Hope. Joy. Peace. Love.

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The priceless gift of love, with the help from God above,
can change the human race, make this world a better pace.
For love dissolves all hate and fear, it makes our vision bright and clear,
so we can see and rise above our own pettiness and fly on wings of love.

Here it is the early morning hours of silence on Christmas Eve. Sitting at my piano bench looking at the small collection of Christmas cards that I have received over the last couple years, we are talking 5 here, and thinking that the people that send those cards are seriously the best of people. Christmas cards take time, they take forethought, they take energy, they take money. When adding all that up you really truly end up with a gift of yourself to another friend. Could that be selfish? Yes, in a way it could depending on the delivery but in this case … the ones I am looking at … they are special moments that have been captured with sweet sentiments written especially for us. These I would say are small gifts. This makes me think deeper about what gift giving is all about.

On a local radio station here in the northwest they play Christmas music the entire month of December!! Can we all just take a moment and smile through the pitter patter of my heart beats!! Yes, the whole entire month and then on Christmas Eve, starting this morning ( insert giddy clapping here ) they will run the entire day without commercials without interruptions, without announcing a thing. Pure happiness. Along with all that great music throughout the month there has been this voice, the voice of a Christmas angel that probably is around the sweet innocent age of 5, let’s say. She has to be the most impressive little voice I have heard. She has either memorized the Christmas story or she tells the birth of the Savior from something but its the way she tells the story that lights me up! I crank the radio and giggle at all the right important voice fluctuations that come from her storytelling. I hope she grows up to be a storyteller because this one has it down!! Literally. I need to get to the car and record the story for the rest of the year when I need a little pick me up! A gift of a story from the mouths of babes. I tell you, there are hidden presents all over the place this year and its cool that I am noticing them more and more.

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On Facebook yesterday a post came up that tugged at my heart-strings it simply said this: ” I am thankful for your presence in my life. ” Seriously! This could be the end to all the trash giving that we experience this time of year if we could just remember to give a simple thank you to the ones that mean the most to us if we could reach out of ourselves and thank those simply for their presence. Oh, as I get older the more and more I realize that Christmas does mean just a little bit more. In our house hold we celebrate each other by giving Happy Every Day gifts, so when it comes to the trash giving at Christmas time it’s very difficult to find that ” perfect ” gift. Hell, boyfriend likes to say ” Hey, I want this for Christmas! ” then two weeks later or right after pay-day it shows up on the front porch delivered from the lady in blue! Kinda makes shoppin’ difficult to say the least.

Another mile stone that we have just passed is that dreaded longest night of the year. Those of you that live near or north of the 45th parallel line understand the word dreaded in this sentence. This must be Gods greatest gift to all of us. The gift of darkness from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. We could look at this in the sarcastic way and complain about how when we wake up in the morning it is dark outside and when we go to eat dinner it’s already dark again. We really could go on and on about the darkest hours of the winter but I like to look at it this way. We have more dark hours for the Christmas lights strung on the house, or the candles that flicker in the window, and we have more dark hours to sleep in just a couple of hours later. Only a gardener can understand this one. We work outside so the hours are determined by the sun light. In this case, I thank God for the short daylight hours.

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Now that we have passed the Winter Solstice and the new Yule log, with the Christmas greens, has been burnt we reach out with arms stretched far for the HOPE of the coming Spring. Soon after Christmas the seed catalogs will come rolling in and the garden will get its formal clean out and tillin’ but the best thing that we could all hope for is the fillin’ of light. Filling our days, filling our hearts and filling our honest to goodness hope that someday that little baby that was born in the manger will come and be the HOPE that He has promised to be. Wow! Now we can wrap that up with a tiny jewel toned bow and put that under the tree! Bam!

IMG_3778The Christmas season is loaded with lists of things to do, people to see, parties to hold, drinks to smile and laugh over, dinners to gorge ourselves with, fudge that needs to be made and an unnatural unrest that we don’t ever really find in our daily lives the rest of the year. So here we are Christmas Eve and we are busy, every one of us. Well, I better say some of us are busy. Our parties are over, pictures were taken, plenty of drinks have been had, one more dinner to plow through, I am vegan so no fudge to be had and the decorations for the house literally takes 30 minutes to hang, that includes the time to remove them from the attic. PEACE. Peace you can say resides in our house this time of year. We thrive on peace. We make things simple, yet, we continue with our everyday lives. We leave the baking to someone else. We plan the coolest party of the season months in advance and we have the greatest group of friends that somehow, we really don’t know how, never leave a mess! Peace. The peace that quietly surpasses all understanding lives in full light of hope at our house. Yep, we can wrap that up nicely with a glistening bow and place that under the tree.

IMG_3776As some of you may know, growing up was an especially hard time for the boyfriend and I. Christmas was no piece of cake and turned out to be one of the dreaded holidays on the calendar for me. He is a die-hard for Christmas and his lights. Me, I struggled. Rarely, do I say I need anything, there are even more moments of rarity when I ask for something that I want. When I do. it’s one of those wants that will fill my entire being with happiness. Currently, my free time is spent designing the ultimate perfect tiny house for the two of us to play in. Literally in all sense of the word play. We don’t really have the plans of living in it as a down-size forever home but a place where we can escape to the woods and enjoy foraging for food in the fall. There is a special kind of happiness that fills me when we are out in the woods. The world is quiet. I can hear my thoughts. I can smell the fresh trees. I can gather to my heart’s content. We both can enjoy the first snow fall. It’s more than a happiness. It’s more of a gladdened heart that makes this the perfect moments. Utter JOY! We are talking the kinda joy that explodes like New Years Eve! The kinda joy that shoots out streamers at the sights of family! The kinda joy that leaves the perma grin on your face for days after the confetti has fallen and the vacation is over. The kinda joy that is only felt when that light of hope is fully alive and flooding the body. That’s the kinda joy that we want to live with more during the year. Bursting with joy! Now how would one wrap that in a box and contain it? Good question! But there has got to be a strong enough ribbon to knot it all up.

IMG_3775Cookies are made with sugar and spice and everything nice including a cup full of LOVE. Cookies or treats of any kind don’t taste all the right with out the added scoop of love drizzled on top. Boyfriend loves coming home at lunch time to find a sandwich waiting for him. He is like a little kid all excited for that first bite. He just knows there is going to be something extravagant about that bologna sandwich with cheese. The smile he gets on his face after the first bite says it all. The worries melt away, the stress of his morning slip from his mind and he lingers on every bite.  Really, its pretty entertaining to watch. He just knows that I did something to those ingredients that just rocked his world. After five county fairs he still hasn’t figured out what I do to make those sandwiches so magical. He has tried and tried to make them himself but to no avail, they are not the same. Course he is that way with my tea on the weekends. Nothing better than the way he can rock a bag full of tea leaves. ;0)

IMG_3759Love. That is the missing ingredient to just about everything. Can’t have the perfect batch of chocolate cookies with out that one cup of love sprinkled throughout. You can’t have the perfectly decorated anything without that extra 30 minutes of love added into the mix and you can not, I repeat you can not, do I need to say it again!? YOU CAN NOT have the perfect Christmas season with out a good dose of love. The love of family. The love of one another. The love of the Father. This would be the largest gift under the tree. For one thing all the other gifts wouldn’t be what they are without the love running through them. Love is the last ingredient for anything or in this case the first ingredient to everything! Love is the reason for that light we find in hope. Love is the silent abiding that we find in those peaceful moments. Love is the expressed energy that we find bursting through us as we jump for joy on New Years Eve! Love is the reason for celebration. Love is the reason for everyday the sun rises and sets. Love is the everything. Love the greatest gift of all. The greatest give to give and the greatest gift to receive.

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With all our love on this very dark early morning of Christmas Eve we want to wish you the best of the season. We hope that you will reach out as far as you can for that promise of spring and the return of the sun, we pass on the gift of gentle peace for those who find it hard to settle into a season that rocks with joy and overflows with love. Merry Glistenin’ Christmas Eve  to you all and to all a good night!

 

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