Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sick. And with a cough that leaves my ribs aching and my head throbbing. But, in this cup, a healing balm.

Herbal tea. It really is helping. My Jesus, I love thee. With honey and lemon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter Houseplants

In the summer, I move my houseplants outside to the courtyard and neglect them as they thrive.

In the winter, I bring them to the dining room, which has the most space by the windows. I can't help putting the baby spider plants in their own pots, even though I really don't have a need for six spider plants. I snip off trailing vines and pop them in vintage milk bottles to take root, though I'm not sure I need more of these varieties either.

And, look! Down on the bottom shelf! My Christmas actually bloomed. I was never sure she had it in her.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Van Full of Beef be turned into a Freezer Full of Beef... be turned into Bellies Full of Beef in the coming year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Written Love

This week was my last week of piano lessons (I teach) until the new year. Many of my students bring me little Christmas presents and all of them make me grateful and excited, like presents should. Yesterday one student brought me this, which she had made for me:

"Dear Mrs. Chupp,

I hope you have a great Christmas! You are the greatest teacher in the world! I made up this poem Roses are Red Violets are Blue Stares Shine and so do you.

from Claire to Mrs. Chupp"

I mean, have you ever?

I will put this in a keepsake album in which I keep nice old letters from friends, extra nice thank you notes, the "Warm Fuzzy" pages from the old a cappella choir retreats. Today I anticipated being an old woman looking through my Love and Kindness Book and I was surprised to find that it made me sad. It seemed like it might feel like looking at something that was gone forever.

What do you do with all the Written Love in your life?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An Experiment

A dead branch from a nearby woods...and in place of Charlie Brown's single red ornament - one red bow. I like it for a change in the holiday foyer. And, that's right, the presents are all purchased, wrapped and under the tree. For each person you will find Something You Want, Something You Need, Something to Wear and Something to Read.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hanging of the Greens

Two weeks ago, on the first Sunday of Advent, I envisioned/wrote/led the service at church. (As I soak in that last sentence, I realize how full-of-myself it sounds. It just happened to be one of those jobs that I think is kind of great for the church and church-goers. I had an idea that I thought was good, got the approval of the leaders of the church.... and killed myself making it happen. It was a nice change of pace from so much church work - like agreeing to do a job that someone suggests to you, only because it needs to be done and the workers seem to be few.) My thought was for a Hanging of the Greens service, in which the sanctuary was decorated for the season before our eyes, over the course of our morning worship time. Each element was introduced and, when needed, explained, as in the case of the evergreen swags and garland, which represent eternity and life...
...and wreaths, which combine the vibrancy of the eternally green branches with the shape of a circle, which represents God's eternal nature.
Also new to some people was the origins of the poinsettia, which is sometimes called the flores de nochebuena, or the Flowers of the Holy Night. The many points of the poinsettia petals remind us of the star of Bethlehem.
We lit the Christmas tree...
We rang bells...
The children placed the nativity...
We lit candles... A
A few parts of the service did not go as planned. More things did. I was too exhausted and grumpy to see things clearly even as some of the people of the church wandered over to my corpse to tell me thank you for my work. I went home and said, "Never again." Two weeks later, I'm instead thinking how can I do it better next time, and with less stress? I come back to the notion that church work SHOULD be labors of love and inspiration. The question is: How do you keep the love and inspiration in the labor? Do you have the answer? 'Cause I don't.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My girl has a penchant for saying on, say, October 29th, "I'd like to be a woodland nymph/Hermione from Harry Potter/a mime." Fortunately, the mime costume came together quickly with a black and white striped dress, a black beret and white face paint which I was lucky to find in the store easily... I'm learning that Ava is finding out she has a hambone voice itching to be heard. Or acted out, in this case. She offered to do a strongman mime for the folks in the neighborhood who asked for an act.