Thursday, December 27, 2012

here's hoping

Have you ever gotten on an elevator, wanting to go up and found yourself going down instead?
Someone on a distant floor has pressed the down button and nothing in the world can redirect that elevator.
Down it must go.
5,4,3,2,1........ and then a pause before it begins its slow assent with all of the occupants in the elevator staring grimly at the blinking numbers.
Somehow, having a cold has something of that same powerless feeling.
That feeling of grim resignation.
Down, down you descend, until you hit the bottom....
Until you feel the worst you are going to feel.
Then that pause, and the slow assent.
Here's hoping.

still germ free

I descended the stair, platter in hand. My daughter's fridge beckoned.
Just as I entered her suite, I felt the warning twinge of an approaching sneeze. I rushed across the room towards the fridge. I could feel the sneeze building. I flung wide the fridge door and hurled in the platter. The sneeze was almost upon me. I turned and sprinted for the exit.
Too late.
I battened down the hatches as best I could.
A sneeze imploded.
I staggered back upstairs, her space still germ free.

fresh sweet air

It didn't call ahead.
It didn't ring the bell and wait politely at the door.
Instead, while I was out and about, a Christmas cold threw wide my door and marched in with overstuffed luggage looking like it plans to stay awhile.
It isn't a pleasant guest, the kind you wish could stay forever.
In fact it's pretty demanding, making me constantly rise to blow my nose and wash my hands;
Making me stagger to the kettle and contemplate my pillow longingly.
It talks too loud and stays up all night and leaves things strewn about.
I'm looking sadly at the calendar and pessimistically predicting departure dates.
Still, there's nothing like being sick to make you appreciate health.
Nothing like enforced rest to make you thankful for useful occupation.
My 2012 may go out with abit of a snivel, but the fresh, sweet air of the New Year is just around the corner.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The following is taken from a piece called Emmanuel, by Frederick Buechner

Christmas is not just Mr. Pickwick dancing a reel with the old lady at Dingley Dell or Scrooge waking up the next morning a changed man.
It is not just the spirit of giving, abroad in the land with a white beard and reindeer.
It is not just the most famous birthday of them all and not just the annual reaffirmation of Peace on Earth that it is often reduced to so that people of many faiths or no faith can exchange Christmas cards without a qualm.
On the contrary, if you do not hear in the message of Christmas something that must strike some as blasphemy and others as sheer fantasy, the chances are you have not heard the message for what it is. Emmanuel is the message in a nutshell.
Emmanuel, which is Hebrew for "God with us."
That's where the problem lies.
The claim that Christianity makes for Christmas is that at a particular time and place "the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity" came to be with us himself.
When Quirinius was governor of Syria, in a town called Bethlehem, a child was born who, beyond the power of anyone to account for, was the high and lofty One made low and helpless.
The One whom none can look upon and live is delivered in a stable under the soft, indifferent gaze of cattle. The Father of all mercies puts himself at our mercy.
Year after year the ancient tale of what happened is told; raw, preposterous, holy, and year after year the world in some measure stops to listen.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. A dream as old as time. If it is true, it is the chief of all truths. If it is not true, it is of all truths the one that people would most have be true if they could make it so.
Maybe it is that longing....... that is at the bottom even of the whole vast Christmas industry, the tons of cards and presents and fancy food, the plastic figures kneeling on the floodlit lawns of poorly attended churches. The world speaks of holy things in the only language it knows, which is a worldly language.
We all must decide for ourselves whether it is true. Certainly the grounds on which to dismiss it are not hard to find.
Christmas is commercialism.
It is a pain in the neck.
It is sentimentality.
It is wishful thinking; The shepherds. The star. The three wise men.
Make believe.......
What keeps the wild hope of Christmas alive year after year in a world notorious for dashing all hopes is the haunting dream that the child who was born that day may yet be born again even in us.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

words to live by

One year on Boxing Day.......
I went outside and flung a string of lights into the branches of our maple tree.
Better late than never, I thought to myself.
Are those words to live by?
I think so.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

many ways

'Although it's been said, many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.'

Friday, December 7, 2012


Two mice, clearly married, discuss mozzarella, havarti, cheddar, swiss, and parmesan. There's nothing like shared interests to bring a couple closer.

bric a brac

The little goat girl and boy were gifts I made my grandmother back in the late eighties when the country look reigned. She lived in a tiny apartment by then, and likely the last thing she wanted was more bric a brac but she graciously accepted my gift for what it was, a token of love.

spreading out the joy

Most years, I wait until the evergreen is cinched into the tree stand and swathed in lights before I turn my thoughts towards decorating for the season. By then, December has settled in for its brief stay and there seems to be so much that calls for my attention. This year, I dusted a shelf and added a touch of Christmas in late November. Then, a few days later, I added some coloured balls on ribbon in my window. Nativities followed and then a mitten garland.
My house has an expectant holiday glow and there is still the tree to look forward to, to enjoy, to add.
We're spreading out the joy.

snip snap

Did you ever make paper chain dolls? You know, a string of girls or boys, their hands clasped.
You folded paper like a fan and then snip snap, there you were.
Well, some clever soul has come up with a variation on the theme.
The paper children form a circle.
And they go boy, girl, boy, girl.
And they make a star
and a snowflake at the same time.
It's a wonderful world.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

high notes

A choir of mice jostle for position and squeak out, Silent Night.
Thank goodness for the tenor. He can really hit those high notes.
'All is calm, all is bright...'

past present future

Although my sister lives over the mountains and far away, she is ever present at Christmas. Many of my special decorations, the ones that make it to the mantel every year, were created by her hands. They are more than a tradition to me, placed just so each yule tide. They are Christmas Past, and Present and Future.

before the hearth

My grandma knit mittens.
We got a new pair every winter, or maybe two.
When they become sodden with slush or encrusted with balls of snow, we propped them near the wood stove to dry out.
They were as colorful as Joseph's coat.
Grandma was a very thrifty crafter, and it wasn't unusual to have several wide bands of color and contrasting thumbs.
Her grandchildren grew up and a lovely crop of great grandchildren made the pilgrimage to visit her.
She never forgot them at Christmas and tiny mittens warmed the next generation as well.
It is hard to believe that twenty winters have flown by since I saw her last.
She lived to a ripe old age. Such a wise, gentle, charming lady.
I think she would be pleased to see her mittens immortalized; hanging before the hearth.

fa la la la la

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly," I warbled.
"Fa la la la la, la la la la," chimed my grandson.
"Tis the season to be jolly," I continued.
"Fa la la la la, la la la la," he sweetly sang, right on key.
The song continued and was gamely repeated, ending with a big note.
" la  la la LA!!!!"
Singing a song in parts or as a round is such fun.
We've also been practicing Row Row Row Your Boat.
And like all experiments, there are some surprising combinations that nobody else has tried that seem to work.
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream,
Fa la la la la, la la LA LA!

day dress

My little granddaughter has suggested that I sew her a Cinderella dress.
Or a pink dress.
She is very open minded.
I have decided that Cinderella needs her day dress and her evening gown.
Don't you agree?
The pink dress above will be the day dress and has served me well as a practice run.
Years ago, my own little daughters were clad in home sewn clothing. I sewed and sewed and sewed.
Now I feel a compressed excitement just thinking of the sewing I can do for my grandchildren. I'm off to a bit of a slow start but like riding a bike I will pick up momentum and head for the hills.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

mysteries of faith

Years ago, I succumbed to temptation in a toy store, and purchased the Playmobil Nativity.
The wise men were sold separately; an add on to the 'good news' story.
I suppose it makes sense. The road they travelled was long and winding. They didn't arrive in time to see the babe in a manger. 
The Bible says that Mary and Joseph and the Child were in a house by the time the wise men came to fall in worship, gifts in hand.
I imagine that for Mary and Joseph, staying in Bethlehem was preferable to returning to rumour and scandal in Nazareth. Regardless of the centuries old prophesy about a virgin birth, few believed.
Hardship marked their lives in spite of their faith and obedience.
And hardship marked the life of Christ himself,
and the lives of His followers down through the ages.
One of the many mysteries of faith.