Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve - Shelley and Friends

To send today's card: Christmas Eve

Send an Advent Cards

Send a Christmas Cards

Quote for the Day:
And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger."
LK 2:10 - 12

One more day till Christmas! Because today was Sunday I didn't do a lot for preparations .. hope to make up for that tomorrow! Certainly I don't have a choice if I want to get things done. But at least I had my mom over for dinner and that was lovely. On the way over I encouraged her to wear her mittens and we got to talking about mittens and she said, "We used to have someone in the family that liked to make mittens.... maybe it was your mother?" I didn't say anything.. because I knew my mother never made mittens. She embroidered... but did not knit or crochet.. so nope never mittens. I didn't explain to mom that she was my mother... after all why go there? Who cares about the little details like that?

Shelley and Sister Jane

Every night... yes even in the thick of preparing for Christmas.. Shelley gets a special grooming by her own private hairdresser, Sister Jane. Sister Jane was trained to be a beautician so she has to keep in practice you know!

Shelley and Sister Jane and Sister Colleen

After the grooming....when she is looking her best... then Sister Colleen and Sister Jane take her out for her last trip on the town..... or okay... her last little nightly jaunt to do her duty before a long winter's nap!

Tomorrow I hope to get some pictures of our Chapel and some of the Christmas Joy that is starting to seep through the cracks already! It is getting very close!

Blessings of Peace and Joy!
Sister Patricia

Saturday, December 22, 2007

4th Sunday of Advent

To send today's card: O King of Nations

Send an Advent Cards

Send a Christmas Cards

Quote for the Day:
O Emmanuel:
“O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver,
desire of the nations,
Savior of all people,
come and set us free,
Lord our God.”
Isaiah had prophesied,
“The Lord himself will give you this sign:
the Virgin shall be with child,
and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.”

(7:14). Remember “Emmanuel”
means “God is with us.”

It's snowing! Lots of big fat flakes so we are back into winter wonderland. But the thing with big, fat snowflakes is that they have a tendency to turn into big fat wet flakes that sort of turn into rain. Which is what is forecast for tomorrow... rain and snow.... so.... maybe Santa should get out on his sleigh tonight before it melts?

I made headway on my "To Do" list in getting the chapel ready.... but I also got wounded. Not seriously mostly just enough to get me annoyed. I was pulling down the big creche from the top of a ladder and it was heavy and my fingers lost their grip and down it went. Slam... not before a brief stop on my leg - just to let me know it wasn't happy about coming down I guess. I didn't exactly swear but I did say something to the effect of "Why do we have to put this big heavy thing up so blooming high?"

I decided it needed to find a new home after Christmas. Something lower. You know like put the light things up high and the heavy things down low? Hell-o?

Then to make matters worse I noticed the other stable (the one we have been using for the last several years and is lighter and easier to handle) was right next to it. I then had to think. Do I want to use that one.... and put this heavy one back up there (not going to happen) or just go with my wounded victory of getting this one down? Such heavy decisions I have to make. I decided to go with the big one..

Can you tell I am not in a real thinking mode today? More like "just keep going . . . . you can get through this . . . . just put one step in front of the other . . . . "

I suppose I should be thinking along more spiritual lines.... but unfortunately...... I'm not..... do you think the Blessed Mother ever got a little out of sorts? She probably prayed a whole lot more than I do. That probably accounts for a lot. Sigh.

Oh well . . . . just a few more steps and it will be time for bed! Yeah. Two more days till Christmas.

Blessings of Peace and Joy!
Sister Patricia

Friday, December 21, 2007

O Radiant Dawn

To send today's card: O King of Nations

Send an Advent Cards

Send a Christmas Cards

Quote for the Day:
O Rex Gentium:
“O King of all the nations,
the only joy of every human heart;
O Keystone of the mighty arch of man,
come and save the creature
you fashioned from the dust.”
Isaiah had prophesied,
“For a child is born to us,
a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor,
God-Hero, Father-Forever,
Prince of Peace.” (9:5),
and “He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword
against another,
nor shall they train for war again.” (2:4) .

Today was "clean" day in the chapel for me as I hope to bring out some of the first trimmings for Christmas tomorrow. So it was such exciting things as vacuuming and dusting. I would have taken a picture of that - but it was just too exciting to stop and go get a camera.

Early this morning before Mass I did sneak a quick snap of Sr. Rita Louise reading her advent meditation. One of our community Advent preparations (besides cleaning, cooking and trimming the halls with boughs of holly) was to have Advent sharing each day at our noon meal using the Advent reflections from these Advent booklets.

Sister Rita Louise reading her Advent meditation

It's always surprising to see how many different ways the Spirit leads our meditations even though we all read the same thing. Sometimes they are similiar but most often they are quite unique and sharing them brings forth even more fruit!

Here is a picture of the Advent wreath which is in our chapel. It is not real big because our chapel is actually quite small... but it does bring forth a sense of growing anticipation as each week a new candle is lit.

Advent Candles

St Joseph statue
In the Chapel everything gets a little dash of purple. I found these beautiful little candles holders several years ago and they are my great treasure for Advent and Lent.
Blessed Mother statue

Tonight I am totally exhausted but I feel good because I made definite headway in getting the chapel ready for the big day. One thing I did was to take a whole hour of time and plan out for each day what I need to do in order not to be frazzled and hazzled (new word but seems to fit don't don't you think?) for Midnight Mass. It really, really helps - now instead of just feeling that I have a ton of stuff to do - I have it all split out.. and I don't have to worry except for what I need to do today. Isn't it just amazing how long it takes for some of us to get organized?

I feel I am really making progress in this and that is good. Maybe reading all these organizing books and listening to Susan Rowland's seminar and reading her book.. is actually paying off!

One thing I do to keep me motivated - is break everything up into 30 minute bites. Than after every 30 minutes I get to do ten minutes of something different that I want to do! This may sound silly but what I really wanted to do was to clean up my bedroom which seems to have adopted many stray objects lately. I didn't feel justified in taking time from Chapel cleaning to do "self" clean.. but this way... I get both things done and I feel energized. My goal (this will also sound rather silly) is that on Christmas day I can just take an hour and just "sit" on my bed and enjoy being quiet and peaceful all by myself. Maybe take a nap.

I love taking naps. I have found I can take a ten or twenty nap at my desk by resting my head on the squisy mouse pad (it has one of those gel arm rest things) and it makes a totally perfect pillow. I feel a bit like romper room - but it works for me!

Only three more days tills Christmas!

Blessings of Peace and Joy!
Sister Patricia

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Rush in the Monastery

To send today's card: O Radiant Dawn

Send an Advent Cards

Send a Christmas Cards

Quote for the Day:
O Oriens: “O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light,
sun of justice:
come, shine on those
who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.”
Isaiah had prophesied,
“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt
in the land of gloom
a light has shown.” (9:1).

Today is the O Antiphon - O Radiant Dawn but it is also the feast of St Peter Canisisus Now I did not know anything about this St. Peter until I made a card for him last year. Then I learned a little bit. Still don't know very much.. but I love this quote of his that I used on his card.

"If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all." St Peter Canisisus

Doesn't that just seem to be the all too perfect quote for getting ready for Christmas? Of course with me, I need it all year round.

Because we are so very close to Christmas - I will send out a Peace Card for Saturday and Sunday so you don't lose the build up with the O Antiphons. . . probably won't do the full JoyNotes though. "We'll see," as my mom would tell us when ever we wanted something but the outcome was unsure. It always seemed like a very unsatisfying answer.. but sometimes its the one that fits!

Just to share a bit of our pre-Christmas flurry (I'm sure you already have everything done and are just sitting back sipping apple cider and listening to Christmas carols) here are a few glimpses I just grabbed.

Sister Rita Louise in kitchen

Sister Rita Louise in one of her mad dashes in and about the kitchen. Notice the drawers that all are pulled out? There is a reason for this... see next picture.

Innocent Shelley

Here is innocent Shelley.. so sad.. no one is paying attention to her... and why she would never even think of jumping up on the counter and grabbing one of those Christmas cakes! The very idea!

Sister Jane's tree

Notice anything funny about this tree? Like some lights are not working? Like how come this tree that was supposed to save us hours and hours of time because it was all PRE-LIGHTED is taking hours and hours of time trying to figure out why its not "ALL" pre-lighted?

and finally,

Front Entrance tree

This tree - IS ONE HUNDRED PER CENT PRE-LIGHTED! In fact its pretty much pre everything. Just take it out of its box, plug it into the wall and it lights up! Not only that.. it goes round and round. What more could you ask?

And less anyone should think we are NOT getting into the Christmas spirit - here is the last and final proof.
Musical Christmas clock

This little jewel of a clock - plays a little Christmas melody every hour on the hour. So far it's okay - because we are only in the dining room for a short period of time. I think we can survive this.

Tomorrow - I will share a bit of the more SPIRITUAL side of Christmas in the monastery. Though really, I think God is at work in every part of our Christmas preparations... the lights - the gift making, buying and wrapping...all the action and soon .....


Blessings of Peace and Joy!
Sister Patricia

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Root of Jesse - Christmas Elves

To send today's card: O Key of David

Send an Advent Cards

Send a Christmas Cards

Quote for the Day:
O Clavis David: "O Key of David,
O royal Power of Israel
controlling at your will the gate of Heaven:
Come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.”
Isaiah had prophesied,
I will place the Key of the House of David
on His shoulder;
when he opens,
no one will shut,
when he shuts,
no one will open.” (22:22),
and "His dominion is vast and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne,
and over His kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.” (9:6).

The Christmas countdown is definitely on. This means that whatever you "hoped" you might get done... don't even think it. Just stay cool and let it flow.

Today I did a wonderful interview with an author of a book called, "Breaking Free of the Web: Catholics and Internet Addiction" Was really good. Sister Patrice Klausing is one of the co-authors of the book and she covered a lot of interesting material - basically how to recognize when someone is getting dangerouly close to addiction, how to work to confront them, how to deal with it.. etc. It was only a half hour interview though and it seemed like we barely could touch the surface of the problem.

I keep telling myself that I am going to start posting these interviews - I think some of you would like them..... it's always the time factor though and the fact that the radio studio is on the fourth floor on a different computer and hard to scrunch everything in. Still - I am definitely going to do it.

Tonight though I'm zipping along and going to bed as soon as I can - things won't get any better on too little sleep.. I can vouch for that. The Grumpy Factor will be sooo out of control and I'll end up only getting coal for Christmas!

OH! I do have something funny to share! I got Elfed! Christmas Elves . The first one is me... the second one is my mom (who would have thought at 89 she could be such an elf?) and the other two - are Michelle ( the one responsible for this travesty) and her husband who was an innocent bystander and shall remain nameless. Thanks Michelle - I don't suppose they could come up with a version like... You got canonized or something like that? A little halo? A set of wings?

Blessings of Peace and Joy!
Sister Patricia

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Eating Tips & The Cat and the Crow

To send today's card: O Root of Jesse

Send an Advent Cards

Send a Christmas Cards

Quote for the Day:
O Radix Jesse:
“O Flower of Jesse’s stem,
you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.”
Isaiah had prophesied,
“But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1),
and A On that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10).
Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David,
and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be
of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city,
Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

Here is a cute video about a stray kitten that was adopted by a crow. Very, very cute. The Cat and the Crow

Also - you may have read this.... last year (I think I did) but its so funny that when a friend shared it with me yesterday .. I decided not only was it worth a second read - it was even worth sharing! . Especially since so many good smells are coming from the kitchen these days.. one has to reassess things. I didn't write this of course.. but I agree with almost everything except the fruit cake part. I love Fruitcake!


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas time!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano o ut of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday Party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at a ll cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips. Start over, but hurry -- January is just around the corner.

Sr. Patricia

P.S. Of course in the monastery we don't go to a lot of parties.. but its very funny. I'm sure if I did go to parties I would have to follow these tips very closely!

Monday, December 17, 2007

O Adonai - December 18

To send today's card: O Adonai

Send an Advent Cards

Quote for the Day:
O Adonai: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law
on Sinai mountain:
come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.
” Isaiah had prophesied,
“But He shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” (11:4-5);
and “Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic;
yes the Lord our judge,
the Lord our lawgiver,
the Lord our king,
he it is who will save us.” (33:22).

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!

Christmas is a time when all the senses come into play... and surely delicious smells is one of the best signs that we are getting close to Jesus' birthday! Today Sister Rita Louise was baking coffee cakes. So far she hasn't had any accidents. They've all come out of the oven - just perfect. Sigh.

Even Shelley is reaping the benefits of Christmas smells. A friend came by this afternoon with a brightly wrapped package of homemade dog treats! So far nothing has appeared for the cat and the bird.... but they don't seem quite as food crazy as Shelley. The cat (Jeremiah) would of course never let on if he was... has to maintain that air of dignity don't you know ? And Pi... well Pi... he's suspicious of new food anyway - he wants to make sure its "Bird safe" before he will go over and investigate. I've been introducing him to oranges lately... and it helps if I eat my orange while he is eating his. Birds of a feather flock together applies to eating as well.

I read a neat thing today about the difference between making a New Year's Goal or a Resolution. This article was saying.. that we should make goals not resolutions - because we are more likely to keep them! Here is how the author explained it. A resolution is something specific and definite - that comes with a built in defeat factor if it doesn't work. For instance you might make a New Year's resolution to "lose ten pounds by exercising at the Gym three days a week. Well, you get started with it and then decide you don't like going to the gym... there goes that one. On the other hand if you made a resolution instead of definitely losing ten pounds but made a more general goal - of taking steps to get more exercise - than you can keep trying different activities till you hit on the one that does work for you.

Well, anyway I found it very good. Here's the link if you want to read the whole article. Goals versus Resolutions

Sr. Patricia

O Wisdom - December 17

To send today's card: O Wisdom

Send an Advent Cards

Quote for the Day:
O Sapientia: ?O Wisdom,
O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care.
Come and show your people the way to salvation.? Isaiah had prophesied,
?The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord,
and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.? (11:2-3),
and ?Wonderful is His counsel
and great is His wisdom.? (28:29).

My brother Tim sent a live Christmas tree to my mom. I was talking to him yesterday and he told about it. I thought to myself, "Hmmmm, I had better go over there and see what happened to that tree?"

Did she open it up? Did she give it away? Is it alive and well?


So Sister Colleen and Shelley volunteered to go with me to pay my mom a visit. When I got there I did not see a live tree anywhere. Hmmm...? Then I saw a long box about two feet long set against the wall. Unopened.


This could be it!
I went over and looked.
Yes indeedy.


She liked her tree!
She thought it was very cute!


She thought I should take it home with me.

I could tell she thought this would be a very, very good idea.

So we did.

We took mom back to the monastery for a visit and some dinner and took along her tree with us.

It looks very nice in our front entrance.

She thinks it looks very nice there.

We do too!

Thanks Tim!

Sr. Patricia