The first Advent experiment was Sunday, and much to my relief and delight, it went extremely well. The junior high group did better with it than the high schoolers, but this is not at all unusual. The kids were, at first, a bit reticent to actually have to stand up and read something, but when I turned out the lights and lit some small candles to light the pages, there attitudes turned around immediately. They all became very quiet (even the kid with ADHD) and most seemed to relish the experience. In their world, they are surrounded by noise, movement and constant streams of information and sensory data - I think the effect of blocking all of that out, if only for a few minutes, had a profound effect on them, and on me. I was admittedly nervous, but the quasi-liturgy I had put together was simple and the kids followed it easily. The only problem was that it was far too short. I had thought it would take around 30 minutes, but it took only a little over 10. But the kids responded so well to it that I think I can safely extend things this week, and maybe even again the next. I put together a little impromptu homily, but this week I'll be more purposeful in my planning for that. The kids were so receptive, so open after the scripture readings that there is no way I can pass up an opportunity to speak to them at that point. Your prayers for this week are deeply sought and appreciated.
On a more mundane note, we finally got our floors finished and were able to actually move furniture into our downstairs yesterday. We've had a long hard slog with these floors, but we put the final coat of polyurethane on Friday night, and though it isn't perfect (much to my frustration!), the flaws are really very minor and it ended up looking quite good, if I do say so myself. So now we can live in more than one room. The other projects we have left are all relatively minor compared to that - some more painting, some paint removal, etc. We're very excited to be done with the floors!
And after only 8 years, I turned in the final paper for my final undergrad class yesterday. Due to paperwork issues, and living 2,000 miles from my school, I won't officially graduate until next May, but that does not in any way diminish my excitement and gratitude at having finally gotten this thing finished.