Any magazine subscriptions I have usually connect me to some interest I simply can't seem to give any real time to right now. But the subscription reminds me that my passion for that hasn't disappeared. It is just on indefinite hold. The last subscription to avoid the austerity cuts to the Davis budget has been the Small Farmer's Journal.
This old style print periodical is a a perfect mesh of beauty and practicality with some absolutely delicious prose placed within every quarterly publication.
My favourite quote on the inside cover of the latest edition:
"I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do."
Resignation holds almost entirely negative connotations today, but, in fact, is not all that bad.
I like resignation. There is a kind of peace that comes with it. The best definition I could find was: "an accepting; unresisting attitude, state, etc.; submission. i.e. to meet one's fate with resignation".
I appreciate that there are times not to resign. But I think, today, we underestimate the value of this state of being.
This Christmas I tried to practice a little resignation. This Christmas I have enjoyed starting and ending my day in PJs and, most days, accepted that I still didn't know what dinner would be at 4:45pm.
Instead of listing my new year's resolutions I have adopted an "unresisting attitude" to whatever the new year brings. Submission is probably the hardest thing we, as modern humans, try to do. I'm gonna give it a shot.
This picture below of Ysabeau is the most "resigned"-like picture of her I think I will ever get.
With young children prone to going delirious with the onslaught of gifts I had a lot of anxiety about building up the Santa tradition into a gluttonous tradition of gifting frenzy.
But on Christmas morning, Ethan read this little letter from Santa addressed to him and his siblings In an age of materialism and, might I even suggest, an unreasonable rationalism, this moment of playfulness stands out and enchants. I see that Ethan (at 10 years old) wants to acknowledge the secret and join the adults, but instead he delves deeper into the play and continues to choose wonder over the material "truth".
In years to come, instead of 'discovering the lie', I think he will simply become the storyteller and join the cast in different way.
I took Ysabeau to see Mozart's The Magic Flute and she was enchanted by the bird-man character Papageno. I think she knows he isn't real but her delight is in watching him play out a "wonder"-ful part.
We need some soul-play as humans. The deep-feeling storytelling that we do in the very depths of us.
Something so wonderfully simple about the nativity story. Not simple at first glance: teenage pregnancy, seeming infidelity, moving while pregnant, refugee situation.
A baby, a poor peasant girl, a labourer. This family trio deliver a great gift to humanity in a very simple and humble way.
Their little story reminds me of my favourite line from Gandalf in LOTR. "I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
But before I let you think that this Christmas was one of deliberate and attentive gift opening, turn-taking traditions - there was some gluttonous ravaging of wrapped presents. Resignation, right?
It has been my goal to try, in any small way, to celebrate Advent this year, again. I say 'again', because last year it didn't quite work out like I planned. I didn't really get to the celebration of advent but just committed myself, and my family, to waiting for Christmas. So basically my little toddler didn't learn any carols and I lost steam as I realized everyone else stopped celebrating Christmas after the 25th.
Technically the Twelve Days of Christmas should start on the 25th but nobody got the memo.
So this year, the tree is up now - with advent ornaments on it- and advent carols (along side some great Christmas ones) are playing and being sung at bedtime. We still are holding out a couple things for the twelve days but we aren't being too miserly on Christmas cheer now.
This is our little sacred space 'decked' out for Advent. Ethan likes Our Lady of Guadalupe on guard as her feast day is coming up. St. Francis is just hanging out beside her and St. Barbara and St. Francis Xavier also have feast days in December.
It is becoming an annual tradition to celebrate Martinmas. The feast of the great medieval saint St. Martin of Tours. Well, he wasn't quite medieval (lived in 4th century) but he become a favourite for so many medieval people. He story is worth looking up. But the tradition has become one to celebrate the light in the darkness, just as St. Martin was. Ysabeau really only pays close attention to this part- the lighting of Chinese lanterns that float up and away!
On Dec 6th, two kids woke up very happy to find this!
Caught red-handed feeding the baby something she shouldn't.
It's true that kids find even something as simple as candles magical. Dinner with cousins here at our table is a pretty happy time. Candles make it extra fun. Only 2 more advent candles to light till Christmas.
This is in the Takhini valley just outside of Whitehorse, Yukon. It is about 1 or 2pm but the sun is already quite low. This is where we had our gathering to celebrate Martinmas with some other friends and families.
This is a link up with one of my favourite blogs Like Mother Like Daughter
We got our first snowfall and sub zero weather just in time for Halloween. Ethan enjoyed talking to us a lot about Dia de Los Muertos. We spend the month of November in our house honouring those who have gone before us in our family.
Ethan said, "It is a great month to honour our ancestors."
"Do you know who some of them are, Ethan? " I asked.
"Yup. Leonardo Da Vinci?"
Why not? There are only seven degrees of separation so its highly possible.
My Catholic story is a winding road, like it is for so many. It takes course over decades, not years. I like to think of it as a vintage experience soaked in alternating years of searching, indifference, rejection and now an inevitable surrender.
I like to think of the Catholic Church as that geeky but confident guy (or gal in this case) who appears like he doesn’t need or want a relationship with you. Not because he actually doesn’t but because he is rather comfortable in his own shoes and certain of who he is (I am thinking of Mr. Darcy right now).
He/She may seem aloof and distant but once you commit to his straightforward style, he pulls out the red carpet for you (smells and bells in the case of Rome), screaming “I WANT YOU! I LOVE YOU!” I don’t think this is playing games – it's just good sense.
The endless variations of protestant denominations (including the non-denominational churches), though well meaning, remind me of how I was in high school. Never certain of myself, eager to become whatever my friends wanted me to be so that our relationship would never be jeopardized or uncomfortable. Yes, it’s a type of relationship building – but lacking something.
A Catholic blogger I read put it simply: "For too many Christians, the faith is a safe routine, a kind of philosophy of self-improvement, something meant to be comfortable and comforting. " The Catholic Church offers no such thing in my experience.
Each protestant church I have attended was willing to commit to me without seeking or even asking whether I was really interested in the long haul. In a way, I find that a bit insulting – Don’t I have a say in it? I felt like I was on a series of short coffee dates at Tim Hortons. My protestant friends might be seething right now. I can only speak to my experience.
In the end I was drawn by the slow, undramatic, but atmospheric approach of an older and wiser man – well, in this case, a Mother. I know some people have trouble making sense of the glitter of Catholic Churches and seemingly unimportant adornments. But it all adds up for me –read this if you want to understand why.
A Catholic writer put it aptly –“Going to an evangelical church to find a sense of sacredness is like trying to make love under fluorescent lighting”.
There are so many arguments against faith. At the end of the day, I feel they don’t stand up. I can no more sum up all those reasons here than explain why I think civilization is a great thing – as G.K. Chesterton wisely said- the list would simply go on and on in a kind of constant babble. Here's that babble.
What you won't find here is determined effort to argue that God exists. God is sine quo non in my books. I write for those who care about faith, are curious about it, or living it. I love hearing their stories too.
Wife, mother, and many other things when the occasion arises. Needed a place to collect my thoughts on family, God, Catholicism and time. (Read More)