Hoo-ray! It’s November 1…aka The Official Start of the Holiday Season! (Disclaimer: My Man wants to state categorically that it is NOT the Holiday Season until the day after Thanksgiving.) 
*confession…I’ve been listening to Christmas music since September a week or two into October*
Whatever. He is also The Man who believed that a Christmas tree should not be put up until the week of Christmas. Well that is fine and dandy if your family puts up a fake Christmas tree. However, when you want to put up a live Christmas tree and you wait until the week of Christmas or, God forbid, Christmas Eve, besides being Just Wrong, try to find a nice springy needle, live Christmas tree so close to Christmas Day.

Ain’t happening.

I’m really not sure which year of our marriage I finally convinced him to do this, but now our tradition is to head out around 8:00 Black Friday morning, hit The Starbucks for some sweet nectar of life and road trip it out to Amissville/Viewtown, Virginia to our Christmas Tree farm. We tromp through the fields looking at trees, drive the truck down to as close as we can get to the Hazel River and then make our way back up to the shed where a gorgeous Frasier Fir has been cut from the Tree farm’s Blacksburg property just two days before and the Momma picks out her favorite to haul home. Yes, we take our saws. Yes, we still pretend we are going to actually find The Tree out in the fields, but in reality we all know that the Momma likes her Frasier Firs and anything else isn’t going to cut it. We used to hit a sweet little diner in Warrenton on the way home from the tree farm until a childwhoshallremainnameless flung a glass ashtray across the diner and we have since been too embarrassed to return. *she Said child was only a toddler then, but still…*

Christmas is really what I’m about. My official #1 love language is gifts. I love to give them as much as I love to get them. Well, almost as much. Now that I’m a grown-up, I think of the Christmas season more and more as “Advent.” I grew up in the Episcopal church and the term Advent is very familiar. Then I married a Baptist man and “Advent” wasn’t a word used around Christmas in our church until our most recent Pastor. He recently retired, but he brought to our decidedly Baptist church a light touch of Anglican liturgy, including the use of the word Advent to describe the season and not just the special candles we pull out each December. I have collected a few Advent books over the years and this year picked up a new one to try out. Normally, I would just use one of them throughout the entire Advent season, but this year I think I’m going to randomly pull from each of them every morning for my devotional/quiet time. Here they are stacked on my dining room buffet:

My favorite is, and I think always will be, Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wangerin, Jr. I read it every year since bff, Joanne Heim, recommended it to me in 2008 (I know this because I wrote the date inside the book.)  I love Preparing for Jesus not only for it’s content, but also because I absolutely adore Joanne. As I go through this devotional, she is on my heart and in my prayers. I encourage you to go “meet” my Joanne at The Simple Wife. I’ve linked you to the day Joanne had a major stroke. However, that is not when I first met Jo. But I linked you there so that you could know what she and her family have been through. I encourage you to then read posts prior to her stroke and since her stroke. You will, I promise, fall in love with her too. She really was instrumental in establishing my love for Advent and pushed encouraged me to purchase Advent devotionals.

I also wanted to share a couple pictures with you that I took this morning. We came through Frankenstorm (aka Hurricane Sandy) completely unscathed. Our power remained on; we had no flooding; we were warm and toasty and continue to be so. I am so thankful for this and so heart-broken for those who lost everything. I have no explanation as to why that happens. I don’t understand it. I am thankful and prayerful because of it, however. 

I tried (pretty unsuccessfully) to capture the back light from the sun. It completely captivated me this morning. It was a reminder to me that His mercies are new every morning, just as the sun continues to rise each day.

Love you guys and chat soon (like…tomorrow for Day 2 of NaBloPoMo.)

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