Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's the .:Most:. Wonderful Time of the Year! 10 of Our Traditions for Advent and Christmas~ Wreaths, Trees, Recipes, Crafts, Stories, Santa, Science & Savoring w/LINKY



Despite the ads and commercials telling us that the Christmas season is here
we actually have this wonderful, preparatory, redemptive span of time
that tends to get "lost" amid the hustle of December....: advent.

So as we began to decorate the house and strategize the calendar
for December, I decided  to gather ideas in a roundup of sorts of  our family's 
advent-ish and Christmas-y  traditions.
This advent's schedule looks a bit different than it did in  previous years.
As the kids get older and their outside commitments and extra curriculars,
 even within the parish community,
  cast a wider net  and fill more boxes than I'd like on the calendar
I find I have to guard our
family's most precious commodity....time...even more than ever.
Numerous invitations and opportunities will have to be declined
 this month in order to do so......
in order to  widen the margins and crate more white space...
in order  to pray over the advent wreath and read our
Jesse Tree verses. 
Just a few minutes of prayer per night, as a family.
That's all I can hope for and write in on our calendar.
Here's my collection of rituals and reflections
....I can assure you, friends,
especially given my less-is-more rant, above,
that these activities are simple and require little to no prep.
Maybe an idea or two will speak to you
 to adapt into your'own domestic church!
I'd love to get an advent idea exchange going! 
You're welcome to share in the combox a ritual or anything, really
that your family loves!!
Here goes~~~










and the post which stirred a great deal of controversy and deleted comments.....
Hard to believe


























This post is an anchor/host of the
 Catholic Bloggers' Network advent 2013  linky...
TONS of awesome posts are linked!





For a concise and awesome
summary of this beautiful liturgical season within our Church,
I'm going to send you over to my friend, Tracy's, blog.
And of course, while you're there, 
peruse some of Tracy's beautiful family traditions as well.
Pin away and then come back for more, okay?
You.Will. Love. Tracy's. Advent. Collection.

 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!
And hey:

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....



This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon this Christmas season,
would you consider clicking through my link


In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
a few pennies per dollar.
If YOU are an amazon affiliate, please send me
your link and I will do the same!
THANK YOU!


Until next time,

~Chris


It's the .:Most:. Wonderful Time of the Year! 10 of Our Traditions for Advent and Christmas~ Wreaths, Trees, Recipes, Crafts, Stories, Santa, Science & Savoring w/LINKY



Despite the ads and commercials telling us that the Christmas season is here
we actually have this wonderful, preparatory, redemptive span of time
that tends to get "lost" amid the hustle of December....: advent.

So as we began to decorate the house and strategize the calendar
for December, I decided  to gather ideas in a roundup of sorts of  our family's 
advent-ish and Christmas-y  traditions.
This advent's schedule looks a bit different than it did in  previous years.
As the kids get older and their outside commitments and extra curriculars,
 even within the parish community,
  cast a wider net  and fill more boxes than I'd like on the calendar
I find I have to guard our
family's most precious commodity....time...even more than ever.
Numerous invitations and opportunities will have to be declined
 this month in order to do so......
in order to  widen the margins and crate more white space...
in order  to pray over the advent wreath and read our
Jesse Tree verses. 
Just a few minutes of prayer per night, as a family.
That's all I can hope for and write in on our calendar.
Here's my collection of rituals and reflections
....I can assure you, friends,
especially given my less-is-more rant, above,
that these activities are simple and require little to no prep.
Maybe an idea or two will speak to you
 to adapt into your'own domestic church!
I'd love to get an advent idea exchange going! 
You're welcome to share in the combox a ritual or anything, really
that your family loves!!
Here goes~~~










and the post which stirred a great deal of controversy and deleted comments.....
Hard to believe


























This post is an anchor/host of the
 Catholic Bloggers' Network advent 2013  linky...
TONS of awesome posts are linked!





For a concise and awesome
summary of this beautiful liturgical season within our Church,
I'm going to send you over to my friend, Tracy's, blog.
And of course, while you're there, 
peruse some of Tracy's beautiful family traditions as well.
Pin away and then come back for more, okay?
You.Will. Love. Tracy's. Advent. Collection.

 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!
And hey:

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....



This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon this Christmas season,
would you consider clicking through my link


In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
a few pennies per dollar.
If YOU are an amazon affiliate, please send me
your link and I will do the same!
THANK YOU!


Until next time,

~Chris


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Grace of Yes:Eight Virtues for Generous Living ~ How Do We Say YES to God? #GraceofYesDay


If anyone had told me, even a handful of years ago......
that friendship can happens in the middle of the night,
or on a computer monitor 
or  that I'd consider  a true friend someone I'd
 never even "met" in person,
I don't know that I'd have believed it.
Well, as you know, it is true, this thing called friendship
 and its transcendence through the virtual world, 
across time zones and sustaining us year after year.
 I'm honored to call many friend who 
who  encourages and prays for me,
helps me through disappointments,
 cheerleads my kids through small victories 
from across the state or the other side of the continent


Well, for me, one of these very dear angels
 is also friend to so very many others.
The inspiring yet grounded and practical Lisa Hendey,
 who's without a doubt, touched and changed lives.
Lisa, who's known by so many around the globe
by her special quality of gospel interpretation at her
 warm and welcoming site, Catholic Mom.com,
who's penned the popular 
  Handbook for Catholic Moms
and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms
 and who now offers a  brand new "guide" if you will,
to Eight Virtues for Generous Living  in her new title,
.The Grace of Yes


It's clear that I'd be a bit biased upon cracking open my
copy of Lisa's new title........
Of course I'm excited about my friend's
latest success and of course I share her enthusiasm for 
the New Evangelization.
But, wow, this book, friends.
I can guarantee yours will  be read, reread, dog eared and pondered.
Mine already is. 
It's a gold mine....
Once I delved  into The Grace of Yes, 
I was captured by the practical wisdom, personal anecdotes
and re-living of the Gospel messages  that Lisa weaves through her virtues.


Here are Lisa's own experiences which spoke to me,
called out to me and caused me to really live
 in the virtues she outlines in The Grace of Yes:
Chapter 1. The Grace of Belief
"Journeying toward a common spiritual goal with my spouse
 has also taught me to judge neither our family's domestic church nor my own holiness by anyone's measure."

Chapter 2: The Grace of Generativity
"Learning to give of myself generously in love is a skill that is as old as it is new."
and I looooove this:
"Today, my yes as a Mom means avoiding the urge to cyber-stalk, 
to make their decisions for them or to wish them back into the nest."

Chapter 3: The Grace of Creativity
"The smartest thing that I do work-wise every day is  include among
 my morning prayers  a plea to accurately hear  and respond 
to God's agenda for my work."


Chapter 4: The Grace of Integrity:
"On my best days, my avatar represents some of the aspects of my life
as I wish they were more consistently."

Chapter 5: The Grace of Humility
"Humility, like fame, rarely grows to full bloom overnight."

Chapter 6: The Grace of Vulnerability
"I'm also reminded to look  to mentors of my own and to 
increasingly hear and value their perspective."

Chapter 7: The Grace of No
"..the more I live in a yes mindset, the more I realize the mandatory
presence of a few well-timed no responses along the way."

Chapter 8: The Grace of Rebirth
"As weak as I am, God who is mighty and all-powerful has 
begun a  good work in me."



Lisa closes each chapter with a set of questions "To Ponder"
as well as a prayer relative to building and growing that specific virtue.
If there is anyone who exemplifies generous living to me,
  as her subtitle suggests, it is my friend Lisa.
It's been a privilege  for me to be introduced to The Grace of Yes
and to share it here with you and an honor to be have Lisa in my life,
to call her friend.
Here's how you can stay connected with
 Lisa's Catholic Mom.com  and The Grace of Yes on social media:


Would you like details on #GraceofYesDay??
and how we can all promote Ave Maria's campaign
on our own social media platforms and throughout the blogosphere!


Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

I'd love it if we could be in touch regularly.........
so please subscribe to Campfires and Cleats~!

Enter your email address:



You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,

~Chris

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Walkin' in Memphis ~ Touring Graceland and a Reflection on All Things Elvis.......

This.
This guy.

Are you lonesome tonight?
 Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a bright sunny day?
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?


Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

<<sigh>>
One of a kind.


How do you remember him?
Young, carefree, riotous,
 emblematic of  1950s rock?


Or 1970s Vegas icon?
THANKYOUTHANKYOUVERYMUCH

My memories are an ethereal combination of both.....
the young, carefree, genteel Southern boy,
and wow, what an accent,
 more-surprised-than-his-fans
to be taking the nation by storm 
AND
the confident-in-front-of-a-hundred-thousand-screaming-fans
on a Vegas stage
rocking sideburns and a sequined polyester jumpsuit .
With tails. 
Would you call them tails?
Whatever...no one else could pull that off.
No. One.

One hot, sticky August night when I was 12,
we got the news...and I mean all of us kids on the block....
we all  heard.
Out playing in our Queens street...ringalevio, hide n seek,
running bases....I'm not sure by now what...but I do know for sure
we were captive to
the freedom, the heat, the laughs, the knowing that it would all
 end in a few weeks' time and 
we'd soon be sitting in row upon row
 in Sr Mary Alice's classroom.
Seventh grade? Eighth? 
It's hazy now.
Someone, somewhere, a parent, an older sibling heard, read, saw.
 News was received in those days at a snail's pace....
you remember, right?
Delivered by Walter Cronkite or every few minutes on the AM channels
and that was it. Not at lightning speed and from across the 
globe within seconds as it is now. 
So there it was. 
We came to a screeching halt.
Not  our game.
But a small part of each of us.
Because if you weren't an Elvis fan on August 16, 1977,
you fast became one. 
That's how it was.
That date became The Line between Then and Now.

Seen on Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis

Legions of kids and adults everywhere seemed to recognize the
importance, like his music or not, of The King's presence........
 here one day and not, the next.
And at the tragic young age of only 42.

Fast forward a decade and "sightings" abound.
Now, four decades after his passing, given time and distance,
 we see with clarity not only Elvis's stamp on our culture
but his legacy of generosity.

So how about you??
Are you a fan??
Frankly, I don't see how anyone can not be......
but this, from someone who grew up with a pink Elvis clock,
swingin' hips and all in her room and 
knew all the lyrics to all the songs by the time
I entered kindergarten.
Yeah.
Well, this is our third time walkin' in Memphis,
first with our boys.

Let me take you along on our tour of the inimitable...Graceland......




What an address...............:

Here it is~
The one and only Graceland:
THOSE  ICONIC GATES!
The boys were more excited about  them,
than  the Canyon, I think!

My little man, guitar  and music freak that he is, ( ! ) 
may or may not be gettin' a whole bunch of
Elvis paraphernalia come a certain birthday in December!

Here they are, 
up close and eager to head in  and stand amid The King's digs.

We took the audio tour, which
describes each room, almost each item, in scrupulous detail.
My family and I were, in fact, furnished with complimentary tickets to tour
Graceland as well as Elvis's airplane and his car collection 
in exchange for me bloggin' 'bout it.
Me? Small time blogging girl?
Yeah, they laughed, those sweethearts at Graceland.
Of course, you......we love Mommy bloggers, they said.
As if Elvis needs PR.
And from the likes of me.
But....they said...they aim to keep his legacy alive
across all cultures, all faiths, all generations.
And so...lucky us!
So, journey with us, won't you?
Let's start here in the formal living room:



Formal dining room

The "television room" in the basement!


I think the "jungle room" might be our favorite!


The gold album/costume building adjacent to Elvis's home:




Impressive.
We were awed.
These are just a sampling of his gold and platinum albums
and his Vegas costumes.
The rest are in another building.

~The Gardens of Graceland~

The backyard and the back of the main house:
 Pool area:
See the crowds toward the back of the picture?



That's Elvis's grave and graves of several people special in his life.....:


Despite the crowd, you could hear a pin drop here.


~Elvis's Car Collection~
Each of Elvis's cars has a "story" attached.


Whether it's taking it to visit friends for a holiday or birthday
or gifting it to a loved one, Elvis was sentimental about his possessions.
here are a few~

Elvis gave this  special pink car to his mother one Christmas:




I took these pictures:


outside the car museum specifically
for my friend Sue who has the coolest last name ever.
Hi Sue!

~The Lisa Marie~ 
On April 17, 1975 Elvis bought a Convair 880 Jet, 
recently taken out of service by Delta Airlines, 
for the then-substantial sum of $250,000.
He immediately rechristened it the Lisa Marie. - 
And here's the legendary jet~




~Elvis's  Legacy of Charity and Humility ~

Most people are in the dark when it comes to Elvis's extraordinary generosity.
Here's one small peek:

In addition, Elvis was a huge supporter of the March of Dimes

 In 1956, before appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show that evening, Elvis was not only inoculated with the new Salk polio vaccine, 
he also recorded a public service announcement for the March of Dimes. 

In January 1958, Elvis posed for photographs at Graceland
 with March of Dimes poster girl, eight-year-old Mary Kosloski. ~~
This photo hangs in Graceland:


Below, you can see the awards lining a hallway 
of a building adjacent to Graceland
which were presented to Elvis for his contributions,
benefit concerts and random acts of kindness.
It's said that Elvis could not hear of someone in need 
without writing a check,  and anonymously most of the time!

From St Jude's Children's Hospital,
to flowers gifted to Moms across Vegas hotels on Mother's Days
 of his performing years there,
to various individuals who needed groceries,
to the Marine Corps toy drive for impoverished  kids at Christmas,
to various children's hospitals all ove the country,
Elvis was driven to give.

Elvis and Dnnny Thomas, founder of the St Jude Children's Hospital, in 1961
One act of charity is perhaps the least known, 
and yet most generous of all.
 Elvis contributed much to
preserving our  great nation's history:
He  performed in 1962  at Honolulu’s Bloch Arena 
 for the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 
Over $62,000 was donated by The King
 to the monument upon the completion of this show!!
Photo of show, below, from Graceland wall:

And by the way, while in Hawaii in 1965 on location for
 Elvis and Colonel Parker visited the completed memorial 
to lay a bell-shaped wreath in honor of the servicemen killed aboard the Arizona.

Did YOU know that Elvis Presley donated so  very much
 ( in 1962 dollars!)
to the development of a memorial honoring
our US serviceman aboard the Arizona,
 bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941?
Wow.

Can I tell you how happy I am to share our trip with you??
I'd like to, once again, thank the good people
of Graceland for offering complimentary passes to my family.
So generous.
Seems like an Elvis thing to do, no?
Other posts in my 
 Visions of the Southwest series~~ 
Here they are if you're interested:

 Journeying Through Time, Digging for Fossils at 
UDig Trilobite Quarry in Delta, Utah
( coming soon!)




Riding the Rapids with 
Mountain Waters Rafting



Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Vintage Spring divider
This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris