I welcomed the beginning of December with open arms. Yes, I love the anticipation of Christmas and unrestrained Christmas cheer. But also, I love that for me, December has meant a slower pace than November. The Christmas shopping is done, Christmas gifts are wrapped, and I need to bring gifts that we're mailing up north to the post office, just as soon as I finish reading a book my mom leant to me. We have a few "fun" Christmasy things on our December calendar, including some that have already happened, but a lot of this month with be strategic resting with little fun activities mixed in.
This past weekend, I had a Christmas breakfast with two dear friends at Snooze. We all chose breakfasts we wanted to eat, and ones that we knew the others would enjoy sampling. And we all had coffee, exchanged Christmas gifts, and caught up about life.
The rest of the day on Saturday was restful, with episodes of The Great British Baking Show, along with an expected need to bake a cake (I know myself by now). We drank tea and I started watching a few episodes of Vlogmas, fun, short "video blogs" from various YouTubers, who are knitters. It's such a fun part of this month for me! And I stitched away on my only current knitting project, a pair of socks. We also decided to wrap all our Christmas gifts, so that any excess boxes could be broken down and we could get rid of some of the clutter that is inevitable after ordering nearly all Christmas gifts online.
Sunday, we went to church, came home and had gf homemade waffles for lunch, and worked on the puzzle for hours. I watched some more podcasts, and we rested a lot. We took a nap, and I did some more knitting, and I made steak and potatoes for supper.
Apart from those things, here are the advent bits I've been up to:
Loving my advent devotionals from All Good Things Collective. They're thoughtful and help to daily remind my pre-Christmas heart to slow down for pete's sake. Each day has a place to "ponder" the daily scripture reading, and then other sections to document things that fit in the the categories of "praise" and "play." It's helping my outlook to notice more about each day, even on work days(!) that is meaningful.
Brainstorming what my next knitting project should be. It's been such a long time (August) since I haven't known exactly the project I would knit next, so I need to do some dream knitting to sort that out, but in the meanwhile, I'm enjoying this sock.
Thinking a bit about my annual year in review post for 2018 and what I want to say/include/how to process a full year
Taking boca-ish, blurry pictures of our Christmas tree, my favorite.
Wearing sweaters and vests and boots
Drinking rooibus tea from a friend, Nicholas drinking his tried-and-true peppermint rooibus
Joking with Nicholas about our shared advent stocking "looking a little bit heavy." It's fun to receive little surprises, but it's even more fun to fill the stocking with little surprise things for him. So far, he gave me my very favorite pens for my bullet journal, and some very special safer nail polish (the 10over10 brand in Mulberry). I've given him a fun pair of Bombas socks, a piece of white peppermint bark, and some peppermint lip conditioner from Beautycounter, bought on sale.
Reading this gold in A New Song by Jan Karon,
Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me but in me and I in Him." (a quote from St. Francis de Sales in the book)
Making homemade lasagna and enjoying the leftovers immensely. It features the best easy homemade sauce that is a game-changer. I don't typically love red sauce, but I can eat this sauce by the spoonful. I have the recipe in the cookbook Little Victories, which I highly recommend, but it's also posted online here.
Beginning today with some reading and my advent study, in my pajamas and fun Christmas socks.
This time of year is hard for so many people for so many reasons. Hurts and grief and absences felt. I'm praying that I can find a balance between having mindful, purposeful joy for this season, not because this season will fulfill me, but because the birth of Jesus is the happiest news ever! That He came to the world, as a baby, to live here, endure suffering, and ultimately, destroy the chasm between us and God forever, for those who belong to Him. Even if this is a hard time of year, this joy surpasses all the cares of this world. A light in the darkness. O come, O come Emmanuel.
P.S.—the photo above is the view of the Christmas tree from our bedroom. I turn off all the little twinkly lights around the apartment before I go to bed, with the exception of the tree. When I take my glasses off, it basically looks like this ;) And then Nicholas turns it off right before getting into bed next to me.
Looking back at my recent posts, I realized it has been a long time since I wrote a little post about "life lately." I've written about things in our life, yes, like Cooper turning four, a visit to our friends in Bloomington, a visit from my family, a trip to the beach and the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law's passing, recent knitting and other creative projects, and some updates about our garden this year. But I haven't written a post with the little mish-mash bits of life since early June. So here I am now, playing a little bit of catch up.
Sometimes I enjoy "jotting down" my current favorite things – music or shows, recipes, small purchases worth spending money on, or other little bits and bobs. For me personally, it's a fun snapshot of my life at this very moment, and it might be fun for someone else too.
The last several weeks have been a lot of regular life things, overall. Little happinesses sprinkled into everyday life. The boys are always doing new things, and that feels like a privilege to witness.