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Here’s this week’s recap & must-reads:

1. We’re just two weeks away from Christmas, so to help those last-minute shoppers (yes, I’m totally speaking to myself here!), I put together an in-depth gift guide for each love language. You can sign up to see it here.

If you sign up, you’ll also receive a weekly newsletter (each Monday) which includes a prayer tip, saint quotes, recipes to try, and budget-friendly fashion finds & home decor.

You’ll also get access to a private Facebook group where we share our prayer intentions each week, where we’re seeing God work in our lives, what we’re grateful for, and more! I’d love to see you there. You can join us by signing up here.

2. This past weekend marked nine years of novenas for us! 

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Nine years of Novenas! ⁣🙏❤️🙌🏻 ⁣ Yesterday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and this is a special feast day for John-Paul & me because I asked him, eight years ago, to pray the Immaculate Conception Novena with me. I had prayed a novena (to St. Anne) to meet my future husband — which led me to meeting him, and at the time, I wanted to pray another novena to discern our future together. So I asked — and he wasn't interested. 😂 Long story short was that he didn't have a lot of good experiences praying novenas; he'd always forget to finish it, then he'd feel guilty. Then a few days after he said, "no," he came back to me and told me he was thinking about it, and he started a website called Pray More Novenas — so that he could remember to finish praying the novena. And because he thought some other people might have had the same problem and could use the reminders too… Turns out he was right. ⁣🤗 ⁣ And here we are, nine years later, praying with people from all around the world. I have a hard time imagining what our lives would look like if he hadn't started Pray More Novenas… so I'm thankful today that our Blessed Mother, like always, leads us closer to Jesus through the work we do and the prayers that we share. #catholicwife #catholiclife #praymorenovenas #novenas #immaculateconception #closertoChrist

A post shared by Annie Deddens (@catholicwifecatholiclife) on

3. If you’ve been in the mood for some Christmas & winter-y themed movies, check out the comments in this post. <3 

4. Advent & Christmas look a lot different in my life today than they did when I was younger, and I wrote about those differences in a devotional for Blessed is She last week — I particularly wrote about the differences between the joy & wonder I used to experience, and the joy & wonder I experience now…

When I was a child, these seasons were less about Jesus than they are for me now, but the joy and the wonder still remain, and I realize their importance even more recently: to show me how to trust God in the most child-like way—in the way that lets you live freely because you know you’re in good hands, in the way that accepts pain and wrongdoings and knows this isn’t the end, and in way that believes—and believes and believes and rejoices—that God has not left us. In the way that Jesus did as He was born, as He lived, and as He died.

So this season, I still celebrate with open hands and a full heart like I did all those years ago, however this time it’s all about accepting how Jesus comes, accepting what He brings, and believing completely that God is with us, and that justice will come, as one of the Responsorial Psalm tells us.

5. This is such a beautiful image to reflect on this Advent… How’s yours going, by the way? Have you been able to slow down, to prepare for Him?

6. Our Need for Stillness in Advent 

7.  “Every home is called to become a ‘domestic church’ in which family life is completely centered on the lordship of Christ and the love of husband and wife mirrors the mystery of Christ’s love for the Church, his bride,”
Pope Benedict XVI

8. “The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord.” – Henri Nouwen

9. Infertility during a season of the Incarnation

10.  “There was never a time and never will be a time when God looks at you with disdain and says, “That’s it, that was the last straw. I’ve had it with you. You should have learned by now.” Never! I’ll say it again, God will never say that.” – Emily Archer, The Catholic Woman