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

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent~Light of Hope

Advent Blessings!

Well, our Advent didn't start out exactly as I had planned.
It started out with a struggle, or you might say an all out "attack."
But we marched forward and lit our first candle last week, representing hope.
I continue to look for the blessings each day, 
despite the overwhelming moments that life can sometimes bring, even the events that you least expect.
I was inspired by Barbara's post over at Praying For Grace.
She gave me the courage to be honest about my "attack" (as she coins) from "you-know-who,"
the evil one.
I have struggled with anxiety over the years, due to my Gulf War Service, followed by witnessing the death of a precious husband.  
 My journey of suffering is really meant for another post but let's just say  
 I have emerged from anguish and darkness to great light over the years,
only by the grace of God.
The Lord has brought abundant joy and rejoicing to my life.  
He is my stronghold.
He is my light, my refuge, and my help, 
clearly by the aid of Our Lady, His Most Holy Mother and Our Mother too.

My anxiety has been reduced to a few times a year and they are brief and manageable episodes.
And now this "attack..."has been the worst in over 10 years for me.
I am in the process of renewing my Total Consecration To Mary
via St. Louis De Montfort...should I say more?
As I am in the middle of the "Knowledge of Mary" section,
Advent begins...
Suddenly the attack ensues and  I am currently going on 9-day physical and mental anxiety episode.
Is this a coincidence?  I think not.
I can't begin to explain the inner torture, mental anguish and physical manifestations of the nerves that never stop seizing.
It has been unbearable at times.
But it is Advent...And I know in my heart, there is HOPE.
Needless to say, I am not giving up on my consecration renewal
and the Rosary is my constant, reliable, spiritual weapon.
With all the strength I could muster, we carried on a few Advent traditions and preparations this week,  though disappointed to "let go" of a few other things I had planned.
(Including school work)
  I always give the kids their Christmas pajamas on the first day of Advent, wrapped in purple paper.  This year I added the Magnificat Holy Card that I "happened" to have picked up awhile ago.
Definitely a Godincidence there...
It became my "line in the sand" to you-know-who!
It is said that "the devils tremble and fly when they hear these words from Mary's Magnificat prayer: He hath showed might in His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart."~True Devotion To Mary~
We changed our Home Altar cloth to Advent purple and adorned it with a few other special Advent treasures.  
Awhile back, I was inspired by Gardenia over at My Little Flower and her lovely Nativity Candles.  We made this one to place on our home altar.  You can click on her blog name for instructions.  Thank you, Gardenia!  It was simple and perfect.
"No one can be filled with the thought of God except by her~or by the protection she will afford us against illusions and trickeries of the evil spirit.  Where Mary is, there the evil spirit is not.
And our week continued...
~Our Gifts to Jesus~
I know many families do different versions of this and I can't remember where I originally got the idea...
But we have a bowl of yarn set aside and each time a member of the family makes a sacrifice or does a good deed, they can silently place a strip of yarn in the empty manger or creche.  Each sacrifice or good deed is our gift to Jesus. The hope is that by December 25th, baby Jesus has a nice soft bed to lay in!
This week with Mom not feeling so well, the manger is quite soft already...!
What a blessing to have a loving family who helped me through 
this difficult week.

And of course we put out our Advent Books for display on our
raingutter shelf.  I saw this idea over at Raising Olives and hubby used his own ideas to rig things up a couple of months ago.
We love it for our library books so we don't lose track of them when the due date rolls around!
It's perfect for doing theme studies like Advent and Christmas too!
However, being the difficult week that it was, we haven't been able to read as many books as I had hoped this first week.
 I just know that next week will be better!
And here we are entering the 2nd week of Advent already...
The candle of Peace is next and I have a wonderful story to tell about that!

My battle continues for now but I know Our Lady is there, leading me closer to her Son...and I am not alone.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled." (John 14:1) 

It has been very difficult to share this post but I do so in hopes that it may help others in battle.  Please pray for me and let me know if I can pray for you.  There is an amazing group of ladies (one precious dear you might know) doing the St. Louis de Montfort consecration and renewal right now and they are my heroes and prayer warriors.  I am honored to be renewing and journeying with them as their Sister in Christ.  Please keep this group in your Advent prayers.  "Pray For Us, Oh Holy Mother of God."

Father John Bartunek wrote a wonderful article over at 
This is a small and beautiful excerpt:
  "The Holy Spirit is inviting you to, as you continue forward with your share of Christ's cross weighing heavily on your shoulders, to lift your gaze to the Star of Bethlehem, the Star that shines with an everlasting light, the North Star leading us through this valley of tears and towards our everlasting home."  
This seems to sum up the first week of Advent~Light of Hope


  1. What a beautiful post, despite all that you have been going through. I hope your devotion to our Blessed Mother and her Son gives you the peace, hope, and joy you are desiring!
    I love all your Advent traditions and we are starting the tradition of putting yarn in Jesus' manger this year. Where did you get the basket with the cross on it?
    Love your rain gutter shelf too as I have seen this idea before and it looks great :)
    Have a blessed 2nd Sunday and week of Advent!
    Tracy at "A Slice of Smith Life"

  2. Tiffany,

    much, much prayer for you. I do relate to your struggles in how difficult it is to carry on through anxiety, stress and darkness. And,yes, the evil one just loves (If love is the right word to use about him) to come and put the pressure on when he knows we are striving for holiness and coming so close to a goal.

    Blessed Mother Mary is holding you so close right now in the form of your precious children (I love the idea of the the yarn for the crib!)

    You are blessed and you are a blessing and I will be holding you in my prayer!

    (BTW-the word verification here is "succes"-how's that for a God-incidence that all will be well?)

  3. Amen, Tiffany. There are no coincidences -- just good vs. evil -- and Our Heavenly Mother is our best defense. Stay under her mantle and you will be safe -- we are promised.


  4. Tiffany-this is a beautiful post! You are so correct, you are totally under attack - feeling anxiety is not fun. I will be praying for you and for your family!! Keep doing one day at a time and you will persevere!! God Bless you and your family during Advent. Thanks for asking about my sister and her family, they are doing great with their newest addition!!

  5. Tiffany, God Bless you, for bearing your heart, but also just God bless You! I'm praying for you that Our Lady will keep you close, as I know she is doing, and I'm asking St. Michael to defend you against the evil one. I've had dark times as well, and it can be debilitating, and I have found to that that is the time when Satan sneaks in and tries to keep me from my goal of holiness and even prayer. I must go over and read barbara's post. Your candle turned out truly lovely -- the glitter is great. You have some wonderful traditions -- which reminded me that I have got to get out my purple runner for our home altar table. You also reminded me that my own heart has to persevere.

  6. Dear Tiffany, you are a woman of God! Everything you do is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart with us! All your Advent preparations are wonderful!! You are an isnpiration to me!

  7. lovely post. your humility, perseverance, craftiness, and faith continue to be an inspiration to myself and many.
    pax Christi - lena
    Slave of Jesus Through Mary


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