"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

I had no idea that this was the opening line of, Little Women when I purchased this title for my teenage cousin during my final visit to our bookstore. I confess, I have never read this classic. But with this new edition out, it just might be the year!
Today, is a milestone this December, and it must be endured. Its the day of both, Myles and Fiona's holiday parties and one of my own. The knitting group I am apart of is gathering tonight for some festivities in which I am to bring a dessert and a homemade gift for a swap. Phew. After receiving some advice from a surrogate mentor to make a pound cake, I did just that and it is baking in the oven now.  My DIY is pretty funny. Its a humble attempt at this, which feels like a mixture of festive and tacky and over-the-top, all at the same time. We shall see how it goes over. It may be coming back home with me. :)


Powers of Fiction

This summer, as we decided to educate Myles at home, it was clear to us that we would lean heavily on books.  We found a literature based curriculum that seemed to suit us and decided to go for it.  It felt like jumping off a cliff, hoping for, "a year in books."  This is how I got my mind around it at least.

As we stand in the midst of month four, I can say that books have indeed been our guiding light.  Our favorite this year was, Over Sea, Under Stone.  It blew us all away.  And it felt even more significant when I serendipitously had the opportunity to meet the great, Susan Cooper and tell her in person how much the story meant to our family. I reinforced this opinion to her in a letter, to which she promptly replied with a note and a signed pamphlet that answered some of our questions about inspiration.

When I read this article on the saving powers of fiction, I felt a kinship with the sentiments expressed.  We do not know what this life will bring to us all.  But there is a form of security allowed us in the comfort of good stories.

And along similiar lines, I am adding this to somebody's Christmas list; When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win WWII.


Christmas continued...

On Friday night our family attended a one man performance of, The Christmas Carol.  It was small and affordable, and brilliantly produced.  The story becomes richer and more meaningful every year. I am very thankful for the hope and redemption that Dickens gives witness to.  Growing up, my family made a tradition of seeing local productions of this play, so it is fun to see my own children's eyes widen at the opening words, "Marley was dead!"

I found this copy for my brother for Christmas.

Do you remember this one?  Fiona and I lost ourselves in it yesterday.  (Myles was lurking around the corner, calling out questions from the other room.  "Which war is the dad fighting in?" )

Today is a bit of a George Bailey day for me. "I want to live again, I want to live again." Can't you just see Jimmy Stewart burying his head in his arms crying this out?  We all have our own Mr. Potter hunting us down, trying to bankrupt our lives. Today, mine comes in the form deceitful hormones and piles of recycling waiting for someone to take them to the dump.  I always forget that that someone is me.


Christmas Gift Guide

December hit and I painted my kitchen purple.  Earlier this week, I walked into the paint store knowing I had something dramatic up my sleeve and there I saw a shiny, glimmering sign displaying Benjamin Moore's color trends of 2015. I was sold!  I settled on cinnamon slate in record time and now, three days later I stand and can't help but smile at the comforting color of kings on my wall.  Apparently Advent was penetrating my subconscious. It feels so festive. Like the color of plum pudding.

Above are some titles that I am giving this year.


Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Therefore loving Fiona means listening to her recite her first grade turkey-day-ditty, without visibly cringing. Something inside me says that this is not the time to nit pick my problems with the public school system. But really, how many more years must we listen to seasonally appropriate creatures make exclamations while sitting on a fence? How about some Margaret Willey rhymes instead?

I'll help you, Mother.
We'll cook a feast!

A tower of biscuits, a bushel of peas,
a tub of potatoes, a wheel of cheese,
a dozen pies, a barrel of juice,
cranberries, plums,
and a Thanksgiving goose!


The other day this book came home with us:

Delightful item, but the illustrations reminded me that we had not read, Nana's Birthday Party in far too long. I love this book deeply. Nana throws a party for herself every year in between Thanksgiving and Christmas where there are no gifts allowed, except the homemade kind. Set in the middle of New York City, this book is filled with hat boxes, insecurities, and taking joy in sweet memories. It is the kind of read that refreshes the souls of weary children that come home from a dramatic day at school.


Tonight I sit watching, Hannah and Her Sisters and think about the many things that come to mind on this holiday. The joy and the sorrows, the plenty and the want. And how tomorrow, as I host my first Thanksgiving Day feast for the four of us, I want to mirror my mother's grace, walk slowly, and pray for joy.