2014advent wreath

Hey! It’s Advent!

And though I have an Advent book and all, I don’t want you to think I have the secret sauce of Advent. Not in the least.

Confession: many years, I’m a self-appointed Advent slacker. I can’t seem to pull myself up to the levels of excellence it seems that “Good Catholic Moms” everywhere else are able to achieve.

Of course, most of the moms I talk to — who are Good Moms, no doubt about it — don’t do it all. In fact, off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone who does it all.

But somehow, I remain convinced that such a mom exists, and that she is the standard to which I must hold myself.

And there’s nothing like the season before Christmas to make me aware of it.

That’s the beginning of my article over at Catholic Exchange, in which I admit that, of all people, Mary (yes, as in “Blessed Virgin”) helps me to battle it and keep my priorities un-slackerly.

This year, I find myself (once again) very pregnant. I’m tired, and cranky, and full of things that need done that have nothing to do with Advent. There are the usual lists, the things that are never done like laundry and housework and errands; there are the work lists of writing and editing and billable hours; and there are the extra lists filled with gift ideas and budgets and schedules. Like every other person out there, I’m juggling extra at Advent, and there’s this expectation that I’ll be holy and happy and not harried or bah-humbuggy.

It’s only possible if I’m turning to Mama, because as I feel the stirrings of life within me, I’m reminded that this waiting has a larger purpose.

We’re really not here for the gifts. We’re not here for the special programs. We’re not even here for the family get-togethers.

We’re here, in Advent, because we desperately need a Savior.

To find out just how simple I’m keeping Advent, you’ll have to go over to Catholic Exchange and read the whole thing.


The unexpected plus of this set-up is that you can’t see the mess on the counter with the Advent calendar box at the end of the counter.


I have compiled my favorite Advent resources and links onto their own Advent page. It’s not pretty, but it is a list. It includes my favorite books, websites, and apps. (And if you have anything I should check out, do let me know!

2014 Advent Wreath Link-up

PLUS, we’ll be having an Advent wreath link-up over at CatholicMom.com on December 7so be sure to prepare yourself for that fun!

I like to talk to religious sisters, tis true.

Among the ways Mary helps me is through the rosary, which brings me to the highlight of my week last week. I had the chance to speak with Sr. Joseph Andrew of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. She was as delightful as her order’s new Rosary album, which I’ve been using in my morning prayer time.

How is it challenging to share yourselves with the public in these albums? Is it hard on the Order’s life and structure to have to set recording equipment up in your chapel?

We have it down to where we can make these switches without a great deal of inconvenience. We have a very young order, so sometimes surprises don’t shake us perhaps as much as they would an older community in some ways. We also founded the Order on cusp of the New Evangelization of the Third Millennium, so we’re very open God’s surprises—and we get them daily.

In reality, what we did with both of these CDs (referring to both The Rosary and Mater Eucharistiae, their first album), was kind of take people with us into our chapel and all this music is music we already sing. Some of it was written by the sisters, some of it is Gregorian chant, some of it is all through the ages. These are very near and dear to our community.

So we sat down and said, “Let’s just do some of these.” We had many, many more but we just selected these. Even the preparation isn’t what it would probably be for a lot of other people who would want to do a music CD, because we sing many times a day. It’s part of our chanting of the Divine Office, it’s part of our liturgy at each Mass.

These hymns are kind of part of who we are. We do have choir practice. Our sisters learn music and they love it and we even sing outside of those times other kinds of music.

In that contemplative outreach, how do we get word to people — people who we won’t see in the classroom, people who might not find at one of our conferences or at one of our retreats or the many outreaches? We go into their homes with a CD that they can put on anytime they want, and again, it’s kind of an extension of our community when these are played, because it’s just what we do.

Go read the rest, and if you’re looking for a great Christmas gift, consider their Rosary album!