Monday, December 28, 2009

Quote to Ponder

One of my absolute favorite books is Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Published in the mid nineties, it was a big success, but I didn't find it until around 2000, when I read it sporadically. 4 or 5 years ago I picked it up again, and now I read it pretty much daily, at times getting behind for a few days, and at times reading ahead a little as my soul craves more.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, it's written in 366 essays, one to be read daily throughout the year, and magically, it seems, the timing for each day seems quite perfect for me. I love re-reading because different passages strike me more strongly at different times, and something I sailed by one year without feeling particularly moved, will impact me strongly with it's richness and relevance the next.

This Christmas morning I picked up the book and flipped to December 25th and was struck with the quiet beauty of this quote:

If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things;
if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have time to make the long,
slow journey across the desert as did the Magi?
Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds?
Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary?
For each one of us, there is a desert to travel.
A star to discover.
And a being within ourselves to bring to life.
~Author Unknown~
I think (maybe) I've mentioned before that I'm not a religious person. I'm the daughter of a former Catholic mother and vaguely Luthern father, and I wasn't raised within any particular religious tradition. I have explored various religious traditions and haven't found any one that speaks to me directly, but I find much richness in many of the religious and spiritual practices and this quote speaks directly to me right now in a soft but clear voice.
I'll leave you quietly with this for today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Next Christmas.....

.....will be a very different story from this one.

I have been pondering a lot on what has been missing for me about Christmas in recent years. As a child, I LOVED Christmas, couldn't wait for it. That changed gradually over time, and more recently I have joined the ranks of those who are overwhelmed by the season and are sadly grateful when it's done.

For awhile, I thought it was an inevitable part of transitioning into adulthood...that the magic was a childish thing that faded as time marched on. Of late, I've become unwilling to accept this and have gone back to wondering what changed.

Certainly, when Santa became more fiction than fact, something of the magic was gone. But still, for many years, I loved Christmas.

It came to me, today, in a sort of epiphany, that it's the giving that I really miss. Not that I have stopped giving at Christmas time, but the quality of the giving has changed for me over time. When I was really young, I was excited to buy a few gifts for my parents and brother. When I was a little older but still quite young, I made many of my gifts. Older still, I made some, spent a lot of time and energy buying the right gifts for those I loved. Then more time passed and life got fuller, the list of loved ones longer, shopping time got thin, finances sometimes thinner still, and Christmas gradually became exhausting and overwhelming as I tried to cram in the shopping, squeeze the budget and stressed when we either overspent or ran out of time or money of both.

I don't think it has to be this way, in fact, I stubbornly refuse to let it be anymore. I firmly (possibly foolishly, naively) refuse to admit defeat.

So next year, starting in January, I'm going to plan for Christmas 2010. I think, believe, hope, that with some planning and attention throughout the year, I will arrive at December 1st, 2010 with gifts to wrap, a home to decorate, and some baking to do, but not this frantic last minute search for the right gifts at the wrong time.

I'll let you know how it goes! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Shopping with Extra Love...

Here's another holiday shopping opportunity, one with special significance...

I recently found this wonderful blog, Bloom, by writing team Anne & Emily. It's worth more than a quick glance for it's own sake. But this week they're doing something a charity auction in support of the family of Benson & Claire, two tiny people with big health problems. Money raised from this auction will be given directly to the family to pay Claire's kidney and liver transplant.

As explained by their parents, "Benson and Claire were born with a rare genetic disease in which their liver produces too much oxalate--called primary hyperoxaluria. Claire's condition has progressed much faster than Benson's. She has been on dialysis since she was 3 months old and is on dialysis 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. She is now on the waiting list to receive a combined kidney / liver transplant. It is expected Benson will eventually need similar transplants."

I've just finished scrolling through the 80+ items up for auction, and there are lots of great things to bid on, heavy on handmade items, with everything from hairbows to wall art to kids clothing to spa and vacation packages.

Follow this link to get to the auction page. Once you're there, scroll down and click older post to get to the first auction item, then keep clicking older post to scroll through all of the items available.

Please consider doing some of your holiday shopping here...the auctions end Saturday night, so just a few days to bid.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Theme Thursday...Friend

I haven't done a Theme Thursday in ages, time not being very available, as it were...but this one speaks to to my heart so strongly.

This is one of my very favorite friendship that was so true for me a few years ago:

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." Author Unknown

Friends have lifted me up when I was lower than I thought I could be, moved my heavy things from one home to another, given me their homes and cars when we were in town for funerals and even just because, been at the other end of phone countless times when I needed them, dropped everything to pick me up when I was broken down (my car, and otherwise) and done so many more wonderful things than I could possibly list....suffice it to say, I'm forever grateful for these wonderful people in my life.