Thursday, December 30, 2010

On the Fifth Day of Christmas

I know - five gold rings. And there are some gifts more precious than gold that make an appearance out our window. This little one lives under the neighbor's house. This is the first winter appearance we have seen. He looks round and furry and fine so I take it he is a winter mountain rabbit who is doing just fine in the snow and cold. Blessings, little one.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

This is really the 5th day of Christmas - and the birds arrived yesterday so the song works. I also figured out that with 4 Calling Birds, 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves and a Partridge, that's 10 birds (I know, they increase every day) and we have one more thrown in for good luck.

I have been looking for some kind of art work to help fill in the expanse over the mantle for a while now and this year, in a catalogue I found the birds. I think they are nice. Not as large as I thought and still, they swoop and float and come sailing into the room, drifting on the wind that so often wafts (or roars) over our mountains. I am pleased ~ Merry Christmas to me. :D

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Spontaneous Christmas

When you reflect on the first Christmas, it held some degree of spontaneity. Although the census was organized by Rome all the rest was chaos. No vacancy in any hotel or inn - have to sleep in a barn. Baby born in a barn. oops. An ordinary night of shepherding interrupted by Angels and an unexpected rush into town to see this baby. A long, long trip across country with the surprise at the end: the king didn't know who was being born and dreams sent you home by another route. It all looks so peaceful and organized in our pictures and the reality was probably a little less so.

Since then Christmas celebrations have become organized within an inch of their lives. Presents are bought and wrapped months ahead. Meals are planned months ahead if not so traditional that no one needs to plan: Aunt Mary's pies, Uncle Bob's roasted chestnuts, Mama's dressing, mashed potatoes for Cindy, sweet potatoes for Jane, and it wouldn't be Christmas without Clara's green bean casserole. And the guest list is set and you know exactly who will be present and there is always enough for another family to drop in. Except they rarely do.

What a delightful, lovely, Spontaneous day we had yesterday. Dean and I were going to have the day together. Daughter and her family were "alone" as well. About nine o'clock when I knew the presents would have been opened and the games begun, I sent her a text and said, "It is a gorgeous day. Bring your pie and your family and come to dinner about 2." Imagine my delight and surprise when she said, Yes! :D :D

The only excess was meat: they brought their ham, we had our tri-tip. We had both planned on sweet potatoes and a vegetable so I furnished the potatoes and she the veggie with cheese sauce and she already had her wonderful pecan pie made. The meal became a feast, not because there were so many dishes but because there were people together who love each other and were excited and pleased to be together when we weren't expecting it.

A very merry Christmas ~ and blessings all around

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The morning star shown bright ~ a beacon in a lightening sky beckoning us onward to better things: new birth, hope, peace, love and joy.

A blessed and very Merry Christmas to you all ~

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve, 2010

Christmas Eve dawns in a spectacular fashion. There are just enough clouds scattered across the sky to light the sunrise fire of orange and gold for those few privileged seconds. Then the gentle glow of pale gold surrounds the mountain tops in the distance and a little pink dusts the snow. The fire crackles and snaps in the fireplace and we know it is a special day.

My Uncle Bill was born either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I have written the family to be reminded which. Whichever, we celebrated his birthday on Christmas Eve. Aunt Maud would have the family and a few friends gather at their home. She always had custard for drinking - no liquor in it I am sure - and homemade cake. White cake with very white icing which she decorated with Boxwood leaves. Somewhere along the line, I remember learning that Boxwood leaves are poisonous. Ah well - we never ate them and none of us got sick and Aunt Maud's cakes were delicious. Happy Birthday, Uncle Bill.

I have decided to get out the few Christmas dishes I have - dessert plates, compotes and napkins with a Christmas tree on them. It is not much - still more than I have out now - and will be just enough to make me very happy.

You know what else makes me happy? Presents. There is something about the giving and receiving of presents that is So Delightful. I Love shopping for books for my grandchildren. And it is ok to say that even for the ones who read my blog because they Know - I am the book giving grandmother. The surprise is which ones. It was a wonderful surprise to receive gifts for both of us from good friends in Virginia. We are good enough friends that I do not have to rush out and buy them gifts because they gifted us. Their package has already been a surprise and I look forward to seeing the surprise tomorrow morning.

I am learning I need to get to the boxes before Dean does because he opens them Now - whenever now is. I realize everyone has their own tradition, and mine is to wait until Christmas morning to open gifts so when he opened one of the two in a box from the littlest granddaughter, I made him wait on the other one.

We will go as late as possible today to the PO to make sure we get the present from the daughter who lives far away.

I have been looking for a piece of art of some kind to hang over the mantle. Our mantle comes to a point in the middle - distinctive yet hard to decorate around. This year I found a sculpture of flying birds which I think will look lovely on the blue wall and be the crowning touch. When I showed it to Dean, he agreed, smiled and said, "buy yourself a Christmas present." :) And so I have. I am looking forward to its delivery after the first of the year. Pictures then.

And then there are my snowshoes. No - they aren't new. They have been around for years and we keep our boots in them and they hang outside the back door. And this morning mine are hanging there - and I have professional permission to give snowshoeing a try this weekend. My Big gift of the season is going to be snowshoeing without pain. I am ready and can hardly wait.

Presents come in all shapes and sizes at all times of the year. Those that come around this time are very special whether they come in a box, a stocking or on the trail behind the house. May you enjoy your presents ~ whatever they are. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas ~

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice, Eclipse and a Snow Plow

Did the driver of the snow plow in the street at 10:30 last night realize he was plowing under cosmic history?

Did he look up to notice the shadow on the moon?

Did he notice that the sparkling snow was turning a pale grey ~ and did he wonder if it was cloud or mystery?

Was he grateful that he has a job that brings him outside on a mid-winter night when the clouds part and the sky performs and he can stop for a moment and look up?

I don't know. I do hope he saw what was happening over his head.

One daughter was able to lie on her driveway. Four feet of snow prevented that particular scenario for me. The other did as I did and saw it from her window. We scientific citizens of the 21st century know what is happening: earth moves between sun and moon. Won't happen again on the solstice for another 372 years. Ah ~ and we scientific citizens still wonder at the mystery of the cosmos. Grounded in our time, our roots reach into the past to join those of our ancestors who lit the bonfires, danced with torches and cried to the Goddess to bring back the Light and show us a Sign that all will be well.

We continue to look up in fascination and in awe to the heavens from which comes that energy that stirs our souls and holds the promise of Light and Hope. Continue to be blessed by that Light and Energy as you live into the Mystery ~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advent 4, 2010

The waiting continues.

And the expectations are growing. Something will come. Something will happen. Changes are already taking place.

I have a young friend who is expecting her second daughter soon. In the three days between seeing her last week, she expanded by inches. Change.

I suddenly started walking up and down the stairs in normal fashion. Still with the cane and rail and otherwise normally. Change.

In the middle of snowstorm last night we had a thunder storm complete with lightning and hard rain. All the snow left the trees and the deck rail. We woke this morning to heavy wet snow on all the trees and a good 6 inches on the deck rail. Change.

Tomorrow the Solstice comes. The shortest day of the year will pass by and suddenly it will be light a little longer. Noticeably longer even in one day. Change.

Lame Duck Congress suddenly isn't lame and has legs and Acts. Children's eyes get wider. Parents have a hard time keeping the lid on. The Post Office tells us that children's requests to Santa are very practical this year indicating that the economy may not be quite as good as we would like. People still await jobs with the expectation that 2011 will be better. The expectation is for Change ~ and already the signs are there.

The gifts of Advent are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. For those to come with us into the new year, there will have to be changes, small and large. May those changes ride on the wings of our Advent expectations and find home in our hearts as well as in the world ~ with blessings to you and yours

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pictures to go with earlier blog

OK - the lean's a little weird ~ otherwise, this is me, folks ~


I feel like a teenager - I am ready for tonight's party three hours early. On the other hand to do laundry and make pies, I had stayed in my night shirt and robe so it is nice to get dressed. Now the interesting thing about being dressed is that I haven't worn these shoes and slacks for over a year because of feeling so lousy and not being able to walk at all except in sneakers -- oh, and the slacks still fit beautifully so what looks to me like too much weight is just fine -- and of course I have on my new red sweater which feels lovely and fits beautifully as well. :D :D :D

I am wearing the 30th anniversary bracelet - which won't quite fit over the long sweater sleeve and so sometimes gets hidden - and I know it's there and it will flash a bit of glitter occasionally. :)

And I Have On Make-up!!! I haven't forgotten how either. I even have bright red, match the sweater, lipstick -- I really do look good. heheheheh

I am taking the camera over so maybe I can get someone to take a picture just of me and I will post it. I am coming back and it feels So Good. I didn't realize all the things that had been effected by the pain.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent 3, 2010

With many thanks to Dr. Seuss for pointing this out so clearly!

I am still not bending. I am working on stepping up naturally. So the decorations are still in the window seat, there is no tree anywhere inside, and the Advent wreath is still the little makeshift one from a wonderful nativity and 4 mismatched candles. And guess what?

Instead of being all bent out of shape because of this, I am actually enjoying it. If I am truly into Advent waiting, then what I am waiting for is going to come regardless of what decorates my house. The Baby will be born. The world will be Blessed. Angel choirs will sing and the Wise Ones of the world will contemplate the nature of the universe and the fate of humankind. It will all happen with Joy and Delight and my house will have nothing to do with it. :D

On the other hand, my heart and yours may. That is where Christmas comes, dear friends. And if you are Jewish, that is where the true Hanukkah Light shines. If you celebrate Kwanzaa, that is where true Unity is found. And if you celebrate the ancient rituals of the Solstice, it is in the heart that the true Light returns to the earth.

Blessings as you go about your seasonal celebrations ~ may your heart be full

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Patient with Patience

I am sure I am not the first to point out this connection between the noun and the verb.

Patient: a noun, a person being treated by a doctor
Patient: a verb, to wait with calm for a certain outcome

The first has to have the other to survive the healing process. They are so closely connected that somewhere in the foggy past of language development, they came to be the same word.

I am finding the connection a blessing as I continue this healing journey, one step at a time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

There's Always a Story

The title of this blog is something my daughter says often. And she's right - there always is.

On August 23rd, I talked to a hip and knee replacement institute during my research for a surgeon. I was very impressed with this institute and their doctors. The woman I spoke to said, send your xray and I will hand carry it to the doctor. So - on the afternoon of August 23rd, I wrote my letter, enclosed it with the xray and mailed it. And waited. And waited.

Of course I wasn't Just waiting. I continued to do research and found two other hip and knee replacement offices that impressed me. I chose the one closest to home - and as you know had hip replacement surgery on November 10th and am a whole new woman, kicking butt in PT and recovering beautifully.

Today - December 7th - I get a phone call from the institute to which I had sent my xray. They had Just Today received the xray. It took 3 1/2 months to make it down the hill - and if I recall I put it in a two-day envelope. The woman who called me was both terribly embarrassed and very glad I had had my surgery and was doing so well. I bragged on my surgeon of course. And it makes me feel a LOT better about these doctors. I had sort of shrugged and let them go - with of course the intention of never mentioning them to anyone again. They did call the day they got the xray though -- so that pleases me. And I was honest with her about that. Now they are at least possibilities if anyone ever asks me about my research before my surgery.

Now if the envelope could just talk and tell us its story - because there's always a story.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent 2, 2010

Today is designated Peace Sunday on Advent calendars around the world. And we are still waiting for Peace.

Sons and daughters are still on foreign battle fields. The Earth itself stirs and rumbles and destroys homes, whole villages and lives. Brothers fight each other in towns whose names we can't pronounce and yet those mothers mourn with the same intensity as we ourselves. Families are shattered by sudden death, alcoholism, drugs, poverty, anger and violence.

And still we wait for Peace.

One of the powerful messages of Advent is that God did not wait for a world at peace into which to send the Christ. This baby was born into a world torn apart by oppression and Roman Rule. Clans fought each other. Rome collected taxes, held slaves, installed despots and fought with a heavy hand any attempt to rise and claim freedom for oneself or one's people.

Peace is here ~ we wait for it and then find it where we can: in the heart of a mother, in the smile of a baby, in the care and concern of a father; in an act of generosity or kindness to or from a stranger; in the welcome by thousands of volunteers to people in need in shelters across the land; in the attempts of parents to teach their children how to play without bullying or arguing. On and on the list of those small times and places and situations where Peace is present and glows in the sometimes frightening darkness. Those places are here - even as we wait ~ with blessings

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Morning Sky

I noticed the star first. It gleamed brightly between two pine trees, a clear, white glistening diamond surrounded by just enough deep blue to make the pines visible on either side. I stopped walking and just looked.


Later I moved to where I could see the moon. Thin, clear and still so bright. By now the sky was a deep, rich blue ~ the kind of blue a designer for royalty would try to copy to make a cape or uniform. The star and the moon were not close ~ I had to adjust where I was standing to see them both through the same window. And yet there they were.

And were I a wise astrologer and had been searching the heavens for a Sign, I just might follow that star to see where it led and whose birth it heralded.

The rising sun dimmed the rich blue. Its rays lit the scattered clouds with deep orange and pink brushing the paler blue with glorious color.

It is a morning when the Heavens are declaring the glory of God. I am grateful to be up to witness such glory. ~ with blessings