Thursday, December 22, 2011

7 Not-So-Quick Takes: ADVENT-ures 2011, Part 2

Take #1. I have this great app on my Ipad called "Home Routines" that helps me organize my daily and weekly tasks. It follows the guidelines of The Fly Lady, and you can adjust it to your own needs. You have a "morning" list, an "evening" list, a "weekly tasks" list; these generally stay the same all the time. Then you have several other To-Do lists: "Today," "This Week," and "Later." These are constantly changing. You can check off each task as you complete it, and it's an easy way to keep track of what needs to be done. It also gives you a place to list chores for each "zone" in your home--a room or area that you try to do little extra cleaning and organizing in each week. (Theoretically. Don't ask me when I last dusted my ceiling fans or cleaned the baseboards.) This Advent I've made a kind of new (liturgical) year's resolution to make better use of it because frankly I'm never been good at organizing my time or my home. (Ginny recommends a book called Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder. I don't know if I actually have ADD or not, but it sounds like something that might help me. We'll see; I still have Peter Walsh's book Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read.)

Anyhow, one of the tasks I listed (quite a while ago) in the "Morning" category is, "Prayer and Journaling." Most days I leave that unchecked. I'm working on a solution to that, especially the "prayer" part., and I'll tell you about that in a future post. (I'm also working out a system to help me get more "weekly" tasks done. I don't even look at the "zone" lists. Baby steps.)

The wise men are starting on their journey to visit the Baby Jesus. This is Moe's little project.

Take #2. I almost skipped praying one morning this week. I had made beef stew the night before, and had left it on the stove to cool before putting it in the fridge for the next day; when I got up in the morning I discovered I had left it out all night and had to throw it out. I wanted to cry. I cursed myself and of course the first thoughts that came to my head were harsh words of reproach about how stupid I could be sometimes and that I'm a loser, a failure, etc. Being angry at myself (or at anyone, for that matter) doesn't exactly put me in the right frame of mind for prayer. But I also realized that even spending a few minutes talking and listening to God would calm my spirit and I would have a better day overall. God certainly isn't angry at me for being forgetful. After praying a decade of the Rosary--trying not to scold myself for not praying the whole thing--I felt much better and was able to put that mistake behind me and focus on the tasks of the day.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart. Amen.

Take #3. Recently our nephew in Atlanta turned four, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law threw him a birthday party last Sunday. We talked to him on the phone that night, and he was excited to tell everyone about his party. When I got on the phone, he said, "Hi, Auntie Sharon! I had my birthday party! But why couldn't you come?" I told him I wished I could have been there but we live too far away. "But you could go fast!!"

We spent last Christmas at their house in Atlanta, and this year we miss them more than ever.

This is the creche at the church in Atlanta where we went to Christmas Eve Mass last year.

Take #4. In Art class, Moe and his classmates were given a plain, silver-colored Christmas ball and instructed to draw what they saw in the reflection. The teacher had four or five kids sit around a small table with the ball in the middle, and gave each of them Shrinky Dink paper and colored pencils (or whatever you use for Shrinky Dinks--I haven't seen those since I was a kid!) Here's how his turned out:

Take #5. In Technology class--here I go bragging about my kids' school work again--Moe used Power Point Auto Shapes (whatever that is) to make this:

(He says the manger looks like a flying saucer. Curly said it looks like a bobsled. Personally I think Joseph's mustache is way cool.)

And just for kicks, here's the one Curly made two years ago when he was in fifth grade:

(I love Mary's big hair in this one.)

Take #6. My paternal grandmother used to collect all kinds of whimsical things, including salt-and-pepper shakers. She had a whole china cabinet full of them. One of her most memorable sets was made in the image of a large-breasted mermaid. They sat on a tray shaped like the lounging mermaid, and the shakers were her, um, girls. Over the last couple of years I have started a collection of my own (although I don't think I'll ever have any that resemble body parts), much to the amusement--annoyance?--of my family.

The most ordinary-looking ones are what we use from day to day. The blue and white ones in the back match our wedding china, and I'm pretty sure we've had those the longest. The little redbirds and the peppermints are ones I found at Cracker Barrel just a few weeks ago. (I used to have more than these, but since I insist on actually USING them, some have gotten broken. And I did get just one more set this week that isn't in this photo; a little Christmas present for myself.)

I fell in love with these a while back at an antique show:

I didn't buy them, though, because the lady selling them was asking $90 for them. I almost wish I had, though; maybe I could have talked her down in price.

Take #7. In my last 7 Quick Takes post, I included this picture:

I received several comments about how beautiful my wreath is. It's actually my mother-in-law's wreath that she had out on Thanksgiving weekend. Here's the one she had on her door.

(The other day I found one in our attic like this one that I forgot that I had. I'm pretty sure my mother-in-law made it. I'll put that one up after Christmas.)

I'm sure she has put out some more Christmas-y ones by now (although these are pretty Christmas-y already); she has a whole collection of them hanging in a row in her attic. I sometimes jokingly call her Martha because her decorating and cooking often rival Martha Stewart's.

Here's the wreath I have on my door.

I picked it up at the Farmers' market, made by a nice lady who sells pies and cakes and things. The Santa was given to me a few years back by a friend and fellow teacher I was working with at the time. I'm sure Martha Stewart wouldn't have this on HER door, but we like our little holly-who wreath.

Bonus take, #8: My friend Lynda wrote this beautiful piece for Christmas and posted it on her blog, Conversations With My Soul. Head on over and check it out!

And be sure to check out Jen Fulwiler's blog, Conversion Diary, for more Quick Takes!


  1. You are not alone in 'failing' to meet goals for prayer time. I'm much better about quick prayers throughout the day than a dedicated time. After my car ride with my 8 year old yesterday (which I mentioned in my Quick Takes post this week), I'm thinking the car might be a great place for prayer.

    Have a blessed Christmas!

  2. Hi Sharon! I love the ornament in Take 4! What a cool rendition of what could be seen in the ornament! As for Take 2, I totally understand that one. That's what my practice of peace has helped with, bringing myself back to remembering the source of peace within - especially when I'm mad at myself! Merry Christmas to you and yours!


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