The past few days have been so warm, the streets are wet and slushy. Way too warm for December, but I can't deny that we are enjoying it during the daytime. (At night the roads freeze and get slick, and we have something to complain about again.) We talked about taking advantage of the warm weather--27 degrees above 0 this morning--to snap the photo outside, but this close to the winter solstice, with a few clouds in the sky there wasn't enough sunlight even at noon for a photo to turn out well! And we were trying for a decent family photo to put in Christmas cards, since I haven't managed to send those out yet, so lighting really did matter.
And then we forgot to take one of just me. So here's a sneak peek at our family Christmas photo:
Pencil skirt: thrifted
Pumps: garage sale
The giant mural behind us is pieced together with many varieties of wood from all over the world, and is supposed to represent a river. There's actually more to it, going up another full story, but if I hadn't cropped it a bit we would be too small to see!
Most years, I make a point of trying to wear the right liturgical colors during Advent: two purple Sundays, one rose, one purple. Somehow it has completely slipped my mind so far this year, but I'll try for rose next Sunday! Hopefully we don't compensate for this unseasonable warmth by plunging suddenly to -50, and it'll still be pleasant enough for a summery skirt.
Looking at the calendar, I don't think that I'm nearly worried enough about accomplishing everything in time for Christmas. I hear "Second Sunday of Advent" and think, oh, I have three weeks left. But I don't! I have two and a half weeks, which is ever so much less. Suddenly the list of things to bake, gifts to wrap, cards to write (and mail tomorrow. Tomorrow!), decorations and visits and plans and events... it's feeling a little bit overwhelming.
I really enjoyed my peaceful first week of Advent: adding one loop to Little Bear's red and green chain every morning, opening a door on the Advent calendar when he needed a distraction, lighting the Advent wreath and reading a reflection as we prayed before supper... Calm, quiet, simple. Now I'm sitting amidst a sea of cards that all need to be addressed, and I'm stressing over misplaced addresses and not enough Christmas stamps and figuring out which people actually care about reading a Christmas letter and seeing a photo from us... It's time to sit down with my schedule and meticulously write every single thing down, so that I can see all of the pre-Christmas prep spaced out into some semblance of order. Maybe, maybe, if I can organize it all out on paper, I can keep the looming to-do list from making me too frazzled to find that quiet and peace for at least a few moments each day.