Courage to Face the Holidays


As November draws to a close, I can feel my anxiety ramping up with the approach of the Christmas Season proper. Much to do and the list grows ever longer and time ever shorter. I have three weeks left before school closes for Christmas break, along with all the work comes with them. I have my daughter’s birthday to plan, not to mention our work on finishing her new big girl area upstairs. Then there is decorating the house for the holidays, wrapping gifts, and managing the actual day of Christmas. I can feel myself getting tired and achy with just the thought of it all.

As I hid away upstairs with the most recent edition of Bella Grace on Thanksgiving evening, I read about “sacred graces”, taking time to notice those little beautiful things and to hold space for them in my life. I will, uncheerfully, admit that I do not do this. I know I did at one point, though. I marveled over the sweetness of an apple. I would run back inside to grab my camera to snap a picture of the mist lying silvery and soft in my backyard. I haven’t done this in a long, long time. I find that busyness has stolen and does indeed steal my wonder most of the time. I am tired of that.

I desperately do not want this Christmas to pass by with only busyness to mark it. I hate coming down to Christmas Eve–when we are home from church and I finally stop moving–and feeling as though I have nothing of note or meaning throughout the entirety of the Season. I miss Christmases of viewing beautiful lights and displays (there was such magic in that for me as a child), going to concerts/shows, enjoying well-beloved movies or specials on television (Mom and I planned days in advance not to be busy on those particular nights), journaling by the lights of the Christmas tree. I feel as though, every year recently, I end up apologizing to my husband. Apologizing that our Christmas hasn’t been more special, that we haven’t donated more of our time, made more memories, taught our daughter more about generosity and the meaning of Christmas. I really enjoy the Christmas Season, and its fast approach scares me witless.

          Right now, I feel like it is going to take an inordinate amount of courage to face the Holidays this year: to face the demands but to also seek out the graces, the sacred spaces. I do not want to spend the next four weeks being irritable, snappish, and unpleasant to be around.  I do want to find and savor those special, sacred moments with my dear ones.

Watching my husband lift our daughter up to put the star on the tree, as he has every year since she was born.

Looking at the intricate designs of the ice on the windows in the wan light of morning.

Turning on the Christmas tree lights as I come out into the living room in the morning.

The profound quiet that fills the world as snow falls.

Tucking cards and gifts into the mail for friends and dear ones.

The Holidays will take courage. They are often not easy, I know, for one or another of a myriad of reasons. I want to breathe in the sunlight spilled from Aslan’s mane, hold fast, and step forward. One day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time. One kindness at a time. One gentle word at a time. The Holidays will take courage, from you and from me, but we can do this. Let’s have courage for the next step, dear ones. Courage for the next right thing.

I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath
This next step
This next choice is one that I can make
So I’ll walk through this night
Stumbling blindly toward the light
And do the next right thing

“The Next Right Thing” – Frozen II

Words Upon Words


January 14, 2019 – Hope*Writers Prompts

 I love words. I think you have figured that out about me by now. But there is something that I deeply dislike: saying words without a point. I don’t like babbling, and I feel exceedingly embarrassed when I think I am babbling pointlessly. I don’t think that I have ever wanted to be famous for my words, but I do know–or rather, have come to realize–that I want my words to mean something. I want them to be meaningful to someone in some way for some reason, whether that reason is encouragement, an inspiration to be and/or make the world around them better, to see others in a dearer light, or to extend that dear light to themselves. All I know that I am desperate for my words to mean Something.

Josephine March is my favorite novel character, and, inLittle Women, Jo longed for a life beyond her beloved Orchard House, a life that was astonishing. I am not reaching for astonishing, honestly. I am not entirely sure I could handle astonishing. I am not reaching for the book deals, the speaking engagements, etc., though I dearly do love rejoicing in and with those who have flown to those amazing, inspiring heights. I just have this craving, deep down in the belly of my soul, for what I write and say to have meaning, to fall on hearts and minds and sink in somehow for the better.

Moments in Magical Modernity: V


V.

Winter can be hard on beings who draw their power from the warmer aspects of Nature but many have developed coping mechanisms akin to those who deal with SAD. Dryads’ homes are often filled with warm light and UV lamps/bulbs to help warm them through the months. The satyr-run brewery has daily specials on warm, sit-in-your-belly meads and ales throughout the entirety of the winter season. And the Hollow keeps its summer-stoke fireplace going constantly; you’ll even see some dryads start to blossom under its enchanted light.

The world needs Winter, Nature its rest, and, with it, Winter brings its own particular brand of Magic. Frostlings and winterbroods make sure the sidewalks stay safe and those who work at the local DOT make sure roads stay passable and clear with a little charm here and a special mixture there  (not salt, though. We did away with that a long time ago. Too corrosive and harmful.) They do not tamper with the Weather itself but rather merely mitigate its results. Ponds freeze solid for skating. There’s an extra diamine shimmer on the morning and moonlit snowfalls, courtesy of local creative frost fairies. Holiday pictures taken out of doors are always perfect if set up/arranged ahead of time. Snowflakes stay frozen in mittened hands long enough for their myriad shapes to be inspected. Sleds whoosh along only to avoid obstacles and thunk safely into snowbanks. Fairies’ wings sparkle with snowdust, that subtle, delicate shimmer that is all but undetectable without the sun filtering through the sky just so on an icy day.

macro-snowflake

Jessamin, the frost fairy barista, always perks up immensely and helps Kingsley whip up all kinds of wintry treats and special drinks for the Hollow. A favorite is the Winter Apple—a spiced cider that starts warm and then, at some point between tongue and tummy, gives you the most delicious sweetness of a late fall apple just touched through with frosty cold. You can positively see the bright red of the apple glowing beneath its icy dusting.

In the winter, Sophie always comes around more often and stays for longer despite her always-busy schedule, basking in the hominess of the Hollow and its rejuvenating warmth. Humans like her linger longer over their coffees and pastries, slowing down a bit from the frenzy of life. They seem to take in more, feel like they notice and think more. In Winter, the world grows slower, steadier, for human and magical being alike. But Winter is not without its own brand of Magic, if one will simply slow down with it enough to see its beauty.

 

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NaBloPoMo 2014 Day 30: The End is the Beginning


Here we are at the end of November and the end of NaBloPoMo 2014 (for me, at least). As I sit here on my couch, my newly-downloaded Infinite Rain app filling my ears with rain, thunder, and soft chimes, I find myself stymied as to what I can write to simultaneously sum up this month and move me on to the next. I have enjoyed the exercise and “muscle”-building of writing (or at least posting) something every day and it is a practice that I really want to keep up. I want writing to become a discipline and not just a hobby.

Wordsworth admonished, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” and I truly feel as though that is what I do when I write. Whether fiction or non, story or reflection, what I write is attached to my heart, breathed of it, part of it. The nonfiction pieces are infinitely scarier to me, though. Those are my personal thoughts, feelings, and opinions. That’s my soul right there, laid wide and bare for anyone – family, friends, stranger, comrades, critics – to read, enjoy, despise, pass judgement, give encouragement, or comment on.

Articles like “Discussing the Other” and “The Weight of Silence”, in their deep vulnerability and honesty, are terrifying to me. They terrify me because of the probability of their divergence from the opinions of others who mean a great deal to me, of striking a heart too hard, or touching a raw nerve, and, therefore, the possibility of their inciting the anger, hurt, or disappointment of those particular people. Even at the age of thirty-one, it is difficult to divest myself of the importance of others’ opinions. My husband once said, “You don’t worry about people not liking you. What worries you far more is someone being upset with you.” And it’s true. Believe me, it isn’t as bad as it used to be. Not that many years ago, I truly think I seriously would have chosen to have my head cut off before allowing others who had known me all my life to see me as less than. Less than perfect, less than what they had always assumed me to be, less than the example that I should be. In order words, I would have rather had the earth swallow me up than take a chance at being vulnerable and see looks of disappointment reflected back at me. I feared it all the time, guarded my vulnerabilities and shortcomings with a frightening vigilance, though, truthfully, probably not as closely as I thought I did. As an adult now, I cannot kid myself in the idea that someone didn’t know, that my mom or dad didn’t see that I wasn’t perfect. And you know what? They loved me anyway. The people who are steadfast in my life always have. They love me no matter my shortcomings, no matter my failings, no matter my vulnerable humanity. And so I write. I write as honestly as I may, speak as I need to, across this medium and others. If the results are negative, then I shall deal with them as they come and, hopefully, consider it practice in graceful reactions and healthy conflict resolution.

I write far better than I speak. In the time that it takes my words to travel from my brain to my fingers to either write or type them out, there seems to be a bit more of a profound filtration system than the path they take from my brain to my mouth. Of course, with writing, there is the benefit of editing and revising before we hit Send, Post, Tweet, Publish, etc. Writing enables me to take extra time before “speaking” to see how my words look before I “say” them and that is a benefit and a boon. I am trying to practice something similar in my verbal conversations, taking necessary moments before speaking from an unglued place. After all, HOW I say something can make or break what I have to say, regardless of how true or honest it might be.

Over the past four and a half years, this blog has become a place for those paper bullets of my brain, my thoughts and wonderings, my heart and soul to be poured out, parsed out, taken apart to be analyzed, and pieced together in a coherent whole. You, gentle reader, have been exceedingly patient with me as I have walked and continue to walk this path of bettering my art and, simultaneously, myself. So thank you for that. And I hope that, even just now and again, I can write something here that will help your heart, harmonize with your voice, and make happy your soul.

Thank you for sticking with me through this National Blog Posting Month, and here is more steps along the path and adventures along the way. Cheers!

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