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Posts Tagged ‘candlelight’

There was a time, somewhere in my past, when that term referred to winter clothing – white woolen slacks or a white sweater or blazer. I’d say a long time ago. Right now, winter white is the color of the sky, the ice, the snow, the everything. But a lot of white sky. That and grey.

A few weeks ago, in my part of the state, we had between a foot and a half to two feet of snow. Pretty, but more than anyone would ever want. Just looking outside made me want to run for the covers. And digging out is, of course, in between work. Or maybe work was in between digging out. It was exhausting and that was even with a neighbor clearing my driveway with his snow blower. I suspect, without him, my driveway would still look like this.

Inside in the evening, things were much calmer. I’d been gifted a Crate and Barrel flameless candle for Christmas and it looks so lovely in this lantern. You can forget – at least until the next morning – that this is what’s waiting outside …

Icicles. Yes, long dagger-y icicles that dare you to walk beneath them. There was just enough warmth and/or blunted sun to have them start breaking, and as I sat at my desk working, or journaling in the morning, you could hear them occasionally crashing to the ground below. When my oil delivery fellow came, I went outside to tell him to stay flush against the house, pointing up. He did …  and flattened himself. But being young, he then skated across the ice on the ground, yelling “Wheeeeee!” as he slid to the driveway and went back to his truck. I could only smile.

These, may I mention, are equal-opportunity icicles – they’re on every side of the house, and on just about everyone’s house in town, and beyond, I’m sure. They are quite beautiful, but do make it advisable to consider which entry to the house is the safest.

The last few weeks have had an unexpected perk. My neighbor next door has been experimenting making challah bread, trying different numbers of braids, and more recently, a different type of flour, too. I’ve had the occasional text alerts on my phone asking first if I liked challah, and on a few subsequent occasions, if I’d like some. You bet! Above, it made great challah French toast. I decided to make a marble cheesecake, a large hunk of which was gratefully received by these neighbors.

An unseasonably warm day yesterday and a boatload of sunshine today – finally! – has much of the snow on the rooftops melting and receding. Just in time for another snowstorm starting tomorrow morning. Oh boy! But at least for tomorrow, they’re only predicting 5-8″, After the previous storm, that almost sounds like a coating.

But the sky was glorious, and though it was quite chilly out, the day was a brilliant respite to the many, many white and grey days we’ve had for the last few weeks.

I had thought to post something for Valentine’s Day, but didn’t get to it. Here is what I wanted to say:

Love yourself. Through thick and thin, we are who we live with. Loving ourselves, contrary to what I was taught growing up, is the essence of being able to love others, to give to others, and at the end of the day, however grey or white, knowing that everything is really okay. This is my Valentine to you – to all of you who stop by, who write, who love, who persevere in these difficult times, and who believe in a better world. Be good to yourself.

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The sun attempts to break through an almost white sky. The weather report tells me that this is the best it will do today. Some high winds later on, and for Christmas, perhaps a dash of snow in the morning. This suits me fine – my days of longing for a white Christmas vanished as soon as I had to drive in it. As I looked out the window, I searched inside for my Christmas spirit. I found it to be a little lacking, having been pulled in many directions the last week. I knew one remedy, of course – images and words that bring a smile and/or inspire.

So here you see my gentle snowman, standing at my front door, ready to greet you. His candle lights at dusk, and he blows it out at dawn. But tonight it will burn steadily and all through the day on Christmas.

Inside, the beautiful oak washstand of over 100 years shines as always, with silk poinsettias, my very favorite ice balls holding tea lights, and just a peek at the photo of my Mom and Dad’s wedding portrait.

And though from a winter past, the snowy roofs and lightly dusted bare branches put me in a festive mood.

But what about words that inspire? I remembered some years ago, my Christmas present to loved ones was a print of the piece below, a longtime favorite of mine, to which I added original artwork of forest animals in each season in each of the print’s four corners. I felt my contribution was small in the shadow of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata. I share it here with you, with my warmest wishes for a Christmas filled with the sparkle of magic, hope, and peace.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

~ Max Ehrmann

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Light-CrystalIceBall2Light illuminates our path and shows us the way, both literally and figuratively. It casts shadows from the darkness, brings joy, and inspires reflection. The beauty of light is that we can find it everywhere – we can sit outside and bathe in moonlight or simply light a candle.

In this already very chilly weather, I have done just that and lit a candle or two, so here’s a little light from my house to yours.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“There is love in everything, and when we really live and view life with an open heart (and live in our truth), the light illuminates the way.”   ~ Kasi Kaye Iliopoulos

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“I will greet this day with love in my heart. And how will I do this? Henceforth will I look on all things with love and be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness as it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul.”  ~ Og Mandino

 

 

“You can overcome whatever is going on around you if you believe in the light that lives within you.” ~ Justine Edward

 

Light-Snowman2“Love is a weapon of Light, and it has the power to eradicate all forms of darkness. That is the key. When we offer love even to our enemies, we destroy their darkness and hatred…” ~ Yehuda Berg

Let’s step outside and see … there by my door is a snowman. His little candle shines brightly – flickers on as dusk begins to settle in – and he blows it out as the sun heralds a new day from the East. He doesn’t worry like we do about all manner of things; he just stands and smiles and lights my way and all those who come to call. He doesn’t know of all the terrible things in the world, not the dark hearts of men, nor the sadness in our souls. He just holds his candle steady and throws his light to the small world he knows.

“There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”  ~ Edith Wharton

 

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Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”  ~Chinese Proverb

BodaCrystalSnowballs2There is something about candlelight … it soothes the soul and gentles the world. Many years ago I was given a pair of Boda crystal ice balls as a gift. To this day, they are one of my favorite ways to enjoy candlelight. They sit on an oak washstand, not far from where I work, and the other afternoon, I turned and noticed the late day sun angling in the open door, lighting them brilliantly. I thought to photograph them in this daytime crystalline sparkle. But then, of course, I had to photograph one later with a lit tealight glowing from within the “ice.”

BodaSnowball-Lit2It’s amazing at times how something so utterly simple – yet beautiful – can catch not just the eye, but something of the spirit. The Boda people really had quite the idea when they designed and created these. They are captivating, truly looking like balls of melting ice.

“There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”  ~Edith Wharton

And then there’s the soft glow of a pillar. Most mornings, early,  I do my best to journal and/or read something of an inspirational nature before “starting” the day. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I give it my best shot. It’s still dark at that hour, and lately, I’ve taken to lighting a pillar candle on the coffee table/toy chest. It glows softly from within and is ever so calming.

“Keep your flame lit, and you will never feel darkness.”  ~J. Parker

GlowingCandle2As Christmas approaches and as Hannukah, the Festival of Lights, comes to a close … as the Solstice draws near … it is all about light … the light from without and the light within. All celebrate the miracle and wonder of light, in all cultures and religions, throughout time.

“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.” ~Ruth E. Renkel

Enjoy the light, wheresoever you may find it. And be sure to glow your most wonderful, glorious self.

“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.”  ~Evelyn Dunbar

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