My Sunday Best: Advent II

“Pray the our hearts may be the crib Our Lady chooses for her Baby.”
St Teresa of Calcutta

Repent. Empty your arms. Let go of all the other things and pray that your heart is filled with Christ.

These words of the priest today reminded me of this beautiful Mother Teresa quote I came across earlier this week.

We had our first snow this past weekend. The kids went outside every few hours and enjoyed it, but sadly there wasn’t much.

I’m getting out my old winter standby clothes I’ve had for years. Theresa’s new purple dress is much prettier!

Bit late, but I’m linking up with Rosie!

My Sunday Best: Advent Begins

“Advent is here. What a marvelous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: He is about to arrive!” 
-St. Josemaria Escriva

This first Sunday of Advent found my hiding in my room, stuffing myself with the kids’ St. Nicholas Day chocolate.

Our daughters.  WAIT!  The last one’s not ours!!!

Not the peace day of joyful preparation that I had planned.  We went to my parents’ house on Saturday to enjoy the downtown Christkindlmarkt with them.  By 7 o’clock I was too tired to make the hour and a half drive home (hubby stayed home to write papers), so we stayed overnight.  Meaning we had to drive home this morning, get ready for church, and attend a later Mass.  The whole day was thrown off and the girls were extremely whiny and grumpy in church.

 

A frustrating fact of life with kids is that out of the ordinary days, when they get to do lots of fun stuff, tend to lead to overtired and grumpy children, and miserable parents.  The kids did have lots of fun yesterday, especially enjoying the magic show and Irish dancers performance.  Today, though, was rough.

Nonetheless, we made it to Mass for the First Sunday of Advent. (Time to wear my old purple dress, the Advent and winter standby.)  We lit the first candle of the Advent wreath. (When I realized that although I bought candles last year, I had no idea where they were after the move, thank goodness for Amazon Prime, that delivered them this morning to my doorstep.)  My mom passed on our hand sewn Nativity Advent calendar, which I’m excited to share with my own children this year.  We decorated the tree and watched Rudolph.

Hopefully, these are the memories that my children will remember; not the frazzled and stressed mother, who would dearly love the gift of a few quiet hours to herself.

I’ve been thinking of this post all day, ever since I was hiding in my room with chocolate Santas.  I kept thinking I should find some lesson in the day, a way this First Sunday of Advent was somehow an adequate beginning of the Advent season.  But it wasn’t.  I kinda blew it.  But maybe that is the lesson.  Humility.  On my own, I cannot prepare and persevere patiently for our Savior’s birth.  Today was a reminder of how much I need Jesus this Advent season.  Only He can prepare my heart, and bring the peace that will allow me to patiently and joyful celebrate the season of His birth.

Check out the other Advent posts over on Rosie’s blog!

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My Sunday Best: Christ the King

Did you know its new years eve? The liturgical year ends this week as we prepare for the First Sunday of Advent.  The hymns for Christ the King Sunday are some of my favorites, especially “Crown Him With Many Crowns” and “To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King.”  The choir even sang the Byrd “Ave Verum” at Communion, which was a special treat.  The one thing I missed was the “O Rex Gloriae” motet, a postlude staple at Christendom.  The Mass felt incomplete without it.  (Kidding.  But it is sung after almost every Mass at Christendom and I miss hearing it.)

The girls were excited to start wearing their special Christmas dresses today, and I just love how beautiful Grace looks!  The other girls were napping but they looked so cute too 😉  Although Advent doesn’t start for another week, we unpacked decorations today and its nice to feel like we have a “head start.”

Yesterday, we strolled downtown and enjoyed the window displays and Christmas decorations.  This was a light store; it was very bright and glittery, and they were selling stunningly ornate Santas and other Christmas decorations, which all sparkled and glittered.  Amazing.  The kids (ok, all of us) also love the shop with the five cat residents 🙂

I also completed most of my Christmas shopping online this weekend, which is a wonderful feeling, and I’ll be sending out my Christmas cards this week!  Advent and Christmas are my favorite time of year, but first we’ll be celebrating Grace’s sixth birthday on Tuesday!  Stay tuned for her special birthday post!

Happy I remembered to get a picture today, so I could link up with Rosie on this beautiful solemnity.

 

My Sunday Best {2017}

I had a NEW dress to wear to Mass this morning, and with that happy incentive, got a picture of my Sunday Best!  (Note: child did NOT wear pictured clothes to Mass.)  We took a quick trip to a second fall consignment sale to fill in a few gaps in the girls’ wardrobe, and I found this lovely new dress.

I also realized that this was a pretty nice shot of our neighborhood in autumn!  The weather has been beyond perfect, and I think I might become a “fall gal.”  Summer and winter have always been my favorite seasons, but that was from growing up in upstate NY, where winters were white and summer were in the 80s….

I had a small win at Mass today with Cecilia, who has been clingly and demanding at Mass for weeks.  Since I’ve been adamant about staying in the pew, this means putting up with nursing her during Mass (which she really shouldn’t have to do at this point.)  Today, I simply told her, “NO, if you yell, Daddy will take you out.”   And it worked!  Now, if that would just work when I tell her to go back to sleep at 2am, 3am, 4am……  Her sleeping through the night suddenly stopped, and I desperately need it to start again!

Last thought for today.  The priest mentioned that one significance of rendering unto Caesar the coin with his image, was that therefore what we render to God is that which is made in His image, i.e., ourselves.  We are made in the image of God, and thus should give ourselves to Him.  What a great way to move beyond the coin image to reminding us to see our selves as made in the image of God.

Linking up with Rosie today.  Happy feast of St. John Paul the Great!

My Sunday Best {2017}: Finding my Floral Niche

It’s been awhile since a remembered to take a Sunday picture before changing out of church clothes!  This weekend, the weather was so nice when we got home that the girls stayed outside to play and Gracie snapped this photo!  Happy to be able to link up with Rosie this week for My Sunday Best.img_8670

 

The weather in Virginia has been amazing, and its time to break out pants and sweaters, along with a pretty Lula Roe floral top.  Speaking of flowers, today was Parish Life Weekend at our new church, and there were representatives from probably 25+ ministries, after the Masses.  Since I’ve already gotten involved with about four different things at church already, there was only one more ministry I was really interested in signing up for: liturgical decorating.  These are the people who decorate the inside of the sanctuary, but it turns out its only done at Christmas and Easter.  So I signed up, but I also approached the Sister in charge about something close to my heart; regular flowers for church, as there doesn’t seem to be any arranged.

Sister said she would talk with the pastor, and that this might be an answer to prayer, if I would purchase and arrange flowers regularly for the sanctuary.  Friends, this would be a dream come true for me, to have a flower budget and create beautiful arrangements to adorn the altar and statues in the church.  I worked as a floral designer for several months after college, and it was the BEST job I have ever had.  Lately, I have been exploring ways to pursue this passion again.  If its God’s will, I hope this opportunity comes to fruition!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sunday Best {2017}: New Dress on the Narrow Way

Sunshine after the rains! It’s a beautiful Sunday here in Virginia!  We were in Maryland visiting my in-laws, and we went to Mass at the church where Grace was baptized.  She was very excited to see the Baptismal Font where she became a member of the Body of Christ!  We took a picture, and in humility I decided to post it, since it didn’t turn out very well!  I’m wearing my favorite new LulaRoe dress!  Gracie wanted a picture of her too!

I don’t usually share a reflection on the Gospel and homily, but something really struck me this week.  The priest spoke on seeking the narrow way, searching for the pearl of great price, and not being distracted by the world (screens, sins, etc.)  And that Christ promises that when we seek, we will find.

However.

What about when we find the narrow way?  What about when we have sold everything to obtain the pearl of great price?  What then?

Then, we need to walk the narrow way, persevering through the brambles, rocks, hills, valleys, deserts, crossing rivers and get up again when we falter, stumble, fall.  We may hold the pearl of great price, but if we gave up much to obtain it, we have to figure out how to live with that loss of income, position, perhaps relationships or opportunities or favorite sins or failings.  Stepping onto the narrow way only begins the journey.

So often, it seems homilies just scratch the surface, inviting people to the seeking, to the searching, hoping to inspire an encounter with the person of Christ, or to open eyes to the very real encounter with Christ that will come just a little later at Mass, in the Eucharist.  Therefore, my conclusion, the reminder I needed, was that I need to take the initiate to cultivate, nurture, work on my Faith and relationship with Christ.  Sunday Mass, a brief homily, and prayers before meals should be a beginning.  Daily prayer, spiritual reading, retreats, study groups, Confession, Adoration, daily Mass; there are so many other ways I need to walk along the narrow way.   Every day, I need to seek, knock, ask for grace to live this life in Christ.

Several days late, but I’m joining Rosie this week for My Sunday Best.  Visit My Sunday Best, Volume 65: Old Favorites for more linkups!

It’s not at Mass, but here’s my favorite picture from this past Sunday, as we enjoyed the gorgeous weather at the splash pad!

My Sunday Best {2017}: New Church and Unplanned Haircuts

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Back to blogging!  My husband is away for two weeks, starting another Masters program with an intensive 6 credit session!  So, my evenings are free and what better way to get back into blogging than with a link-up!  Joining Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best, and hoping to post regularly again.  So I’m starting the weekly count again, although I have a few past posts in this category.

We moved seven weeks ago, and our new church is both great, and an adjustment!  The priests are all reverent and good homilists, but the church is more casual than our last parish, with no Latin.  Besides, we’d been going regularly to the Extraordinary Form Low Mass, which is very quiet, and I miss the silence.  Still, the parish is very large with lots of ministries, and I’m hopeful we will find the right groups to be involved with!  If by chance you read this and you go to St. Mary’s in Fredericksburg, I’d love to connect with you!

I have to give my daughter credit for finally getting a Sunday Best picture.  There are gorgeous flowering trees outside of church, as well as flower beds, and she asked to take a picture with the flowers.  You can’t really see them, but it was a cute picture of all us girls!  This skirt is the first LulaRoe I ever picked out, and I love it!  I think of it as my Lady of Guadalupe skirt, although it’s technically covered in flowers, not stars.

If you notice Theresa’s bangs look rather short, that’s because she decided to give herself a haircut this morning!

The trim I gave her looks a but silly, but I guess it fits her!

On a reflective note, the readings today reminded me of how I’m trying to plow, water, and rejuvenate the soil of my soul.  I’ve been reading a new book out called Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life.   Right now, for me, its amazing!  Just what a need to hear and reflect on and work on, in terms of seeking God’s will for my life and learning to cultivate and thrive in the life I’ve been given.  The author relies on a lot of garden analogies, and also says she learned many of these lessons from having a garden, and so today’s readings really spoke to me.

What I took away today was that I need, through God’s grace, to cultivate the soil of my soul and heart and mind to that it is the “good soil.”  And not only does the word need to fall on good soil, but the Word itself creates the good soil!  Finally, I loved what our pastor said about the harvest: the “hundredfold” harvest Christ speaks of is a miracle, more than those seeds would produce on their own.

Maybe I’ll write more about this book, definitely a new house post in the works!  Until next week!

 

My Sunday Best: New Clothes!

Because every post should start with a cute baby picture!

Gaudete! Rejoice! I finally had an outfit today that I was excited to share! I recently posted about how I don’t like my clothes, and on Friday I finally bought some new ones! Here’s my gorgeous Lula Roe Cassie skirt, and a rose top for the liturgical dress win. (The girls all wore pink today too 🙂 

My husband cannot seem to focus the camera or take a flattering picture of me. Grace is getting a camera for Christmas. Maybe she’ll do a better job!

Linking up today with Rosie. Check out her lovely outfit, cute new baby and the other link ups!