However you celebrate the season, I wish you the very best now and for the New Year. Always feeling reflective at this time of year, I know I am such a lucky girl. Thank you for your continued friendship.
If you can find a spare five minutes in the hustle and bustle, I think you will enjoy this:
I'm still wrapping. Are you? I thought I was on a good pace....numerous trips to the post office shipping gift packages and orders, nearly everything on the to-do lists is done but I'm still writing out cards, and still wrapping and baking....and tomorrow is Christmas Eve! No matter how much I try to be organized I am always down to the last minute with holiday preparation. I could ask for help, but that would take away the surprise and sneaky selections I've made as gifts. No, I am happy to be the chief elf. I am lucky to have that role. As I write out each gift tag I think about this great position I'm in to continue making Christmas a magical time - even though our kids are no longer little. It's the lights, the sparkle, the surprises, the LOVE....and tomorrow night at church we will pause, pray, and lift our voices in song. I'm rushing to beat the clock, but I'm grinning through it. As you enter into final-preparation-mode, like the rest of us, think about how lucky you are to be the magic-maker for your family.
I've mentioned this before - one of our family traditions is to collect souvenir spoons on our travels. Brought out each December, it is fun to remember places we've been together as we hang each spoon on the tree. This year we get to add a few new ones. I think this makes at least 6 from England, and now we have two from Italy. One purchased, one stolen (gasp!). If you sift through the box you'll see a newish one from New Orleans, an old one from Traverse City, several from Boston and Minnesota, and a special one from New York when the twin towers were still part of the skyline.
I would ask you to share with me some of your unusual holiday traditions....but you should be wrapping! We will talk about it another time.....for now, I'm raising a glass to toast you, the magic-makers.
Last week I watched the Storyteller episode on Palladia featuring P!nk, and I fell in love with the duet she did with Nate Ruess from Fun. I've been playing the track over and over. Although it was written about a troubled relationship, there are lines that stand alone....we will learn to love again. Music is my go-to remedy for soothing sorrow. Perhaps it is yours too. Melodies or lyrics touch a part of us like nothing else. There are notes that, when strung together, can reach in and just get to us. We get a lump in our throat, or goosebumps across our arms, or a tear in our eye, and we feel it. Here, the words say we are not broken, just bent. I'm certain there are families who are broken after the tragedy in Newtown. I think of them when I listen....I feel for them, as we all do....and pray that they may rise, to learn to love again.
I missed posting this at 12:12 AM so I scheduled it for 12:12 PM. I was going to call it "hold this space" but opted for "hold this spot"....the difference? The latter is twelve letters, of course! As I was preparing the graphic this morning I observed that 12.12.12, 12:12 PM is also twelve characters. Since I posted an essay, Ode to the Eleventh Hour on 11.11.11 last year I wanted to acknowledge today's date in a post about the Midnight Hour (twelve letters!), but I haven't had the time to complete it...therefore, I'm holding the spot and will edit later.
As I was reviewing my to-do list, I noticed how many things could be described in twelve letters. Luckily I'm on the winning side of the tasks...and there are still twelve days until Christmas Eve, when it better all be done!
Move the sofas
Bring up boxes
Set out stable
Light the tree
Shop for gifts
Wrap the gifts
Send out cards
Do the laundry
Let us rejoice
Speaking of 12, does it bug you (the way it bugs me) that retailers talk about the twelve days of Christmas as though it starts on December 1st, or December 13th? It actually begins on Christmas and sees us through to the eve of the Epiphany.
However long your list is, I hope you are managing, moving along with grace, and taking time to enjoy it.
On two occasions while in Venice, Fallon and I visited the home studio of Enrico Orlando Martina. He is located near our hotel and we enjoyed meeting him and seeing his process of making art using several mediums. We spied his open door down a narrow alley and were tempted to enter when we saw his paintings in the window. Like me, he is schooled in architecture but spends his time making art. He is such a talent and swiftly illustrates local scenes like St. Mark's Basilica below, with a swish of his charcoal which he demonstrated for us as we carefully selected a piece to bring home. He gave us the sketch too!
I love to fill the walls of our home and my studio with art that I make, and art by others that makes me happy. Recently I scooped up some very handsome pieces by my friend Julie Prichard. She's loaded her Etsy shop with very affordable prints from her original paintings - these are amazing! Not only do I love her style, but the texture she achieves in the prints is stunning. It's like owning the real thing. Recently she added miniatures as soldered glass charms - great gift *hint*.