WHAT I'M THANKFUL FOR: For so many things. My family, obviously -- my husband, Meelyn and Aisling, but also for everyone else, including Carol and Uncle Graham and Lilly and John and Susie and Doug and my parents and brother and sister-in-law and nephews and niece... For good books to read and good food to eat. For my circle of friends, who let me cry on their shoulders during a recent disappointment and were all that is comforting and supportive.
But most of all, and as always, that God in His wisdom and grace, brought me to the Catholic faith. I will never understand why. Surely, there must have been a Bible scholar somewhere out there who would have had a greater appreciation of the Old Testament foreshadowings of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist and Mary, and especially the covenant relationship that God has arranged with those who call Him Father. Surely there was someone holier and more deserving of receiving the sacraments, which are the birthright of all Christian people, but still so sadly unappreciated.
But He chose me. And my family. That is what I am the most grateful for, every single year.
READING: I'm reading another Maeve Binchy and have decided that I must be in the mood for engrossing stories about people and their lives. I've been on a Binchy binge lately. Although I've also been reading a lot of Dean Koontz -- I love that Catholic man -- and more Marian Keyes. These three authors, it seems that their books never grow tiresome to me. Last summer, I immersed myself in British chick lit, as you may or may not remember, and I grew weary of that in just over a month. But Koontz's suspense novels (where good always wins) and Binchy's and Keyes' tales of ordinary lives and the ups and downs along the way are always interesting.
Anyway, the Binchy novel I'm reading right now is titled Quentins and is about a Dublin restaurant of that name, the people who run it, the people who eat there, and all their worlds.
LISTENING TO: Blissful quiet.
FAVORITE NEW FIND: I think perhaps it may be Martha Stewart's Classic Stuffing recipe, with the optional pecans. I think I'd like it with the optional dried cherries, but I didn't add those for fear that the family would protest. I added two eggs and four extra tablespoons of butter to her ingredients and it turned out very well. It came out of the serving dish in satisfying dense slabs and tasted great with turkey and gravy.
FAVORITE THING TODAY: This is our second day of Thanksgiving break. Ordinarily, we'd be around the table, suffering through math and listening to Meelyn howl about the unfairness of her life and how wicked miserable she's been ever since Jody Baxter and Flag entered her life. I am to be spared this misery, just another thing to be thankful for.
SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: I went to bed at 11:30, which is surely a reasonable time, and then my eyes popped open some time later and I was wide awake and refreshed. I figured that it must be around 6:30, which is when I seem to wake up naturally. So I bounced out of bed, looking at the clock as I did so.
It was 1:10 a.m. It took me for-freakin'-ever to fall back to sleep.
THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: I have to do some HISTO today, tomorrow and Sunday, even though I am technically on vacation. I wouldn't have had to do this if I weren't such a disgusting procrastinator, but waa-a-a-a-ah anyway.
THE CAUSE OF MY JOY: Christmas lights going up outside tomorrow! At least that's what I'm hoping. The girls and I are also going to Hobby Lobby today to get the paper we need to make our big Advent wreath on our picture window that looks out onto the street in front of our house. This window is about twelve feet long and ten feet tall, so as you can imagine, it is a b-i-g display and it looks very nice from outside. We use sheets of paper cut into "fir" shapes for the wreath along the bottom of the window and then place sheets of paper four high for the candles -- three purple candles and one pink. We make little slips of black paper as "wicks" and attach a paper flame when that particular week's candle is "lit." We keep this up all through Advent and then tear it off the window on Christmas Eve to reveal the full glory of our magnificent 10-foot Christmas tree to the wonder of the pedestrians, neighbors and motorists on our street.
LOOKING FORWARD TO: The season of Advent, a time of beautiful hoping and waiting. I honestly don't know how Christmas meant much of anything before we became Catholic. Wait a minute....one of the reasons why I started reading about the Catholic faith all those many years ago was because I was searching for a way to make Christmas more meaningful for my family.
Meelyn and Aisling were only four and two back then, and when I started researching "Advent" on the internet, I didn't know that:
1) I was reading about a tradition that people still celebrated; I honestly thought that Advent was something that had died out hundreds of years ago and had no meaning for people's lives today. As I was searching and reading through different websites, I started out by praying that God would lead me to something that could bring light to me so that I could share it with other people. How was I, a presumptuous Christian to be sure, to know then that other people would end up bringing that light to me?
2) that Advent had not only never died out, but that it was being celebrated in much the same way that it had been celebrated for hundreds and hundreds of years, a chain unbroken through century after century, through pope after pope, from Jerusalem to Rome to Indiana. Learning that fact not only changed the way my family views Christmas, it also changed the rest of our lives that don't occur from the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day until January 6, Epiphany Day. Now, we truly celebrate the Christ Mass.
PRAYING FOR: My poor little grandpa, who is having a terrible struggle with an infection near his ankle bone that may end up taking his leg.
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