Posted by: ourbakersdozen | November 28, 2016

Advent is officially here!

And I am so not prepared. Largely because the past week has been spent getting ready for thanksgiving which was then usurped by a stomach flu that took over the festivities on Thanksgiving night. Right after a lovely feast of turkey and all the traditional sides. I’ll spare you the details.

Through all of that, I little felt like climbing into the attic and digging out the tree along with all of our advent decorations that we have used to create a lovely vision of purple and pink the past 7 years. It’s possible that our Advent wreath on the front door is up only because I never took it down last year


So… what to do? I’m still in no shape to pull the tree down for the attic and while my husband finally has his 1979 Ford 150 running after he and one of our sons pulled the engine apart and largely rebuilt it over the past 6 weeks and thus could maybe pick up a live tree with it… I’m really still not ready. There is the question of moving furniture about once we actually have a tree. So what to do so as to create a peaceful atmosphere of prayer and anticipation of the Christ child’s re-birth in our hearts on Christmas day?

I am going to focus on the interior preparation – something I usually feel I have failed in despite all of the external trappings I arrange about the house. Advent chains, advent wreaths and candles, jesse trees, calendars and so on. I scurry about trying to keep all of these things up to date and on track but by Christmas Eve I feel anything but peaceful. Mostly I feel like a fraud and a failure.

Is anyone identifying with this?

Well, this year I have joined an online retreat being guided by John Paul and Annie of and I’m really hoping that it will help me to feel prepared for the celebration of Christ’s birth this time around. I’d prefer not to feel so empty and frazzled. And with 13 children and nine grands chances are I will still feel somewhat frazzled come the 24th but hopefully with the help of the 6 speakers who are participating in this retreat I won’t feel so empty.

From John Paul and Annie’s own description look at what this retreat encompasses:

The Pray More Retreat is an online retreat to help you spend more time in prayer this Advent to prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

If you sign up for the retreat, you will receive:

+ 20 Video & Audio Presentations with Transcripts, and

+ 20 Reflective Study Guides – one for each talk

We know how busy you are 🙂 That’s why the retreat is self-paced; that means you can watch, listen or read the presentations whenever you have the time to do it.

SELF PACED! And downloadable talks with transcripts meaning not only can I listen when it works for me but I can re-listen as well as listen on the go! But don’t take my word for it – check it out here!

I’ll be sure to let you all know how it’s going and when we finally get our Advent tree up I’ll post a picture of it. This year will be the first time we won’t have Gabriela here to help put it up since we began with the Advent tree back in 2009. (Hopefully I won’t cry. I’ve cried a lot since she left for her formation training in Wisconsin at the Mater Redemptoris House of Formation.)

I’ll leave you with a rather fuzzy photo of our first Advent tree that we created in 2010. We actually bought white lights and patiently coloured the majority of them purple and some pink with permanent markers. We have since found actual purple lights and have steadily grown our collection of purple and pink bulbs and decorations.


Our first Advent tree!



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