Wishing you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and a warm holiday season. As we take a break from the blogging world, know you are thought of with love and kindness and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being in my life.
It’s going to be a white Christmas this year and the next snowstorm is on the way. With it, significant amounts of snowfall is expected and severe warnings to wrap up travel have been issued. It’s a Christmas we all envision, with a world covered in an innocent blanket of white. Picture perfect, my world is surrounded by snow covered pine trees and the occasional deer strolling by. For me it will be a quaint, simple Christmas and I will focus on as many comforts as possible during this time that so easily could have me feeling the holiday blues. It’s still a time when loved ones on earth and in heaven are missed just a little extra.
I have felt Mom’s presence more than ever this season, and I know she is by my side. I can see the effort she has made, coming to learn about my side of things vs being so focused on her view like she has been all these years in her time on earth. Now in heaven, nothing is secret anymore as she looks into my heart and sees my deepest thoughts and pain. Everything and all is on the table. There is no mistaken anymore, no more misunderstanding, it’s all there. It seems as if old ways of thinking have been released, and without any spoken words from her, the message couldn’t be any louder. I feel her support and she is showing it through ways I could have never imagined. It makes the holidays “without” even more bittersweet and she will be with me throughout a little bit more than usual. I will find some one on one time with her, to dedicate my love all over to her and to thank her while remembering her and her memory.
So huddle and be close to your loved ones this holiday season. Count your blessings if you have them to unite in person. Take a moment and slow down, to breathe it all in and feel every moment with every sense. Create new memories that will be passed on for years to come and enjoy this season of love and giving.
The forth candle is being lit tonight in our Advent weekly celebration, and it is called the candle of Love. You can revisit all the other candles here. Tonight’s candle takes me on twists and turns as I walk down memory lane and life in general, pondering the meaning of love and how it has affected me.
Love is universal, a language we all speak. Love makes everything better and love conquers all. Love is the answer when we want to shout and love warms our hearts in ways nothing else can. Love has always been a big part of my life, not always present and often lacking in ways I needed it to be. In recent years a new way of love has come my way and I have tried to practice it ever since. What I am talking about is unconditional love and I came face to face with it in the most memorable experience. It’s a very personal story to me, and one of great pain. It’s about a daughter chasing a mothers love for all of her life. It’s a story of love present but expressed through material things. It’s a story of bitterness and regrets. A story of accusations and grudges. A story that has pushed me to the edge and inflicted a pain that manifested for decades. It’s a story of immense sadness, of lost time and moments I didn’t think I could bear. Through it all, not only forgiveness was born but also a love that had to dig deep and in the end become unconditional.
This kind of love is in my life with everything today, even for myself. It’s blame burns brighter than any candle or flame. It’s all in, all forgiving, all understanding, all accepting, all embracing. Even during times of great injustice and hurt inflicted by others. For me love is everything or nothing. Love and your time is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone. Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. Wikipedia describes it to be associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love. This type of love has no bounds and is unchanging. It will always have a special meaning to me and in the end I wouldn’t wish for a different teacher showing me the ways of unconditional love.
Today, this 3rd week of advent, we are yet to light and celebrate another candle. We started with the Prophet’s Candle of Hope, and moved to the Bethlehem Candle of Peace during our second Sunday. This week brings another essential needed amongst all humanity as we celebrate the Shepherd’s Candle of Joy. In Christianity this candle takes on a big meaning as the shepherd’s served witness to Jesus’ birth and emissaries of joy. Joy is something we can experience each and every day. Joy and it’s meaning varies from person to person, depending on what we perceive as joy.
The dictionary describes joy as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. A delight, jubilation, triumph, a rejoice. The Oxford English Dictionary claims to be better and defines joy as a vivid emotion of pleasure arising from a sense of well-being or satisfaction. It describes it as a feeling or state of being highly pleased or delighted. Joy is something we associate with spontaneous action. Joy can motivate us and help us aspire to great things. Is joy dependent on others and needs to be brought to us, or is it a state of mind, just as we can deliver joy to others. Perhaps the feeling of joy starts with us and it is something we can also gift to ourselves? My exploration of the Shepherd’s Candle takes me just a little deeper this evening as I contemplate the true meaning of joy. I am recalling ways it has impacted me and how I have used it to bring joy to the world and to others. Again, I ask myself to see what is, what is great, what can be changed and what needs adjusting. Today it is joy I am focused on as I sit by the fire remembering the last time I felt this vivid emotion of pleasure and satisfaction. It is joy and a spontaneous action that I want to pay forward to someone else this holiday season. Seeing their delighted faces will tell me all I need to know when the time comes. Maybe it is in the form of a present, a thoughtful notion, an act of kindness, a warm hug, a thought and wish of wellness sent across the miles. Maybe it’s in baked goods and a little extra cheer. Maybe it’s a matching pajama family party, or maybe I’ll sing Christmas Carols of the top of my lungs….mmmh…ok, I think I’m getting carried away from the Joy of life and Christmas, but you get the point. Have yourself a great 3rd Advent.
Ah yes, the holidays. A time to gather, give thanks, enjoy each other’s company and be merry and bright. It’s a time for giving, for random acts of kindness, of being just a little friendlier and forgiving, and a time for caring warmth and the spirit of Christmas within our hearts. But for many it’s a time that emphasis what’s been missing or a lack throughout the year. It can make the already lonely world an even lonelier place. It can make the hurt sting just a little more, and it can bring a aching heart nearly to the breaking point.
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday but for most of my life it was a time I felt torn between my family here in the States and the one of my homeland in Germany. For me it was always a time, hustling, running a busy retail store, while missing so many traditions and customs I grew up with in Germany. Christmas always felt incomplete, or different I might correct myself. If I dare to say that it was incomplete, I say so because certain expectations were not met and these days I work hard to shed those expectations and catch myself whenever I become aware that I am holding them. To me expectations are linked to disappointment, to hurt and a further ache within my heart. I work hard to avoid it and do what’s within my control, the rest is not up to me.
But it is true and Christmas always held a certain longing for me. Whether it was traditions that I missed or whether it was being away from the people that meant so much, I could never be in two places at once and therefore I could never escape that feeling. Well, I brought onto myself by leaving like Mom always used to say. In other words it was my fault and I wanted it that way. Now I had what I was asking for. In reality it was more like I could have never imagined all the details, some small and insignificant at the time, and how big they would become one day. At that young age I could have not realized the big picture and everything that it would involve. I could have not known that it was a lifestyle change that would impact my forever. I was young and in love, I lived for that moment, my immediate, and while I practice this today because that particular moment, the NOW is all we ever have, I gave little thought to the future and what would and could be.
It’s been two years since Mom has passed and I feel her more and more these days. Especially over the last 6 months, there has been more of a presence and I could swear sometimes she messes with me and gets a good laugh in. I have written about signs from your deceased loved ones before, when feathers appear or the communication through electricity which seems to be Mom’s favorite lately. I be sitting here typing away on my lit electronic keyboard and it starts to flicker and light up like a Christmas tree, becoming unresponsive until the debacle decides itself that it’s enough. I go in the bathroom and the light can be operated form a switch in the wall or the ceiling. It’s set to operate from the switch yet it doesn’t work from time to time and only functions from the ceiling until I reset it. Yet nobody has turned it on from the ceiling. Or I go to bed, phone charging on my IHome station and all of a sudden the entire room is illuminated because Mom starts messing with the phone, turning the screen on. “I know you’re here”’ or “Not now Mom” is usually what I mumble and what comes over my lips with a smile. I do miss you and two years later it all still feels so fresh. Grief is love unexpressed and some holes can’t be filled, not all pains go away and not all hearts are mended like they were before. Grief changing us forever, so hold tight to the ones you love, for every moment is special and precious.
Today we are celebrating the 2nd of Advent. Our first candle, the Prophet’s Candle was lit last week, with the candle standing for hope. Hope, something we all need, hope something we need to believe in and keep alive. Today’s second candle is called the Bethlehem Candle and represent Peace. Also something we all need and Peace is a central theme of the advent season.
Peace is one of those words that people use a lot and depending on what religion and philosophy they follow, peace can vary and be highly different from person to person. Peace is not always associated with our state of the union, with the world or with war. Peace is much greater and it is what we encounter or lack on a daily basis. While world peace is the ultimate goal, peace can also be described as the physically well being of people. We can find ourselves during world peace and still be at war, not feeling peaceful inside.
Peace can come from keeping hope alive, from trusting in all that is and in all that is yet to come. Peace is not just an act, but also a feeling, a state of being. It’s a feeling of harmony, of alignment, of kindness and mindfulness. It’s a feeling of compassion and looking after each other. It’s a feeling of understanding, of patience and of banishing judgement. Peace is universal. It’s a language we all understand and are capable of bestowing through our actions. Christmas is known as a season that is more giving and more forgiving. More random acts of kindness can be found during this time than versus other times. It’s a time when we allow the heart to be involved just a little bit more, and by doing so we might even experience a moment of bliss and satisfaction. Have you noticed how good it feels to give? Have you ever been so excited to gift something that you could hardly wait for the person to unwrap it, so you could see the joy on their face and likewise feel their excitement?
And while we can’t buy gifts to feel these moments all year around, I think there are plenty of other ways we all can contribute to all little more peace for the world, for our neighbors, for friends and family and for ourselves. Challenge accepted while wishing you a week full of peace and hope.
The advent season has started last night and I almost missed it. After a long holiday weekend I felt emotionally and mentally exhausted from my trip into town, providing care, errands and companionship to…let’s just say a friend. I will write more about it when the time is right and the words don’t come by so hard.
You can definitely feel that a new season has begun and Advent is a time to pause and cherish God’s most precious gifts to us. Coffee shops add special items such as peppermint mochas and pumpkin spiced latte’s to their menu, seasonal menu’s are found in restaurants, Christmas music is playing all around us in the shops we visit, we begin to make our wish list, we start to decorate our houses from the inside out and set up our Christmas tree, start buying gifts for family, friends and loved ones and might even find a random act of kindness throughout this pre Christmas time. This is a season for hope and kindness, to show just a little extra care and mindfulness. It’s a season for giving and sharing, especially with the less fortunate ones and those who have less. It’s a season and the anticipation of Christ’s second coming.
Yesterday was the 1st of Advent where we light the first candle. It is known as the Prophet’s candle and it stands for hope. We all have things we hope for. Maybe some of those things will hit your Christmas list and perhaps some of them will appear under your tree, while others are much harder to come by. This is when hope comes in and when we need to let go of stress, worry and even envy. Hope brings meaning and power to our thoughts while carrying us through without despair.
The Christmas/Advent season has always been my favorite holiday. For many years I was unable to enjoy it, working a hectic schedule in retail, ensuring everyone else’s season was perfect while being too exhausted at the end to enjoy my own. Also for many years I missed my home in Germany, being with family and loved ones, celebrating this special time with the same fond childhood memories. With another round of covid surging through Europe my heart feels especially heavy as Christmas markets are cancelled for the second year in a row and shutdowns threaten to be inevitable in the near future. Plus I need to go home and clear/sell a house. All thoughts that weigh heavily on me as I remember for myself to keep hope alive this season and always.
Last night I paused and ditched the plans and chores of what I was going to do. I remembered the 1st Advent and counted my blessings. It felt like a continuation from Thanksgiving but in a more intimate setting. I was alone, besides Cinnamon. I lit a candle, my Prophet’s candle and filled the air with an aromatherapy candle made from ginger, ginseng and honey to promote tranquility. It didn’t take long at all to fill the tiny abode with a fragrant aroma. It was simply wonderful and once again, I sat there in amazement, realizing that I haven’t taken care of myself nearly enough lately, realizing how busy I have been and that these moments of rest, of truly doing ME are so essential and needed. Not only for balance but also for my well being and sanity.
In addition, Christmas music was softly playing in the background while I was sipping hot tea, and soon I decided to make some farmhouse style beaded Christmas ornaments. Creating and crafting is always the ultimate relaxation for me and by the time I was finished, 5 ornaments with little bells were born. They now hang from a smooth branch I was picked up while hiking and it seems they now have found their perfect spot over a doorframe. I hung a banner in black and white houndstooth with deep red letters of “Merry & Bright” from the ceiling, along with a few wooden ornaments from the store. The solar Christmas lights are said to arrive this week and the small pine outside the living room will be decorated as well. Deers pass by my window frequently and I am already imagining a scene where I will see them softly walking through the snow while the lights are lit. Perhaps they will pass as reindeers, we shall see. 🙂
I am taking a break from the daily musings but I wanted to come here and wish everyone a happy thanksgiving whether you celebrate this day or not. I wanted to express my gratitude for you and send some holiday wishes your way. So with that said…
May you feel comforted and loved, thought of and surrounded by great company and food. May you realize your blessings, and may you feel gratitude for everything that is. For everything that you have and for everything you have achieved. It could change in an instance and not always for the better. May your basket feel full of abundance and blessings. May you feel content and full of inner peace. May you always find your way and never be lost for too long. May you always manage to process life in a positive light, even the hard stuff. May you never give up and may you always feel appreciated, loved, wanted and needed. For you are one of a kind and you are amazing.
Happy Mother’s Day in heaven. Today is the day that we celebrate and give thanks to all the wonderful things you do, just a little more than usual. For all the hard work, the love, and the sacrifices that go into making you so special and who you are. A mother. Today we reflect this love and show our appreciation for a special person like no other. You….
To be honest with you, I am struggling today and it’s an emotional one for me. Much is going on in my life right now. Add a thing like Mother’s Day and the emotions are quadrupled. Fact is, I miss you and no matter how much time passes, that empty void, that hole that is left behind from losing a loved one, just never fills again. Death and loss changes a person and it’s a pain that will be with you for the rest of your life.
Remembering you, I did things a little different this year. I can’t visit your grave, nor can I bring and place flowers for you there. But I don’t think that I need to be at that particular spot to honor you and to show my love and respect for you. You are with me in spirit wherever I am and that is not bound to being in Germany or at your place of rest.
I didn’t want to get a bouquet of flowers that wilts and dies without a trace in 7 days. I got a plant for you, dedicated to your memory and today, which will be around for some time to be enjoyed. Really what I wanted to do is plant a tree for you, but it will have to wait a little as I won’t have a permanent address for awhile. I want your tree to be wherever I see myself living out the rest of my life. You always loved purple and it was your favorite color. Seeing this little plant with it’s purple centers reminded me of you and I knew you’d like it.
Mom, there is not a day that goes by where you don’t cross my mind in some ways. It’s still hard to find the words sorting all the feelings, but even that I know that I don’t have to convey or try to explain. You can now see it all, even the things you struggled with seeing while you were still here in the physical. You now know my heart and you see the unconditional love it has always held for you.
This little rascal and myself wanted to wish you a happy Easter and we are keeping it short today. The garage sale is still going on for the second day and the first day was sooo busy. We are tired but grateful and wish you a wonderful holiday. Oh and our healing is on as usual 7PM PCT.