"…I pray this winter be gentle and kind –
a season of rest from the wheel of the mind…"
JOHN GEDDES, A Familiar Rain
Many people are disheartened about current Covid restrictions to not gather with family and friends over the Christmas holidays. Of course, it's disappointing but better safe than sorry is my feeling about it. I prefer an 'empty' table this Christmas to ensure (fingers crossed) a full table with no one missing because of the virus next year. As we wait, we can dream about what a celebration we're going to have when it is finally safe to do so.
In the meantime, weirdo that I am sometimes, I admit to being excited about the shift in the usual traditions. Some years I might have been upset about it, but I don't feel that way this year—it's been odd already anyways, and we've had to learn to adapt all along. It's one more 'adventure' to add to the memory pile. Besides, the interruptions of the usual gives us room to pause, to reflect on what really matters, to notice what still remains when all the shaking stops.
It will be just the two of us this year for Christmas Dinner. Of course, we will celebrate the season, but everything will be simpler and smaller. We'll have our bite of turkey with our favourite stuffing and gravy and cranberries. I am already dreaming of simple ways the two of us can spread Christmas treats over the month instead of trying to cram them into those one or two days.
Making the best of Covid restrictions with a good attitude may turn out to have lovely surprises waiting in the wings if we let it. It's true, I might feel differently if my circumstances were less congenial here in my home with my dear heart husband. So I only speak for myself. In this unprecedented year where we've had to live inside each other's pockets 24/7, I have found that my husband of 22 years is indeed a boon companion with whom to share this unexpected journey.
I promised you the Daybook edition, so let's begin. Today I'm using prompts from The Simple Woman's Daybook, and I have also added a few of my own. I hope you enjoy, I thought of you as I was writing.
Outside my window...
Oh, the weather outside is
It's mild and sunny—we're grateful
Sunrises at 8:30 ish these mornings
Sunsets around 4:15 ish
Stunning performances of both these past days.
I am thinking...
three or four minutes
when someone special arrived
at the front door the other evening
no happy hugs or handshakes
no proper invite to 'please come in'
no cheery chats or heart to hearts
just a package drop off
a quick hello
a farewell wave from the front door
as she drove away
I am thankful...
fingers crossed and prayers breathed,
so far we are all still well and safe.
One of my favourite things...
at this time of year is reading and reciting the old beloved words
of the Christmas Story as written in the Gospel of Luke.
I grew up on the King James Version so its familiar rhythms
comfort me as I hear them. Especially when Linus recites it.
I am wearing...
My new black skinny jeans, black cotton shirt, patterned wool socks in grey and teal.
#Breakingnews: I had the recent gleeful pleasure of ordering jeans one size smaller. It was to the point where, if I didn't buy a new pair soon, I was gonna need suspenders to hold the whole thing up. It's a good problem, yes? My determined effort to walk every day and eat smaller portions, with fewer cookies at teatime, paid off. Did I say I felt gleeful? I do pass the mirror often these days to admire my more svelte self.
I am creating...
my own beautiful world inside my head.
I am watching...
more sunrises and sunsets than ever this fall.
Some have been over-the-top glorious. Have you noticed that too?
I am reading...
Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. An old treasure,
the story is familiar, but every time I read it this time of
year, it becomes alive and fresh again. I do enjoy finding my
favourite passages...lines like these:
"Life is sweet. . . Beyond the pain, life continues to be sweet.
The basics are still there. Beauty, food and friendship, reservoirs of love
and understanding. Later, possibly not yet, you are going to need others
who will encourage you to make new beginnings. Welcome them.
They will help you move on, to cherish happy memories and confront
the painful ones with more than bitterness and anger."
I am listening to...
An English choir singing the lovely old carol In the Bleak Midwinter. I came to this carol late in life—I never heard it growing up, but it has become a new favourite. The carol is based on a poem entitled ‘A Christmas Carol’ by English poet Christina Rossetti, which was first published in January 1872. The poem was eventually set to a melody by composer Gustav Holst and was published under the title ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ in The English Hymnal.
I am hoping...
that Santa still comes this year (surely he's
exempt from Covid restrictions).
I am learning...
that if one wants to sneak a bit of chocolate in the middle of an afternoon
while reading, one should remove all noisome cellophane wrappers beforehand.
Our Christmas Tree 2020
" Nothing ever seems too bad, too hard, or too sad
when you've got a Christmas tree in the living room. "
In the kitchen...
Not doing much old-fashioned Christmas baking this year. But
my good friend Heather is running a small business
selling her famous gingersnaps. We've placed our order.
" Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a
wintry fireside; candles at four o’clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair
tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies
to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without. "
THOMAS DE QUINCEY, Confessions of an English Opium Eater
Something different this Christmas...
Plans are underway in this household to make an Afternoon Tea for Two
one day close to Christmas. We'll spend the morning
making tiny scones, fancy finger sandwiches, and a sweet or two.
We've got a lovely Assam tea with bergamot and lavender with which
to pair it all. Of course, we'll use the pretty china.
In the garden...
Everything is under snow, and our feathered friends keep Rick
busy filling the feeders—nuthatches, chickadees, finches, northern flickers,
downy woodpeckers. Our birdseed supplier hasn't had peanuts in stock
for a while so our bluejays got fed up and went elsewhere. 😢
A favourite link...
My dear friend, Joy, wrote a wonderful post on her blog
Scraps of Joy about the hope that has kept her going
during this difficult year of the pandemic. Beautiful words.
A favourite quote...
“Shut the door not that it lets in the cold
but that it lets out the coziness.”
A moment from my day...
A new Christmas swag on our front door.
I made the bow myself after
watching helpful videos on YouTube.
Keep watching for glimpses of heaven in unexpected places,
Take joy in what you do have.
Go for short walks. Or long ones. Stand on your front step
and breathe lusty breaths of fresh air.
Clear your head and calm your heart.
Stay safe and well, dear hearts.
* * *
♥ ♥ ♥
PS. Remember my sweet Puppy encounter of the other day?
My BIL sent photos of grandkids, which included one with
a glimpse of Puppy playing in the snow with her new older
brother. Her tail, up in a jaunty wave, was a happy sighting.
(Top) Image by Gudrun Becker from Pixabay
Oh, I could read this one over and over and over, and I will. What a beautiful start to my week! Yes, the sunrises and sunsets recently have been spectacular. As though God is saying, “still here, still in charge.” I grew up on the King James Version too. I chuckled when you mentioned Linus’s recitation of it. His voice is in my head too when I think of that passage. Charles Schultz was a clever guy, methinks. But I wonder now, whose was the voice that made Linus famous, and where is he today?ReplyDelete
Thanks, Joy! Now, that's a great question. The voice that made Linus famous was Christopher Shea. Here's a link to learn more. Unfortunately, he died in 2010. https://voice-actors-from-the-world.fandom.com/wiki/Christopher_SheaDelete
exactly what Joy said. I too am a KJV Luke Christmas Story and no one like Linus to revive the childhood thrill!. Reading/drinking in your post put some dream-sparkles into my Monday! thank-you. Can't wait to hear how your afternoon tea turns out!ReplyDelete
I agree, Charlie Brown's Christmas does truly revive the childhood thrill!Delete
Ah, Christmas! Love that big bow on your front door! It's extra beautiful because you made it yourself:)ReplyDelete
It was such a long time since I made any large bows that I'd kinda forgotten how. For me, it wasn't like riding a bike, hehe.Delete
I love that hymn. They included it in our online service this week. I didn't know Christina Rossetti wrote the lyrics. The winter birds are a joy in midwinter. I've noticed hellebores in bloom. Rosamunde Pilcher is a cozy read from another time. I've just started a book by Tracy Chevalier about the broderers of the kneeling pads at Winchester Cathedral. An unlikely topic for fiction but so far it's interesting.ReplyDelete
That Tracy Chevalier book sounds most interesting! I'm going to track her down. Thanks for stopping by!Delete
Brenda, oh what a beautiful and sweet post this is! Every single thing you have written and every single image has been like balm to my soul. What an encouragement for this season you are. We all have much to be thankful for, here at FrenchGardenHouse we will celebrate our Savior's birth in a smaller way too, but none the less in a HUGE manner! xo LidyReplyDelete
Hello Lidy, How nice to 'meet' you. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I'm off to visit your blog.Delete
WHat a refreshing and uplifting post! So many are whining and complaining about the restrictions , but your attitude will go far. I agree, we make the best of the situation , count our blessings and look forward to the day this will all be a memory.ReplyDelete
Yes, counting our blessings goes a long way, doesn't it? Thank you so much, Ruth, for sharing your thoughts.Delete
Very encouraging post, Brenda! Rosamunde Pilcher is a favorite author of mine! Love your bow! Glad you had success! I’m the one that needs remedial bow making! Beautiful pictures, congratulations on those smaller jeans! It sounds as though you’re all set for the month!ReplyDelete
Nellie, Rosamunde Pilcher had a wonderful following of fans. She was a lovely author of delightful stories.Delete
Should you need any tutorials on bow making, my goodness, there are hundreds online. I settled on Martha Stewart's Three Ways To Tie A Bow and followed the instructions to make the 2nd bow (which is displayed in this post). Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=10156012572601289
It's odd that our holidays this year have not changed that much. It's always been my husband, my son & then his wife & son. We had extended family but holidays were when we pulled our little family together for a few days of peace...especially the last 10 yrs.ReplyDelete
When covid hit we had more time together. I was already baby sitting 10 to 20 hrs a week. We decided to narrow our bubble & have me babysit the full 40 hr work week - partly so we could still be together & partly to limit our grandson's interactions with anyone except the four of us. So here we are still plugging along in our own little world...we knowing dozens who've had or do have covid but thankfully our isolation seems to be working so far.
The Bleak Midwinter is one of my most favorite Christmas hymns as well...just so beautiful.
Jenny, I'm glad you and your family won't find your Christmas holidays changed too much this year. It sounds like you've got things well in hand during this Covid business.Delete
Brenda, how perfectly lovely your festivities-for-two sound! We are planning to have our children/grandchildren gather on Christmas day, but as with everything else during this most unusual year, we hold our plans loosely, trusting the Lord to do all things well. We will celebrate His coming, whether with many or few.ReplyDelete
Oh yes, Cheryl, whether we are many or few, we can still celebrate His coming.Delete
Dear Brenda ~ your post was very positive and uplifting. Just what is needed this Christmas. I have started decorating, hoping to finish today. Doing that makes me feel happy, and seeing it all every morning is a real treat. I like your tea for two, may you have a lovely time making new memories together. ~ FlowerLadyReplyDelete
So lovely to see your name pop up here in the comments. I hope you got your decorating finished. I have always looked forward to Christmas and decorating for the season. It's so nice to sit back and enjoy the fruit of our labours when the twinkle lights are on and the house looks so cozy and festive.Delete
As always, your posts are so uplifting. Thank you for regularly sharing your thoughts and life. Did you know that Rosamunde Pilcher has a book about her Christmases? You may be able to find it in your library system: Christmas with Rosamunde Pilcher. In looking it up just now I discovered she passed on early last year. I have never read any of her books except for the Christmas one but will check out Winter Soltice as soon as it's available at my library.ReplyDelete
I love that bow! Would you please post a link to the tutorial or note the title so I can find it. Thanks! And the song is glorious--one of my favorites, too.
Thank you, Cathy! Oh yes, I love Rosamunde's Christmas book and have taken it from the library several times over the years. I felt sad when she'd passed away but she'd lived a rich long life, and she left us her wonderful writings to enjoy. I think you will enjoy Winter Solstice, I hope you have good success in finding it.Delete
Re the bow tying, there are many ways to tie bows I found out. But the one I used to make the bow in this post was Martha Stewart's Three Ways To Tie A Bow. I followed the instructions for making the 2nd bow. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=10156012572601289
I hope it works for you.
Thanks, Brenda! Very helpful.Delete
Thank you for another lovely post. Winter has its own joys, and the birds are especially a blessing. My reading chair is next to a window with a large bird feeder and the birdbath. We live so far south that we have many days, though cold, are above freezing, and I can keep the birdbath filled. What a pleasure! I agree with your quote about adding an eighth day for reading. And I want you to know how much I am enjoying the advent calendar you sent. It was something I had never heard of, but there will be more in years to come!ReplyDelete
And the song--a favorite, and how beautifully sung!
Marie, I'm so glad you are enjoying the Advent calendar -- they are a lot of fun! Thank you for your lovely comments. Brenda xoDelete
I shared that very video on my blog yesterday! I love it, and I didn't grow up with it either. I love Christmas music, and can't get enough of the music that speaks to the coming savior!ReplyDelete
How lovely, we're on the same wavelength! Like you, Deanna, I do love Christmas music and its hope filled message.Delete
Brenda, your blog posts are like breaths of fresh air to me. They make me smile, then laugh, then wipe tears from my eyes, then run for my pen and notebook to job down titles or snippets of soothing words and on and on. Thank you. Thank you for your warm light in a darkened world. SusanReplyDelete
Susan, I'm so glad to share with fellow readers what you termed 'breaths of fresh air'. It pleases my heart to read your lovely comments. Thank you.Delete
Much admiration for your lovely bow, clever you! A lovely post Brenda, with so much to ponder on. And of course, you are reading my favourite Christmas book, Winter Solstice. I am drawn back every year to it.ReplyDelete
Barbara, I'm near the beginning of the story. I'm trying to savour the words and lines and not hurry through it. I felt quite happy when this bow turned out the first time -- there have been occasions when my erstwhile efforts were less successful.Delete
Bren, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. And, I so agree with your thoughts about being safe rather than sorry with respect to the Covid. In our little state it is spreading rapidly.ReplyDelete
It will just be Mike and I also for Christmas, but I will do a nice table and together we will make a scrumptious dinner.
Wishing you beautiful December days, sweet friend. Ones that you will treasure always.
Sandra, Sadly it's been spreading here in our province. Our family is all hunkering down in their own places this Christmas, it's just the way we have to do it for now. Like you and Mike, Rick and I plan to do a nice table and make a scrumptious dinner together -- that will create sweet memories of a different sort. And it will be good too.Delete
Another lovely post, Brenda. I first heard In the Bleak Midwinter on a CD by ... the name just escaped me. A Christian singer from the 90s or 80s. Anyway, I do love it and the images it evokes.ReplyDelete
Tim and I are doing much the same as you and Rick - thinking of things to make this season special for just the two of us. Like you, we will follow our PHO's guidelines in hopes that next year we will all be gathering together, Lord willing.
Wishing you joy in each day.
Lorrie, I had a real chuckle when I read a recent post of yours, where the two of you were deciding which of your absolute favourites of your Christmas baking recipes you would make this year, and how you both decided they were mostly all your favourites so you'll make small batches of most of them. It's hard to decide especially if you only make them this time of year.Delete
Loved these thoughts. Thank you.ReplyDelete
"Keep watching for glimpses of heaven in unexpected places,
Take joy in what you do have.
Go for short walks. Or long ones. Stand on your front step
and breathe lusty breaths of fresh air.
Clear your head and calm your heart."