So this is actually the most recent change we made, but one I'm really excited about. I had seen on a few other blogs, mostly Catholic mommy blogs (love!!!) that people have home altars. At first the concept was really weird to me. I'm not sure why, but it took a bit of getting used to. Then I thought about how when I went to Mexico in the 7th grade, my dad showed me the plant there that he was working at on business trips. One thing that really struck me, even at that age, was a shrine/alter they had made for Mary. I remember being blown away by their faith after hearing that the workers would visit it and pray at it on their lunch breaks. I remember thinking how awesome it was that they could have that at their work with no one being freaked out by it, or saying that it had no place there! So the more I thought about how cool I remembered that concept being, and realized that a home altar is like what I saw there, it stopped making sense to not have a home altar. I'm not totally sure what people do with them honestly. Like, do you pray in front of it? I probably won't because I'm more of a "pray where you're at" kind of girl. We usually do it at the table and in bed daily, and then some spontaneous ones depending on what's happening during the day, and by myself it's generally in the car. So I don't see myself really hovering over this or kneeling by it to pray. I'm obviously new to this concept. But I had been thinking it would be nice to at least have a display of some things that would put me in a reverent mood and would be simple reminders of my faith.
Then Steven and I went to the Dollar Store to pick up some things and I saw their Mary/Jesus/Saint candles. After having a laughing fit at the Saintly Dead candle (have you ever seen this???? It says "Saintly Dead" with the creepiest picture you have ever seen of a dead 'person' on it...sorry but it was scary and hysterical) we looked at the other ones that were there. I was having a conversation in my brain that went like this:
"It would be awesome to have a Mary and Jesus candle at home! Oh look, they have an Our Lady of Guadalupe candle- my current favorite vision of Mary, and Sacred Heart of Jesus candle- fave as well since that's the name of our Cathedral! I want them! No... Steven would probably think it's weird. I'm sort of afraid to ask."
No sooner had that thought finished and I hear Steven say "I want a St. Michael candle!". I don't give that boy enough credit. Watching new Catholic faith is amazing. Anyway, I asked him if he was serious and he was, so out we went with our St. Michael, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Sacred Heart candles. In the car I told Steven about the altar idea and he said sure, though he wasn't totally sure what it was. So I came home, gathered my items and arranged them on top of the bookshelf, which included removing my Nutcrackers to a different location.
So for the tour:
This is the whole thing. See our new candles? Can't beat them for a dollar and we can put our own cheap candles in the glass holders once they burn down. After Christmas, I might look for some affordable other things, like little statues or something since the nativity will be gone. I love our local Catholic store, In His Name, because they have pretty reasonable prices, and I try to buy from them versus online (unless the price is really different). I will have to check them out again and figure out what else I want to put there. Any suggestions if you have a home altar?
I love, love, love this nativity. I got it from 10,000 Villages my first Christmas in Raleigh. If you have one, you MUST check it out. There are always sooo many things I want to buy and they are an ethical supplier of fair trade crafts. Each item says where it's from, though I forget where this is from off the top of my head. The cloth underneath it came from my dad's friend who had a baptism party for his son and his wife made these. My mom asked me if I wanted it and I snatched it right up. I am so in love with it!
The rosary I am currently using to pray isn't shown here but it is really pretty (murano glass I got in Rome with little flowers on each bead) and Steven's lego rosary I recently got him isn't pictured either. The blue/white and black ones we made in RCIA. The blue glass one I also got in Rome and the one in the box my sister got for me in France. I have two relics in the white box (one fell out into the box... eeek... how do I fix it?) and also a couple crucifixes for necklaces. I also have a few medals in there. Most of the stuff in this picture has been blessed by either Pope Benedict or JPII (I've been in audience of both which I'll have to write about sometime.).
I feel silly but I can't even remember when or where I got these coins. Maybe also in Rome? There is one for each pope (of my lifetime) and Mother Theresa. They have quotes on the back, which I love.
Do you have a home altar? What kinds of things do you have on it? I'd love to see a picture!