sister-winter1. stand in the dark, and strike the match. (or ignite the sparkler). let it flicker first. then let it become the starting place, for the wicks in the wax, the candles in the room, the alter of your heart, the lamppost in the woods, the light that is a remembrance and a beginning.


2. drape the tree (or the headboard on the bed, or the coat rack, or the bathroom mirror, or anything really) with shiny silver tinsel. everything is fabulous with tacky tinsel.


3. love the learning, however it chooses to come.


4. take the long way. mull wine. slow cook soup. pork and tomatillos and peppers, drenched in beer and set in the oven, and ten hours later, dinner is ready.


5. new years will come. and everyone will go crazy. with resolution and resolve, big plans and big words. you don’t have to participate, if you don’t want to. you can throw away bucket lists, the i must do this before i die lists, the fear of missing out lists. if you want something, then want it. full force. until it happens for you, you make it for yourself, or the want itself changes. but the turning desire into effort filled striving is entirely optional, and you can opt out, if you want. you can also choose to let desire be a gift, all unto itself.


6. remember this. always, without fail, the sun rises every morning.


7. be a soft landing for yourself.


8. read shadows like they are street signs. like they are arrows on the map. like they are a love letter from the light.


9. take a well sick day. or a clear sky snow day. send the note to school, place the call into work, saying we are staying home today and will see you tomorrow. take naps and play games and make popcorn and stay in pajamas and later, pull on coats and boots and walk together to go eat spaghetti for dinner.


10. do something for someone else. give. simple, with no extra strings attached, or apologies it is not something else, or caveats. just give, what you have to give, freely.


11. wake up early, in the dark, before the rest of the house and world has woken. light fire. drink coffee. begin in the quiet, listening. these minutes, this hour, will change your whole day, your life, you.


12. there is something you have been wanting to say, for a long, long time. perhaps now is the time. and today, you say it.


13. believe in some kind of magic. santa clause. reindeer. immaculate conception. that people will come back home. that the oil lasts, and the light does not go out. that this world just might be good, and love you, and all you have to do is love it right back.


~Isabel Faith Abbot