an ever changing december

traditions must change, and some fade away. and yet this is christmas, once again. it's the red and evergreen and joy and king and gifts given season. or so i've always been told. this christmas looks strikingly different than it has in years past though, as the family get together's are farther and fewer in between. my loved ones are separated by hours upon hours of driving time, whereas they once were within arms reach. and now there are three less grandparents this year, instead of the two that there were in the years before twenty-twelve. my work days fall on holidays, and sadly, traditions get pushed to the wayside; rescheduled. in all of this change christmas becomes somehow a bittersweet taste upon my tongue; a hard to swallow change; a change that whispers "you're growing up, love."

this adult life strikes fast and hard, and for the first time christmas doesn't feel so magical as it once had before, when i was the carefree child swimming in traditions. christmas this year has me struggling to breathe. the chaos i so welcomed (which was not a bad thing) has gladly enveloped me so. and cheer, yes cheer, it is but a fought for commodity that doesn't show its face willingly. but this is all okay...somehow or another.

if i must cry about my lost loved ones who won't fill the empty chairs at our table, or greet me with warm hugs, or beg me to play christmas carols for them on the piano this year, then i will cry. i will miss my beloved and his family, who've been missing from christmas for the last two years...this year and the last. yes, i can release these mighty tears that dwell within. these tears have had me realize that christmas, life, is but an ever changing occurrence, and i am growing up after all. everything is not bittersweet with change, though it feels like it in the moment when it crashes over you in a wave of sadness. through these storms of life we learn to trust in Him. and this is what i shall do this christmas. i will cling to Christ and accept the things i cannot change. and i will continue to press on; to move.

joy and peace and love will be found, not in the many changing seasons or passing faces of this world, but in the gift of our King, Jesus Christ. so i will choose to welcome change this christmas, in the midst of everything. i will become a small timid candle, wreathed in a room full of darkness. december has changed, and because it has i will surely change too.

whether your christmas is full to the brim with the taste of bittersweetness or unspeakable joy this holiday season, know this: life will change, seasons will shape us and God will continue to write our life-story.

love & peace to you this christmas season,
restless bird

images one // two

moving into the chaos

everything is formless in the beginning, until we step into the darkness, the void, and bring the light of creation. God moved into that void of chaos and darkness in Genesis and declared light. yes, He created light in a darkness-wreathed place. so why can't you and i do the same thing? when life thrusts us into the chaos, why can we not move into it swiftly, daringly, even trusting? can we not create vital vividry of soul to set us free, to become light-bringer's too in this creative process named life?

honestly, i feel as if i'm restrained in the darkness when i cannot create, or when i cannot write or read or sketch or paint or photograph. i breath artistry and creativity. it fills me. and when i do not have those outlets to rescue me from my chaos filled world i feel suffocated and not wholly like who i should be in the moment. i was meant to create. it's obvious i was meant to move into this chaos. to bring light out of it, harvesting pure beauty.

moving into the chaos. yes, this is the song of my soul in this very moment. december has become chaotic, and has definitely had its dark moments, but now i know how to free myself. i'll cling to the Eternal One in the shroud of this chaotic darkness, this mountain valley, and i will steadily create as i can, climbing into the light of the mountain heights as i go. and i will become light-bringer to an already very chaotic world. a world that screams for Christ and peace and purpose even more than i do.

// image via pinterest // 

welcome december, with tireless hope

Why, hullo there!

It truly is a silent, still kinda night. I am sitting here criss-cross-applesauce on my bedroom floor, that consequently, because of my busyness as of late, has not been vacuumed for far too long (not that you needed to know that factoid or anything.) My laundry is still in the dryer from three days ago (shhh don't tell anybody I have a thing for wrinkled clothing!) and there are all sorts of devo and fiction books strewn all over my room. But somehow, in the mess of it all, I still have clean clothes to wear, have managed to find the time to read a chapter here and there before I roll into bed and pass out every night after work and have a smile on my face.

It really does feel like I've silently abandoned my blog, and you, my dear blog readers, over the last couple of weeks. And while I have disappeared for a while, it has definitely not been because I have wanted to pull a Houdini on all of you. I pinky swear on that one. You see, in case you are new to the nest or have just forgotten, I work retail at a Christian bookstore...and it's Christmastime. Can you possibly see where I'm going with this? It's the super-busy season for us retailers, and I've been lucky to even get in a single deep breath or even a shower everyday as of late because of all this said busyness. Yeah, I'm being totally serious here, and I am beyond exhausted. So, that my friends is why I have been M.I.A. up until this very moment. The only thing I can hear in this moment is the refreshing sound of my deep (finally) restful breaths and the clanking of my tired fingers upon Quorra's (my laptop) keyboard, which is splashed against the backdrop of utterly still, welcomed silence. I absolutely love these still moments, and winter songs like this one that tug at my heartstrings and paint my soul with a dash of joy and warmth.

I'm not really sure what to say, still; as I mentioned before in my last blog post. I mean, I know that God is trying to speak to me right now (somehow) throughout all of this craziness that goes by the name of December. But I wonder what all of this holiday-hoopla-craziness and stress within my work, home and love life is supposed to teach me? I find it completely amusing that my One Word for twenty-twelve was PEACE and now that is the very aspect I am struggling with finding and having the most this December. Sigh. I guess this month is supposed to be the last big hurrah in teaching me a thing or two about how to possess peace before I choose a new One Word to focus on for twenty-thirteen, huh?

For the time being I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes and ears and heart attuned to God in this Winter Wondering-land. That sounded kinda juvenile and silly, but it's true. I do feel like I'm caught in a wondering-land instead of a delightful winter wonderland. Despite the chaos of everything that is going on in my life at the moment, I want to be the restless one who seeks after this elusive creature, this Christmas joy, with a tireless hope that awaits the days to come, because "the future is white."

With all that said, I may not be seen around the nest all that much for the next little while, or at least not until December is over with probably. But I'll leave things here on the blog open ended for now.

Until the silence strikes me again...

 Pea Ess: I'd love to hear about your December so far! Have you had a joy-filled go of December, or are you restless like me? Let's swap prayers and stories, okay?

of art and of worry. more is less.

life-worries flood in over me, swelling, suffocating. and i wonder if i'm strong enough to weather all this? i want to be, but then again i know i don't always have to be strong. no, not always. i can be strong and weak at the same time, indeed, with my indwelling king guiding this restless vessel through the life-dust. 

and i wonder if i'm supposed to tell you that i am unsure and can't make sense of things right now, like my daring friend? in doing so, do i reveal my worried self? the young one standing behind the curtain of restless reservations? this scares me so, to reflect, to strip my heartstrings bare in this arcadia. this place where i try to make sense of my ruffled and restless feathery-life. but is also frees me.

and then i realize that maybe My Jehovah is speaking to me, through the silence, through this unsure life chaos and the general dust of everyday life. yes, maybe My Prince of Peace is speaking over me after all. maybe the calm is just lurking somewhere around the bend, or it is just settled warmly, quietly, nestled within this restless bird soul in wait, while i learn to move with my life-song's every turning page.

once again i find myself, my life-breath anchored in My Jesus, in the whispered frightened prayers that ask where to go next...and in the more.

loving more + writing more + reading more + creating more+ praying more+ singing more + laughing more + counting the gifts more

so i will decide to live as one dusted off. one who speaks soul-art and lives out loud, even in the silence. to be beauty and artistry and restlessness and the more. one combined. the girl who moves dust, and paints life lovely

yes, i calmly decide, this surrendered artist-life, the beauty-life, the more-life, brings one to a place of worrying less and living more. 

and i am canvas and pen and dust washed away.

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs // Book Review

Age Range: 15 and up 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012 
Pages: 224
Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Summary (from Goodreads):      

Christmas Eve 1894 

All Margaret Campbell wants for Christmas is a safe journey home. When her plans for a festive holiday with her family in Stirling crumble beneath the weight of her brother’s bitterness, the young schoolteacher wants nothing more than to return to the students she loves and the town house she calls home. 

Then an unexpected detour places her in the path of Gordon Shaw, a handsome newspaperman from Glasgow, who struggles under a burden of remorse and shame. 

When the secret of their shared history is revealed, will it leave them tangled in a knot of regret? Or might their past hold the threads that will bind their future together?

As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A Wreath of Snow is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.

What I Loved: I loved everything about this book! From the characters, to the writing style, to the beautifully described Scottish setting. Yes, I was truly smitten with this Christmas novella! A Wreath of Snow, set in Stirling, Scotland, on Christmas Eve 1894 is the story of Meg, a young independent schoolteacher, who doesn't really want to go home for the holidays to face her brother's ever growing bitterness, and Gordon Shaw, a very handsome newspaper man who hides a burden of a secret in his past. Are you hooked already? I was and still am. The story was incredibly fast-paced and a completely enjoyable read from beginning to end. I was definitely surprised at how the novella's last chapter or so went, but surprised in a very good way, mind you. I loved this historical novella so much so that I actually went out to a used bookstore and bought *all* of Liz Curtis Higgs' other Scottish novels too. Yes, I loved AWOS that much! In fact, AWOS was so incredibly charming that I *will* be keeping my copy of it and will surely pull it out to read by the fireside, hot cocoa in hand, at Christmastime for many years to come. 

What I Didn't Like So Much: There was nothing I didn't like. The only thing I would've wished to have seen done differently is for Meg and Gordon's story to have carried on  a bit longer. But who knows? Maybe Mrs. Higgs will write a continuing story about Meg and Gordon. ;-)

I'm Recommending This Book... 
If you are a lover of all things Scottish, Victorian, Historical Fiction, or just want to read a lighthearted story of redemption and forgiveness at Christmastime then you should give A Wreath of Snow a faithful read. You won't be sorry.

About The Author: Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of thirty books, with more than three million copies in print. Her six Scottish historical novels have won the hearts of readers and reviewers around the globe. Whence Came A Prince received a Christy Award for Best Historical Novel. Here Burns My Candle won the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and Mine Is The Night was a New York Times bestseller.

Liz is happily married to Bill Higgs, who serves as director of operation for her speaking and writing office. When she's not traveling to Scotland for research, Liz can be found curled up with a good book in their old Kentucky home, a nineteenth-century farmhouse near Louisville.

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Purchase A Wreath of Snow from Amazon

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255