Beginning to look a lot like Advent . . . kids are getting the hang of the holiday decorating program now, and were the prime motivators Sunday afternoon.  SuperHusband pulled the pretend Christmas tree down from the attic (total retrieval and setup time: 10 minutes), while children strewed assorted purple decorative items about the house.  Mr. Boy is now on board with the “don’t decorate the tree yet, it’s only advent” program, woohoo, indoctrination campaign sucess.

Been wanting to post a photo of our Advent ‘wreath’ for a few years now.  SuperHusband has been playing around with the camera lately, and he willingly agreed to my request for a little moodily-lit tackiness.  For your viewing pleasure:

And while we’re at it, my birthday present is now in bloom!  Again, courtesy of the SuperHusband, our very own Venus Fly Trap blossoms:


I had no idea we’d get such pretty flowers.  The rest of the plant, of course, is still just as horrid-looking as you have learned to expect.  Little green jaws of death reaching skyward, waiting for a third-grade ally* to deliver its prey . . . looks, er, lovely, there on the windowsill over the kitchen sink, right next to my little pots of struggling basil cuttings and a miniature orthodox icon of Jesus healing the sick.

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In other catholic notes . . .

Been on a writing jag lately.  It started back when I said I was going to clean out the house, and therefore cut back my internet time.  (Ahem, no comments on my recent continued breaking of those rules. I know, I know.) Combine a newly-idle brain with legendary procrastinating powers, and, hey, look, I didn’t say I couldn’t use the computer for my own personal writing . . . incorrigible.  Hence the sudden slowdown in reading, and this after the friendly catholic company guy changed my book-reviewing pace to every 30 days from every 45.

Anyhow, here is what I realized in the process: when you are writing fiction, it is hard to think about God.  Because during all those lovely contemplative moments doing dishes or changing diapers, the brain is in the story, composing the next scene, thinking about the characters, playing with the dialog, building the world.  It was a rather disconcerting realization.

I of course am good at justifying my every misturn, and so I think of explanations for why this might be okay.  I tell myself that if when I am praying the rosary I accidentally find myself praying for my fictional characters, well of course I know I need to move my mind back to reality, but all the same it does suggest my writing is picking up an appropriate amount of catholicness.  I don’t know.  Haven’t been working on anything that will publishable any time soon, so will have to wait for feedback on how off-base I am.

Meanwhile, here’s what St. John of the Cross has to say about people like me:

Thus, under the influence of sloth they neglect the way of perfection — which is the denial of their will and pleasure for God–for the gratification of their own will, which they serve rather than the will of God.

Many of these will have it that God should will that which they will, and are afflicted when they must will that which He wills, reluctantly submitting their own to the divine will.  The result is that they frequently imagine that what is not according to their will is also not according to the will of God; and, on the other hand, when they are pleased, they believe that God is pleased.  They measure Him by themselves, and not themselves by Him . . .

From The Dark Night of the Soul.  A proper review coming sometime in the future. Happy Advent.

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*I am pleased to report that my kitchen has few enough insects that, yes, we must hand-feed our flytrap.

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