|My November mantle, complete with a wooden bowl of pumpkins under a large antique framed photo of two little girls whose names are lost to time….|
|Candles of celebration and remembrance on the mantle in front of a vintage confirmation photo from the 1900s|
For most of us here in the US, the noteworthy day in November is Thanksgiving. Which is a lovely holiday, to be sure. But there is another little special day in November— actually, the reason for Halloween! All Saints Day— or in Old English– “All Hallow’s Eve.” All Saints Day, for churches that recognize it, is a time to remember and celebrate beloved saints as well as those friends and family members who have been lost in the past year. We had our All Saint’s service today at my parish, and it reminded me why I love these special days; they force you to take time and take things in, to celebrate and remember and find joy or peace.
I did not grow up with saints. Aside from ‘Santa Claus’, the whole idea always seemed very ‘other’ and not what I was used to— although I always did have a thing for lighting heaps of candles 😉 Then almost two years ago we attended the Saint Nicholas festival at my daughter’s preschool church and I fell completely in love- with the people, the liturgy, the art, everything. By Easter we were baptized and by Saint Dunstan’s Day we were confirmed into the Episcopal Church. We’ve always been suckers for whirl-wind romances 😉 (Will and I were engaged in 3 months! That was 9 years ago!)
During these past couple of years I’ve been undecided about how much I’d like to share here about faith– I certainly respect everyone’s right to pursue it in their own way and don’t want anyone to feel like I’m pushing anything on them. But especially during this time of year, when we enter into Advent, celebrate St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, and all the other important events in the liturgical calendar, I’d like to share with you the joy and fun I feel for these special times, and also explore new traditions for my own family, and also create new artwork inspired by these themes.
And since the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church are so very similar, I’d love to hear from my English friends about your celebrations and special days! Last Christmas I received the book Cattern Cakes and Lace about special dishes that are served or used to celebrate certain feast days in the UK and I’d love to try my hand at some!
First and foremost, what I’d like to celebrate here is joy and peace and pursuing a meaningful life. Whether it be through Tasha Tuesdays or Advent. There are so many ways to approach these things, but I believe it takes a decided effort to ‘take joy’ as Tasha would say, and I’d like to share with you my attempts to do so.
And so, as we enter this magical time of the year, I’m so glad you’re here to come along for the ride! I am so eager to paint…I’m working on several projects at once. The Christmas music is on constant play here in the studio— the Cambridge Singers Radio on Pandora to be exact– and something about Loreena McKennitt is just perfect for this time of year!
Well, it’s off to bed for me! And then tomorrow, time to paint.
Hope you are safe and well this evening, and my thoughts are with those still struggling after the terrible storm on the east coast! Hugs and prayers from the prairie!~