The Orange Slate

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Snapshots of A Michigan Christmas

December 28, 2013



Thank you all so much for the sweet thoughts and words and emails and notes and comments on my last post. I was touched by the stories, encouragement, and kind words that so many of you shared.


We spent the week of Christmas with my family, tucked away in the forests of Michigan. There is always something magical about Christmas, a holiday that turns the world on its head. The snow that fell for days, the quiet empty forests, the traditions that we clung to with a fierce tenacity were magic to our hearts this past week.



We can’t always live in the fairy tale that is Christmas, but we need the reminder, once a year, that there is magic and wonder and grace, that the world is not all trudging and traffic and rushing, that sparkles and frosting and twinkle lights are the real, tangible things that hold our world together.


For my family, at the close of a year that held the highest highs and lowest lows, magic was being together. Magic was sugar cookies and bowls piled high with neon shades of frosting, snow that poured down endlessly for days, and hills covered with freshly powdered snow for perfect skiing.


Magic was watching my baby sister walk across the stage and receive her oh-so-deserved nursing pin and listening to the careful notes of my youngest siblings’ first piano recital. Magic was a spontaneous lunch date alone with my mama on Christmas Eve. Magic was the family cats surprising us at the back door a few days before Christmas Eve after we had despaired of seeing them again.



Magic was setting out cookies and cider for Santa with my littlest brother, who is far too old to believe in Santa but who willingly humors his older sister’s attempts to pretend that we are all still 4 years old. Magic was hours of Chinese checkers, sleeping in, sugary fluffy carb-and-sugar-rich breakfasts that appeared at the dash of Mom’s magic wand (otherwise known as a Bosch mixer). Magic was the wood-burning stove that kept us all warm, stocked by aged wood Dad has been carefully curing all year.


2014 is racing closer and I’ll begin a regular posting schedule here again next week. But for now, all I want to do is encourage you to enjoy the last sparkles of Christmas magic. Hug your kiddos, your spouse, your parents. Waste time snuggling on the couch. Bake something extravagant and time-consuming. Wear your pajamas all day and do nothing but read that book. Make a batch of fudge and take it to those neighbors that you’ve never met.


The magic of Christmas lies in the softening of our hearts and the changing of our world. The magic of Christmas lies in hope where we have given up, in the impossible happening. Where does magic need to happen in your world as we enter 2014?


“Fairy tale does not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat…giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy; Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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  1. So glad you all got the chance to come to northern Michigan and enjoy the laid back life we rend to live here.Absolutely adore you and your family…..may your 2014 be the most blessed year for you and Mark.

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