Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Andrew's Day

For once this day did not catch me by surprise - I really wanted to say a complete Christmas Novena this year and I knew it started on St. Andrew's feast day - Nov.30th. What I did not realize before was that St. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen - everyone here except me enjoys fishing - anywhere - anytime. Whether it's a trip to Island Beach State park or an excursion to Oswego, NY or a quick trip to more local spot, a fishing pole is likely to be brought along.

And St. Andrew is the patron of Scotland - my daughter plays the bagpipes - enough said.

Besides a great start to our Christmas Novena we will have a fish and chips dinner and oldest dear daughter has a bagpipe lesson in the evening.

The Christmas Novena prayer can be found here . I remember just a couple of years ago I could not imagine getting my boys to participate but this year it seems not only doable but enjoyable. I printed out several copies of the prayer and backed it with pretty paper (as in the picture above). These I placed in obvious places to remind us to say a set of three at convenient times - with morning prayer, before we go out, before meals etc.. . Five sets brings us to 15 and helps us cover our days until Christmas in prayer.   I also used some small pictures of the nativity scene I had on hand to make small individual cards for everyone in the family - the prayer is written on the back

Some of my favorite posts about the Christmas Novena can be found at

Under Her Starry Mantle

Pondered in My Heart

In the Heart of my Home

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prepare Him Room!

As I have already posted in a previous year - "Joy to the World" continues to be my carol for the feast of Christ the King - although this carol is widely known as a Christmas carol the verses never actually mention Christmas or the the Nativity.

This year for Advent the phrase "Let every heart prepare him room" seems to be especially ringing in my ears. Prepare Him Room. For me, this Advent, this phrase will be my focus - Christmas in a small home does take preparation - I spent today clearing the top of our school cupboard to make room for the Advent wreath. I had to clear another surface to make room for the math basket and globe that usually live on top the school cupboard and so it goes....

The clearing of one place draws attention to the needs of another - slowly surface by surface - room by room -we find the room we never knew we had that makes a place for the gingerbread houses, the Christmas tree, the Nativity scene etc.. I am always a bit in awe of the dust I find and the cobwebs to sweep away.

But more striking this year are layers that I find in need of a good sweeping in my own heart. That was the message I heard during the Gospel reading which you can find here. It was not surprising that we are warned about "carousing" and "drunkenness". Carousing? Hmm...homeschooling mothers are not generally known for carousing. Drunkenness? Not a problem. But there is a third waring against *anxiety*. That's the one that lurks in nearly every mother's heart. And I have given it too much room in mine - between fretting over our first year homeschooling high school to troubles with neighbors my faith and joy in all that is GOOD in my life has become - well - drowsy.