I love the way a note begins with Dear…

I love the way there is magic in the air in the days before Christmas. I love the way people suddenly smile because on my head there are red velvet antlers adorned with tiny bells. I love the way the letter from Francis Church, the editor of The Sun, to little Virginia O’Hanlon fills my heart with believing. I love the way it feels to hold a pen in hand and write to Santa….

Where do you begin when you don’t know where to begin? How do you give a gift to someone you don’t know? It takes me ages to write because I pause often and go back over my words trying to get them just so, for the heart of them to shine through. This early morning with the moon shining and the tree alight nearby I’m simply going to write to you….and try ever so hard not to look back…

Late at night on Christmas Eve I set out a Nativity Tray. It is the last touch of Christmas for me. It is an English medieval custom that I learned about in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance. She states…

“Legend has it that on the night of the Nativity, whosoever ventures out into great snows bearing a succulent bone for a lost and lamenting hound, a wisp of hay for a shivering horse, a warm cloak for a stranded wayfarer, a garland of berries for one who has worn chains, a dish of crumbs for all huddled birds who thought their song was dead, and sweetmeats for little children who peer from lonely windows – whosoever prepares this simply abundant tray, shall be proffered and returned gifts of such an astonishment as will rival the hues of the peacock and the harmonies of heaven.”

So, it is that I quietly gather the best I have to offer and arrange it on my grandmother’s tray. I carry it beneath the stars to set it in its place. I look up into the night sky whether cloudy or clear and send all my love and best wishes to those who rest in my heart…known and unknown.

I have been reading Simple Abundance for so many years that the cover is worn from handling. There are dated pencil marks all through it, notes I’ve made to myself. Here, the birthday of a friend. There, a date I will never forget. Stars and check marks and all manner of special remembrances.

Sarah’s writing has broadened my world and blessed me over and again. Through her, I discovered one of my favorite books of all time, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Next is Elizabeth von Arnim. It took me ages to find her book, Elizabeth and Her German Garden, but it was ever so worth it. And I, myself began to write more because of Ms. Ban Breathnach’s encouragement. She and I have never met as authors and readers so seldom do. Nevertheless, she has become a beautiful part of my days.

Bo is my lost and lamenting hound. He arrived on Christmas morning a few years ago, hungry and alone…searching… He found my Nativity tray. He devoured everything that was edible and a few bits that weren’t. Then he dashed by the window and I thought – what was that?! I bundled up against the cold and went out to see… there was Bo. He came to my side and has never left.

There are so many inspiring thoughts in my heart this morning. There is the girl I don’t know. I heard her story a few days ago and quickly found myself at her age in it. I did only a small thing for her that was in my grasp to do. There are those who won’t be given the time off that their loving efforts deserve. There are those who at the moment have not and cannot for themselves. There are those who help them. There are those who have lost and there are who are lost. And, of course there are the little ones.

I find myself in each of them… Although I have not traveled their path, I have been in so many of those places.

Have you ever read Cannery Row by John Steinbeck? Have you ever donned your best dress to deliver chicken soup….lived in unlivable spaces….gone silent with wondering….captured a kazillion frogs….tried a beer milkshake….been surprised by a poem…have you?

I was so intrigued by the beer milkshake that I couldn’t stand it. I had to try it! I wouldn’t want a steady diet of them but all in all, not bad really. Even now…I recall turning the page and there was the ancient love poem…Black Marigolds. It was new to me. I was mesmerized…

What I really love about the story is this, that there are so many ways to Be in this world. They all look different and that’s ok. Steinbeck does the telling of it far more justice than I do. You should read him for yourself.

I was afraid to come here. WordPress, that is. I have no experience with social media. I have never been on Facebook or twitter or anything else. So, I was very unsure of this unknown space, the ways of it and those who share it.

I had a terrible time trying to decide on what to name my site…and then, what was ok to write on it! Along came your kindness and your welcoming of me…my heart was touched. It was so hard for me to imagine that anyone would care to read my thoughts. But there you were, reading anyway.

And here entered the world of comments and emojis which I confess, were another stumbling block for me. You may not realize it but, I take as much care with my comments and my thank you’s as with my posting. I want you to know how much your time and thought mean to me. I’m certain I mess up plenty. Each time I hope to do better, to get it right….

This place has become a gift to me, as much as The Little Prince or Gift from the Sea or Sarah Ban Breathnach, one that I could never have imagined for myself. You are a beautiful part of my days with pencil marks of remembrance in the margins. You show me all the faces of kindness. You broaden my horizons. You encourage me to write. You inspire me…you touch my heart and I am humbly grateful.

Tonight, I will carefully prepare the tray as I always do. I’ll carry it quietly to its place. I will gaze into the night sky whether cloudy or clear…into the lovely heart of nowhere…and I will send my love and best wishes to you…even now my thoughts turn to that moment and I am mesmerized…

Wherever you are and whatever you celebrate know that my thoughts are with you for peace and joy in all things in all your days.

with love,

suzanne ❤️

Early morning December 24, 2018

58 thoughts on “Tonight, whether cloudy or clear…

  1. What a lovely and fitting reflection for the day before Christmas. I, too, have found the blogging communities I participate to be warm and supportive. Informative, too! I’m learning so much I didn’t know before. In the present instance, I didn’t know about the Nativity tray tradition. I also appreciated getting a little more of Bo’s story. In your last post, you described meeting him when he flashed by your window. Now, I know that he was fleeing the scene of the crime!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you Liz for such a lovely comment. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you and can’t wait to read your book! When Bo first came he loved people right away but his manners suggested he hadn’t had much companionship. I so enjoy doing the Nativity tray. It’s a quiet moment to center myself with gratitude and remembrance. Merry Christmas Liz 😊❤️

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post! And thank you for reminding me of how there are still very kind, decent people in this strife-filled world. And it warmed my heart to hear about your tray. What a nice tribute to your grandmother! God bless and Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so very kindly, on all counts! Well, you are one of those my friend, kind and decent and you make me giggle with your poetry. Bejo’s tray waits all year for its moment to shine. God bless and Merry Christmas to you and yours! ⭐️


  3. When I wear my antlers and bells, people do not smile at me. Of course maybe it’s because I wear them in July. snorf. I really like your tree. There’s that one carol with lyrics “presents ON the tree,” hearkening to an earlier day when that’s where one placed presents. The verse always sounded anachronistic to me but your tree is a specimen that could actually handle presents on it and I hope Santa (or Target, Macy’s, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, whomever) was good to you this year. Christmas wishes to the doggos, too. Loved the story of Bo gobbling the Nativity tray; I’ve been doing that for years and now Max is emulating me. Anyway, we’ve sure enjoyed your blog and will be back i 2019 to further harass, uh, comment inappropriately. ❤ from us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s such a shame…where in the world is people’s Christmas spirit these days. 🙃. It’s from a local tree farm and yes, rather sturdy. I hope Santa brings lots and lots of dog treats as this crew is trying desperately to eat me out of house and home! I left out the part where on that Christmas night when I tried to make him comfy he nearly ate the pillow I set down for him as though it was a giant chew toy! Every time I would try to rescue it he would drag it off in a strange game of I’m not sure what. Hope you and Max enjoy the Christmas Eve offerings at your humble abode. My best to you and your family. Your visits are a joy, thank you! I can’t wait! I’ll have to think up something good to write about. take care, suzanne ❤️


  4. Your words are so beautiful, they always are, dearest Suzanne. It takes a second to connect with your thoughts, moved by them, and then I’m drowned in my own. What a lovely story, the story about Bo. You’re a treasure to this world ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All this is exactly why I put you in the ‘Magic’ category of my blogroll, because your words and thoughts truly are magic. Thank you, Suzanne… I’m so pleased to have found your blog and you. x

    Have a very happy Christmas and a good and wonderful new year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Val, that touches my heart so. ❤️ I’m also pleased to have found you and your beautiful gentle ways. You inspire me. Thank you 😊

      Happy Christmas and a Joyous New Year! I look forward to more lovely picture stories. 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gosh, Suzanne! This is absolutely beyond lovely. Your tradition, Bo, Your thoughts. Thank You for this sweetness. And right back at You. I wholeheartedly agree about WordPress. It’s been surprisingly healing and all the people flowing alongside are wonderful and so gracious. I learn a lot here and am very grateful. I hope You and Yours are having a wonderful Christmastime. Obviously….You are!!! Cheers and Happy New Year!!! 💖🤗☀️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, thank you Katy! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. You described WordPress beautifully. I like the healing part especially. I’m glad that it’s like that for you too. So many nice people. Cheers and Happy New Year!! 💞😊💫

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved to read this. You are so very special, endearing, awe-inspiring and so good a person, too. I hardly know anyone here on WordPress but you, so far .. and though I don’t know you “for real”, I find that right now, I need no one else in here, becaUSE your writing is so enriching and full, and you are all the kindness one can ever need. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Clementina, your beautiful thoughts have touched my heart deeply. I’m so very happy to know you. You’re off to a fine start. I do hope WordPress will be a lovely adventure for you. Thank you for taking the time to read and to leave such a thoughtful comment. I will treasure it. Take care, suzanne ❤️


  8. Dear Suzanne, the moments ago, i felt bereft and defeated. Im glad you responded to my comment which made me visit you again. I feel heartened at how your good heart spills out into your words, yiur actions and of course, Bo.
    How good it is to know that there beats hearts as gentle, caring and intrinsically good like yours. I missed this Christmas message but maybe there was a purpose, it was saved foe today. May 2019 bring you love and goodness. Yours sincerely, your blogging family friend, Kavitha from South Africa. 🤗💐🌺🌸🤗🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Kavitha, how very much you’ve touched my heart. I’m happy that you found this today…for both of us. I myself was feeling low, then here you were sharing such beautiful encouragement. Isn’t it lovely when life is that way. Thank you so kindly for taking such time and for your sweet friendship 🌷 May 2019 fill your heart with love and your soul with peace. Take care, your blogging family friend, suzanne from Texas 🤗🌷🕊💫❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so kindly Laurie. Isn’t she wonderful?! Her book has become almost a day book for me with so many special moments in the margins. Happy New Year. Take care, suzanne ❤️


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