Friday, December 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 131) The Sounds of Music, Family Traditions, & Advent Advice

Grace is…looking at someone and having a glimpse of how lovable they are in God’s eyes,  receiving a long-awaited message from a friend, a wonderful surprise that warms your heart, coming home to find an Advent wreath on the table and a little Christmas tree lit on the half-wall, crystal clear reminders that some people still do focus on Jesus as the reason for this season with beautiful results and witness to others, family traditions enjoyed by several generations…  
The Sound of Music LIVE Unreasonable expectations abound when it comes to the groundbreaking three hour performance of The Sound of Music LIVE on NBC December 5, 2013.  I grew up watching The Sound of Music, and of course Carrie Underwood isn't Julie Andrews, but she and that cast did a decent made-for-TV LIVE version of a classic Broadway musical made movie that can't be matched.  There are a number of reviews floating around, but this is the article that seems most accurate of the ones I’ve read.
     Not even Carrie Underwood thought she could be a modern day Julie Andrews.  One of the qualities of classic, famous films is that the parts are played so well by those chosen for those roles that you can’t imagine anyone else doing it better.  If you tuned in last night to see if Carrie Underwood would put in a performance as perfectly fitting, amazing, and endearing as Julie Andrews did, then in my opinion, you just don’t get it...Read the rest here.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like…? Last evening when my mom came over to watch The Sound of Music LIVE with Kevin and me, she brought me a wonderful gift.  Without explanation, she handed me a magazine called Religious Life and told me to turn to page 26.  I was delighted when I did as I was told and came upon a photo with my dear friend, Michele Morris, looking radiant in white and brown.  My mom had come across the publication that has a picture of the Discalced Carmelites by the Sea in its November/December 2013 issue and surprised me with it.  Of the ten women in the photo, Michele is by far the youngest, though all of them have a joyful glow about them. 

     I couldn’t resist laughing at the irony of my mom giving me this publication with a picture of Michele in it on the very evening when The Sound of Music LIVE aired.  Back in July, when Michele’s mother and I were helping her get the props out of her vehicle for her final performance of her original play “Teresita,” Michele was off greeting people who had come for the show.  Looking at the social butterfly making her rounds, Michele’s mom and I suddenly burst into a fitting song for the occasion: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”
     Michele is indeed well-suited to the contemplative life, a true prayer warrior, obedient to God's Will though she’s also been great center-stage as an actress and the life of the party.  It warms my heart to see her so joyful where God has called her to be.  
     We miss you, think of you often, and pray for you always, Michele!

7 Tips for an Excellent Advent I wrote this series of Advent posts inspired by seven brief suggestions for how to observe this holy season a couple years ago when my grandmother was still living and our dear friends/siblings in Christ John and Michele were residing in Richmond.  (My grandmother passed away January 31 of this year.  John is in his second year of seminary at St. Mary's in Baltimore, Maryland, and Michele entered the Carmelite Sisters by the Sea this past August).  
     The same lessons apply this year as they have in the past.  
1.      Stay Awake
3.      Hold on to Hope
4.      Celebrate the Season
5.      Rejoice and Be Glad
7.      Wait Patiently

What has been the hardest of the above 7 tips for you to follow this Advent?  Has that been true in the past as well.  How is God nudging you to a deeper understanding of this season and Christ’s Incarnation?

Fresh Bread The whole grain taste of Fresh Bread is certainly one that can provide ample food for thought and considerable spiritual nourishment throughout the year.  Fresh Bread and Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment by Joyce Rupp, OSM is beautifully written, engaging, intimate, vulnerable, and honest.  From a place of humility and brokenness, the beauty of God’s love shines through her poetry, prose, prayers, and provocative questions with a quiet, gentle intensity that seeps into the soul…Read the complete review here.
Here We Come A’Caroling A neighborhood friend and I decided one year when we were around eleven years old, that we were going to practice singing some Christmas carols, then take our show on the road, or more realistically around our cul-de-sac off of River Road in Richmond.  Our confidence and jubilation wavered considerably when the first woman whose doorbell we rang heard us start singing.  She gave us a very strange look and tried to close the door before we were through one verse of our well-rehearsed repertoire of songs.  
     It wasn’t until later that my friend and I found out that the neighbor is Jewish, and therefore not as likely to enjoy our impromptu Christmas caroling performance on her steps.  For all she knew, someone had put us up to it, knowing she was Jewish.  I doubt it occurred to her that we were just unlucky enough that we would pick her house to start with.  But the truth is, we were that unfortunate.  
     Stay-tuned, I will soon be posting more Christmas merry-making mishaps in days to come.  Shocking though it may be, we’ve managed to rack up quite a few.
Cherished Family Christmas Traditions We’ve created and maintained a number of traditions over the years that we continue to uphold today.  I take comfort in the traditions to keep us connected to family members who are no longer with us (namely my dad and Grandma) and in an effort to welcome and induct the youngest, cutest members of the clan (our nine month old nephew).  Here’s the first round of what we do, and here’s the second list
     What are your family's favorite Christmas traditions? 
Check out Jen Fulwiler’s tradition of 7 Quick Takes Friday at her tremendously popular blog Conversion Diary.  
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