Monday, November 28, 2016

Our Jesse Tree Stories & Ornaments (This year, at least!)

Why mention that it's only for "this year", you ask? Well, a couple reasons:

  1. The length of Advent is different from year to year. I've always known that Advent is the 4 Sundays that precede Christmas - but it never really dawned on me until recently, that this means the number of days in Advent can (and does) change from year to year. This year Advent is 28 days long - the longest it can possibly be - and that's because Christmas itself is on a Sunday. Next year though, Christmas will be on a Monday, which will mean that the season of Advent will only be 22 days long. So next year 6 of our ornaments will have to be cut from the rotation. Which ones will they be? Decisions, decisions. (Glad I have a year to figure it out.)
  2. I reserve the right to change my mind. It's a work in progress! Already there are ornaments/stories that I don't like and want to swap out for ones that I do. (What do we call this? The woman's perogative? 😉 ) For instance, last year I made a baby Moses in a basket-boat ornament, which I actually really like! But in terms of story-telling, it makes much more sense to just tell the story of Moses at the burning bush (and use that ornament) and add another ornament/story in somewhere else.

Since this isn't a crafty how-to kind of post, I'll cut right to the chase. Wherever possible, I'm reading the story from the Jesus Calling Bible storybook, but when that fails then I'm just reading the story straight from the Bible. My audience is a 2 year old and a 4 year old though, so pictures really help, and I really like the artwork in the Bible storybook.

First Week of Advent

Sunday - Isaiah 11:1-10 - the Jesse tree stump
Monday - the Creation story - world
Tuesday - Adam, Eve and first sin - apple
Wednesday - Noah and the flood - ark
Thursday - God's promise to Abraham - field of stars
Friday - Abraham offers Isaac - ram
Saturday - Jacob & Esau - 2 twins

Second Week of Advent

Sunday - Jacob's ladder - the ladder (duh!)
Monday - Joseph - many-colored coat
Tuesday - Moses - burning bush
Wednesday - the first Passover - lamb
Thursday - God gives the 10 Commandments - 2 stone tablets
Friday - Samuel anoints Saul as king - crown
Saturday - David and Goliath - slingshot

Third Week of Advent

Sunday - Elijah and the widow - oil jar and sack
Monday - the story of Ruth - heart
Tuesday - the calling of Isaiah - tongs with coal (I still have to make this one!)
Wednesday - Jeremiah - tears
Thursday - Jonah - whale
Friday - Daniel captured by Babylon - plate of veggies
Saturday - Daniel and the lions' den - lion

Fourth Week of Advent

Sunday - Gabriel appears to Mary - lily
Monday - Mary visits Elizabeth - rose
Tuesday - John the Baptist - seashell
Wednesday - Joseph, protector of the holy family - hammer
Thursday - the wise men - star
Friday - Jesus, creator-redeemer: John 1:1-18 - ChiRho
Saturday - Jesus, born in a stable - manger

So there you have it! Does your family do a Jesse Tree? Are there stories/ornaments that I really should have included that I missed? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

7 Ways I'm Adventing This Year - a 7QT

Last year Kendra shared an insightful post called "How to Advent in 3 Steps" and number 1 was a biggie:

"Don't Christmas yet."

Which should seem obvious, right? But it really got me thinking, how do we make the season of waiting (Advent) different from the season of celebrating (Christmas)? We are still just beginners when it comes to living liturgically; however, when I started to think about it, we are doing a few things that we haven't before. So just to prove to myself that we *are* doing something, here are the 7 ways we are making Advent different.

- 1 -

I'm getting off Facebook. I did this last year, and honestly, it was a relief. Like so many others before me, I found that 1) my social world didn't end, 2) it freed up time to do/contemplate other things, 3) I was also freed up from the "comparison bug". I really recommend it. (Plus when you return on, or after, Christmas, you return to everyone's Merry Christmas wishes - which is actually kinda nice!)

- 2 -
Img: Zephrinus
Making mass a thing. Last year we/I were such noobs that I completely forgot that going to daily mass is actually a most excellent way of preparing and praying for Christmas. (Confession: I also didn't know that the feast of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation. I do this year, so I will remedy that one for sure!) We won't be going *daily*, but we will definitely do the HDO and possibly one other feast day besides the Sunday masses.

- 3 -

We'll do our Jesse Tree again. Last year we used this book for our readings and for which ornaments to make. It was good for the first time around - but I didn't like that it didn't start with Adam & Eve in the garden. (Which, if one is using the Jesse tree to explain the story of salvation and/or Jesus' lineage, don't you think that leaving Adam and Eve out is a bit... well, odd?) So this year, I'm fixing that and adding a few more ornaments/stories in - since I'm not using any one resource to do this, maybe I'll write a post with all our ornaments/readings? Yes, maybe I'll do that (if for no other reason than giving me a place to have it all written down for future years!)

- 4 -

We'll also light Advent candles on Sundays. This will replace the candle that we (usually) light at dinner time. I found the beautiful candleholder above on Amazon and it's just the right size for our small home. I may even put some evergreen branches around it to make it more "wreath-like" (but I will not decorate with fake-sugared-fake-fruit. Just say no to fakeiness.)

- 5 -
St Lucia img: Heather Sleightholm
We'll observe a few feast days. We've more or less been observing Saint Lucia's since we moved into our home with a "Cookies, Cocoa and Christmas Lights" party. But this year, we'll also add in St Andrew's day on November 30th, and Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th. We've got a book to read for each saint/day and a little activity or special food planned for that day too. I may or may not do anything for St Nicholas's day... it's just that 3 feast days in one month is already pretty ambitious for me. (I really should do it though, huh?) (I know, I know.) (We'll see...)

- 6 -
img: Blessed Is She
This one is just for me, and may turn out to be the most important preparation of all! I'm going to do my absolute best to get some morning time in, using this journal as a guide. I've heard the author, Elizabeth Foss, speak about Advent twice now - and her wisdom/perspective is so refreshing.

- 7 -

Ok, just kidding! There is no seventh thing. If the whole idea of Advent is to "prepare Him room" I probably shouldn't fill up the schedule with commitments! Right? Right. So, I'm going to go sign off FB, clear some space on the mantle and some space in my heart and begin the wait for the coming King. May you and yours have a blessed Advent.

Swing by Kelly's for some more!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Library Love for November 8th

Technically this is our haul from last week, but what with my father-in-law coming into town and our wee girl turning 4, and... blah blah blah. Excuses. I know. It's all good stuff!

In some exciting news, we've traded in Maisy for...
...a whole 'nuther series! (I can see my little girl becoming a series-a-holic when she learns how to read on her own). The first two books in the Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa early readers are really quite good. The author and illustrator capture the comical nature of a horse, and it's delightful to read. The rest of the series is more of the same, but since same here == quite good, it's not really an issue.

In November - This and the next two books we got off the Picture Books for November list from Read Aloud Revival - I've got to say, that girl's got good taste. In November has been a wonderful book to read at bedtime and it captures the warmth of the season perfectly (even though we never get snow here!). It's beautiful to look at too... plus I learned that bees can/do burrow into the ground during winter! I had no idea.

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie - This one is hilarious! I read it in the library before we even got home and I was just cracking up at the pictures. When the Old Lady swallows the squash... bwahahaha! Plus I get to read/sing this book, and I always enjoy throwing a song in whenever possible. Highly recommended.

A Turkey for Thanksgiving - Can't say much about this yet because we haven't read it. I'm sure we will though, cause who can resist that moose on the cover? Not my moose loving sister - so maybe I'll get her to read it to the kiddos. (Hi, moose-loving sister!)

The Enneagram Made Easy - This one is for me. Ever since I heard Leigh Kramer talk about it on the Simple Show (look for #6 with Leigh Kramer) I've been wanting to learn more. A good friend of mine actually used to host little "Enneagram" parties - to find out who you are, and who your friends/family are - and she had Richard Rohr's book (the one mentioned in the podcast). But when I borrowed it from her, it looked a bit overwhelming. So I'm starting here instead since it was also recommended.

What books have you checked out lately that you love? Will you let me know in the comments? Or maybe join the Library Love link-up with Alicia and share with all of us! Looking forward to hearing about your new favorites... :)