Friday, December 30, 2022

Happy New Year, dear Friends!


My teapot is empty, but held with anticipation.

I prepare by warming the water and choosing the tea.

The tea unfurls and opens for me.

In the quiet of the early morning hour it warms my hands,

Then the first sip of the day.

I breathe

I learn to just BE in the moment

My soul is replenished and I smile.

written by me this week

This is the early morning hour this very week.

 From The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater:

"Everything I have ever wanted is here, right now."

"The cold is making me hungry. I head in, pausing to warm myself by the wood-burning stove in the hall. My request for coffee is sweetly but firmly refused, and I drink green tea from deep cups instead..."

After going for an early morning walk in the cold he finds a coffee shop not yet opened, but enters and sits to wait. "The owner arrives, surprised but apparently unbothered by my having "broken in". She makes me coffee and brings hazelnut cookies shaped in unruly lumps like fat pebbles. A blue woolen blanket for my knees. And then a wafer thin ginger biscuit, coated in the thinnest white icing. Like frost on a roof tile. She lights a small wrought iron stove. I write."

And so it is, life goes on in the most perfect, cozy way and I also write to you, dear friends.

May you be blessed always and in the little things that delight you. May you be served a good cup of coffee or tea and wrapped in a blanket of coziness. Stay warm, savor each day, and above all else dance.

PS: I read The Christmas Chronicles every December, maybe not every word, but select essays that delight my winter, Christmas days.

Happy New Year, dear friends!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Words for the Year

 When I was a young girl I loved picking a word from the dictionary and trying to include it in my vocabulary. So you see, I always have been fascinated with words. I think for the next year I will do something like that on Monday's. It isn't quite ironed out, but we will see where it leads us. Maybe we will all learn some new words for 2023. What fun we can have. Let's play a little.

 As many of you know each year I focus on a word. I have done this for 25 years when my first word was Patience. There have been many words since that time; some have made a huge impact on me and some have almost been forgotten. The word Joy probably brought me the most happiness and I have been tempted to bring it back at times. Grace was the word that surprised me. This year was Be and I wasn't sure where that would take me. I has been a reminder to me just to be satisfied with staying in place and not always saying "what's next". That is a hard one for me, as I am a planner and always love knowing what's coming next. I make lists. 

Yesterday I went to the market and realized my list just wasn't right, it was written before Christmas and many things I no longer needed. So I ditched the list and just let it be what it was, an adventure in shopping and finding delights on the market shelf. This isn't me, but I realized I needed to just let it BE and play a bit. What fun to come home with some things I wouldn't have put on my list. Not something I would recommend regularly, but for this day it brought me joy, a little chocolate, some lovely fruit, and several frozen prepared meals to make some days easier. Still learning to just BE in the moment.

 As we approach the end of the year I begin thinking about what I would like to focus on for the next year. The list was made and then another word came to me. It often surprises me when it makes an appearance. 

So for the coming year my word will be VOICE. It is a word I have thought of often in the past, but never was brave enough to grasp it. If you were sitting with me face to face you would know that I am a person of few words. I listen and take in what others say, but often don't say much. I say more in writing than with my voice.

Goal for my Voice:

Tell stories

Share Kindness and Love

Allow myself to be heard

Create opportunities to speak

Stand for Justice and Peace

VOICE is an active word, where BE was a quiet word (a stillness).

Do you pick a word for the year? or does it pick you for a season?

I have learned many things from my words over the years and love the challenge they give me. 

Sending you love, joy and happiness today and everyday.

Has someone given you a kind word this week?


Monday, December 26, 2022

A Gift for You - A Flower and A Poem

 In finishing the year I found I wanted to focus on HOPE. The following poem immediately came to me and wanted to share it as a final poem for 2022. 

Both pictures are from my own garden this week. 

There was ice, snow, and then much rain and wet; but above all else is HOPE.

Several mornings I had to bring the hummingbird feeder inside to thaw. When it was returned to it's perch I would find the little bird nearby waiting.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.



And the garden will return to flower again.

Hold HOPE in your heart.

May you be blessed this Christmas season!

Friday, December 23, 2022

The Season of Light

The season of Winter Solstice and Christmas always leads me to focus on the light and sparkly of the season. I crave it. So driving through downtown Portland a few nights ago I felt like I was in heaven, surrounded by the twinkling lights.

My live in gardener and I were on our way to a Christmas concert. It never ceases to make the season brighter and put me in the spirit of Christmas.

And then on to the church Christmas program on Sunday where my live in gardener always reads The Night Before Christmas for the children. Even our grandson loved it. Each person's song, story, and poem made me smile.

And the children came to the manger as different animals.
It was a little unorganized, but still just seeing the children at Christmas is what it is all about. The joyfulness, the silly, and the somber.
Walking in my neighborhood makes me smile too and pause for a moment to delight in the festive spirit.

The creative spirit, the spirit of light; it all just makes my heart smile with JOY for this season. I remind myself to notice what I notice right here, right around me. Notice the light shining in a dark world and let it touch our hearts with a song, a little laughter, a smile, and a time of remembrance.

I woke this morning remembering just a very small thing that happened yesterday. At the market I bumped the price marker on something in the produce section and the little sign fell to the floor. Just a little thing indeed, but before I knew it someone stepped forward to pick it up for me. I paused to think about this just this morning and wondered if I showed gratefulness to that person. Did I acknowledge this helpful spirit? Yes, a little thing, but they make a day more special, they make us smile and put a song in our heart.

And someone in the neighborhood has decorated their world for us to enjoy.
It is those little things I must notice to warm my day and make it sparkle and sing.
My friend, Holly, shared this poem with me and I am passing it along to you.

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper

  • And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
  • And everywhere
  •  down the centuries of the snow-white world
  • Came people singing, dancing,
  • To drive the dark away.
  • They lighted candles in the winter trees;
  • They hung their homes with evergreen;
  • They burned beseeching fires all night long
  • To keep the year alive.
  • And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
  • They shouted, reveling.
  • Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
  • Echoing behind us—listen!
  • All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
  • This Shortest Day,
  • As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
  • They carol, feast, give thanks,
  • And dearly love their friends,
  • And hope for peace.
  • And now so do we, here, now,
  • This year and every year.
  • Welcome, Yule!
As I burn the candles this day to keep the dark away,
I am sending love and light to each of you.
May your days be blessed with joy and laughter
and lights twinkling in the dark.
Sending, above all else, LOVE.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2022

A Gift for You - A Flower and A Poem

Packages tied with a bow.

Stockings hung by the fire.

  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Suess

…So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow.
But the sound wasn't sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so! But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Whoville! The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,

Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?"
"It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!"
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”…


May you be surrounded with the love of the Christmas season

for that is all that is really needed. 

Sending love to each of you as you prepare.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Scents of Christmas



As I read Nigel Slater's book, The Christmas Chronicles, I am reminded of the scents of Christmas. This week I served Christmas tea to my cousin and his wife. As I placed the food on the table once again the scents of the season tickled my nose.


Of course there were fresh baked scones from the oven still warm.

Then savories of roast beef, chopped olive, sausages in rolls, and creamy cheese warm from the oven. Sweets of crunchy cookies topped with cherries, dates and nuts rolled in pure delight, pecans baked and oh so spicy, chocolates that melted in the mouth, and chewy bits of delight to nibble.

The tea was poured of flowery lapsang. It was freshly brewed and warm, just the right amount to delight this girls heart.

The winter light from outdoors was so beautiful coming in to join us on this day.

Vintages plates and tablecloth were lovingly placed on the table in preparation for a time of laughter and of tears. Yes, sometimes there is both laughter and tears.


The tree was lite in preparation. Scents of evergreen surrounded us.

I savor each fragrance of evergreen, cinnamon, nuts, fruit, and burning candles each and every day of the season of Christmas, the season of delight!

May you delight in the small things of the season.

Have a terrific weekend, dear friends!

Monday, December 12, 2022

A Gift for You - A Flower and A Poem


 Today is actually the lyrics to a song that really touched my heart this past week.

The poinsettia is a gift from my "live-in gardener" and one I am enjoying. 

In the Bleak Midwinter
In the bleak midwinterFrosty wind made moanEarth stood hard as ironWater like a stoneSnow had fallenSnow on snow on snowIn the bleak midwinterLong, long agoAngels and Arc AngelsMay have traveled thereCherubim and SeraphimThronged the airBut only his MotherIn her maiden blissWorshiped the belovedWith a kissWhat can I give him?Poor as I amIf I were a shepherdI would give a lambIf I were a wise manI would do my partBut what I can I give himGive him my heartGive him my heart
Song by Christina Rossetti and Gustav Holst
Sometime all we can give is our heart.
Mrs. Lily Mouse and Mr. Seth Mouse also are offering a cup of tea
to their gnome friend in the forest. A time of quiet revelry.
Thinking about these words as I have had several friends and family hurting,
but all I can give is my heart and a hug, even if it is virtually.

As I walk in my neighborhood I have carried a bag to collect things from nature to add to the bowl. A gift of nature.
It is the simple gifts that touch our hearts at this season,
the gifts from our heart that don't necessarily take from our pocketbook.
And again I am reminded of the song.
In the darkest times it is our heart that gives JOY.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

The Year of the Wreath



In my home this seems to be the year of the wreath. What's not to love in a wreath at Christmas?

This first wreath was made on Monday for the gardenhouse from the rim of an old placemat and then I wired on some fresh greens and a bow. It just makes the gardenhouse festive for the season.

Last Friday I ventured to a friend's home in the country to make wreaths. I love that this is a new annual event and a new friend. We are never to old to add a new event and/or friend.

 There were four of us making wreaths in her plastic covered living room.

Here is my finished product hanging over my little village on the mantle.

And then there were three! On Saturday the realtor that sold us our home 20 years ago hosted an event at a local tree farm for all her past and present clients. She usually gives a tree, but since we didn't need a tree, we were given a wreath. Her event every year is so festive with something hot to drink, soup, popcorn, cookies and more treats. Plus this year she had a photographer there taking pictures. OK, I might include the picture taken.

This picture strip is on my refrigerator door now. It just makes me smile.
It is me, Jill (daughter), Jim (live-in gardener), and D (grandson).

And now that wreath hangs on the front of my home. Humm? Maybe it needs a bow?

Then the final wreath is fake, but I love it just the same. It is the centerpiece for my dining table. Thankfully it won't dry out and leave needles everywhere. I do love a wreath on the table.

Sending wreath joy to you this Christmas season.
Have a most terrific, fun filled weekend, dear friends!
Sending Love,

Monday, December 5, 2022

A Gift for You - A Flower and A Poem


Praise the Rain

Praise the rain; the seagull dive
The curl of plant, the raven talk—
Praise the hurt, the house slack
The stand of trees, the dignity—
Praise the dark, the moon cradle
The sky fall, the bear sleep—
Praise the mist, the warrior name
The earth eclipse, the fired leap—
Praise the backwards, upward sky
The baby cry, the spirit food—
Praise canoe, the fish rush
The hole for frog, the upside-down—
Praise the day, the cloud cup
The mind flat, forget it all—

Praise crazy. Praise sad.
Praise the path on which we're led.
Praise the roads on earth and water.
Praise the eater and the eaten.
Praise beginnings; praise the end.
Praise the song and praise the singer.

Praise the rain; it brings more rain.
Praise the rain; it brings more rain.


This is indeed the season of rain and a few snow flurries.
How is the weather where you live?
Just a few days ago the chrysanthemums were still blooming in the my garden.
Yesterday we had a very unusual, early snow.
I must run outside and see how my flowers have survived.
The rain and moisture is so good for the garden.
The snow and rain with a few Christmas twinkling lights has
me in the spirit of the season.
Have a a great week, dear friends!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

And Let the Season Begin

When I visit the Monticello Antique Mall at Christmas it takes me to another world of fantasy and delight. I can imagine riding off through the snow in this amazing sleigh for a Christmas ball. Would you like to come along?

Or maybe this small sled to fly down a snowy hill. The lanterns, lit of course, could be placed along the way to mark the path.

And of course we need a pretty dress. Is this the one?

I can't wait to dance under sparkling lights and crystals shining at the ball.

To tell you the truth I want one of these chandeliers to dance under each and every day.

And the baubles are hung on the tree just sparkling in the light.

Maybe this dress would be your choice?

I do believe this is the one!

Now put your dancing shoes on for it is time to celebrate, sing, and just delight in the season. May you have a blessed and joyful month of December as we celebrate Christmas.
Have a terrific weekend, dear friends! 
I am off to find some greens.