Sunday, November 30, 2014

Preparing Your Heart & Home for Advent

Happy First Sunday of Advent! Can you believe it? Advent is one of my favorite seasons of the church year (and it marks the beginning of a new church year, too - so, happy new year!). Advent provides an opportunity for me to quiet my heart and spend some time preparing for the Lord's birth at Christmas. So many wonderful posts have been written about preparing for this season, but I'd love to share what I am doing to prepare my heart & home for Advent this year.

Most traditionally, we have an Advent wreath on our kitchen table. We light the candle(s) at dinner each night. This year I would like to try praying the O Antiphons beginning December 17. Have you ever done that? For more about how I make our Advent wreath each year, see this post.

New to our simple decorations this year is this Advent pendant banner. Below is a step-by-step DIY tutorial in case you're interested in making one for your own home {and if not, scroll beyond for more on our Advent celebration!}.
Cut strips of paper {purple, pink and optional gold} so they are 3 1/2 inches tall (by whatever the width of your paper is - mine was 12"). Note: If you want bigger pendants, cut your strips taller.
Mark and cut each paper as pictured below. Feel free to vary the size of your pendants depending on where you plan to hang your banner in your home. You will need three times as many purple pendants as pink and gold.

Using scotch tape, attach pendants to string of your choice (I love to use baker's twine!), as pictured. Be sure to start your purple, purple, pink, purple, {gold} pattern from left to right. I managed to make mine backwards both times I made one of these banners this year! 
That's it! Find a special place to hang your banner in your home as a reminder for you and your family of the four weeks of Advent and the great feast that will follow. 

I am so excited about this next decoration, too. This new, downloadable Fiat inspiration print is now available for you to purchase and print in my etsy shop. It's a perfect reminder for me to say "yes" to God each day - in ways big and small - just like Mary. It is available in three different colors. I love the way the eggplant printed on this piece of kraft brown paper.
{fiat // available here}
As far as preparing my heart goes, I find that if I don't make a plan, the season will come and go without much of a difference. And I really, really don't want that. This free Advent printable calendar is perfect for just that. I intend to use a copy to plan meals and a copy to remember special prayers, feast days, and blog posts I want to write. I hope this 2014 Advent calendar will be helpful for you, too. I'd love to know how you use yours.
{download & print}
I am so looking forward to using my beautiful Blessed is She Advent Journal. If you didn't get one before they sold out this year, there are many other options (some of which I plan to do, too!): 
• read the daily Mass readings
• subscribe to daily Blessed is She e-mails for reflection 
• journal - based on your personal prayers, your thoughts on the Mass readings, etc.
• attend daily Mass when possible
• spend time in adoration with Jesus (this always brings me such deep peace)
• Meg's Advent Boot Camp

What have I forgotten? What do you and your family have planned to make this season special?

Wishing you a most beautiful and blessed Advent season...
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