First Sunday of Advent: Hope

Hope Peace Joy Love Advent Wreath

Advent is here! It is the season of anticipation before Christmas, as well as the start of the new liturgical year. Christians celebrate with Advent calendars, Advent wreaths, Jesse Trees, and – at least in my experience – many, many repetitions of “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”

In some churches, the four weeks of Advent are each given a theme: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. This first week of Advent, we celebrate hope:

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
God’s mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:21-24

I need the Lord’s hope very much right now. Our world seems to be increasingly chaotic, frighteningly greedy, and profoundly unkind, and I sometimes wonder how much more we will stray from “loving our neighbor” as God commands. I see so much self-interest, so many people seeing anyone different from themselves as “other,” so little willingness to listen or to work together. Continue reading “First Sunday of Advent: Hope”

Plan #13 – Put away Halloween

Packing up holiday decorations is a hit-or-miss proposition around here. The main stuff  gets taken down and put away fairly quickly, but inevitably there are a few things that get  overlooked.

Those misfit things get put into a pile that seems to grow slowly over the next few weeks as I locate things that were missed on the first sweep. Somehow, I even find things from prior  holidays! I think I had an Easter Bunny gumball machine and a couple of Christmas decorations still out in October.

Worst of all, this pile never seems to get attended to. Once the boxes are put away up high on the garage shelves, the last thing I want to do is haul them all down for one or two things. It just seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

Until now…

Yep, I did it. I put away the Halloween costumes I’d lent out, the random things I’d missed in the  Halloween packing, and all the little doodads that I’d piled up. I had been feeling like a big hypocrite as I got on Quinland’s case for a sleeping bag and pillow that had been sitting on the rocking chair since Outdoor School a month ago. Those finally got put away yesterday; today it was my turn to face the music.

It took less than 15 minutes, and I did it right, putting everything back in the proper box. It’s always such an eye-opener to see how easy it is to take care of all the dang things I’ve procrastinated on. Honestly, I hope the awareness sticks this time!

I also located the little box of Thanksgiving decorations I’d been looking for the last two weeks, so this is back up on my mantel:

Give Thanks

I do have a tremendous amount to be thankful for. Family, love, friends, home, job, food, clothing, books… life. I’ve certainly been counting my blessings in the wake of so many tragedies this week.

Gearing up for November

It’s November 1st. According to David, it’s the first day of the rest of our lives. I like to start life over at Labor Day and New Year’s Day, but David likes to declare a fresh start on a regular basis (i.e., anytime he is frustrated with himself). Mondays, first days of the month, new trimesters at school – all are fair game to be Day One.

But first, I must say farewell to October with its first fallen leaves, first torrential downpours, and Quinland’s 17th birthday. I had the day off on Friday and spent it hauling out all the Halloween decorations. All that effort on the day before Halloween seemed a bit insane, but I have so few holidays left with Quinland being a kid at home that I didn’t want to miss this one.

Happy Halloween

I’m not a fancy decorator by any means (says everyone ever), but I think that bringing out the same stuff year after year is what matters.  Most of it has been around for so long that I have forgotten where it came from. (The tiny pumpkin basket, I know, came with a Bitty Baby Halloween costume – a teddy bear – which was sold on eBay along with tons of other stuff. I had to keep the pumpkin.)

But on to November! It’s going to be a busy month. Quinland has one of the major roles in the school play (which debuts this week) and the NBA season is now in full swing; these two conditions will be perfect for an upcoming visit from Lynette and Joe. The chance to catch the Blazers vs the Spurs and to see Q perform? We couldn’t keep them away if we tried. I need to start preparing for Thanksgiving, the Christmas Shopping Season, and my birthday, all of which are coming up rapidly as well.

To all this I must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of my mind by extensive reading.  (I daresay.) My IKEA-cart-turned-nightstand is all filled up: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors. The Probiotics Revolution. Decorate. Organized for Life. Pope Francis. David is ready to read as well: 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. An assortment of travel books. High Fidelity. I even scored him See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, the autobiography of Bob Mould from Sugar and Hüsker Dü, from our local library. I might just read that one first.


The books are not the only thing lined up and ready to go. I have plans. Plans, mind you. This month is going to see a whole host of activity here in my world. Home, health, habits – we’re talking upheaval, in the best possible way. Stay tuned!