Here’s What’s Happening on Stowe Lane: Christmas is Coming


“Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority.”― W.J. Cameron

It’s just beginning to snow as I’m typing this but not much is expected.  Snow has become one of those things that will always remind me of the childhood snow day complete with the pandemonium in feety pajamas. The older I get and the fewer places I need to be makes snow a seasonal highlight I can enjoy.

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Christmas’ voice of strong authority has put me in my place many times especially when the annual nostalgic pity party threatens to ride me piggy back into the season. The one that always rears its ugly head when I’m decorating my mantle but not a tree. The one that laments the number of gifts I no longer conjure up for the people who are no longer in my life. The one that finds me making cookies mostly by myself.

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The truth is my home always looks like Christmas so the mantle is quite enough, those people who are gone from my life are the people who needed to be gone from my life, the ones who demanded gifts instead of time spent.  They could never hear the bell…and the cookies, the cookies bring me delight and lament for when I’m gone they’ll be gone.  These are the truths of the season that need to be embraced and reconciled year after year.  “The knowing is easy. It’s the doing that gives us trouble.” ― Vannetta ChapmanA Simple Amish Christmas


Even with all that, I BELIEVE, I hear the bell (…because Thomas…). So as part of the season I embrace the truths, enjoy the ordinary moments that present themselves in the form of winter walks with Toti Nonna. I burrow into my home and reconcile the pity and lament up the chimney on the winter solstice. Then I enjoy the favorite season of introverts as each day begins to get just a bit longer.


“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
― Chris Van AllsburgThe Polar Express



It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of, what I’ve dubbed the most extraordinary spiritual rantist, Anne Lamott.  The woman can turn a phrase and set my preconceived notions in motion and more often than not kick them to the curb.  Her many books are all permanently embedded in my Kindle to be called up at a moment’s notice because, well life happens and sometimes you need a more grounded perspective. Ms. Lamott would throw her head back and laugh at that.

Help, Thanks, Wow:  The Three Essential Prayers is one of those go-to tomes (can you call a book a tome if it’s on your IPad?)   “…So prayer is our sometimes real selves trying to communicate with the Real, with Truth, with the Light. It is us reaching out to be heard, hoping to be found by a light and warmth in the world, instead of darkness and cold. Even mushrooms respond to light – I suppose they blink their mushroomy eyes, like the rest of us…”

I have a friend who calls herself an atheist but I swear she prays because her use of the word Wow is reverent.  It’s in response to injustices and fabulously joyous moments alike. When she uses the word Wow it is either preceded or followed by the word, really! Or really??? I know she’s not praying to a God or any type of deity but damn it sounds like prayer.

The definition of prayer is a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.  However, it is also an earnest hope or wish. Period. No Gods or deities in sight.

So if Help, Thanks and Wow are prayers can a Sigh be a prayer?  If it’s not about who you’re praying to and it’s about the prayer itself, can’t that be so?  I find a sigh is so spontaneous.  It seems to come from a deep place, an exhale with benefits so to speak.  It’s a tiny relief valve, a surrender to what appears to be something that requires much more thought.

I had the pleasure of spending time with one of my nearest and dearest people over this weekend.  She is at once grounded and other worldly.  Her reach is right into my heart and we could talk for hours on any and all subjects. Time spent with her is peaceful, heartfelt and kind. She exudes grace.

“But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.” 

This we do for each other. When she left a sigh escaped me.

In the end everyone needs some mechanism to accompany their earnest hope or wish.  In any number of given situations a word or a sound may escape, with or without you knowing it. To me those are indeed prayers.

THANKS have a good week.