Being two months postpartum is a good time for a new season. I feel like I can think clearly and I’ve been able to find the time to plan accordingly. Life is just getting filled back up to our normal activities, and I feel prepared for a shift in focus.
Spiritually I am ready too. I am actually ready to fast, in my own small way, which will be no sugar and no cheese. I’m tired of just eating whatever and how ever much I want, which I’ve been doing the whole year now. It’s time for me to take back control of my appetite. I know that even though I feel up to the challenge, it will be hard and frustrating.
I’m also looking planning on reading “The Winter Pascha” by Fr. Thomas Hopko, of blessed memory. It’s also been a while since I’ve read a spiritual book (unless you count the Bible and “Parenting Toward the Kingdom…). I want to add in an akathist a week as well.
For alms, I’m hoping to set up a times to sing at nursing homes. Or rather, I’m hoping my dad will and we can go along. He has the connections, and there’s no way I’m comfortable going without him. Not a strength of mine, for sure. My hope, though, is that over the years, it will be familiar to my children (and me!) and something we do year round, not just at Christmas. But, we’ll start at Christmas.
Another thing I want to do is use more of our gift money for charities. Instead of buying gifts (that I’m not even sure people like or want!), I want to make gifts. Some will still take money, maybe just as much, but others I can use things I have, or will cost less. Along with the homemade gift, I want to give a donation to a charity in honor of that person, even if it’s just $5. We all have so much stuff, and so few needs. Plus, just buying something doesn’t seem to really express my love for someone. I’m going to be helping and encouraging the kids to do the same. I’m really excited about this, but it’s still to be seen how it works out.
I’m trying a new way of planning for Advent. I made a chart for each week, with different categories. Each week I’ll have tasks related to gift making/buying, decorating, and food. I knew I’d have to break up all the tasks for gifts and food, but I also wanted to gradually decorate. I envision the anticipation and festivity building up each week as we add more and more decorations to our home. One example is that one week we will buy our tree and set it up, but only add a string of lights. The next week we’ll add ornaments, the next we’ll make ornaments, etc. Again, we’ll see how it all works out!
This first week, or few days rather, I’ve kept it very simple. We will start Jesse Tree and the readings for our Advent “wreath.” I’m going to keep planning the gifts we’ll make and buy, as well as food for the fasting and the feasting.
With all these thoughts and plans, I’m hoping to create an atmosphere of simplicity, love, and joyful anticipation. I want there to be activities, but not so much that we don’t enjoy them, but rather they point us toward the joy of the birth of Christ our Savior.