Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent: Love Comes Down

I love this song by Matt Maher, and it always reminds me of Advent and the Incarnation.  The chorus is so joyful:  "Isn't it beautiful?  Isn't it marvelous?"

An excerpt:
I'm searching for a king and kingdom
Here among the beggars and the weak
The broken and redeemed
I'm finding grace beyond all measure
In flesh and blood He hides his majesty
Inside of you and me

Why would a King
Do such a thing?

Isn't it beautiful?
Isn't it marvelous?
The God of the universe
He became one of us
We cry out and then
Love comes down again
Hope is found in him


Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Favorite Birthday Gift

Presented to me a few months ago by Lauren and Adam:
Our whole family is thrilled, of course.
And we were informed yesterday that it's a boy (due in May)!
Thanks for your prayers and good wishes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Delayed Gratification

Over the past few seasons, Len and the boys have taken out some ugly bushes.  Len moved the compost pile to an easy-to-dump-into-from-the-deck location.  Most recently, he and Becca fenced in another spot and planted . . .
seedless Concord grapes!
Seven or eight years ago I read about the recently developed Thomcord, a hybrid of Thompson (seedless green) and Concord (delicious, super-grapey flavor with huge seeds) grapes.  At that point they were only available in California farmers' markets, but the article speculated that they would gradually spread nationwide.

I still haven't seen them in a grocery store, but Len found some planting vines (twigs?) on line.  If they survive our weather and deer, we could harvest our first grapes in two years.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mary Consoles Eve

O Eve!
My mother, my daughter, life-giving Eve,
Do not be ashamed, do not grieve.
The former things have passed away,
Our God has brought us to a New Day.
See, I am with Child,
Through whom all will be reconciled.
O Eve! My sister, my friend,
We will rejoice together
Life without end.

— Sr Columba Guare © 2005 Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
I found this image on the internet a few years ago (most recently here and here), and have never forgotten it.  It is deceptively simple, yet so beautiful and profound.
Created by a sister at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, the picture and poem have been made into matted prints as well as greeting and Christmas cards.  My print is propped up in the family room, beautifying the space and encouraging meditation while it waits for a frame.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thank God for Aunts

My children are blessed with some wonderful aunts.  They love my kids, pray for them, offer treats and cousin time, and accept them unconditionally.  I'm so grateful to them all.
Len's sister lives nearest to us, and is a champion example of aunt-awesomeness.  (When I grow up, maybe I'll be as good as she is.)  She comes over regularly (even though most of the children are too old to be baby-sat) and spends quality thought, time, and resources on gift-giving occasions.
For example, to celebrate Joseph's birthday, she took him out to eat (twice in one day--those teen boy appetites!) and then to a rock-climbing class.
MA bought Rebecca a Sculpey starter set and project book for her birthday.  She took her out to eat, then came home to work with the clay.  The ladies created
colorful pony-tail holders (with a button kit)
 and twisted bracelets.
 Thank you, 'sters, for your gifts of time and love.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh, Good Saint Joseph . . .

A few Lents ago I began praying daily for particular pairs of fathers and sons.  Many of the boys were entering the adolescent stage of questioning or resisting God and religion.  Only a few of the dads are men of faith.  My original three sets have expanded to include seven father/son groups!
I've prayed a separate Hail Mary for each pair nearly every day until recently.  I wanted a more masculine and intentional prayer; it's not always easy to stay focused through the Hail Marys.  Looking to St. Joseph, I've been developing a request that works better for me.  The first line brings up an image that stays with me as I focus and pray.  Here's the current version of my new prayer:
Oh, good Saint Joseph, put your arms around the shoulders of ______ and ______; turn them towards your son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.  As the head of the Holy Family, inspire and empower ______ to be a good and holy leader of his family.  As the foster father of Jesus, inspire ______ to open his heart in obedience and love to his father and God our Father.  Amen.