Well, hello there.
It's been quite a long while since I've checked into this space. Right now, lunch is nearing. I'm not sure I'll be able to finish writing this post all in one sitting. Beatrix is listening to Stuart Little on audio. We've taken a break from school work this week so that I can get my gifts made up and mailed and to just have time to visit with friends while most of us are on winter break. She is loving the break from the regular routine, riding her bike around and around our yard, rough housing with Molly, and then in general just talking to me constantly and giving me tight, tight hugs and lots of kisses. She is very affectionate these days. I do not require a lot of touch, so I try to embrace the PDA. I have a sweet, sweet girl and I am deeply touched that she still thinks I'm so awesome.
I've uploaded a ton of pictures in this post. I'm sorry if it causes your browser to crash. We've had a pretty slow Advent season. I've learned over the years that less is best when it comes to the holidays. This year, we drove out to the tree farm and cut a little pine tree, attended the Advent choral concert and the local university chapel, and attended the Winter Faire at the local Waldorf School. Otherwise, we have not done much more running around for the holidays. We are lucky that anytime we do get out of the house for a quick errand or take Molly, our dog, for a walk we can easily find ourselves window shopping around our festive town square or meandering around the historic section of town admiring the older homes decorated with stately trees shining bright through tall windows. At home, Beatrix has taken a new liking to watching Christmas movies. This year she has really enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and Elf. We light candles and drink hot cocoa and listen to carols. When we get in the car, we tune into the local holiday station and she gets excited to hear her favorites. We pause getting out of the car if "Drummer Boy" is playing because we just HAVE to sing it all the way through. Sweet times. She's not so much into the crafting this year, but definitely still finding magic in new ways.
When I look around my home, I often feel a lump in my throat. I feel so grateful for the love and simplicity and contentedness of our days. Not without struggles and hard feelings, but we are well and and ever hopeful. And then I turn on NPR or login to my Facebook account and I am reminded of the times in which we are living and it all feels especially fleeting and bittersweet -- as if watching a collision in slow motion and there is no way to stop it. I panic for our precious earth and I panic for the twinkle in my daughter's eye and her huge heart. In her and all of our children, I see hope and kindness and empathy - free of cynicism and hatred. It's our most important job to nurture and protect their spirits so that they can go on and know how to do that for their own one day. But it sometimes feels as though we might soon be swimming into a tsunami.
A couple of nights ago, a few close friends came over to my house for treats and tea. Towards the end of the evening, we gathered around the piano to sing some carols together. One of the songs we sang was "Oh Holy Night." The lyrics struck a chord with me. They mean something to me this year. It's funny how the universe opens up so that we can receive what we need, when we need it.
Oh Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices,
For younger breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love,
And his gospel is peace;
Chains shall he break
For the slave is our brother,
And in His hame all opression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name;
Christ is the Lord,
Oh, praise His name forever!
His pow'r and glory
Ever more proclaim!
His pow'r and glory
Ever more proclaim!
Peace on earth, goodwill toward all!