

So…to enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post. To get a second entry, subscribe via email or RSS feed and leave a second comment to let me know you did (or that you’re already a subscriber). Giveaway ends Friday, December 2nd at midnight and I’ll use a random number generator to choose a winner. I’ll announce the winner Saturday, December 3rd.

Disclosure: Full Moon Farm doesn’t know who I am. I’m just saying thanks to my readers/subscribers with a fun gift and promoting some good local farming.

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And the winner is…..Comment #3: Brittany of Sweetly in the Trees  Congrats! Email or FB me your address and I’ll send them next week 🙂