what we remember



I don’t need a holiday or a feast to feel grateful for my children, the sun, the moon, the roof over my head, music, and laughter, but I like to take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled. – Paula Poundstone

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller

To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance. – Philip Andrew Adams

The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory. – Gary Zukav

Group this week was not easy. It is no secret that this time of year is difficult for many. Our theme this week was celebration and solstice and while it was appropriate, another implicit theme of the evening was remembrance and a somber honoring. Our writers miss their families and their children. Bringing up memories is complex. It is painful and joyful at once. It triggers both happiness to share these memories and a visible sadness.

Writing can hold that. By the end of our group, we concluded there. We worked through some of the most complex and challenging realities we experience throughout the year. We had it on paper and then held it in the open space of of the circle. We made room to witness each other and ourselves in the winter quiet.

Below, you will hear their stories. I hold them next to my story this season. I hope you do too.


Giving birth to a verdant future.
That’s my hope.
Time of pain, I did have a lot and it’s kept going.
I wish that it produces something, hopefully,
Fall yesterday, winter today, with the snowflakes
like a clean, white lace, so gorgeous.
That’s joyful, don’t you think?
Laces, snowflakes, I love the complexity of those. It attracts
me, my eye like the monarch butterfly.
I can’t stop looking at those silhouettes, one so white
and fragile, the other one so fragile and colorful,
both so “light” that they can stay in the
space for a period of time. Determination!
So special!

It’s bringing me happiness just to look at them.
Some in winter, some in summer,
spring, and fall. I’m going to continue to be
more hopeful for my future.


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in preparation



“Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide.”

“Life is a constant Advent season: we are continually waiting to become, to discover, to complete, to fulfill. Hope, struggle, fear, expectation and fulfillment are all part of our Advent experience.”

“It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness
and thus to open doors of hope.”

Last week, we wrote on the peace and hope we find in this season and how to prepare. How does somebody prepare for peace? Often, in winter and before our various winter gatherings, the preparation is in food and gifts, clothing yourself to bear the weather. On the inside, we prepare differently. The writers say that the holidays are a difficult time for them, being separate from family and these traditional preparations. They explore finding new rituals to honor the season. We prepare by writing together, calling up and sharing our traditions and memories, and bearing witness to each other.

In the writings below, you will hear a few accounts of their experience to which we bore a snow-like witness, their words as footfalls on the page.


Before long, I will celebrate Easter,
a most holy Christian holiday.
I will smell the ham cooking.
I will set a beautiful table.
I will be so busy; I just can’t wait.
And I will focus on the ride home
chauffeured by my son in
his lime green Geico car.
Three smiling faces will greet me:
Nick, Angelo, and Abigail.
I wonder if that trip will be quick
or will it seem to last forever.
I picture my front door of red
adorned with a brass knocker
that displays a welcoming pineapple.
My hands will surely be shaking
as I grab the shiny ornate handle,
my cheeks will burn
from the constant smile on my face.
My heart will rejoice as
I take my first step,
over the threshold, a tear will fall.
I am joyful and triumphant.
This is my last Christmas here. Hark!

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