As we slide into the holidays and sweep towards the new year, events are in a swirl and spiraling mostly downwards it would appear, at least in Washington, DC where I live.

Photo Credit: Julia Malone

Stop! A voice insists in my head.

Pause. Watch. Listen.

Turn off the car radio, the tv news, the commentators, the politicians, at least for a moment.

Go to the park. Or to the country. Allow space to receive other thoughts.

Hear the wind rustling through a green bush at the edge of the parking lot.

See the wind knocking off the last leaves of a tree.

Watch the flag, still at half mast, saluting the wind.

Remember the three-year-old on stage last night at the community theater, trying to keep up and match steps with the older children.

Enjoy the three dogs—black, blonde and brown retrievers—running across the open field.

Hear the carols:Sleigh bells ringing…Lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you…”

No sleighs in Washington, but the carols ring out, and traditions wrap around in old words and sentiments even as new words—”border wall, shutdown, impeachment, resignation, fraud, lies”—fill the public discourse.

Time to get out of town?

Or just time to pause, watch, listen and try to see and hear other harmonies.

Giddy up! Giddy up! Let’s go. Looking for the Wonderland of Snow!

Happy holidays to All!


  1. O'Hagan Malcolm on December 23, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    And don’t forget to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

  2. Eugene Schoulgin on December 23, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Dear Joanne,
    Thanks for your Christmas thoughts and your reminder to make time for reflection. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and your family from a cold and starsparkling little Christmas eve in the winter paradise of Røros


    • JoanneLA on December 23, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Merry Christmas to you too in your Norwegian home on Christmas Eve. I have a picture in my minds eye of reindeers flying!

  3. Solveig Eggerz on December 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    So beautiful! Thank you.

  4. Gail O on December 23, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Wére doing just as you recommend!
    Wish you and the family blessings of the season. Just posted our walk in the woods on FB.

  5. Elizabeth Starcevic on December 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Thank you Joanne for the lovely wishes and the reminder that we need to slow down and see the beauty that surrounds us.
    Life is very difficult for so many in the world and we are fortunate to be able to walk and enjoy lovely trees and sun and clouds.
    Happy holidays to you and to everyone in whatever they are and however they celebrate or not.
    Abrazos, Elizabeth

    • JoanneLA on December 23, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      Thank you, All! A walk in the woods, on the beach, a thought captured and shared…

  6. Jane frieman on December 23, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    You always make such sense, Joanne.
    Thank you.
    X jane

    • Joanne Leedom-Ackerman on December 23, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks, Jane. Happy holidays!

  7. Chiara on December 24, 2018 at 7:05 am

    thanks dear Joanne
    always meaningful…sometimes we need silence also because it’is embarassing to talk …the public discourse offends my feelings, everywhere.
    55 years ago I was an exchange student in Ohio, this year my daughter’s son is living the same experience in Texas…we all have changed a lot!
    love to you and your family

    • JoanneLA on December 24, 2018 at 9:09 am

      And to you, Chiara!

  8. Marita Golden on December 24, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Thanks Joanne, just what we all need, the photos are lovely and the thoughts heart warming, best the you and your family

    • JoanneLA on December 24, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Warm wishes for a happy holiday to you and yours and a more inspired new year for us all!

  9. Pati on December 24, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Thank you, Joanne for your lovely thoughts, perfect for this time. Have a blessed holiday!

    • JoanneLA on December 24, 2018 at 10:50 am

      Thank you, Pati, and a new year seen with wonder through the eyes of our children and inspired by the wisdom we know exists in us all.

  10. Vjollca Shtylla on December 25, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Thank you, Joanne, but such meaningful and beautiful greetings! May wisdom and peace prevail in the coming year.

    • JoanneLA on December 26, 2018 at 7:26 am

      And warm wishes to you and your family, Vjollca.

  11. Karen Kistler on December 26, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Oh Joanne,

    Thank you for this timely reminder that peace and joy can be found anywhere around us.
    Words from an old carol come to mind “how silently, how silently [a] wondrous gift is given.”

    • Joanne LA on December 26, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Yes, another meaningful carol and thought to remember. Happy new year!

  12. Sally Howell on January 1, 2019 at 1:07 am

    Dear Joanne,

    Just now reading this as a new year is about to begin- appreciating the quieting thoughts and the beautiful landscapes, blanketed in snow. Perfect scenes of purity to end the year, and nourish a springtime of renewal.


  13. Joanne LA on January 1, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you, Sally. Warm wishes for an inspired new year.

  14. Shelley Armstrong on February 8, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Joanne,
    I saved this post and your beautiful photos to enjoy another time, and I just did!
    We all need to step away from today’s discourse, whether living in Washington, DC or in sunny Southern California, and look for ways to lift our own spirit and others as well.
    Meanwhile, one line in the Christmas song “Sleigh Ride” that you referred to sums up your thoughts – Sleigh bells ring “are you listening?”
    Love, Shelley

    • Joanne on February 8, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      Yes! Very good point, Shelley.
      Happy new year!

Leave a Comment