Archive for December, 2019


12.28.19 … the infamous candle making kit will never be forgotten!

2019 Festival of Greed Christmas Party:

Our family has had a holiday party with extended family and friends since before I was born. My great aunt Ann Scott Mauldin hosted it until her death in the 90s. My sister took over at that point.

We do a white elephant gift exchange. Without fail we discuss old fails and favorites … the infamous candle making kit will never be forgotten! Today’s hot items were worthless lottery tickets, a French press, Waffle House Monopoly and a selection of Belgian Beers. I got a Santa book and some spiced nuts. I did pretty well.

MS reintroduced lime sherbert punch with a twist, Grinch Punch.

And this year we had a new addition, Anne Marie and David’s daughter Maggie. Welcome, Maggie!

Always fun to reconnect and connect.



12.27.19 … “a pilgrim seeks to understand the essence of time, place and people that they meet on their path.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Epiphany Labyrinth Walks, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Wayt Private Labyrinth – Cumming GA:

Another great day at a labyrinth!

I visited my old friend Marty, her mom Martha and sister Rebecca.

We talked books and labyrinths and friends and family. I love these kith folks.

And I liked this from The Holy Pilgrimages of Northern New Mexico website.

“A pilgrimage is a journey of the body and soul. Regardless of our religion, it is an effort to become closer to our God. A pilgrimage is sometimes undertaken to pray for God’s intercession in our lives or as thanks for an intercession that has been granted. Often, though, a pilgrimage represents nothing more (or less) than our desire to let God guide our footsteps and nourish our souls. A pilgrimage should not be undertaken lightly but neither should it be undertaken in fear. It is intended to be a journey of joy and fulfillment.

A pilgrim is not a tourist who only touches, for a fleeting moment, the land and people that they visit. Rather, a pilgrim seeks to understand the essence of time, place and people that they meet on their path.”

These people and this place make it easy.



12.23.19 … “Advent leads to a growing inner stillness and joy allowing me to realize that he for whom I am awaiting has already arrived and speaks to me is the silence of my heart.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, 2019 Advent Walks, FourthWeek Week of Advent – Love, YMCA of the Rockies Dorsey Museum Labyrinth – Estes Park CO, Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church-Estes Park CO:

So the YMCA of the Rockies facility in Estes Park is about 3 miles from where we are staying. I saw they had a labyrinth and this is where good friends’ daughter Sarah works. So I headed out this morning.

Once inside the YMCA of the Rockies, it took me a while to find the labyrinth. It actually was covered in snow so it was not really walkable. I was assuming the GatheRing was the labyrinth. And so as I was about to return to my car, I thought to myself: It was worth the effort to come in and see where Sarah works…

But then I looked to my left and there it was … clearly a rock labyrinth. Sometimes you just have to look up. As I entered I noticed a Peace Pole …

My second walk was at the Parish Church of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, an Episcopal Church. It was on the other side of Estes Park and I caught a view of the Stanley Hotel.

I smiled as I pulled up: red doors, rooftop bell, large cross … and a spectacular setting.

The labyrinth was tucked in the back, surrounded by rocky crags, sacred space, a playground and a peaceful garden.

The labyrinth was covered in snow except for one quadrant. So I just thought labyrinthy thoughts.

And then my crew split up. I went up into Rocky Mountain National Park for a nice car ride.

Be still …



12.21.19 … “This is the night when you can trust that any direction you go, you will be walking toward the dawn.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, 2019 Advent Walks, Third Week of Advent – Joy, Saint Peter Lutheran Church-Greenwood CO, Winter Solstice 2019:

My day did not start off so well, my sister had given me a JOY brooch which in just a few days I had grown very fond of. And this morning it was missing. My 25-year-old daughter thought me silly…

But for some odd reason I must’ve taken it off and put it in my purse. I was quite sure I had not taken it off. My near 60 brain is stretched.

So with my joy pin in hand, I headed out. I picked Saint Peter’s this morning for this bright sunny day. It is amazing the effect of the sun and the beautiful mountains in the distance can have on my mood. The Rockies are truly all inspiring.

Back to the 60-year-old brain – I cannot figure out the signage and lane markings in Denver. They are just strangely different from those that I usually see on the eastern part of United States. And once again, I got turned around and the navigation app rerouted me and added about five minutes to my trip.

As I pulled in, I noticed they have a Information brochure. That is a good start.

And interesting, and I have never seen this done before, is a circular spot to stand on as you enter the labyrinth. It is similar to the center of a labyrinth.. It was a nice place to prepare.

The benches were all given as a Boy Scout Eagle Project in August 2013. There were outdoor speakers around me. I wondered what they are use them for. Also, there is a children’s playhouse over to the side. I wonder…

From the brochure, there is a sentence, “The challenge in walking a labyrinth is to let go of trying to see ahead and simply follow the path. It is a process of letting go – an element of most forms of meditation. When we relinquish control, we often feel open to new insights or new answers to questions.”

There is also a paragraph talking about the symbolism. “The labyrinth incorporates many levels of symbolism into its sacred geometry. It’s circularity and concentric circles reflect the cosmos, atoms and DNA. The geometry comprises the very principles of the manifestation of God‘s hand in the creation of the universe.” A nice thought…

When I reached the center, I laughed because there was a drain at the center. And the drain was inscribed “Saint Peter Lutheran Church September, 2010.” I’ve never seen a drain at the center. Maybe a metaphor for letting all that I have pondered be “released,” Let it go down the the drain.

I am like a kid. As I left the center drain, I walked each of the five concentric circles and I felt like I was swirling like when you flush the toilet 🙂 … goodbye negative thoughts.

This is a nine-circuit Chartres-esq Labyrinth. Frequently the abbreviated Chartres style labyrinths are seven circuits. I am wondering why this is a nine-circuit. It had unusual labyrinth timing. But in all honesty, it worked.

Today was the winter solstice. I usually do a nighttime walk today. But instead today I walked in the morning. And it was very sunny and very warm. Seemed strange but the sun was unusually low in the sky.

I ended my day with a sunset walk around Denver’s Washington Park. It was 60 degrees but the two Park lakes were still frozen. The geese were walking on the frozen lakes, and the fattest squirrels were watching us walk.

A nice way to celebrate winter.

And I really liked this from Jan Richardson today …

Here on the eve of the Winter Solstice, a blessing for you. If you are traveling through a season of shadows, or know someone who is, this is for you. (And to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, a blessed Summer Solstice!)


All throughout these months,

as the shadows

have lengthened,

this blessing has been

gathering itself,

making ready,

preparing for

this night.

It has practiced

walking in the dark,

traveling with

its eyes closed,

feeling its way

by memory,

by touch,

by the pull of the moon

even as it wanes.

So believe me

when I tell you

this blessing will

reach you,

even if you

have not light enough

to read it;

it will find you,

even though you cannot

see it coming.

You will know

the moment of its


by your release

of the breath

you have held

so long;

a loosening

of the clenching

in your hands,

of the clutch

around your heart;

a thinning

of the darkness

that had drawn itself

around you.

This blessing

does not mean

to take the night away,

but it knows

its hidden roads,

knows the resting spots

along the path,

knows what it means

to travel

in the company

of a friend.

So when

this blessing comes,

take its hand.

Get up.

Set out on the road

you cannot see.

This is the night

when you can trust

that any direction

you go,

you will be walking

toward the dawn.

—Jan Richardson

from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief

Image: “Longest Night” ©

I liked this one, too …

“They carol, feast, give thanks,/and dearly love their friends/ and hope for peace.”

“The Shortest Day”

by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died

And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world

Came people singing, dancing,

To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;

They hung their homes with evergreen;

They burned beseeching fires all night long

To keep the year alive.

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake

They shouted, revelling.

Through all the frosty ages you can hear them

Echoing behind us – listen!

All the long echoes, sing the same delight,

This Shortest Day,

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

And now so do we, here, now,

This year and every year.



Info on Winter Solstice …

Google Doodle Celebrates Last Winter Solstice of the Decade | Space

10 Facts About the Winter Solstice | Mental Floss


12.20.19 … “To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, 2019 Advent Walks,

Palazzo Verdi -Denver Co, Third Week of Advent – Joy:

I picked this one off the locator and had no expectations…

“The large and open Atrium, showcasing three monumental artworks including Roger Leitner’s Chartres Labyrinth is a fascinating part of the grand Atrium and is a re-creation of the 13th century Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth in France.”

This is the third week of Advent and the theme is joy. I have been trying to walk on Sundays and here it is Friday and I have not walked yet this week. I’ve had a busy week. I am now in Denver to celebrate Christmas with our three children. Edward is hosting in his very nice apartment. And since he knows my obsession with JOY, he has decorated his apartment with joy throughout (mostly purchased at the local Goodwill store) …

I arrived at what looked like a very nice suburban office park.

There was a large construction site next door and I saw a sign that said “Museum of Outdoor Art”

I approached the office building and saw a wonderful giraffe sculpture which reminded me of my friend Toni. I still had no idea why the labyrinth was here. And why indoor when there was a museum dedicated to outdoor art next door.

As I walked in, I saw the labyrinth. It was gorgeous, right in the atrium lobby to the building and covered with floor mats across it. Hmmmm …

I looked left and saw the Madden Museum. I had not seen anything about it on the locator. It was open and free. So before I walked, I took a quick walk through the museum. It reminded me of the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia, a re-creation of a private collection. I will research further later. But I am in love with this…

I had the concierge move the mats…

I took a moment to read the three quotes.

The William Blake one was new to me.

“To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

and eternity in an hour.”

Very nice indoor walk.

Elevator Christmas music…holiday standards exclusively on tune In:

“These Are a Few of My Favorite Things”

“O, Little Town of Bethlehem”

“O Come Let Us Adore Him“


“Merry Christmas Darling …

We’re apart that’s true

But I can dream and in my dreams

I’m Christmasing with you

Holidays are joyful”

Holidays are joyful … what I heard as I walked out.

And then I snuck into the construction site for the remodeled Museum of Outdoor Art.

So all in all a joyful walk.

Holidays are joyful …



12.8.19 … “There is more to life than we previously imagined … “

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, 2019 Advent Walks, Eastminster Presbyterian Church-Marietta GA:

Today is the second Sunday of Advent and the theme is peace. I attended the 8:15 service at Roswell Presbyterian with my sister and her husband. The senior minister, Jeff Myers, gave a really great sermon where he juxtaposed tolerance and forbearance. He began the sermon with Isaiah 2:1-5, the plowshares verses.

1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.


In days to come

the mountain of the Lord’s house

shall be established as the highest of the mountains,

and shall be raised above the hills;

all the nations shall stream to it.


Many peoples shall come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob;

that he may teach us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.


He shall judge between the nations,

and shall arbitrate for many peoples;

they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war any more.


O house of Jacob,

come, let us walk

in the light of the Lord!

And the stories that Jeff used as examples were spot on. Specifically, he told us of the rivalry between his University of Washington fraternity and the one across the street, and he began the sermon and closed the sermon with a great story of that conflict which he referred to as a tribal conflict which is typical of mankind. There was lots to ponder.

After church, I decided to make a detour to walk a labyrinth. The closest labyrinth was at Eastminster. In order to get to the memorial garden and labyrinth, I had to walk by the sanctuary. The sanctuary has clear glass windows, and I was glad that I was just a few minutes before 11 so that the congregation did not see me sneaking back to the memorial garden.

As I entered the garden, I was immediately welcomed by the sun. Although it is relatively cool, 45°, the sun made it feel much warmer..

I never noticed all the angels dispersed throughout the garden, only noting previously the angel that’s at the top the columbarium.

So I enjoyed rediscovering this quote:

“There is more to life than we previously imagined. Angels hide in every nook and cranny, magi masquerade as everyday people, and shepherds wear the garments of day laborers. The whole earth is brimming with glory for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.”

– Howard Thurman

Peace …



12.6.19 … happy Christmas to all and to all a good night …(

Adventures of the Slip Sisters, Feast of St.Nicholas, Westview Cemetery-Atlanta, Christmas Traditions:

Why “Slip Sisters”? That’s a story for another day. But I’ll leave you with a hint. My brother-in-law calls MS and me that, and it reflects our shared oral history and love of storytelling, a lot of whimsy, and a few of our favorite things.

Today we headed to Westview Cemetery to put a wreath on our father’s grave. The man loved Christmas , and many of our Slip Sisters’ Stories and Traditions reflect traditions that began when we were children.

To get ready for our Adventure, we collected my dog Albert, MS’s Elf on a Shelf and elf’s new pet, and lopping shears to do some elf work.

As we started off, I played this YouTube video of Berea College’s Bluegrass Ensemble’s performance of the “Carol of the Bells”

Albert does not travel well, especially in city stop and go traffic; so as a joke I searched Christmas Music for dogs … and I found this! Christmas Music to relax Dogs …

See the before and after below.

Next stop was Pike’s for the wreath … we went for simple boxwood.

And then to the cemetery …

I actually researched it. Did you know Westview is the largest in the Southeast?

Once there we found the plot, decorated it and shared it with some dog and whimsical holiday cheer. Dad’s marker has the quote:

“… and to all a good night”

If you know my dad, you’ll understand.

MS took delivery of a few magnolia branches and then we headed to the Harman area, the final resting place of our great great grandmother, grandmother and step grandfather, Rebekah and Elliott Stewart, great aunt and uncle, Jean and Charles Harman, and great aunt and uncle, Anne Scott and Johnny Mauldin. Next time we’ll take a few more wreaths! And maybe a few more relatives.

My sister and I told stories as we drove. It was a great day to tell stories. I never thought about it before, but my grandmother, her brother and sister remained close their entire lives and shared multiple family events during the holidays: Sunday before Christmas tree decoration party at my grandmother’s house with cookies and petit fours, Christmas Eve at Aunt Jean and Uncle Charles’ and Christmas Day Festival of Greed celebration at Auntie and Uncle Johnny’s. So I go way back with celebrating the holidays with my family.

And as we arrived back at my sister’s house I read that today is the Feast Day of St Nicholas. Very fitting, don’t you think?


And here is a little St. Nicholas info:

The most famous story about St Nicholas concerns a poor man with three daughters but no money for their dowries, so they couldn’t be married. One night St Nicholas dropped a purse of coins down the chimney into the house so that the eldest daughter would have enough money to get married. The purse fell into a stocking, put by the fire to dry.

Source: St Nicholas Day,


12.2.19 … “Some Advent advice inspired by Mr. Rogers: take one minute each day to be totally silent and consider all of those people who have loved you into being.”

Advent 2019, Advent Week One -Hope, Driving Mama Lindsey:

Today my mother continued the dental disaster drama. But today, unlike previous, I was able to manage her expectations. She may have her lower partial denture by Christmas, and she may not. All I want for Christmas …

As we finished up at the dentist at 10 AM, I asked her if she would like to go to ride. And of course she said, “yes.” So off we went.

From the intersection of West Paces Ferry and Northside Drive, we headed toward Midtown. We took Northside to Moores Mill and then I got turned around, but eventually we got got Howell Mill … hello, Kells! I saw a food truck park, interesting!

Then we popped on I75 S to 14th street. From there we turned on Peachtree St. There we viewed First Presbyterian Church and the High Museum. We then turned into Ansley Park. My first thought was to find the home of Dr. Vernon Broyles, the minister at my church during my childhood . And I found it!

We then drove up and down several streets, including Walker Terrace where one of my best friends from Brookwood Hills had lived prior to moving to Brookwood Hills.

I always liked the street designation “terrace,” and loved it when we briefly lived on a terrace in Wilmette IL. Next, we swung by 55 Maddox where my father lived as a child, his violet patch, and the Granite Governor’s Mansion (I remember always driving by to see it decorated at Christmas).

And I tried to find one of several Duffy homes in the neighborhood.

We continued on Peachtree Street, driving by the modern White Columns, the Temple, the church with Tiffany windows, Brookwood Station, and the Masonic Temple.

We then entered Brookwood Hills at Huntington. As we drove up and down the streets of the neighborhood, we threw out names: Wards, Ingrams, Ottleys, Luxenbergers, Wards II, Heerys, Winbornes, Goulds, McGinnises, Hales, Masseys, Anne Morgan/Ralph Baker (Anne was in a Norman Rockwell painting as a child), Primms, Reynolds, Stricklands, Egans, McKenzies, Pentecosts, Ray I, Coleys, Lindseys, Ray II, Miss Mackey, Dr. Mary Lynn Morgan (my dentist and wife of Ralph McGill), Derosas, Menefees, Aldermans, Arden Zen (the yoga teacher on tv), Asnips …

And then back to Peachtree St. … Piedmont Hospital (the monstrosity, why?) … The Marsdens …

The big decision, Habersham or Duck Pond? Habersham … Campbells, Grotons, Mom’s favorite house until she saw the inside (a Neel Reid), Wilmers, the Neel Reid that burned down … was it rebuilt from original drawings? Hamilton II and Hamilton I

And Grants …

And back …

Lots of people memories from her 70+ years in Atlanta …

And I just found this quote:

“Some Advent advice inspired by Mr. Rogers: take one minute each day to be totally silent and consider all of those people who have loved you into being.”

And an aside…. Yesterday, when I visited mom, and she was fit to be tied, I read to her from an Advent devotional. Her response, “We didn’t do Advent in Pineview.“ So maybe my driving around and talking about all those people who have loved us into being can be an advent practice with mom.



12.1.19 … Prepare Ye the way/Let’s do this! …

Advent 2019, Advent Week One -Hope, “Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, 2019 Advent Walks, Eastminster Presbyterian Church-Marietta GA:

Liturgical Advent and Cultural Advent align this year … somehow that makes me feel balanced …

What are you doing to prepare for the coming of Christ and the arrival of the Holiday?

Here’s what I found this morning …

Yet Advent was once (and still can be) a time of waiting, a time of hoping without knowing, a time of emptying so that we can be filled by the divine Presence. Though you may be wrapping gifts, planning special meals, and spending time with family and friends, I hope you will also take time to allow the Advent darkness to do its work as well.

Source: Richard Rohr Meditation:Waiting and Unknowing,

First Sunday of Advent Readings: Hope

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7:

“The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

a light has dawned. […]

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty

will accomplish this.”

Source: Advent Readings for 2019 – Scripture for Lighting Wreath,

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

As I read this verse, I am reminded of the musical Godspell, which opens with John the Baptist singing the lyrics, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” Before long, he is joined by the rest of the cast, who sing in joyous unison about the coming of the Christ.

I find it fitting that even before Jesus began his ministry, people were preparing for his coming. John preached about the arrival of the kingdom, and baptized those who were willing. They all wanted Jesus to get there already. In the same way, we are called to prepare for the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. I think that if we pursued Jesus with the same energy and love as the disciples in Godspell, the world would be a better place.

Source: Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord | Advent & Lenten Devotions | Goshen College,

Last year, I wrote blogpost essays about my holiday traditions. I’ll revise and update at my blog.

So far, I’ve planted my paperwhites and unboxed my advent wreath, and downloaded a few advent calendars …

And I closed my day with a walk …

I had had a busy afternoon, and originally had planned to walk earlier in the day, but then it dawned on me that a night walk would be perfect for the first day of Advent. It was still quite warm at the time of my walk, 55°; it had been 65° today, and, although it is supposed to turn colder tonight, it was quite pleasant at the time of the walk.

I had spent the afternoon running errands and then spent 2 1/2 hours with my mom. For some reason, she was fit to be tied. But after about an hour of cajoling her into a good mood, she finally yielded. At about the time that she perked up, my sister and her son arrived. There was another couple visiting their mother at the dinner table, and we had a great time talking about children and grandchildren. In the end, the late afternoon visit with my mom ended as a success.

About 6:30, I headed out to Eastminster. It was very dark walking back to the labyrinth. And I wondered if the labyrinth would be lit for the evening. I turned on my flashlight and made my way back to the labyrinth columbarium garden, intending to do a quick walk in the dark, and I mean really dark. As I entered the garden, I realized that there were a few lights and I felt greatly relieved.

This labyrinth is an Amiens style, which is a Chartres 11th-circuit that is octagonal rather than round. This is also the Labyrinth with the columbarium at the center.

As I began my walk, I heard cars racing on a nearby street. It sounded as if they were dragracing, and then I saw their headlights in the distance. There were three of them and they were definitely racing.

I looked into the beautiful night sky and saw the sliver of the moon, waxing crescent, and the church steeple in the clear night sky. It was very peaceful.

And I found this recently …

“None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.”

Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

I’m contemplating “radical hope” as referenced in the sermon at Roswell Presbyterian this morning.

Prepare Ye the way/Let’s do this! Advent blessings.


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December 2019