Thursday, December 16, 2010

Because This Day Needs A Little More Whimsy

No time for a real post this week. How about a little magic and mischief instead? These whimsical name generators come up with their descriptions based only on your name, so I was surprised by how well certain elements (in bold) seemed to actually fit my personality. Like, I've always been particularly enchanted by that moment between sleeping and waking (also the moments between day and night like dusk and dawn). Interesting, isn't it?

My fairy is Meadow Reedwitch
She plays reed pipes and sings spellbinding songs.
She lives in fields where wild flowers and poppies grow.
She is only seen in the enchanted moment between sleep and waking.
She wears a skirt made of red petals and has deep green butterfly wings.
Get your own fairy name from the Fairy Name Generator!

My mermaid species is Red Flotsam Seeker
Typically the tail and fins are an unusually deep red colour acting as a camouflage from predators in deeper water. The skin is a mottled, freckled sandy colour and the hair is often reddish.
(curalium dissolutio)
The dissolutio is a treasure-collector, gathering finds from the beach and ocean and creating caches of interesting and beautiful objects.
Note: Known for its foraging behaviour, this variety particularly likes to seek out small crustaceans and starfish.
Get your own mermaid or merman species from the Mermaid Name Generator!

My unicorn is Orchid Snowy Coat
Orchid is as wild and untamed as a desert horse.
She is as white as the driven snow,
and she climbs the mountains of the world.
Get your own unicorn name from the Unicorn Name Generator!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stop. Look Around.

This weekend I received the gift of suspended time with three girls who I love very much and don't get to see often enough. I enjoyed red wine, chocolate, and celebrity gossip with Christine. It was so good to catch up, compare notes on newly-married life, open our eyes and hearts to big dreams and exciting possibilities.

Then it was time in Dallas with Erin and Kelly. Pedicures, coffee, shopping, wedding talk (Kelly's big day is coming soon!), delicious food, good news. We reminisced about old days and laughed, and I couldn't help but wonder at how we've remained so close. Despite distances and large gaps in our time together, these women are some of my dearest friends, true kindred spirits.

And I finished it off with a quiet Sunday evening back home. Christmas music playing over a muted football game, hanging ornaments on the tree and setting out Christmas decorations. Then curling up on the couch with my favorite person on earth, snuggling to stay warm while watching a movie.

I wish time could slow down, and stay that way. I wish that I was better about stopping, about looking around me. I can look back on many times that I relish, that I wish to return to. But I so often let them slide right by me in the moment, rather than gathering them close and drinking them in. Holding them still. Making them last. Reveling in life and all it's everyday amazing glory as it occurs. Then moving quietly on to savor the next little thing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Santa's on his way...

Tree is lit and trimmed...

Everyone gets into the Christmas spirit....

New, handcrafted nativity scene from Peru. Thanks, Mom!!

New additions to my old favorite nativity...

My oldest favorite nativity from when I was tiny....

Another nativity....I just love them....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

It was a little slow around the office this morning, so I was put to work fluffing out the branches of our newly purchased, pre-lit, office Christmas tree. It occurred to me while dutifully fluffing away, that besides ordering gingerbread lattes at Starbucks every chance I get, this the only even remotely Christmas-related thing I have done. I have not yet pulled the Christmas decorations down from the attic. I have not done any holiday baking. I haven't embarked on my annual attempt at doing holiday crafts. I haven't done any Christmas shopping, unless you count a single online purchase. Heck, I haven't even made my Christmas list yet.

I continued fluffing those branches on the cutest, six foot tall, pencil style Christmas tree you have ever seen, and suddenly it all clicked into place. I would buy one just like it. After all, Keith and I have been prevaricating over what to do about our tree. I love live trees, have always adamantly insisted upon them. But the kitties will rip one to shreds, we won't have much time to enjoy one before we leave to spend Christmas in Colorado, it will dry up and die and leave it's needles all over the carpet before we get back. Plus, I'd have to pay about the same amount for a pretty tree that will die in a few weeks as I would for an artificial one that will last for years. I must confess, somehow I've actually become practical about Christmas trees. Blame my mom. She insisted on buying an artificial tree for the first time two years ago and I think it broke something inside me.

And now I've discovered an artificial tree that I actually like, one that won't take up too much space in our tiny and already cluttered living room. One that will be adorable in an entryway or guest room someday, when I regain my sanity and once again return to my only-a-live-tree-will-do ways. My Christmas-deprived spirit seized on this single idea with manic glee. This will be it, I thought with triumph. This will bring Christmas to my life, to my heart. This tree. I need this tree. So on my lunch break, I set off to buy one.

There are a few things that decidedly don't put me in the Christmas spirit. The crowded Hobby Lobby parking lot is one of them. Another is rushing straight to the Christmas tree section only to discover that my tree, my perfect tree, the one that will save Christmas for me, has been sold out. They are not expecting any more shipments. They do not have any tucked away in the hidden corner of some darkened supply room. I know, because I asked the sullen Hobby Lobby employee that exact question and she swore to me that there are none left.

However, I talked to Steven over at the Hobby Lobby in Temple. He still had four of my trees in stock and was willing to put one on hold for me until the end of the day. And my sweet, sweet husband agreed to drive an hour and a half round-trip just to get me the tree my heart is set on. I am such a lucky girl! And if knowing that doesn't put me in the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will.

Hallelujah Chorus Flash Mob

When I clicked in to watch this video over at Exploring our Matrix, I was not at all prepared for the way it would affect me. I don't know if it's the beautiful sounds of praise invading such a mundane space as a shopping mall food court, or if it's the sheer joy and delight of the singers as they share this special treat, or if it's the awe and wonder on the faces of the children who are obviously just aching to join in. For whatever reason, watching this video, this beautiful surprise, really touches me. It just fills me with emotion.

I just had to pass it along. HT to James McGrath.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Great Beauty

She was a great beauty. A famous beauty. Known far and wide for her breathtaking smile, her rosy cheeks and lips, cascading blond curls, pert nose, alluring figure. Her beauty was celebrated. People came to stare and be stunned. Prizes were awarded. Crowns were conferred. She was young. So young.

Her great beauty captured the heart of a dashing man. The day they met she was swimming in a stream when he came galloping up on horseback. He was devastatingly handsome, charming, a perfect match. Her heart soon belonged to him. She was married at eighteen. A mother at nineteen. Like something out of a storybook, only it's isn't. It's real.

Her portrait hung on the wall in a golden frame. The white dress, the glittering crown. I was fascinated by it as child, have been fascinated by it my whole life. This image, perfectly preserved in time, of the woman who is now a great-grandmother. Who is my grandmother. The woman who still carries such a great beauty, still radiates that beauty, with her rosy cheeks and lips, her blond curls. A beauty only enhanced by the lines on her face. By the wisdom of such a long, full life in her eyes. A beauty that comes, that has always come, from her love and her kindness. Her strength. Her tenderness. Her wit. Her fierce devotion to her family. Her unfailing generosity. Selflessness.

I wonder if she knows, even now, how her great beauty has shaped me; how it shaped even my very perception of beauty. I have seen beauty pour from her, from the inside out, and color everything around it. Life is made more beautiful in her presence. I am made more beautiful in her gaze. Does she know how much I admire her and adore her? How proud I am to be hers? How I have emulated her, as best I could? Does she know how beautiful she was, and is? Will always be? She is a great beauty. A true beauty. And I celebrate her great beauty today.