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Friday, June 28, 2013

Quotable Friday

"Christmas ... is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart..."
                                                                        -Freya Stark

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quotable Friday

"Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind."
                                            - Mary Ellen Chase

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's a Wonderfully Underrated Movie

I remember as a child waiting for It's a Wonderful Life to air the first week of December. It seemed like with the airing of that old movie, the outside world was acknowledging that, yes, it was Christmas season again. While I didn't understand much of what was happening - the war, the way the world can beat down a hard-working man like George Bailey, I delighted in watching George and Mary at the soda shop as children, watching them sing Buffalo Girls after falling in the swimming pool, and watching Clarence, the somewhat inept angel show George that it really is a wonderful life. Of course, the absolute highlight for me was always at the very end where the little girl utters the famous line, "Look Daddy, teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." 
I stumbled upon another Capra movie one day in the middle of the summer. While it isn't as well known as It's a Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe is another one of those Christmas movies that leaves you feeling like maybe the world isn't quite so bad of a place after all. 
Starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, it's the story of a newspaper columnist who, in response to losing her job, fakes a letter from John Doe, a man who plans to commit suicide on Christmas Eve because of the state of the world. The letter strikes a chord and increases sales for the newspaper, and the columnist is rehired. The story really takes off when the paper decides to present John Doe to the world and several men come forward willing to claim the letter as their own, in particular a former baseball player with an old injury. 
I won't say anymore lest I give anything away. If you have a chance to watch it, I recommend it. If not, here is an inspiring speech from John Doe.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An old-fashioned stocking

I used to love to knit. My husband has always teased me about it, since I've been knitting since I was a teenager. I've always found it relaxing.
Then my baby girl arrived.
My latest project is a never ending stocking. Everyone in my family has the same knit stocking, and it seemed appropriate that little Icelynne should have the same one as well. With a know-it-all, can-do-everything attitude which I can't help but laugh at now, I decided last year that I would make her a stocking in time for Christmas. It didn't happen. Little did I know how much attention a newborn required.
Nearly one year later, I'm almost finished the stocking. There are a few holes from where a baby's cry distracted me and I dropped a stitch. The stitches are uneven from time spent knitting in the dark and constantly starting and stopping. My original thought was to use it this year and then redo the stocking, but now I'm growing attached.
I hope she uses it and loves it as a child as I did mine. But even more, I hope she cherishes it as an adult. I hope she sees the rough stitches and holes as evidence of the moments her mother tended to her. I hope she sees the flaws for what they are, the times I decided she was more important. I hope she learns to see the perfection in imperfection.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Unexpected Snowfall

We had an unexpected snowstorm last week.
It was one of those mornings when you open your eyes and think, "We've had snow!" The weather forecast called for five degrees and rain, but something about the red-colored sky that I could see out my window told me that the world around me had been frosted whilst I slept.
I sat up slowly, as if afraid to look out the window and see the dead grass and barren branches below, but to my eyes' delight I saw the shimmering, glimmering world I'd hoped for.
I lifted little Icelynne up to see it, and she looked with confusion. She likely didn't remember snow. I bundled her up quickly, and despite the fact the sun had not yet risen, I whisked her outside to see the magical transformation that had occurred overnight. She looked around in wonder. After letting her take it in for a moment I took her back inside where it was warm.
Despite the weather forecast saying it would be warm and the snow would be melted by noon, flakes began to fall that were the size of small snowballs. I so desperately wanted to go outside and be a part of it. I bundled her up again and grabbed a wooden sleigh I'd meant to have for her for Christmas. I ushered my dogs outside to enjoy the opportunity to play. Placing the baby in the sleigh, I pulled her around the yard again and again. Every time I asked if she wanted to go in, she shook her head and held tightly to the sides.
The four of us, dogs included, spent half an hour in the fresh air of our winter wonderland. We went inside rosy cheeked and happy. Within ten minutes the dogs and the baby were napping happily. The quietness of the house, the stillness of the moment, and the beauty of the snow falling was almost overwhelming. Sometimes such joy can be found in such simplicity.
I love those days when I don't have to close my eyes to imagine myself in Christmas Acres, those days when it seems I really do live there. These days are gifts. Pure and Simple :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why Christmas Acres?

Christmas Acres is the town where I wish I could live. A beautiful place that exists only in the corner of my mind. It's a place where you know your neighbors, where every door has a wreath, and the homes are lit from within by the fire in the hearth and the warm hearts that reside there.

It's a place that transcends time. Sometimes it is clean and modern. Other times it is the most old-fashioned little throw-back of a town you could imagine. But always it is a beautiful place to spend an evening.

On a day like today, when troubling news arrives, and times are stressful, I close my eyes and imagine myself there.

I'm sitting in a padded rocking chair rocking my beautiful little baby girl Icelynne to sleep, while I watch the stars shining clear and bright in the autumn sky. I watch as the young newlyweds that live down the street take their nightly walk, hand in hand. Short puffs of steam escape their lips as they converse, about what I can only imagine. I remember when my husband and I were first married, and the magic that comes with starting out in the world together. Oh, to recapture those early years. The thought reminds me of the tiny bundle of warmth in my arms, and staring down at her I retract my wish. This is the time. I can imagine ten years from now wishing for this night, sitting here with my baby girl, cheeks flushed, wrapped in a woolen blanket, snuggled in, all trust and love. She squirms a little, hearing the dog's claws click across the hardwood as she trots over to snuggle up at my feet in front of the fire. Letting out a satisfied sigh, she flips onto her back, allowing the warmth to sweep over her underbelly, and she lets sleep overtake her. I reposition my darling daughter on my shoulder, and lean back in the chair. Soon there will be snow. I look forward to it. I can't wait to take her out to play. For now though, it's important to enjoy the moment because all too quickly it will pass.

I open my eyes. It is cold in here. I see the glare of my computer monitor. Outside, the rain pelts my window, and I hear a bottle smashing in the street. My dog raises a warning in response, which wakes the baby, making her cry. She'll need me to walk her back to sleep. These moments have their own charm, and in time, I'm sure will be remembered fondly. But for now, I'll use my brush to soften the edges, to paint a prettier picture.

Yes, if I close my eyes, I am there. I am in Christmas Acres, and it is beautiful.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome To Christmas Acres

Welcome to my little spot on the web. I am a Canadian woman who loves all things Christmas. Christmas has always been special to me because it's a time of hope. It's a time when we all strive to be better people, and we tend to put others ahead of ourselves. I'd love to be able to describe what exactly it is I love about Christmas, but I am tired, sleep deprived, and have a beautiful little girl asleep on my lap, so perhaps I will try sometime when I'm feeling a little more poetic. For now, let me just say that no other time of year gives me as much faith in humanity as Christmas.

I'm new to blogging, and I'm not even sure what direction this blog is going to take. It may focus largely on Christmas planning, or it might tend towards the struggles of raising a little one in this world. I've read many blogs that were supposed to be about one thing only to see them veer off in a completely different direction. So, with that said, I will quit my exhausted rambling and allow these thoughts to stand as a placeholder on my little blog until I can think of something better to say :)