Celebrating Words

I believe that I am now on #35 of my Celebrating 45 list. Peppered throughout the list you will see my love of reading/writing/and language of all sorts.

Today, I want to celebrate the importance of words in my life. It has taken me a long time to admit this. I still blush or stumble when I try to claim it in person, but here goes . . .

I am a writer!!!

My love of words goes beyond written language. I love hearing and seeing language used with power and flexibility. I am addicted to Podcasts and TED talks, where master’s of the arts of writing and speaking fascinate their audiences with perfect phrasing, eloquent language, and an ability to manipulate language for sound and meaning A memorable phrase that lives beyond the moment of reading or hearing it, gives me chills. I thrill in those rare and wonderful moments when my own words–through some source outside myself–come together to create that indescribable perfection of consonants, vowels, and phrasing.

I just finished reading Don’t Let Me Go  by Catherine Ryan Hyde (excellent book with wonderful characters and plot that makes you want to know more).  Two sentences of hers made me yell (in my mind) “That’s it!!!”:

“Hard work can sometimes substitute for natural ability, but natural ability almost never makes up for not being willing to do the work.” (pg. 149)

“Sorry doesn’t mean shit. Not if you don’t plan to stop doing the thing you’re so sorry about. There has to be more to amends than just a word.” (pg. 406)

However, this post isn’t about celebrating other people’s words, as fabulous as they may be.

This is about celebrating words in my own life.

In 1978, when I was 10 years old,  I sat mesmerized and terrified by the television mini-series The Holocaust. 

This was in the midst of my own Hebrew School years, and the crucial years leading up to my Bat Mitzvah. Although I have since lost some of the religious beliefs, being a Jew was (and to some extent still is) an important aspect of my life at that time.

At a Hebrew School meeting after the series aired, the Rabbi met with all the classes to discuss what we had seen. I raised my hand and said, “It made me scared to be a Jew, but prouder than ever to be a Jew.”

On Saturday morning (I’m told–I would have been at the children’s service if I was there) the Rabbi used my words as part of his reflection during the service. This was the moment that I became aware that the right choice of words–even when you don’t know that they are the right words–can be magical, powerful and reach beyond the pages or the circumstances where they’ve been created.

My journey through writing started in school, with my first poems written in 1st grade along with a puppet play. My first book was a collection of poems and short stories that I hand-lettered and illustrated as a project in sixth grade, for another fabulous teacher who influenced my life named Mrs. Jorgensen. My first published work was a poem written bout a piece of art in a museum, that then got placed into some kind of literary magazine someone put out.

I have numerous starts and starts of stories, novels, poems etc. scattered throughout journals and gathered in three-ring binders. Throughout my life I’ve found solace and friendship in words, probably more than anyone even knew. Because of this it makes sense to me that when life began to fall apart around me (for reasons I won’t go into here) I turned to words–writing my first real book, joining a book club, and creating  a small writing group. The two women from that writing group convinced me to take the step into a then unknown world, the one of blogging. Over 756 posts (spread across several blogs) and thousands if not millions of words later, my life is filled with words. Some of them sing with the beauty I yearn for, but most of them are mundane and some are even cliché. However, words fill my life and sustain me, so a celebration of my life would not be complete without celebrating the words that fill it.

What are some of your favorite words? What quotes live on in your memory?

 

He Was My Father

I said farewell to my father today. I kept looking for him to be sitting next to us, but he wasn’t there. My mother asked me to write a eulogy for him, and these are the words I said.

 

Photo by Steve Kramer

Photo by Steve Kramer

He was my father.

 

He shared his love of reading with me. He said that, as a child, he always loved to read, and he carried that with him throughout his life. I follow in his footsteps.

 

He was the person I went to when I doubted my own words; we’d argue over the use of commas.

 

He was the only one who voluntarily read my dissertation. I’m not sure what he thought, except he told me he needed a dictionary in parts.

 

He was the person I’d call when I applied for jobs and was unsure what to say. He made me believe that anything was possible.

 

He came to my rescue when I needed help with Sarah, whose toddler days sometimes meant I couldn’t always get my work done. Nathan had to be away for some reason, and I had a big interview to prepare for, so he came and stayed for a couple of weeks, to play with his granddaughter and even take her to the beach for the first time.

 

He printed out images of Snoopy on a dot matrix printer and handed out punch cards with messages on them as he wowed my elementary school classmates with a room full of computer technology.

 

He charmed my friends whenever they met him.

 

He told awful jokes that I’m now passing down to Sarah.

 

He greeted every spring with this memorable poem, “Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the birdies is, the birds is on the wing, no, the wings is on the birds.”

 

He mastered the art of telling the Passover story as quickly as possible so we could get to the food, and of giving me hints (without anyone knowing) which allowed me to find the Afikomen before the big kids.

 

His snore scared away the bears, but his joy on one particular canoe trip made the adventure even greater.

 

He made connections with people in Japan faster than most Americans who lived there.

 

He led the way on every journey we took. He loved to walk and we had to scramble to keep up.

 

He was my personal GPS system, even though I believe he and I have a completely different understanding of the term “short cut.”

 

He jumped over my wedding dress when my parents walked me down the aisle.

 

He always said that, when he was young he “walked to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways.”

 

His favorite childhood story involved a skunk, a dog, tomato juice, and the missing seat in his pants.

 

He was the silliest looking samurai ever.

 

I learned early on never to pull his finger, and that beans were a musical fruit.

 

He played endless games with his only grandchild, who has these words to say:

 

I MISS YOU PAPA

I loved the way you laughed.

I loved the way you played games with me.

I loved that you watched me when I was a baby.

I wish I was brave enough to go to your funeral.

I miss you SO much Papa and I love you.

Rest in Peace! Sarah

 

 

He was taken far too soon, by a disease that deprived us of his wit, wisdom and his voice. Two years ago, Nathan, Sarah, and I tried to capture his memories using techniques from StoryCorps. From that interview I learned how much he loved my mother, how much he had hoped to spend his retirement traveling with her, and these words from his mouth

“I had a great life.”

 

I will miss you forever, Dad.

 

 

Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.

 

 

 

 

 

Moments of Joy, Moments of Sorrow: The World in Balance

It amazes me how quickly moments of our life can change, bouncing us through a second of pure joy only to have us stop at a minute of total sadness, then we twirl back into the giddiness of the journey, only to be swallowed by the inevitability of the end.

I’ve been on a journey like that for a while now.

As some of you may know by now, I’m writing a book. Over the past week or so, the story has taken on a life of its own allowing me to pour thousands of words onto the page in an incredible rush of creative power. I’ve met characters I never expected to meet. Plots and subplots have become entwined in a tale that, I believe, only partially comes from me. I have become the conduit of the unseen world of creative energy to tell a story that wants to be told.

An old creation of mine, as I learned to connect with the pool of creative energy.

An old creation of mine, as I learned to connect with the pool of creative energy.

This is exciting and energizing, but can also be terrifying and demoralizing. On a good day, I find myself writing without the knowledge of time passing. I end with a feeling of exhaustion mixed with awe and joy. Some days, however, the writing becomes a torturous journey through badly written sentences, ideas that hit brick walls, or the worst feeling of having no clue what happens next.

The change can happen in an instant.

The writing isn’t the only thing taking me on this fast-paced emotional roller coaster ride. Life in general has a way of doing that.

A few posts back I announced that I put myself out there and applied for a directing gig at a nearby university. I felt good after the interview, but knew then it would just come down to whomever those students wanted to work with, and had very little to do with my talent or ability as a director.

I didn’t get the job.  I figured I hadn’t when I didn’t get word from them last Monday, so once I received the actual rejection I’d protected my heart from total crushing, but it still hurts.

I buried myself in writing instead.

Other things, though, have crept in to make sure my joy is balanced by sorrow.

The other day, Christine Grote, a talented writer whose shared her story of her sister and her family with beautiful, powerful words, posted “A Love Story” a poignant tribute to her father who has Alzheimer’s and her mother who was recently diagnosed with cancer, and their life-long love. Reading that, brought the reality of what is happening to my parents into sharp focus. Our situations differ, slightly, but I’m still losing my Dad to Alzheimer’s and watching my mother have to learn to let him go.

Yesterday, I mourned. I struggled with the emotions I haven’t shared with anyone about what’s happening. I feel guilt. I feel sorrow. I feel anger. I feel it all.

So I write.

Yesterday, Stuart Nager, who has been going through his own struggles lately and whose passions in life are similar to mine, posted this lovely post, called “Rededidication, First Light, First Night”. In it he describes the joys of a Chanukah celebration, despite the sorrows he’s faced over the past year.

I have been lighting candles this year with a mixture of joy and sadness. I always cherish the flicker of the Chanukah candles, but this year they sing to me of loss and sadness. I miss the days of my childhood menorahs, one of which you can see in this lovely post of my brothers called “Tradition . . . tradition”. One of the family menorahs played Ma’otzur from a music box. I hold that sound in my heart, and sang it after we lit our own candles last night.

Tori’s “Tiny Spark” series, though, has reminded me that sorrow doesn’t last and we can, indeed find beauty and joy despite the pain. Read today’s contribution “A Helpful Heart”, written by the fabulous Jamie Shea  from The Life of Jamie. I read it this morning, and realized the wonder and kindness that does exist in our world, even if sometimes it feels like its hard to find.

Life can’t be all joy. Life can’t be all sorrow. Life is living from moment to moment in this whirlwind of chaotic emotion, some good some bad. All we can do, is hold on for the ride and never give up.

 

Sarah’s First Halloween

Little Sarah shook with fear,
she knew not what to do.
She clung to Daddy with trembling hands
as a ghost floated up and said “Boo!”

She had seen a bright green witch,
monsters and a vampire bat!
Why would her parents take her outside
and not protect her from that?

They dragged her toward a spooky house
with a cauldron that smelled like feet
they rang the bell, she closed her eyes,
Someone yelled “Trick or Treat!”

The pumpkin-shaped basket she carried
filled with strange weight
she looked inside to be surprised
by more candy than she ever ate.

 

 

This post is my entry in the (2nd Annual!) HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!! that was recommended to me by Nancy when I read her entry. The rules are simple: 

“The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words witchbat, and “trick-or-treat.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people :)”

Be sure to post it today (by 11:59 pm EST) and link it back to Susannah Leonard Hill’s blog. Have some spooky fun!

 

 

Yearning for a Front Porch

The sound of laughter and jokes from the front stoop below my bedroom window almost every summer night when I was around nine (my daughter’s age now) tortured me as I lay in bed, yearning for the days when I could stay up later, imagining that this tradition would carry over even after my more popular older (by five years) sister had moved on. I was wrong. By the time I was old enough to participate, there were only a few fleeting moments on my front stoop, as the neighborhood kids opted for other activities that I wasn’t always welcome at. (Let’s just say the neighborhood got a little rougher over those years).

I don’t have a lot of pictures of Deb and I when she was in high school, so this will have to do.

I feel like I missed out on something special.

Not that I didn’t have some time experiencing the porch life. There were the occasional games of Truth or Dare where I actually had to kiss a boy. The stoop became home base for games of tag that spread around the neighborhood.  There were hook-ups and break-ups (none which involved me, just the lone Truth or Dare kiss). But that only lasted one or two short summers, while my sister’s reign as queen of the neighborhood lasted pretty much throughout her teen years.

(Yes, I admit, I was jealous of her).

Of course, I had a few other front porch experiences as a child that live on in my memory. Perhaps the strongest of those memories was sitting on the front porch of my Great Aunt Irene’s house near the beach and listening to the stories of times gone by, of relatives long-gone, and of my father’s childhood that even as we speak fades deeper and deeper into lost memory.

As I was reading Kathy’s post called “Redefining Front-Porch Culture: Bloggers and a World-Wide Notion of Neighbor” flashes of these “front-porch” moments came into my head, and I realized that I really want a front-porch.  Our first house in Vermont had a lovely front porch, but it was on the corner of a busy street, and we weren’t there long enough to establish a front porch community. Actually, most of the meeting and chatting took place in the yard between two homes.

I miss that.

Our homes since then have been front-porch-less. Of course, in Durango, CO we would meet with friends in the neighborhood and chat in the driveway, but it still wasn’t the same. Again, we were on the curve of a somewhat busy street, so it wasn’t exactly the safest place for hanging out and chatting. I had to go to other people’s homes for that.

Now, in our current home, not only are we front-porch-less, but we are also up a steep driveway and hidden behind trees. It’s beautiful, but doesn’t lend to casual stopping by as someone takes a walk down the street.

No porch here.

Across the street from Sarah’s front window. A gap in the trees.

 

Kathy suggests that blogging is perhaps

“. . .  a front porch, of sorts—a place from which virtual neighbors come and go.  When we leave comments, we take the time to stay and ‘set a spell’.”

I like that image and that idea, but I still yearn for a real front porch. I want to live in a neighborhood where people know each other. I want to have friends that drop by for tea, and I want my house filled with the sound of children playing on the front porch or stoop.

I wonder if those kinds of neighborhoods even exist anymore? I’ll keep holding onto that dream and keep looking.

But for now, I guess I will enjoy my virtual front porch.

Would anyone like a cup of tea?

 

A Box of Memories

I sift through photos scanned in stealth by my brother from collections tucked away to gather dust in unknown corners of my parents home. I attempt to match the antique black and white photos or the faded Kodachrome colors with the perfect mat, the perfect saying, the perfect decorative element.

This is a project of love tinged with sadness.

My own memories of childhood and even early adulthood have faded almost as much as some of the photos, only sparked into vivid Technicolor when I stumble upon an object, an image, or sometimes even a scent that brings me back to a brief moment.

The collection of childhood stories found tucked into an old desk drawer remind me of when my writing dreams began, inspired by  my second grade teacher whose name eludes me.

The green stuffed ape that made a recent surprise appearance engenders images of singing karaoke in private rooms in Japan with a man I thought I might love, and a wonderful group of friends.

The collection of Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twin mysteries that I pulled out of my parent’s attic in the hope they might interest Sarah recall hour after hour curled up on my pink bedspread with tiny white flowers reading page after page of every book in sight.

I was excited when this episode of SAVED BY THE BELL came out because I had the same bedspread as Jessie Spano 🙂 (Image came from hellogiggles.com)

I still yearn for the hard cover copies of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights marked with  fading pencil lines under every word I wanted to learn and remember.

The musty smell when I enter an antique store brings me back to my Nana’s house, although memories of Nana elude me, as do memories of any of my grandparents who all died when I was very young. They live on only in the recipes handed down for special holiday fare.

My daughter’s search for the perfect bathing suit makes me flash to a black suit with a rainbow stripe on a blossoming body. My Great Aunt Irene, the only one of that generation that I recall as anything more than an image, surprised me as I walked out of her home to head toward the beach two blocks away. “What a cute figure,” she said. I still recall the feel of my blush; an awkward tween unsure of how to react to her developing body. Now I yearn to be able to fit into that black bathing suit.

Still each of these memories are brief flashes. I struggle to fill in the gaps.

If I have lost so much memory simply to the passing of time, then what snippets does my father hold as he faces the deep erasure of memory by a disease that nobody can control?

All these thoughts pass through my head as I work to create a special memory and gift of celebration for my parents’ 50th anniversary.  An anniversary which should be celebrated with a giant party and much laughter, but will instead be marked by a quiet family gathering over Chinese take-out in a house of fading memories.

I wanted to give them a gift to commemorate the occasion. But what gift could I give that would reach my father, whose slow fade into the depths of Alzheimer’s reflects the faded pictures of their past? What gift could I give them both that could spark a recognition of the miracle of surviving together for 50 years, despite difficult times which sometimes came close to tearing us all apart?

While recent gifts to the grandparents on both sides of our family have included photos of their only grandchild, sometimes placed in albums or scrapbooks, that solution didn’t seem the answer this time. Or at least not in that form. Although I treasure my own scrapbooks almost as much as the pile of journals that have traveled with me from move to move, from country to country, and from dream to dream–somehow putting together another book of pictures protected by plastic pages seemed like it would not be enough to reach my father and bring smiles to my mother.

Instead I came up with the idea for a family project.  I wanted to create something memorable and tactile. I wanted my father to be able to touch moments of his past, hoping that physically touching the photos and reading the sayings would somehow be the spark needed to provide him a moment of living technicolor memory. To do this, I put my brother on the mission to gather the photos. I gave Nathan the assignment to create some kind of beautiful container.

Sarah and I set to work mounting, writing, and creating a collection of images that could be sifted through in a cascading journey through time.

Sarah picks out a picture taken in Durango, CO. She sighs and says, “The last time Papa was still Papa,” before grabbing a label and a pen.

“I don’t think that’s what you should write,” I say. “I think that picture was taken earlier, and we don’t want this to be all about sadness.”

“Okay,” Sarah agrees. “I just really remember Papa as Papa then.”

I know what she means. For me, at least, the beginning of the more rapid decline began on their last trip to visit us in Durango. My father’s unwillingness to do much of anything on that trip didn’t match the man who was always on the move or playing mysterious games with Sarah. I’m glad she has some memory of that man, even though she cannot recall the Papa who came and spent a few weeks watching her as I prepared for an important job interview when she was still a toddler.  Those memories still live tucked away in scrapbooks of her early years.

It wasn’t until I read the announcement about the Daily Post’s “Weekly Writing Challenge, A Few of My Favorite Things” that I realized what we were creating. We were creating an heirloom. We were gathering together a collection of memories and images that symbolize many different things. Perhaps it’s not an object that has been handed down to me for generations. Nor is it one of my own treasured items, gathered as I’ve lived a life of unexpected twists, turns and adventures. However, this simple box, containing years of images, represents all the moments of a past that I only know in snippets of memory or story.

As I prepare to give this gift that contains generations, and will eventually be passed back down to future generations, I imagine the tears forming behind my mother’s eyes–tears of sadness and of joy. I picture my father flipping through photos until he finds one that he will hold onto, journeying back through time to a moment that I may never understand. Which photo will it be? I wonder. Will he place it beside the chair he rarely leaves? Will he have one of his better moments and be able to share the story in words? Or will he sit in silent memory until that moment passes?

The box opens to a wedding picture.

For me, one image stands out. It’s not of their wedding, although those photos are beautiful. It ‘s not of our family as the three children grow up. It is a picture that I don’t know if I have ever seen before, but one that tells me a story of young love and romance, of adventures taken and a relationship growing.  I don’t know why this picture calls to me, but it calls with the voice of a story I yearn to hear.

I can’t choose my most meaningful possession. Many of the items that I have carried with me from location to location hold special meanings. Anywhere I look in my home, I am reminded of a moment that has past as well as future possibilities. Yet somehow, as I prepare to wrap this gift in special paper so that we can photograph the moment of revelation and add to its contents, I know that I have just created something that will mean more and more with the simple passage of time. It is a meaningful possession that belongs with someone else.

Creating a Reader in a World of Multi-Tasking

I have been reading since I was at least 4 years old. I spent much of my childhood curled up under covers with my best friends, the ones found between the pages of books. I could spend hours or days hidden there, sometimes never coming up for air until I had read a book from start to finish. I’m sure there were times that my mother had to remind me to come down or leave the house.

Even now, if I have no other commitments, I can disappear for days, ravenously reading anything that comes my way. Much to my surprise, my addiction has only been fueled more by my Kindle (something I was against owning at first). Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer the feel of a book in my hands, and the joy of turning pages. But, once I discovered the ease of finding FREE books on Kindle, as well as the ease of making a purchase just after you finish one book and realize you want something else to read, I realized that there is something truly wonderful to having words at your finger tips.

As a matter of fact I’ve read around 10 books (or more) since I headed to my “summer home” at the end of June.

Sarah sees me reading all the time. She has picked up the (perhaps bad) habit of collecting books. She claims to love reading as well, but there is a difference that drives me crazy . . .

Sarah never seems to finish a book.

She has several books started. She has a summer homework assignment which requires her to read two books and write 8 essays (short) about them.

Getting her to sit down and read those books has become torture.

Not that she isn’t reading. She is currently sitting next to me reading her Highlight’s magazine. I just cannot get her to sit down and finish a book.

I have a theory. In a world where everything comes in high-speed mini-bites, she can only focus in short bursts. A magazine story or article requires a shorter attention span than a novel.  I see it with all my students, who never seem to finish their reading assignments completely. We are raising a generation of people with the inability to focus for an extended period of time.

It makes me sad. I can only hope that someday Sarah will find a book that she simply cannot put down.

Do you think reading is becoming a lost art?

Imaginary Monsters (100 WCGU)

This weeks challenge by Julia is a huge one. In her words:

Your mission, should you wish to take it up, is a BIG one. We are going to celebrate the Bard by writing sonnets! I can see some frowns! Don’t worry it will stretch your creativity.

  1. You MUST write 14 lines (this is the minimum)
  2. You can use 10 syllables per line (choice)
  3. You could use the following rythmn – a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g. (choice)

So, the least you have to do is write 14 lines. Limit is around 100 words. You may need to go over slightly if you choose to do 2 and 3. The topic is of your choice but of course if you fancy including George and that dragon he is supposed to have slayed then feel free!”

In typical Lisa fashion, I could not simply take the easy way out and write fourteen lines. I had to incorporate all aspects of the challenge, while also adding in some of the muddle that is in my head. These past few days (if you haven’t noticed) have been challenging ones for me as a parent, with no simple solutions in sight. One thing that we discovered yesterday is that the constant talk of Stranger Danger that is enforced on a regular basis has created a young girl who is afraid to interact with the world. That makes me sad. So, all of that combined resulted in my entry for this weeks 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups.

“Here there be dragons” as some adults say
Seeking, with monsters, to grow childhood fears
Hoping to control their instinct to play
Creating a world where joy leads to tears.
“I’ll fight them!” calls George, “I won’t let them win.
If dragons mean we can never have fun.”
“I want to too,” Sarah’s voice sounded thin,
“Fear of the dragon’s means that they have won.”
Did they find dragons?  Why yes, in a way.
A young little dragon hiding in fear
“Why don’t you big bullies just go away?”
There are no monsters that will hurt you here.

Children and dragon slayed “monsters” that day
by learning to conquer fears in their way.

Uh, never wake a sleeping dragon. (Another Sawdust Festival purchase)

Crashing the Party: I Want My Peanut Butter Cups!

I felt like I had been thrown into another dimension this morning when post after post of my favorite bloggers appeared titled “Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.”

I bopped over to the Facebook Group, “We Blog . . . A Blogging Community” and asked “Am I missing something? Why is everybody writing about Peanut Butter Cups today? I feel like I was never let into a secret club.”

Suddenly, I flashed back to Junior High School. Early summer, I am on a bike ride with a friend from my neighborhood. She went to a different school than I did, because I was in the “Gifted program” and had to be shipped off across town. My bike was my only access to speed, as my prowess in athletics included mediocrity in gymnastics and good form swimming the butterfly. So I rode myhand-me-down  yellow 5-speed Schwinn feeling joy and freedom, although I still struggled to keep up with some of the faster riders.

[I’m trying to insert a picture of the actual bike here, but WP is acting up. The bike, after sitting for centuries in my parent’s garage, now waits to be ridden by my daughter. Those bikes were mean to last. How cool is that?]

The ride was going well until I passed a friend’s house, someone who had been my friend forever and who I did go to school with. Suddenly I noticed kids from class hanging around on her lawn, and heard splashing and laughter coming from her back yard. A pool party. A birthday party. And I wasn’t invited.

Brian, the cute boy who I had a crush on, said, “Hi Lisa! Aren’t you coming to the party?”

We rode away quickly, but my anger and sadness grew. I couldn’t understand. I insisted we return, and I rang the doorbell.

Jenni came out, looking rather uncomfortable.

“Thanks for the invite, Jenni,” I said, showing a brazenness I didn’t know I had.

“I didn’t think you would want to come. I thought we were fighting.”

I wracked my brains, search for a fight I couldn’t recall. We had a slight disagreement when she told me she had voted for the popular girl instead of me for Vice President, and gave me some lame excuses. Of course I was upset, but deep down I understood. I knew it was a popularity contest and I didn’t have a chance.

“I wasn’t angry then,” I said. “But now . . . ” I rode away quickly before the tears could embarrass me anymore. [There was probably more conversation, but I’m telling this story so I get to write it my way ;). We did eventually make up]

So here I am, many, many, many years later standing up and claiming my right to join the party! I will not stand salivating by while the cool kids taunt and tantalize me with their decadent depictions of rich milk chocolate merging with creamy peanut butter. Oh no! I hereby claim my Reese’s Peanut Butter cup and the better life that goes with it!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[As I am too lazy to link to all the participants in the secret club, I will link to this fabulous poem by k8edid, and from there you can find your way to the other posts. But be warned! You will soon find yourself grasping the car keys and racing toward the nearest store to buy out their secret stash of chocolate and peanut butter goodness.]

A Little Seasonal Magic

A bit of nature's magic.

Despite my somewhat Grinchy posts of late, there is something I love about the season.

It’s not the “true meaning” of Christmas because I can’t believe. It’s not Santa Claus. It’s not the buying and giving frenzy which I find utterly repulsive.

It’s what I call the magic.

This is the time of year when people seem to believe anything can happen. When twinkle lights fill the air, and the world takes on a festive look. This is the time of year where tiny villages decorate homes, in nostalgic reflections of times gone by where people sang carols and visited in horse-drawn sleighs.

It’s the time of year when the magical tinkle of bells rings everywhere, and you truly believe that another angel has just gotten wings.

It’s the time of year when people, or perhaps elves, create beauty out of almost anything imaginable. For example, Kathy (a blogging buddy turned dear friend) creates these spectacularly beautiful holiday ornaments out of recycled materials. Or these fantastic creations I saw on display at a nearby botanical garden (which I wish I had discovered this summer, but will revisit often throughout the year).

Sleigh full of simple loveliness.

A bucket full of magic berries.

All natural decorations all for the cost of some creative magic.

White twinkle lights must be magic.

Looking for an appropriate and natural holiday outfit?

A Victorian Christmas done the natural way.

A close up on a magical red tree.

But still, the most incredible artist of all, who makes the season truly magical whether there is snow or not, is Mother Nature.

Decorations only Mother Nature can create.

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