Endings and Beginnings

The past few months have brought many changes into my life, some satisfying, some sad, and some hopeful. I’ve been locked in my studio for weeks, completing a cello concerto, and only coming out on occasion to wrap up the school semester. The concerto is complete, the cellist loves the music and now I only need to finish the orchestration and score work. More about Watershed in future posts.

MissPhylMy mother-in-law Phyllis passed away peacefully at the end of October, at home among her family. We honored her with a celebration of her life and held a burial ceremony for both her and my husband’s father during Thanksgiving week. It was both sad and joyful, and a good friend played taps beautifully at the cemetery.




The garden is quiet now, sleeping for the winter, all soft browns and grays.decGarden

My attention has turned indoors for the holidays, a season where we bring the outdoors in and celebrate the bounty of the season with food and gifts. I’m decorating the house this weekend and preparing to feed twenty people on Christmas Day, a gathering of family from near and far. As I took photos of the “woodland” tree in our family room, I thought of the recurring themes of food and bounty and gifting that is so prevalent in many cultures as the seasons turn at the winter solstice and return the light to the northern hemisphere. By whatever name you call him, whether St. Nick, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or Kris Kringle, he endures as an archetypal figure of bounty, largess, and generosity. santa

So often, he is portrayed with fruit, berries, and green leaves, the embodiment of growth and life. santa2

Our family room looks into the woods and the Christmas tree there is decorated with a woodland theme, of birds, creatures, even a glass rose – a stylized reminder of the garden and the woods that surround us all year round. (Click on any photo to view full size images)

In 2011, we made a musical Christmas card for friends and family. When our world seems so filled with strife and division, it seems fitting to return to that video for a message of love and family, as well as a photo of my in-laws at 1:55.  

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, may it be a celebration of love, forgiveness, compassion and hope. As this year comes to an end and the new one begins, I wish every good thing for you and yours.

(All photos ©2017 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)

38 thoughts on “Endings and Beginnings

  1. I’ve enjoyed this glimpse into your home, family, and Christmas! I have a friend whose Christmas decor is blue and silver. Mine is mostly red and white. Yours is so earthy and organic. How wonderful that there are no rights or wrongs in how we interpret the holiday.

  2. What a gift to die at home, peacefully, after, I assume, living a long and interesting life. I’m sure the service was a meaningful one, and best to have it done before Christmas. Not to mention the concerto – I look forward to hearing more about it. The photogrpah of the garden is very beautiful, and I’m struck by how seamlessly the transition is between indoors and out at your house – all the colors are so similar, the textures, etc. The video card is touching. It’s been a tough year in many ways, but we grow in difficult times. Here’s to 2018 being a time to rest a bit, and digest it all.

    • Lynn, it really was a gift. She was surrounded by her beloved family all day, the best possible passing. The concerto is exciting, a part of a larger project and something I will blog about next week.

      Your eye is so keen; yes, I’m very much into connecting the inside with the outside. The woodland tree echoes all of those brown and cinnamon tones of the woods at this time of the year and I enjoy looking at it while seeing the woods through the windows behind the tree.

      Have a beautiful Christmas, Lynn, full of joy that rises up independent of the world’s troubles. Peace 🙂

  3. I’m sorry for your loss, Lynn. They live on in the wonderful musical Christmas card. Thank you for sharing your gifts of music, gardening and photography with us. May your year be filled with all good things.

    • Thank you, Richard. The family will gather here on Christmas and toast our mother who has passed, a joyful and poignant moment to be sure. The cello concerto is exciting – nature based and something that fills my thoughts and dreams these days; I look forward to sharing more about it. I have so enjoyed reading your blogs and connecting with a kindred spirit – I wish you a very merry Christmas and a new year filled with joy and peace.

  4. Sorry to hear about your recent loss, always hard to part with a loved one. I enjoyed your video, a beautiful tribute. Sending you a heartfelt wish for a peaceful and love-filled holiday, Lynn.

  5. Such a serene and abundant place on earth you enjoy–Nature brimming with all its marvels–and your video was so lovely. Very beautiful tree decorations; the Santas are also wonderful. I pray for many Blessings your way .I always enjoy your posts, Lynn. May the coming year be a good adventure.

  6. The Father Christmas carol is hauntingly beautiful Lynn and I adore your tree. Have a great time with the family and I hope you get a chance to unwind and relax. I look forward to sharing you beautiful garden with you next year as it brings so much pleasure to us all.
    Jude xx

  7. Blessings on your holidays, Lynn. Your carol is just hauntingly beautiful. What a pleasure to be able to hear it, and listen more than once, and the accompanying visuals are so tender and lovely. I can imagine the bittersweet cast to your Christmas this year, and hope the presence of those only beside you in memory offers comfort. Joy to you and throughout the new year! xoxo, Kitty

    • Oh, Kitty, so wonderful to hear from you – blessings on your holidays as well. The wonderful thing is that my husband’s family is so close and they will be gathered in our house for Christmas, which will be both joyful and sad. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Kitty, and may you and yours have a joy filled Christmas!

  8. How beautiful Lynn. My sympathies to you and Bill on your loss. Always a difficult time. Thank you for sharing your Father Christmas video. I enjoyed it earlier this year the first time I heard it and even more this time. Hope you can find a little time to relax and find peace during this busy season. May God’s blessings be with you. Merry Christmas to all and special wishes to your mom.

    • Lucille, thank you for your lovely comments. “Father Christmas” is near and dear to my heart for so many reasons, and I am delighted that you enjoyed it. Love of family is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  9. First of all, and most importantly, peace to you and your family with the recent loses. It’s never easy, but we know that time is a wonderful healer. May the memories bring you warmth and smiles.

    As soon as I started reading about Santa, I immediately thought about your song – Father Time – and then to have you include it. A toast to synchronicity … and cheers for getting closer to the end of the cello composition.

    Holiday cheers and blessings to you and yours … enjoy the company!

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