So, this is where November and December went, and why I’ve not been posting as often as I like to: Hiccups  have befallen our family yet again. I finally broke down and got a new computer. Just two days after it was mailed to me, our car broke down and got a new belt of some sort. Then, Carter broke down with a ghastly respiratory affliction, and just as he was getting better, I broke down from the germs Carter passed on to me. Meanwhile, we had been in the midst of packing for a trip to Florida to see Carter’s kids and grand baby…

Days later than planned, we headed off in the newly repaired car, with my newly updated computer, and several bottles of cough syrup. We arrived in Tampa, Florida, three days later, which is where we’ll be through the holidays.

Through all this upheaval, I am happy to say that our November Pipe and Prayer Ceremony came off without a single glitch. Three of us sat in my living room with the pipe resting by the wood stove. All of us had many prayers to offer, and I put a pinch of tobacco into the pipe for each of the prayers you, my dear readers, sent to me. We were all in tears as we passed the pipe. Many of the prayers coiling upward in smoke were intense and tragic. But the pipe carried them peacefully, as she always does. Her power as a sacred tool is humbling and awe-inspiring. Over the years I have carried this pipe, she has shown me that she has a personality and a calling all her own.

The Clan Mother for this holiday month is Gives Praise, and with all the mayhem of these past few weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed honoring this Clan Mother as I finished off each evening with prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving: “Spirit, thank you for keeping the car repair bill under a thousand dollars. Spirit, thank you for keeping this virus in my nose and out of my lungs. Spirit, thank you for the gift of aspirin—such a miracle!” While many of my prayers were light-hearted and silly, just as many were deep acknowledgments for the wonder of life, the opportunity to serve, the lessons learned along the way.

So, here I sit writing to you from sunny Tampa, Florida. My little granddaughter has a year of growing under her belt since I saw her last. Toby, the chi-wiener dog has grown wider if not taller. Yesterday, Toby and I surprised a young alligator in one of the lagoons that are part of this new subdivision. I suspect each “lake” has it’s own resident gator or two or three. What an unexpected sight, these alligators! Just one more Christmas miracle, I say. Spirit, thank you for these armored monsters cruising so gracefully through the pond and canals. And thank you for the gifts of chaos and upheaval, which help so much to delineate all those peaceful, healthy, abundant days in between that I sometimes forget to remember.

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