Monday, December 30, 2013

joy jars

My sister shared a great idea of filling a jar throughout the year with slips of paper on which you've written good things that have happened to you. Then, on New Year's Eve, you empty the jar and read them. I can't imagine a better way to ring out a year. Or ring in a new one. It's a ritual I can't wait to initiate in 2014, both the collecting and the contemplating of joys. But I'm thinking it might be neat to check in at the end of every month instead of waiting all year. Such a simple, humble, homemade happy. An idea meant to be shared. Which is why I ended up with a case of the prettiest clear blue mason jars at the store today. For filling up not with moonshine, but sunshine.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas joy to you

(click on image to enlarge)

Saturday, December 21, 2013


This beautiful gem of a poem appeared on The Writer's Almanac today, the shortest day of the year. Who doesn't have such a moment in deep December when, in spite of your distracted, preoccupied self, Christmas finds you? Love's presence is near. And you feel reborn. 

Christmas Lights

When everyone had gone
I sat in the library
With the small silent tree,
She and I alone.
How softly she shone!

And for the first time then
For the first time this year,
I felt reborn again,
I knew love's presence near.

Love distant, love detached
And strangely without weight,
Was with me in the night
When everyone had gone
And the garland of pure light
Stayed on, stayed on.

- May Sarton

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

unto us

So I'm pulling into the Target parking deck this afternoon when For unto us a child is born from Handel's Messiah comes on the radio and it occurs to me why I love it so much. Apart from the music itself being glorious, Mike and I experienced a similar euphoria three separate times when unto us a child was born. Made me forever a believer in miracles. And Messiah chorus girl.

Monday, December 9, 2013

angel watch

It's the time of year when angels draw near. Watch closely for them. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson by Nelson

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson is a stunning and dramatic picture book, like the man himself. Something I've never seen before but think is powerful: no title on the front cover, no words at all. Simply a portrait. That radiant, unforgettable face. Soul shining through. Peace.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

time for a makeover

Life is the ultimate do-it-yourself project. Same could be said of the holidays. You want joy? Make time to dream, pray, gaze at a work of art, write a poem. Make time to spend outside on even the coldest days. Make vegetable soup, peppermint bark, a holiday playlist, anything with glitter. Make your own mantra and pack it with meaning. Make someone smile. Make a list of things you're grateful for, make that phone call, make time for friends. Make nice. Make more than you take. Make a difference.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

the rush and the hush

Only an inch or so big, these are my favorite companions on the Advent journey. My sister brought this tiny nativity set for me in Mexico a long time ago and I appreciate and adore its sweet simplicity more each year. I put it in the kitchen windowsill, where it reminds us to keep the faith amid the flurry of everyday life. It is truly countercultural to be still, quiet and reflective in our society. Yet we're called to be just that, more than ever during these weeks before Christmas. Our minister put it so well: Rush, rush, rush, the world tells us. Hush, hush, hush says Advent. I'm choosing hush. There's such a peaceful ring to it.