I love commas. And as I writer, I’m prone to the (probably) overuse of ellipses. It’s the pause I’m after. The breath in between thoughts. No full stop like a period, a comma dangles there in my writing and in my mind offering me a moment of rest.
Sometimes, a moment is all I need.
Today deserves a few well-placed commas. Some intentional ellipses. A deep breath in … … and a slow exhale of release.
My wish for you in all of today’s hustle and hurry … is at least one hopeful pause.
I’ve felt rushed, but I promise to slow down. Greet you properly as you guide me to the end of this year and the beginning of the next. December, hello, thank you for warming me even on the coldest of days.
In all my busyness, bustling about, and bow tying, I must not forget to breathe you in. Your warm teas, spicy simmer pots, our tiny tree.
I must not forget to sing you out. Your glorias, hymns, and heralds. Your faith found even on the longest and darkest night of the year.
I must not forget to listen for your silent nights, your holy nights, and your peppermint winds. I will listen for your laughter and the making of merry. For the good cheer of bells, the crackle of a fire, and the knock of a neighbor at the door.
I will remember to delight in the foraging of berries, and greens, and cones. Each week, lighting a fresh candle of hope, joy, peace, and love – praying the warmth and glow of each lights my way for months to come. I’ll look for your candles in each window, the impossible pink of a cactus flower, and the I’m Home relief of a wreath at my door.
Dear December, you’re long-awaited and much-anticipated. You’re prayerful, hopeful, wistful, and filled to the minute with celebrations, surprises, and traditions. Sometimes, you’re lonely and grieving. I know this too. I live this too. We’ll remember and honor and pray through it together.
Your lists are long, and your days are short, and I have so very much to be grateful for. In all my busyness, I must not forget to give in any way I can, whenever I can, and whatever I can.
Join me for a Thanksgiving gathering of women I’d love to meet, and greet, and seat ’round my table.To say I know them would be inaccurate as I know them only by their Internet and social media presence. I do know of them. Collectively, I know of their kindness and compassion, their ingenuity, and positive spirits. I know how they motivate, inform, and guide. Their how-tos. Can-dos. Why-don’t-yous.
Such relationships with people I’ve never met enrich my life despite never having become acquainted personally. Perspectives and points of view I’d not considered. Products. Delights. Unexpected surprises. Reminders of how many ways there are to be a good person. An intelligent person. Faithful. Curious. Creative. Nurturing. Inspiring. Giving.
I’m thankful for them all.
Meet Elise! Her year-long Make36 project has been a joy to watch! So creative! So fun! A why-not-try-it wonder!
Meet Nicci! A beautiful soul with beautiful products and talents to share! Check out Nicci’s online shop for everything from well-made toys to garden tools to aprons and good, clean skin care. Nicci has informative workshops available for canning and sourdough baking as well! My very favorite place to shop
Meet Erin! Her living-simply lifestyle blog is a beautiful place to pause and catch my breath. A stay against chaos and confusion. A cleanse of my online palate. And … in case I catch myself getting altogether too comfortable, Erin invites me to social action as well … reminding me of my privilege and all I need to learn.
Meet Linda! A true conversationalist! Linda guides me to explore my faith more deeply. Filled with compassion, Linda kindly encourages all from the comforting welcome of her blog’s front porch.
Meet Debby! A kindred spirit. Together, we’re finding our way through a new phase of living, creating, writing, and growing. It’s always good to have a friend who understands.
Meet Julie! Her Maine homestead is a delightful respite in the wilderness of the Internet. Julie puts the home in home sweet home. A farmer, mama, and maker … her homemade gifts…. wow … and those dolls!
Here’s to finding our fill of hope this Thanksgiving!
Linger in the good graces of a morning, over one more cup of coffee, the pages of a book, and couple-talk punctuated by the clink of spoon against cereal bowl. Linger over the iron’s steam, marveling at the smoothing of wrinkles like the righting of wrongs.
Linger at the door to count blessings and gratitudes and hopes. Linger out in the first, startling cold slap of air. Breathe until wide, wide awake. And ready.
Linger long enough to listen for the gossip of chickens out back and the agitation of blue jays at the feeder. Watch for the indecision of squirrels crossing the road and find grace in the spiral of a wind-blown leaf or the dancing sway of a branch.
Linger over realizations, what you thought you knew, but now know you didn’t. Changes and chances and challenges you should have made or offered or taken. Linger not to heed the whisper of regret.
Instead, linger to remember yesterday’s promises and the hope in today. Reach out for the dreams you lost track of or the hand of someone you miss. Feel for the tug of a memory in a lingering daydream gaze out the window.
Stand certain, like the last geranium bud in the pot on the porch, somehow surviving despite fall, and frost, and the fading of warmth. Tall, strong, and lingering … just a little longer.
At day’s end, linger a few minutes more at the table with friends; admire her smile, his laugh, their warmth on a chilly evening. Watch the light linger as long as it can, understanding you will find light elsewhere these dark nights. Returning to bed, remember the day, knowing you did your best. Linger over thoughts and questions and drowsy ideas.
Live in this difficult day too. Live in its sorrow, its uncertainty, its trembling hope. Live minute to minute, averting my gaze so as to avoid peering too far ahead of myself. Move slowly among the memories and their unboxing, the wistful wishes and what-might-have-beens, the celebrations and happy remembrances. Feel what you feel when you feel, but breathe in and out of each moment regardless. Because time will pass, and when I least expect it, even the sharpest edges will soften and peace will be made. Maybe it’s best to read the book only a page at a time, making notes in the margins I’ll be better prepared to read another day.
In the meantime, don’t go putting the cart before the horse or look ahead to some other day, imagining or assuming its an easier day to live. I know there’s shadows on the sunny days too, and it’s worth noting that rain doesn’t always fall from clouds. Sometimes hope arrives when I find even a crumpled, old wad of tissue in my pocket when I really need a tissue. Or from taking pen in hand in anticipation of a difficult day.
Come, November. You with your winds and rains. Your passions and gratitudes. Your brisk walks and sparkle-frosted mornings. Come, November. We’ll warm up with your soups and stews, breads and blankets. We’ll be mesmerized by your achingly clear midnight skies pierced for a moment by your stars and the sharp slice of your moon. Come, November. You with your chill and stark sticks. Your reluctant light and bare-boned trees. You, all gray-skied and maybe misunderstood. Come, November. We’ll walk together, thankful and daring, making our way toward winter. We’ll travel by candlelight, firelight, and lamplight. Side-by-side, step-by-step. Disregarding the forecast and choosing instead to count our blessings, knowing nothing is ever as bleak as wasting a single day. Come, November. Let’s gather ‘round your table and be nourished in your company. Hopeful, happy, and home.
Laundry, as a chore – its sorting, washing, drying, folding, stacking, and tucking away – is one of life’s necessaries. It simply must be done in order to be prepared for all of our dailies: work, play, cooking, cleaning, and comfortable rest. Once upon a time, laundry, in all its multi-stepped, never-ending cycles, was almost more than I could manage.
Not so today.
Just now, for me, all those steps are more soothing than stressful. I’ve learned the stress was really more about time and less about the task itself. With four boys – and all their multitude of socks – the drudgery was more about the sheer quantity of the laundry than disdain for doing it.
Today, strange as it may sound, I celebrate laundry.
I feel gratitude for the tidy task of it. The satisfying snap of a towel. Overcoming the dilemma of a fitted sheet. The delight when every sock entering the washer finds it way out of the dryer as well. The small victory of actually washing, drying, folding, and stowing a load all in the same day.
Folding laundry is like a moving meditation. Pull. Fold. Smooth … Fold. Smooth. Stack … Pull. Fold. Smooth … Fold. Smooth. Stack. My mind feels free to go elsewhere even as it stays exactly in the moment. I am centered. Calm. Mindful and relaxed in the repetition of movement and years of practice. Some of my best writing ideas come as I pull clean, warm laundry from the basket.
There’s a metaphor for life somewhere in the smoothing of wrinkles. The acceptance of stains. The reliving and memory of the last week through the clothing we wore. Memories of a dinner out. A successful day at work. A granddaughter’s overnight visit.
Maybe the pleasure I feel comes from more time, or maybe it’s a newfound appreciation for the uncomplicated and routine. There’s hope and happiness for me in simple tasks. There’s peace and a sense of purpose found in the curved folds of stacked towels.
A celebration. Sorting my way through darks and lights and cycles. Alone with my laundry, my thoughts and my love.