Friday, December 16, 2016

The Prepared Meal

Hello! Can you believe we celebrated Gaudette Sunday already? Did you feel the joy of the pink candle?? We are making our way around the wreath!

Our family just had one of the busiest weekends we have had in a very long time, stretching to really Monday evening. We have more fullness this weekend which includes my husband's Coast Guard holiday party...in which I have opted to try an updo I learned off YouTube? Wish me luck!

But last weekend's pace sure left me reflecting on a few things.

This is the part where I tell you about it:

Our Friday evening we were finishing up our last home-school Nativity Play practice and I was determined to just "be" but, alas, we came home only to have my children beg to see a local Army band give a free holiday concert at our church. They had heard about this from their play friends...this is how these things happen! Justin and I thought...free? And I truly enjoy military bands...and well...off we went!



It was a beautiful evening and truly nothing gets my patriotic heart thumping like hearing the national anthem filling the walls of our sanctuary...as if the song is grateful for the space but the Church is grateful right back.



Saturday morning we got up early to go to the tree farm and were able to get a beautiful frasier fir. It was chilly but we were all so pleased with our find. We try to wait until the pink candle to put up our tree so with a longer Advent this year (Christmas being on a Sunday), it was just time!



After we got home I had about an hour and a half to assemble a lasagna for that night (in which my wonderful neighbors agreed to put in the oven for us before we got home) and I made the food I had to bring to my brother-in-law's oyster roast. We celebrated him graduating college and it was a clear and brisk cold but it was so great to visit with Justin's family and my kids always enjoy Pollycove (as we affectionately call it). It is about two hours north for us, hopping over two peninsulas to the Northern Neck on the Chesapeake Bay...where my husband got the bug to always be near water as a boy.




We got home around seven, lasagna done...in which everyone was too full to eat it but we had it for the two crazy nights that were still ahead of us...and we decorated our tree! We also enjoyed our first fire in this new home and, you bet, I was totally in nerd out Christmas mode enjoying my people.




On to Sunday! Sunday we had brunch together and went to Mass....and then we had our beautiful Nativity play, which was so sweet. It was held at our church hall and was kept to close friends and families as we were all very aware this was for many of our children their first theatrical experience (my parents made it down). Written by a young homeschool teen and directed by her and her sister, it was so very perfect. It is AMAZING what happens when adults get out of the way! They did so well! We took video and the kids have already watched it a few times loving it all.


We got home late Sunday afternoon so that I could then hop back in the car to get my sweet middle daughter to her ballet rehearsal. It is a worship dance school so I love the pace and the whole approach. Rehearsal was long but was the only time we were allowed to take pictures.





And then,..schooling on Monday and the actual SHOW Monday evening starting at seven and we got home around ten. It was great because this was her thing...only she did this...it was special and I hope she felt that.


So, maybe that weekend was really nothing and could be easily "topped" in the fullness category by other families, but it felt like a lot of going for us and a lot of not being in our home. I have become so bent on my space and trying to build a culture of leisure that a weekend like this can really throw me off! I remember surveying my home Monday and thinking...how does it look like this?!?!? We weren't even in it! 


Although we were eating great food all weekend and cookies and it was very festive,  there was not a lot of meal time together.

Except...except...there was that brunch around the table Sunday morning. That was a slower morning and we could all wake up and sit in front of the tree a bit. Justin and I enjoyed our coffee together and I made a very simple brunch of biscuits and gravy, grits and eggs and a fruit tray. There was a pomegranate and orange juice, and there was our pink candle. 

Looking back, it was what I wanted to highlight in this post today. I am so grateful we were able to have a meal together, even though it was a mid morning meal! I had made that lasagna thinking that was going to be our meal but the Christmas tree beckoned.

I have read several posts from various blogs about the family meal and over our marriage we really have stressed sitting down to eat together in our home. We do our best to wait for whomever needs to get home from practice and especially if Justin is working late, we just wait. 

I am not the best cook and it is always the area I have a deep desire to improve upon, but I find that it isn't always about the actual meal but more the action of collectively sitting down and praying and catching up. We are, at this time of year, lighting our Advent wreath and singing "O' Come Emmanuel" and I love watching my toddler's face as she takes it all in!



My children sometimes struggle with giggles and manners, we can all be pretty goofy.  I have read about not overly correcting on manners and focusing on the kids too much at dinner because really Justin and I need to talk and it is usually at the table that we talk about the day. My older children can and DO share, and I find it is really MY attitude that sets the mood.  I can wear emotions all too well and so I really try to remain peaceful and yet correcting respectfully if I must.

The children set and clear the table, and Sunday morning we transitioned into getting ready for Mass mode. It is essential to our family to sit and have meal time.

This is where I turn to the Prepared Meal that I most need. I just finished this book



and where I said earlier that my home meal is about the action of sitting together, gathering...where I find about the Eucharist is that...although we are all gathering, this particular Meal is truly about being fed, is truly about what is being Prepared.

So more important than what I am able to "tryout" in my kitchen when I get adventurous with our family meals, is that we, Justin and I, constantly feed them the Bread of Life by getting to Mass on Sunday. There is no question in my mind to do this...but I am wondering...how can we call other Catholics to see this pressing need?


The priest at my goddaughter's First Holy Communion begged the parents of the new communicants to bring their children to Mass and not let them "spiritually starve." I think that is why so many parish's offer SEVERAL Mass options, even on holy days of obligation, our priests do not want us to spiritually starve, they want to provide every opportunity to give us the nourishment we most need.

So, friends, I hope you find great comfort, as I do, that in the beautiful fullness of this time of year, as we try our best to find quiet moments to have our family together, to eat and share, our devoted and thoughtful Mother Church has everything covered in her Eucharistic Feast. It is to her that we go with grateful hearts that she will provide.


Thank you for stopping by this morning!



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