Dec 31, 2012


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Dec 22, 2012

Crimson Berries

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Dec 19, 2012

A Holy Gift

There is a memory from decades ago where as a young girl, I would stand and gaze long in awe at our family’s delicate, porcelain manger snuggled within its wooden shelter. Mary’s figure, posed kneeling before her infant, dressed with a blue shawl like garment over her muslin gown, deeply captivated my young imagination. In the soft evening light of our home with only the nativity’s single star illuminating this sacred moment in time, my youthful wonderings created the young mother’s movements, her emotions, and her murmurings with those surrounding her. Imaginings that bestowed flesh, scent and brilliance to an ancient account and warmed [ignited] faith to the bone.

Now and then memories such as this, of sensing the holy presence, surface and catch me in an ah ha understanding. A handful in early years followed later by a quiet understanding of continuous presence. A gift, I later learn, offered to any who heed His Word and bend to His will. A gift walking within and throughout, filling and flowing with assurance. 

Over time a Nativity came to grace my own home. Mary continues to kneel before her child though she is clothed in snow white. She bears the Scandinavian design elements of my heritage. A reminder to me of how far and wide our Lord’s story spread from its origin. Each holy season Mary and her babe are unwrapped and settled among the same cast of characters. I am reminded of the young girl who gazed long all those years ago. A young girl whose eyes were opened to see the gift in such a way as to pursue its holy sustenance across all the years ahead. A gift that today is leaned into hourly.

Linking with Emily for Tuesdays Unwrapped 

....and these faith filled communities.

Dec 11, 2012

North Woods Meets Prairies

Crimson red, Gerber Daisies cut from my garden in December.

The north woods 
and once-not-too-long-ago-Norwegian Minnesotans 
gave me life 
and shaped my traditions. 
Steeped in opening gifts Christmas eve, saying “Come Lord Jesus” grace, and dressing ‘in the bird’; this is what I knew.

Then choices, 
and an unfolding life 
took me due south 
where living takes place on the spacious grassland prairies of Texas. In the early years of living here it never felt like a good ‘fit’. I mean no disrespect to the land with its stunning sunsets and mild winters or to its legendary Lone Star history. But these blue eyes never became accustomed to the strength of its sun and my nature yearns for a crisp fall that arrives in September, open windows all summer, and cool grass with no chance of red ants. The possibility of Gerber Daisies and Begonias still blooming happily in mid-December significantly messed with my emotional transition to holiday cheer.

But then you see, as time went on, 
I came to know this deeply rooted Texas man. 
Then there was a Christmas when I was introduced to his deeply rooted Texas family. They welcomed me in a warm family way. Their traditions of laughter in the kitchen and worship in the sanctuary were dearly familiar and had a direct relationship to this man's impeccable character and kind heart. In one crystal clear, freeze-frame, moment-in-time during that Christmas I knew that here was a place, a family, and a man that I could call home. 

Winter on the southern prairie, like this year,
can mean daisies and begonias are still in bloom. 
That event still messes with my preferred notions of Christmas. 
Never the less, for 15 years this winter, the Texas man and I have made our home here
Our traditions found common ground. 
Truly, I prefer cornbread dressing. 
The Texas man knows the “Come Lord Jesus” grace. 
And, thankfully opening gifts Christmas eve was and remains, a shared family tradition. 

Linking with Emily for Tuesdays Unwrapped. 
Gifts counted, 
some small and quiet, 
others hard and tear stained. 

These few rise to the surface to share for your eyes too. Numbered to 1250 and even then I know hundreds were offered but escaped my inked list! Blessed, so blessed.

~ sharing cake, coffee, and faith blessed friendship in front of the Christmas tree

~ silver strands at greying temples, ribbons of tribute to long life

~winter moonlight glitters silver on water's dark surface

~Earth's global lights become a beacon in the universe

~ women's bonds and Bible searching in covenant relationship

~crimson and indigo berries winter's suspended beauty, nature's chilled sustenance

~hours  of quiet

~charity that empowers independence

~the wisps of dreams, bits of soul tales lingering into waking moments

~memories of the silver cross suspended at mama's heart

~voices, cards, posts sending faith filled Christmas joy

~ "Come thou font of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise." Nettleton

Dec 6, 2012

Everything a Memory: Miracles in His Time

Little hands hung the ornaments on the branches. Small crocheted red and green Christmas stockings, painted wooden blocks, a wood stenciled heart with folk art scrolls,   a craft dough teddy bear red ribbon around its neck, fabric frames holding her 2 year old photo, a yellow wooden airplane, red silk skirted angel at the top; each ornament a symbol, a tribute to love, family, childhood, and faith. The ornaments were chosen for her toddler hands and later her preschool hands. Nothing to break. Everything to be a memory. Chosen across childhood, across travels, picked up here and there. Sometimes during small town, main street shopping with her grandma in the snowy north woods. Sometimes visiting with her God-mother at the base of Sandia Mountains. Sometimes just she and I, perusing the shops in old downtown. How those times are tenderly played across the interior of my memories.

There was a first Christmas when I did not have her with me. And then there were many. Lovingly and hopefully wrapped and packed deep in storage boxes, the ornaments held their memories and their tributes, unseen for a long length of time. A length of time when only faith could be held on to. A length of time when prayer was constant. A length of time when only faith could determine how this story would unfold. 

Those ornaments were unwrapped some years back and hung on a small 4 foot tree in her first apartment. I hand stitched a tree skirt to gather around its base and when the lights lit up, we both thought it was a splendid little tree. Every year since I gaze at her tree with a wellspring of joy for the Lord who performs miracles in His time.

This year the toddler gran-twins were photographed as their little hands hung those ornaments on lit up branches. Tow-headed, barefoot babes hanging up memories, tributes to their mama’s childhood, symbols of their grandma’s love and faith. Nothing to break. Everything a memory.

Linking to the Tuesdays Unwrapped community of women writers in addition to these long time favorites: