Winter Greetings

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Hello, and a happy new year! I'm curled on the couch beneath a plush navy blanket and beside the glow of our Christmas tree. Outside is a brilliantly blue and sunny January's been a very slow Saturday, which I'm grateful both because there's a tickle in my throat and I remember the recent days when I worked every Saturday and wondered what it was like to have a proper weekend.

God is good, and eventually that season of life ended, and here I am--able to rest and read and write. In addition to laundry, grocery shop, and all the small bits and bobs of life that don't get done during the week.

2019 started off quietly enough, and going back to work has been quite a transition, schedule-wise, but that is what weekends are for! And so, our Christmas tree glows softly in the corner (where it will likely stay until February...), the blinds are cracked to let in a bit o' sky and daylight, jazz (Billie Holiday) rises and falls in a lush combination of trickling piano keys and meandering saxophone. And I'm taking these moments to rest. To stay still, instead of rushing around, checking off a long errands and chores to-do list.

The holiday season is over, a new year has begun--January feels like a long breath after rushing through the flurry of the last two months.

By December 28th, I felt ready to turn a new page, to reclaim and refreshen the apartment. While the tree stays up, I packed away all the small Christmas decorations and the Advent candles (which were replaced with golden ones). For the first time ever, I feel truly ready to move on from festivities and feel the need for a new season. Which is appropriate, considering today is the last day of Christmas! Tomorrow is Epiphany, and then the Church Herself takes a deep breath into a new liturgical season...Ordinary Time.

And Ordinary Time sounds both restful and simple. The celebrating and rejoicing has happened, and now we settle into the second half of winter--the slow season of hibernation and restfulness as our minds turn towards spring and thawing out. Not yet, though.

For now, I am enjoying the small joys of winter: a stack of thick books filled with new and familiar worlds to explore, trying my hand at crusty homemade bread, watching black and white or old Hollywood films in the evenings, working our way through an assortment of puzzles (one of my favorite hobbies).

A List of Small Joys, Christmas edition

Monday, December 24, 2018

A list of small joys for this month...moments to remember and keep close as reminders of goodness and beauty.

-melted wax seals, pressed against paper
-pale pink and dark green together
-winter stamps, glorious birds of blue and grey and red
-melted cheddar bubbling on crusty bread
-navy stockings with oatmeal-colored stripes
-soft, plush throw blanket
-a hot bath
-the magical strains of The Gruffalo’s Child suite 
-dark-bound notebooks with thick, unlined paper
-sinking into a soft pillow at night
-cozy cardigan pockets
-Mary Berry
-red lipstick
-seeing pictures of everyone’s Christmas trees
-beer cheese soup
-dark green flannel shirts
-library books stacked tall and thick
-freshly washed sheets
-a holiday latte
-folded socks
-golden steamed milk
-dropping letters in a mailbox
-navy and green sticks of wax
-an Advent wreath
-curving black ink on paper
-driving at night, warm and safe in the car
-falling asleep to waves of gentle music
-being gentle with yourself
-fingers brushing through your hair
-the corners of a throw pillow peeking out from an armchair
-the glow of Christmas tree lights 
-the quiet tingling of bells in Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
-the dark, hushed corners of the soon-to-be-filled empty crib in a manger
-making a list of small joys 

Sadness and joy

Friday, September 28, 2018

“Our life is a short time in expectation,
a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment.
There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our lives. It seems that there is no such thing as a clear-cut pure joy, but that even in the most happy moments of our existence we sense a tinge of sadness. In every satisfaction, there is an awareness of limitations. In every success, there is the fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is the knowledge of surrounding darkness … but this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us.” ― henri j.m. nouwen



Rainy September Days

Friday, September 21, 2018

It’s been a slew of rainy days here lately...and I couldn’t be happier. September is one of my favorite months, in a different way than October, the best autumn month of them all. November is too close to Christmas and festive cheer and October is the witching month, all blustery winds and chill air.

But September is the lovely prelude to that. A whimsical mixture of grey, rainy—humid, yes, but still cooler and slower— days and golden ones of breeze and delightful blue skies. September feels like snappish January’s older, calmer sister; less chaotic and mischievous than her younger, merry, arch cousin October who sweeps in rapidly with a impetuous toss of her head. A call to retreat within slow, open the window, light the candles. Play soft, rich, unwinding music while pottering around the apartment. Sitting on a rug, driving in the rain for dinner; exchanging a throw pillow for a warmer-toned one. Pulling a puzzle or board game off the shelf. 

It's not cool here yet, but there's a noticeable lift in the air from the usual heaviness and humidity on some is Friday. While I don't have too many feelings, it's an overcast day with wet streets and sidewalks. I'm wearing dark green and blue flannel, a black cardigan, red rainboots, and a warm happiness for the weekend ahead.

I have some posts coming up with some of my favorite films, reads, and tunes for this season. I think most of us are hungry for the small, ordinary actions that can bring some joy to our day or soften the edge of a long, weary week. I know I am, at least. After all, who can help enjoying themselves when Bill Murray is being Bill Murray onscreen or Wes Anderson's cinematography is the backdrop for a folding laundry or Harry Connick Jr. croons during the steady chopping and stirring while making dinner or while pulling fall sugar cookies out of the oven?

Life, in all of its daily grind, goes on...but instead of the perfect moment to orchestrate a memory, I'm determined to make them on a small, daily basis.

In the meantime, here's one or two lovely things around the internet.

Emilio Estevez's film about a library and the people who inhabit it on one freezing winter night looks hopeful, unsettlingly truthful, and gentle.

These book anagrams made me smile...don't we all need more eggs on famous covers?

Rebecca from A Clothes Horse's delicious autumn moodboard gave me all the feels for rich, dark shades, berets and beanies, and thick sweaters.

I loved this post about having a hobby on Cup of Jo...I struggled with this over the summer and delved into list-making research. Forthcoming post soon.

Happy rainy weekend. It's good to be back!

All I know about love

Sunday, September 9, 2018

"This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing
This is everything I have learned about marriage: nothing.

Only that the world out there is complicated, 
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain, 
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes, 
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another
hand to squeeze
and not be alone.

It's not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it's what they 
Somebody's got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn't
want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.

It's not two broken halves becoming one. 
It's light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both
safely home.
Because home is wherever you are both together. 

So this is everything I have to tell you about love and
marriage: nothing, 
like a book without pages or a forest without trees. 

Because there are some things you cannot know before you 
experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or trials.
Because nobody else's love, nobody else's marriage, is like
and it's a road you can only learn by walking it, 
a dance that cannot be taught, 
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to

And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand, 
not knowing for certain if someone is even there.
And your hands will meet, 
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.

And that's all I know about love."      
                                                               ----Neil Gaiman