Friday, December 14, 2012

sackcloth and ashes

Small Flight of Lesser Sandhill Cranes Wheel through the Early Morning Sky over the Lillian Annette Rowe Bird Sanctuary at Grand Island, Nebraska...03/1975

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again

Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

~ T.S. Eliot

I pray for the families of those so senselessly, callously killed in Newtown this day. I pray and I weep for lost children. God in Her heaven weeps.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

DPP 2012: kitschy Christmas

They're rather cheesy, I know, but I love our shiny wire star garlands. A little worse for wear after many years of use, they still shine with the season. Peanut loves them, too, and informs me they will be hung in her room.

kitschy Christmas
kitschy Christmas

advent week 2

This is a tad late - I'd planned to get this posted by Friday or Saturday but a nasty flu had other plans - but here is Advent Week 2. As with Week 1, we do the same readings every evening, allowing the repetition of the words to work their way into our hearts. Did you find that toward the end of the first week that your children were able to recite some of the verses with you? Peanut is quite enjoying the little songs that open our advent evening reading.

We begin with the same two verses as last week (if you are interested in singing them, I've scored out simple tunes that you can find here):

We light two candles shining bright
Upon this Holy Advent night
Fill Our Hearts with loving might
Lead us to Christmas Day's brilliant light!
 - M.T. Shuneman

See my candle burning
With a golden light,
Shining from my window
Out into the night.
I can light a candle,
God can light a star;
Both of them are helpful,
Shining where they are.
 - Traditional

Scripture readings for Week 2

Jeremiah 17: 7-8 : "But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me. 8 He is like a tree growing near a streamand sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit.
Matthew 13: 31-36: Jesus told them another parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches." 33 Jesus told them still another parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises." 34 Jesus used parables to tell all these things to the crowds; he would not say a thing to them without using a parable. 35 He did this to make come true what the prophet had said, "I will use parables when I speak to them; I will tell them things unknown since the creation of the world."
1 Corinthians 15:36-41: When you plant a seed in the ground, it does not sprout to life unless it dies. 37 And what you plant is a bare seed, perhaps a grain of wheat or some other grain, not the full-bodied plant that will later grow up. 38 God provides that seed with the body he wishes; he gives each seed its own proper body. 39 And the flesh of living beings is not all the same kind of flesh; human beings have one kind of flesh, animals another, birds another, and fish another. 40 And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; the beauty that belongs to heavenly bodies is different from the beauty that belongs to earthly bodies. 41 The sun has its own beauty, the moon another beauty, and the stars a different beauty; and even among stars there are different kinds of beauty.

Two poems

Now the twilight of the year
Comes, and Christmas draweth near.

See, across the Advent sky
How the clouds move quietly.

Earth is waiting, wrapt in sleep,
Waiting in a silence deep.

Birds are hid in bush and reed
Flowers are sleeping in their seed.

Through the woodland to and fro
silent-footed creatures go.

Hedgehog curled in prickly ball
Burrows 'neath the leaves that fall.

Man and beast and bird and flower
Waiting for the midnight hour
Waiting for the Christ-child's birth
Christ who made the heaven and earth.
by Ann Ellerton

Tree of Life
tree of
cut down
to lift up
our source of
by Art Van Seters

Sunday Evening Story - A Tree for Christmas by Dandi Daley Mackall

Saturday Evening Story - 

Advent Garden Story
Long, long ago, Mother Mary was preparing for the first Christmas. It was time for her to weave a robe for the Christ Child who was soon to be born.
Among the stars she wandered, and they gave her radiant threads of crystal for the Child’s robe. To the Moon she went, and it gave her silver threads. Threads of gleaming gold the Sun gave to her. And so Mother Mary gathered all the lovely threads and began to weave. But alas! The threads slipped apart and could not be woven together. On her way went Mother Mary, searching, searching.
“Ah, dear stones and crystals,” said Mother Mary, “you are so strong and firm. Can you help me to weave these threads into a robe for the Christ Child?”
“No, Mother Mary. We will mark your pathway to the stable and give you sturdy ground for your footsteps, but we cannot help you weave your threads.”
“Ah, dear plants,” said Mother Mary, “you are so lovely and green. Some of you are green even in the depth of winter. Can you help me to weave these threads into a robe for the Christ Child?”
“No, Mother Mary. We will make you a garden where the Christmas rose can bloom, but we cannot help you weave your threads.”
“Ah, dear animals,” said Mother Mary, “you are so nimble and lively. Can you help me to weave these threads into a robe for the Christ Child?”
“No, Mother Mary. Our brother Donkey will help you on your long journey, but we cannot help you weave your threads.”
Now Mother Mary no longer knew where to turn for help to weave her lovely threads. But lo! There came an angel to her and spoke softly, saying: “Mother Mary, you must ask the children for the love in their hearts. When the children of Earth send you their love, then you will be able to weave the Christ Child’s robe.”
And that is just what happened. And now, each year at Advent time the angel comes and brings us a light in the darkness. From it every child can take a light. These lights will send heart’s love to Mother Mary, to weave a robe for the coming Christ Child.

Friday, December 07, 2012

DPP 2012: snowflakes

december 7: snowflakes
paper snowflakes hang from tulle "snow" drapes in our living room

DPP 2012: love letters

**This is yesterday's post because a bad cold or flu has me entirely knackered**

love letters
Love letters

Peanut has been learning her letters pretty organically. We've done a few exercises to work toward mastery, and she has magnetic letters on our steel front door that she plays with quite often, but mostly we've just been reading and identifying letters for her whenever she asks. No instruction, no pressure. She's four: we have lots of time.

Yesterday, she was playing with a crayon and a little slip of paper left over from my paper stars. After a few moments, she held it up for me to see that she had written her baby sister's name, unannounced and unassisted. 

A first. Letters of love.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

DPP2012: paper stars

DPP 2012: paper stars

Old and neglected sheet music becomes paper stars

Monday, December 03, 2012

DPP2012:Christmas music

break out the christmas music

Christmas music, complete with a heavy helping of banjo. Fabulous!

advent resources

I've spent so long accumulating advent resources I thought I would share them with you, should you be looking for inspiration for ways to mark the season with your family. I'll be posting more links in the third post of my three-post series, but for now, here are some helpful teasers.

First, I have a board on Pinterest dedicated to advent ideas, verses, songs and ideas. Rejoyce In Light is also a wealth of links and resources, also on Pinterest. 

Rhythm of the Home, a quarterly online magazine, is a goldmine of thoughts, reflections, ideas and materials to use whether you are educating at home or sending your children to school, whether you are an observant person of faith or entirely secular. Lots of great reads in there. This recent post focusses on simple ideas for incorporating a feeling of celebration into this frosty season.

Finally, I suspect that there are established tunes for two of the verses used at the beginning of the Advent Week 1 devotional, but since I couldn't find them I made some up myself. Remembering words is always easier when we incorporate music (Alphabet Song, anyone?) and music not only aids in memory but contributes an air of specialness, sacredness, to any given part of the day. 

Enjoy your advent journey!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

DPP2012::december 2

Advent begins

december 2
The first candle of our wreath is lit.

Advent began today, though not how we had planned. Saturday was to bring a pancake breakfast with Gran and cousins and my sister and brother-in-law. Today we had planned our weekly worship at church with a gathering of friends in the afternoon for a new advent tradition: an advent spiral. Instead, we had two sick children (Baby's First Gastro Bug is not nearly as enjoyable a milestone as most are) so our planned weekend of visits and festivities became a weekend of Christmas movies, the Muppets and Glee, naps and a lot of laundry. This morning, though, both girls were feeling chipper and well - a very welcome change from the day before - so though we lay low to continue resting and recuperating, there was fun. And beauty: there is always beauty.

We began our advent journey this evening. We lit the first candle - Bubby, being the youngest child, assisted in lighting it, while Peanut will assist in lighting the two candles of the second week - and did our first reading of this week's devotional. We hung the strands on our chandelier from which we will hang our beads, and we chose our first beads - one for each of us - and strung them. 

advent beads

Four little beads. A seashell, two glass beads and a pearl, in keeping with this week's theme of stones, crystals, seashells and bones. 

And the walk to Bethlehem is begun.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

DPP2012::december 1

Our home turns toward the new season.

Snowflakes and berries in our nature display. 

Last Saturday Bubby and I walked down Bank St., she wrapped on my back and bundled in a snowsuit. A skiff of snow blew across the street, a sign of things to come. This past week brought more snow, enough to warrant snowsuits, boots, mittens and hats and a long walk making prints in virgin snow and making the season's first snow balls. A new season is upon us. 

Welcome, December. 


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