Hermit Life and Lore: Pages Being Developed

For awhile now I’ve pondered developing two new “Pages” in which I’d share thoughts and information on two hermit topics. Some of you may not know much about actual hermit life, today.  Wh0 is a hermit…and why?  Where does a hermit live, and what does a hermit “do”, and when?  How does a hermit live, and what is a hermitage of today?

For now, I’ll title this “Page” of on-going sharing as, Inside the Hermitage: Circa 21st Century.  Giving the time period is necessary, for many have perceptions of the what, where, who, why, when and how of a hermit that simply are out-dated or inaccurate.  I will share results of a simple, online survey that, while not statistically definitive, did tell me that perceptions of hermits are what we would term a flawed stereotype.

The other “Page” being developed is titled:  Hermits to Know and Love.  In this topic, I will write of various hermits in recent and past history–many of them probably unknown to most readers but very much worth getting to know…and come to love.

Perhaps the more we understand about the vocation and life of hermits now and then, the more we may discover there is a hermit in each of us to varying degrees.  Maybe the topics of these two, new Pages will stir some of you to strive in some aspects of hermit life in the tangible temporal, as well as in the interior, spiritual ways. The writing of these topics will certainly be of benefit to this hermit, as it will help me with daily discerning and living the vocation–also called the eremitic life.

You will no doubt have some surprises coming your way, for most of us (even this Joyful Hermit) have not discovered fully the benefits of being a hermit–in little ways or on a larger scale.  While perhaps none of you will realize a spiritual vocation as a hermit, by getting to know historical hermits as well as a glimpse inside the life and times of a contemporary hermit, the information might be applicable in some way to anyone’s life.

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Posted in Hermit Facts, Hermit Life and Lore, Hermit Ponderings | 1 Comment

Holy and Wholly Water!

If plants thrive this well in water, surely we can, too?  I’m writing about water and its wholly and holy attributes.  Why?  When last I got a haircut, I complained to the hairdresser that I have less and less energy.  She immediately said I should drink more water–that it helps her feel energized within minutes.

It is true that I’ve shared with family and friends what a forgetful, elderly friend did years ago, upon the advice of her doctor.  She had landed in the hospital, dehydrated, and he told her to set out 8 glasses of water each morning and make sure the contents were in her body by bedtime.   Yes, I’ve repeated that advice to others but didn’t follow it…until now.

But first, I researched and discovered the wondrous ways water is wholly beneficial and a holy, necessary element created for us by God…in the beginning when earth was created and the Spirit moved over the waters.  Then, I poured water in 8 glasses, set them out on the counter, drank the whole of the holy liquid by nightfall, and have done so daily, since.

I make this drink-fest intriguing with a variety of glassware, but the truth of water as gift resides in 10 reasons to drink 64 ounces or more water each day.  (I aim for 84, being a pained, shriveled, old hermit.)

  • Water helps skin be gorgeous, elastic and supply smooth; it is the most important element for our body’s cells.  Our hair and eyes benefit, too.
  • It flushes nasty toxins from our system (critical for those with pain as toxins collect at sore points), clears the digestive tract, and improves kidney function.
  • Water can reduce risk of heart attack partly due to improving heart tissue and blood.
  • Water cushions and lubricates joints as well as increases performance in any exercise.
  • It reduces risk of disease and infection by keeping cells hydrated.  If cells lack water, they take what they need from the bloodstream which makes the heart work harder, the blood thickens, the body is strained, and the immune system suffers.
  • Water regulates body temperature, and this means drinking plain water.  Get this: By drinking a 12-oz. glass of plain water, your body absorbs 8 oz. in 15 minutes compared to only 1 oz.  from a 12-oz. glass of water with 10% sugar content in the same time.
  • Drinking water helps burn fat and build muscle.  Lack of water keeps the body from using protein, and that turns more calories into fat.  Also, water keeps the body from wrongly thinking it is hungry when actually it is thirsty.
  • Water is critical for eliminating waste from our bodies.  It lubricates the digestive tract and ensures proper absorption and metabolism of nutrients; it also helps toxin elimination by evaporation via our skin.
  • And, what I am thrilled to experience: Water energizes the body and makes the mind more alert.  Lack of water causes daytime fatigue; even a 2% drop in water causes short term memory loss, trouble focusing to read and do math.  This is due to the fact that our bodies lose 10 cups of fluid daily, so when the body has plenty of water there is more oxygen to burn, for more energy.  Also, the brain is 85% water, so to keep it hydrated helps mental acuity and function.

We are to drink more water in hot weather, high altitudes, or in low humidity, when engaged in physical and mental activities, when on a high-fiber diet or are ill.  To make water more palatable (although what can be better than the simple wonder of water, now knowing how it helps us so?), add a slice of lemon or lime, a berry, drink with a splash of natural juice, fresh ginger or a sprig of mint.  Drink it at intervals; a body absorbs but 4 oz. in 10 minutes.

While this kind of water is not that living water Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well, the life-sustaining fresh water given us to drink tangibly on this earth is a holy gift.  Consider always the luxury most of us have: to drink fresh water any time we want (but tend to consider this a task).  There are people among us on earth who do not have water in abundance, and what little they have is not purified or healthy.  Pray how we can help!

(Water facts are culled and consolidated from ririanproject.com.)

Posted in Health Helps | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day Treats Benefit Women’s Care Center

Why not share some home-made love this Valentine’s Day?  Consider making a donation, and the hermitage-made Fortitude Fudge, St. Bernard Love of God Bourbon Balls and Sea-Salted Caramels will be ready-fresh per order.  I will ship anywhere in the continental United States, but local orders may pick up at the hermitage or agreed upon location.  I pray from start to finish of each order for the person ordering and/or recipients if a gift.

All proceeds from these Valentine orders benefit the Women’s Care Center.

To see more about the best treats this side of heaven, click on “Joyful Hermit Shoppe: Food Items” found under “Pages”, on the right side of this post.  But I’ll give an overview and some photos of these heavenly sweets, right here, right now!

St. Bernard Love of God Bourbon Balls

A great gift for men (but women love them, too), these little love balls are potent with the finest of bourbons.  You may choose between the lovely Four Roses Single Barrel Batch, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, or Woodford Reserve.  (For large orders, I will use a bourbon of your choice.)

The black oval tin holds 5 bourbon balls.  A medium-size red heart tin holds easily 12.  Or, you may want a wee taste as in the tiny, red-or-white heart sampler tin with 3 bourbon balls.  Multum in parvo!

Suggested donation:                                                                                                                                                               3-pack in red/white heart tin, 3×3″ – $3.oo                                                                             5-pack black oval tin, 3×4″ – $4.50                                                                                              12-pack red heart tin, 6½x6½ – $9.00                                                                                 Shipping & handling, extra approx. $4.00 for small and $8.00 for larger sizes

Fortitude Fudge

Quite by accident I came upon an ingredient that makes this fudge the absolute creamiest–at least in my many years of fudging!  While I offer to make the fudge in various, choice chocolates (dark or semi-dark; with or w/out nuts), the darkest of dark, sea-salted Fortitude Fudge is the parousia of fudges.  Connoisseurs thus far desire none other.  Find out for yourself!

Suggested donation:

Dark Night of the Soul Darkest Fudge:  8 oz. – $5.75;  1 lb. – $11       Dark Night of the Senses Semi-Dark:  8 oz. – $5.25;  1 lb. – $10       Note: 8-oz. slab approx. 3×4″; 1 lb. slab approx. 4×6″.     Sea-salted add 50¢; nuts add $1.00 per item ordered.              Shipping & handling approx. $3.50 for 8 oz. and $5.75 for 1 lb.

Temperance Sea-Salted Caramels

These luscious, melt-in-the-mouth caramels are so good that you will realize that temperance is indeed a much-needed virtue!  One bite leads to another…especially when a burst of sea-salt splashes upon the caramel sweetness, causing a sensational surprise!  Try vanilla, pistachio or coffee–or all three varieties.  With these caramels, one good taste leads to another:  have extra on hand.

Suggested donation:

3-oz. (approx. 7 pieces) in heart tin:  $3.50     

4-oz. (approx. 9 pieces) in heart gift bag:  $3.50

8-oz. (approx. 18 pieces) in heart gift bag:  $6.50

1 lb. (approx. 36 pieces) in heart gift bag:  $12.00

Select Sea-Salted Vanilla, Pistachio or Coffee; and if ordering the tin, choose red or white.  Caramels are individually wax paper wrapped.  Shipping & handling:  approx. $3.75 for 3- to 8-oz. and  $5.75 for 1 lb.

Email the specifics of your order: joyfulhermit@gmail.com.  Once details are arranged, donations may be made via the Paypal “donate” button in the sidebar to the right of this post or if local, checks are accepted.  Please give your prayer intentions if you desire, as I truly do pray for you and your intentions from start to finish on each order. 

Thank you!

Posted in Hermit Shoppe, Misc | 2 Comments

Wisdom from a Wise and Holy Woman: Teresa of Avila

When we think of people who influence us–as public figures, mentors, or private friends–sometimes we forget those who are not in our geographic region….or our lifetime.  One such person to me is a woman named Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada.  I “met” her 25 years ago in one of a few books she wrote titled: Life.  I learned much about this humbly holy, dynamic woman who lived in Avila, Spain in the 1500’s.

Recently, in another book, I renewed this friendship.  Yes, we can become fast friends with those who no longer walk this earth; and these friends can influence us for the better, more directly, because we don’t have the emotional bugaboos that often tangle our temporal, human relationships.  Each time we learn something new about a physically dead friend, the resonance of the bond actually makes a current, profound impact.

Thus, I’ve learned a new tidbit about Teresa of Avila.  She wanted to make, with her life, an impact.  She desired and prayed for a life with good, holy purpose.  How many of us want to do the very same with our lives–our God-given, earthly lives that we live but once?

Teresa had to face the realities.  She was a woman in 16th century Avila, Spain, whose mother died when Teresa was young.  Teresa had a desire to serve God in a time in which women had only two vocation paths: marriage or religious life.  She chose the latter but found that convents in her day were quite worldly.  Teresa herself flirted with this worldliness–only to face a personal reality that life lived like that seemed pointless.  She told God she wanted to make a difference, to have an impact–but what, how?

I didn’t suspect this great woman felt limited by her environment and era!  How many of us have felt the same way?  We, too, must face our realities.  The economy is limiting, let alone our varying ages, health, education, work and relationship considerations!  Despite similar issues, Teresa of Avila determined to make a difference.  At the time she did not realize what a difference she would make upon her world– or upon me here, tucked away on this cold, winter, 21st-century day.

Teresa decided that she would do God’s will and live life to a holy ideal in ways she could: as a woman in her time period and culture, with whatever education and economic circumstance, among the people around her, in sickness or health, good times and bad.

Again, the fact that this renowned woman felt herself restricted–but determined to do what little she could to make a difference, impacts and inspires me these 500 years hence!

A young mother called me the other day.  She has a little girl and is expecting another baby soon.  She told me of receiving emails highlighting the lack of concern by some in our society for the many babies conceived–only to be unwanted and aborted.  This young woman wanted to do something active about this problem, now, but what to do?

The simple wisdom of the wise and holy woman of Spain came to mind.  I shared Teresa of Avila’s approach of doing what she could in her circumstances.  The question:  “Why not do what you can in your own circumstances within your home?” 

slipslipknit.com

This young woman knits darling baby hats.  Each hat takes three hours to complete, and she knits while her little girl naps or at night when her husband is away on business.  The idea came up in conversation: Why not knit each baby hat for some infant who is born into poor conditions?  Why not knit each stitch as a prayer for some unknown-to-her conceived infant whose mother and father are considering ending their baby’s life?

So it is that my friend Teresa of Avila helped me realize that anything we do can have great impact simply if we look around us and do what we can do with whom and what God gives us, here and now.  Teresa, long dead and mostly known to me by books–truly is a dear soul-friend.  She also inspires and advised the young mother, here, now, in time and space.

Maybe Teresa of Avila’s wise and holy approach and encouragement will help you, too?

Posted in Living Holy, Misc, Saints/Holy Folks | 3 Comments

Joyful Hermit’s Borscht Soup

This soup is about as red as it gets–while packed with all kinds of vegetables and good stuff for little boys and girls, grown-ups and joyful or even grumpy hermits. You must like beets to like Borscht which is an Eastern European soup usually topped with a dollop of sour cream.  I like to show a recipe by photos; so, see here!

Above, notice that I sauté some onions; and yes, they should be red onions but was using up the white.  Waste not, want not.  In the left photo I added 5 med. chopped, red beets with stems.  To the right, see the mound of  3 carrots, the beet greens, and half a cabbage (used green but if had red, all the better) is chopped, ready to toss in the pot.  Best to chop all first!

Here we have the onions, beets and carrots simmering in cohesion with one another; root vegetables always get along with one another, I’ve noticed.  Soon I will add a quart (4 cups) vegetable broth I found on clearance at ALDI, but traditional Borscht calls for beef broth.  I suppose chicken broth would do.

After the broth is added, I included the chopped beet greens and cabbage, along with 2 cups of water or more until the consistency is chunky smooth (cooks down) yet has some liquidity.  Not shown (photograph too small!) are the black pepper, sea salt, and Joyful Hermit’s Fiat Lux™ herbal liqueur with which I seasoned this soup, to taste.  Simmer until the vegetables are tender, adding seasoning and liqueur (if wanted) prior to serving.

See how striking a soup statement this red soup makes, particularly on a cold, after-Christmas day, served on my dear, late mother’s everyday potteryware purchased the year I was born.  See, also, how it looks dabbed with sour cream compared to the sour cream stirred in.  You pick!

Joyful Hermit’s Borscht Soup

2 red onions, chopped            5 medium beets w/stems, chopped            3 carrots, chopped   beet greens, chopped              1/2 lg. or 1 sm. red cabbage, chopped        1 qt. vegetable broth 1-3 cups water, per choice      sea salt and black pepper, to taste             sour cream to dollop

Sauté onions in 2 Tbsp. olive or other oil.  Add chopped beets (and stems) along with carrots and simmer while chopping remaining ingredients.  Add chopped beet greens and cabbage with a quart of broth (vegetable; beef for traditional; or chicken as experiment).  Add additional cups of water for consistency you desire.  Simmer until vegetables are just tender.  Add seasonings and serve.  Dollop with a tablespoon of sour cream and enjoy!

Posted in Misc | Leave a comment

Caramels: Sea-salted and Sundry Variations

When a friend ordered two varieties of Fortitude Fudge, I decided to experiment with a caramel drizzle variety.  The fudge drizzle accomplished, what to do with the remaining caramel?  I poured it into buttered pans, sprinkled a little sea salt on top…and soon realized that these caramels are the ITEM, not the left-over.

Actually, the caramel drizzle on the Fortitude Fudge was awkward when cutting pieces.  Ditch that project.  But, the caramels themselves are fabulous!  I should name them for the virtue of temperance, as it takes strength in this virtue to withstand the temptation to eat all of these sensational nuggets.  Simply to bite into one can release a splash of sea salt amidst the succulent, caramel sweetness.  The sea sirens sing softly:  Just one more!

In life, one thing leads to another.  A friend gave me a half-baggie of pistachio nuts.  Why not try some, chopped, in another batch of caramels and go lightly on the sea salt?  I literally had to quickly wax-wrapper these and bag them in 4 oz. quantities to be virtuously sure I’d have some to share..  (BTW: Temperance is a supernatural moral virtue that moderates the attraction towards sense-pleasure, especially the pleasures of the palate and the flesh, and keeps them within the proper limits of propriety.*

I’ve decided to offer these little temptations in 4 oz. (about 9 pieces) and 8 oz. (about 18 pieces) packages.  This morning I bagged 4-oz. quantities because it seems charitable to have four bags available and share these delights with more…the merrier.  However, if someone emails joyfulhermit@gmail.com and requests more, I’ll accommodate.  Specify nuts or no nuts.

Don’t they look absolutely sweet in a heart-print bag?  I have figured the costs involved, and a 4-oz. bag (9 wax-wrapped caramels) can leave the hermitage with a suggested donation of $3.50.  For an 8-oz. bag, how about $6.50?  Please include a donation for shipping costs, approximately $3.00 for 4 oz. and $5.75 for 8 oz.  I try to keep the prices at frugal levels.  Don’t forget to let me know prayer intentions with any order!  I’ll pray for a good dose of the virtue of temperance with each, just because.

* Tanquerey, Adolphe.  The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology. 1930. Belgium: Desclée & Company, p. 517.

Posted in Hermit Shoppe, Virtues | 1 Comment

Epiphany Cake

While Epiphany is the 6th of January, it is celebrated now in the Church in the United States on the Sunday following January 6.  I tend to celebrate it both days unless the 6th falls on a Sunday.  Regardless, it is a great day to celebrate the manifestation of Christ.  He was revealed to the world beyond his locale through being found and adored by the journeying magi from the East.

Some guests asked to come to the hermitage on Epiphany Sunday.  They came bearing gifts of almonds, pistachios and a touch of chocolate.  I offered them a touch of Fortitude Fudge and a taste of St. Bernard Love of God Bourbon Balls, but the main offering was freshly baked Epiphany Cake.  This delight is about as quick to put together and bake as the wise men were to bow on bended knee to the newborn king.

Epiphany Cake

1 pkg. boxed quickbread or cake mix: follow directions except use buttermilk instead of water and oil, and add 1/4 c. of a special liqueur (I like Fiat Lux=Let there be light!*)

Add to the mix:  1 Tbsp. lecithin granules, 2 Tbsp. flaxseed, 1/4 c. ground pumpkin seeds, 1/4 c. ground walnuts, and 1/2 c. golden raisins (represent golden light for Epiphany).

Oil and flour huge muffin tins or cupcake tins for individual cakes.  Use coconut oil if you have it.  Bake according to directions on package.  Cool; frost or give dusting with powdered sugar… or sugar sprinkles such as gold ones!  [Wish I’d thought of gold then!]

Note:  You may change types of nuts and seeds depending upon what kind of mix used.

Just as the wise men presented gifts to the infant Jesus, try to serve your guests as if presenting gold, frankincense and myrrh.  I brought out some whimsical plates purchased a year ago for any festive occasion; but you will think of some celebratory touch if but on plain plates with a candle lit in each cake, or sprinkles on top, or fun napkins or a fun you.  Light a scented candle, or light three! It’s a party!

I brought out the Joyful Hermit Mystical Mist for us to sample (whiskey liqueur with sevenfold mysterious flavors), but we first enjoyed some spice tea I’d purchased at Big Lots on clearance for 50-cents.  After all, it is the joy and lightheartedness of serving guests and celebrating the revelation of love in small ways that counts for much in life.

* Fiat Lux and Simplicitas are hermitage-made liqueurs that even a joyful hermit cannot sell due to liquor sales laws, but you may use purchased liqueurs or make your own, too!

Posted in Living Holy, Misc, Recipes | Leave a comment

Nature’s Notes

The gardens here have numerous, interesting specimen trees, such as unusual Japanese Maples.  It does not seem right to not share the beauty, whether unusual or simply the beautiful, typical, gorgeous leaves that we find in any locale.  Although note cards may be time consuming and passé as a means of communication, they are invaluable as means of letting others know you care for them personally, tangibly, timelessly.

First, collect the leaves when they are in most beauteous color and some life remaining.  To press them, I put leaves in between the pages of books, stacking even more books on top to add pressure, and letting them remain between the pages for a few days.

Then I remove all the leaves and place them on wax paper in the bottom of a shallow box.  Carefully spray with polyurethene.  I mention carefully, for if you hold the spray nozzle down full force, the spray will toss the leaves about in the box.  Just do it very gently, with light pressure.  Turn the leaves over after they have dried on one side, and spray the other side…gently, gently.  (I did this in ventilated garage.)  As the reverse sides are drying, you may assemble note cards and ready the glue.

At times I use card stock remaining from other projects and  spare envelopes.  Other times I use fine stationery purchased on clearance at such stores as TJMaxx or Tuesday Morning.  Sometimes it is envelopes only or cards only; then make do with whichever is missing, as the partial boxes are “dirt cheap.”  I make my own envelopes by using a ready-made as a pattern.  It takes time, but time is a holy gift often squandered in worse ways.

I make these note cards over time, in fact.  Since I do not watch TV or play tech games, it is amazing how bits of time show up here and there.  Just keep the leaves in a container and mix the glue with water and keep covered in a bowl, always on the ready.  I used a small brush with some note cards; but next time I’ll use an even smaller one or a Q-tip, or put thined glue back in a bottle.

Brush, dab, or squeeze out just enough glue to cover the leaf.  Then place the leaf on a piece of card stock and cover with wax paper enough so that the glue will not seep out.  Yes, each leaf-card will be placed between books or in pages with more weight placed atop while they dry.  Let them dry for a few days.  See what happens when they are not given sufficient time to dry?  Fortunately, these lovely Crane brand note cards only cost me 99-cents; but sadly they are all bubbly because I took them out from under the piles of books too soon, on a sunny day.  They finished their drying without necessary pressure.  I tried re-pressing to no avail.

However, I have a good supply of note cards that did turn out well, and I have yet a pile of dried, polyurethened leaves with which to attempt many more natural note cards.  Already some of these good ones have been sent with messages of loving well-wishes, sharing the gardens and God’s glory in beautiful, tiny leaves.  Yes, writing a note and mailing it takes time, but those who receive such timely missives have time to see, touch, and appreciate the unique nature card, time and time again.

Note: If you do not have time to make Nature Notes, you may purchase from Joyful Hermit by emailing request: joyfulhermit@gmail.com.  Please consider donating a minimum of $1.00 per card which covers the materials used.  Thank you.

Posted in Cost Savers, Gardening, Misc | Leave a comment

Advent Soup

It’s Advent and time for hot soup in colder climes, but soup benefits us, truly, any time, anywhere.  The first Sunday of Advent seemed prime to assess the hermitage vegetables: red onions, baby bella mushrooms, celery, Brussels sprouts, carrots, red and green peppers, and tomatoes–these latter, end of garden surplus.

I started with two red onions: barely remove outer peel, then slice.  Why red onions over yellow?  Heath!  Red onions contain a higher amount of flavanoids which reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  Plus, red onions contain high levels of quercitin, a flavanoid that keeps the mind sharp.  The highest concentrations are in the outer layers, thus do not peel much.

I sauteed the two red onions, 3 large cloves of garlic and a slice of grilled red pepper from a jar purchased on clearance; I used some of the olive oil from the grilled pepper jar as the sauté base.  Then adding the sliced carrots, chopped red and green peppers, celery, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts, the soup was well on its way.

A pint of vegetable broth, found on clearance at Big Lots (can be purchased anywhere), along with a cup of pureed tomatoes that I’d frozen fresh-blended from the gardens, as well as 3 cups of water, gave this soup the liquid necessary for the simmering process.  I happened to be sipping a glass of Joyful Hermit Rosa Mystica Liqueur from last season, so I tossed in a liqueur glassful along with 5 dashes of Angostura Bitters [see post on Bittersweet].  All is well with the soup; wait as it simmers on low heat.  As seasoning, I added a teaspoon each of turmeric, garam masala, and fenugreek–typical Indian cooking spices.  You may wish to experiment to suit your imaginative tastes.

Just before the vegetables become tender, add a cup of red lentils.  Simmer another 10-15 minutes and add 7 chopped baby bella mushroons and a teaspoon crushed in the hand of Joyful Hermit Culinary Herbals–or any of your favorite herbs.  It is best to crush these dried herbs and adding toward the end of the cooking process as the flavor remains best.  It is all in the waiting.

Advent Soup                                   Serves 8-10                                       2 red onions, sliced                       3 cloves chopped garlic                  2 Tbs. olive or other sauté oil      3 large carrots, sliced                  1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts                 1 red, green pepper, sliced            2 stalks chopped celery                 4-5 chopped tomatoes (or 1 can)   1 pint (2 cups) vegetable broth plus 3-4 cups water             7 baby bella mushrooms, sliced    5 dashes Angostura Bitters                                                        1 shot glass of liqueur, if desired   1 tsp. each: turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek                    1 cup red lentils                                1 tsp. Joyful Hermit Culinary Herbals, crushed                     salt and pepper, to taste

Note the fabric napkin in Advent tones.  Eight 8-inch napkins and a table runner were sewn from $2 per yard fabric found on sale.  They have been used each Advent for years and have far out-priced any paper napkins used in all that time, plus add depth, texture.

 

Posted in Health Helps, Recipes | 1 Comment

Advent Gifts

Advent prepares the heart and hearth for the coming of Christ, celebrated on December 25.  Advent begins four Sundays prior to Christmas.  The spiritual theme is inner and outer preparation while waiting.  Advent heralds the beginning of a new liturgical year, and purple reminds us of the Infant King’s birth (purple a royal color) in the purple-rich darkness of early winter nights.

Last year I purchased some figurines (Fontanini) that represent the historical events and culture included with the Nativity.  These I gift at the onset of Advent to grandchildren.  They may unwrap one a day or every other day to spread out the Advent waiting.  While the grandchildren are young, they are learning through the lovely figurines that come with small story pamphlets.  This year they are receiving shepherds, shepherdesses, sheep and sheepfolds.

I try to do any task with consideration and prayer.  Thus, each small box is wrapped with the Advent color of purple as well as the browns of humility (from Latin humus or earth).  How fun to vary paper and ribbons!  Little children do notice and appreciate the details; their lives are not yet so distracted, and small things mean much, always–and don’t have to be costly. Buy sale items.

Although I found the Fontanini on sale and is an heirloom gift that can be passed on through generations, Advent gifting can be quite humbly accomplished.  Tiny items such as ingredients for baking Christmas cookies can be gifts for the children to unwrap, one day at a time, through the final ingredient, apron and spoon, concluding with the recipe to unwrap.  Or, there can be notes each day to unwrap and read, with clues for discussion of loving topics and activities to include the beauty of giving to others in Advent waiting.

Lighting the Advent candles daily or on Sundays (with or without a wreath), singing a hymn, reading a poem, sharing a story or scripture during Advent remind us of not only the liturgical season but of all the reasons why we are here on earth, so blessed.

Posted in Grandparenting, Living Holy, Misc | 1 Comment