You must remember, garden catalogues are as big liars as house agents. ~Rumer Godden, China Court My relationship with gardening has been a tumultuous affair from day one, fraught with all the heights and depths of a grande amour. Mainly self-taught, my earliest attempts were characterized by rapturous perusals of garden catalogues, advertising such wonders… Continue Reading For Better, For Worse: A Love Affair with Gardening
I confess, I’ve never hit a cynical patch where Valentine’s is concerned. I’ve always loved it. And with all the rancor in the world of late, the celebration of a day devoted exclusively to love seems more endearing—and more needful—than ever. I didn’t have a Valentine until I was 24, the year Philip and I… Continue Reading Hearts and Flowers (and Chocolate!)
Every afternoon at precisely four o’clock my mother’s teakettle let off a piercing shriek. It wasn’t just background noise, or an auditory adjective amid the jostle of supper preparations. It was a signal, a summons. And my sister and I knew exactly what it meant: it was time to lay aside whatever we were working… Continue Reading Tea and Civility
Laura and I have been blessed and delighted by the warm comments, notes, messages and feedback we’ve received over this dear little Golden Hours venture. What started as a fun challenge between two friends has become a sweet community of kindred spirits. What’s more, we’ve been encouraged. Quite simply, you have put us in courage–which… Continue Reading All the Golden Hours
I’m an absolute stickler about keeping the full Twelve Days of Christmas; it’s just too great and grand a feast to confine to a few days—even a full week. I’ve waited all year for this: I’m not going to be cheated out of a single second if I can help it. That’s just the thing,… Continue Reading Keeping Christmas
I wrote this piece five years ago, but I’m re-posting it tonight for anyone who might be struggling to find hope for the New Year. Blessings, friends, and every good gift in 2017… In the twelve years that Philip and I have been married, there are only two New Years Eves we’ve spent at home.… Continue Reading The World at Night
For me, Christmas week is all about alternating between ‘pajama days’ and days with family and friends. After a full year–and a busy season of preparation for the year’s crown of Christmastide–a goodly dose of indolence and enjoyment during these blessed Twelve Days is a gift I’ve learned to give myself. I especially love this… Continue Reading Daddy’s Daddy’s Southern Eggnog
The Christmas of 1995 started for me on a frosty night in late October. I had driven up to my best friend’s house for an autumn bonfire and hayride, but when I opened the back door I was greeted with a rush of music so lovely I knew it had to belong to the Christmas… Continue Reading For the Love: a Memory in Song
I wrote this piece a few years ago, and while my heart is pierced by a loss I didn’t see coming at the time, I’m also struck by the fact that, amid a sea of changes, some things remain blessedly the same. A sweet second day of Christmas to you all! It’s been a day… Continue Reading The Light Shineth
Candy-making is one of the time-honored arts of an old-fashioned Christmas–the very notion conjures visions of nineteenth-century kitchens and copper pots and paper cornucopias stuffed with homemade treats. I’ve always been enchanted by the whole idea, if not a little intimidated. But it just would not be Christmas for me without that bubbling pot of… Continue Reading Lanier’s Gingerbread Caramels
I had been looking for them for weeks, from the first real shock of cold weather in early November, expecting at any moment to be brought up short in the midst of a day’s round by the sound that is at once the most wistful and the most exhilarating I have heard in nature. To… Continue Reading This Rush of Wings Afar
It’s been a beautiful Saint Lucia Day, and just my kind of happy: I’ve been in the kitchen since early morning, baking cookies and wrapping homemade caramels for Christmas gifts, accompanied by various cats vying for the chairs closest to the fire and an Australian shepherd only too willing to clear up the bits of… Continue Reading Saint Lucy’s Light
I took my mother to a Christmas luncheon for her widows’ group yesterday. It was held at a lovely old tearoom downtown—a real Atlanta institution—with gilted fixtures and age-spotted mirrors and crimson roses on every table. The restaurant is located in the former coach house of a magnificent Shutze mansion, and after the luncheon we… Continue Reading Fireside Clam Chowder: (Almost) Instant Hygge
It is my pleasure to announce that the winner of the drawing for a copy of Phyllis Tickle’s What the Heart Already Knows is Julie Morgan! Julie, if you will send me your mailing address via the secure Contact form, I will dispatch this wonderful book without delay! Thank you all for your warm response… Continue Reading We have a winner!
For twelve years, Laura and I have been getting together in early December to celebrate our excitement in the unfolding season—and to remind each other of our highest ideals in the midst of manifold opportunities to over-do. From the beginning we’ve called it our Advent Tea, and though the location changes from house to house,… Continue Reading Advent Tea … and a podcast!