Christmas and a new year are both fast approaching. Amidst all the preparations I’m looking forward to a more hopeful time. Each morning we see the daylight overcome the dark of night. There’s a promise of a new start, a promise of a bright day.

I hope your upcoming days are filled with peace in your mind, kindness on your lips, and a joyfulness and lightness in your heart.

Wherever this Christmas holiday finds you, whomever you’re with this Christmas, and however you choose to celebrate it – welcome the spirit, the joy, and the love that makes this season so very special.  It is all around us.  Merry Christmas!

holiday-poinsetties-15330_staatsMay your holidays be filled with joy, beauty, wonder, and love.  Merry Christmas!

Christmas Noel_StaatsThe weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday have been hectic.  Filled with things to do, people to see, places to go, packages to get, and the usual commotion of the season.  The tree sat unadorned in the house for a week, asking for my attention.  Then family came to visit from Kansas, and I was reminded of what the holiday is really about.  My niece helped me decorate the tree; it now sparkles with lights, and the ornaments are carefully chosen in honor of people, places, or times of our lives.  The packages got wrapped and wait to be given to those we care about.  We filled the days of family with sharing, remembering, laughing, and new adventures — all those things that are familiar and special.  And now that Christmas Eve is here, I pause and appreciate the family and friends that are important to me.  May your holidays be merry and filled with love, and may good memories stay dear in your heart.

Wreath Grand Central Station 8272_StaatsAmidst the hustle and bustle of this week of Christmas, I wish for everyone the quiet moments to remember the family and friends that contribute to our lives, the events both small and grand that make us the people we are, and the love and caring that’s exemplified by the celebration of Christmas.
Merry Christmas!

Winter cranberry tree 4291_StaatsMy wishes for you this holiday season:  a feeling of wonder at the beauty around us, an appreciation of the family and friends we hold dear, a remembrance of those people no longer in our lives physically, and a sense of joy and happiness kept within our hearts not only during the holidays but each and every day too.  Merry Christmas!

Winter in the garden 70448_StaatsWishing you all the joy, hope, and wonder of the holidays. 


We awoke on Christmas eve to more snow.  In what has become our snowiest December on record, another five or six inches of snow served to freshen the white coating.  After taking care of last-minute shopping and dinner preparations we decided to take some time for ourselves.  A drive into Saint Paul brought us past this lovely neighborhood park, complete with a beautiful tree shimmering with a fresh dusting of snow and  sparkling lights.  The perimeter of the park was marked by luminary candles, and off in the distance were the lights of the Cathedral of Saint Paul where people were making preparations for Midnight Mass.  For the time we were here at the park, this night was still and quiet.  This was the time to appreciate the evening, the beauty we enjoy during winter, and this magical and hopeful season of Christmas.

How quickly the year has gone by.  Here we are once again at the wonderful season of Christmas.  No matter what one’s faith, there is a specialness to this time.  If we look past the pressure to shop, the expectation of finding the perfect gift, any anxiety over meals, cookies, etc., there is still a child’s unbridled excitement over the mystery of the holiday.  I encourage us all to focus on the joy and beauty that surrounds us at this holiday time.  Our spirits can be lighter and we can be of good cheer, and with a bit of encouragement that attitude can become contagious and spread to many.  May you find and rekindle the joy and happiness that can reside in each of our hearts and spirits during this time of year, and may you keep that alive within you as we all prepare to begin 2011. Merry Christmas!