Boxing Day 2019


Aw, the day after Christmas day, the very large bins behind our apartment building are overflowing, a sad commentary on our excesses as a society. Yet, the ravens are crazily happy tearing open the garbage bags to retrieve their own feast. Perhaps this is a day that scavengers celebrate. The little dog that lives in the house behind us is also in his glee, barking furiously and racing back and forth and seeming to thoroughly enjoy his game of chasing ravens. The ravens ignore him and continue with their business of dumpster diving.  Squawking rends the air as the little dog takes part in the cacophony of discordant sound.

photo by Anastacia Hopkins

As for me and mine, we are draped limply in chairs and on couches in an attempt to recover from the bustle and rush of Christmas preparations. The day is done, but I hope the season of giving continues, not the presents, but the presence. The gifts that come from the heart: the lovingly prepared meals and snacks; the comfort of loving embraces; the gift of company for the lonely; shelter, clothing, warmth, and cheer that does not come in a box but wrapped in sincere concern for one another. May that concern never be boxed in or thrown into a garbage bin. May the ribbons that festoon our daily lives be ribbons bright with love and humanity. May they be ribbons that do not chaff or constrain, but drift warmly around our very souls. May our hearts be worn bravely on our sleeves as we continue through the days and weeks and months ahead. Amen!

Christmas trees and traditions


I was scrolling through memories on Facebook and looking at the Christmas trees we have decorated through the years – always the same decorations. It never changes, and nor do I want it to. The ornaments each have their own special memory attached from the hand made ornaments my children made when they were little to the store bought “treasures”. Isn’t that what creates tradition?

Other traditions are not physical, like certain ceremonies and symbolic actions that help us build our lives around all that is life-giving and good. Last evening, I sat with my daughter making a few home-made trinkets. That togetherness and time spent crafting and creating is another fond tradition. I hope that when I no longer walk this earth that all our traditions will bring a sense of continuity and comfort to those we leave behind. Christmas is such a sentimental time of year. At least it is for me. Trips down memory lane are frequent and never fail to help me appreciate the love of family and friends.

I hope you are enjoying this time of year and counting the many blessings of the season. Wishing all my readers a blessed and truly joyous Christmas.

Twelve months of blessings


There is something so special about Christmas time. Something magical and spiritual and absolutely good. I don’t feel that way every year, some years it was just too painful coming on the heels of a death in the family or some other grievous situation. But this year I am so very thankful for the blessings granted us over the past twelve months. So thankful, and Christmas is bringing me so much peace, so much joy this year.

It’s been a challenging year in so many ways, and, as I think back over it, it was an uphill climb in so many ways: emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and physically. It’s not finished with us yet as we wait for a spot to open up in the dialysis unity here in town so my husband won’t have to be flown to Edmonton once again. I think we’ve had enough of that for one year. Yet, it was a year so filled with blessings as well. So many people people stepped up to help us in more ways than I can list here. God really does work in mysterious ways and I am so grateful for all the people who allowed the Creator to work through them; who reached out to support us in every way imaginable. It is through adversity that we may be tested, but we are also so very blessed, if we are open to receive. I read somewhere that issues come up to either bless us or to help us learn the lesson it brings.

Here it what I learned once again: we are never alone, unless we choose to be. No problem or challenge is too big for the Divine One. People are so intrinsically good and unfailingly kind. If we are open we will receive what we need, and often even more than we pray for. People remark on how they see me as being so strong. Well, I will let you in on a little secret: it’s not my strength they see but the strength of God who sustains me, no matter how big or contentious the issue may be.

So, I am praying that we each receive all we need; that we are open to receive the gifts the Creator is waiting to grant us; that we find true joy in the season; that every moment is peace-filled. I wish you well, my friends. I wish you more blessings than you can count. I wish you enough, always. God bless and Merry Christmas.

Christmas in a seaside village


Silver tinsel on the tree

Frost on the window panes

Out on the bay ice caps frozen

Floating snowflakes drifting lazily from the skies

And in the fields hopping madly

Jack rabbits go bouncing by

Moonlight sparkling on the snow

Smoke curls and lifts upon the breeze

Lifting gently up into the atmosphere

In the cabin, cozy and warm

Fire flickers in a pot-bellied stove

Wood stacked neatly along beside

To keep the fire glowing on the morrow

Sleeping babe in a crib does lay

Beside the bed where parents rest

Coats on hooks upon the wall

Ready for the trudge through snow

Kitty purrs contentedly

Upon a rag rug on the floor

And up top the tree so shiny

The silver star reminds us all

Of another babe within a manger

And the precious gift once given

Across the world many leagues away

Centuries past and still and all

Here in the vast countryside

Beside the sea, now still and calm

Poor folk and rich folk too

Celebrate the wondrous tale

Of Christmas

Christmas preparations


A Christmas past

It’s hard to believe it is the 1st of December already! I used to hear adults talk about how fast time flies when I was a child. I thought they were delusional. Not any more. Age really does make time seem to speed up, or perhaps we just have more to do and more to think about as we get older. At any rate, time has made its circuit of months once again and here we are merely weeks from the big day. At least, in most households in the western world, Christmas is a huge deal. Many people have already dragged out the decorations and trimmed the tree. Not me. I may get into that next weekend. I haven’t decided yet. I do love Christmas. People generally seem more inclined to think of others and become more compassionate at this time of year. Despite my aversion to black Friday commerce, and the unending advertising hocking every possible thing we can think of, Christmas is still sacred and special to me.

Christmas unleashes my creativity and I usually am busy with making home-made gifts or baking goodies to share with family and friends. But more than all the hoopla, I enjoy the spirituality of Christmas. The whole idea of sharing our blessings and being cognizant of the trials and tribulations of others strikes right at the heart of what Christmas can and should be resonates deeply with me. I find myself wandering often through past years and enjoying fond memories of years long gone, but which influence how I celebrate this joyful and spiritual time of year. I feel so splendidly and generously blessed in my home, in my family, in my country, and in the world at large. My heart is both full and lightened. I pray yours is as well. May your preparations bring you more joy than stress. May you have many people to bless and cheer you. And may the days leading up to Christmas day find you with peace in your heart and a smile upon your face.

The “L” Word


In less than a month Christmas will be upon us. For those of us who have close family ties and friends to share our days it can be a day of pure joy. For those who do not, well, it can be a time of great loneliness and pain. Christmas tends to have great focus on family, as it should, but often in our hurry and scurry we forget how hard this time of year can be on people who do not share in our blessings, for whatever reason. I am trying to be cognizant of this fact.

I have been immersed in reading a series of books called “The Angelic Letters”. The series includes seven books focusing on Christianity; on family; on morals and values; on the “L” word and what it means to each of us. It is a very insightful series written by Henry K. Ripplinger moving from the mid 1950s through to present days. Although at times I find it a bit preachy it is also inspiring and at times very hard to put down (hence my silence of late).

For many of us as the Christmas season approaches we turn again to that centuries old prayer of ‘peace on earth, goodwill to all’. Many of us turn with compassion to our fellow citizens who are suffering many burdens. It is easy to give up, to be overwhelmed by the great need we see all around us – both in our own communities and in the world at large. Yet, small efforts can bring huge rewards (even if we often do not see them). We never know what our small gifts may mean to someone who is carrying heavy loads. To love our neighbor doesn’t mean making grand gestures. Quite often, and, I would say 99.9% of the time it is the small gifts we bring: a smile; looking a person in the eye and recognizing their humanity; little things like a hot coffee on a cold day, perhaps. The thing is, we do not have to spend any money at all to bring Christmas cheer to another. The best gifts we can give come from our hearts, not our wallets. But, by all means, if we have the financial wherewithal to do so, we should do that as well.

Divine One, as we celebrate this sacred season, help us act with love and true humanity. Help us recognize the divinity that lays at the essence of each and every human heart. And let us not be afraid to utter the “L” word.

From Twelve to One


And peace on earth goodwill to all

Once again, I am writing about Christmas, but this is about something that really bothers me. I was raised Catholic, and maybe that’s partly why I have always thought of Christmas as a season and not just one day. The Christmas tree went up on the 24th of December and was not taken down until after Olde Christmas Day on the 6th of January. When I was a child Christmas meant going to church, visiting my grandparents, and spending time with family and friends. When I was very little there was a lot of excitement surrounding gifts and anticipating what Santa might bring, but as I grew older, and especially after I had children of my own, I grew to appreciate the beauty of Christmastime. And not just the scrumptious food and merry-making, but the deeper, long-lasting values of selfless giving; of the importance of goodwill, faith, peace and love. The charitable impulses often lost in the daily grind are more on display at Christmas than at any other time of year. Thankfully that still seems to be the case today.

Yet, in this more secular world are we losing out on some of these values? A young person I worked with seemed aghast when I said I might wear my Christmas sweater to work on the 27th – I had been telling an employee who was not there last year about how chilly the place is after being closed a few days and how she should wear something warm. My Christmas sweater is very warm. At any rate, my young co-worker was surprised at the idea of my wearing it after Christmas day. It led me to wondering once again about how fast-paced life has become and how the season of Christmas seems to grow shorter and shorter year after year. It saddens me. Have the ‘twelve days of Christmas’ been shortened to only one?

What does Christmas mean to you? Is it only one day out of the year, or like myself, do you see it as more than that? I think, more than ever, we need that spirit of goodwill; of peace on earth. And we need to have more than just one day to celebrate it.