There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Going Home

"The two most joyous times of the year are 
Christmas morning and the end of school."
                   ~Alice Cooper

Last weekend the streets of Oxford were lined with the cars of parents picking up their students for the Christmas break. The eight week term flew by and it seemed like they were all just settling in when suddenly the parents were back again. They were packing up books and bags, bikes and posters, and trundling it all home again--home for Christmas.

"Christmas is, of course, the time to be home--
in heart as well as body."   ~Garry Moore

Stuart and I are on our way home ourselves in a few days--at least home for me, back in the U.S.  Among other things, a knee injury grounded me this fall and I haven't been back to my American home in over six months.  I've warned Stuart that the second we land in Minneapolis I'll probably shed a tear or two.  I adore my adopted home of the U.K., but there's no place like your homeland, especially at Christmas.

The midwest vowel shift.

I always love flying 
through Minneapolis when we fly back to Washington state because that's technically my homeland and not far from where I was born in South Dakota.  I step off the plane and for the first time in months I'm surrounded by people who speak just like I do.  So after the tears of homecoming comes the great vowel shift, and my midwest accent goes into high gear.  It will eventually settle back down to it's softer Washington state version, but for a while anyway I sound like I just stepped off the set of Fargo. I'm me again.  I love to travel, love living in a country not my own, and I adore my husband's homeland, but there's something to be said for that comforting and comfortable feeling of being home.

" not an external event at all, but
a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart."
                            ~F. Stark

It's no accident that 'home for Christmas' is sung and written about--who can't feel even the smallest nudge of emotion hearing Bing Crosby sing 'I'll Be Home For Christmas'?  It runs so deeply in our hearts, especially this time of year.  It's what Christmas is about.  It's our search for 'home', for love, for connection, for belonging.  For those of us who celebrate Christmas, home lies in the heart of the manger--and can be found then at it's very source, in love.  Home is the people we love, and that love is at the heart of and the very gift of Christmas.  It doesn't matter where we are then, as long as we're connected to that love, we're home.  I can't say it any better than little seven year old Bobby said, "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

Stuart, Max, and I wish everyone a very 
Merry Christmas,  filled with warm fires, 
cold snow, loving hearts, woodland peace, 
jolly carols, messy living rooms, and 
much, much love and happiness.  

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