Decking New Halls

I am finishing my coffee before my TO DO list for the day begins and I start prepping for my first holiday season in our new home. I have the food to cook for my little family tomorrow as we tamp down our Thanksgiving celebrations. But now comes the tidying, the cleaning, the preparing, and, after tomorrow, the decorating. I still do not have all the Christmas decorations that I could desire but I know that such stockpiles take time, as I am rebuilding them from scratch since the move.

It feels odd to be preparing to dress up a new house for the first time in twelve years. In our old little cottage–which, by the way, we signed the final sale paperwork for last night (big feels!)–I knew where all my decorations went. I knew how I liked things set up and where things had to go in my living room configuration. Nothing was huge or elaborate, but they were there, a constant reminder of stability. Our tree with its silver, blue, and white ornaments, spattered with sentimental ones, glowed in the living room, crowed with its silver star that Ben and Elizabeth put on together every year. It must be the absolute last thing on the tree. I had the same wreath with its silver and white ribbons and flowers for fourteen years. It had had multiple birds’ nests built into it in early springs and then cleaned out once the babies and parents had vacated. The little potted pre-lit tree (that had been our family Christmas tree while we had a cat and small baby) sat faithfully on the front porch, decorated with flowers, leaves, Easter eggs, etc., throughout the differing seasons by myself and my daughter. The silver stockings hung on their snowflake hangers from the dvd shelf, under the compilation frame of family photos and frame by fir branches with silver poinsettas. The nativity scene that my Erin brought back for me from Malawi was set up on the bookshelf, the camel I found at Levi Coffin Days (an almost-perfect match) tucked in amongst the wise men to complete the set.

This year, I will need to figure out just how things will fit in this new house with its new rooms and spaces. I know where the tree is going, and we have a “glowy star” this year, per my daughter’s request and choosing. I haven’t bought any stockings or hangers for the mantlepiece yet (I have a real actual mantlepiece, you guys!), though truly the only one whose stocking gets stuffed any more is my daughter. She has her new one for her door already picked out. Harry Potter, of course.

So this will be a year of starting new in more ways than one. I am trying not to think about not having “enough” to decorate my house this year. What I really want is for my home to be warm, welcoming, and soothing because this will be a holiday season that is already missing some very important people. So I want my home to be a place of uplifting, hygge, and comfort for those hard moments. I want that Christmas-y feeling. Not to avoid the hard moments necessarily but to help them perhaps be not quite so heavy.

I’m trying, dear ones, I really am. But Target is calling my name…


Thanksgiving Grace


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Tomorrow, I will gather my family around a table full of lovingly-made, delicious food, and we will indulge in feasting, conversation, beloved traditions, and spending extended time together. Tomorrow, I will remind my daughter of what day it is and its significance and help her remember all the wonderful things that we have to be thankful for.

But I don’t just want to leave thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. I want it to be a part of every day. I want to make sure that I don’t forget my blessings the rest of the year. I don’t want to forget them. Not ever.

Over the course of this month, I have been inspired by and written on grace. I have one week left and I know that there is still so much that I have yet to learn about the kaleidoscope facets and beauty of grace that I am simultaneously floored and chomping at the bit to see what comes next in this journey of mine.

I never want to forget the grace that has been lavished on me, both by the God I love and serve and the people with whom I share my life. In these holidays (and every day), let’s determine to extravagantly extend the grace we so desperately need ourselves, dear ones, and fill our homes with safety, love, kindness, and mercy.

A Thought on Thanksgiving Grace

Thanksgiving is coming up quickly. November is the month during which we are encouraged to be grateful. Grateful for what we are able to give. What part does gratitude have in grace? Does gratitude, acknowledgment of all that we have and have been given, make us more apt to be gentle? More forgiving of the shortcomings of others?

I hope so. And I hope we give thanks for the opportunity.


NaBloPoMo Day 25: Opening the Doors of my Home and my Heart

I’m sitting on my couch at last. Tomorrow, the flurry will begin anew and, come early afternoon, my little home will be bustling with family and filled with the scents of home cooking and comfort. My house is tidy, the dishes are clean, the laundry (most of it) folded and put away, the table cleared and ready, and the ingredients set out to cook my own dishes for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. There is more, SO MUCH MORE, that I could do: tidying and sorting and cleaning and perfecting. But I keep reminding myself of something that I am trying to internalize deep down into my bones and write on the forefront of my brain this holiday season:


My home doesn’t need to be perfect to welcome other people into it, but my heart does need to be in the right place. If I focus on how stressed I am, how much work and trouble this is, etc., then the entire day will be a waste, people will leave my home and presence unhappy, and I will have missed the entire point of this holiday. I want to make sure that my heart is in the right condition — welcoming, loving, compassionate, and grace-giving — so that my family will leave my home tomorrow evening better and happier than when they arrived.

I will probably take tomorrow off from posting as I will be spending time with family. I hope and pray that you all have a good holiday and that you are able to spend time with people you like and love this Thanksgiving.




NaBloPoMo 2014 Day 27: A Blessing for You, Dear Reader

My Thanksgiving table – 2014

Round this table ere we broke our bread,

To speak our thanks we bowed our heads.

Not from fear or guilt or guile,

But from acknowledgement of the worthwhile.

Jobs to feed and homes to warm,

Food to nourish and hands to hold through the storm.

We are grateful for each and every gift,

This day set aside to detail that list.

This is simple, not grand or unique,

Just a truth I need to speak.

Your presence, dear reader, is a dream for me.

My words, my heart laid here for you to see.

You reading and taking what I say to heart

Has meant the world to me from the very start.

Thank you for each moment, each comment, each like.

I appreciate the time that you give to this is corner of my life.

I wish you the best, every blessing, every gift.

May these days – holidays and non – be your needed lift.


NaBloPoMo 2014 Day 20: As the Old Song Goes…

This time next week, if all goes well, Thanksgiving dinner will be over and my little home will still be full of family and delicious smells. Turkey, sweet potatoes, broccoli casserole, pies. The food will have been consumed with all the gusto and gratitude for which we are known, and the leftovers will have been divvied up into their respective containers (though I’ll probably still be filching dark meat from the bottom of the turkey pan). The tables, plates, flat- and glassware will have been cleared away and maybe even washed by now, the family will be spread over the couches and chairs, and maybe, if I am supremely lucky, my daughter will be snoozing along with her grandfather on his lap while the songs and quips of “White Christmas” fill the room. It’s a tradition: Thanksgiving dinner and the watching of “White Christmas” usher in the Christmas season in our family.

I love Thanksgiving! I love the time spent with family, as well as the fact that there are no presents, no pressure. On the whole, though, it is just relaxing, meditating on all the good that we have in this life, enjoying each other’s company, plates (several) of good food, and good, fun conversation (I say silly things when on the verge of a food coma). While Christmas season might be my favorite, Thanksgiving is probably (I am just now realizing) my favorite holiday with family. I mean, think about it: it’s a day specifically set aside to count our blessings. And that’s always a good practice.

NaBloPoMo Day 27: Thanksgiving

No, it’s not “Turkey Day”. It’s THANKSGIVING.

While we should be thankful each and every day, Thanksgiving Day is set aside particularly for that instance. As I think back over the past year, I know that I have a great deal to be thankful for, namely for a daughter who is hale and hearty and happy, a husband who works hard every single day to do what he needs to as well as what he feels he ought to or is led to do, and for the chance to be able to focus the majority of my time and energy to raising my daughter for at least her first year.

This year I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to hearing my daughter’s voice babble around her grandparents’ house, to watch her toddle a few steps here and there to Grandma and Grandpa. I am looking forward to listening to my husband chat with his family. I’m just looking forward to the feeling of home and just sitting on the couch quietly for a little while.