Monday, March 17, 2014

Let it Shine

 




I love candles and have
a stash in a drawer to prove it.

We didn't burn many 
candles in our house when
I was a child, except when
celebrating a birthday
or when my parents 
entertained.





Lighting a candle was an
occasion.

In adulthood, however,
it struck me:  

life is an occasion.





Often, as a young wife,
I'd light those long taper
candles for dinners that I'd
happily create when my
husband and I returned
home from work.

But that was about it.





As a new mom, I began
to light a candle when I'd
do the dishes and clean
up the kitchen after dinner.
{My hubby would oversee
the bath hour....}

I liked the fragrance, the
flicker and the peace that
it brought me, and I believed
it elevated a mundane task
to something a bit more
special.





Eventually, I ushered the
magic of candlelight to our
family dinner table.  Four or
five unscented little votives
were all it took to make our
mealtimes feel cozy and festive.

I attempted to bring my
fondness for candles into
a morning routine, as well.

{Why wait until dinner?}




Two-thirds of the school
year here begins with dark
mornings, and 100 percent
of our mornings in those
days started with a lot of 
hustle and bustle.

Before the kids get on the
bus, I reflected, we should
light a candle, say a short
prayer for the day ahead,
and then they can take
turns blowing the 
candle out.





With my birthday coming
on the heels of this idea,
I asked the kids, then
twelve and eight, to each
write out a breakfast prayer
as my birthday gift, which
they were kind enough to do,
even typing them out on our
computer : )





Although the breakfast candle
and prayer ritual eventually
extinguished itself due to 
the craziness of school day
mornings, I still have their
little prayers, tucked in a
kitchen drawer.


.....be kind to one another
as we start this new day off.

....help us to remember those
who are less fortunate than we are.


Amen.





These days, with my daughter
at college and my son a very
busy high school freshman,
I still enjoy lighting a candle
in the morning.

As I click the lighter to
attention and bring it to
the wick, I run over my
gratitudes, which begin
with a warm house and
a roof over my head, and
end with thoughts of those
who I love.




And when I blow it out,
whether it's because I'm
leaving the house or getting
ready for bed, the scent
of candle smoke reminds
me of birthdays and family
dinners, of ordinary nights
washing dishes and humble
children's prayers on busy
school days.


Life's occasions.

How do you celebrate them?



xo
Suzanne



all images my own

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Deceleration

If I could save time in a bottle,
the first thing that I'd like to do,
is to save every day 'til eternity
passes away, just to spend them
with you.....

~ Jim Croce




I was blessed to spend last
weekend with my daughter,
who goes to college in 
California.

She turned 19 on Monday, 
so the whole weekend had a
festive air, from driving
around doing errands in our
rental car, to seeing a movie
and having dinner by the beach.




One of the conversations that
we had while in the car--always
one of our best places to talk--
revolved around time, and
how much faster we perceive it
passing as we grow older.

I'd always assumed that time
seemed to pick up speed as
we age because days, months
and years become a smaller
percentage of our total life.




A year when you are two is
half of your life, at ten it is
one-tenth, and the fraction 
continues to get smaller as
we get older.

But, it turns out, there
is more to it than just
fractions.




Arriving home on Monday,
I picked up a weekend
newspaper to discover an
article on this very topic.

{I love serendipity.}

The author of the report
explained that since almost
everything in the first few
years of our lives is new and
unique to us, those experiences 
remain fixed in our memories.




But then the years unfold.

Our knowledge increases,
we tend to follow routines,
and we encounter fewer
and fewer new experiences.

Like many of you, I yearn
to stay in the present moment,
believing that a focus on the
here and now will slow down 
time and capture it in that bottle.




Instead, it appears that
learning or trying new things, 
such as activities, places
and foods, is crucial to
putting the brake pedal on
the speedometer of life.

Although I was only in
California with my daughter
from noon on Friday until
Sunday evening, it felt 
like much longer!




And, I can vividly remember
the little details of the trip--
what we did, where we went,
what we ate, etc.

But, I can barely tell you
that same information for
the week that led up to my
trip, without consulting my
planner.




Life truly slowed down
for me while I was away from
routines, in new surroundings
and discovering things outside
my normal flight path : )

Reflecting on this long
winter, the memories that 
stand out to me also involve
other days when I pushed
myself out of my comfort zone
or tried new activities, like
cross-country skiing on a cold
but brilliant sunny morning,
when staying in was pretty
inviting!




I'm definitely a homebody,
but those hours when I stick
to a routine blow past like
clock hands wound 
too tightly.

I know it's March.

2014 is already flying by.




But I am determined
to decelerate 
it a bit, by ramping up my 
new experiences, each week.

Daily would be even better,
but that might be a stretch.

Baby steps, right?




If I could make days last forever,
if words could make wishes come true,
I'd save every day like a treasure
and then, again, I would spend
them with you....



xo
Suzanne 


all pictures P&H