These untitled December posts, just a date stamp identifying one from the next. Somehow categorizing - naming - my jottings feels like a creative block. At least it does these days. I'm sure every now and then the content of our days will beg a label - nourish, celebrate, create... But for now I'm content to record thoughts randomly, the jumbled altogether happenings.
There's a quiet joy that comes from simply capturing the passage of time - not planning what to write, not concerning myself with the offering of ideas. There are plenty of them out there, no? Ideas, resources, inspiration - perhaps too much?
These days I'm overcome with an interior hush. It's a guest I wait for and savor. So sweet, the quiet. I've been thinking about leaving this place to rest for a long winter's sleep, but upon consideration I soon abandoned the thought. I've come to think that what's called for here is quiet, not silence. There's a difference, you know?
I keep a habit of writing at the day's end, the littles tucked in sleeping, the house resting. The dark, the quiet, the remembering, it's a practice that keeps my heart focused - a habit of going back over the day, an examination of sorts, a heartfelt one. Not a search for what's been botched or neglected, but a thinking back on what's been beautiful and good. Seems I recollect my heart best in words. My better judgement tells me I'd do well to chronicle in private, page and ink. Many times I've followed that instinct, retreating in silence. I've never regretted those times, but for some reason - one I've yet to identify - I find that I prefer the gathering of my thoughts here. I suppose it's the companionship of having another read my words - someone else to say, "Yes. Me too."
Just musing here quietly, day after day, recording the time because this life's worth remembering. I suppose that'll be enough to fill these white pages, at least for this season.
The pumpkins lining the mantle, they've been baked and enjoyed in pies. Every last bit of the Thanskgiving turkey's been simmered down, jar after jar of stock put by for the sesason's soups and stews. The little pilgrim salt and pepper shakers, the ones from my childhood, they've been tucked away until next autumn, the little wooden and felted acorns wrapped up beside them. This first week of December, the reminders of harvest have been put away.
The daylight wanes short and the evenings wax long. A wreath of beeswax pillars dance away tabletop shadows, the evening family meal now shared by its light. St. Andrew's day's come and gone, its passing makes way for this season of preparing - hearth, home, and heart. Gifts have been bought early, put away for Christmas. The only ones left to prepare are those we'll make by hand. It's important to me, that this time be set aside for coming together, growing close.
We set out the creche, Mary and Joseph keep vigil at the empty manger. A small Noble Fir set table top slowly fills with ornaments telling the tale of the coming birth. A basket filled with stories rests against the hearth. Bedtime comes early these short December days and we cozy in for tales of the season.
My grandmother's old trunk holds our treasures - ornaments and reminders of Christmases past. The lid of that trunk opens, revealing them little by little, a few each week as the days progress. The expectation builds. Pulling out the wooden wreath I catch sight of the tree top angel, the one that's crowned our family tree for over 18 years now, painted porcelain face and golden brocade. It's not time for the angel to make its way out of the trunk just yet, but seeing the figure whisks me back to a day, one that feels like yesterday. The cold, early December day when we scraped together the money for that keepsake, an amount that seems but a trifle looking back, but seemed so very much at the time. Funny how a thing of such little value can hold so very much.
These ebbing days, they go by all too quickly. I suppose that's the bargain we make with ourselves when we set out to love a life. Moments are only fleeting when they're treasured.
Quiet Friday - a few photos capturing these past days (A favorite toy that I bring out seasonally, my littles have been playing with these wooden acorns for so many days now!) and a few links to share with you.
This weekend brings with it the first of two Thanksgiving feasts with family and the beginning of a week off of work and school. Time to cook, feast, and play. I intend to savor every single moment of it...especially the pumpkin pie. Wishing all who celebrate here in the States a most wonderful holiday. Thanks for the time you've spent here with me and for the lovely conversation. I'll see you back here in December. xoxo
:: Thanksgiving Mad Libs - Printing these to enjoy with the family
:: moon spotting - our nature study for the month of December
:: Pumpkin Spice Latte - Happy holiday to me!
:: What American accent do you have? - survey says...neutral, possibly Dallas (yep)
:: Everything Counts - love this, so clever (Just so happen to be a sucker for 80's music.)
:: Martin & Sylvia Audio Advent Calendar - 25 days of Sparkle Stories (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)
:: Family Reflections Advent Calendar - so sweet
:: Thanksgiving Table - my Pinterest board (I've been hunting down the recipes we've been using for Thanksgivings past, noting our substitutions (for wheat, nuts, and dairy) and handwriting them on recipe cards.)
It's getting dark so early these days, only a month until the solstice. The shorter days bring with them a stillness, a blanket of quiet hushing the evening hours. I notice it most with the littles. They're ready for bed, ready for a story. I don't usually do much bedtime reading around here. Teaching at home, I find myself reading aloud throughout the day and my voice is usually spent by day's end. But this time of year, it's different. The season's changing and we're preparing to celebrate a joyful one. Bedtime stories in December, those evenings are right around the corner. There's just something perfect about that.
We've been collecting Christmas books for 18 years now and I've probably given away more of them than I've kept. The ones we've held onto, they're the ones with the most memorable stories, the loveliest illustrations - our family favorites. They're the books my children ask me to read again and again. (And I do.)
I don't go to any trouble with this seasonal bedtime reading. The way I see it, the best ways are simple ones - sustainable ways, come what may. On cold December nights, near the fireplace rests a large basket, one filled with our favorite seasonal books. They only come out of hiding once a year, so they're always a treat - like meeting up with an old friend. The only thing to do is to sink down comfy in the middle of the couch, make sure there's enough room on each side for plenty of children to snuggle in for a good read. "Run over to the basket and pick tonight's book." That's all that needs saying.
Just a basket of books, and a lot of them. Perhaps you'd like to browse through ours? I'd love it if you'd share a favorite (or two) of yours.
Nutcracker (longer version)
The Nutcracker (shorter version)