Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In clover: waiting for JOY...

Some of you who have followed my blog may recall that in the past few years, I have chosen a "word for the year."  Or rather, I try to allow the word to choose me.  I have really enjoyed this practice....past years words include: 




and last years not very pleasant word, which in February I claimed as PAIN in this blog post.

Imagine my surprise when this year, some time in November, a word found me. early.  Well before the new year.   I became certain that my word for the year is JOY.  Everywhere I looked...JOY.  Definitely JOY. 

One day, flipping through a catalog, I saw a Christmas wreath that spelled...JOY!  I was delighted by the idea of seeing my word of the year on the door every day so I placed my order and looked forward to the arrival of JOY with great anticipation. 

But JOY did not come.  Other items I ordered from this company arrived but no JOY.  I called the catalog company and was told JOY was being shipped directly to me from a third party....it is supposed to ship the very next day, the woman on the phone told me.  Yay! I waited a week but still no JOY....

In an attempt to be clever on Facebook, I posted a status that said, "My JOY is on backorder."   A friend called, concerned about me.  Not to worry, I told her, I was trying to be funny but the conversation did get me thinking....WAS my "joy" on backorder?  I didn't think so....granted, I was experiencing some challenges but I had also noticed many small, exquisite moments of JOY this advent season.  

Like cookie baking with my family...

and discovering our little park lined with luminaria, a gift from neighbors...

 and listening to the children sing....

There were more moments of JOY than I can begin to document here but still, no package containing JOY arrived.  I placed another call to the company.  The woman who answered was very polite and helpful.  I wondered if my order had been cancelled.  She told me that the only information they could get out of the supplier was that JOY would indeed be shipped and would arrive before Christmas but she had no other information.  We had a cordial conversation....I mused out loud about perhaps buying a substitute wreath for the door....she said she completely understood and would be happy to cancel the order so I would feel free to buy something else.  But I decided that I would really like to wait and see if JOY would arrive. 

Every day during my quiet time,  I reflected on the missing JOY.  I wondered if I was being stubborn and insistent but it didn't feel like that was the case.  Then,  I was given the honor of helping to lead a Longest Night Service of Healing and Remembrance.  The service was held on the winter solstice...the longest night.  There,  among those who openly acknowledged their suffering and sadness and yet still sang together, even as they cried, I felt joy mixed with sadness.   
Light amidst the brokenness...

I decided that the best we can really do is to try to leave space for joy.

And I decided to see my wreathless front door as just that.....not missing anything.....but expectant with plenty of room for JOY, whenever it arrived, if it arrived.  

The next day, a friend stopped by for coffee.  She came bearing sweet gifts....a beautiful coffee mug inscribed with the words "Comfort and Joy"

and a box of special tea, named "Warming Joy."  

I laughed with delight...my friend had NO idea I was waiting for JOY and she did not know about my word of the year.  I wondered if the message was that JOY will show up if you leave room....but perhaps not in the way you are expecting it.  I left the house content with the JOY I received. 

And then, on the day after the Longest Night, just like that.....JOY arrived.  

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it."

Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season but if that will not come for you this year, praying for you to know that you are not alone, until the light comes again.  

peace and every good and much love to each of you, 


Want to receive In Clover by email?  Click here to subscribe (it's free!) with no threat of spam. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

in clover: thanksgiving

Some of you have asked me why I have not been writing....I'm not saying for sure but I am mostly convinced that perfectionism has something to do with it.  

Author Anne Lamott  has this to say about the "p" word: 

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life...”

So...Thanksgiving, in a less than perfect post:

The THREE of us (Big C is a college freshman now...with a car...and a schedule of his own) traveled back to my home, in Western Kentucky, as is our custom.  My Dad holds space for us to be together, whoever WE might be, in a great big house he insists on calling a cabin on Kentucky Lake.  My brother and his sweet family came this year, an unusual occurrence. Big C met us there. My aunt and uncle and my cousin live near by.  Other loved ones didn't make it this year....we'll keep our fingers crossed for next year.

I usually assist my Dad with the turkey but this year I assisted my brother who has a knack in the kitchen.  He turned out a really fine bird....very pretty AND tasty! 

We took walks in the woods before and after we ate cherry pie. Three of 'em, to be exact. Pies, that is.  The dogs swam in the lake. 

I brought homemade blackberry jam and my brother made biscuits for breakfast.  

Little c and her cousins played with dolls and made quilt forts.  

Harper the Dog wrestled day and night with my brother's dog and my Dad bought some dog bowls to keep at the cabin because "we have dogs now."  

My cousin brought her new baby who looks just like she did as a baby. I kept saying that until someone found old photos to prove it! We all passed the baby around, admired her kick ass shoes and made silly faces to amuse her. 

My aunt made her famous artichoke dip AND she made her famous spinach dip AND she made a fuss over the "cowboy candy" I brought for the first time this year....I gave her the rest of the jar to take home with her.  Her mama came to dinner too. Generations of Us. 

We listened to old songs on a fancy new speaker we could all control from our phones (FUN!) and found some new (warning: not fit for all audiences!) favorites.  

On the day after Thanksgiving, we moved the stack of pies and coconut cake off the counter to make room for leftovers.  Left down low, my brother's dog helped himself to a 1/4 of a triple layer coconut cake AND the plastic wrap that was covering it.  In about 2 bites.  While no one was looking.  And no one got pissy.  EVEN though we really, REALLY like the coconut cake my aunt buys from the Senior Citizens Holiday Bake Sale.

We drank craft beer and lots of wine and tea, iced and hot.  Michael fixed us oatmeal for breakfast.  We talked about getting older and growing up.  Maybe.  Someday.  We fell asleep early and woke up early and finally managed to stay up til 10:30 on the last night. 

Dad's wife left early to catch a plane because her new grandbaby was born! On my niece's birthday!  We all relived our labor and birth stories in solidarity.

My dear friend sent an email that she lost her mother that night. 

My sister in law knitted an Outlander inspired cowl for me.  Lickety split!  I showed her how to crochet like my Granny showed me. Well, not that good but as good as I know how. 

My dad saw a coyote. 

I made sure we had too much butter and no one let me forget it.  

The turkey brine leaked all over the made-one-day-ahead sweet potato casserole. 

I FORGOT my camera (but my uncle loaned me his!).

I thought I found a geode, but it was just a rock. 

I had one job for the day-before-Thanksgiving-last-minute-go-to-the-Wal-Mart-trip.....keep charge of the list.  So I left it lying on my bed when I ran back to my bedroom to grab my phone. Wal-Mart isn't exactly close to the cabin. My brother took a picture of it and emailed it to Michael.  Whew.

We remembered family sorrows and we were somber. 

We poked fun at one another.  

We laughed.  A lot.

If perfectionism is the enemy,  I am so glad we had a less than perfect Thanksgiving.  But it seemed pretty perfect to me.

Blessings to all ya'll.  



Want to receive In Clover by email?  Click here to subscribe (it's free!) with no threat of spam. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...