Preparing for Advent

Advent Calendar Printable

I often feel anxious. Some days it’s because I feel stressed about work or money. Some days I wonder if I’m doing enough, while other days maybe too much. Some days I’ve just had an extra cup of coffee. Some days I can’t quite put my finger on a reason at all, but I can’t ignore a nagging restlessness that keeps my mind and heart from being still.

Advent is coming. What a wonderful reminder, these weeks leading up to Christmas, that our lives are not about us. We do not hope in ourselves, we hope in a God who makes all things new, a God for whom all things are possible. So we join in the anticipation of the Israelites, of Mary, of Simeon, who knew something incredible was going to happen that would change everything. Advent is more than a countdown to Christmas. It is a time when peace and hope and joy can break through our anxiety. God sent his Son to save his people, and he has promised he will do the same for us.

That anxiety I feel so often, maybe it actually is more than a caffeine overdose. Maybe at its root, it is a physical longing for the peace and deliverance that God promises us through Jesus. A peace that for now feels just out of reach while it is clouded by earthly circumstances and sin in this life.

While we look forward to Jesus’s birth during Advent, we have permission to stop dwelling on ourselves, our stress, our sin and imperfections. Instead we can focus on the Giver of all good things who promises perfect joy and redemption for those who will take it, and with the wonder of a child look forward to His coming.

Advent is a deep breath.

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Make Your Own Advent Calendar

Of course no post is complete without a DIY, so I’ve come up with an easy one for you. Print this, cut out the cards, and string/tape them up above the fireplace, on the fridge, down the hallway, wherever you’ll see them. Advent begins on December 1 this year. We’re planning to draw a picture (Alex) or write a phrase (me) from that day’s Scripture reading on the back of each card.

Advent Calendar Printable

I hope this project helps you and your family enjoy a meaningful Advent season.

Advent Calendar Printable

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Sweet Skills

Recently I discovered a great website called Skillshare. As the name suggests, it’s a place where someone with a sweet skill can sign up to share it with other people. And most of the classes only cost around $20, so it’s a steal!

Of course the class that caught my eye was one on modern calligraphy. I’ve ALWAYS loved hand-written letters. I remember asking for a calligraphy set when I was in elementary school, and adding all kinds of cheesey block letters to my middle school scrapbooks. But I’ve never really worked at learning the art for real. So now is the time!

Modern Calligraphy Practice | handmaden.com

The instructor starts by having you fill several pages with the basic shapes that you’ll use in letters. It was so helpful to have someone tell me to start this way because this is what I would skip if I were trying to teach myself. It helped me get a feel for the pen and how the ink flows, and to work at keeping consistency in the line weights and spacing.

Modern calligraphy practice | handmaden.com

But then you get to move on to letters! The instructor gives you a sheet of letters to trace and learn the movements. It’s really helpful to practice the alphabet that way, and it’s quite a confidence boost to pull out the guide and see those beauties on your page.

Modern Calligraphy practice, mistakes and all

I’ve only learned lowercase letters so far but decided to practice by copying Sunday’s reading. Was going pretty well until God started sawing everyone… oops.

I’m having a blast learning! Usually I’m all about starting and finishing a project in a day or two. But it’s really great to have something to pick up and practice here and there throughout the week.

Want to join me? Sign up for Skillshare using this link and get $10 off your first class! http://skl.sh/178Zu3Y

This one is called The Art of Modern Calligraphy, but there are lots of classes that look like fun if lettering isn’t your thing.