Friday, December 26, 2014

Why, hello!
{back from an unplanned break!}

Hi, friends! It was not my original plan to take a two (plus) week blogging break, but here we are. It's that time of year when most of us have been so busy. At first I was stressing about not blogging in the midst of the busyness when I decided to accept it and embrace a little break. I made an effort to stay in the present and occasionally even find time for quiet (which is not something that comes easily to me).

I'd love to share a few highlights:

• I was blessed to attend a special Young Adult Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral with Cardinal Dolan as the presider, and Matt Maher leading the music. It was so great!

• If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed we took a trip to San Francisco for a conference Michael had.
 And we got to hang out with my sister who lives there, which was the very best part!

• Our pregnancy continues to go well - praise God! I'm 28 weeks pregnant now! Here's a picture from last week at 27 weeks:
I can't believe I'm already in the third trimester! Crazy. We have our first baby shower this weekend, and we are so looking forward to celebrating this sweet blessing with our family and friends in a special way. 

• Though I have no photo evidence to document it (oops!), on Sunday I got to meet the beautiful Dwija of House Unseen, and her family. Her family and my in-laws attend the same parish. It's always so much fun to meet my favorite bloggers in person. Love it!

• Of course, I also spent time preparing for Christmas, which included wrapping gifts. I absolutely adore wrapping gifts for my loved ones.  I went with a white and kraft paper theme this year.
We spent Christmas Eve and Day with my in-laws, and now are heading to visit my family in Ohio for some more celebrating. After all, there are twelve days of Christmas, so this is only the beginning! (Be sure to follow the #twelvedays hashtag on social media!)

More coming soon...but I wanted to stop in to say a quick hello. I've missed you!
I hope you and yours have been enjoying this special time of year together.

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

the Light given to us

                              The people who walked in darkness 
                              have seen a great light;
                              upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom 
                              a light has shone.
                              You have brought them abundant joy 
                              and great rejoicing,
                              as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, 
                              as people make merry when dividing spoils.
                              For the yoke that burdened them, 
                              the pole on their shoulder,
                              and the rod of their taskmaster 
                              you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
                              For every boot that tramped in battle, 
                              every cloak rolled in blood,
                              will be burned as fuel for flames.
                              For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
                              upon his shoulder dominion rests.
                              They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero
                              Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
                              His dominion is vast 
                              and forever peaceful,
                              from David's throne, and over his kingdom, 
                              which he confirms and sustains 
                              by judgment and justice,
                              both now and forever.
                              The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!
                                             {Isaiah 9:1-6}

I just love this reading proclaimed at the Midnight Mass. It is such good news for us; it's a scripture brimming with hope and promise. My heart is filled with gratitude this Christmas for so many blessings in my life, the greatest of which is the gift of Christ Himself, who came for me and for you. I sometimes fall into the trap of taking this for granted, but the gift of Christ is truly awesome. Awe - some. I pray our hearts would be awakened and filled with wonder at this truth this Christmas, and always.
Michael, Baby Howe & me • Christmas, 2014

Wishing you and yours a bright and blessed Christmas filled with His peace, joy, and great love...

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lost & Found {by our Shepherd}

Here we's Tuesday of the second week of Advent. Can you believe it? How is yours going? To be honest, mine has had highs and lows. Regardless of whether yours is going well or not, I have good news for you: you still have time. I was reminded of this a couple times at the Blessed is She twitter chat last evening {and P.S. - If you haven't been to one of those chats, I have to say, they are always so beautiful and fruitful. I really hope you'll join us sometime!}.

I'm over at Blessed is She today sharing my thoughts on Jesus, our Shepherd, and His heart for us.

Here's an excerpt from my post:
It’s easy to get lost. I don’t mean lost in a physical sense (though I admit I sometimes do that, too), but lost spiritually—and especially at this time of year. With sixteen days to Christmas, there is so much to be done. There are parties to attend, cookies to bake, trees to decorate, lights to hang, presents to buy and then wrap . . . the list can seem endless. Many of these things bring us joy—and that joy is a gift—yet deep in our hearts we know these material things will come and go. They will fade away.
To read the rest of my reflection, click here.

Praying you find time for quiet in your day and week during this blessed Advent season...

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Friday, December 5, 2014

7 Quick Takes {no. 36}
On Advent, Art, St. Nick & Thanksgiving

It's Friday, which means it's #7QT time - linking up with our new host, Kelly!

How's your first week of Advent going? I shared how we are preparing our home on Saturday. While it's been a crazy week, I have found peace in making time for daily Mass as often as possible, and reflecting with my Blessed is She Advent Journal, which has been such a blessing.

One of the projects that's been keeping me busiest this week is my etsy shop. I have several new downloadable, printable designs available. This is probably my favorite new one:
{also available for download in black, purple or pink ink}

You may have seen my Fiat print on a handful of blogs this week that have so kindly shared my shop. You even have a chance to win one for yourself in two places right now!

First, there's Jenna's independent artists giveawayMy shop is included on the giveaway along with eleven other wonderful artists. You could win twelve gifts! Don't miss it.

Secondly, a print is included in Kendra's amazing giveaway (which is second to her super, super exciting news!). Click on over to enter!

Or, you could just visit the shop and purchase a print yourself (the downloadable ones are less than $10 - less than $8, in fact!). The Blessed is She and the Fiat prints are especially fitting for this Monday's Feast of the Immaculate Conception (and all year long, for that matter). Thank you for letting me share, and for supporting my small business! I so appreciate it.

Speaking of upcoming feast days, St. Nicholas's Day is tomorrow! Do you and your family celebrate? Even though we don't have any children's shoes or stockings to fill just yet, we plan to fill each other's shoes with a couple little treats. Somehow I have an inkling that St. Nicholas will be bringing Michael
for me. 
Fingers crossed! :)

And while we're talking about St. Nicholas - have you seen KendraBonnie, & Jenny's posts about him? I loved hearing how each of these women talk about St. Nicholas/Santa Claus in their homes.

We had a great time this Thanksgiving with my in-laws who came to visit us. One of the highlights was going to the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving morning.
We also went to Radio City to see the Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular, which was so much fun!

So, so much to be thankful for this year (and every year). Praising God in a special way for our sweet baby boy who is now 25 weeks, and enjoying this second trimester energy while it lasts...

Praying you have a blessed weekend, friends.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy December! Happy Monday!
{+ a Cyber Monday deal}

It may be December, but the projected high temperature in NYC is 61 degrees today! And that's just crazy. I can't decide how I feel about it.

I can, however, tell you I feel super excited about what I have to share with you on this Cyber Monday.
I want to offer you, my dear blog readers, something very special. Today only, receive 20% off your order in my etsy shop with the code INENDLESSSONGCM. This includes the entire inspiration series line - both the handmade and downloadable prints. It also includes custom orders {of a favorite quotation, bible verse, etc.}. Offer only valid on inspiration series orders placed Monday, December 1, 2014. 

Give a gift that might inspire or encourage someone's heart this Christmas. Your support of my art means so much to me!

These prints make personal, thoughtful gifts for:
• family members
• friends
• members of a women's group or Mom's group
• your child's teacher(s)
...or even to inspire you in your home throughout the year.

It is my heartfelt prayer that this artwork will be a blessing to you and yours, and that God would be glorified in the way it touches your heart.

Wishing you a beautiful Monday...

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