Grace Notes #31 (with Photos of our Holidays)

Grace Notes #31 (with Photos of our Holidays)

Grace Notes #31

This is a periodic blog feature I call “grace notes.” It occasionally captures my jottings of incidental gratitude. My hope is that this practice will make me (and you?) more aware of the constant flow of amazing good we are perpetually steeped in, which we are surrounded by all the time. It is here only asking to be noticed and amplified.

So now I am furthering my ongoing goal of appreciating such a continuous, overflowing abundance of random good. I’ve even taken photographs of some of them with my iPhone, which you can see in this post.

So let’s start this gratitude list with:

  • We had lovely holidays with only our youngest home and our first year without a Christmas tree. Most of the photos in this post are of our lovely time over the holidays. It was a blessed, quiet time with reading around the fireplace, phone calls and zooms with family, hikes in the cold air, sending out Christmas cards, and making lots of food. We had fun playing games, mostly Phase10 and Bananagrams (with our no two letter rule; and check out in the photos those eleven and nine letter words!). I’m grateful for this special time together.
  • I’m grateful it worked so well to open gifts together through zoom with our older daughter and her boyfriend in California. I thought it might be stilted and weird, but instead, it was fun and natural. It was a good introduction for him to our holiday celebration, an easier transition than a full immersion. I’m grateful to have gotten to go with her on a virtual walk via Facetime on New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, where she walked in the park opposite to the famous row of houses called “the painted ladies.” (See photo). This was the first year not having her home for the holidays and I am reassured and grateful to have felt so connected anyway. Thank goodness for technology! I’m grateful as well for Facetime with our younger daughter when she’s back at school. (See a photo below where she shares with me her new hair style from her bathroom in Pennsylvania.) So grateful for all our connection with these daughters!
  • I’m grateful for all the cooking I’m doing, and for all the great food I made. I’m grateful to have kept to my eating goals fairly well through the holidays, only lapsing for some of our traditional Hungarian Cookies made by James (this year for the first time stuffed with Lime Curd–wow, yum!), amazing apple turnovers our daughter made with her own homemade “inverse puff pastry”(see photo),  a Gougere (see photo) to celebrate our Anniversary, and our daughter’s homemade toffee (see photo) to celebrate ringing in the New Year. I’m always grateful when other people cook for me. Thank you also to your fellow blog reader Loree for the only meal I had over the holidays not cooked by me (see photo below), and for the beautiful handmade cookie assortment (also shown below) that I enjoyed watching James and Laura eat (while I abstained and felt so virtuous)! I’m grateful to start the New Year not having over-indulged, while still having enjoyed just a few meaningful treats. For me, this is an expression of true food freedom.
  • While I’m talking about food, I’m grateful for my full refrigerator, which I took photos of over the holidays so that you can see it below. Also, I got my first order from Thrive Market, which allows me to live my values by supporting non GMO, fair trade, sustainable products that come right to my door. I’m grateful for these options coming to the fore, especially when they are attended with better prices.
  • I’m grateful for the park so close that we’ve been hiking in. It was fun to chat there with these ladies on horseback (see photos), taking these photos, as well as getting some nice photos of our daughter there (see above and below) during her visit.
  • At holiday times we put candles in our windows, and I’m grateful to be in a place with the right kind of architecture for that. It is such a cozy, homey feeling both from the outside and from this inside (see the first photo below with the effect inside in the evening and early morning). Check out James’ orchids reblooming YET AGAIN, every year for many I have been spoiled by this gorgeous winter display in my living room, which is so heartening and appreciated.
  • And while I am mentioning plants, I’m grateful for the fragrant blooms on our meyer lemon tree, whose flower you can see below. Even though it flowered too late in the year to get pollinated, it was still a marvel of scent and sight.
  • I’m grateful our niece’s husband was recognized with the Fire Fighter of the Year award! So proud.
  • Our younger daughter inundated our holiday home with her “friends” as you can see below, and we had a lot of fun– and some good snuggles– with them. I’m so grateful for her expressing so fully the whole range of fabulous adulting (like paying off student loans while in grad school!), while not being afraid to continue to enjoy what made her childhood bright.
  • In the photos below, you can see photos of a leather watchband our younger daughter made herself and she made one for her sister as well for Christmas to fit her sister’s Apple Watch. I’m grateful she excels in such exacting attention to detail, fused together with engineering. Below, you can see the iron, ironing board, and book we gave her for Christmas. First, I love that she wanted that, and second I’m grateful she enjoys making things so much. (Some of you may remember her getting a treadle sewing machine in 2019, so this new gift was to use with that former one.) It was fun to watch her create her own pattern for a “10 gore modern walking skirt” out of bits of paper first, then enlarged to scale. She made a mock up out of a secondhand, burgundy, Ralph Lauren, kingsized sheet at our house after Christmas (which turned out to be a lovely garment in its own right) before using this customized pattern on new material. It is amazing to watch her work stuff out like this, expressing so much joy and delight in the process. I’m so grateful for this quality in her that is so centering, creative, focused, and blissful. She started an Instagram account just for her projects (where I got several of the photos below) and you can follow her creative exploits there if you wish at @intuitive_artificer. I rejoice in all the authenticity she expresses and am so grateful she likes to figure things out for herself.
  • There’s also a photo below of a drawer in an antique sewing table that came from my family. I took that photo because it struck me as an abstract composition. I’m grateful I see life, even the mundane as in this drawer, as an abstract composition! I’m also grateful that my husband and daughter share an interest in these old sewing notions that were common and important to my mother and her family. How pleased my mother would be to see them used!
  • I’m grateful that in my office I can get sunrises out of windows on side and sunsets out the other!
  • I grateful for the Maise Dobbs mystery series. (I reviewed the first two here.) I’m now on book 8 out of 16 and thoroughly enjoying them.
  • I’m grateful that I have a husband that when I see the light a certain way haloed around hydrangeas as we drive by on the way to the park, he encourages me to go back and stop and take their picture. You can see the shot below, but what is more remarkable is the man that didn’t roll his eyes at me, but instead champions me to revel even more in the smallest, glorious details in life. So grateful for this man and that he’s the one I get to feed, romp, hug, work, and quarantine with. I’m grateful his podcast (The Bible Speaks to You) is doing so well too.
  • I’m grateful to notice how the sun through the trees makes the trunks disappear (see photo). I’m grateful for three gift boxes of Christmas pears (see photo). I’m grateful that my calendars with my art on them are being so well received. Maybe I need to sell them on the blog for 2022? I’m grateful for a fresh, sparkling New Year full of possibility.
  • I’m grateful that life, love, liberty, safety, prudence, integrity, continuity, beauty, are all durable, unthwartable spiritual ideas.
  • And you all! I am so grateful for each and every one of you for sharing this blog space with me and extending our community to your family and friends. You are beloved of God and cherished by me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Add some of your grace notes in the comments below!


I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

1 Comment

  1. Meg Hanson 3 years ago

    I love your daughter’s creative accomplishments. And old sewing tools. We have an old treadle sewing machine base as the bottom of a night stand in a bedroom.

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