Monday, December 19, 2011

Excellent Advent Advice Part VI: Give the Gift of Quality Time

I have found the gift I treasure most is that of quality time with loved ones.  Add some yummy food, and the experience is downright delightful regardless of the weather!  I’ve been very blessed to have several family and friends who have given the gift of their time to Kevin and me this holiday season. 

It’s Gettin’ Real in the Kroger Café

Wednesday evening after daily Mass at St. Benedict’s, Kevin, Gabriella, Michele, and I went to Kroger for dinner.  We ended up eating there, then talking for close to three hours.  We discussed a variety of things, much of it involving faith, discernment, vocations, and using the talents God’s given us.  At times our conversation was pretty serious and rather intense even to observers.  “What is this, Vatican III?!” the man seated at the table next to us asked.   
“Depends.  Did you learn anything?  If so, then yes!” my dear husband responded.

Sisters, Sisters

Thursday morning, Theresa came and got me so we could go out to breakfast, just the two of us, and have some time to catch up.  Since she’s been even busier than usual this past semester, I only heard from her a couple times, so it was nice to hear about what life’s been like as she’s been studying, dancing, rehearsing, working, and having some interesting adventures in and around her apartment.  We made a quick Target run, so she could get some supplies for the Christmas gifts she planned to make.  (In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s still hard to believe my baby sister’s 20 years old!) 

Tradition Time with the Family

Last Thursday evening, my mom made her famous chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, and steamed veggies dinner for our family.  She and Theresa had picked out the live Christmas tree, put it in the stand, and strung the lights.  The carols were playing.  The scent of fresh-baked brownies lingered in the air.  Mom, Theresa, Mary, Jordan, Kevin, and I gathered around the dining room table for a delicious meal, then we made our way into the living room to decorate the tree.  As has been our tradition for as long as I can remember, we have put the ornaments on first that we’ve made, or those that have special memories or sentiments that go along with them. 

Me and the Boys

Friday Kevin, John, our friend Chris, and I had dinner and some really deep conversation at Panera.  It was one of those evenings that we could just feel the Holy Spirit at work in and through the people before us, well aware that God has seen fit to bring us together as part of how He intends to draw each one of us closer to Him, give us hope for the journey, and inspiration to persevere.   

Spiritual Diva Brunch

Saturday morning my dear Cursillo sister/spiritual diva from group reunion Christine invited us over to her house for brunch. All of her Christmas decorations were up, and the dining room table was set for a festive holiday breakfast.  I hadn’t seen Christine, Barb, or Sandy in far too long.  It was so nice to share a meal and hear about what’s been going on in their lives.  Not all group members were able to attend, but they were all there with us in spirit and have definitely remained in our hearts and prayers.  (We missed you Sharon, Candy, and Sharyn!)

Our Brother from Another Mother

Saturday evening our dear brother John had us over for homemade chili.  We arrived in time to help sauté the green pepper and onions, stir in the beans, and mix all the ingredients together in one big pot.  We listened to Christmas music and talked awhile both before and after partaking in the chili.  We bundled up, and John took us for a ride to see a few of the more elaborate Christmas tree light displays.  One family has been decorating their home and yard for the past 37 years!  Yes, of course, they’re on the Tacky Lights Tour! We warmed back up with some hot tea and scrumptious baked goods. 
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