Advent – Pondering

Last year, I spent December walking through Fiona Ferris’s 30 Chic Days. I learned a lot from that exercise and I encourage you (If you haven’t already done so) to search for posts here on Splendor tagged with “30 Days” (or just click here!) to see how making some small changes can lead to some rather profound changes.

That went so well last year that I wanted to do something similar this year. I’ve been doing some thinking and planning and I’m now ready to ask you to join me. This year, along with making some daily efforts to return to Rosetta Stone to learn a bit more French (I’m at the “past tense” phase right now) and using the Shine app to make meditation (even a short one) part of my morning routine, I’ll be doing a few other things as well.

First, I’ll be doing some sort of “creative movement” every day. Some friends have talked me into participating in the Ramblin’ Rose women-only sprint triathlon this summer and there’s no reason to not start getting in the habit of swim/bike/run now. It doesn’t sound very Diva-like, but I have a minor-yet-persistent foot injury that can make running difficult, but swimming and biking are fine.  However, “creative movement” can include a MUCH wider variety of actions – 80s dance party in the living room? Yoga class? Pilates or one of the other group classes at the local Y (where the pool is)? Well – why not? I’ve gotten out of the habit of moving and if I’m going to blog for 30+ straight days, I need to make an effort to get up and moving. So that’s #1 on the list.

Second, I’ll be working with two “reverse Advent calendars.” You might remember Advent calendars as those cute little pasteboard things with numbered doors. Every day in December, you open that day’s door and see a picture behind it, all leading up to Christmas Eve. Nowadays, they have Advent “calendars” that feature chocolate, or wine, or cheese, or cosmetics, which I suppose is just fine, but the “reverse Advent calendar” asks you to DO something that day instead. You can see the two I’ll be using here in this post, although you’re free to come up with your own if you prefer. The one on the left is designed to make you think about other people during this season of good cheer and rush-rush-rush when we often are not exactly on our best behavior, despite knowing that we ought to be. The other is aimed at helping you build a food basket to drop off on Christmas Eve at a shelter or food bank. I haven’t tried activities like these before and they’re very much in keeping with the season, so I’m looking forward to it.

I also hope to do some holiday things – decorate, spend time with friends and family, bake a bit, listen to music, paint – not everything all at once, you understand, but a little here and there.  From where I sit, there is no “war on Christmas,” but there has been some “friendly fire” over the years as I sabotage myself trying to do too much, too fast, and too cheerily.

“Advent” means “arrival” and, within the Christian tradition in which I was raised, it’s a season of joyous expectation. It’s also a time of quiet inward reflection (winter’s good for that – go, Yule!). In the Nativity story in the Gospel of St. Luke (the one with the terrible shepherds who don’t bother to bring in their sheep at night, thereby being outside for the coming of the heavenly host), we are told that Mary, upon being visited by the Angel Gabriel who gave her the startling news that she was to become the Holy Mother, “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

That’s what I want to do. Ponder. And you simply can’t have a good ponder if you’re going in seven-eleventy directions.

So let’s get to pondering!

A handy list with links to the daily postings:

Day 1 – Let’s Begin!

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