Outside my window, a Christmas Eve fog is settled over the yard, wrapping around the trees, lifting up the captain's bell. A soft patter of rain. A sleepy world.
Giving thanks for this season. It's been a blur since Thanksgiving ... Jane's death ... Erin's 10th birthday ... Christmas prep at home and for the video team ... schooling ... a next year focus on 66 Books ... a busy rush and it went too fast. But thinking long on family gathered together, and cinnamon scented pine cones, of twinkling Christmas lights, Christmas music and movies, great reads and holiday performances (we saw A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker). Counting blessings and sipping away at Comfort and Joy tea, the crackle of fires heating the home, my husband's arms, this time with my kids.
In the school room, we've been reading an advent story, knitting hats by the fire. December took us with a whoosh and rush. Determined that post-Christmas we'll schedule in plenty of quiet and focus.
From the kitchen, last Tuesday a December tea with a very special guest and her mother. What a precious privilege to host them! Cinnamon orange tea, cinnamon sugar donuts, chocolate donuts, peanut butter blossoms and pecan pie bars. There were clementines too. No holiday cookie baking here this year for neighbors or friends. We purchased ferns and Christmas cacti (I had to Google that), and Lanie and I went local to deliver the festive fronds. (I kept some for myself as well. Cindy was big on gardening and plants. I remember she came over here one time and commented on my lack of plants in the house--as in not one. In that time, it was enough to manage what I had to manage, but this year, I admired these plants so much that I built room for a few in our home. Plants are good for the heart.)
I don't want to forget this time with my dad. I thought for sure I wouldn't get to see him before year's end because of inclement weather and ice on his driveway. I wept for days. He surprised me with a visit last Wednesday at the house. He showed me the scarves he had made and I admired his work--the Tunisian crochet stitch (lovely!). I even talked him into giving me a scarf. I have ordered a 14" Afghan J hook so that he can come by soon and teach me the stitch. I don't want to forget the look on his face when I packed him up with oats, butter, raisins and clementines so he could skip the trip to the store. I don't want to forget his excited emails as he also anticipates seeing us again to crochet together. I don't want to forget the look of his hands as he showed me the stitch. Oh, his slow shuffle as he walked into my house. His hearing aids. His softened voice. His catching breath. I love my dad. This visit, a Christmas prayer answered.
I am reading a few over break. I promised Lanie I would read The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester. Also reading Christie Purifoy's book Roots and Sky, and Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. On last pages of Bartholomew's Passage by Arnold Ytreeide and Christmas Remembered by Tomie DePaola.
I am hearing the tumbling hum of the dryer. I am so thankful for working appliances. Clean dishes and clothes. Heat in the house. A full fridge. I am thankful for comfortable, meaningful, familiar things, and the people I get to enjoy this life with.
Around the house, a sleep-in morning (bet that won't be the case tomorrow!). Tidying up for rest this week. So much busy, that I just want to bake a batch of cookies for my kids. Enjoy the delicious scent of a fire. Snuggle under a blanket. Read. Knit. Study. There's no place like home.
A view of my favorite things
|hound dog by the fire on her new bed|
|Erin's sweet friend--instant besties|
|confetti balloons because double digits|
|family field trip|
|ballet with dear friends|
|Christmas break play dates|
|peanut butter blossoms and chocolate kisses|
|these ferns--frosty leaf lovelies|
|a season of advent mystery and delight|
|kitchen help for mini donuts|
|table for five--tea party Tuesday|
|the scarf my dad crocheted from his odds and ends yarns--a perpetual hug|
At the table, tonight's Christmas Eve nachos--a favorite. Erin requested a feast this year for Christmas day, so I hope to decorate the home and table with festivity and beauty. I bought a duck to cook because it seemed so exotic compared to our typical chicken or beef dinners. I think on the fullness of beauty we saw in ballet and theater, the music and decorations these weeks, and a feast seems like such a decadent end to a season and year. A celebration. Christ came to save the world (!) because we're all a hot mess. #truth
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.