It's been a busy couple of weeks. I've had a nagging feeling around the edges, telling me to slow down, get some quiet time, pray, and really have a contemplative Advent.
|Christmas cards in the works . . .|
It's not happening, at least not in the way I'd like.
But then I think about Brother Lawrence, the 17th century monk who worked in a monastery kitchen in France.
He used the moments when he was scouring pots and pans to pray, to continually "practice the presence of God." I can do the same thing as I decorate, shop, wrap, and keep up with my regular chores. An Advent in the heart.
For instance, today in the mall, trying to quickly run in, make a return, and pick up one thing, I ran into lines and delays. Rather than fret about how much I had to do, and how much I'd like to get home and experience some of that contemplative time I'm dreaming about, I decided to notice the people around me. To smile at them, speak kindly, do an act of service (such as open a door), or pay a genuine compliment. And to notice and thank those who did the same for me. Such as the nice man who opened a couple doors for me at the Post Office, as I came across the parking lot looking like Gus the mouse in Cinderella (packages, like cheese, carried in my arms all the way up to my chin!).
The advice, "be in the moment," is good. To be still on the inside, even when I'm busy on the outside.
This morning I was telling my daughter I really needed to do a blog post (it's been a week!), but that I didn't feel inspired about anything in particular. (These fabulous blog home tours can sometimes make me feel a little intimidated as I look around at my slow-to-come-together decorating.) She suggested a couple topics. No, no, no . . . they didn't really speak to me.
"I have to be excited or inspired about whatever I blog about," I said.
"Well," she said. "You'll come up with something. That's one thing I admire about you, Mom. You're always really interested in learning new things and you're always getting excited about things."
What a nice compliment. I used to brush compliments off, but I decided some time ago to receive them graciously, as the genuine gifts that they are.
So, with that as a springboard, I'll just list a few happy things that I've been excited about lately:
A lovely CD of Christmas carols gifted to us by friends
Christmas Tea by Twinings, with real cream and sugar, sipped while enjoying a mincemeat tart
Our youngest coming home for Christmas
The twinkling lights on the three trees we have up, and on the stairwell (yes, I decorate a lot)
Tiny little battery-operated twinkle lights scattered about the kitchen table and hutch
Lots of softly glowing candles
Money to buy gifts and food
Loads of books to read, crafts to do, crossword puzzles to work on, puzzles to put together, games to play
Plenty of wood for a nice, cozy fire every day
Dumb You-tube videos and Facebook quizzes which I always say I'm not going to waste my time on, but do anyway
A cozy bathrobe and warm winter coat
Handmade earrings gifted to me
The real reason for Christmas -- Jesus -- and that no amount of banning Him from the public square can take Him from my heart
I could list 100 more things that I'm thankful for and get excited about -- from the cheerful little chickadees at my feeder to my new raspberry-colored lipstick -- and still not run out of things.
The news is so depressing, and there are things in my life that are painful, but there's always something to be happy about. There's always something new and interesting to learn.
So, this turned into a little rambling post . . . Actually, the real reason I'm having trouble blogging right now, besides being busy, is that I'm still trying to figure out a new way to back up my photos. I've run out of space. So I can't share photos. It will take about 10 minutes to figure it out, I'm sure. When I do, it will be one more thing to be excited about.
Linking with No Place Like Home.