Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Little Home, Little Tree

"It's Christmastime in the city..." has become a love song.
  Serenaded to us by our Willis Tower view, daily errands done under the twinkle lights of Michigan Ave., red cups holding a morning's Starbucks on the way to work.     

Everyone knows Chicago is one of the most romantic places to be at Christmastime,
and while we have our hearts wrapped around so many places and little city spaces, it's hard to beat a little home with a little tree.

It's been so agreeable a place for Advent readings- my first time through this book,
and for friends coming in and out for wassail and cookies, for hot pear cinnamon cider and cinnamon rolls, for connection and laughter into the night.

Christmas is no respecter of "I have work tomorrow" kind of concerns, and that is a great idea, at least for now.
And Advent, as I'm learning, is no respecter of hope without lament, nor lament without hope.
And that is a great idea, for always.

The little home with the little tree with the great big view.
It's Christmastime in the city!
*I'm linking today to Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Card Love

Today my Christmas spirit is starting to simmer with holiday card love, one of my favorite parts of the season.
Mail every day?
Beautiful pictures of my family and friends?
Letters that make me laugh and tell stories from the year that make the states between us seem to wane?
This was the greatest idea, ever.

When I was growing up, holiday cards would come to our house in flurries for weeks and be collected into a basket set out on the counter amidst cookies, wrapping paper, and a nativity with "Gloria" the angel sticky-tacked to the barn's gable.

Every time you walked by, you could re-stick the fallen Gloria to her post and glance at the newest Christmas card on top of the pile, which was refreshed with the daily delivery of mail.

I used to love to take the basket to the couch and sift slowly through every card and letter.
I think it was an early evidence of my love for photos and photography, for stories and reflection, and for the message delivered through the pairing of photos and words together.

Today I spent an hour in Paper Source picking out envelopes for our Christmas card and feeling that familiar merriness.

Getting down to the brass tacks of this year's cards, I ordered from Tiny Prints.
Tiny Prints, who sent me a hand-written note thanking me for "joining the Tiny Prints family."
Customer service.  I wish it wasn't so unimaginable.
Thanks to Tiny Prints, I'm a believer!
Order your own Christmas cards from Tiny Prints here.

Now, not to interrupt myself, but if I do what I came here to do tonight, I would backspace all the above paragraphs and say this:
My friend Kirra Sue has a lovely, lovely photography business and should you need holiday cards, save the dates, birth announcements, or simply updated family photos to frame in your house for the new year, you can find Kirra here.
She took the photo of husband and I above, and I am in love with her work!

I hope that every day for the rest of December "you've got mail!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grace & Gratitude

"You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and the pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink."
-G.K. Chesterson

"It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." 
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I don't know why we're kind of delinquent on our holidays this year.
Our tree isn't up, and I haven't listened to even a jingle of Christmas music yet.
Though this is the plan when I do.
If you like, find a great Christmas playlist here.

While you do that, I'm still finding inspiration in the ideas surrounding Thanksgiving.
The above quotes are a couple thoughts I've been loving lately.  
I came across the G.K. Chesterson quote in Real Simple (of all places), and the Bonhoeffer quote from a letter my dear friend Alison sent.
Some new favorites.