"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for a home." — Edith Sitwell
The presents are wrapped, the cards have been sent. Our tree is dripping with ornaments, its crisp pine scent filling the air. Homemade granola cools on the stove top, a gift for my husband who has been patiently waiting for it to be made. This is the first day in weeks that I feel I can exhale and embrace this enchanted season.
I love the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Lamplight casting a golden glow over the living room, candles lit, the quiet hush of evening. Popeye rests by my side, softly breathing and dreaming... perhaps sugarplum bones dancing in his head? My senses seem to come alive during this season. I thrill to the clean cold air, relish the softness of the warm scarf wrapped around my neck. The crunch of snow underfoot makes me smile, along with the promise of more to come in the air.
Tonight the first of my daughters arrives home. I can hardly wait. Together we will begin baking while carols play in the background. On Friday we will be joined by her younger sister, and the three of us will make our traditional sugar cookies and watch "White Christmas" on the television.
This will be the first year our oldest daughter won't be joining us for Christmas. We're sad but know that it is for the happiest of reasons; after ten plus years of living in Dubai she is moving to London in January. We are so very excited to have her just across the pond. We were fortunate to be able to visit her twice while she lived in Dubai but having her in London will be so much easier. Our fingers are crossed that she will be able to join us for a few days after New Year's, before heading to her new home.
For the past three years I have participated in Susannah Conway's holiday offering to choose a word for the upcoming year. In 2015 my word was 'bloom'; I had just begun to paint again and wanted was excited to see where my newfound passion would take me. Last year I chose 'nurture', a reminder to keep learning and growing as an artist. As I look back on 2016 I realize how much I nurtured my creativity:
- I participated in online courses offered by artists I have long admired.
- I made it a point to paint at least a few times a week.
- I took the brave step of sharing my work on social media and, to my surprise and joy, discovered that there were people who wanted to purchase my art.
- This led me to approach a neighborhood shop to see if they would sell my prints and notecards Imagine how excited I was when they said yes.
- Emboldened, I opened my Etsy shop, WhimsyandJoyStudio.
But in spite of all these bold steps there are still times when I question if I am on the right path. Because of this I have chosen 'trust' as my word for 2017.
TRUST: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.
It is time to trust my ability to create beautiful art. To trust that I am worthy of the good fortune I have had this year, and to trust that yes, I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in my life. I never dreamed I would be an artist, I never felt I was as good as other artists I knew.
It's time to stop doubting my ability.
Bloom. Nurture. Trust. A natural progression, don't you think?
As I started to think about how I should end this post, one of my father's favorite songs came on the stereo. The words are so fitting for this time of year:
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
As we end what has been a turbulent year filled with unrest I wish each of you a tranquil holiday.
May you have peace in your heart and home and may the new year bring you comfort and joy.