December Morning Dawn

The lavender sky spreads and stretches over rolling pastures and forests of trees.

Along the railroad tracks the mist lightly rolls as dawn awakes

Golden sun rises and the air is ever cool in the December morning breeze

Deer move along the tracks with motions swift on crisp winter grass.

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Here at cozy home the dawn wakes me without clock as the lavender clouds drift by

Outside my window a new day begins of promise and light

No window coverings block my view of the large trees and the colored western sky

I mutter silent prayers of gratitude and breathe deeply.

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‘Tis too easy to get caught up in past affairs and travesties, harsh pain and mire

‘Tis too easy to become obsessed with what one still desires

But in this moment, my Dear ones out there, be the heart and smile that you would admire

Let not any negative word or thought escape to the world.

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Focus, Dears, on what is real and light and bright and sweet, upon blessings, and present here

See beauty in all things big and small, from children to birdsong,

Speak in tomes of love and forgiveness and inspire those that are near, for joy they hear

For your spirit’s light this Yule tide season can be very bright.

 

The Spirit of Yuletide Décor

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and most Joyous Yule, my dear friends.  Our household, throughout the year, tends to honor and celebrate the oldest of traditions and beliefs, long before organized religion and that feels beautiful and real to us.  We will be celebrating Yule, but since I was raised Christian and Doug was raised Jewish, we incorporate all sorts of lovely traditions into our house and celebrate with our families.  For all the celebrations are really the same, the celebration of light, love, and hope.

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Decorating for the holidays should be nothing short of fun!  Incorporating ideas, palettes, and items that bring joy are the basis for holiday décor.

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We have collected cute stockings for a long time.  The children took some of their stockings to their own homes.  We are one short this year with the arrival of Ayla Mae, so I will find an adorable one for her.  Santa is coming to Grammie and Pa’s house Christmas Eve!  (To my great delight!)  I hung the stockings with care from the curtain rods.

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This was the first tree top angel I bought when I was nineteen years old in my first home.  I, of course, chose the tallest tree I could fit in my house this year so angel sits in the window welcoming loved ones.  Find these beautiful candles for a buck and some in the religious aisle of your grocery store.  They have them without the pictures on them.  They burn for a long time and they add festivity and charm to the home.

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Incorporating things you love is easy.  This moose was one of two that Doug got me our first Christmas together.  Her head is falling off but way up on the bookshelf she has a safe place of importance.

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The tree is filled with ornaments of old and new.  Photo ornaments the children made in grade school and ones from my childhood.  Ones from Grandma’s tree and many from our travels.

Yuletide décor is in the details.  Use holiday china this time of year, even for lunch!  Put oil lamps in each room.  Light plenty of candles.  Place strings of garland and twinkly lights in each room (even the bathroom!)

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These sweet, little cloches hold seasonal treasures.  Bird’s nests and moss covered twigs, sprigs of pine and pinecones.

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We opted this year to just string lights around the front porch and set them on a timer.  I love my ristras (one day I will be in New Mexico) and I leave the chairs and tables set up all winter in case of a sunny day that can be spent on the porch.  Always add pieces of yourself in the décor.  A sterile scene from a store doesn’t create the spirit of life that your own personal touches can.

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Place tea candles on sand inside lunch bags and line your front walk.  Light an oil lamp on the front porch for visitors.  Make handmade gifts this year.  Spend time enjoying the season.  And make space in your heart for light, love, and hope.

50 Things (replacing anxiety for peace)

It instantly calmed my breath.  My shoulders relaxed.  A smile crept onto my face.  My mind quieted.

I’m no expert at meditation and my discipline in the world of exercise has something to be desired but I found an instantaneous solution to my anxious mind.  50 Things.

Now there have been gratitude journals out there for years and the word gratitude is practically a catchphrase.  Here, on the porch watching the sun rise, or deep in the waters of a warm bath, or lying in bed with my mind wrought with worry, 50 Things soothes like a blanket and a glass of wine.

I have friends who are just cool.  Just easy.  I feel like a sped up record next to them.  My shop is closing up north, my new shop is opening and we pray for customers  One daughter needs to find a job, the other hopes we find success, the dishes are not done, and the puppy ate my bike helmet.  I feel them all most intensely!  But those 50 Things quiets and glides me into the day or night with peace.

 

Try it.  Whisper aloud to the Creator and your guides and ancestors 50 things that you are grateful for.  Try to make them slightly different each time.  For brightly colored marigolds, and pumpkins on the porch, for blue jays waking me at dawn, and hot coffee in a mug my friend gifted me, for each child, and their friends that love me like a mom, and for my husband, and the bumper crop of potatoes, and my visiting granddaughter and granddog, and autumn, the new shop, new beginnings, hope, geraniums….

A breath of anxiety releases and wafts through the cool morning dissolving into sunlight and a new day begins.

Keeping Yule Celebrations Alive

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The nights were dark and starry.  Cold as the winds blew and the people of the time stayed indoors, lamps and fires lit, families gathered in the dimly lit homes of the land.

The solstice was coming soon and across the lands the sun would shine a bit more each day.  This was a cause for great celebration among the people.  Twenty-thousand plus years before organized religion the families of the ancient lands bundled up in furs and lit lanterns and went from house to house bringing light and song to their neighbors.

The spring prior the God and the Goddess conceived and on December 21st the Goddess would give birth to the son of God, the sun.  The Holly King and his reindeer came around with gifts in exchange for a bowl of porridge.  And during the twelve days of Yule fires were lit, celebrations were had, and light was spread by all.

The newer religions of today borrow the same concepts of celebration and light.  What can we do today to celebrate Yuletide?  Spread light around you.  Compliment strangers and friends.  Check on elders and see if they are well fed and if they need company.  Invite folks into your home for a warm pot of soup and a game of cards.  Give simple, handmade gifts.  Set up twinkly lights and a Yule tree.  Sing and rejoice for the Sun God is coming and will brighten each day.

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Happy Yule everyone!

The Farmgirl Bath; Before and After

This is one of those cases where paint really did save the day.  No fancy remodels.  Just paint and fresh towels.  If I could find a few vintage floral prints to hang up, that would really make the room.

To start, the bathroom was full of spiders and dirt.  Whatever kid lived here last had pizza on his fingers and left marks throughout the house.  The bathroom was dingy and plain.

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Now, I am one that would prefer to count blessings over wrinkles so I do not want bright white light with bright white walls.  A light shade of rose tones the space down and gives a glow of health and less wrinkles to anyone who peers in the mirror.

The key to making different colored rooms appear seamless is the use of a color throughout all the rooms.  In this house’s case, I am using that lush, dark brown as trim throughout.  It was also used on the bead board in the bath.  The dark brown instantly transports me to old hotels we have stayed in and makes the bathroom go from frilly pink to all grown up and slightly French.

After two weeks of packing, moving, rearranging my shop, and painting, I am ready to try out that new bath tub!

Setting Yourself Free (Part 1- Release and Being a Keeper of Light)

A fellow told me that I am the happiest person he has ever met.  My husband is the happiest person I have ever met.  We are a veritable roaming comedy team.  But happiness and balance is something that we must work for every day.  In this world of negativity and news stations we must protect ourselves, seek balance, and constantly be keepers of the light.

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The first day’s lesson in the Setting Yourself Free series is Releasing.

Releasing Others:

Here is an exercise for you.  Walk through your life, view it like an old home video.  You will see some bad things happen but they will still move on to the next memory.  When you get to a particularly hurtful thought, stop.  Think of that person that you are still hurt from.  They may be still in your life or they may be long gone from it.  Now, step back from yourself and them.  Pretend like you are an onlooker viewing the situation unbiased eyes.  What do you see?  The person that hurt you (or is still hurting your heart), do they have past issues?  Can you look from a different, far off view and see them as a human and what they might be thinking (albeit not always sane or accurate?).  By understanding where people are coming from and why they act or do the things they do we can often find a tiny bit of compassion for them (not excusing them) and can see that it was not you they were trying to hurt, but they are hurt themselves.  Release that memory, that person, that hurt.

My friend, Dora, said to put them in a bubble and let them float away.  Every time you feel a hurt from them coming up just put them in a pink bubble and let Creator handle them and that memory.  My friend, Steve, used to tell me to put bad memories in a file cabinet.  Every time you see yourself looking at that memory (even if it was from yesterday!) put it back in the file and close the door!  Pull yourself back to the present.

I sometimes find myself thinking nonstop of what I would have said, what I want to say, but if you know that it will not change anything, then close that file drawer!  We must consciously work for happiness every day and by releasing negativity and people that are sources of such we find ourselves smiling more.

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Release Yourself:

Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than on others.  The dog I had to take to the shelter twenty years ago, the cat I had to put to sleep, the thing I said that hurt someone’s feelings, the mistake I made when I was raising the kids, the list will go on and on because we are human.  Now, if we do that same exercise and pull ourselves back from our physical self and look in, we can see why we did things, understand, learn, grow, and be a stronger person because we know now and we can be compassionate with ourselves.  We must be kind to ourselves.  We are just spirits inside these frames learning on this journey through life.  Embrace it, release others and yourself from judgment and forgive all.

Lifelong Release:

Now that you have done this exercise you will find it easier to walk out of the imaginary room of past and present hurts.  You can send people off in pink bubbles with love.  You can pat yourself on the back and be kind.  We are all on a fabulous journey here.  We need each other.  We need ourselves to be strong.  We need Creator.  We are more light and happier and connected no matter what the circumstances if we can master RELEASE.