IV

Isilya ~ Monday

christmas harp

christmas greeting

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III

Valanya ~ Friday

Our Canadian friends just to the north of us, have sent us a very large present. A cold front that stretches from the Dakotas to the Pacific coast and looks like a large smile, is steaming down toward us. Snow is falling, wind is blowing and temperatures are dropping like a rock. This rather intimidating weather system is the first really serious bite of winter. Our temperatures are supposed to be well below zero tonight, and stay that way for three days, or so. It never fails to scare me a bit because I feel so vulnerable. Our furnace is the only element standing between us and certain death, in a very short time. It is serious business and I wonder often how it is that all of us live here in the northern Rockies. Are we foolish? I ask myself that question, daily.

Living in Dallas, Texas, I remember a very hot summer that seemed to go on forever. In the middle of it all, our air-conditioner died. I put on my bikini and ran around barefoot, while my hubby and son lived shirt-less and in shorts. It was very uncomfortable but not life threatening. We were all very relieved when the air-conditioner was fixed and started chugging away, keeping us somewhat cool. Other than feeling hot and miserable, I never felt afraid.

However, here in the frozen north, I am constantly struck how close to death we are and how thin is the thread that connects us to life. Our existence is fragile and can go either way very quickly. Perhaps it is the challenge of overcoming and surviving that entices us to live here. Living on the edge has its excitement but the older I get, I would rather not.

* * * * * *

It is now five days later and my realm is covered with snow and ice. White, along with all variations of colors therein, have covered us just as patchwork quilt. For three days, we stayed below zero degrees Fahrenheit. It was the kind of cold that stings your cheeks and permeates all layers of clothing, slowly creeping in, spreading icy tentacles. Even though I am a creature of the out-of-doors, I stayed inside our abode for two days. It was time unwasted, however. I was able to create another recipe page (Christmas Chili) for Vanya Melda and finish writing Christmas cards. Memories from the Christmas Chili are very special because at one time we had a son who would come home at Christmas time. He no longer comes home, so I treasure the sweet memories associated with being together as a family, sitting around the dinner table on Christmas Eve, and singing the Twelve Days of Christmas.

These days, my hubby and I celebrate Christmas in a quiet way. Because it is a reminder of the birth of our Savior, we remember it as being a very special day. However, we do not decorate our place or have big dinners any longer. I love to enjoy the colors and sounds of Christmas at our local mall. But at home, things are quiet and pensive. We have entered into a different time in our lives, when the trappings and “stuff” no longer have the same appeal. I am afraid that we are very bad for the economy. We seldom spend. Life has become simple and much easier. Christmas has truly become a time for peace and joy.

May this season bring you peace and loveliness ~ Tasarwen

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II

Eärenya ~ Thursday

...whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute (attractive),
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
let your mind dwell on these things.
~ Philippians 4:8

Because I have been blessed with a happy and quiet nature, it is not often that I am enthroned in the world of Grump. However, just yesterday the day started in a state of disarray. Mentally, I traveled down the list of one of my favorite bible verses. What is true, today? Nothing! OK, what is there that is honorable? Can’t think of a thing! What is right? Looking at my watch, I figured out the right time of the day. Is there anything that is pure? Well, I drink filtered water and that is sort of pure. What out there is lovely? ....or attractive? My brain went blank. Last chance....is there anything that is excellent or worthy of praise? An inarticulate hum was heard in my mind. Oh dear! What a “dud” of a day! It was as if I was looking through a curtain of gray mist. Nothing clear came to my mind’s eye and I literally fell into Grump Land.

Later in the day, I had planned to meet one of my harp students for a cup of coffee at a local book store. So, placing one foot in front of the other, I dragged myself up the stairs in order to get myself presentable. Grump, grump, grump!

Carefully, I tippy-toed out to the car over the ice. Looking up into a dark gray sky, I sighed. Of course, one can not look up and walk over the ice at the same time, so I simply stood outside the garage for a few minutes. After slowly climbing into my car, because with all my winter clothes wrapped around me, I was a mummy, I drove out to the book store. Grump, grump, grump!

Sitting in traffic, I slowly looked around at my world of gray and dirty snow. Grump, grump, grump!

All of a sudden, right out of the blue, a small car whipped by me and my eye caught the name on the license plate. “Believe”! Oh my goodness! With the speed of light, the veil lifted from my mind and a small smile turned up the corners of my mouth. Clear as a mountain stream, those precious words: truth, honor, rightness, purity, loveliness, attractiveness, excellence, and praise came to my mind. The curtain of despair had literally blinded me. Rather than be ashamed by my silliness, I thanked the Lord for this valuable lesson.

The wise words of Philippians 4:8 have always been the basis of my life. Often, I lean back upon them and think about them, one word at a time. When the circumstances of life come showering down in a way that is difficult to bear, I ponder what is true in my life. What is honorable, or right, or lovely? One at a time, I mentally travel down the list. Normally, I can think of at least one “thing” that can be described by these wonderful words. As if by a miracle, my mood lifts and I realize all is not lost. However, yesterday I learned how easily I am deceived. In reality, there is always something on that list I can lock my mind upon. But when the gray veil of deception falls in front of what is real, I am blinded.

Seeing is not believing.....believing is seeing.

May you believe ~ Tasarwen

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I

Valanya ~ Friday

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December;
A magnificent thing
And sweet to remember:
“We are nearer to spring
Than we were in September.”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
~ Oliver Herford

winter walk

Just a few days ago, winter slid its icy fingers across my realm, leaving a blanket of white purity and a layer of ice in its wake. Nighttime temperatures have been in the single digits and daytime highs have not been above the freezing mark. However, my heart is cheery. Every dark and cold day brings the days of flowers and warm breezes ever nearer. The very next season is the season of new life and the thought makes me smile.

A dear friend has returned. Rosemary (my gold pedal harp) is back from her travels to Italy. Of course she is too grand to return on her own feet (or pedals, shall we say), so my hubby and I drove 300 miles to a large city south of us to pick her up. Harps are very temperature sensitive and it had become too cold to ship Rosemary to our doorstep. She is so very special that she was stored in the freight office until we arrived to unpack her and haul her home. With a couple of rather large men standing around, we carefully opened her box, which was enormous, and pulled her out. These burley men had never seen a harp up close and personal before, so there were many admiring comments.

Traveling through the mountains in winter with a 90 pound harp that can not get cold, is daunting to say the least. Suffering a break down or flat tire is out of the question, so our trip was a bit exciting. We were able to unload Rosemary onto dry ground in sunshine and 50 degree temperatures, and get her safely into our warm abode. The very next morning, we awoke to a chilly, misty rain. Within a few hours, all had turned to snow and before long, there were several inches coating all things horizontal. With a sigh and a sense of coziness, we realized that not only was Rosemary home, but we were all safe and warm.

So here she sits in all her gold-ness, bringing beauty and delight into our world. In the evening, while the lamps are low, she glows and sparkles. Into our world of low sun angles and blankets of snow, has come lovely music and a grand lady. When we dance together in the creation of song, my joy is complete.

December has begun with loveliness and peace. However, excitement and merriment are beginning to appear with Christmas fast approaching. For me, this time of the year is a season for giving. With the passing of the “month of giving thanks” has come the “month of giving gifts”. Gifts come in many sizes and value. They do not have to be a material object. The gift of service or a smile means much to me. I always look forward to this time of the year and consider giving to be a privilege. Surrounded by Christmas music and colorful decorations, I feel the cheer and happiness of the season.

May you enjoy great joy in giving, and in receiving ~ Tasarwen

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