Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Month of Thanksgiving—26

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the day of gratitude. The day that this month has built up toward. What I am learning from this exercise of listing my blessings every day is that this "attitude of gratitude" is essential, not just today, not just in November, but every day of our lives. Our outlook changes, our lives change when we see it through the lens of our blessings. I know, because listing these blessings has been changing me. And it has been amazing, not only in how I feel but also in how I look at things and in how I talk to my kids about things. I am grateful for this challenge by Jenny of The Littlest Way! I really do feel like God has worked through her to teach me about gratitude. Praise Him!

Our gratitude chalkboard + a cute turkey by Luke

Today, my family and I had a wonderful day of Holy Mass, relaxing at home and gathering with extended family. As I reflect upon this Thanksgiving Day, I continue to list what I am grateful for. Here is my list for Day 26:

168. Morning Mass on Thanksgiving Day
169. Browsing the ads in the newspaper, even though I don't plan to shop this weekend
170. Teaching Olivia a new card game
171. Watching a little bit of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with Anna
172. Enjoying a chocolate peppermint Shakeology, to avoid grazing on appetizers before the big meal
173. Gathering together with family
174. Singing "Now Thank We All Our God" at Mass AND just before we ate dinner
175. Praying with family
176. Delicious food on Thanksgiving Day; some dishes that I only have once a year
177. Impressive gluten-free stuffing that my SIL made
178. Playing Bingo with the kids, but instead of shouting out, "Bingo" when they won, they shouted out something they are grateful for
179. Pumpkin Pie with homemade whipped cream
180. Visiting with in-laws, while the kids played and watched a movie
181. A little boy who still likes to sit on my lap
182. Seeing a few Christmas lights on our way home
183. Looking forward to Advent
184. My husband's patience with me
185. The blessing of my mom living with our family
186. The generosity of my dad
187. Good neighbors all around us
188. The Thanksgiving proclamations of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln

***


Linking up with fellow blogging friend Jenny from The Littlest Way. If you would like to join us in counting your blessings each day in November, please share your link or just your list each day in the comments section on her blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Month of Thanksgiving—25

This November, I plan to post 30 days of gratitude. The twist for the next five days is that Jenny from The Littlest Way has challenged her readers to write 20 things we are grateful for for the next five days! By Friday, we will have listed 100 things! This is a BIG challenge for me, because I am just into the 100s on my list, and it's taken me most of November to get there! So, now I am going to double my gratitude list in the next five days! Whoa!


Here is my list for Day 25 ...

148. Being wrapped in soft flannel
149. Snow fall that looks like we live in a snow globe
150. Cranberry Orange Relish
151. My neighbor Anna, who loaned me her food processor
152. Cooking with my mom
153. Early dismissal
154. Godchildren
155. Good godparents for my children
156. Anna's sense of humor
157. Greek yogurt, cinnamon, chopped apples and granola
158. Revisiting old blog posts to remind me of the good things we've done in past Advents
159. My hair stylist
160. Lucia's list of 20 things she's grateful for
161. A hot shower
162. Christmas Dots (the candy)
163. The aroma of dinner already cooking in the slow cooker
164. Getting the mail
165. A Thanksgiving card from Olivia
166. Three Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church, who teach at my kids' school
167. God's provision via my husband's job


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Linking up with fellow blogging friend Jenny from The Littlest Way. If you would like to join us in counting your blessings each day in November, please share your link or just your list each day in the comments section on her blog.

Destination Bethlehem

Today, I'm doing something new! I am joining Allison at Reconciled to You for her #WorthRevisit Wednesday series. Since the Advent season begins Sunday, I decided to share a book review I wrote way back in 2009! Reading Destination Bethlehem is a tradition in our family's celebration of Advent, and I thought I'd share it again, for those who might be looking to add a new read-aloud book to their Advent evenings.

In this revisited post, I also share some of what I was feeling back in 2009 about the beginning of Advent and how I desire it to unfold. It is interesting to realize that I still struggle with the same things five years later. I want our Advent to be meaningful and prayerful, but I don't want it to be so full of activities (even good activities) that we lose sight of the real importance of this season. It is a balancing act indeed!

***

I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, and I'm not trying to jump ahead too quickly. But Advent begins in a week and a half, just three days after Thanksgiving! I have started to think and plan a little bit ... What will my family do this year to celebrate and honor this season of anticipation and preparation?

One thing that we did last year that I know we definitely will do again this year is read the book Destination Bethlehem by Sharon Altman and Christine Winkelman. I highly recommend this book, and it's probably not too late to order a copy! It consists of 24 chapters, one for each night of Advent (well, from Dec. 1-24).


It is the story of two boys, Isaac and Jediah, as they travel through Ancient Palestine. As the story unfolds, they find themselves at the heart of the Nativity Story and gradually realize the birth of the Messiah is at hand. Each chapter ends with a cliff-hanger and builds anticipation for reading the following one. Last year, my oldest wanted to keep reading, and honestly, so did I, but we were good little readers and always waited to find out what happened the next day =)

Other than the reading of this book, I do not have any set plans. And I have been cautious to add any just yet. You see, this fall, I took on a bit too much. I thought that I could handle it. The twins turn two on Friday, and I thought that it was about time. That might be true. But I overestimated what was realistic for me to add into our family life, and now I'm trying to let go of some things and simplify once again.


So, when I think about Advent, I instantly think about it in a way that means adding more into our lives. And that gets me feeling overwhelmed. That's not the way it's supposed to be, and I know that. Hence the cautiousness.

Before I can plan, I guess I have to figure out what I can realistically do to bring my family into this season. And do so without feeling like I am going to go crazy.

I like what one blogger wrote about Advent plans. She said, "The Advent basket may not reflect the totality of our living out of Advent, but I hesitate to plan or put much more on paper than I have as Advent is a season we try to live out in quiet and simplicity as our hearts are expectant and waiting!"

I want our Advent to be peaceful and prayerful. I want to be peaceful and prayerful. I do not want Advent to be a time filled with the things I think we should be doing. But I want it to be meaningful and purposeful. So that we can truly feel like we have arrived at our destination—Bethlehem—ever so ready for the birth of Our Lord on Christmas Day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Month of Thanksgiving—24

This November, I plan to post 30 days of gratitude. The twist for the next five days is that Jenny from The Littlest Way has challenged her readers to write 20 things we are grateful for for the next five days! By Friday, we will have listed 100 things! This is a BIG challenge for me, because I am just into the 100s on my list, and it's taken me most of November to get there! So, now I am going to double my gratitude list in the next five days! Whoa!


Here is my list for Day 24 ...

128. Hearing what my kids are thankful for as we write on our gratitude board
129. Ice cream
130. Bundling up with a fleece blanket after eating ice cream
131. My king-sized bed
132. The quiet of the early-morning hours
133. My Magnificat
134. Breakfast at the kitchen island
135. A commute to school with very little traffic
136. A lovely conversation (aka, interview) with the founder of Well-Read Mom
137. Preschool for my 3yo, which gives me SIX hours per week all to myself!
138. Finishing up the Thanksgiving grocery shopping before the crowds
139. Winter boots
140. Finding six different patterns of Christmas socks for my six kids ... at the dollar store
141. Sipping a Peppermint Mocha while running errands
142. Playing cards with my mom and two oldest girls
143. Salad
144. Catalogs in the mail
145. Encouraging friends who comment on my blog
146. Two holiday health challenges to keep me on track
147. My husband and our marriage

***



Linking up with fellow blogging friend Jenny from The Littlest Way. If you would like to join us in counting your blessings each day in November, please share your link or just your list each day in the comments section on her blog.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Month of Thanksgiving—23

This November, I plan to post 30 days of gratitude. The twist for the next five days is that Jenny from The Littlest Way has challenged her readers to write 20 things we are grateful for for the next five days! By Friday, we will have listed 100 things! This is a BIG challenge for me, because I am just into the 100s on my list, and it's taken me most of November to get there! So, now I am going to double my gratitude list in the next five days! Whoa!

Here is my list for Day 23 ...


108. Waking up to Christmas music playing on my alarm clock radio
109. That first sip of hot coffee in the morning, which tastes the best of all the other sips
110. School uniforms make for easier mornings, because I never hear, "I don't know what to wear!"
111. My oldest daughter quizzing her sister on spelling words on the way to school
112. Realizing that my 10yo daughter is really motivated to do her school work when games and contests are involved
113. Vitamin D
114. My morning chocolate shake
115. Hearing the priest who celebrated our Mass yesterday on Relevant Radio today
116. Colorful pens
117. A new journal, possibly for Advent and scriptural journaling
118. New ideas to do the night before Advent begins ... Can we say Hot Chocolate Party?
119. A gratitude chalkboard (photos to come)
120. A clean bill of oral health from the dentist
121. A new electric toothbrush from my new dentist (a new patient perk!)
122. A light dusting of snow after all of our snow melted away
123. My 7yo girl's smile when "Santa Claus is coming to Town" comes on the radio (She even has a favorite version!)



124. My Well-Read Mom book club
125. Good books
126. Putting a small spoonful of ice cream in my son's hot chocolate, just because
127. And his smile after I added the ice cream

***

Linking up with fellow blogging friend Jenny from The Littlest Way. If you would like to join us in counting your blessings each day in November, please share your link or just your list each day in the comments section on her blog.
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