We are at the end of another month, and more importantly, another year. December was an eventful month. Winter slammed into us. States were affected by major snow storms. I saw a meme that accurately summed it up, saying:
“Winter is coming. The entire thing. All at once. In one weekend.”
The month felt like a boomerang video of me packing up my files in my rolling bag, and taking them out and hearing them smack against the court room table, and then shoving them back into the bag. Exhibits, folders and paper cuts. My fiance gifted me a gorgeous advent calendar dedicated to people who take care of others (the detail was exquisite). It was absolutely lovely. It sparked joy every day. Every morning, I did the Hallow App The Chosen Advent reading/meditation and used The Daily Grace Co.‘s Hope has Come book.
I got a box of vianda from my grandfather, and I made sancocho (a Puerto Rican stew) for the first time. It was delicious. I was proud of that. Aside from the sancocho, I also ate some pretty incredible meals this months. I am grateful for that.
This time of year always reminds me of these planners my grandmother would send me when I was a kid. It had a comic book type story at the beginning and a theme for the year with illustrations and story continuation. It followed the life of Pascualina. I couldn’t remember her name for the longest time, and I kept typing “Paula” and “Pamela” into Google. Finally, the name hit me like bricks, and I found it! PASCUALINA!! Turns out the planners are still a thing. It brought back a lot of nostalgia.
This month, we somehow attended more tree lightings than ever before. (Also a menorah lighting). We hilariously stumbled across one tree lighting by accident. We were wandering down the dark street and heard Santa go “ho, ho, ho” and realized what was going on down the block. (Have you ever walked down the street and been like, “Santa?!” It is surreal.) These events revealed to me the deep need for actual music teachers in America. Kids no longer sing. They shout. Also, the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer song always annoys me because the other reindeer only loved him at the end because he was suddenly useful, popular and favored by Santa. (The reindeer were little dweebs, but accurately reflect human nature, I suppose).
Despite some carols whose messages are deeply annoying and flawed, the city was magical this year. (I wrote about it here). I wish we could keep the lights up all winter. When Christmas is gone, we are left with darkness.
This time of year reminds us to give, and not just gift to loved ones but to also give to the less fortunate. I was super impressed by the latest Barna data:
“Christian philanthropy accounted for 70% of all American philanthropy in 2022 at $300 billion total. Christians out-gave the U.S. Government in addressing global poverty.” Barna, Additional info: Christians are the most generous Americans
This was a powerful reminder that the church is still incredibly impactful in the world.
The Chosen is back (I am two episodes behind, but I am so excited it is back). I got my fix of The Holiday, and I enjoyed lots of reading on the train.
Winter makes me want to read for hours, watch old movies and sip yummy tea. I was gifted some lovely teas this Christmas.
As I look forward, I wonder what lies ahead (don’t we all), but I am excited and grateful. This past month flew by even in its intensity. I sit here in disbelief that I am typing one of these posts again.
You know the drill… not to sound like Julie Andrews, but here are a few of my favorite things:
“What I have discovered is that God is the God of the magi not of the kings. He hides Himself in the people who think they deserve it, and He always sends signs to the people who are desperate to find Him. And if you don’t need God, you’re just never going to find Him. If you’ve got it covered, you got it taken care of and so you don’t need God, you’ll never see the signs. But if you are desperate, if you are broken, if you know that you need someone other than yourself to make it through the day, to make it through life, to make it beyond this life– you’ll be amazed how much God shows up.” Erwin McManus
“Being strong or weak is a personal decision. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing you don’t have the choice. You do and you can make it now. Victim mentality is for the birds.” Michael Bosstick
“If we can learn to wait through the ‘natural silences’ of life, we will be surprised by what awaits us on the other side.” Mister Fred Rogers
“While loss in life is the great equalizer, it also opens doors for us to connect with others.” Amy Hollingsworth, The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers
“A love language for anyone trying to heal from trauma is: personal accountability.” @the.holistic.psychologist
“We are being invited to constantly forget.” Russell Brand
“I think I’m probably deeply conservative. It’s a philosophical conviction. I do not necessarily think that change is for the better. Culturally, I am conservative.” Joan Didion
“Sometimes when people speak, the impact of their words is so strong and goes so deep that they seem to have a quality of eternity about them.” Thomas Moore, The Soul’s Religion
“But an inheritance is nothing we ask for or earn or deserve. It is something we are given by the testator, and we can either accept of betray the responsbility.” Madeline L’Engle, The Irrational Season
“Adventure can be scary and unpredictable, but the more you continue in it, the more you lose that sense of fear and doubt (and the less you care about being late for dinner). You begin to gather up your internal resources with confidence.” The Hobbit
“Disasters teach us humility.” St. Anselm
“Once a government commits to the principle of silencing opposition, it has only one way to go, and that’s down the path of increasingly repressive measures until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens.” Harry Truman
“The truth of Jesus should be the gift we give most generously this Christmas season. We have an opportunity each December to draw our hearts and attention beyond the gifts. We have the chance to share that though these gifts are such a small display of love, God generously gives much more.” Hope has Come, pg.106
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Jack Kornfield
“For God, there are no outsiders, there are only seekers.” Erwin McManus
“Love. That’s what makes persons know who they are.” A Wind in the Door
Articles and Things
This article was interesting. It was about how film and art reflect the state of the New York City. There are some interesting past films reflecting different eras of NYC, (the rom-com era, etc.) and thoughts on why Scream 6 being set in the city is a reflection of something deeper and troubling.
The Rothschild family was so mysterious. This article raised some eyebrows.
This video by Shallon Lester was iconic. She is right on the money:
People I am Intrigued By
Alex from HRH Collection
We continue to journey into the future together. The world is a different place from the time I started this page. I was also different. I am sure you are, too. What are your dreams?
I hope one thing does not change. That Thomas Moore quote– “Sometimes when people speak, the impact of their words is so strong and goes so deep that they seem to have a quality of eternity about them”– I hope you find words that have a quality of eternity in them here, always. I am honored to share my heart and thoughts with you. Gracias.