all of our braves*

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this phrase "all of our braves" was introduced to our family by a magical (be)ing that came into our life last year.  she cared for Cedar 3 hours a day 5 days a week while i worked on my ecourse and did my writing at a cafe.  she would take him on wild adventures and deep heart soul journeys and they shared a language, a language that infused itself into our hOMe and this one phrase has now filtered into my extended family.

all of our braves

this Christmas at my sister's almond orchard farm, each of us gathered "all of our braves" from time to time together under one roof for a week while being sensitive souls in our own unique way.

i observed a lot this Christmas, as i always tend to do in crowds but this holiday even more so than usual, i was feeling quiet.  i noticed in a deeper way how my parents, my sister and brother in law, niece and nephew, us and our cedar, each of us have our little quirky needs and ways.  of course these have always been there but something has shifted. what has grown between all of us in the last few years is an unspoken respect, an honoring of these ways, a gentler kindness than there was before:  an openness to accept the different.

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i wonder if this is one of the many gifts Cedar has brought into our lives. i know for me personally, honoring his needs has helped me to honor my own.  it has helped me release the shame that may have been attached to anything that set me apart from others and as i embrace me more fully, i am embraced more fully.

...and we are doing this for each other.

the one who weeps easily.  the one who feels more comfy one on one.  the one who feels pain when things are out of order.  the one whose body aches constant but chooses to be present. the one who makes inappropriate jokes to connect.  the one who hums, clicks or talks over noise.  the one who feels every emotion in the room.  the one who is allergic to fragrance.  the one who laughs when nervous. the one who needs a hiding place. and so on.

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...and i see all of us somehow functioning together and using ALL OF OUR BRAVES for a handful of days together and what comes to me is this:  kindness and openness.  each of us have become so kind and open to each other about our needs and the more we know ourselves and proclaim who we are, the more those around us can understand and love.  

we have all been through so much the last few years and with the worn out comes a wisdom and tenderness. do any of you know that old 80's song by Amy Grant called Tender Tennessee Christmas?  that is what this one felt like to me :: a Tender Orchard Christmas.

Delicious food.  Tractor rides. Belly laughs. A circle of unwrapping our gifts one at a time.  Rockets launched sky high the day after Christmas and a new wee soul growing in my nieces belly.  So many memories to tuck away.

The day me and my boys were leaving for the airport, everyone had gone and my sister's house was so quiet.  I watched my sister cradling Cedar in the big leather chair as they made goofy noises at each other.  I looked over at my dear brother in law, putting his house back in order and I could feel from him a deep exhale and I said to him "You gave us all of your braves!" and we all laughed with a deep knowing inside how much that really means.

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warm cushy hugs and wishes to you*

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Continuing with my longing for simple this year, I had so much fun wrapping with a natural theme.  I still had some brown paper and ribbon that I purchased last year from Dreamy Whites and I added jute ribbon, stamps & tags (from our local craft store).

I also got a little crafty for the ladies of our sweet village.  I gathered feathers from around our neighborhood and placed each one inside a transparent globe ornament. Galvanized tins filled with moss became a cozy little nest for them.  

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The more I allow myself to root and simplify my life, I am being drawn to crafty projects around the house.  My sister taught me to sew last year and I made a few floor pillows but I haven't sewn since and my son is always saying "Auntie DD can fix this!" if something rips (or is chewed on by our puppy).  I really want to practice sewing so that I too can fix all the torn things rather than waiting for our visits and also make pretties for our hOMe.  Then perhaps a few years from now I can gain enough confidence and experience to make some simple layered type clothing.  One baby step at a time for me.  Always.

We are headed to Northern California this early evening to spend Christmas at the almond farm.  We heard it may snow in our town while we are away and we were so sad to miss it but guess what we woke up to this morning?

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prayer flags from etsy shop Cazmira

prayer flags from etsy shop Cazmira

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What a sweet blessed Christmas gift for our wee family!!

We wish you a holiday filled with blessed surprises.  We send you warm hugs to soothe any achey bits that can come with this season (I know this time of year can make any kind of loss more hurty).  We also send you soft kisses on your cheek from deep in our belly to each of you.

We are humbled & grateful for the compassion and love that this community brings to our lives.

God/goddess bless and Namaste,
Denise, Carsten & Cedar

ps. Elvis Kitty & Salish puppy too!