Wednesday, December 31, 2014

a batch of love

Before Ina and her cadre of beautifully designed cookbooks, there was the humble recipe box stuffed with 3x5 cards and memories. The more worn out and smudged the card, the more loved the recipe. And the person who gave it to you. Like Coma Rayburn and her cheese daisies, a New Year's Eve recipe if there ever was one. What I wouldn't give today to see that angel making a batch of these through her kitchen window on Middleton Drive. Sometimes I think that's how heaven may work. That you get do-overs, whenever your heart desires, of all the things you've loved most in this life - the people, the places, the moments. Today I'll settle for a savory little treat warm from the oven, from the heart, from the recipe box of life.

Friday, December 26, 2014

birth announcement

Born:       December 25 at 12 am
Weight:   the whole world
To:            hearts everywhere

all aboard

(click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


A creature was stirring before dawn this morning, coughing actually. I got up to see if I could bring her anything, but she drifted right back to sleep. Which is how I found myself in the kitchen at 6 am with the most beautiful ancient carols on the radio, coffee in hand and cards to savor. So still, so bright. Everything else fell away and Christmas floated in.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

last place

It is easy to get overlooked when the other trees on the lot are bigger, fuller, prettier. Just like it's easy to get overlooked in life. "But the little tree kept its hopes high. It wanted someone special, someone who was as excited about Christmas as it was." Keeping the faith, day in and day out, is so difficult when it doesn't seem like things are going to work out. But all of the loneliness and hurt melts away when love shows up. That's the message of this dear wonderful book by Stephen Krensky, with beautiful illustrations by Pascal Campion. The Last Christmas Tree truly stole my heart when I discovered it last week and continues to resonate in its poignancy. I think you'll love it, too.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

tree lot meditation

Who says meditation has to be done while sitting cross-legged in a quiet place? The middle of a busy Christmas tree lot on a December day works just fine. Whether you need to buy a tree or not, just go there. Go whenever you want to and as often as you like during this season. Doesn't cost a thing. Walk the rows inhaling sweet cold pine air. Let go of any thought that isn't happening at that lot, at that very moment. Breathe in hope, breathe out peace.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

awaiting in awe

Astonishing how many "A" words are affiliated with this Advent season of anticipation before the arrival of the Christ child into the world. It's all about cultivating a sense of awareness and attentiveness. "Do not be afraid," the angel told Mary, the annunciation or 'announcement' scene appearing in amazing art throughout history. "All of life is a kind of Advent," a dear friend said, an astounding thought that makes me grateful to be alive and awakeAlleluia, amen.
(The Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli, circa 1490, Uffizi Gallery, Florence)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dear December

Dear December,
     My heart has been waiting for you. For the red, the green, the frosty, the twinkling. For the comfort and joy of beloved carols and ornaments and cookies. Welcome Rudolph and Santa, welcome Grinch, welcome especially Charlie Brown. Yay for Handel's Messiah on the car radio and Layne's cinnamon coffee cake, for the aromatic exhilaration of the tree lot, for yet another reading of A Christmas Carol.
     I've been waiting all year to bring my creche down from the attic and take the figurines out of their tissue-wrapped rest. There's Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, a cow, a donkey, a camel, two little lambs, three wise men and the angel who watches over them all. It feels like they've been waiting for me, too.