Friday, December 29, 2023

Christmas Season



There was a little baking and plenty of tea.

On the plate are mince pies, date pinwheels, spicy pecans and ginger cookies.

Special teatimes with dear friends.

An adventure to downtown Portland on a winter evening for a little night music to celebrate the season at the Old Church concert hall.

It's a tradition my "live-in gardener" and I have done for about 27 years.

The gingerbread house, another tradition, was made.

The Night Before Christmas was read at church.

 More tea was imbibed at a local hotel.

A parade of Christmas decorated boats was viewed from the warmth of a friends condo.

And special gifts were unwrapped.
Each year my "live-in gardener" carves a Santa for our D.
This one represents Ukraine and quite special.
D also received this cozy hooded blanket, which he is living in now.
I hear he even wore it outdoors on his scooter.

Hoping you had family and a little night music to celebrate the season. Merry Christmas!
Sending love, Marilyn

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Word Magic, The Final One for 2023

 The final word for 2023 is LEARN

Definition:  gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.

Laying in bed very early on a recent morning I thought about words and what have I learned. As a young girl I loved opening the dictionary and pointing to a word to learn and start including in my vocabulary. Over 30 years ago I started picking a word for the year. Some years I would get through part of the year and almost forget about the word, but then I would say "pay attention" and always I would learn something.

This past year my word was VOICE. It was one of those words that I sort of ignored for awhile. When it chose me I thought I would speak more, but I realized I really wasn't speaking more. Recently what I learned is that there are different ways of using your voice, not necessarily by speaking. For me I realized that in using your voice you are REVEALING you. I needed to reveal me and who I was. So slowly I am revealing who I am by words I write and very occasionally by what comes from my mouth. Sometimes the words in my head trickle out in whispers from spirit.

Words are Magical, we learn from them. I hope and pray that in my sharing words this year you also have learned and embraced some words into your own lives.


In paying attention and noticing what word I was being drawn to for my own personal word for 2024, two words came to me. For several months I have felt that there needed to be more kindness in the world and I wanted to embrace that word. I strongly feel like next year is going to be a year of challenge for many of us and that what will get us through it and grow is kindness. Kindness for ourselves and kindness for others. I can fully take that into my heart, but I also needed a word that would challenge me. Ugh!!! I don't really like words that challenge me, for they teach me lessons I am not sure I want to learn. My challenge word is move. I know, that is sort of a strange word to choose, but I need to move my body more. I feel better when I am moving everyday. So for 2024 my personal words are Kindness and Move.


This is my last Word Magic for 2023. For next year I will be focusing on Words of Kindness and Joy on my Monday posts. Who knows where that will take me, maybe a joke or a poem or maybe a story. In sharing words of Kindness and Joy I hope we all learn to share a smile for those that cross our path.

The pictures I shared today are just to make my words more beautiful. This last one was taken in November as I walked this path with my favorite cousin and dear nieces. We shared words during our brief time of being together and I think we all learned new family stories.

Whatever paths we take words will come to your mind, may we grow and embrace them, learning together.

Sending love,


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Be Blessed


I said, “Be Blessed this Christmas season”

But, dear God, I hurt

I am weary

I am overwhelmed

People are suffering

Devastation by hatred reigns

Angry words are said

Natural disasters, deceits and lies abound

Be blessed, I say

How can that be?

How can we heal the world?

Where is kindness and love when needed?

How do we find faith, hope and love?

God of all around the world

Teach us to be humble, to love each other.

Wrap kindness around each word.

Visualize a world that is healing.

For blessed are the peacemakers.

Be blessed!

The first candle was lite for welcoming in the light of solstice.

Be blessed!!!

 The second picture has been posted before, but I really feel like we need to light candles and pray for peace each and every day.

The poem was written in response to my Christmas card this year. For some reason I said Be blessed. I am not sure why I said it and as I thought of those words, the words I sent out to friends, the poem came to me.

Be blessed throughout the season of Christmas and into the New Year.

Sending love,


Monday, December 18, 2023

Word Magic

 The word this week is SOLSTICE

definition: The time or date (twice each year) at which the sun reaches its maximum or minimum declination, marked by the longest and shortest days (about June 21 and December 22).

When I think of Solstice I think of the night sky, of the moon and stars. 

As the sun set on Saturday I had the joy of visiting a friend that lives with the view of the Willamette River that runs through the middle of Portland. It divides east and west. At Christmas about 25 boats decorate with lights to welcome in the season of darkness and joy. As the light dims the boats turn on their lights and parade down the river. Solstice is the season to celebrate the light. In winter I love to light a few candles as the light fades into night.

Stars appear in my kitchen, as I celebrate the light sent by the stars.

And I pay attention to the moon. Soon it will be another full moon appearing on the horizon.

It's often said to be a time of new beginnings; with the changing of the seasons, we say goodbye to a long, stagnant period of self-reflection and welcome the fiery energy of the sun to propel us forward. This very physical changing of the seasons is a powerful time to manifest spiritual transformations.

Setting ones intentions and preparing for change. 

I don't know if this time encourages you to evaluate and set new intentions for the coming year or not. For me it does.

Just take note, notice the darkness and light a candle to celebrate the coming of the light. Cuddle in with a special person, wrap in a cozy quilt, sip something that warms your soul clear down to your toes and welcome the darkness as we watch for the light.

Happy Solstice week, dear friends!


Friday, December 15, 2023

My Home this Christmas Season


The Christmas sights in my home today.

My silver tiny tree holds tiny ornaments that I have collected over the years.

There has been two tea times this month. One at the dining room table and another by the fire.

I still bake a few cookies, but have added a couple new ideas for gluten free friends. The almond butter/rice krispie treat is dipped in chocolate. Perfect for a tea celebration.

The teatime by the fire had gluten free treats and a cheese board.

O Christmas tree O Christmas tree you stand in splendid beauty!O Christmas tree O Christmas tree you stand in splendid beauty!Your branches green in summer's glowAnd evergreen in winter's snowO Christmas tree O Christmas tree you stand in splendid beauty!
O Christmas tree O Christmas tree you stand in splendid beauty!O Christmas tree O Christmas tree you stand in splendid beauty!Your branches green in summer's glowAnd evergreen in winter's snowO Christmas tree O Christmas tree you stand in splendid beauty!
Whenever I share my Christmas decorations this song comes to mind.
Packages have been wrapped.
The quilt is about 100 years old and handed to us by my mother-in-law.
It is too delicate to use, but I love seeing it at Christmas time.

My "live-in gardener" loves the Santa collection above the book shelf.
Just a little forest scene for my office.
And a tea tray for the bedroom. The card was sent to me many years ago by my piano teacher. I love that Santa is playing the piano.
There just needed to be a bit of real greenery in the house.
The dining room cupboard with my little silver tree and white characters being warmed by candles. If you peak in the cabinet you will see my Asian teaware.
A little nook by the front door holds a small creche.
Now why did I put the bear angel in a glass cloche?
I am not really sure, but I wanted to capture a little light and greens.
The Thanksgiving cactus is still blooming and the paper whites soon will have buds.
The picture is Santa taking a break on the chimney top with a cup of tea. The artwork was a gift a few years ago and done by my son.
The mantle holds the little Christmas village. The little garland of mittens was made by my daughter for me a few years ago. She used the yarn I had spun to knit them.
I love the festive spirit of the season.
It makes me smile to walk through the house and see little vignettes of the holiday.

Are you enjoying the small touches of Christmas around your home?
I hope it makes you smile.
Sending love today and everyday.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Word Magic

 The word this week is ADVENT.

Definition:  the arrival of a person, place or event.  The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.   noun: Advent


The celebration of Advent takes place on the four Sundays prior to Christmas, follows four weekly themes; hope, peace, joy and love and ends on Christmas Eve.

Many churches in the Christian world celebrate Advent. As part of the Quaker community, since we don't have rituals, we don't do the formalized lighting of candles. We do, however, celebrate the words "hope, peace, joy and love". I thought about talking about each of those four words, but I can imagine each of those words would trigger your own stories. I will leave you to imagine a world with "hope, peace, joy and love".

For me, hope and peace sort of go together. I hope and pray every day for peace in the world. My heart is broken at the hurt. I pray daily for Ukraine and Palestine. Yes, I even pray for Israel and Russia. The minds of selfish, evil men must be cleansed and opened to love. I do say "men" because it most often seems to me to be men leaders that do evil. Now that is a generalized attitude on my part; but when I look I find so much greed/selfishness and evil in so many rich, white, old men. In my opinion I feel like they are panicked because even though at the moment they have power and money they can feel their grip on humanity waning. 


Now my word for this year is VOICE and I remind myself not to hide my light, but reveal my heart. Thus, at times this year, I have lit the candle so you see a glimmer of my heart.

Then joy and love in a way seem to go together too. When we feel and receive love, we feel much joy or happiness. What brings joy your way. I pray you are surrounded by joy and love each and everyday.

Are you anticipating the advent of the season, the arrival of someone special or a special event? Are you lighting the candles to welcome in the season of advent? 

My candles are lit with anticipation.

Have a most meaningful week, dear friends.

Sending love,



Friday, December 8, 2023

Come In

 I most often read in the morning with my cup or pot of tea. For December every year I pull out Nigel Slater's book, The Christmas Chronicles. This year I am also reading throughout the the book, Light Rain Sometimes Fall, A British Year Through Japan's 72 Seasons, by Lev Parikian. Each section is only 3 or 4 pages and quite easy to read every few days.

A couple quotes this morning just stuck with me. They are quite simple, but did cause me to think.

"Yesterday was a day for moving on; today is a day for lingering. So I linger." from Light Rain Sometimes Fall. Do we take the time to linger on occasional days?

"And yes, I know the world is a shitstorm at the moment, but we all need a safe harbour." from The Christmas Chronicles. He is talking about inviting someone into your home, a "safe harbour". It might not have, as he says mince pies, but it is a place of safety, warmth in a time of difficult times, and a place where we can offer a bit of bread. A time to linger.


Do you schedule in times to linger during the holiday season? Or do you say, after the holiday season I will rest? I hope you are finding times during the season to put your feet up, sip a cup of tea, maybe read a book and linger by the lights of the Christmas tree. 

The wizard doing his magic under my little tree.

Maybe we stroll down a magical lane of Christmas?

Take time to linger and savor each moment of the holiday season.

If you came to my door I would say, "Come In". Come and linger with me awhile. Would you like a cup of tea, maybe a cookie too?

Sending love,


Monday, December 4, 2023

Word Magic

 The word this week is SPARKLE

definition:shine brightly with flashes of light.

Actually, I could not decide between sparkle or shine, then I read the definition and they really go together. So for today it is sparkle and shine. In a way that is what I think of Christmas decorations. I absolutely love the sparkle and shine. From the tinsel on the trees to the bright shining faces of delight on a child's face.

This year I needed more of the sparkle and shine; so I added this little silver tree to my decorations. It works quite well for my sparkly stars and small ornaments. I quite think I might leave it up through the winter just to make me smile.


Add more tinsel, more sparkle to the mix!

These baubles always make me happy to see at the antique mall.

I have a few on my little IKEA tree, but I do leave some of them out all year long. Why not enjoy the sparkle and shine all year long?


And crystals too. This is at the antique mall, but there are a few around my house too.

Have you figured it out yet? I love sparkle and shine.


And then just seeing the sunlight streak through my picture and the reflection on the water, again I smile.
And finally as the sun goes down, the water just sparkles and shines.

Is it just for me that it shines? No, it is for you too.


So each and everyday, just notice and enjoy those things around you that sparkle and shine.

Happy new week, dear friends,