Thursday, December 20, 2012

Comfort Books

Whenever something bad happens, I generally respond by re-reading favorite novels...books I know end well, books in which good triumphs over evil,  books that I read as a young person, books that are mass-market paperbacks with yellowing pages falling out of broken spines....

Books that tells stories of characters who become real for a time because my eyes are looking for them on the page.

Often, these comfort books are fantasy fiction. Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, Percy Jackson are old friends. Anne with an e of Green Gables fame is a bosom friend, as are Darcy and Lizzie, Claire and Jamie.

Right now, I'm re-reading some of Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, although the paperbacks are in such terrible shape that I did use birthday money to replace a few for my Nook. These books have dragons...nice, life-saving dragons who are big and powerful and kind. I want them to be real in the same way I want owls to deliver the mail, the way a child wants Santa to be a real man living with crafty little people at the North Pole and a reindeer whose nose lights up.

For a time, the worlds of imagination are real, and then we're better able to cope with the real reality out there. Stories help us heal.

What novels do you re-read for comfort? What stories soothe you? What stories transform your funk?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Visits from Family

For Thanksgiving, we had a wonderful visit by George's sister Angela and her husband Mike. For Christmas, my mother is visiting.

Who's visiting you (or whom are you visiting) this holiday?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kid Humor

Kids say the darnedest things. This morning, for instance, I had this exchange with my son.

Jack: My stomach is speaking to me.

Me: What is it saying?

Jack: I don't know. I don't speak Stomach.

Totally transformed my morning!

What funny things have children said that made you laugh?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Small Kindnesses

Has your day been transformed by a kindness? Of course it has. We have all experienced these days of unexpected blessings, but do we pay attention to them? Do we take the time to be grateful for them, cherish them?

Yesterday, I left my wallet at home, and the staff at JumpStart Java gave me my mocha and coffee cake anyway, knowing I was good for it...a kindness I so appreciated!

Minutes later, Pastor Suzanne walked in and shared her story of her coffee pot dying that morning and how it should not have been as frustrating as it was, but boy was it! When I shared my Monday morning bumble--what 46-year-old woman leaves her wallet at home!??--she said, "I'll buy your breakfast!"

And she did.

Yesterday afternoon, I went back and got a gift card to JumpStart Java and will give it to Pastor Suzanne later today, at our last Bible Study of the year. That way, she can treat herself and whomever else she sees in need, having a bad day, and thus she can transform another common day with a small kindness.

Receiving kindness.

Enabling kindness.

Passing it on.

How wonderful!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Cards

The Christmas cards are finally starting to trickle in. I wondered. Usually we get a few a day or two after Thanksgiving, but perhaps Thanksgiving was just so early this year. I love getting Christmas cards. They transform common mail into something special, especially those that are handmade or that include the newsy letters.

Some people hate those letters, but I love them. For military folks, it's a great way to keep up with what's happening with friends far away. So many of our friends are far away!

If you're on the fence about sending cards, I encourage you to go ahead, take the time. Transform someone's common mail into something special for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Peppermint Mochas

Hot beverages are so comforting, and this time of year, it's so easy to get a festive pick-me-up of a peppermint mocha...not too pepperminty, not too sweet, just right.

What is your hot beverage of choice to transform your common days?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Candles in the Window

I'm too minimalist to hang lots of icicle lights from the outside of my house. This year, in fact, is the first year I've put lights outside ever...and that consists of three strings of lights on a conifer that's my height right off the front porch. But candle lights in the windows are something I can do. They transform the front of the house into a minimalist Christmas paradise.

How much decorating do you do outside your house or apartment for the holidays? How do you transform your common facade into something uncommonly festive?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sandals in December

We're having a bit of a warm spell in Ohio, and I'm wearing sandals today. All the windows are open, and fresh air is wafting through the house. What a treat!

Is weather transforming your common days right now?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Elf on the Shelf

Today, I am grateful for the Elf on the Shelf. My younger son is obsessed with our elf, Chris. Chris doesn't show up until December 1, and it's a good thing he didn't forget this year. Sometimes, he likes one spot for a few days and doesn't move around, but I'm determined he'll enjoy some of the impish poses I've seen on Pinterest, such as burying his head in a bag of M&Ms.

What silly holiday tradition makes you grateful today?

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Remember when you were a child? Time moved so slowly, and it seemed Christmas would never get here. Never.

Now that we're adults, time moves so quickly. How did it get to be December 1 already? Seriously? Where did 2012 go? Only 24 more days to Christmas? How will I get it all done? The decorating, the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, the sending of cards and packages, the parties, the phone calls? Arrgghh!!!!!


Instead of focusing on the to-do list of December, I choose to be grateful for the anticipation, that child-like wonder and joy and expectation of something amazing that's going to happen. It's not going to happen under the tree or in the kitchen or out of my checkbook.

It's going to happen in my grateful heart. It is happening in my grateful heart.


Jack's leading the way in this month of gratitude. Every day, he asks, "Are we going to church on Christmas Eve to sing carols? Is Grandma going with us?" He's hardly talked about presents at all, but he wants to go to church and sing Hark, The Herald Angels Sing, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Silent Night. He's practicing singing in the shower in anticipation of that night.

Keep your eye on the prize and be grateful for every moment. Then, the path to the prize isn't a chore. It's an exquisite, excruciatingly slow joy.

Slow down and anticipate.

Anticipate with a grateful heart.