This Place We Call Home: Christmas Time Poetry

This Place We Call Home

place we call home Christmas time

This place we call home is
Magical,
Sparkly
Majestic
Tranquilizing

This place welcomes them
Home
Year after year
For decades
Sometimes with arms that change
Sometimes that grasp too tightly
Unsure when to let go
There to heal

This place we call home
Scented with pine, cinnamon
Melting wax
A balm redolent of family
And the essence of hard work

This place  showers all who enter
With possibility
And hope
Cleansing the exterior
Revealing
A mantra of self-confidence
And absolute belief in the power of
The mind and body
To learn
Heal
And love

This place
This mountain
This home

Welcome
Let us embrace
Nice to see you again, it cautiously whispers
I’m home

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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My Best Life, December 2013

December….always a month full of contradictions for me. Try as I might to keep it simple, stay centered and enjoy the moment, I must admit that it often pushes me to my limits. There are still a few things that I loved this December; I hope you enjoy them, too.

Best View:

Moonscape in CA

As much time as I spend outdoors, I struggle to capture the perfect sunrise, sunset or moonscape. This month I focused on looking up, literally a and figuratively. I love this image that I captured one night as I was walking home from a late work meeting. It was definitely the best part of my day!

Best Recipes:

Baking DOES reduce stress!

My daughter was on a baking frenzy this month…it went far beyond her ritual Wednesday afternoon baking sessions, and morphed into marathons of molasses cookies during finals week, intricately decorated sugar cookies, Mexican Wedding Cakes, loads and loads of peppermint bark, peanut butter balls, and delicious cream cheese frosted Candy Cane Kisses bars. I managed to squeeze in a new recipe for Saltine Toffee…I know, I thought it was weird too until I tried it!

Candy Cane Kisses Bars
Candy Cane Kisses Bars

Best Book:

Sad to say, I didn’t finish a book in its entirety this month. I’ve started several, and am in the midst of six…I’m currently enjoying Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin . She’s the writer who published The Happiness Project, and with this book she’s looking at how to “kiss more, jump more, abandon self-control, and other experiments in everyday life.” The chapters are organized by month, and cover topics like ‘Possessions’,Marriage”, “Parenthood”, and “Family”. I’ll let you know what I think when I finally finish it!

Best Blog Reads:

“The Map”, was written by my friend and neighbor Beth, who writes with such honesty about the journey of parenthood. Please do yourself a favor and click over to her blog, “Grace in the Ordinary”. http://grace-in-the-ordinary.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-map.html.

The holiday season brings out all sorts of emotions. This year, I experienced my version of the blues, but when I read “Some Times”, by Progressive Parent, I couldn’t help the tears for all that she’s going through dealing with the loss of her child. Just feel her grief…http://theprogressiveparent.org/2013/12/14/some-times/.

Best Moment:

Candlelight Christmas Eve

This month was full of elation and a bit of despair, change and (modified) tradition. I tried to hold it all together, keeping Christmas as it always has been, but finally gave in and realized we’d just be having a different kind of Christmas. One of my best moments came on Christmas Eve, as we breathlessly scurried (late) into the pew of our church, just in time for the candlelight service. I cherish the moments when I can wrap myself between my children, breathe down to my core, and feel a complete sense of peace and security. Turns out, it’s one of my kids’ favorite moments of Christmas, too.

Best Quotes:

Looking back at the quotes I save each month, I always get a surprising sense of cohesion-even when my month has felt less than connected. For me, December was about change, reflection, quiet, emotion and reaching out…

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”
~Sydney J. Harris

“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
~Anais Nin

“I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Best Photo:

This photo just squeaked in at the last minute, lovingly posted by my ‘little’ sister post-Christmas. I love the reminder that there were days when we didn’t mind looking alike – of course, this is long before my mother lifted the ban on us wearing all-black! Thanks, sis.

Christmas throwback, 1970s-style

Thanks for sharing My Best December, 2013. I hope your month concludes on a peaceful note, and I look forward to an amazing adventure with you in 2014!

~Jennifer

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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It’s A Different Kind of Christmas

I’m sitting cross legged on the couch, recently rearranged to directly face the six foot high Douglass fir that stands regally in our front window. at this hour of the morning the house is blissfully quiet, the only audible sound being the ticking of the kitchen clock and the occasional hum of the refrigerator to remind me that I’m not entirely stuck inside my mind.

On the low wooden coffee table sitting between me and the tree a candle flickers and casts a subtle shimmer of light against the funky mirrored cone shaped trees, the chess set a scramble of mislaid figures waits nearby for nimble fingers and cunning minds to bring it to life. The fireplace is cold beneath the twinkle of white lights and the four handmade stockings hanging in anticipation of tomorrow night.

retro SantaThe retro Santa collection graces the table to my right, a mish mash of a collection from grandparents savvy enough to keep Christmas collectibles from their younger days-they make me smile. To my left, the piano top holds ‘the white house’, so named by my husband’s grandmother, a handmade wooden structure complete with a removable chimney for Santa to hover over the top of as he gazes down on original 1940s-style miniature plastic versions of Christmas trees.

In other words, as I sit here in the silence, sipping my coffee with cream and wondering how in the world Christmas Eve can be tomorrow, my house looks festive. Except for one thing: the undecorated tree.

Yes, the hundreds of white lights warmly twinkle on its branches, casting a festive glow out the window to passers by. I even managed to plug in the electric Santa on the front porch in my festive attempt at making everything seem normal this year. But the truth is, it’s a different kind of Christmas around here this year, and frankly, it’s been hard.

In other years, Christmas carries the wave of anticipation and excitement common with most families of young children. Shortly after Thanksgiving we trek to pick out the perfect tree, make an evening of decorating in front of the fire complete with Christmas carols and exclamations of surprise and delight as each little ornament is removed from the box and hung with great contemplation, and sometimes a bit of bickering. Ah, the sounds of Christmas.

And in other years, we even had two trees, so over-the-top did our love for the season go. We simply wanted to have Christmas in every room of our home, hoping to prolong the season the best we could. My early December birthday was always a measure of the countdown; advent calendars would be in full force, lights would be twinkling from both stories of our house, and our son’s mile long Christmas list/letter to Santa would be taped to the fireplace.

But not this year. It’s a different kind of Christmas around here right now.

I’ve been wondering if this is what it will be like when we’re empty-nesters; that hesitancy to take Christmas full tilt when it’s just the two of us with no kids around. I wonder if this is some sort of inspiration for Elvis’s ‘Blue Christmas’ that I purposely have avoided hearing this year. I wonder if this is what so many people experience during the holiday season when they’re remembering Christmases long gone, children grown and on their own, creating their new memories in new places with new people. I just never figured it would be happening this year.

And every time I’ve walked through the door this month, I’ve plugged in the lights and sighed. I just can’t do it. The boxes of ornaments are still stacked in the dining room, unopened. And it’s December 23. This has never happened before. And I can’t blame it on holiday business, too many parties or anything else-except for one thing.

On Saturday night, after I had picked him up from his dorm, brought him back to the cabin, fed him until his belly cried for mercy and my eyes drooped from fatigue, he curled up on the couch and asked me for some paper. For the next hour, he quietly wrote, erased and drew while I prepared for the next morning’s early ski race departure. I noticed him tuck his paper in his backpack, and asked what he had been doing.

“Writing my Christmas list, ” he replied, his fourteen-year-old face tipped up to smile at me.

“Can I take a look?” I asked, knowing that there was no time left for shopping, and hoping that at least I had gotten that part right this year.

“Nope,” he smiled back, zipping up his backpack. “I just can’t wait for Christmas.”

“Really?” I mused. I secretly hoped that the decorations at home would be enough, and wishing I had at least wrapped a few presents to stick under the tree.

“Yeah, I can’t wait. I love sitting by the fire, you and Grandma drinking your coffee, Lily grumpy that I woke her up too early, and finding my stocking. And Dad-yeah, he’s just sitting there, but it’s great having everyone home.”

And then it hit me. I felt an unexplained release of bottled up anxiety, fear, sadness, and worry shiver down my neck, and suddenly I felt better. He was right. It is great having everyone home. It will be great to have everyone home, even for a few days.

This year, it’s a different kind of Christmas. But it will be just fine. Perhaps, even festive.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Charles Dickens’ Christmas Mantra

photo (14)20131218-070136.jpgSanta“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.

The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.

I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

How do you honor Christmas? 

Are you living in the past, the present, or the future?

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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