December 11, 2012

december joy

I am finally feeling December. Usually, November helps me out a little bit more, one week unfolding into the next and building up joy and anticipation so that December can arrive with a flourish. But November was not my favorite this year. I gave the best I could to my NaNoWriMo project but in the end the best I could give to myself was to let go and accept that I could not make my goal. I am proud of myself for trying (and proud of all of you who tried, too! Did you make it??), and I am proud of myself for being able to let go. Some of our friends wisely use the term "seasons" to describe the months and years of their lives and relationships, and I am learning to apply this term to myself and my writing, as well. This season was not for finishing, but for learning to be gentle and accept that what might be best in one season is not necessarily what is best in the next.
But now it is December, and though I have been tempted to wallow in that leftover sense of defeat from November, I do not want to miss any more hours or days or weeks! I want to be here, now. What do you love about December?? I love the consistency of the holiday season, the decorations of red and gold and green which can be counted on to grace the fronts of buildings and shop windows everywhere you look. I love the traditions passed down from year to year, from activities to projects to the quest for perfect gifts. I love the sparkle of holiday lights that migrates down each block, beginning with one house and then spreading to another and another. 
Last week, I set out on a mission of a different sort: to soak up the holiday season for a couple of hours and help my brain transition into this lovely month. I want to be present for this season, to absorb and experience all of the days that are left in this year. My camera helps me see more, pay more attention to the world around me, slow down as I move from place to place and notice more of what I pass on my way.
These tiniest of moments, like this little spot on the tree - full of red berries and glittery gold and even a pink flower! - are what make the season bright for me.

And that moment when the lights blink on, as dusk settles over the bustling town. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is when the streets go from mostly-normal to completely-extraordinary, all in a single second.
And the little bits of cheer just keep on going, everywhere you look, and they are my reminder (if I will listen!) to slow down, pay attention, and let the hours count.
What are your December joys?? I would love to hear about them, and I promise to keep sharing the joys I discover myself throughout this month, too! xo


  1. Wow Catherine. I believe you just made my December even better. I've been trying to get in the Christmas spirit. Where I live in Ohio its been cloudy and rainy most days and its a heartache that I can't get into the spirit. Two weeks ago though our city had a tree lighting ceremony. We lite our city's big Christmas tree. It was so amazing to see the community come together for it, one of the many reasons why I absolutely love my hometown so very much.

    When we lite our city tree something come upon me. I looked around the rest of our city too to see the lights. We always have lights on the mini trees on the main roads in our city. Its so extraordinary. All you need to do is walk down that main road and your in the spirit, that's what I needed to do. There is something I love about each month and I needed to be reminded of what December was. The Christmas lights on our main roads, the traditional movie showing at our church, the Christmas parade and my most favorite part of December.. our New Years Eve Midnight Madness Walleye Drop celebration. Words cannot describe the feelings of this one night that only comes once a year, a time of looking back and a time of coming together in your community to celebrate a new beginning. Its one of the most incredible feelings in the world.

    With the Christmas season being here I cannot help but feel even more joyful than I already do. Despite not being able to afford a car, or needing a job and having medical bills that I cannot pay, I just cannot help but be so overwhelmingly happy in life. Talking about little things like this is a big encouragement for me and a motivator to keep trusting in God and be patient in His plan, especially when going through a hardship. This blog post has also just made me realize how much joy I've had this month and how it has helped me to cope with hard times. The small and simple things make me so happy and the more I let the good-nature influence me the more happiness, joy and patients I have to enjoy life for all it is.

    This is the only online blog I read and I must say that it gets me thinking about life every time. I owe most of my happiness this month to the December joys that not only come once a year but stay with you for a life time. Record those moments so you can look back and remember the joy you had and let that inspire you later in life when other hardships come up.

    God bless you Catherine.. I'm a big fan of you and Ryan! :) Your my favorite online blogger and your husband is my favorite singer. I hope you have an incredible Christmas.

    1. Ariel! Thank you so much for sharing your own 'December joy' - the tree lighting sounds SO magical and I am so happy you could savor that experience! I hope the rest of your December was filled with many more amazing moments and that you had a lovely Christmas! xo

  2. I did not want to forget about a very important December joy...
    The annual Christmas Eve candle vigil service at the old Lutheran church I grew up in. Me and my family go to a Christian church now but before that we went to an old Lutheran church in our hometown. I still like to have that church as a part of my life, I don't ever want to leave it out and December is when I get to visit that church again, its my childhood. It gives me so much joy and comfort to be able to go back and visit that amazing place. I love being surrounded by the community of people from my hometown. There are really no words other than it gives me such overwhelming joy.

    1. Thanks for adding this! Christmas Eve vigils are one of my own favorite Christmas memories from childhood - so happy you could revisit that tradition this year! xo!