Making Space for Hope: Advent Week One

It is the first week of advent and just now, five days in already I have had some time and space to sit down and be still. To think a little bit about this season and what I am hoping for this year. People keep asking me if I am ready for Christmas and to be honest it hardly feels like December yet, so no, no I'm not. Basically our life is the same as your very own. Our days are full, we juggle some mix of parenting, work, volunteering, appointments, keeping everything somewhat clean and kiddos tummies full, managing minor and major crises in-between the connection and laughter. We are in the mid life years where our days often start before the sun comes up and find us about ten pm, hours after the sun has set in our northern latitude finishing up supper dishes during the first chance we have had.

Mid-life is a daily practice in being present and in making space where it seems there isn't any to be made.

I so often feel we live in a world that wants us to rush on from one thing to the next. Christmas decorations are for sale before Halloween is over, a symptom of a culture encouraging us to keep looking endlessly forward for our contentment and our joy instead of finding it right here in this very day. This is why I love advent so much, I believe. It is a season of counter-cultural beliefs and practices. As much as it may not be advertised as such advent is intended as a season of reprieve from all the doing and never enough and endless thinking about the next thing. A time to step away from the always seductive promise of bigger and better stealing both my contentment and my life.

If I remember to let it be so advent is a season of stillness, of waiting and repenting and sitting right where I am under the wonder of the full moon with the one who made me. A time for moving slower, pondering more.

Advent is a time to find just one reason to hope in a world where there are a million not to. A time for softening my heart a little bit more towards God who came as an infant - as a vulnerable minority refugee. It is a time to both ponder and act on ways I could further align my own now softer heart with the ways of God I don't always understand. A time to look for ways I could help plant or water one more seed of subversiveness to help kingdom come.

Advent is about opening my eyes to see the beauty of creation and love and mercy all around me, to drink those things in with my spirit, to remind me there aren't only hardships and heartbreak and horrors. Advent is about making space for hope and being still with a God who always works towards good and finishes what is promised.


(Mostly I 'do' this by sitting quietly, or not so quietly depending on which children are awake/around, praying and reading from one of these books or listening to something - no rules, nothing set in stone, just which ever one catches my spirit when I make space to sit down and be still.)

A Widening Light by Luci Shaw,editor

Book of advent themed poetry by assorted authors, all with eyes to see creation and God and faith in new and life giving ways, perfect for reading and pondering one at a time in a snippet of time.

Circle of Grade by Jan Richardson

Every blessing in this book has moved me to tears or towards hope. Richardson incorporates both beauty and heartbreak, which to me is the only type of honest blessing there is.

Watch For The Light

Daily writings for the whole pre-advent through epiphany season by assorted authors. I don't read them everyday but when I do they always give me something challenging to think about.

Wintersong by Madelieine L'Engle and Luci Shaw

Journal entry snippets, poetry, essays from two of my favourite writers. If you haven't read these women you are missing out on mid-life artist/faith wisdom from L'Engle and stunning nature/faith reflections from Shaw.

Listening to:

Pray As You Go podcast

Simple Advent playlist on Spotify

Advent 2016 thoughts on hope

Advent 2014 thoughts on hope

And continued here



What I'm into: September 2013 (or sweet things September edition)

Linking up with fellow book lover Leigh Kramer to share What I’m Into. I discovered Leigh via Sorta Crunchy who was one of the first blogs I read and handed off what I'm into to Leigh. IMG_4061

What I was mostly into in September was soaking up as much summer as possible before it left. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love summer and I am never ready for it to end. To this end we spent the first week camping in the Rockies. This worked out brilliantly because the campgrounds and all the sights were almost deserted with school having started and all. We marked this down on the ever-expanding list of homeschooling perks. This was a low key trip just lots of time outside, time to read and time to swim. Everyone loved it.


Then the kiddos and I headed to visit my family who live in one of the hottest places in Canada. It was over 30 every day there and just perfect for us to soak up one more week of fabulous beach weather.

Things I loved about September:

  • hot weather
  • seeing my family
  • solo mama walks in the woods
  • beach days
  • brunch at the Banff springs
  • so much swimming
  • coming home
  • reconnecting with friends after a busy summer
  • leaves and all their amazing colour
  • the sandbox my husband built for our kiddos. We should have done it three years ago when we moved in - hours of fun.

Things I've been busy with since we got home:

  • starting up lessons and some other schoolish stuff
  • spending as much time outside enjoying our beautiful but always fleeting fall before winter comes
  • dealing with saving the end of season garden produce and the load of fruit I brought home from my parent's house
  • three weeks worth of laundry
  • half marathon training
  • getting the yard ready for winter


The first three books in Madeline L'Engle's The Crosswicks Journal series: The Circle of Quiet is now one of my top two L'Engle books, full of challenging and affirming thoughts on life, God, faith and family. The second two were not as life changing as the first, but still beautiful and I'm looking forward into digging into the third.

What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell: Loved Bell's sharing his research into the universe and how that affects his beliefs surrounding God. Normally Bell's writing style doesn't bother me (if you haven't read a Bell book he is a preacher and often writes how he speaks) but it did stop me from enjoying the ideas as much in this book. Many of these ideas weren't new to me, but I do think it is a worthwhile read if you have ever struggled with just who God is. My favourite section was his section on Jesus, although I wish he would have gone a little further there.

French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon:I read 2/3 of the way through this book several months ago when it was recommended by a friend. Another friend picked it up and loved it so I was inspired to take it out from the library and finish it. To me it wasn't a life changer, in large part because my family follows a lot of her 'food rules' already. I grew up in a home where food was a happy thing (my mom could have written this book) and sometimes I forget how lucky I am that I have no food issues. Our family eats moderate amounts of everything, tons of fruits and veggies and I wouldn't consider any of my kids picky eaters, although my middle one does turn up her nose to unfamiliar things sometimes, she still eats a huge variety of foods. I did like her stories about how healthy and enjoyable eating is supported by the French culture and I do think what she describes in the book is a big change from how many north americans eat. A huge disclaimer for me is that the french infant feeding sections go against everything I have learned as an IBCLC and did with my own children. I strongly recommend not following anything she comments on the French doing with infants. As an interesting FYI if you breastfeed, the breastmilk changes flavour every feeding depending on what the mother has eaten, so no need to worry about your child being exposed to different flavours. Funny how nature takes care of that. Take aways for me were: continuing to have a relaxed and positive attitude about food with my children, eating mostly whole (real) foods, we did change snacking a bit when I first read it and that is working well for us and continuing to allow my kids to fancy up the dinner table (they have been going to town with this).

The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: I read these aloud to my oldest two kiddos who are enthralled as am I. Always so much joy in a well written childhood classic.

Looking forward to finishing up the Crosswicks series in October, getting my hands on Pastrix by fellow Lutheran Nadia Bolz-Weber and adding in some fun yet to be determined fiction as well.


Rewatching reruns of season two of Call the Midwife. I am trying to convert everyone I know to this show. I've written about my love for it before.


Lots of delicious end of season garden goodies and simple meals surrounding many veggies. Fruit crisps, zucchini lasagna, Brussel sprouts with a fried egg on top are some stand out favourites. One of the best things about fall is bumping up my tea consumption to extend past the morning so that has been happening too. Also eating LOTS. Half marathon training leaves me very hungry.


I tried to get a finger tattoo similar to this one but with interlocking initials to celebrate 15 years with my love but turns out a reputable tattoo shop won't tattoo fingers as it won't turn out well past healing. Who knew? And what's with all the beautiful looking ones online? (Fake or very freshly done according to my new tatoo lady.)

Loved this post on How to Raise an Artist by Erika at new to me blog urthmama

Imagining this fair trade bedspread (made from recycled wedding gowns and saris) in my house. Blue is my favourite.

Going to make these honey chai roasted almonds soon and eat them while I drink this cocoberry tea and watch all the leaves blow off the trees.