Christmas Eve Reflection from Thessaloniki

Every year I write a Christmas Eve Reflection. Usually it's in a fully decorated home with Christmas music playing in the background. It's written in the midst of the frenzied joy of Christmas in the West and I usually have presents to wrap and stockings to fill. This year I write it from the sunshine … Continue reading Christmas Eve Reflection from Thessaloniki

A Life Overseas – ‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

Deck the halls with calls for charity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! ‘Tis the season of incongruity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! #CottageChristmas or starving children? Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! My heart is caught and I cannot win this thing! Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laa. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this. The sense of incongruity is overwhelming me this Christmas. I go from essays … Continue reading A Life Overseas – ‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

Advent Reflection – To Love is to Hurt

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up … Continue reading Advent Reflection – To Love is to Hurt

Advent Reflection – Silence and Liminal Spaces

When I wake in the early morning I am always struck that our home is silent. There are no voices raised in conversation; no arguments, no agreements. There is no music, no sound of chopping or mixing from the kitchen, no sound of running water. Of course if I really listen I hear noise from … Continue reading Advent Reflection – Silence and Liminal Spaces

Advent Reflection – A Mom’s Tears

Ask any mother and she will tell you that the tears we weep for our children are like no other. They are tears that come from deep within our souls as we cry out in pain, either for them or because of them. They are the tears we weep in solitude when our daughter has … Continue reading Advent Reflection – A Mom’s Tears

Advent Reflection – If You are Weary

We put up our Christmas tree yesterday. It is beautiful - a Balsam pine tree that brings the forest into our living room. It's a tall tree, reaching proudly to our ceiling, decked out in the season's finest white lights and many years of ornaments. I sit beside our tree and I almost forget that … Continue reading Advent Reflection – If You are Weary

The Season for Candle Time

This is the time of year where morning comes slowly and evening quickly. I feel melancholy as I wake up far before the sun rises over the Atlantic ocean, just a few miles to the east of us. As much as I want to embrace these days and all they hold, I am a woman who … Continue reading The Season for Candle Time

The Eclectic Nativity Set

I’ve been a little lazy about Christmas this year. I did most of my shopping on the Internet (something I’ve sworn off of in the past). I delegated all the wrapping to our oldest daughter who seemed to actually enjoy it. I let the girls do most of the decorating this year too. We’re leaving … Continue reading The Eclectic Nativity Set

To the Weary Ones

No doubt you are up early. Whether traveling or staying at home, you have things to do, groceries to buy, errands to run, work to finish. You love the season of Advent leading up to Christmas day, but you are so weary. The living room is finally clean, but the last few nights you have … Continue reading To the Weary Ones

The Sorrow/Joy Continuum

  In an online conversation a couple of months ago, one of the women who is active at A Life Overseas said this: "Sorrow and joy can coexist under the umbrella of grace."* Moms and dads feel it. One kid rejoices with a a new job, while the other kid loses their livelihood. One daughter has … Continue reading The Sorrow/Joy Continuum

In the Fourth Watch of the Night

Recent Headlines: Saturday, December 3 - 10-alarm fire in Cambridge, MA displaces 166 people. Saturday, December 10 - Explosions outside football (soccer) stadium in Istanbul kills many. Turkey declares Sunday a national day of mourning for the country. Sunday, December 11 - Terrorist attack in Coptic Church kills over 25 people with many more wounded. Most of … Continue reading In the Fourth Watch of the Night

A Broken World Meets an Advent Season

A Pakistan International Airlines flight headed to Islamabad from a remote mountain area crashed on a mountain slope today. Before the plane hit the ground it burst into flames. There are no survivors. A 6.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia has caused damage and killed over one hundred people. Rescue efforts are underway … Continue reading A Broken World Meets an Advent Season

Ideas for #GivingTuesday

I belong to the early morning crowd. The group that gets up at 5 and is fully functioning by 6:45. The group that is still mostly groggy while on public transit. I used to hate the silence of this group, feel alienated that everyone was in their own world in these early mornings. Now I … Continue reading Ideas for #GivingTuesday

Scanning the Horizon 

We took off from O'Hare Airport in Chicago in the early morning. On the ground the weather was cold and rainy, but as the plane ascended we flew above the thick grey into golden sunshine. It was beautiful. It's an old cliche -- that beyond the clouds is sunshine. But it's true. The sun may … Continue reading Scanning the Horizon 

Beloved

Due to a WordPress error - the date of this is wrong. It is actually Monday, December 5. A light snow is falling as I exit the subway. It's so beautiful. I stop for a moment and watch the flakes. They are all different, I'm told. Not one the same - each one a beautiful reflection of … Continue reading Beloved

Rising to our Feet for The Messiah

When I was a teenager Uncle Don and Auntie Ruth Stoddard gave us an old record player. They also gave us a stack of records. Most of these didn’t meet my teenage definition of appropriate music but there was one vinyl record that captured my imagination. It was a four record set of Handel’s complete … Continue reading Rising to our Feet for The Messiah

An Invitation to Wonder

won·der /ˈwəndər/ noun a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. We put up our Christmas tree last night. Within an hour and a half the room was transformed from chaotic and bland to sparkling brilliance. The ornaments reflect the white lights and the result is lovely. Early … Continue reading An Invitation to Wonder

Insomnia–Advent’s Distant Cousin

Yesterday I sent Marilyn an email. Words rushed over the keyboard past the constraints of grammar and spelling. I was so angry and so very upset. Even this morning I don't trust myself to write--about gun control, about mass killings, about climate change, about forgotten Syrian refugees, about the NRA---I'm not sure if I could … Continue reading Insomnia–Advent’s Distant Cousin