December 24, 2013

Merry & Bright

The world around you suddenly becomes the Kingdom of the Snow Queen. The trees are covered with crystals and everything at first sight looks like a fairy tale. You can't stop exploring the beauty of the iced branches shining on the light. Then, you step outside and realize the ground is an ice rink and every single step is like being on skates. You better stay home and don't go outside. But, then the electrical power is gone and no one can't promise it will be coming back soon. On the contrary, the battery powered radio, the only connection with the world at this point, warns you to brace for the possibility of being without power for about 76 hours and more... And tomorrow is Christmas...  
The nasty ice storm that hit Toronto this past weekend brought down the power lines and left hundreds and thousands of households without electricity. Our home was one of them. We stayed more than 24 hours without hot water and heat, without phones and Internet, no cookies in the oven, no lights on the Christmas tree; all our plans destroyed...
As I am writing right now, I am thinking of the fact that our modern society depends on electricity to function more then ever and it's difficult to imagine life without it. But Mother Nature is too wise that she always finds ways to make us pause and pay attention to the basic needs in life, to remind us not to take single things for granted and think of a more healthy way of living and giving back in the world. What I experienced during this blackout was the warmth of the family playing together board games and cards on candles, laughing and sharing stories around the kitchen table, gazing at the moon through the frosty window, painting the handmade wooden ornaments in white, checking frequently on our ill neighbour left alone since his wife is in the hospital with a broken leg, thinking of those who don't have shelter... Frankly, at first we thought Christmas without power would suck, but then as we recollected the most beloved H.C. Andersen's story "The Little Match Girl", we reflected on the time when people celebrated the true spirit of the holidays in the most humble, sincere and giving way...
Not with the lights on the trees and roofs, but the light that is already inside of your heart.
Not only with the holiday feast on your table, but with food giving to others. Not with songs coming from the TV or CD player, but songs sang with your own voice.
Not only with the gifts under the tree, but with the gift of gratitude for everything and everyone in your precious life, for your normal, peaceful and meaningful day, with the gift wrapped up in faith that miracles come in moments...

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. “
~Charles Dickens

Wherever you are, whatever language you speak, whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope your day is warm, filled with light, peace and LOVE!   
Thank you to all of you who help me rekindle the light inside of me at times it goes out.

                           Have a Merry and Bright Holiday!

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  1. Bless you, bless you , bless you, dear sister. You are a miraculous human being, do you know that? This post brought tears to my eyes, precious Sylvia.
    I am sorry that Toronto, that you have had to deal with some of Mother Nature's fury...but you are blessed with a heart that "sees". You and your family made the best of the situation, and I must say I am very relieved that you have your power and heat back.
    Thank you for everything you do and for everything you are.
    Merry Christmas, dear one...
    Oh, and your photos are absolutely dreamy....
    Sending love and many hugs,
    - Irina

  2. Ich wünsche Dir im Kreise deiner Lieben ein wunderschönes, gemütliches Weihnachtsfest und einen guten Rutsch, Gesundheit und Glück fürs Jahr 2014. Ich freue mich schon darauf auch im nächsten Jahr wieder einiges auf deinem Blog miterleben zu dürfen.
    Viele, herzliche Grüße aus der Windmühle

  3. Sometimes there are beautiful surprises wrapped up in what may at first seem a difficulty.
    Merry Christmas, Sylvia! Stay warm & happy!

  4. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Sylvia !


  5. Such a heart-warming, beautiful message so eloquently expressed. Thank you!!!

  6. My dear friend, I am at the Phoenix airport waiting to connect to Minneapolis; I heard about the storms and wondered about my friends up in Canada.

    No matter what the situation, you always have a way of salvaging the beauty and presenting it to us. This post is full of your optimistic lens, your heart. I am tired but I had the best time in an 85 degree climate on Christmas, and I wouldn't change it for anything.

    Wishing you peace as you all pick up the pieces of this storm, and make memories once again. LOVE! Anita

  7. I love your photos and always enjoy visiting here, Sylvia. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

  8. I can't tell you how much joy reading your post was today dear Sylvia! To read your grateful heart and know that you are one of those special people who can find the good in any situation. I could only hope to have such grace in finding myself in the same situation. The beautiful quote from my favorite book was also included here and it truly is one of my favorites. Your photos are always pure magic and getting to know you has been such a treat this past year. Here's to a wonderful New Year!!!
    much love...

  9. What a beautiful and brave holiday story with such lovely photos! Happy New Year to you and stay warm.


    When I see your name in my comments page, I get so happy. Dear one, I had the best time in California with my small but mighty family! We danced and sang, made music and laughed so hard while we were together. I came home to snow here in Minnesota, and hurt my back while shoveling! Oh well....

    May your 2014 be filled with hope, goodness and perfect love! See you again, Anita

  11. each post is like a magical storybook. your thoughts and photos capture our hearts and imaginations. thank you so much, Sylvia, for allowing us into your life. Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!

  12. What a beautiful Holiday story! Sounds like you had the best holiday surrounded by your family May 2014 bring you and yours lots of love, joy, happiness and lots of health .My name is Gilda.

  13. Living in B.C., we wondered and worried about what kind of Christmas our fellow Canadians in your area would be having with all the ice storm effects. Thank you for sharing what we hoped would happen - a truly meaningful and memorable Christmas despite the storm. Love your décor and photography!
    Happy New Year!


  14. Sylvia, found your blog from Common Ground ~ Thank you for sharing and for your beautiful photos.. I will be following your lovely blog and I wish you the best for 2014


  15. Oh how I love that creamy white and beige tone to your images my dear Sylvia! Every time I come here, I do feel the peace of your world. Thank you for coming by to visit me, and may your new year truly start off as a year of goodness and continued growth.

    It has been so wonderful to know you and OH! THANK YOU FOR THE CARD! Many hugs and thanks and so much joy to you! Anita

  16. I hope that you yourself had a wonderful Christmastime also. It's such a wonderful time of the year and the photo's you've share reflexes that so beautifully. I'm stopping over from The Be Inspired party at Common Ground and will be following you now on bloglovin. Can't wait to see what the new year will bring for you and your blog.

  17. Sylvia, I read your last few posts
    last week, but internet difficulties
    kept me from commenting. I had
    to pop back over today to let you
    know that your friendship is such
    a sweet gift to me. I hope the warmth
    and sunshine in Panama made up
    for those cold hours without electricity
    on December 23rd....although it sounds
    like you didn't let that get you down : )

    Love & hugs,

  18. Just stopping by to say hello, sweet Sylvia! Hope all is wonderful, dear one...
    Hugs to you,
    - Irina

  19. So beautiful! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

  20. Suzanne of Simply Suzannes at Home

    Your posts and photos are always so calming, beautiful, and inspirational.
    I find myself peacefully sighing with delight.
    I hope that this New Year has brought you happiness.
    Sending warn hugs,


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