Monday, November 30

Preparation for the Coming of the Lord

Beginning tomorrow, I'll be re-posting my Jesse Tree posts from last year. Each day will include the readings for the Jesse Tree and a picture of the ornament that the girls made for that reading. This activity is a great way to really help your family focus on what we're supposed to be doing for Advent. Not shopping, not rushing about, but looking forward to the coming of Christ. And not His coming as a Baby, which has happened in the past, but His coming in glory at the end of time.

If you look at the readings, even just for Sundays, during Advent, you'll notice a definite "end of time" feel to them. Be watchful! Don't let the Master find you sleeping! Don't rest, thinking your faith is all you need! Don't be a goat - be a sheep!! One might glance at these and think, "This is how they get ready for Baby Jesus?"

But we aren't getting ready for Baby Jesus. We are to be getting ready for Christ the King, the Son of Man who comes in glory and with power. We are to be getting ready for our judgement!

Last year, when I was working for Apple, it was really, really difficult for me to get into Advent with the proper spirit: one of penance and doing without and paring down. On one hand, I was purging the house of unnecessary items and donating up a storm! We were reading our Jesse Tree readings each night and trying to focus on Christ. On the other hand, I was on the phone 20-30 hours a week (or more!), trying to sell lots of stuff to people. (Who buys their five year old a MacBook, anyway??) It was ... fractured. I felt like I was being pulled in two opposite directions.

But this year, I'm finding myself much more calm, much more in the spirit of Advent, and ready to embrace the purple of the season.

We've turned on our lights already (Travel Man worked hard to put them up and get them all to work for me!), and the tree is up, but it is bare. It will be so until Gaudette Sunday - with the exception of the Jesse Tree ornaments, which go up one at a time.

But I do hope you enjoy the postings on the Jesse Tree. If you don't have elaborate ornaments, it's okay. You can get the same effect by using paper ornaments and taping them up on a paper tree on the wall, if you'd like. There's another version here. You can even use the one on this page, which is online. :)

Have a blessed Advent!

Sunday, November 29

Advent Wreath HTML Code

In case you did stop by and are wondering about that wreath on the sidebar, you can get the code for it (as well as the countdown below it) at the link below. It automatically changes each week to reflect the correct number of candles lit for that week of Advent.

Blessed Advent - The Curt Jester

What Do You Do for Advent?

Looking for some great Advent projects for your family?

Check out Domestic-Church.Com! They've got a plethora of faith-building activities for all liturgical seasons!

New Header

I just adjusted my header today for Advent and Christmas. If you're reading in Google or Bloglines, come on by and check it out!

Repost: Jesse Tree Introduction

This is a repost from 2008, as will be the readings for the Jesse Tree. We're using our Christmas tree again, and it's all set up and ready to go now! Two more days, and I'll begin the readings daily. I hope you enjoy them!


I mentioned before that we'd made ornaments for the Jesse Tree. This year, we decided to use our Christmas tree as the Jesse Tree and create dough ornaments that will last for years to come. The results of the ornaments are beautiful! I've taken a picture of each one and will post it with our readings and theme for each day's readings and ornament.

The Jesse Tree's history can be read here and here. In short, it's a way to look back through our salvation history and see the anticipation of the Savior that was held throughout history, just as we anticipate the coming of our Savior, Christ Jesus, at the end of time. One day, He will come, and all the world will be judged. As today's Gospel warns us, let us not be caught sleeping when the Master returns!

(Note for 2009: The reading of being caught sleeping is not in this year's cycle, but all the readings caution us to not be comfortable in our faith. We should always be striving to improve. Our work as Christians, our faith journey, is not finished until Christ comes in glory. We cannot simply declare our belief and fool ourselves into thinking that our work is finished! For more commentary on today's Gospel, go here.)



I got a new app that's fun to play with. Does it work here?

Friday, November 13

Shop the Soccer Mom!

Ever notice that I've got two CafePress links on my sidebar?


If you're interested in stuff like that, click on through. The other link has some pro life stuff I made a while ago, including a snarky bumper sticker that was inspired by those bumper stickers that say "When Jesus said to love your neighbor, He probably didn't mean to bomb them!"

Anyway, if you go there, I'll make a few pennies, which can go towards what is certain to be a compressor for my A/C in the Jeep in the Spring.

Or, towards peppermint syrup for my coffee. Whichever is more important.

Just sayin'.

Seven Quickies: Before Vacation Edition

Thanks, as always, to our lovely hostess Jen.


I'm always late with these, but next week I won't be here at all. My mother had her second knee replacement surgery on Wednesday afternoon, and my family is going to Florida for a week to help her recover. I was going to go myself, but we'll be away over Thanksgiving, and Travel Man (Knight in Shining Armor that he is) has arranged to go with us, even though he's out of vacation. His boss is a dear for helping us, even when it came across like this:

"Hey, I just used the last of my vacation days, but my mother-in-law is having knee surgery. I need to go with my wife and kids to Florida for Thanksgiving."

(Sure ... a likely story ...)


I looked at the weather for Florida for next weekend. I've been very happy to have gotten all the laundry finished last week, and I'm ready to proceed with the Great Clothes Exchange that goes on every Spring and Fall. Bye-bye, shorts! Hello, comfy, warm sweaters! Bye-bye, T-shirts! Hello, henleys and turtlenecks.

Let me show you what Orlando is going to be like over the next ten days.

I am completely bummed out. I don't WANT to bring shorts or T-shirts. I want to dress like it's Fall. I want to *feel like* Advent is nearly here, not that it's the Fourth of July!!

I love living in Virginia. Here, it's blustery and chilly and I got to take out my suede coat for the winter.


Last year for Christmas, I got to buy a new camera. Our old one was pooping out on us (and, indeed, it has died a quiet death since then), and I was tired of Sear's "good price" on a single sheet of photos (one 8x10 or two 5x7s) being $7.99. I was sick of paying close to $100 for pictures every time I got portraits done of the girls. So we saved and bought a pretty nice Canon with lots of features that I love. I'm still discovering stuff about the camera a year later, which is partly due to my motto on users' manuals:

Users manuals are for people who can't figure it out alone!
I am too smart for them!

This is in direct contradiction to what my father told me. I used to have to read the directions cover-to-cover before I was allowed to use stuff. This made me frustrated on Christmas morning, when I knew from watching my friends that to make your Walkman work you stuck a cassette tape (which was fresh out of the Christmas stocking) into the Walkman and pressed play.

My father, on the other hand, would just ignore all but the basic "quick start" of a manual and go to town. He's a smart guy. I'm a smart woman. I am following his lead now. But I make my girls read at least the basic directions for anything more complicated than a Walkman, which I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be able to figure out to save themselves, though they are whiz kids with my iPod Touch.


That one got hijacked, didn't it? Back to my camera. It's paid off in spades. Check out the girls' school portraits, which have minimal (read: iPhoto) edits to them.

I printed them off at Sam's Club for under $26 after tax. I'm going back to get these done, because they didn't upload properly onto my SD card. I expect to pay under $15 for what I'm getting, though one is going to be an 11x13, so it might be close to $20 again.

I did get 4x6s of that last one, just for fun. ;)

I'm already dreaming of Photoshop and better cameras, including a REALLY nice digital camcorder that goes straight to a hard drive and records in HD. I don't have an HDTV, mind you, just want to be ready for it.

(Updated already: The new prints, including an 11x14, were under $10. SWEET!!)


I'm proud that we've finished off the first quarter of school. We've got a couple of art projects and some music, but for the most part, I'm ready to do grades and plan the second quarter.

Little Girl has been happy to be doing lots of science experiments. Here she is making an electromagnet.

I might have to put together a video of her doing her static electricity experiments, which were mostly a bust. (I think the air wasn't dry enough, especially since the remnents of Ida, which was a good ol' Nor'Easter, was raining on us and causing flooding in our town.) Her reactions to the balloon NOT sticking to the wall were hysterical!


Fall colors are drawing to a close here, but there is still some beautiful scenery. For example, here are a couple of pictures I took this morning.


I saw these via The Corner, and figured it was as good as anything to end on this week. It's Bon Jovi demotivational posters with anime.

Go here for the rest.

Have a super weekend!!

Wednesday, November 11

Odd Conversations

Little Girl: if we got trapped in Zaxby's this booth would make a great bed. 

Travel Man : What about a shower? Would it make a good shower?

Little Girl: it would make a GREAT shower ... for people who hate showers. 

Monday, November 9

Straggling Comments

It's funny how a post this old still gets occasional comments.

And, for the record, Rivers seems to have never acted this way again (at least not that I've seen).

I do like the guy, too. But I doubt that this post will generate comments - certainly not three seasons out.


I'm trying out a new app. Just checking out how it looks when posting.

Wednesday, November 4

Today's Post is Brought to You by the Number 40

Joel tells us all that it's Sesame Street's birthday today! Sesame Street is just a little less than 6 months older than I am. :)

He posted one of his favorite Sesame Street songs, and this was always one of mine.

And here's another of my favorites:

(I guess I loved the days sponsored by the number 12!)

But who can resist Bert and Ernie?


And who doesn't love Super Grover? (Well, maybe this boy, who sees that it's Super Grover and says, "Oh, rats.")

But one of my favorite songs of all time from Sesame Street is this one. I just could so identify with Kermit's desire to be more like others, but having to come to terms with who God made him to be. Even as a little kid, this song totally struck a chord with me. (If you'll pardon my pun.)

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Play

Since I put up the Halloween pics last week, I thought I'd go ahead and share another picture of Little Girl I took. I did a very small edit on it - I added a blurred edge with iPhoto. The rest is the natural image. I love how the colors turned out!

Tuesday, November 3

What's Wrong with This Picture?

I needed four cans of kidney beans to make a double-portion of Brown Sugar Chili last night. I opened the four cans and this is what I found.

Monday, November 2

All Souls' Day

Today I will pray for my family members who have gone to their eternal reward.

I will pray for my friends' family members, as well. And for their healing, as well, especially for those of them who have lost children.

I will pray for the holy souls of Purgatory today.

I will even pray for the souls of those who are the hardest to pray for, like George Tiller or Ted Kennedy. Not because I'm so holy, but because I know I'm not. Because it's a struggle to pray for people like them. Because doing so helps me become more holy, more like Him, Who calls me to Himself.

I will pray for those who will die this day.

I will pray that those who will die today to have the benefits of the Sacraments.

Who are your heros?


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