Wednesday, December 29, 2010
December 23 – 28, 2010. . .
Merry Christmastime. =)
In the familial sense of the season, this has long been a “Christmastime” for us, not an “Eve” and a “Day” and that’s it. This is due to the fact that we as a core family live in far-flung corners. As of the 28th, we have not yet “officially done” Christmas.
My Guy and I celebrated the Holy Eve attending service at our church. . .a beautiful time of celebration. For unto us a Child is born, a Son is given.
The 25th we spent driving to Arizona, through desert up into the mountains. . .through desert up to 7,000 feet. . .where there is snow. ;) As well as hugs from the Grands, DIL, and Son.
We’re three-fourths together.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010. . .
Whoa! Day 100!
The characters check in with me now and then; they are fine, in limbo but fine. I check in with them now and then, very briefly, and promise we will get together soon.
This season of holy days and this end-of-the-year time for reflection and for connection with others all need my focused attention. I sat still, rested, listened. The tiger laid down and purred.
The sixth straight day of rain (eww!) ended with a mostly-blue sky. My Guy and I biked through puddles and sand-packed streets down at the beach. My poor bike! As usual, I was bundled up in jacket, scarf, hat, gloves, and ear bags.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Friday – Tuesday, December 17 – 21, 2010. . .
Ahhh. Final Christmas letter stamped. Gifts wrapped, or rather bagged. Only a few loose ends to tie up.
The best projects this season were the creative ones that slowed me down: writing the letter, printing it, stuffing envelopes, standing in line at the post office; and designing photo books. Words and pictures that speak a thousand of them are gifts of the heart that take time, a short and fleeting commodity in December.
Speaking of slowing down, I’m reading a book by Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Solitude and Silence, sent to me by a dear friend who knows me well. Barton continues the influence of other authors on my journey: Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Frederick Buechner, Thomas Merton, the ones who remind me that if I shut up, I will hear God speaking.
I am also reminded of Brennan Manning’s retelling of an old story in one of his books. I call it the Strawberry Story.
A man – oh, let’s change this to a woman – is being chased by a tiger. She comes to a cliff and jumps. Part way down she grabs hold of a limb that halts her fall. Above her is the tiger, below her is a long, sheer descent to death, before her the limb is unsteady. And then she sees, growing out of the rock, strawberries. She picks one, pops it in her mouth, and says, “This is the best strawberry I have ever tasted.”
This describes being in the moment. The ability to dwell in the moment is the fruit of sitting before God in silence, letting Him do heart work that will enable me more and more to later be in the moment, even if a tiger is on my heels.
December feels like one long tiger chase. Tomorrow I will sit mentally still and look for strawberries.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010. . .
Not to say (see entry below, Monday-Wednesday) that I view/equate God as Santa. ;) Thought I should clarify that. Ho, ho, ho!
Two much-needed centering activities this week were Wednesday church service (the monthly all-singing time) and Thursday home group.
The Psalm reading for Sunday is 24. Part of verse 4 as phrased in The Jerusalem Bible is “whose soul does not pay homage to worthless things…” As I over-browse once again this December, I must guard against this.
Okay, so next year I’ll start in January, a little at a time, in a healthy manner.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Monday-Wednesday, December 13-15. . .
Well, obviously not much writing is going on except for CHRISTMAS TO-DO LISTS!
Speaking of lists, my creative daughter-in-law sent an email to family members. It’s a fill-in-the-blank list of favorites: colors, animals, music, art, books, movies, etc. It also includes blanks for other things: “what I want or need but don’t want to ask for” and “do not give me…”
We’re all exchanging each others’ lists now, gleaning new insight and getting practical ideas for our $20 gift exchange.
Filling it in, I felt like I was writing a “Dear Santa” letter. =) It was fun to give in for a few minutes to being a self-centered child. “I want, I like, I need, I wish.”
On the other hand, the exercise also reminds me of my relationship with the Holy One. This will not speak to everyone, but for me imagining the “father figure” allows me to abide in a sense of well-being. I am comforted. I know I am cared for and so totally unconditionally loved and accepted. I am reminded that He is always whispering in my ear, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Monday, December 13, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Tuesday-Thursday, December 7 – 9, 2010. . .
Quiet but full days, some writing, lots of Sally Homemaker activities. I cleaned/polished the rocker My Guy and I bought in anticipation of our firstborn’s birth. The sight of the scratched dark wood, the feel of the curvy arms, and the scent of the Guardsman cream polish all took me immediately to the days of little ones when life revolved around bathing them and my husband in prayer and creating a soul-nurturing environment for them.
I loved being and am still grateful for the opportunity (thanks to My Guy) to be a stay-at-home mommy.
I’m not quite ready to be a stay-at-home granny. Five days of cooking, cleaning, laundering, and errand-running is enough. =)
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Saturday-Monday, December 4 – 6, 2010. . .
A blurry flurry of carrying, loading, unloading, more carrying, and unpacking boxes. . .of cleaning, organizing. . .of memory-making moments with that wide circle of family that now encompasses Daughter’s in-laws.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010. . .
It seems that much of my life is annually crammed into December. This probably explains why The Writing is so often a scattered affair.
Besides the usual Holy-day Season, there is My Guy’s birthday and our anniversary. The list has grown:
Thirty-three years ago our firstborn was due (he waited until January to appear). Twenty-nine years ago we learned our second was in the womb. Ten years ago we learned we were going to be grandparents. Six years ago our youngest granddaughter was born on Christmas Eve. We have moved at least twice during this month. One nephew was born. So much happiness is hard to hold.
Two years ago this Sunday, one nephew passed away after a long struggle with cancer. This sucks the breath from me.
THE DETAILS. . .I got a haircut, bought Christmas-y stamps. I like old religious artwork, so went with the Virgin and Child. I printed the Christmas letter; printed, stuffed, and stamped envelopes. Not quite finished but still, yay.
Because business beckons My Guy east and because Daughter and Son-in-Law are in the throes of moving (moving in December is beginning to sound like a tradition) and because I am a mom, I am traveling again. Already. And with a grateful heart for the ability to do so and for a son-in-law who says “welcome.”
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Seafood Bisque ~ Created by Daughter-in-Law
Onions, Carrots, Potatoes, Garlic
--> Sauté in butter, 5 minutes
Scallops and Shrimp
--> Sauté 10 minutes
Chicken Broth, 4 cups
--> Add to above
--> Bring to boil
--> Reduce heat
Fresh Sage, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary
Clams with juice, 1 can [regular size]
--> Simmer medium/low, 15 minutes
Cream, 1 pint
Butter, 4 tablespoons
Lemon Juice, 2 tablespoons
Minced garlic, to taste
Fresh Herbs (more)
Salt and Pepper
-->Add; heat through
Top with shredded Gruyere Cheese
Serve with French Baguette
This made approximately 12 - 15 bowls.
Fresh ingredients make the best (scallops, shrimp, herbs)
[My daughter-in-law does not follow a recipe without tweaking it until it is unrecognizable. And she makes up her own yummy concoctions with whatever is available. Sometimes if I'm nice she will write down a recipe for me. =) Or I will jot down steps and ingredients as I watch her work. Where amounts are not noted, I wing it.]
Wednesday, December 1, 2010. . .
THE WRITING. . .Mmhmm. Nice time. =) A fun part was to shift the setting from Los Angeles up to the Oregon coast. I enjoy revisiting places in my imagination.
THE DETAILS. . .Finished the Christmas letter. Yes! Last year’s went out in January.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010. . .
THE WRITING. . .Ahhh, back into the story. So comfortable, so cozy, so home.
One advantage to stepping away from a story is that the niggles can do their work. A point had been bothering me, something about the timing of the protagonist’s past. It smoothed itself out last week around 4 a.m. one morning. Today it was easy breezy to incorporate that and move on.
The holiday season wreaks havoc on my psyche. I don’t want to miss out on the festive ambience nor the month-long anticipation of the Birth and all that symbolizes. Neither do I want to return to my desk on January 3rd and find the characters are total strangers to me and the story is a big fat question mark. How best to balance?
When it comes to writing, I do not multitask well. But, I may be on to something this December. The story has progressed enough that I can duck in and out of it. Perhaps this will help.
THE DETAILS. . .Tis Advent, the first season of the church year. I rest in this cyclical nature of the calendar. It gives me hope, it revives, it reminds me that all has its season and that all is in God’s hands. It is the essence of Julian of Norwich’s quote: "And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."I worked on the Christmas letter. =)