31 December 2013


Enclosed in darkness
we are today.
Covered by a quilt
of grey.
Thick drops fall heavily,
rushing rivers
forming in streets, yards,
and alleys.
Perfectly maintaining a sweet
little cozy
corner for my heart
to abide,
drenched in thankfulness
deep inside

My piano needs to be dusted. My wood floors, too. The drizzle falling outside leaves me plenty of room inside to make an extra cup of coffee with a dash of ground cinnamon on top as vegetables roast in the oven.

Recovering from holiday. That's what is going on here. Notions of chores go right out the window because that is what I did before holiday, and I am not ready to enter back into the realm of real-life with chores. I want to drink coffee and lounge with new books on my lap, with time to cook, think, and listen to some good music. Maybe I need a holiday to get over the holiday. Wait - - tomorrow is a holiday. A new year begins.

Give me the chance to think and it will come pouring out onto these blank sheets. In the form of words filling a handful of pages just this afternoon. Then, I start thinking about a big holiday that involves traveling to a far place. Until that plan coalesces, dreams of it, like snowflakes, will dance about in my head.

30 December 2013

Holiday Notes

A little holiday break is....

Candles burning that smell like pine
Extra cup of coffee (or two)
Windy day out and about
Cold fronts shifting the weather
Candlelight Christmas Eve service
Chilly mornings
Sleeping in
Breakfast casserole
Wearing festive socks
Baby niece opening gifts with big smiles
More time with family
Crowded highways
Tiny white lights
Playing 'Pass the Pigs'
Meals with family
Homemade birthday cake
Bumping into an old high school friend at Starbucks
Trying a new coffee shop
Browsing bookstores
Feeling thankful for all that I have

27 December 2013

Glittering Words

In seasons of cheerfulness, no temper could be more cheerful than hers, or possess, in a greater degree, that sanguine expectation of happiness which is happiness itself.

- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Fleeting thoughts and words dash by my head, glittering as they go, too fast for me to catch, except maybe by the trail of dust they leave behind. Glimpses of things I hold dear slowly evaporate as my nodding head seeks a pillow amongst my jersey cotton quilt and crisp sheets. Glittering words shuffle around as I drift off to sleep.....

What are these thoughts I have had lately? So scattered and melancholy at times. Always thankful. Then cheerful and dreamy. Then around the bend it goes to thoughtful. Am I on a merry-go-round of emotion? Am I merry?

This is the season of glitter, but I am not fond of it. It sticks to everything. But when I have a glittering thought it is a good thing. Small, easy to see, shiny, and bright. But difficult grasp onto sometimes. The words stick on to you and you cannot get them off, and they shine for you later.
Sink in, glittering words.

26 December 2013

A Few Thriftings

Used books are my close friends. They come with me where ever I may go. Even if they weigh my bag down. I love finding old books that are new to me. On cold, wintry days the perfect solution is to warm up with a blanket and some hot tea, with a book open on my lap. Too bad it hasn't been very wintry here.

Anyway, I digress.
I love used bookstores. But another place that I find really good books is at the library. Finding books at the library for sale means they are anywhere from $.25 to $1, which means I score big time! Not only am I supporting the library in a small way, I am discovering books that very likely could not be found anywhere.

- Who would not want a compact Oxford Thesaurus? It is in pristine condition and a perfect source for new words! I won't prevaricate when I state how excited I was when I saw it in the shelf waiting for me.

- An original Nancy Drew? The first book? Yes, please!

- The collection of modern poetry consists of poems from the late 1800's to around 1940. I am always delighted to read through a compilation of poets to get to read the vicissitude of the authors.

- The blue book of poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay is intriguing to me. Since I only know a limited number of her poems, I am eager to read more.

25 December 2013

Merry Christmas

I made these little snow globes for some family and friends this year, and I had such a fun time making them (with my friend Emily)! I got to give them all away now, and I love the reaction from people when they receive a handmade gift. There is that added element of appreciation for something that is made by hand. It brings me much joy. And these little wintry scenes with lovely, snowy trees supplicates warm and cozy feelings in me. 

Wishing you the joy of Christ and all the comforts He brings us in our joys and pains, today and always. 

Merry Christmas!

For these great days of Christmas thanks and song,
This is the tree that lights our faltering way,
For when man's first and proud rebellious act
Had reached its nadir on that hill of skulls
These shining, glimmering boughs remind us that
The knowledge that we stole was freely given
And we were sent the Spirit's radiant strength
That we might know all things. We grasp for truth
And lose it till it comes to us by love.

-from "Tree at Christmas", by Madeline L'Engle

24 December 2013


My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

- Psalm 84.2

The image of longing. It is like a photograph of someone standing on the edge of a mountain looking out across the dappled landscape. The fog rolls in, but then rises quickly to reveal the path. What would life look like if we had no longing for anything? If we did not long for certain things, we would have no reason to hope or look forward to the great good that is coming (to borrow a phrase from George MacDonald).

C.S. Lewis realized from a very young age (in reading all his favourite myths) that he longed for something that could not be satisfied by anything here. And that led to the eventual discovery of what he truly longed for- our true home in heaven - through his friendships with the Inklings at Oxford and their deep discussions about myth and reality (and how Christianity is the myth that is real). Throughout his writings, Lewis refers to that longing a lot, using the German word sehnsucht

Originally Lewis thought his longings were not worthy of being noted, until a conversation with Owen Barfield (an Inkling, of course) changed his mind to where he exclaimed, "Our best havings are wantings."

This is one small example, but his books are full of the concept of longing. See The Weight of Glory, Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, Narnia, etc....This season, Christmas, is a season of longing for many things. The anticipation and arrival of Jesus being the foremost. And soon enough the start of a new year begins longings for the old to be made new. Look into those longings with a view of the eternal. Let them sink deeper than your skin.

Merry Christmas 

23 December 2013


Inner silence is for our race a difficult achievement. There is a chattering part of the mind which continues, until it is corrected, to chatter on even in the holiest places.
- Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis

The sounds of men yelling over loud chainsaws and machinery resonate outside my home right now. Loud thuds of heavy tree limbs falling just inches from my windows can be heard from every part of my tiny home. While I was cutting vegetables and prepping them for roasting in my oven, a big tree limb above my home was cut, and some branches scraped the roof as it fell to the ground tied with ropes for the men to control it's accuracy. It kind of jarred me, especially when I saw how big that limb was, and it was hovering just feet away from my big kitchen windows.

Of course the men have to be here today while I have time to think. For the first time in weeks (maybe months?) I actually had several hours today with nothing pressing. Yet when I sat down all I heard was machinery. My thoughts were interrupted. Distracted. Unsettled.

So I am escaping in to my bedroom with my trusty laptop and books. In here I can write out this post and be away (sort of) from the noises of danger that kind of trap me in my own home for a little while. I've been reading for hours today. That, at least, doesn't involve my own mind putting words together into coherent sentences. But here I am trying to write something. Eventually the noises outside will cease. But sure enough there will be something else that comes along to distract. What works best for you when things keep coming along to distract you?

20 December 2013

Don't Doubt Yourself

Your way was through the sea, 

Your path through the great waters;
yet your footsteps were unseen.
- Psalm 77.19

I was seriously doubting myself the night before the exam. This is how it went down. At work I have the ability to take certification/licensing exams to improve my knowledge and be more helpful in my job. I always want to keep learning and growing, and my boss gave me the goal of completing this certification by the end of the year. So, I have been following the online course for my insurance license and this week was my exam, so I kicked my studying up by a huge amount starting last week, going through questions online over and over. I felt pretty good. Then I took the online mastery exam and did pretty well. The score I got gave me a cushion in my mind; knowing I could miss more questions and still pass was reassuring.

Then the night before the exam I realized I could create test exams online to practice, so I did that. And that's where I faltered. The questions that were popping up were foreign to me. I lost confidence. My scores went down. I was on the brink.

I doubted myself. I mentally started preparing myself to face the fact that I could fail the exam. I may have to face the sad realization that what I did was not enough. the voice in my head (that evil whisper) kept placing those doubts in the fertile soil of my soggy mind.

Why do we doubt ourselves, our talents, our hard work? I read this verse from the Psalms at the perfect moment that night. It was a reminder for me that God's footsteps are everywhere, even when I don't see them. His presence is with me at every moment. Sometimes we still have to go through the great water, as the Psalmist writes, to get to the next dry land of bliss. And this was the water I had to pass through. And going through it is the thing.

Rising to meet a challenge is scary. I do not like failure. Especially when it comes to learning and taking classes. There is a serious love of academic/learning/bookish traits ingrained in my being that when it's something I hold dear like that, I want to succeed.

Yesterday morning I took that exam, and I passed.
Don't doubt yourself, friends. God is with us through everything, even failures. He has a reason for everything, and He will use all that goodness inside you to bring goodness to the world. No matter what exam you pass or don't pass. Whatever failure that seems to haunt you and cause you to doubt yourself.

19 December 2013

Chilly Night Musings

To love anything is to love its boundaries; thus children will always play on the edge of anything. They build castles on the edge of the sea.... For when we have come to the end of a thing we have come to the beginning of it.
- G.K. Chesterton

I am sitting amidst candles and twinkle lights with a steaming mug of dandelion tea, and covered by a knit blanket. The night is quiet. My home is really chilly. The thing about my home (a concrete building from 1950) is when it is hot outside, it's rather warm in here, but when it's cold outside, baby, it's cold in here. Especially with all floors. Boy, do these floors stay icy cold!
I couldn't be happier, though. And no, I am not feeling feverish. I am perfectly well in my mental state (I think).

This month is speeding by and I don't want it to. So much goodness takes place in December. So many joyful things to be thankful for. My heart always feels more full in December. The cold begins to come and stay for several days down in Florida, then depart for a few days, but it comes back again. It is the start of the best season, and starting something is always inspiring. Beginnings are always hopeful.

It is in this month that I think about the good. I focus on that which is joy. The joy of Jesus and His most amazing gift to us. Good things are here. And good things are coming. I take a big sip of tea and think about the new year for a moment. What is going to be in store? 

18 December 2013


A soft twinkle luster shifts
A tone of a space
drawing attention to a loveliness;
Tradition in a new sense
Built on that which is ancient;
drawn to light from ages ago
still affects me today.
Light, shine in all darkness;
surround one with warmth
and reminders of the true
Light of the world.

There is so much light this time of year, and not from the sun, but from the Son. It's not from the presents and gifts that everyone buys for each other, but from the gift that God gives us in eternal life, made possible through Jesus. We know that is what this season is about. Why do we let it become about other things?

It's because we let our lives become about other things, too.
Let this season bring back into focus the true light of the world. Where we should always be looking.

17 December 2013

Made for Another World

"That is what makes life at once so splendid and strange. We are in the wrong world. When I thought that was the right town, it bored me; when I knew it was wrong, I was happy. So the false optimism, the modern happiness, tires us because it tells us we fit into this world. The true happiness is that we don't fit. We came from somewhere else. We have lost our way."
- G. K. Chesterton

This is how we should view this world. And Christmas should be a reminder of it, with the other world entering ours by way of a little baby Jesus, who didn't just come here to teach a few lessons when he grew up. He came here to bridge the gap between our world and the heavenly realm by a sacrifice, Jesus himself. And if we take to light what Chesterton writes in his short essay, this world is not where we belong. We are misplaced.

Don't you ever feel like you don't belong somehow? Or that something is missing? That you long for something that never seems to be able to be filled by anything here? No person or thing can fill. No security can contain what you think you grasp. That is exactly the longing for our true home. The place we belong. With God.

This was my contemplation over coffee today.
And also, I know I recently posted a photo almost the same as this one, but I have a new laptop which is really great, so I am just giving it a grand welcome because it is what I type and prepare all my posts on!

16 December 2013

Of Ice Cream and Fruit

 I tried a few fruity and ice creamy things this weekend. The first was green tea ice cream. Um yes. And yes. Why have I not had this before? It is delightful. Not too sweet. Refreshing. Slight green tea flavour and creamy. It reminded me of that all elusive lavender ice cream that I cannot find anywhere and wish there was a place here that made it. Until lavender ice cream and I meet, I am going to have to be best friends with green tea ice cream.
This is a stove simmer, not to be eaten. I had this simmering most of the hours I was at home on Saturday, and it made my whole place smell so wonderful. It is orange slices, lemon slices, fresh cranberries, one stick of cinnamon, and a dash of cloves. I just kept it filled with water and the steam scented my place with the best aromas of the season.
While I had many options of fresh fruit I decided to make some infused water with the orange, lemon, and cranberries. So, in my little glass pitcher went the fruit and my filtered water, and presto! Delicious flavoured water!

13 December 2013

Take a Moment

Not much is better than this. After a long day, coming home to a new book resting in your mailbox. Last week this book was waiting for me. Something intriguing. I had heard good things about this book, about the writing community of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and their friends. I have been reading it ever since (whenever I can catch a minute or two to indulge) and it's really been enjoyable.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? I have a to-do list that stretches longer than I would want, but it is the most wonderful time of the year so I will not let a list of tasks take away my enjoyment of this season. This time of year gets to be so crazy both at work and in personal life, but it is so full of good things that should be savored.

So take a moment. Make some tea. Sit and think. Write out some thoughts. Indulge in a favourite hobby.
And most importantly, recognize God in everything that you do. He will use you in the best of ways.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
 - Psalm 62.8

12 December 2013

Christmas Carol

Pull up a cup of tea and a cheerful tree and read a lovely Christmas poem. I am in the spirit not only by decorations of visual elements, but through my reading as well. And more importantly, reflecting on the importance of Christmas and how that can be shared with others. Being immersed in a thankfulness that continues to resonate all day. Even on a dark day when struggles abound, a Christmas carol can always be found.

Christmas Carol

By Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965)

God bless your house this Holy night,
And all within it:

God bless the candle that you light,
To midnight's minute;

The board at which you break your bread,
The cup you drink of:

And as you raise it, the unsaid
Name that you think of:

The warming fire, the bed of rest,
The ringing laughter:

These things and all things else be blest
From floor to rafter

This Holy night, from dark to light,
Even more than other:

And if you have no house to-night,
God bless you, brother.

11 December 2013

Christmas Ideas

Get creative and make some decorations that would normally cost a lot in the store. This snow globe is my favourite project, for sure, and it was really easy to make.
Drape strings of lights. They are affordable and oh! So pretty! They brighten up the whole room and can last all Winter long. (And maybe even longer....) I love them and never want to take them down.
Make your own name tags for gifts. I cut little snowflakes out of packing paper I already had. I will tape them onto each gift and write who they are for. It makes each gift unique!
Simple is best. I used a fancy yarn I found on sale as my tree garland, and used a different fancy yarn to string my ornaments, which are just little Christmas bells. My tree skirt is remnant paisley eyelet fabric from Joann's on sale. 

10 December 2013

A Favourite Meal

Firstly, I found this vintage covered baking dish the weekend after Thanksgiving when I was in Venice. My mom and I went to a few downtown thrift stores and this cute dish was waiting for me. I can tell this is the beginning of a beautiful cooking relationship.

Secondly, I love vegetables (especially root vegetables). I could definitely live off of vegetables (except mushrooms and olives- blah). Who needs meat when there is so much flavour here?

Thirdly, I decided to make a vegetable roast in the oven using my new dish. It's such a simple meal but it is one of my favourite meals to make and eat. I roast the vegetables for an hour and a half and then place them over a little elbow pasta. You can add, delete, or change the vegetables used. I would love to include beets and parsnips, but they were not readily available at the grocery store.

Veggie Roast
Oven Temp- 400
Cooking Time- 1.5 hours

1 Onion
1 Sweet Potato
Brussels Sprouts
Garlic Salt

Ground Cinnamon
Olive Oil

Cut up the veggies however you like them. I keep them bigger because they will reduce down when cooked. Mix in some olive oil, garlic salt, rosemary, basil, and ground cinnamon according to your taste. Throw everything in the baking dish, cover, and let the oven do all the work for about an hour and a half. 

09 December 2013

Dark Night Bring to Light

Last night I had some horrible lies cris-cross through my mind. Lies that made me doubt myself, my friendships, my worth. Out of nowhere they crept up on me and struck me when my guard was down. Even though I knew they were lies being whispered into my tired mind, they bothered me at first.

I started to drown in my pool of pity, and under my quilt I felt oppressed. But it passed away when I recognized boldly in my mind that they were lies. Satan! Away with your lies!

I am worthy. I am loved. God, in all His glory, and for reasons I cannot fully understand, loves me so much He gave His son as a sacrifice on my behalf for sins I have committed and will commit. The same goes for you. Why would anyone do that for us? What did I ever do to deserve freedom from the bonds of death? Nothing. Which is why my wallowing lasts but a minute.

The opinions of people-- the cares of the world. They will all expire. They don't last. They are a wisp. A cloud set to dissipate.

But the eternal gifts that live in us matter. That is why we cannot let this world get us down. It is not what we were made for.

Dim as the borrow'd beams of moon and stars
To lonely, weary, wand'ring travellers
Is reason to the soul; and as on high
Those rolling fires discover but the sky,
Not light us here, so reason's glimmering ray
Was lent not to assure our doubtful way
But guide us upward to a better day.

From Religio Laici by John Dryden (around 1682)

06 December 2013

Delightful December

December charms....

A cup of tea by my side. Wrapped gifts under my tiny tree. Cheerful candles light tables. White lights adorn my living room and kitchen bringing a lovely glow that I always want to have. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is turn on all the lights.

Several books pile on the ottoman waiting for me to pick them up. A stack of cards to write and mail. Stocking hung. Snowflakes here and there. Cinnamon pine cones scent the air.
I never want this cheerful, delightful season to end. The wonder that is emitted from every little charm seeps into my soul and brings a delight. Delightful is my word of the month.

Full of cooler nights. I am still waiting for the cooler days. Glimpses appeared, teased me, and then disappeared, running away to the North. I love to layer up and crave hot drinks to warm up. I am ready for it to feel like Winter.

Delightful December.

05 December 2013


Serene, the night has become,
and yet in the darkness, hidden,
are stumbling blocks we cannot see...
Trust in God who knows all
and sees all.
Lean not on your own understanding.

It is the season of light because the true light entered our world, a gift we never deserved. But love overcomes all through Jesus.

A lovely, white glow casts its shine through the room. Even though the string of tiny lights is not vibrant, they create an atmosphere of comfort and joy. The spirit of a season dwelling in such subtle radiance. The comfort of home, or something like it. A place once dreamed of, now a little closer.Within grasp, almost, the light seems to be in this season.

No one likes to dwell in a place of darkness. The soft light assesses our fears and casts them away at the first twinkle. Drawing attention in a soft way. I want to be where the lights shine.

04 December 2013

Delightful Eats

 Enjoying a cup of tea each morning over Thanksgiving break, at my Mum's house. Using her cute cups. English Breakfast tea with honey.
 Red cups! Festive for my gingerbread latte. I don't think I have had any of the specialty holiday drinks yet. Until now. Yum.
 I have discovered a delicious snack that I keep munching on at work. These crackers are better than wheat thins and the subtle cinnamon is so good. I usually don't like flavoured crackers. Sometimes the flavours are too overpowering, but these are not.
My town has a new restaurant just a few blocks from my office. PDQ is a chicken spot, with high quality sandwiches, salads, etc... Along the lines of Chick-Fil-A and Zaxby's, but fresher. My boss and his wife tried it last week and had good things to say about it, so I tried it and I agree with them!

I am so glad to have my appetite back after a stomach bug that I had. You don't truly appreciate the little things like having an appetite until the thought of food makes you feel sick. And this time of year is the best for new treats and hot drinks. Haven't you heard? It's the most wonderful time of the year!

03 December 2013


This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
- 1 John 1.5

Traditional. Does that word invoke valuable things of the past or something old and outdated?

For me, the traditional is all that we build our new visions upon. Without traditional elements, we do not have what we have today. The stories and traditions of old are what we build our modern ways on, whether we know it or not.

I love the tradition of decorating for the Holidays. Adding warmth and cheerfulness to your home is a way of showing hospitality to others when they come over. When you care enough to take time and energy to make a home more welcoming. Bringing holly, mistletoe, and trees/ wreaths into the home remind us that we are part of nature and God’s creation. Adding a star to the top of your tree is symbolic of the star that shown on the night of Jesus’ birth. And the tradition of burning candles brings to light the light of the world, Jesus.

Blessings to you this Advent Season.

02 December 2013

Thankful Glimpses

 I am thankful for fun trips to Target to browse at Christmas decor, and a London Fog to sip on along the way. Mum made me buy a tiny Christmas tree for my tiny apartment. It looks pretty cute.
 I am thankful for my beautiful niece all bundled up for our Thanksgiving day walk to the beach to watch the sunset!
 I am thankful for the perfectly chilly weather on Thanksgiving and the lovely walk to the beach with the whole gang, working off some of that delicious food.
 I am thankful for friends who come down from the north east for Thanksgiving who make me laugh and smile.
I am thankful for little delights like chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.

I am most thankful for God and His love for me that I may have an abundance of blessings in my life. Every other thing I am thankful for stems from this. None of it is possible without God's grace and mercy.