Stars

Beneath a sky so fine, she said, “Kiss me.”

He kissed her with a passion so strong the stars rained down.

It was necessary. She needed to be loved beyond reason.

Cradling his child, mere minutes after birth, soothed something deep within Roy’s heart. It was as if the fissures, formed over half a lifetime of emotional neglect, melted and healed.

In a moment, seated in an ICU, situated high above the city streets, Roy made a promise to the God he’d denied, to his grandmother, and to himself. He’d rise.

Lights from the city below the hill, shone. For unto him, a child was born: Forever safe, forever loved.

~ an altered scene

Some thought her weak. I felt her brave. To hand over a piece of one’s soul without expectation is a certain surrender.

word by word

The Holidays are here. Gather your smallest helpers round the table. Share traditional stories and rhyme. Sing songs in celebration of the season. Hang the twinkle lights. It’s time for all things Merry and Bright.

Create. Cut paper snowflakes to hang in windows, bake gingerbread, fashion a snowman from play dough. Adorn with buttons from a Grandmother’s Button Tin.

Communicate. Share Family Traditions. Build connection through stories of resilience and joy. Express gratitude.

We’re a collective of souls, as strong as the weakest among us. Think of others. Be a shoulder to lean on, a hand in the dark. Be kind. Find moments of calm. Pause. Reflect. Donate to a Food Bank. Share gently used items with local Shelters. Build your collective of heart, acknowledging we beat better as one. Be a Secret Santa. Shop local.

You are loved. May the beauty of the season, remain in your heart, all year round.

This Holiday Activity is perfect for The Little Hands and Hearts in Life.

You need,

•air dry clay (Crayola- White) or a Salt and Dough Recipe

https://shop.crayola.com/modeling-compounds/clay

• a baking sheet to allow the clay to dry (Line with paper towel to absorb any moisture from the clay.)

• a rollling pin

• seasonal cookie cutters (We chose a star, heart, and snowflake: Wish, Love, Magic!)

• a straw to poke a hole into the shape

• paint (Craft Acrylic)

• twine to thread

.

Allow two to three days of dry time, depending on the thickness of your shape.

String and knot the shapes to form a garland. Hang shapes individually from a willow branch or tree. Place into a glass bowl or scatter round the table. A simple centre piece. Place one or three shapes into a brown paper bag. Tie with twine. Slip a snip of evergreen beneath the knot. Gift to another.

Stay tuned to view our finished project.

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The Snowman- Raymond Briggs

‘The Snowman,’ is a symphonic poem written and illustrated in 1978, by author Raymond Briggs. It first published as a wordless children’s book and was later brought to the British Public Television screen. It is screened every Christmas on Britain’s Chanel 4. Illustrations tell the story.

Miles and an ocean from Britain, I found a copy of this treasure. The book’s cover is now tattered, the spine has loosened. Yet, when I turn the page, the illustrations remain fresh. As is often heard said, when one questions the other, it began. A love affair, a curiosity with that which fuels imagination and beauty. Over time, I’d find myself scouring cluttered china shops, searching Royal Dolton figurines of ‘The Snowman.’

A choral ballad plays, “Walking In The Air,” by Howard Blake. As one listens, one is carried by the swelling chorus, entering the beautiful mind of the illustrator. ‘The Snowman,’ comes to life.

We’re walking in the air

We’re floating in the moonlit sky

The people far below are sleeping as we fly

Howard Blake

The night is sharp. Stars shine bright. Images are softened, far off in time, reminiscent, as if viewed through the glass of a shaken snow globe.

One late afternoon, it snows. Rushing out the door, James builds a snowman. Later, in bed, he has a dream. In it, he meets a snowman. Together, they embark on a journey to other lands, briefly touching down at the North Pole.

In stupor, we sink deeper into our couches and armchairs. There is only silence and stillness in the air. We are co operative, propelled along the journey.

As one, we fly above a world of towers and trees, over hillsides filled with wildlife, cross an ocean. A whale breaches the sea. A slap. The salty kiss of brine.

On the edge of dawn, ‘The Snowman’ returns James to the doorstep.

In the morning, he wakes to sunshine.

From couches and armchairs, we hear the phone ring, feel the text buzz. A ward against that which we really feel. In a fleeting instance, something deep within us, has stirred. We remember what it was to be innocent, to wonder, enchanted by the world’s mystery and magic, forever moved by that which delighted or teased us. We discover, we miss each other better in the distance.

‘The Snowman,’ by Raymond Briggs, is a beautiful story. Find it. Share it.

The idea was clean, nice and silent. I don’t have happy endings,” Briggs told the Christmas edition of Radio Times. “I create what seems natural and inevitable.

Raymond Briggs

Independent

‘The Snowman’

Royal Dolton

Curate beauty within the mind of a child. Painting presents an opportunity to fill a young mind with wonder and mystery. Begin with picture books and fairy tales. Note the wreath of stars, the egg in nest. Follow watery paths through the forest. Notice the towering trees. Speak of perspective. Flashes of yellow, like sun beams, flit through boughs. The ‘Pine Siskin’ takes flight. Follow its course to the misty forest floor. Moss blankets bark. Press a cheek to velvet.

Absorb colour, explore its range and depth. Study images and great artists. Notice shape and size. Speak of fairy folk and hidden lairs. Search objects that visually intrigue. Perhaps a stone or feather?

Gather memories.

There’s a toolbox on a trolley. Unfasten the lock, note the rusted patina. Tucked inside are tubes of colour. There is Painter’s Tape, a necessary anchor for paper. A daughter’s brushes wait in a vessel of cut glass.

We nod in agreement- it’s rather beautiful and decide, paper bags make the perfect canvas.

We speak of Evergreens, imagine an empty nest. It is almost winter, after- all. Even the sky is moody.

You wonder where animals find shelter.

We speak of homes and families, land and loss, bears and garbage cans.

You offer up your pumpkin as a gift of food. We promise to deposit it to the forest floor, for the birds.

Today is a slow tempo of pause and reflection, a pensive adagio. We smear to appreciate haphazard brush strokes. Violet and yellow make moss. A blue daze sky of ink and agate surround the branches of the evergreen.

I sip coffee.

Your wee fist drags a stick through puddles of paint, marvels at the lines. Brush strokes blend dark and light. An imaginary cloud rips open. Softly, softly, flakes fall onto branches and into the nest. All to enchant.

Hearts smile.

The Evergreen

Medium- Acrylic

Early Learners

Cherish it. Frame it. Tape it to the wall.

Beauty And Wonder

“And I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.” 
― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook tags: beautybreezeschilddreamingpoetrysunsets

Light a candle to remember, to celebrate, to wish upon. Soy candles are simple to make, lovely to behold, and necessary- especially in Pandemic Times. A lit flame is a symbol for light in darkness. It is energy with the power to change and illuminate.

The world holds ancient wisdom. Sit in silence. Breathe in. Exhale. Better days are coming.

Ingredients are available at most local craft or specialty shops for pick up or delivery. Soy is made of natural elements. Essential oils add allure. ‘Rose Turmeric’ is a subtle scent, notes of crushed petal grounded in an exotic mix of pollen and golden hits of sunshine.

This grouping was formed in repurposed and recycled glass and tin. The vintage glass is a favourite. It allows for sparkle and shine. Clear glass suits any decor. Group an assortment on a tray or table. Place one, in a simple paper bag, to leave on the doorstep of a friend.

Kitchen chemistry, music to soothe the soul, big love. Some things endure.

DIY Soy Candle Tips on topics from wicks to fixes are abundant on Pinterest or a local supplier.

• A Favourite Read: Style & Simplicity, An A to Z Guide to Living a More Beautiful Life- Ted Kennedy Watson

• Always use caution around a flame.

~aliceandmolly approved

x

Beautiful Words:

“Each spice has a special day to it. For turmeric it is Sunday, when light drips fat and butter-colored into the bins to be soaked up glowing, when you pray to the nine planets for love and luck.”

― Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, The Mistress of Spices,

Goodreads

My mother bites her lip, fishes the depth of her purse, rummages through lipsticks, combs, and compacts, to offer something, anything to sweeten the journey and soften the grief.

“People disappoint,” she says. “Best get used to it.”

Words drop. She is tired of the narrative. Her eyes fixate on the contents of a purse, scattering her lap, rolling out of reach.

“Ah- here it is.”

I watch as she lifts a tissue bundle, holds it mid air.

She regards peppermints as medicinal. A sugar salve to cover grief and sweeten the moment.

“Take one,” she says. “It helps.”

She tucks the peppermint bundle beneath a stashed scarf, clicks the clasp of her purse.

“Grief aches like a broken bone,” she says. “The good news- you learn to carry on.”

I watch as she squares her shoulders and stares down the end of the road.

“For awhile, it’s horrible. You speak it. Words pour out, ugly, pathetic. You stop speaking. People say, ‘Find peace.’ You wonder, How? There’s a hole in your heart and it won’t heal.”

She shrugs. “So- you throw yourself into charity, community, family. You summon new interests. Delight in passionate pursuits. You dare believe you can write your story.”

She turns to admire a grove of trees on a distant hillside. Their limbs seem as if adorned in scarlet ribbons, lit by ochre light.

“How beautiful,” she comments. “I used to rake the leaves of the chestnut trees lining the boulevard. Oh those leaves. Such a rich shade of green. You do recall?”

I nod. How to forget? Year after year, the trees grew taller, more abundant. Today, they form a canopy overhead. I do not tell my mother. In autumn, I return to the block. I choose one chestnut.

My mother speaks. “You’d toddle along, amusing yourself, collecting chestnuts. Only a certain few stayed in the wagon. As the pile of leaves grew higher, you grew bolder. Arms high, face first.”

She places her hand on mine.

“You learn to go on. Softly, softly. Forward.”

***

My Grandmother ends each visit with an offering of peppermints placed in tissue.

“Just a moment,” she says.

Bags rustle on a pantry shelf. Fingers fumble. She centres five peppermints, twists the tissue and presses the bundle to the palm of my hand.

“Tuck this away. Later, when you take tea, slip one. Don’t share.”

I meet her gaze.

Her eyes are oceans.

We come to understand. Life is loneliness and then it is joy. It’s sweet, tiny moments and sacred silence. We laugh and then, we’re overcome by sorrow. It’s a question without an answer. Scar tissue thickening on a soul. We seek the road home. It’s a song on the radio, a photograph that slips to the floor and then, everything collapses.

Draft Two

Tiny Struggles

Fiction