making room for mystery….


It’s coming on Christmas
and I want to wrap it all in grace
and not get lost in the scurry,
to cultivate some sanctuary
even in the bustle
and so I’ve  gathered a little plan
to help me tend the peace
on my bits of earth.
I want to:

~recycle the year’s scraps into love notes
I’ll tuck into nooks and crannies
all over my world
for just the right souls to find
at just the time they need it
(I’ll trust the mystery with this)

~Christmas yoga….stretch and breathe
and groove and be to Christmas jazz
and the Native American flute carols I love so much,
all the beautiful music
and the silly stuff too
…carve off a bit of day
for this kind of play
and let my heart and feet be light.

~walk the dogs after dark as much as possible,
to take in the Christmas lights
and wander and wonder
out under the stars.

~keep candles lit and twinklers twinkling
and,  this year,  paint some lunch bags to keep filled with
sand on a shelf in the garage
for some whimsical luminaries
to pull out at a moment’s notice
(keep big scoops of tea lights on hand).

~keep it simple in the kitchen….lots of fresh veggies and fruits
and salads and soups.

~be extra kind to my hands and feet.

~paint some pots and tuck in daffodil and paperwhite bulbs
for bloomers to give and enjoy
……and build the growlight I’ve been wanting.

~learn something new -I want to try apple pie in
cast iron skillets till it comes to me sweet and easy.

~splash some Christmas magic on the tree paintings so they can sing out
joy in wintery woods.

~drink riverlets of water….don’t go dry.

~scrub a little bit of house every day….just small bites to keep it fresh
and pile on plenty of flowers and greens,
pretty and simple.

~don’t fret….. think lilies and birds

~leave some room for basking… marinate in light.

I want this season to be one long love letter that I get to write,
a song I’ll sing in whatever key comes
but it’s no performance,  this.
I will fling off the cares of how it appears
or what it may seem
and lift my love in bright Christmas colors
and let the seeds fly with the breezes that take them.

Hey,  the book I’m holding is a brilliant treasure
written by Rachel Awes called All I Did Was Listen
(if you don’t know her….do,  as a gift to yourself!)
You can find this gem here.

“I believe in kindness.   Also in mischief.
Also in singing,  especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”   -Mary Oliver


  1. Just Be Real on November 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    One long love letter. Great. I love the warpping in Grace. You also share wonderful helpful hints around the house. Blessings to you Jen.

  2. rachel awes on November 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    oh you LOVE!
    (thank you for your book mention + your photo still melts me)

    i think i need to learn about native american flute carols!
    + i too want (actually, need) to cultivate some sanctuary…
    maybe i’ll look for where your foot steps have gone in these woods
    + i will follow.

    LOVE your photos (i am in awe) + christmas painting.
    your whole post is heart medicine.
    thank you, sweet dove.

  3. Marcie on November 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    What gorgeous pre-Christmas images and thoughts! I like the idea of cultivating/creating peaceful sanctuary.

  4. Suzanne McRae on November 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I just love your post Jennifer. It brought me so much peace and love when I read it. What a neat idea the apple pie in a cast iron skillet. Sounds like fun. 🙂

  5. Jennifer {StudioJRU} on November 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    This. Yes this… “I want to wrap it all in grace and not get lost in the scurry. Beautiful post, Jennifer.

  6. S. Etole on November 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Caught up in all the color and life that you share. The world here is quite white and tan at this time of year. Have an engaging December.

  7. Anyes - Far Away in the Sunshine on November 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Those pre-Christmas plans of yours Jennifer are simply wonderful…. take in the Christmas lights
    and wander and wonder out under the stars…To revel in the simple beauty that is coming. Hugs to you sweet friend. Enjoy

  8. Michele Bergh on November 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Love your love letter! So many wonderful plans you’ve created for yourself. So inspiring! I may have to follow suit 🙂

  9. Barbara on November 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I love your list, Jennifer. I’ve been thinking similar thoughts, lately, about this coming Christmas season and how I want to take it slow, make it meaningful. Love that ornament and your painting!

  10. Judy Hartman on November 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I love this post SO MUCH Jennifer. It immediately brought me to the place in my mind I’ve been playing with lately – how much I want to enjoy this coming holy day and holiday, in small ways, all the way up to its actual celebration. To “wrap it in grace” – yes, that’s a beautiful way to put it. What a wonderful list. I will have to make one after reading yours. As always, you inspire me so much with your beautiful thoughts and words. I’m so glad to know even a small bit of you.

  11. Lindsay on November 26, 2012 at 1:30 am

    The love of Christmas… ahh… What a great list Jen 🙂
    Some of them resonate with me too
    It feels free, refreshing without any push,
    Love it! I hope you have wonderful holidays.


  12. Bren on November 26, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Oh this sounds like perfection. I want all that too, all wrapped up in grace abounding in love. So brilliantly and beautifully expressed and one of the most inspirational things I’ve read concerning this holiday of love.

  13. Dulcy Stewart on November 26, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Jennifer, yours is the most lovely Christmas wish, to do, happy list ever! So inspiring because you’ve put into words my almost identical wishes for Christmas (although I don’t have the lovely tree paining). Beautiful, realistic, and not at all trite and traditional…. and that’s what I LOVE about you. Also, that shot of the blue pansy with the red berries behind it is gorgeous!


  14. leslie on November 26, 2012 at 8:00 am

    so many images to love here (YOU look adorable, by the way)

    love that ornament swinging below the firmament 🙂

  15. Rainfield (雨田) on November 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

    The colors of love hopping from left to right, front to back.

    My screen is for of trails of love.

  16. Rainfield (雨田) on November 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

    The colors of love hopping from left to right, front to back.

    My screen is full of trails of love.

  17. Mary on November 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Oh how I want to stay wide awake, waiting…expecting…the babe wrapped in love!
    Love this Jen, your intentionality.

    Hey, would love to know more about the Native American carols you mentioned.


  18. Julia Bourque on November 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Jennifer, I’m sorry again for coming by your blog so late. I had put a star beside the email reminder and didn’t had the time to read your post at the time and somehow forgot about it because I got so many emails, it got pushed out of sight. It has been a very busy time for me these last few days.

    I wish that I could appropriate a simpler way of living Christmas like you and learn to just listen a bit closer to the little but important lessons life teaches us in subtle ways. The best I can do is find something to be grateful every day. Simple things like when I come out of the shower and exclaim, Wow, I’m so glad I’m washable” lol…
    I’ll definitely will have to look up this book.

    Love the picture of you with the book, All I Did Was Listen. Thanks…


  19. kathryn on November 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    i love your list! one of my favorite things too is to walk my dog at night and take in all the holiday lights!!

  20. jeanie on November 28, 2012 at 6:46 am

    I want to be in your Christmas world and return to your list often to keep me honest when old habits sneak in and the frenzy begins. These words…
    “It’s coming on Christmas
    and I want to wrap it all in grace
    and not get lost in the scurry,”
    so resonate with me. It is my biggest challenge. And love notes and so many things. Oh, yes — to this I will return often!

  21. valerie on November 28, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Not a very poetic comment, but I think you’ve got just the perfect Xmas plan, buddy! 🙂

  22. Cousin Cathy on November 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    It sounds wonderful to the ear and made me slow down for a moment and enjoy life. Thanks for the beautifully written words and pictures to go with them. Love to you always.

  23. Sandra L. on November 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Hi, Jennifer: Wonderful post! I think you have a most excellent plan for December. Thank you for the book suggestion–I am off to check it out.

    Lots of Love,

  24. Marie on November 29, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Beautiful! xo <3

  25. eydie on November 30, 2012 at 9:11 am

    “I want this season to be one long love letter that I get to write.” Oh, Yes I DO!
    Your art sang to my soul … It always does.
    I loved all of your beautiful reminders.

  26. Louise G. on December 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

    THis whole post is a gem
    and I’m wondering…

    what are the native flute carols you love so much

    and I’m thanking
    for inspiring
    to pause a little
    share a lot
    and be content
    just breathing into
    the mystery
    and the wonder
    of this time of waiting.

    Blessings and grace my friend.

  27. missing moments on December 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    A wonderful post and reminder to take it slowly.
    Love mary oliver!

  28. suz on December 2, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    yes, I need to make some art…..been a long time

  29. CherryPie on December 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Beautiful, thank you 🙂 And thank you for visiting me at Vision & Verb *hugs*

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