a holiday poem

christmas, christmas tree, holidays, peace, love, joy, poetryThe smell of light at the darkest time is the smell of fir.

Of ginger, and clove.

I never knew.

For so long, I didn’t know.

Smells of love can be so dear.

Warm winter wishes to you all!  May this time find you in Love!

all i want for christmas

christmas, christmas tree, christmas lights, e e cummings“and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

‘Noel Noel’

I am reusing a photo of our Christmas lights from last year, and the piece of poem that attached itself to them.   This is fitting, I think, as so very much the heart of the holidays lives in those things that stay the same, year after year.

Anticipation is a beautiful thing.

Fulfilment, a comfort.

Twinkling lights in the dark living room, breathing magic into the home, they will always call to me, draw me in.  I can barely make myself leave at bedtime, longing to stay and sleep right there by the light and the fire.  Like a beacon, these lights.  They fill me me up and all I want to do is somehow wrap up all that is good in this world, the seemingly perfect love I imagine that these lights represent, and pour it into the hearts of everyone, everywhere.

Instead, feeling both hope and loss, I content myself with my own bathing in the light, on each of these December nights, until I know, soon, I will burst.

Yes, into song of the Christmas type.  Into jolly, silly dancing with my children.  Making merry, yes!  I have a magic tree with magic, twinkling lights, what else can I do?

But in the quiet evenings, I can’t help but also feel full to bursting with wonder at this–the dark side of being alive, the hurting and the sorrow?

It feels wildly unfair, and such a holiday of wild abandon reminds me of this all the more.  If only the fairy tale were true, I think.  If only, the babe really were a miracle.

If only peace on earth, goodwill toward men were the gift blanketed on us all this December 25th, I would gladly give up my sweet holiday traditions.

I would never ask for another Christmas tree again.

a holiday give away!

woodcraft, woodworking, black walnut, oregon, spatulawoodcraft, handmade, artisan, oregon, spatulacutting board, woodcraft, made in the USA, orgeon, artisan, black walnut, serving tray, woodcraft, handmadeend grain cutting board, woodcraft, woodworking, handmade christmascutting boardsend grain cutting boardToday, just for fun and to spread some holiday cheer, we are taking a little break from the regularly scheduled heart and soul writing that makes up this space to highlight my dear husband’s wood craft business.  Woodworking started as a side project, winter work, something to fill the space left by the off season on the farm, to keep him busy and add some income to our somewhat capped farming situation.  But this year it has expanded beyond that, far beyond, and it has been a true blessing for our family and the perfect complement to our labor of love, growing food.

In honor of growing businesses and craftsmanship, and to bring some hand-crafted, micro-made love to all of you, we are offering one reader the gift of AjjA!  This was a year that also brought many of you to this space, from all the corners of the world, and that has been amazing too.  This wood work is a part of us, and this blog, and it feels right to share it with all of you, whether it is for your own holiday season, or as likely not for all you international readers.  It is the two hands of my sweet love and those of his partner and dear friend, working every day and night in the wood shop.  It is beauty we can share with the whole world.  Those veggies we grow, also a work of art, well, they stay right here in my home sweet valley home.

So, today, a giveaway!  From us!

You can read more about my husband and his partner and their wood craft journey on their website, www.ajjawood.com.  You can also order from there, and we are currently offering a discount for all online orders via my small viral outreach.  Enter coupon code LOVE20 for 20% off any orders made now through Sunday, December 15.  And by leaving a comment here, sharing something wonderful or just a hello, you will be entered to win one of of our beautiful hybrid straight/end grain 8 X 9 cutting boards, a perfect treat for you or gift for someone special.  Include your e-mail address or make sure to click to follow the comment threads to find out if you have won!  Winner will be announced Monday morning!

Thank you all for joining along with us this year, in this virtual space!

Comments closed now!

Winding down the year quietly

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We celebrated  a quiet, lovely, day of a Christmas, and the week since has been quiet and lovely too.  It is all I hoped the entire month of December could be like, so I have happily taken the week that I did get of not doing much of anything but be.

The truth is, I have a lot of work to do and I know that the time has come to get back to it, but my 2013 plans feel a bit daunting too, as exciting as they are, so I have enjoyed this quiet before the storm, so to speak.

For today, we are heading to the beach for one last hurrah before we roll into 2013, refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Happy New Year!

This holiday season shine bright!

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It seems like no matter how much I try to sleep these days, the sun wants to sleep more.  In the morning when I set the kettle to boil and try to wake up the house, it feels like I’m on a some secret mid-night mission.  And when I bring the dinner plates to the table each evening, I feel like we’re somehow running behind.  The day is so short.  The dark, so long.

No matter the meaning we each bring to this holiday season, this is the primal, unspoken truth–we celebrate in December to bring light to the darkest part of the year.

And what I have found as I’ve grown and aged and maybe gotten a little wiser, is that the merry making, the holiday-ing, the sparkle and shine, the giving–I’ve found that all of this can and should be a time of tending to the ever-burning flame of Light inside of us.  To bringing forth, brighter than ever, all the Good in our own hearts.

In the past, as I envision it, our lives were more tightly tied to the seasons.  I imagine this month as one filled with Time.  Time to be in the home more, time to just be, together.  I know on our own little farm, December is the quietest month of all.  A short break between the bustle of summer labor and autumn harvest and all the planning and beginning that start right back up in January.  A slow month.

This is what I think we all long for, even more than for Christmas morning–a month of Christmas.  As soon as Thanksgiving ends, I know I am hit with the deepest desire to end all classes, to stay home instead of driving all over, to just be.  If only this were possible…

And since it is not, the gift we need to give to ourselves during what turns into a rushed and busy season instead, is the gift of taking.  Taking time, amidst the beating drum of the modern day.  Time, amidst the chaos, to find the stillness inside us that this quiet and black earth are calling for.
Holding space for this stillness, we can fill our own light-hearts with that same deep peace the earth is showing us. We can focus on finding our own sturdy and strong centers, fortifying our foundations against what is a sometimes tumultuous ride.  From this warm and fuzzy and well tended flame inside, we are able to really give, not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.

Because the beauty of Christmastime is not in the gifts themselves, but in the amount of love they are filled with.  Can we give enough to ourselves and each other this season to refuel us for another year around the sun?  Can we cultivate our flames under the cover of winter so that they can burn brightly through another cycle of ups and downs and throughs and arounds?

The shared meals, the extra sweetness, the thoughtful expressions of love, they mean more than anything, they give much more than the sum or their parts.  Out on the streets and in the home, we can use this time to slow down and shed our light on all those dusty corners.  With every smile, we can send out beams of light into any worn or heavy hearts.  When focused, we have the power to shine as brightly as that sleepy winter sun, to keep things warm and light and alive and growing.   That’s what all this celebrating is for, after all.

The world has its cold and dark places; believe it or not, it needs your help to keep the home fires burning.  So make your heart light, spread your cheer and goodwill.  And don’t forget to let others shine theirs on you.  Let’s all make as much merry as we can to remind each other that the light is always on, the doors, always open.

That fire can not burn us if we are already ablaze.

Happy Holidays!!!