from the ground up

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Bear Noel.

“He is coming,” whispers Hare.

“Who is coming?” Wolf asks.

“Bear Noel!” Hare cries.

from Bear Noel by Olivier Dunrea

Merry laughter.

Joyful singing.

Nuts and seeds.

Berries and sugar.

Heavy footfalls.

Across the snow.

Jingling bells.


Wait and hope.

Gather round.

In Peace.

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For the birds.

Four kids, running through the house, can sometimes lead to a bit of extra creativity on the parenting front.  During the recent Thanksgiving visit with our cousins, we decided a little bit of care for the birds was in order.

Simple, easy, and of course messy!

Three ingredients:

Paper towel or toilet paper rolls.

Peanut butter.


Spread, smear, roll and hang!

And now, as the snow begins to fall again and the temperatures dip lower, we rest easy, knowing our little feathered friends have a bit of extra seed in their bellys when they sing up at the winter sky.


Waiting for the show.

I gifted a small treasure to my son this summer.  A small plant that enchanted me as my own love for plants was budding.  A rock plant (Lithop spp.).  It was a hit!  How could a plant that looks like a stone, not be fascinating to a 6 year old boy?!

Then suddenly, in late October, we noticed it changing.  Possibly from the southern sun, sitting lower on the horizon, reaching its warm rays into our sunroom.  Over several weeks, a tender flower bud emerged.  The waiting continued.  Would it open soon?  What color?  It looks pink!  How long will it stay open?  Will it send out seeds?

Then last week, I casually glanced as I walked by.  I saw the sunburst and shouted for all to come see!

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We move hand in hand through this season thick with layered traditions: light in dark, chill then warmth, quiet after melody, woody and sweet.  Many handed down through practice and felt deep in memory.  Last year I wrote about a wish for the start of a new tradition. Throughout this year, we have cared for our tree, marveled at the bright new growth, planned and dreamed of the perfect forest home.

But as the ground froze beneath us, with no earthen home prepared, we resolved that this tree would live with us through another winter. So, we have invited this small, green, slightly tilted friend back inside. This year, as part of an enduring, yet varietal tradition.

Rather than disappointment, there is sweetness in extending this memory with the promise of the planting still ahead.

In keeping peacefulness at the center of winter celebrations, we carry treasures along, we let others linger then fade, and others we kiss and let go. And you can’t mistake those which will endure, they fill you and warm you like a true friend. Hold close what is truly beautiful in your heart, memory will keep the rest.

What traditions have you started in your family? Have you enjoyed any for the moment but let them pass into a single memory?