Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Christmas Surprise

Disneyland Or Bust!

We did it...My husband and I pulled off a Christmas Surprise!
We have been saving and planning this trip for a year now.
A trip to Disneyland was going to be our Christmas gift to the children.

After Christmas Eve Mass...
When all of the Angels and Shepherds were snug in their beds...
My husband and I went to work!
Bags were packed and the family CAV (Catholic Assault Vehicle)
was packed...
In preparation for the Christmas surprise.
The children had NO idea until they unwrapped their
Mickey Mouse ears on 
Christmas Morning.
Can you tell they are excited?
Mom and Dad were excited too!
The next day we arrived at
the Magic Kingdom...
A fun 2 days~ had by all.
We ended our trip
with a visit to the Los Angeles Cathedral
~Our Lady of Angels~

~I just loved these angels etched in the glass windows of the Cathedral Courtyard...

and this amazing image of John the Baptist
and Jesus~

We certainly had fun at the Magic Kingdom...
Lest we forget,
A Heavenly Kingdom
is still our ultimate goal!
~O Come, Let Us Adore Him,
Christ The Lord~

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Stations Of The Manger

"No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring Him hidden in the weakness of a new born child."
(CCC 563)

We are starting a new Christmas tradition this year...
~Stations Of The Manger~
I got the idea from my Magnificat prayer book as I
sat in Adoration this morning,
in the presence of God and
 our beautiful church manger scene.

I discovered a lovely prayer before a manger,
written by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P.
It got me reflecting upon our own family manger scenes that we have collected over the years and station around our house, starting the first Sunday of Advent.
I started wondering about how often we stop and reflect upon these manger scenes during the busyness of Advent!?
I'm not sure it's often enough...

So I thought it would be a lovely tradition to begin our Christmas with a walk through our home,
meditating in prayer before each manger scene.
This year we will be doing this on Christmas Eve 
but  I also like the idea for Christmas morning.

I am sharing our path that we will follow this year for our first
Stations of the Manger.

I divided portions of the Manger Prayer into 4 smaller segments to be prayed as we move through our home and pause in front of 4 Manger scenes, ending with placing baby Jesus in the
Crib of Sacrifice, made with our Advent sacrificial yarn strings.
These have been our gifts to Jesus.
My hope is to begin the Stations of the Manger tradition with the oldest child leading our procession by candlelight,
welcoming Jesus Christ, true light of the world.

Here is our path and the prayers to follow...
Station 1
"Lord Jesus as we kneel before your manger in adoration, let our first Christmas words be:
Thank You!
Thank you, Gift of the Father, for coming to save us from our sins.  
Thank you for coming
as one like myself to save me from myself."

Station 2
"You come as a baby, because babies are irresistible and adorable.
You come as a baby because you want our first impression of God incarnate to be that of one who 
does not judge.  You alone are the Answer."

Station 3
"Word become flesh, you make your dwelling among us.
Come and live your life in us."

Station 4
A quote by St. Leo the Great:
"In the very act of reverencing the birth of Our Savior, we are also
celebrating our own new birth."
From this night on, may our lives be a dedicated life of faith marked
by holy reliance.  May we make our life a total gift of self.

Final Station
"May your Presence, Prince of Peace, bless the world with peace.
Oh divine Fruit of Mary's womb, 
May we love you in union with the 
holy Mother of God.
We ask you this in your holy name.
(If anyone would like a copy of these prayers and stations, feel free to send me an e-mail and I will share the Word Document)

Wishing you a Holy and Happy Christmas...
From Our House to Yours!
"The Word who found a dwelling in Mary’s womb comes to knock on the heart of every person with singular intensity each Christmas."

~Pope John Paul II~

Highlighting The Final Week of Advent

~Parish Christmas Party~

The final week of Advent had us enjoying moments of celebration and anticipation!
We began the week with our Parish Christmas Party
to honor the babe in the manger, Christ Our Lord, who came to save the world.
A visit from Santa to help us sing 
Happy Birthday to Jesus is the highlight 
for all ages!
2 yo Angel Baby still wasn't so sure!?
No Santa's lap for her...
Even though it was Grandpa
underneath the suit!
Santa brought each child an ornament...
Here is 6 yo Superboy!
Followed by 8 yo Princess...
Army Dude (Age 11)
And even the 17 yo posed with 
"Grandpa Santa"!
 OK, and Mom and Dad too!
The highlight of my Advent was a 
Sacred Music Concert
This is definitely a new Advent tradition...
Pure Heaven!
If you can find a group near you, I highly recommend it!

A trip to "The City" with my Mom
was a fun addition to our week.
This is my Mom and my youngest sister,
who works in the City.
It was fun to see where she worked and have lunch together,
a rare treat in our busy lives!
Grandma Judy and her Oldest Grandson
And me with my Oldest Son...
We did a small amount of shopping but mostly enjoyed quality family time and enjoyed the sites and sounds of Christmas in the City.  
At the day's end it was a bonus to enjoy dinner with another sister!
(I have 3, so getting to see 2 in one day was a treasure)

~We found a Catholic gift shop connected to 
Old St. Mary's Cathedral so this was my favorite purchase~
Now it's time to finish the baking and wrapping.....
So our hearts can prepare for Him!
He shall be peace.
(Mi 5:4)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

O Antiphon Countdown

Our Advent hope stands on tiptoe, searching the horizon for that glorious day!

The O'Antiphons are helping us count down 
to the glorious day of Christmas.

We printed the O Antiphon symbols out from Jessica's post over at Catholic Cuisine.
~Her brilliant ideas was to tape these to chocolate coins~
I haven't had a chance to get out of the house to pick up chocolate coins so I decided to cut these out and place them on votive candle holders that I had on hand.
I didn't even color them!
Nevertheless, these have been wonderful little tools for helping our family learn about the 
O Antiphon symbols.
We are lighting an O Antiphon candle each day
and placing the candle around our main
family Nativity Scene.
O Night Divine has a beautiful prayer packet to print out.
We were using our Magnificat Advent Companion until we discovered this one.
There are some lovely food ideas in this packet but we are keeping things simple with just the prayers this year.

At the end of the 7 days, we will be lighting the 
O Emmanuel Candle,
nearest to the manger...
Waiting in Joyful Hope for 
O Night Divine!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Movin with Mary, Getting Fit For The King!

I just have to put a good word in for this lovely 
company and blog I just discovered!
Aren't these such awesome t-shirts?

Their mission inspires others to strengthen their bodies
and their souls, through Our Blessed Mother.
"To Jesus Through Mary"

Pictured above is the back of the t-shirts and below is the front label...
This is what I was asking my hubby for Christmas!

They arrived yesterday in these delightful bundles, 
wrapped in delicate blue (Mary) ribbon, 
 adorned with a Memorare prayer card and sweet little plastic rosary chaplet...
I was like a giddy child...SOOOO excited!
Such love and beauty were wrapped into these bundles.
What an amazing tribute to Our Lady!
As you can probably guess...
I couldn't wait until Christmas!

I have recently been trying to get back into better shape...
Mostly for mid-forties mental and physical
health and welfare,
if you know what I mean!
But most importantly, I desire to get Fit For The King, Christ The King, that is.
What better to way to do this than through Mary, who leads us straight to Him!
Last weekend, our local Christian homeless shelter/food kitchen 
was raising money through the city...
"Spirit of Giving" 5K Run/Walk
It was the first 5K I have ran in about 10 years!
I took my 2 oldest sons with me who had never ran a 5K, ever.
I think they are both motivated for the next one...
Especially since Mama *ahem* out-ran the youngest one;)
This is our "post race" photo, looking pretty tired!
Well, needless to say, we now have
a new Advent Tradition for our family.
Next year, we're bringing Dad for sure!

~Looking forward to wearing my Mama's Movin With Mary t-shirt out on the road~
I'm now officially motivated to stay in physical shape, getting Fit For The King, with my spiritual Mama by my side!
"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?"
~1 Corinthians 6:15~
Check out Mama's Movin With Mary and grab their 
cute button!
Maybe even a New Year's Resolution or two!?
*Ave Maria*

Mamas Movin' With Mary
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