A Blessed Time

I keep meaning to sit down and write, but we have been busy doing a whole lot of relaxing and planning for this time of Advent. Ben leaves for New Zealand in just 8 days and we have lots of little details to sort out before he goes. He finally received his Permanent Resident Card in the mail which was a great relief to us both. This means that he can come freely in and out of the country without issue. Although thrilled, I am at the point of being so done with it all. There has been so much money, time, prayer, fear, anxiety and stress poured into this whole process that I find myself feeling glad that’s over with, and ready to just move on to the next chapter of our lives. Although Ben having this card doesn’t really change much in our day to day lives, we both feel that it is the start of a new chapter in our marriage and family life. This has been the cloud kind of hanging over our heads, always wondering if his application would be accepted or would he be deported, blah blah blah. Now that we know he is here to stay, we can start planning for the future more officially I suppose and start talking about getting a house! (when we can get some money set aside of course) But the dream is there! It is within our reach! I really needed this hope. Like, reallyyyyy needed it. I’m sure it has something to do with the weather being colder and being indoors more, but I have been feeling boxed in lately. I shouldn’t complain, we have a lovely apartment, far bigger than what most people have. But I keep thinking to next summer when Lucy will want to ride a bike or draw with chalk in a driveway or even this winter, where will we make snow angels and forts? I think I have put owning our own home on a pedestal. In my mind it has become the ultimate goal, and it still is but I am trying so hard right now to find contentment even if we are in an apartment. I am so happy that Advent has come, because somehow having all of our decorations makes the place feel more cozy.
Our tree is up, our Advent wreath is on the table (despite me getting the wrong size candles, BAH!) and our Advent Calendar is on the wall. I’ll be honest, the calendar that I had high hopes of finishing…yeah, it isn’t even all cutout yet. I’ve decided to make that my goal for next year and pick away at it one square at a time. I figure if I rush it, it won’t have the cute details that made me love it to start with and so I will be patient. I decided in the end to use the Advent calendar that my sister made for our girls. Each day, upon doing something kind or helpful, Lucy is given a piece of straw that will make up a bed for baby Jesus. She has loved doing this so far. I got that idea from my friend Jaclyn. The other thing I decided to do was to print out the nativity story as told in the Bible and cut it up into one or two sentences per day. Each morning at breakfast we read the scripture of the day. Lucy is always adament that we make the sign of the cross before and after we read it.

Since we don’t really have the outside of a house to decorate, Ben strung up our lights along the tops of our kitchen cupboards. It certainly makes it nice at 6 am when I am looking for my morning coffee (which he always brews God bless him.) We were just given some lights to string up on our patio today, in the shape of icicles. I think it will look really cute from the road.

In other news, we have been blessed with some lovely company this week. We have two girls from the NET Canada Massive Worship team staying with us for the week. We know one of them already from a few years back and the other is the sister of a girl we both know who did NET a few years ago. It has been nice to have more people to share our Advent traditions with, and me being the mom type that I am, bought extra gold coins and a little chocolate Santa for their shoes for St. Nicholas’ feast day. Preparing for their time with us has helped me in a very tangible way prepare for Christ coming. Doing simple things like washing their bedding, stocking up on toilet paper, groceries and putting aside extra towels for them has helped me to open my heart (and wallet) a little wider and to share more generously. Admittedly, we were originally going to be hosting five team members. The two girls and their three brothers. I tried and tried to find them host homes and it just wasn’t happening. I must have asked 10-15 families and to no avail. Finally, I just gave it over to God and prayed that He would help. And He did. He asked little ole ME to host them. I took a deep breath and embraced it joyfully. Did we have enough towels? no. Did we have enough pillows? sheets? blankets? beds? nope. Did we have the money for all those extra groceries? no. Did I have any clue what I was getting into? certainly not. All I knew was that God would provide for their needs through us and He would provide for us all. I started a baking frenzy making bread, and snack foods to freeze. And then, just when it was looking like that was it, God stepped in and provided a home for these guys who certainly would be blessed by a home big enough to house them all. Truth be told? I was happy, but still kind of disappointed. We were blessed to have them all around for dinner one night, minus two of the girls. It was so lovely having our little home filled to the brim with these young, faithful Catholic men and women who have put aside their plans and answered the call God has placed on their hearts. I am thankful for these two women who have generously given me and my family their time while they have been here. It has been great having more adult conversations at the breakfast table and hearing them play beautiful praise and worship songs in our home.

I’m pretty sure that the sight of my girls holding hands at lunch is the cutest thing in life!

This time of preparation has been mostly calm and quiet, no overspending, no crazy to do lists or over booking our calendar. Those days may come when our children are older and we are a busier household, but for now I am enjoying the simplicity of our traditions and warmth that fills our little home.

On another note, Abigail has decided to walk. She took 4 steps in a row tonight and i’m pretty sure that by the new year I will be running to keep up with her. She is so determined to keep up with Lucy and is already such a toddler in so many ways. My sweet baby girl!!

I hope this time of preparation has been as joy filled and hopeful as ours has turned out to be. My tune may change once Ben is on the other side of the world mind you, so please keep us in your prayers!! Bless you!

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