Greetings from St. Andrews -
the jackamani clematis in our own backyard in September
the jackamani clematis in our own backyard in September

It is now 11:52pm on Sunday, December 21st or the winter solstice. "Solstice science states: Why winter starts Dec. 21st. - while snow marks the beginning of winter for many people, the first official day of winter is Sunday, Dec. 21, known as the December solstice. It's a point in time that marks a transition in our planet's annual trip around the sun".
And believe you me we ARE having winter. The wind is howling around the house, snow is drifting across the plains, well, all around the yard, the temperature is bone-chilling cold, the window screens are full of snow driven into their little squares, and red and yellow lights flash as snowplows drive by. I am ever thankful for our shelter.

It reminds me of those around the world who have no shelters from the hardships of life or places to gather with those they love and who love them or someplace to call home - that safe haven we all need.

Even Mary and Joseph were finding life tough - no room in the Inn, turned away until the warmth of a stable with little lambs, chickens clucking, donkey's and a bed of hay in a manager brought them comfort on that long, lonely night. As we strive today to find our "life purpose" or "living our best life" - wisdom from ancient times rings true - hark, hear the angels sing, fear not, and take the time to look into the night sky for that shining star. Today this star is shining on our Christmas tree with the wonderful gifts of the spirit. Just imagine that there are nine beautifully wrapped gifts under your tree. Each box holds something special. These packages are nine gifts available to us from God - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I review the problems in the world - and feel sad that we have forgotten the simple truths of life. I think about the world economic crisis and say, I fear not and frankly, think that this is our 21st Century Wake Up Call. We've been ignoring the realities and now, we have been given the opportunity to build the world of NOW being mindful of what is important.

That is why I began my mindfulness journey this year with signing up for Yoga. My heart health - both my physical and spiritual heart were feeling really
G R E A T. I wanted my body to feel better too. Less than one year later Yoga is now twice a week which has unleased within me a strengthening of my mind/body connection. I do Yin and Yang Yoga. I have lost weight which translates turning body fat into muscle. I lie on my back and lift my leg staring at this shapely appendage whose hip rotation is lively and quick (knees are still groaning) and grin with glee that this little shapely leg belongs to me! There are many positions that we do and the one titled swan I call dead duck. I am ever so slightly swan-like on my right side!!

What Yoga has given me is an appreciation for me, just as I am and its variations in this moment and moment-by-moment from January until this December. I am in awe of what I have accomplished with mindfulness, listening to my body and what it can or cannot do. I hear the voice of Jo, our instructor, saying and "now to this pose or whatever works for you, perhaps it is only in your mind" and some days it is only in my mind. Session- by- session with the patience of time my arms now stretch around my shoulders able once again to hug myself in appreciation. I am taller if not in statue in my belief in myself and gratitude for a little town with someone like Jo who shares her wisdom with her flock of yoga students.