Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Photo from Google Images
Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlight from heaven.
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetnes of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning.
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning;
God's recreation of the new day.

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.
Happy New Year to one and all!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Tale


When I was a child, many of my gifts were homemade.  A wooden wardrobe for my doll clothes, built by my father.  Always a new doll for Christmas but with it came doll clothes that my mother made.  The traditional roller skates and bikes were of course part of those exciting mornings.

One year, as my mother tucked me into bed she told me that Christmas might not be as 'full' as it had been in past years, that because she was ill she hadn't been able to 'do as much'.  She then told me of her childhood Christmases, during the Great Depression, when all they got for Christmas was pajamas and an orange.  She said that the orange was always the best one she'd ever tasted.  That explained to me why each year my brother and I always had an orange in our stocking and got a new pair of pajamas, which my mother had made.

The next morning my brother and I approached the Christmas tree and its wonderful gifts.  There were twin dollies which my Mother had crocheted outfits for, there were the roller skates that I had wanted... I loved everything and told my Mother later in the day that it was the best Christmas I'd ever had.  Sadly that was the last Christmas we had with her as she succumbed to cancer the following summer.

As a young mother myself I kept up the tradition -- my son always had an orange in the toe of his stocking and always got new pajamas (whether he needed them or not).

These days for me, it is the holidays that surround Christmas which touch me most deeply.  Thanksgiving for its pause for thankfulness and New Years Day which says goodbye to yesterday and looks ahead with promise to the coming year.  Today I hope you are all making Christmas memories that will remain within your heart forever.
"I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all year." - Charles Dickens

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice

Look to this day for it is life.
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities
and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action.
The splendour of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream,
and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well-lived,
makes every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day.
The Salutation of the Dawn
from the Sanskrit

Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter Waters

Photo by Tom Baugh
A recent trip to Looking Glass Falls and we found winter all about us.  No leaves on the trees, colors of brown/grey/slate and the white foam of the falls. 

Photo by Barbara Shadwick

This is the time when we wrap warm cloaks around ourselves and savor a hot cup of tea.  When layering sweaters and coats and mittens and hats begins before we venture outdoors.  When the skies threaten snow - and some of us wait for it eagerly while others await with dread.

Photo by Tom Baugh

Its stark beauty is in such contrast to the lushness of spring, summer and even fall.

Photo by Barbara Shadwick
My heart is filled with sadness these days with the recent events in Connecticut.  This is a time when I have no words that can capture what I'm feeling...

"When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy. When actions come from another section, the feeling disappears".  - Rumi

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"A Ten O'Clock Scholar"

" a diller, a dollar, a ten o'clock scholar!
What make you come so soon?
You used to come at ten o'clock;
Now you come at noon."
    old nursery rhyme

Here's my 'Ten O'clock Scholar' - all decked out in flannel and corduroy for the cold days ahead.

He is reading so much better these days, since he got his glasses.

Just so he doesn't forget his ABC's!

"There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book." - Marcel Proust

Monday, December 10, 2012

Comfy Cozy

This is 'my' time of the year.  Its cold outside, but the sun still shines.  I find myself building my studio nest - with supplies and ideas to tide me over the long winter months. 

 During my childhood, when I had colds, my mother would rub my chest with Vicks VapoRub (I don't even know if they still make it) and I lay warmed with flannel cloths on my chest.  I would then snuggle down and fall alseep - safe, warm and cared for. 

Ever since then I have always loved flannel fabric.  I often wear a flannel shirt in my studio on cold mornings - loving the touch and feel of it - and of course there are flannel sheets and flannel pjs.

These days I'm moving the flannel out of the bedroom and the closet by collecting a batch with which to sew.  I  can see doll dresses and shirts, vests and hats -- all manner of 'cold-weather' doll clothing lies before me. 

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." - Jane Austen

Thursday, December 6, 2012


 Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all...

I love these words.  What keeps us going when things are bad?  What helps light our way each day as we wake to greet the world?  What strong sense, somewhere deep within, allows light to break through when everything seems quite hopeless?
This little doll shows the bird in the cage - who certainly must sing in hope that one day the door will be open and he might fly free.  Perhaps Hope's key can open not only the birdcage door but that door that sometimes seems closed to each of us.

With hope comes our strength - that wellspring within that keeps all of us alive and aware of who we are and waiting for whatever miracles and magic might come our way.
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
and on the strangest sea;
It asked a crumb of me.
Emily Dickinson

My very special thanks to my friend Phyllis who sent me all of the fabric that I used to make this doll.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Our yard is filled with native plants -- I have had to almost lay myself down in front of a non-native plant to save it from withdrawal.  Each year, more and more of the introduced plants get reintroduced some place else. 

One of the last remaining non-native trees is the Asian Crabapple.  It sits directly in front of our house.  To remove it would mean leaving an empty hole - visually.  And so this 'foreigner' lives another year to show us lovely blooms in the springtime and these wonderful 'berries' in the fall. 

How nice to have a couple of branches in the house - the berries are such a perfect holiday compliment, almost as if they were created for just this purpose.

"A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked." - Anais Nin


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