May the dear Lord Jesus, perfect Love, cast out all fear and despair this Holy Night. Merry Christmas!
|The Holy Night, Carlo Maratta, 1652|
There is so much to celebrate right now! The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Gaudete Sunday--actually all of it falls in the octave of the Immaculate Conception. And truly, our country needs the prayers of our Lady, our Mother Mary to draw us near the Christ-Child. Oh, that He would make His home in our poor hearts. Dec. 8th was a very special night for us at Sacred Heart Catholic Church where we had a High Mass. Fr. West has been introducing his parish to the Latin Mass and we're grateful to be able to help build it up. Later we stopped at a brewery to sample their wares.
Our Advent is low-key but busy with music preparation and sending out Christmas cards but I love how the focus is on preparation. Our pastor always reminds us of the wisdom of Holy Church to not try to celebrate Christmas until the Midnight Mass. He is near, and nearer still to the people who suffer. Take heart. Rejoice!
Some photos of our Advent: Bees too are preparing--they huddle and shiver and keep the hive warm. They have their honey stores for winter, though when it's warm in the afternoon I see them flying out to collect pollen and nectar. My shoulder is healing well and physical therapy is helping tremendously. I've stopped using the brace unless I need it. My orthopedic surgeon gave me the green light to start using those atrophied muscles. Michael jokes, "what muscles?"
I bought this Catholic weekly planner from Angelus Press and love how well it's designed with liturgical feasts listed, some saints highlighted, space for daily, weekly, monthly notes. Perfect for my needs. And I already started using it because it begins on Dec. 1st. I'm reading a lot more too, but I won't post pictures of the books because...they're gifts for my family :) Do you have any to recommend?
My kids are home for the holidays. So grateful for faith, family, friends, food, fun, and felines. This is the first Thanksgiving in four years that we'll all be home. And lucky for me, I get to sit like a maharani and read a book while the family cooks and cleans. There's a first time for everything. I am grateful for all of you who read my words and I pray for all of you to have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.
And those ghost peppers are so wicked hot, Michael has taken to treating them like CoViD.
I'm feeling soooo much better since I started physical therapy--fewer muscle spasms, better sleep, no more crying. We even went out to eat at Little Miss Ha, a new Vietnamese restaurant--so good. I was quite successful wielding my chopsticks with my left hand. I enjoy a glass of wine with my meal but this time got the Bushido sake because it said Way of the Warrior. This cute little can now sits on my desk. Why yes, the pen is mightier than the sword, and the rosary even more so. I'm battle ready.
I've gone through two surgeries in the past month and of all things, I miss writing the most. I can't do much of anything right now, except pray. It is my superpower. So please let me know any special intentions and I will pray. Right now, I offer a few thoughts but mostly some pictures of my convalescence, the many blessings. As you can imagine, Michael and the cats are a great comfort, as are many books. I did finish my chapter book, Max and Midnight. It's amazing how long these things take. Stories were polished in July, got art from Dagny in Aug, put it all together in Sept, and worked on cover/back in Oct. I managed to get it done a week after surgery #1 and 5 days before #2 knowing that any writing/typing would be difficult after. So please take a look.
I was so pleased All Saints was a Sunday but I didn't go to All Souls Mass on Nov. 2nd. Instead, I sang along at home as Mass was livestreamed on youtube. The simple Gregorian chant was so beautiful and matched my ascetic mood. I also got out to vote and praying for the truth to be unveiled. Over and over, I am impressed with the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. God bless America. I find myself singing America the Beautiful a lot.
There's not been a night that I don't cry. Pain is awful. Sleep is difficult. I have even managed to fall out of the recliner from feeling claustrophobic and trapped. I question whether this is God's will. My feelings can shift from peace to poverty in minutes. But thinking about favorite Scripture verses are a sure path to peace, like Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there's a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. I've taken off my sling/brace to type this post and I have to be extra vigilant with the cats' sudden movements. I cannot afford to tear the repaired tendons. I know I need to practice patience and humility. The silence has been good for me, brought tremendous clarity and closeness to our dear Savior. But as you can see, I succumb to the need to write and connect with you all. I should retreat again into the silence because I believe that is what God desires--it is a school of prayer and thanksgiving. Please pray for me and I, thee. Come, Lord Jesus. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
2 Corinthians 12:9 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
The first weekend of the month is always special because of our first Friday and first Saturday devotions, but this weekend was extra-special because my author copies of Little Thief! Chota Chor! arrived! Until now it didn't feel completely real. But to hold the book, lift the jacket flap, see the darling end-papers and read through the story slowly, savoring the gorgeous illustrations, well, there's nothing like it. My friends, when you have a story from the heart, never, ever give up.
I'm so excited to share my newest picture book with you all. It's Little Thief! or Chota Chor! in Hindi. Based on a real experience when I was a child in India, I wrote about it 18 years ago for my ICL Assignment 3, a description of a place we remember using all five senses. More on this later.
September is such a beautiful month--we have a lot of family birthdays on both sides and when we lived in WA it was lovely to gather and celebrate. This first picture was taken 17-18 years ago. Dagny is just a baby in Grandma's arms. I miss those monthly get-togethers, but what a treat to thumb through old photos. And this summer, Michael and the kids went to WA to spend time with family. They took in all their favorite sights and more. Max made a beautiful photobook so I wanted to share some of the beauty here as well. It was picture perfect.