It's been getting harder and harder to come up with a new idea for my annual ornament. I finally stumbled upon an idea that I should be able to coast on for the next decade: Twelve Day of Christmas. Not original, but entirely homemade. On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
I did it! I finally painted the dining room black. We're still a harvest table away from being able to really make it the room we envisioned, but it's on it's way. The top half is all chalkboard. Mama's chalkboard. I expect smudging and the occasional doodle to appear at about kid-height, but it's meant to be my own personal transformable wallpaper.
We grew up Trick or Treating, and loved every minute of it, but we have a few friends who would rather not deal with the ghoulishness. We've talked about transforming our property into a not-Halloween fun zone for years. Bobbing for donuts, bean bag toss, scavenger hunt through the lantern-lit woods, pumpkin hunt. . . It was all about the kids. And the candy.
We have a water problem out here in the country. We knew it when we bought the land. We knew it when we dug our well. And we know it every time we haul back-breakingly heavy jugs of drinkable water from the store, and wrestle more manageable portions of it into a pitcher we leave on our kitchen island.
It’s our system, but it isn’t a perfect system. Pitchers break. We’ve shattered more glass than a cathedral’s worth of windows. So, we gave up on glass and moved on to metal. But even pitchers that don’t break only hold a finite amount of water. We fill it. And fill it. And fill it. And, I do not remember what fresh, cold water tastes like. Our poor little pitcher does not come with an in-built cooling system, nor a filter. It’s only job is to hold it’s contents.
Has that become my job description? Jo: Wife. Mother of six. Reservoir of old material, levels dropping, inspiration growing stale? Maybe it is. I am guilty of tapping into my own experience to diagnose, bandage and sustain myself through my present circumstances. I do it a lot. Instead of lifting a fresh, glittering drop of scripture to my lips, or letting the morning mist of daily prayer soothe my skin, I lower the ladle of my hands deep into the old, murky water of recycled thoughts and self-muddied lessons learned. I am a pitcher, filled with once-crystalline revelations, now gone warm and still.
Anyone could tell you that running water’s the sweet stuff. I don’t know anyone who would stand beside a leaping, chattering stream, and turn away to lap up the water from the puddle beside it. But we do that. All the time, we do that, when we don’t go the God for refreshment.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
Are you thirsty? I’m thirsty. Let’s not gather around the water cooler. Let’s go down to the river and drink.
Photography has become currency. We exchange our photos like we exchange breath and words. But, I'm OK with that. Photos speak. And when words are becoming fewer-- people less connected by proximity and touch-- freeze-framed offerings are what we have to give and receive.
Our family is growing.
I can't expend enough words on the wonder of this. But I can just show you.
It's always a risk to gift someone with art, especially if it's yours. What if you go to visit, and it's behind the door to the basement? Or, what if it's nowhere at all? I risked it for Martin and Marissa and framed these.
Either they actually liked them, or they are extremely kind, because they hung them in the main hallway. Phew.