Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Wrap-Up

Hi everyone,
It sure felt weird not writing posts daily and not visiting other blog sites (well, not much anyway--I did peek at a few here and there). But I sure needed the break.

Our Christmas was non-traditional. On Christmas Eve, we took an 88-year-old friend who'd just had cataract surgery out for dinner, then drove through Albuquerque's Old Town and other neighborhoods decorated with luminarias. For those of you who don't know (I'd never heard of this tradition until I moved to New Mexico), luminarias are small brown bags filled with sand. A candle is placed inside, and the bags are placed on lawns, along curbsides, on rooftops, etc. When all the candles are lit, it is a beautiful sight. When this is done on most houses in a neighborhood, it is magical.

Christmas morning, hubby and I took off on a five-hour drive to Carlsbad, New Mexico. That evening, we got on a small boat for an hour-long tour on the Pecos River, where those who live in the big houses that line the shore decorate with Christmas lights that are truly spectacular. Unfortunately, the only restaurant open on Christmas Day was a Chinese buffet. It wasn't bad food. Just not a normal Christmas dinner. But hey, who's normal anyway?

We spent the next day in Carlsbad Caverns, one of the wonders of the world, in my humble opinion. The elevator takes you 750 feet down into Mother Earth. There, formations of stalactites and stalagmites take your breath away. I found myself walking through the cave apologizing to Mother Earth for what we've done. It became a meditation. We took a special tour of a part of the cave that is not lit by electricity. We carried lanterns lit by a candle. At one point, the candles were extinguished. The total blackness and utter silence was difficult for some, but for me, it was an experience of complete inner peace.

New Year's Eve with our folkdance community has been our tradition for the past 8 years or so. We have a potluck dinner, a talent show, then dance our way into the New Year. At midnight, we stand in a circle, arms gathered around one another, and sing Auld Lang Sine. It is a gentle way to usher in a new time.

How did you ring in the New Year?



L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wow, that sounds like a lot more fun than my holiday...

I'd never seen luminaries until I lived in ABQ, either. I really miss them.

Glad you're back, Karen!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Wished I'd spent the holidays with you! Sounds wonderful!

Tamika: said...

What a memorable holiday! Thanks for sharing the highlights, especially the luminaries. You may see that in my WIP, setting is in Juarez Mexico.

Our New Year was great, hubby preached that night at a church out of town.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

That sounds like a lot of fun! And I love the new profile pic of you!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jen Chandler said...

Hi Karen! Happy new year and welcome back. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas and new year's eve. You don't see many luminaries in Georgia and the ones you do see are usually ceramic imitations. I love the idea of the folkgroup! I'm going to have to find one of those to join :)

Happy Monday,

PS: Love your new picture!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I hadn't realized how much I would miss visiting all these blogs and reading everyone's posts! It's great you're back! My New Year was unexciting. We watched a Harry Potter movie (the second one - I have a thing for Kenneth Branagh) and went to bed.

I'm glad you had a great holiday; and who's to say it's non-traditional? Traditions have to start somewhere.


Helen Ginger said...

Haven't been to Carlsbad in years, but love them! I also love the new picture of you. Woo-woo.

It sounds like a wonderful Christmas to me.

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like a great holiday. Not sure I could've gone down 750 feet below the earth!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Glad you enjoyed your break. It sounds like you had a fun,non-traditional holiday. We celebrated the new year very quietly - a wonderful dinner with our family, went home and watched the ball drop on TV, drank a glass of champagne and went to bed.

N A Sharpe said...

Hi Karen,

Sounds like had an awesome holiday season. I've seen the caverns - they are breath-taking. My holiday was quiet - family spread out this year dealing with different weather conditions (we are in Florida--one of the few eastern states not covered in snow!) Got the very exciting news that my youngest niece and her husband are expecting - what a wonderful Christmas surprise!

~Nancy, from Realms of Thought

Anonymous said...

I spent my New Year's Eve the same way you did. Thanks for leading "If I Had A Hammer." That was fun.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Now that trip to Carlsbad sounds like my kind of fun. A great idea.

Our New Year's Eve was a cozy one at home in keeping with our resolve to relax away the holidays this year. It was a good plan.

I hope you have a wonderful 2010, Karen.