This week has seen some crazy shenanigans around our house – the youngest in our house is now legitimately walking, and climbing,
every. single. chance. she. gets. My oldest is knee-deep in wanting Gingerbread houses built. And, I am implementing a “social-media-free” day every week.
Along with the constant “go-go-go,” I am
barely keeping up with the Advent Photo Challenge hosted by The Zelie Group, although I am feeling slightly guilty for recycling pictures I’ve been sitting on for a couple weeks now! Last week, we left off with Renew. Here goes Week 3 of pictures!
The theme of “Peace” for Day 14 really bugged me. I wondered how one take a picture of peace?! Then, I realized I am taking a picture of something that represents peace. I could have taken a picture of my husband in uniform, but he is not the only harbinger of peace I know. So, I took a picture of the next best thing – the American flag. You see, I have not met any other person in the world that prays for peace more actively and more intensely than our service members or their families. I’ll be honest, I have a vested interest in peace throughout this world – my husband, my children’s father, and most of our family friends are willing to put their lives at stake for our freedoms. If there were peace in the world, we wouldn’t have to worry as much! Therefore, this picture symbolizes the peace my heart desires – and, the peace Christ promises to bring when He returns again.
Day 15’s prompt was “Baby.” I struggled with this one, simply because I didn’t want to “just take another picture of my baby” for the sake of the blog. But, we took a picture earlier in the day for the “My Sunday Best,” in case I got around to blogging about my outfit (I didn’t). That evening, as I tried to figure out another picture of “Baby,” I realized there was nothing wrong with my baby, who is showing she is no longer a true baby – just ask her. The pucker was simply in response to the request, “Hey, E, look at ma!” That is the face that I captured, and I adore the picture! Her spit-fire personality is truly starting to shine through, and I’m loving it!
The prompt for Day 16 was “Star.” This is the top of our Jesse Tree (more being planned on a post for that next week). My son has been disenchanted with the angel on our tree for years, so when we were gifted a tree “just for him” a couple years ago, I promised him a star. We finally got around to purchasing said star this year – and, he was rather insistent he wanted, “the ones with lights in them!” The star is what led the Shepherds and Wise Men to the Baby Jesus, and the star at the top of the tree leads us to Him in the same manner – if we are willing to follow, He will send us guides!
The holidays can be a dark time for some people. The prompt for Day 17 was “Light,” and as I sat, staring at this picture while Little Miss played on the floor, I was struck by the light finding its ways into the shadows of the ceiling. I found it a beautiful metaphor for our lives – each of us go through very dark periods, but if we are willing to allow Christ, who is Light and is Love, into our lives, He will reach into, and pull us out of, our darkness. Perhaps His reach will come through another person’s hands (i.e. friend, a therapist, or a medical doctor), but the way for Him to reach us in our darkness is for us to be open to His light.
“Plenty” was the prompt for Day 17. As I considered using a picture of the children’s clothing, or our Thanksgiving Day table, or other “things,” I realized the real plenty in our lives are the plentiful opportunities we have to turn to God, to heed His words, to seek His guidance, and to love Him. The best visual reminder of this prompt was the Bible. God loves us, and He wants us to love Him in return. He shows us his love, mercy, and compassion throughout the entirety of the New Testament, and the Psalms are a great way to reflect on the plentiful graces He bestows upon us.
The prompt for Day 18 was “Thanks.” As I referenced reading about last week, the first step to The Examen Prayer is “give thanks.” The more I contemplated this, the more I was drawn back to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, to the last moment I recall truly expressing my thanks to Our Lord. Most of all, I am thankful for my faith, which sustains me through moves every two years, through separations from family and friends (and, sometimes each other), and through new beginnings, which are difficult with someone who struggles with change. I am thankful for the relationship I have with God – it is a real relationship, which is at times difficult, at times raw, at times easy, and at times passionate. The one constant in this relationship is how real it is for me. And, I am sure God delights in the “real-ness.”
The prompt for Day 19 is “Angel.” The angel that tops our family tree has been in our family since our first Christmas as a married couple. I adore this angel – the bouquet she’s holding changes color, as do the lights under her skirt, and the feathers behind her head. She is so very peaceful. We are all assigned a Guardian Angel at the moment we are conceived – charged with protecting us and guiding us from that moment, until we are (hopefully) reunited with Christ. Angels play a spectacular role, ushering in the Advent season with the Annunciation, and leading shepherds and Wise Men to the Baby Jesus. They are around us today, willing and eager to lead us to God – if we only ask and are open to their guidance. St. Maximilian Kolbe is credited with saying, “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” For this reason alone, I love attending Mass and Adoration as frequently as possible – because then, my Guardian Angel is at least able to spend some time as close to Our Lord as it can get until our death and (hopefully) unification with Jesus.
This next week is the last week of Advent, and it is
to join in The Zelie Group Advent Photo Challenge! Simply follow the prompts on the picture below, and be sure to tag us on social media: not too late
As always, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and
We’d love to see what you capture for the remaining week of Advent, as we round out the season of waiting, and look forward to a season of celebration!