Monday, November 28, 2011

My Heart is a Stable

When I think of Advent, I think of Vienna, Austria, in 1998.  My family and I traveled with our church choir for an Advent singing trip (BC - before I was Catholic).

Above you can see the family in Vienna (I have the dumb hat on) standing in front of a giant advent wreath!  The spirit of Christmas was alive and well in Vienna.  The windows of the city hall were each a door of an advent calendar, and were changed to reflect changes each day.  Lights, garland, carolers, musicians, and Christmas markets flooded the streets at Stephansplatz and beyond.  To me, it was sort of a fairytale memory.  Outdoor markets lit by Christmas lights, freezing cold but loving every moment, strolling musicians, drinking hot spiced wine out of mugs as we walked along, the hustle and bustle...all to the backdrop of St. Stephan's Cathedral.

As a non-Catholic who didn't know, at the time, she would be seeing Pope JPII two months from this day and be in RCIA in less from a year from this time, I appreciated the beauty and sacredness of this site immediately.  I was in awe.  The original church was built in 1147, and the idea that people have been worshipping in this spot for so many years touched my heart.  And, the music nerd in me totally geeked out since Mozart was married here and his funeral was here.  Nerd alert.

Austria did an amazing job of reminding everyone to prepare.

What does that mean, exactly?  There were visible signs, reminders, that God was coming.  When I think of Advent, I think of this preparation.  Signs were all around me, reminding me the purpose for the season.  I wish there were more signs around St. Louis like this, but there are more important ways to prepare as well.

Last week, I did a mini-bible study with my 6th grade PSR students (they are great!).  We looked up verses regarding advent and the coming of Christ.  What can you do to prepare?  Our class found that prayer, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the idea that it is better to give than to receive are key concepts.  I also found this site about Catholic Traditions interesting, and I learned a few new things!

As we prepare our hearts, O come Emmanuel and use my heart as your manger.

My Heart is a Stable {Song}

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Get the Skinny

I don't know about most women, but I go through phases of not caring about looking my best or having the trendy clothes and actually wanting to dress up.  Right now, I'm coming out of a phase of not really caring and wanting to wear dresses and boots.

In the past 10 years, I've put on some weight, and I am sometimes self-conscious about how I look.  So, when I ordered a new pair of knee-high boots the other week, I also realized that my baggy flare and bootcut jeans were not going to cut it for optimal cuteness.  But skinny jeans?  Really?  Surely I won't look good in something labeled "skinny" that will cling to my body.

Well, I was wrong.

I bought two different pair of skinny jeans, one with a little more stretch than the other, and I love them both!  They are not skin tight showing all my goodies, but they are not baggy (and they will fit inside my boots and work with legwarmers!).  Yes, I also bought leg warmers.  No, it is not 1984. 

I think I got used to hiding behind clothes that mask my true figure when I don't fit inside the box that society thinks is beautiful.  I feel my curves are beautiful, and I'm glad I stepped outside the box and tried wearing something that I thought I couldn't pull off because I wasn't stick thin.  Yay.

So, I'm ready to step out in my skinny jeans, leg warmers and boots!  Who knows, I might even get a haircut and wear makeup.  {GASP!}