one light

2012-12-18 10.49.58There is so much I could say about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut and yet so few words can make sense of it. Actually no words can make sense of it. I intended to write about our Solstice traditions this week and then I waffled and thought perhaps I shouldn’t. I mean, I know life goes on, but the reality of that can feel so cruel. Anyone who has known personal loss can attest that life moving forward is one of the most painful aspects of loss—the brutality and heartlessness of that onward movement is nearly unbearable. As I considered writing this week, everything felt selfish as my three children lie safe in their beds. As I sit here attempting to write now, it all feels selfish because before I go to my own bed tonight, I will turn on the hall light as I do every night, and touch their faces and hair gently and feel their breath on my hand. I will take one last look for this day at their sweet faces before I succumb to sleep myself.

2012-12-18 10.50.27But then I thought perhaps it would be good to write about the Solstice, which is a celebration of the rebirth of light. Of hope and warmth. Maybe that is something in which we all need to bask right now.

"Little darling I feel that ice is slowly melting Little darling It seems like years since it's been clear Here comes the sun Here comes the sun, and I say It's all right" —The Beatles

I feel so grateful that my kids are little enough to be oblivious to this tragedy. I want to protect them from the knowledge that this kind of violence is possible in this world into which I’ve brought them. (I know this kind of protection will not be possible forever.) While my children live in blissful ignorance, I know that the children who hid in closets and bathrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary will never be innocent in this way ever again. My hope for them is peace and the knowledge that there is good in this world.

2012-12-18 10.50.53For us, the Solstice is a quiet moment in the midst of the whirlwind that is the Holiday season. A time for my nuclear little bunch to huddle up close and breathe in the quiet and the light. I made a Solstice countdown board for them—animals and plants that populate our part of the world in winter, the sun, the moon, snow clouds. They add one element to the board each day from December 1st until the day of the Solstice, on which the sun is pinned in the sky. My hope is to nurture a connection with the natural world. A oneness with the Earth and all its inhabitants. To help them to witness divinity (whatever form that takes for them) in the turning of the seasons, in the light of the sun, in the delicate strands of the white pine, in the smallest of seashells and most majestic of mountains. Our Solstice board is reminder of the world we share with all living things, the way the Earth moves forward through its cycles, and our place within it.

2012-12-18 10.48.11On this Solstice as we dim the lamps and light a single candle, as we eat our supper of sun pie and wish bread, as we listen to “Here Comes the Sun” and place the felt sun I sewed in its place on our Solstice board, I will hope our one light shines out into the darkness. I will let go of any idea of selfishness and instead meditate on humble gratitude.

Yes, life goes on. The sun will rise again, the days will slowly grow longer. We have no power to thwart it. But what we can bring to this unstoppable, inescapable forward motion is a cultivation of light and goodness. And share the flame when the light of hope dims for another.


"If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path." Buddha

Happy Solstice. May you know light in your life and peace in your heart.

stuff i am grateful for (and stuff i am not)

(Warning: total fluff post. I am way too busy wrapping up NaNo, cooking Thanksgiving dinner and going Christmas shopping to write something legitimate. And, let’s be honest, you’re too full of turkey to read something legitimate. This probably works out better than I originally thought...)

compost crock

I love my compost crock. Before I got this, I used an old stainless steel mixing bowl. This is much prettier. I scored it at our neighborhood yard sale back in September. At the end of the whole shebang, I walked over to say hello to one of my neighbors and there it was, unclaimed on her yard sale table, next to some VHS movies and creepy knick-knacks. I said, “Oh, I want that! It would be perfect for my counter compost collecting!” (Or something like that.) She said, “Take it.” (Exactly that.) And it had a $3 sticker on it, down from $5, so I really made out. I took that $3 I saved and got 3/4 of a mocha at Starbucks. (How else does one afford Starbucks?) (As I rethink this, I should have taken the $5 I saved and bought an entire mocha. Oh, well—hindsight is 20/20.)

ceramic colander

I just bought this recently at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It goes very nicely with the compost crock (which is really an old soup tureen). I like to drop off things I don’t want anymore at the Salvation Army Thrift Store Donation Center and then go buy things other people didn’t want anymore in the Salvation Army Thrift Store. They are conveniently adjacent to one another. I’m not sure how the math works here, but I’m pretty sure I came out on top. Either way, this colander is just cool. And at a mean $2.99, how does one pass it up, I ask you? I’m not that strong.

Both together. Nice, huh—what did I tell ya?

breezeway storage unit

Scored this from another neighbor—one neighbor’s crap is another’s breezeway storage unit! Yes, it’s not entirely sound, but it’s not as though we have toddlers (anymore—they survived it, don’t worry). It holds all the stuff that makes sense to belong in a breezeway as well as the stuff that I have no idea how to categorize and therefore store with any sense of logic elsewhere.

my husband’s bureau

I do not like this. My husband—let’s call him “Steve”—neither cleans nor organizes his bureau. Ever. The bureau surface holds many assorted items and a shitload of dust. (He often leaves one of the drawers open, too. What is up with that?) One might infer from the expansive collection of deodorants here that he has an odor problem. However, I have been in close proximity to him since 1998 and I don’t think he smells bad. Maybe I’m just used to him. I don’t know. No one has mentioned a bad smell. I, like you, wondered about the collection.

“‘Steve’, why do you have so many deodorants?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Didn’t you buy them?”



“I don’t know. I don’t have an answer.”

I am not making this up.

Found here: several boxes of matches, basket full of random crap including giant headphones, a roll of black electrical tape, the combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector—safety first, after all. (Don’t be concerned: it is functional, it simply inexplicably resides on his bureau rather in the ceiling of the hallway.) And a lone drum stick. Many of these things would seem to have nothing to do with bedroom-ish activities or needs. Or perhaps I’m just not as creative as he would have hoped when he married me.

(How many of you want to bet “Steve” will not allow me to write about him on this blog anymore? Don’t worry—I’ll ignore him when he tells me not to.)

blue bathroom tile

Does this require explanation? If it does, look at this. It will solidify your understanding.

I don’t know what it is, either.

Thanksgiving banner

I stitched this several years ago when we moved into our house and I was hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner for family. My son was about 4 months old. And all hilarity aside, I am thankful for many, many things outside of my compost crock, cool colander and rickety shelf.

I am grateful that I have something creative that I love to do and have always had the support and encouragement of my husband, parents, sister and good friends to keep doing it.

I am grateful that we are healthy and happy and that our problems are small.

I am most grateful for my buddy, Steve, and our kids, and this life we are living and figuring out together.