Awaken Love, JOY and PEACE From a Box

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.

“•Agnes M. Pahro


Aging in Place

Somehow the mystical magic of the Holidays appears (if you are awake to it), even in the midst of being bludgeoned with commercialism.

The other day I was opening a small box of some glitter cloaked letters my mother loved to display each season. Silver and gold sparkling J O Y / P E A C E became a familiar aesthetic around our celebrations.

My mother was the MOST creative and artistic being I’ve ever encountered–she had a different kind of filter on the world. Special events like Christmas were showcases for her, as she would go into creative mode and dazzle everyone’s senses with delight and awe.

As a child it just seemed normal to witness such stunning displays of genius each year. I frankly took it for granted–until we visited other homes with pedestrian out-of-the-box holiday décor. I was aesthetically spoiled; each gift was wrapped with such artistry it was nearly sinful to unwrap. I was fortunate beyond measure.

Christmas Magic

As I opened the small box with my mother’s beautiful cursive writing on the outside “Holiday letters” I encountered a cut-out Santa card inside: TO Zita (my mother) FROM Santa, written in my Aunt Ann’s equally beautiful cursive. All these years I didn’t realize the glittery letters were a gift from my aunt to my mother.

They are both gone now, and sadly the Holidays are missing their essential ingredients–but the magic must continue. . .


In the spirit of my mother’s creativity and my Aunt’s Love, I took a salvaged plank of wood (retrieved from the Columbia River), painted it with one coat of GOLD spray paint, then sprinkled some of my Aunt’s ashes on the surface (see the course texture on the plank surface) and coated it with a second spray of paint.

Next I hung the SPARKLING letters J O Y on the board, added silver stars. Now my Aunt and Mother will be joining our celebration in a special and creative way; Love never dies, it just changes shape and form.

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…

~ Joni Mitchell / BIG YELLOW TAXI

Happy Holidays!



RIVER by Joni Mitchell

*Author note: Perhaps you too have ashes of a loved one and could create a Holiday meaningful object with them as well.

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