Mittens….take ’em or leave ’em?!?

I wanted to take a little time to reflect on the daily Advent activities we did this year.  As I mentioned last month, I tried something new, putting activities in our Advent Mittens instead of trinkets.  And while I loved it, there were days that I found it to be too much.  Even though I had attempted to look at our calendar ahead of time and predict which days could handle certain activities, sometimes, it just didn’t turn out as planned.  Luckily, dear eldest can’t read yet, so I could easily modify things.  I realized that even though some things SOUND good {going to get ice cream, seeing a living nativity, going to Zoo Lights, making a gingerbread house….the list goes on and on…..}, well, sometimes, staying low key, at home, and adhering to our normal schedule is the best choice.

The classic “less is more” and “lower your expectations (in a good way)” theories.  My friend Jessica posted a wonderful piece on this yesterday.  A reminder that even though certain activities, plans, ideas can SOUND feasible, fun and adventurous, oftentimes, they end up being stressful, tiring and temper tantrum producing.

So, next year…..well, we will probably morph things a bit, add some new ideas, take some out and no doubt, have one thing on the list EVERY day of Advent—-chasing Drew and keeping him out of things!

I have really enjoyed reading thoughts by a few of my favorite bloggers…many on this same topic.

Stephanie (one of my former campers while on summer staff at the Woods) has six beautiful kids and she and her husband Nick are travelling/living in an RV.  They are amazing and her take on Simplifying Christmas is spot on.

Emily Anderson has one of the best blogs.  I love her humor, creativity, passion and joyful spirit.  And yes, she has FIVE kids.  These women are amazing.  Seriously.  Anyhow, this post, You Need Some Milk, Sweet Baby Jesus?, is hilarious.  And I really resonate with appreciating the specialness of this time of Advent, yet overwhelming some days too.

Rachel, at Smile and Wave, often posts for A Beautiful Mess.  She had a great post on simple Advent Activities.  I found it after my original post about things to put in for each day.  I like the SIMPLICITY of her ideas.  Love how she had some new ideas I didn’t use this year that are EASY!

Shauna Niequist posted earlier this week.  The piece was called “Present Over Perfect” and reminded, “Present over perfect. Quality over quantity. Relationship over rushing. People over pressure. Meaning over mania… You’ve been entrusted with one life, made up of days and hours and minutes. You are spending them according to your values, whether you admit it or not. Let’s be courageous in these days. Let’s choose love and rest and grace.”

And finally, Jess, at Allora Handmade {she made the necklace I wear ALL the time!} posted a wonderful piece called “Simplify“.  Woe.  Woe.  Woe.

For me, the biggest gift of this season of Advent, was definitely the Advent class we had at church based on the book Simply Wait.  It was such a treat to be thrust into a small group for four weeks with 5 others I didn’t really know.  All of us were in different life stages, professions, places in our faith journey.  But, what a gift our weekly discussions were–so much laughter, reflection, questions, and connection.  My favorite {of MANY!} excerpts from the book, no doubt, due to the photographer in me, is what I will close with.  It really holds the essence for me of Advent, the piece I will seek to hold onto year to year as we celebrate this season.

“O Hope,

aperture of God’s expansive view;

prism through which all true Light breaks,

illuminating paths and patterns,

ways and wanderers.  

Refract our shortsightedness

that we may look to the East with distance vision

and fine our Advent way.

 Come, O Hope,

focus our blurred

and distracted sight

that we might see clearly the One who is coming.”  

~Pamela C. Hawkins 

2 thoughts on “Mittens….take ’em or leave ’em?!?

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