The center of our new home is literally my great room coffee table. Our home is a very open concept, so you walk in the front door to a large entry from which you just flow right into the dining room, great room and kitchen. I LOVE IT. And literally in the middle sits my coffee table.
Advent has been a part of my family Christmas off and on for most of my life. As a pastor my dad loved to include the advent candle as part of our worship. Some years we did the same at home, others not. With my own children we have attempted some form of Advent each year. When they were young it was about the Advent Calendar. My mother-in-law purchased a wonderful nativity scene advent calendar from World Crafts years ago. My children loved trying to figure out which pieces to put in the pockets so the story unfolded correctly. We also used the Advent box purchased through Family Life, where the children open a new gift box each year. As they grew it sometimes amounted to nothing more than reading the daily scripture. Then, last year I came upon Ann Voskamp’s, “The Greatest Gift”. We purchased an Advent Wreath and candles. We are using the same this year and have added to it our “Gather Round” from Barbara Rainey’s Ever Thine Home and the “post-it” notes provided on Ann Voskamp’s website. (Each morning after reading the “post it ” reminder, we place it on the Gather Round Wreath.)
It is here our hearts are stirred. It is here our minds are cleared. It is here the quiet settles in and His truth permeates the stillness. The center of my home is where things change. Each morning the “post it” cards prompt us to new thoughts, transforming thoughts and action. Action following love, the love He imparts through grace. Each evening our spirits are quieted as we stop to relinquish the day, prepare for rest. Life may get messy in between. We will fall short of His glory. We may even lose sight of Christmas, but this place, this centering spot, brings us back.
If Advent has not been a part of your Christmas, head over to Holly Gerth’s site (see the button over on the side). Today is a round up of Advent Resources. You are sure to find something. You won’t regret adding this to your traditions. And remember, if you miss a night, life goes on, don’t give in, just pick back up.
We had quite a weekend! In the midst of beginning to home school one of my daughters, we had the privilege of hosting a baby shower for a very special former babysitter, now considered special family friend. Well, truth be known, we claim her and her best friend (also former babysitter) as family. It had been a while since we had a large event at the house. I had forgotten how much I enjoy hosting parties and celebrating life’s special moments! To say we had fun, is truly an understatement. It was all the more fun getting to host with girls just shy of being 20 years younger than myself!
As I planned, I found myself once again searching Pinterest. Not just for shower food ideas and theme decor, but some cute little printable to use for Party Planning. I found several, but in the end, this Second Season Mom decided nothing beats my planner and a legal pad.
I made a list of decor for each area (food table, beverage table, seating area, gift display table, etc…). I then listed the menu, who was to bring it and put recipe locations and grocery items on the back of the trusted yellow legal pad paper. Last, but not least, I listed in the margin next to each item or task what day I would take care of the assignment. Some of these got transferred to my weekly calendar pages, while others just got marked off directly on the legal pad. Some days you just have to do the job. I could have spent many more hours searching all of your incredible sites for the perfect planning pages, but… Tried and true are sometimes best. Most importantly though, what matters most is just getting it done! Purge the mind, trust your list, and then set out to get it done. The day of will always be more enjoyable that way.
I am ready now to begin my holiday planning. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. My girls will have the entire week off. I love the crisp air, beauty of the fall leaves and a holiday that requires little more than some cooking. We are loving our new edition from Ever Thine Home created by Barbara Rainey at Family Life. Being thankful is a state of mind. Being thankful is a by product of living in the moment. We had much to be thankful for this weekend and trust we will continue to express our gratitude through the holiday season.