The Full Moon and Me
Moonbeams lit up our little corner of the world Sunday night. The sky was dark, but the light made shadows as Finnegan MacCool and I walked.
I guess that’s why the Native Americans named it The Snow Moon. We had no snow to sparkle here on the Texas Gulf Coast, but I remember how the ground glistened when there was.
Read more about Native American full moon names here. It’s fascinating.
Every time there’s a full moon I think of a rhyme my Irish grandmother taught me as a wee little girl, I See the Moon.
I see the moon, the moon sees me,
God bless the moon and God bless me:
There’s grace in the cottage and grace in the hall;
And the grace of God is over us all.
She also told me the man in the moon would hear me. I remember that too. I wasn’t lonely. Not with my Finn along, but I thought of Carl Sandburg’s words.
The next full moon – called the Worm Moon or Lenten Moon – will be at its peak on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at 7:40 a.m. ET.
Don’t miss the opportunity to go out and chat with the man in the moon.
Instead of Resolutions
It’s that season again. Time for New Year’s resolutions and goal setting.
I set objectives every new year. It’s a holdover from my teaching days and another name for goals. Sometimes I achieve my objectives. Sometimes I don’t.
The fact is, too many of us end up in a mire of guilt, weighed down by our failure to meet our expectations.
Many years ago, Juliet Marillier offered what she called magic wand gifts to use instead of goals and resolutions. Ideas that would help increase productivity and creativity.
I’ve adapted her list below. They’ll be my objectives this year.
- Feel the wind in your hair, the rain on your skin, the sun on your back, the richness of freshly turned soil underfoot or in your hands. Plant some flowers or veggies in pots if you don’t have gardening space. Take regular walks and use your five senses to experience nature.
- Have more social interaction, and I don’t mean online! Online socializing is not great for physical or mental health. Make the effort to go out to coffee with a friend once a month or once a week, join a book club, walk your dog at the park, and meet like-minded people in person.
- Write or do whatever you do because you love it; love whatever you do. Because otherwise what’s the point? Life’s short. Enjoy the ride.
- Realize motivation for getting on with things – your work in progress, your diet/exercise plan – does not come from the note on the fridge, but from deep within you. Change your mindset. Do the right things not because you ought to, but because you want to.
- Most importantly, take time to breathe. Stop whatever you’re doing periodically. Step away, go outside and breathe slowly for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed at how your perspective can change.
If you’re not one to set goals or resolutions or even if you do, give Marillier’s magic wand gifts a try this year.
You can read the full blog here.
An Irish Christmas Blessing
As this year rolls to an end, it’s time for Chicken Wrangler Sara and me to begin our annual holiday break.
Before we leave, we want to offer a special holiday greeting to our blog community and let you know how much your thoughtful comments have brought pleasure. Thank you for being a part of our community all these ten years.
We leave you with an Irish Christmas Blessing to keep you through the holiday season.
See you back right here in the New Year with more thoughts and views from the front porch and Miller farm. Until then enjoy the archive posts.
Christmas Carols – The Holly and the Ivy
Christmas tunes are everywhere this time of year. One of our family traditions is to gather around the piano and sing holiday songs. I love sharing the origins of the songs we sing.
“The Holly and the Ivy” is one that’s not heard much, though it dates to medieval times. It has an interesting history and staunchly Christian words set to a haunting melody.
There are five verses of the carol. You can read all the words here. I’m sure you’ve heard it. This is the first verse with the refrain to refresh your memory.
The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing in the choir
The history behind the carol: Holly and ivy were gathered along with mistletoe and other evergreens to decorate churches, houses, and streets at Christmas as early as the 16th century and probably before. Their shiny green leaves brim with life throughout the winter when most other plants and trees are leafless making them perfect for decking the halls for the holiday.
It may be a relic of pagan midwinter celebrations with the evergreens symbolizing rebirth, the return of the light, and the greening of the landscape in spring. Holly with berries and mistletoe are still used as Christmas decorations.
The words appear in the early 18th century Broadsides printed lyrics, but not the tune. Most likely because different melodies, with local modifications, passed between generations as part of the oral tradition.
One of several carols from medieval England, “The Holly and the Ivy” tells of the rivalry between holly and ivy for mastery of the forest. The holly “bears the crown” so wins the contest; perhaps that’s why we hear no more about the ivy.
Holly was seen as a masculine symbol because of its stouter prickly leaves and ivy is a feminine symbol with its softer leaves. The carol may, therefore, hold a gentle reference to the difficulties of relationships between men and women. The seasonal Christian message is clear in how the song’s words tell the story of Christ’s life interwoven with the life of the holly tree.
Verse 2: “The holly bears a blossom as white as the lily flower” refers to the white flowers Holly produces in late spring. The white signifies the purity of Mary and Jesus.
Verse 3: “The holly bears a berry as red as any blood” refers to Christ’s blood.
Verse 4: “The holly bears a prickle as sharp as any thorn” refers to the crown of thorns.
Verse 5: “The holly bears a bark as bitter as any gall” is another reference to the crucifixion.
The most popular version was first published in 1911. Folksingers popularize the carol in the fifties and sixties. It continues to be a much-loved, traditional Christmas carol immersed with Christian and pre-Christian symbolism.
Enjoy this version by folksinger Judy Collins.
Irish Thanksgiving Blessing
From our house to yours this Thanksgiving Day…
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
I am not sure there is a rougher week for teachers than the week of Halloween. And if Halloween is on a Monday, as it was this year, the week stretches into almost two weeks.
Our Fall Festival was on Friday then they had a Haunted House at the school on Monday evening. We are still feeling the effects two days later.
In times like these, I find myself doing more correcting than cheering.
As I greeted students this morning, I noticed one of my “happy notes” in the outside pocket of a backpack. These are just small pieces of paper with a positive message that I hand out to kids who have done a good job in music. It made me smile. I forget how much it means to students to be recognized.
In a culture that gives trophies for everything, sometimes just a small note can make a huge difference.
I am determined to look for students doing a good job from now on. It is an important reminder as we head into more weeks of craziness between now and Christmas.