Thursday, November 22, 2012
Quick Takes: Black Friday/Thankfulness Edition
No one should spend their Thanksgiving day mapping out a strategy for Black Friday.
So for your consideration, I offer as my Quick Takes this week, seven ways you can help others during your quest for a Christmas gift.
1. Veils By Lilly
Ok...Veils By Lilly make some pretty nice veils, but what drew my attention to them in the "Christmas Gifts" department were the Saints Dolls advertised in their newsletter. Three different dolls are listed (St. Nick, St. Therese and St. Kateri) and are made by two sisters helping support their family and a portion will help fund their family's Chrismas.
(I kinda want a St. Therese)
2. Mystic Monk Coffee
If you've never heard of them, Mystic Monk Coffee is operated by the Carmelite Monks of Wyoming. They sell varieties of coffee, tea, accessories and religious gifts (when you order a religious item, such as a medal, you will also receive a brown scapular). I'm a stickler about coffee, having been addicted to it since the age of three, but never until I tried the Midnight Vigils Blend have I ever actually liked drinking coffee black. I loved it so much, one year I bought coffee as gifts for two priests and my mother.
Ordering was easy, and they were very nice (even sent a gift card the one time my order went out late...and it wasn't even that late! They're just that nice!) Plus, I know that every order helps them to get one step closer to building their monastery in Wyoming.
3. Seignadou Soaps
I love the Dominican Sisters of Summit, NJ for a number of reasons. Aside from an amazing library, the Sisters support themselves through the sale of their soaps. Now, they do sell more than just soaps, (I have a couple of books I've picked up through them) but I can go on and on about their soaps and hand cream. Most soaps I find in the stores irritate my skin, but these soaps feel and smell heavenly! And the oatmeal hand cream.... I can't even think of a word to accurately portray how amazing it smells.
Right now, they have their Christmas scents for sale, but if you are someone who works with your hands (I am, though I work in a classroom), I recommend ordering a hand cream or a gift set such as the Gardener's Basket.
4. Kendall's Holiday Fudge
What could be more Christmas-y than fudge?! Ok, a lot of things... like church during Advent or certain holiday movies...but fudge is up there on that list! But this isn't just the same fudge Grandma makes (which, not dissing the fudge...because I love Grandma's fudge)... they have varieties I never thought of. They have an Irish Cream variety I'm tempted to splurge on just so I can surprise Grandpa with it.
Why is this on my list? Kendall is a pre-noviate and all proceeds from the fudge go toward paying down student loans and helping to support religious vocations.
5. Go Fund Me-- Rachel
Student loans tend to be a big obstacle for men and women wanting to enter into a religious community. This year, maybe in lieu of a gift, would you consider donating to someone pursuing the religious life? Rachel is one such woman who needs to pay down student loans before joining a wonderful group of Franciscans.
And she's not the only one.
A search on the internet will lead you to blogs of so many young men and women who need help paying off student loans prior to their entrance into a religious community. They are doing what they can with the resources they have, but need our help as well. Some will ask for donations while offering updates on where they're at financially (as well as how they're preparing for the next stage in their life), and some may actually have things to sell as part of their fundraising efforts (such as with Kendall's fudge).
Here in the States, we celebrated Thanksgiving. It's the time that marks the beginning of the most insane shopping season of the year as well as the unofficial kick off to all things Christmas.
But today, for this one day, our family gathers together and we replay the same old complaints and jokes as we feast on a virtual smorgasbord before everyone heads home to beat the fog. I was privileged to spend time listening to the radio as others shared what they were thankful for, including kneelers and the ability to kneel.
I'm thankful for a lot of things.
And I hope all of you can find something to be thankful for each day.
I finally met with our parish priest to discuss vocations. I came in with my binder and composition book overflowing with information, my mind reeling from a few days of doubts and questioning my motives, and without even discussing the "do I or don't I" of having a vocation...I just jumped right in: "Here's what I've done and this is what I planned to do next.... What do you think?"
I came away with two things:
First, a recipe for Thanksgiving turkey that sounded incredibly delicious and I wish we had tried it because ours came out a tad dry (which is why we don't skimp on the gravy at our house...we know better).
And second, I walked out with the thought of "I'm doing this...I'm really doing this!"
I'm really trying hard not to let my emotions decide what happens during this discernment process. I haven't said yes to anything except that I'm taking this process seriously. So seriously that I have a game plan to visit two religious communities to help narrow down what I'm looking for: contemplative or active?
Speaking of contemplative or active, after discussing things with Father I got in the car and thought a bit about which one I was more drawn two. They're as different as extroverts and introverts. It made me wonder: Am I an Extrovert who has forgotten how outgoing she can be? Or am I an Introvert who can be outgoing when it's necessary?
Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends!
And have a wonderful weekend EVERYONE!