Thursday, December 8, 2011

More on Wreaths and Calendars, Advent and Otherwise

I have calendars on the brain.  Yesterday at my creativity blog, I wrote this post about writing/organizing a book by the calendar year, which led me to remember a retreat exercise, which led to this post on how we did it and what it means.  We were given a blank calendar page and 3 markers.  We had 10 minutes to fill in the calendar however we wanted.  Here's what I did:

You'll notice a mix of sacred and secular motifs.  There are the Halloween images in the bottom left.  There's the blue cup flowing over.  We had been studying the miracles of Jesus, so you'll see multiplying loaves and fishes (the fishes are those yellow blobs).

I've also been thinking of Advent calendars and Advent wreathes.  The candles around my Advent wreath are still unlit.  Sigh.

Of course, lighting candles can lead to interesting developments, as this post on Pastor Joelle's blog reminds us.

Maybe I need a simpler Advent practice, like this Scandinavian Advent calendar that has been in my parent's house since their Air Force Days in Europe in the mid 1960's:

Ah the beauty of paper cut-out hearts!

My sister has a more complicated Advent calendar:

This lighthouse has 25 drawers, into which all kinds of treats could be deposited for children to discover each day. 

All this writing of calendars reminds me that I have yet to buy my favorite calendar, the Simple Lifestyle calendar that the Appalachian Science in the Public Interest group puts out.  Each day of the calendar gives a suggestion for living a simple, joyful life.  And the photography always interests me, even when it's not always something I'd want on my wall forever.  I've been ordering this calendar since my college days.  That's getting to be a long time now.

Simple living--many of us will spend a small fortune on any number of devices that promise to help us simplify our lives and get our schedules under control.  It's a good time of the year to think about our approaches to that issue:  what's worked in terms of living balanced lives that have time for all we want to do and what hasn't?  How can we make more time for ourselves, our friends and family, and for God in the new year?

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