Monday, December 29, 2014

Remembering Aunt Riz

Here we are in that limbo between Christmas and New Year's when it's not really the holidays anymore, but it's not ordinary time again either.  While there are some years when I'm so ready to pull the tree down, sweep up the (fake) pine needles, and put everything away, this year I'm finding the time to be rather peaceful and I just want it to linger.
There's no pressure of preparing holiday meals and baking, no more gifts to wrap, no more frenetic rush of errands to run.  It's just a time to enjoy the tree lights at night, sip some tea and read through  my new books, nibble a Christmas cookie or two, catch up on recorded TV shows. 
This morning, I'm looking out my window as I write this post, watching the snow come down, and noticing how pretty the garland and wreath on my fence look, all frosted with white.  The house is quiet, except for the ticking of the clock in the hallway and the occasional jingle of dog tags as one of the dogs stirs in her sleep.
I wish this interlude could last, suspending time for a while.  2014 was such a tumultuous year, full of twists and turns and surprises.  I would just like to rest for a while and catch my breath, before boarding the next bus to 2015.
Speaking of boarding, tomorrow I will board a plane to head back east for my aunt's funeral.  My dear Aunt Riz, some of you knew her through her blog Gifts from the Sea, passed away on Christmas Day.  For  now, I can still imagine that she is in her cozy home in New Jersey, sipping her cup of tea, surrounded by her beautiful granddaughters. 
She was called Riz by those who knew her and loved her, but her given name was Madeline.  Such a pretty name for a beautiful person, whose heart was as good as gold.  She loved the Jersey shore, seashells, tea, violets, and everything about the Fall.  She was a talented artist and an incredibly gifted cook.  She gave great hugs. After talking on the phone with her, even though we were 1,800 miles apart, I always felt like I had been given the biggest hug in the world.  She just had that way about her, of making people feel loved.  She was the youngest of seven children. She adored her family.
My favorite times with her were spent at the shore and at her kitchen table, having cups of tea.  We used to write each other letters -- the old fashioned kind of letters sent by snail mail -- and the last one she wrote I received just a couple weeks ago, signed with her usual heaps of love and "hot cider and snickerdoodles" (or some variation thereof) and "I'll think of you when I'm having my cup of tea."
I know that her entry to heaven was a joyful one, for her and for those who greeted her.  With lots of hugs for her Bill, her son Billy, my Pop Pop and Grandma, her big sister, and her brothers.  I can imagine them all smiling together, laughing and telling stories, and enjoying a pot of Christmas tea.
I love you, Aunt Rizzi.  With all of my heart.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Daybook

 "Every day is a blank page."

FOR TODAY, Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Outside my window . . .A cold, clear frosty day. The ground is covered with patches of snow.
I am listening to . . . Sara Evan's Christmas album.
I am thinking . . . that I am all but done with Christmas shopping. 
I am thankful . . . for the family and friends that came to our house on Sunday to celebrate my dad and stepmom's birthdays.  One of my favorite things is having the house filled with people I love and getting to feed them all!  It was such an awesome day.
In the kitchen . . .still baking Christmas cookies.  Dan made his now-famous rum cakes which we will share with family and friends.

I am wearing . . .yoga pants and t-shirt.
I am creating . . .memories of our granddaughter's first Christmas.
I am going . . .to start wrapping presents today. 
I am wondering . . .if my dog knows when it's her birthday?  And if she feels neglected that we forgot it last week.  (The vet sent her an e-mail birthday card, which prompted this thought).
I am reading . . .Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good, by Jan Karon.  It's so nice to be back in Mitford again.
I am praying. . .for peace in the world.
I am looking forward to . . . going to a holiday brass concert with Dan this Sunday.
I am learning . . . to roll with the punches.
Around the house . . . Dan built some shelves in our basement for storage.  I can't wait to get the rest of our boxes unpacked.  I'm still missing our tree skirt (using a sheet for this year), the little chicken that holds my measuring spoons, and a Colorado Rockies visor that I lost two moves ago, but keep hoping it will miraculously appear.

I am pondering . . . how resilient and strong people can be.
A favorite quote for today . . . "Raise your words, not your voice.  It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder." ~~Rumi
Some of my favorite things . . . old friendships, new friendships, spritz Christmas cookies.
A few plans for the rest of the week . . .Women's Candlelight Advent service at church this evening, going to a dinner theatre with friends tomorrow night to see Fiddler On the Roof (my all-time favorite), babysitting our grandbaby on Friday so her mom and dad can go Christmas shopping.
A peek into my day . . .

The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted by Peggy.  Click here for the link to join in.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Checking in and a surprise!

I know.  I don't know what happened to my blog either. I was trying to put a little bit of a holiday spin on it, and everything went crazy and I couldn't get it back the way it was, so I just found something in Blogger's design department that didn't look too goofy.  Because it looked really goofy a couple hours ago.  WHY can't I just leave well enough alone?!

Anyway, just popping in to push the last post with Fall graphics down the page a bit, and to tell you why I haven't had a lot of time for blogging of late. I had a big crowd for Thanksgiving, then Dan and I fell right into decorating for Christmas.  This is our first holiday in our 'new' house, so we've had fun figuring out where our indoor decorations will go, and how to make all the outdoor decorations work for this year.  We figure we'll hit the sales after Christmas to fill in with a few new things.

And the big news is that in amongst all this, we have a grandbaby!  She has blonde hair and big blue eyes and we are completely smitten:) 

Oh, my gosh, nobody prepared me for how much love there is for a grandchild.  It's a giddy, over the moon delight, the same kind of joy as when I had my own babies, but none of the nervousness and anxiety mixed in because of all the responsibility.   There's the skip of my heart when I look at her and see my son, 21 years ago.  There's the fullness of my heart when I see her with her mommy and daddy, and how beautiful they all are.   

I find myself pausing every other sentence as I type this, looking at her photo and those big blue eyes.  This little miracle fresh from heaven. I sense that if she could talk, she would be so much wiser than I.  She would tell me that when life seems to be falling apart, God has way of putting things all back together again far better than we could ever plan.  And the rewards are greater than we imagined.