Well, already 2014 is rolling out in front of us. We have survived the Christmas celebrations intact. A little weary & disorientated, but with a feeling of wellbeing & affection for our family & close friends. Christmas can be  a catalyst for  strife & stress break outs, so it’s always good to get through it without either.

A Simple Christmas Collage Boxes Bumper year for Grapes

Festivities are started  with the Carol Service at the Pukehou Christ Church. It’s a beautiful, old, wooden church, that has been deconsecrated. It still carries the resonance of years of worship & has a serene atmosphere…mostly. The Carol Service is a wonderful template of our community, some sober members, some musical, some anarchists who sit when told to stand & vice versa, some crazy types & many others. For a couple of hours we get together & sing, for some it’s about the message of Christmas, for others it’s a celebration of community, & a chance to get in touch with one’s inner spirituality, whatever shape that may be.

The highlights for me, this year were the musical jam, that Pukehou School provided, of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ & ‘All you need is Love’ complete with whistles, bells & a trombone!  At the other end of the spectrum, I just love singing ‘Silent Night’ with the candles burning, pure magic.

This year, as ever, we tried to keep things simple, I think we’ve almost got it. We only gave presents to the youngest family members, Geoff & I shopped at the Playcentre Shop, Apple Activities & the Op Shops. We cooked a leg of lamb in the barbeque & everyone brought salads &/or desserts. Best of all these lasted for Boxing Day too, so we had hardly any work to do, apart from dishes.

My sister came up with a new version of our collages. She & her daughter had collected a pile of shoe boxes, each had info about the elements, & some things to represent them, feathers, shells, rocks etc. We each chose one we liked & collaged the outsides, & insides if inspired. Then we wrote little messages, key words, or just added images & posted them in each other’s  boxes. It’s a lovely gift, to receive positive feedback from those you love. We often forget to say those things. I’m keeping my box, & plan to add other treasures to it over the year.  One of the things I enjoyed about making the boxes, was that everyone got involved & sat quietly for an hour or two. It seemed like the perfect foil  to all the rush & hype.

In amongst numerous people coming & going, Geoff & I would find ourselves out in the herb garden, picking flowers for oils, or gathering salad ingredients together, & feeling so blessed that we live here, do what we do & have close family & friends to share  with.  What more could we want?

Rabbit's Tail Grass Miranda

 We hope that your life is as blessed, & that this New Year will be kind & generous to you. That you will be able to ride out any storms that come & be able to enjoy the calm spells. Let’s look after our Mother Earth & ensure that we can pass on a rich heritage of nature  in it’s many guises, to our Children & Grandchildren & so on, & show them the many treasures we have, & inspire them to care for them also.