The Year 2010 in Review

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Dear Family and Friends:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead, nor doth He sleep!

Another year gone. The past twelve months have been quite the ride, and while I'd like to remember all of it here are just a few highlights:

Countries/States visited: Nevada, Utah (thrice), California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Florida, Bahamas, Wales, Ireland, England, and Italy.

Favorites: attending my first traditional Seder; hiking White Oak in Shenandoah National Park; picking strawberries, blackberries, and peaches; unlimited yoga for an entire month; making my own traditional Afghani kite; hosting a baby shower; a day-trip to Capri off the coast of Italy; reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); monthly massages (Best. Idea. Ever); Selected Shorts podcast; seeing Trans-Siberian Orchestra live; watching a shuttle launch; Sky Meadows State Park; Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear; live theater; family reunions; falafel; new relationships; and Sunday morning walks.

Not-So-Favorites: going to court; losing my camera; parking tickets (yes, still); anger; shoppers minus their carry-your-own bag(s); and accidentally formatting my SIM card.

I'm grateful for this past year; for its adventures and for its vicissitudes. I appreciate the Savior in my life, He is my constant. I am surrounded, both far and near, with people I love. To be honest, I'm one lucky gal. May your holiday season be filled with clarity, love, and reflections of what matters most.


Holiday Plants: Part II

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Poinsettias scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrima, which literally means “the most beautiful euphorbia.” We commonly associate the poinsettia with Christmas, but this has not always been true. A native of Central America, the poinsettia grows wild in southern Mexico. It was unknown to Europeans until the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards in the 1500s. By the 17th century, Spanish clergy in Mexico were using the poinsettia in their Christmas holiday celebrations. The plant gained the name “Flor de la Noche Buena,” Or “Flower of the Holy Nights,” because they “bloomed” at the time of the holidays. However, the flowers of the plant are actually the small yellow buds, surrounded by colorful modified leaves called bracts (which are sometimes confused for flowers).

In 1825, the United States sent Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett to be our ambassador to the newly independent Republic of Mexico. Poinsett, a plant collector, explored Mexico’s countryside and noticed a dramatic shrub growing along the roadways and around churches. He sent it back to the United States. As the unusual plant gained popularity, one of the United States’ great historians, William H. Prescott, was asked to give this plant a name. In 1836, with admiration for its collector, he suggested “poinsettia.”

The U.S. Botanic Garden is bursting with this festive holiday plant and the Smithsonian even put together a video celebrating this seasonal beauty.

Holiday Plants: Part 1

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mistletoe has long been associated with mythic properties. It was thought to be powerful because it grows without roots, bears fruits in the darkest days of the year, and seems to appear as if by magic in the branches of trees. We now know that mistletoe is not magical: the plant is parasitic (relying on the host plant for water and minerals) and its seed are deposited in bird droppings on branches.

The mistletoe is
Phoradendron leacarpum which is native to the Virginia/Maryland area and is also the state flower of Oklahoma. It is usually found growing on oaks, elms or maple. For the ancient Druids, mistletoe was the most potent of the sacred evergreens, with sprigs hung over doorways and windows to keep the evil spirits of disease from entering a house. Mistletoe berries were thought to be medicinal, but when eaten they can be toxic. (They are under current investigation for potential as a chemotherapeutic agent.)

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is attributed to the ancient Norse goddess Frigga, whose son was killed by a mistletoe wood arrow. Her grief was so great that the other Norse gods resurrected him. In gratitude, she declared mistletoe to be a plant of peace, and decreed that people who pass beneath it should exchange kisses.

As the song says: There'll be much mistletoeing and hearts will be glowing, so get out there and enjoy a little holiday cheer!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What do I worry about? You posed this question last night.
I evaded it, as best I could.

What do I worry about?
A lot.
Who doesn't?
And why does knowing what I worry about really matter?
Does it help you know me better?
Does it expound on the complexities of another?
Does it gash open vulnerabilities, raw and exposed?


For starters I worry about the speed of this relationship. I worry that you have expectations of me that I may not be able to fulfill.

For most of my life I've worried that I'll end up alone.
That I'll never marry. That I'll remain celibate and without children of my own.
And because of that, I worry about my commitment to a gospel and a church that celebrates all things family and few things single.

I worry about not being good enough.
Pretty enough.
Intelligent enough.
Conversational enough.
Funny enough.
Daring enough.
Caring enough.
Loving enough.

I worry that I'll spend the rest of my waking hours behind a computer monitor, not doing what I really love.

I worry that I might lose my eyesight or that, like my father, I'll die at age thirty-eight.
I worry that I might one day have to leave my beloved city of D.C..
I worry that I might not travel to all the places I want to before I die.
I worry that my worries are so time consuming and detrimental to my soul.

I worry that, because of all these worries, I'll never be loved.
By myself.
Or by another.

It is a boon to bare.
But cast not away therefore your confidence.*

This is not meant to be.
And so I think I shall worry less.
Because worry is waste and life ought not be wasted.

*Hebrews 10:35


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lately I've been a little occupied.
Occupied in a good way.
And what with all the holiday hoopla blogging often takes a back seat.

On an up note, my greeting cards have all been sent!

Stay tuned for holiday happenings and pictures.

Christmas Classics

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This song comes from one of my favorite holiday movies that features a star-studded cast with interweaving love stories. In addition to Love Actually, some of my other favorite holiday movies include:
It's a Wonderful Life
Meet me in St. Louis
The Bishop's Wife
White Christmas

Now to cozy up with a mug of hot chocolate and homemade peppermint marshmallows

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