Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

I'm Not Ready

I'm not ready for Christmas. My heart's not ready to rejoice in the birth of Jesus. This has been a tough year for me; this will be the first Christmas without either of my parents. Somehow I knew that last Christmas would be the last one with my father, but when you actually live through it, it hits hard. On top of that, my oldest son is clear across the country. This won't be the first Christmas he hasn't been home, but he's always been closer to home.
I'm trying; I really am. Here are some things I'm doing to attempt to get my heart ready:
I've attempted to get back into the routine of reading the daily mass readings and reflecting, as well as getting back into the habit of daily prayer. That meant updating my prayer list a bit, but that in itself was a bit of a prayer. I don't seem to be getting much out of the reflections, but I know I have to keep trying and eventually, I will.
I've kept up with Dynamic Catholic's Best Advent Ever. This year, I received a book in the mail. Every day, there is a chapter to read that goes along with the daily reflection. The book, Beautiful Hope, is speaking to me loudly right now. So maybe I'm not supposed to be getting much out of the readings right now.
If you aren't familiar with Dynamic Catholic or Best Advent Ever, check it out. During Lent, there will also be a Best Lent Ever.
I had to get a box off to my son, so I made some of my traditional candy for him. I spent a day making 3 different kinds of candy. This is severely scaled-down for me. When the boys were little, I would spend a whole day making candy and another whole day baking cookies & other goodies. I looked at a cookie recipe and thought about it, but then decided against it.
I baked. It was without Christmas music, though. I usually have the music blaring as I'm working in the kitchen. This year, though, it was quiet. I think I needed that quietness of an empty house with no extraneous noise.
I went to confession. In the past, my parish has had a penance service; however, this is the second year that the priests have been available the 2 Wednesday evenings leading up to Christmas Day. I think I like this better.
I decorated the house, even though I wasn't really "into" it. I hoped it would get me more into the "spirit". It has helped some, but this Advent definitely has a different feel to it.
I participated in the Catholic Sistas Advent Photo Challenge...up until 2 days ago, anyway! I have to catch up! If you don't know what that is: Check out their website. They usually do a photo challenge during Advent and again during Lent. A word is provided every day, and you interpret that word however you want. Take a picture and post it on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter.  Use the hashtag provided. It's quite fun to search the hashtag & see how everyone else interpreted the word for the day.

Yes, this year is completely different than past years. For the past 3 years (following the passing of my mother) I picked up my father and took him to Midnight Mass. Sitting next to my daddy at Mass last year, somehow I knew that would be the last one. He's celebrating in Heaven with my mother by his side, and that makes me happier than you could ever know. It's a "new kind of normal", and it's going to take some getting used to.
What do you do to get your heart ready for Christmas?

This post was written with the intent of participating in 7 Quick Takes hosted by the amazing Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum; however, it would appear that Kelly is taking December off, so I'm doing this one solo!


  1. Mary, I haven't seen you here in awhile and it seems I missed the news of your dad's passing. I'm so very sorry! It does make the holiday lights a little more dim. I will add you to my daily prayers and will wish you a happy Christmas (in keeping with the reason for the season) and a new year full of healing blessings.

    1. Thank you so much, Terri! It means a lot. I'm definitely looking forward to 2018! :)

  2. I hope you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas! I can see how this one would be very different for you and have a lot of both joy and sorrow. It sounds like you did some great, thoughtful things in preparation.


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