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The last penny

I have always loved presents. As the youngest of four kids and the daughter of a pastor, getting something new—not second-hand, slightly-used, or hand-me-down—delighted me to the core. But as the last of the sibling pack, it was ONLY on my birthday or at Christmas that I didn’t have to fight for what was in…

Like it or not

Festive is a popular adjective this season, like it or not. We toss it with the lights, mix it with the carols, and blend it with the eggnog. It’s persistent, and every Christmas season it cheers us up again. Festive has a history. An Old English word, it derives from the Medieval Latin noun festivalis…

Bulbs of light

The neighbor to our west has spent the better part of the afternoon stringing lights along his roof line. As the darkness has settled, I can see the strands glowing from our dining room window. The outline of their gray farmhouse twinkling through the fog. We do not know these neighbors well, and yet tonight…

Light in the darkness

It’s five a.m., and I’m wide awake. Again. Was it a dream that woke me or the Christmas lights shining in my window? Usually I can squeeze one more sleep cycle in before rising for the day. In fact, I haven’t consistently or voluntarily been up this early since high school, when my morning toilette…

Farm to table to freedom

When we set the table that night it felt like a normal dinner. Aaron was out at the grill blackening the salmon, a friend had come by to help me chop veggies, and I answered the door and hugged our friends like we would any other night. Filling our table was something we had always…

White space

Last year’s winter had me on the cusp of a third trimester waddle. The house was snug under candlelight and what could only be termed an explosion of blankets. My hands rested on a foreign, stretched body to feel movement of life within. It was hard to breathe, but I could. It was harder to…

Present packs a punch

Come in! And know me better, man! Your arrival signals a welcome, like a surprise party. Waiting in the best gathering place in your home is the larger-than-life Ghost of Christmas Present to your Ebenezer heart needing a bit of a kick-start this year. Huge and hearty, always laughing, enjoying the moment, Present is eye…

Forced festiveness

Orange juice is the most repulsive liquid known to human kind, and freshly squeezed is the worst. I prefer Sunny D. Black Friday is my favorite day of the year. I like to microwave my ice cream. Lobster is…meh. Pumpkin spice lattes taste like hot dog water. I like the Baby Shark song. These were…

Solstice

The night is long, and I am driving. A pilgrimage, of sorts. I left at midnight, the dark highway unfolding in front of my headlights, the comfort of familiar things in my rear-view mirror. The flash and festivity of the Christmas season felt hollow, garish, false. I’m past the peak of adolescent angst, but still…

4 Poems

1. As I lean against the wall of Byen Bakery, half-drowsed in the still warm, thinning light of October, I spot the familiar long stride of my niece Amelia. The bundle against her chest is my first great-niece Murron, and suddenly the day gets larger, the heavens go deeper. Inside, glass cases gleam and chrome…

A new kind of festive

What does it look like to start over again during the festive season? It looks like my husband and I making our annual trip to the Belfast International Market one last time before we made the move back to the States. It looks like a house full of moving boxes, barely unpacked, sitting next to…

The little things

The holidays can be fun and stressful all at once. Not everyone looks forward to them, and for some it’s their favorite time of year. Change was at the forefront of my last Christmas. Navigating a divorce, the passing of my sweet sister-in-law, a move to a different city—loss was everywhere. There were holes in…