Light in My Heart

Monday Morning Musings



“I like on the table,

when we’re speaking,

the light of a bottle

of intelligent wine.

Drink it,

and remember in every

drop of gold,

in every topaz glass,

in every purple ladle,

that autumn labored

to fill the vessel with wine.”

Pablo Neruda, “Ode to Wine”


“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Desmond Tutu, New York Times, March 4, 2010


“Like Dian’s kiss, unasked, unsought,

Love gives itself, but is not bought:

Her voice, nor sound betrays

Its deep, impassioned gaze.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Endymion”


My younger daughter told me it would be a birthday celebration

with her sister and her sister’s wife

(since they couldn’t be here for the one with my sisters)

a girls’ night, they’d devise

with the location to be kept unknown from me

a surprise.


We traveled down dark country roads,

my husband the designated driver,

I wondered where we were going,

But when we pulled into the Monroeville Winery driveway

I began to suspect this was going to be something more

than an evening with my daughters.

“Surprise!” my friends shouted,

as we walked through the door.

The tasting room was decorated for the holidays,

and for my birthday celebration, too,

the tables glowed with lights,

made by my daughter

from bottles the winery saved for her.


I like light on the table,

the light of a bottle

(Intelligent wine?)

Hugs and kisses all around

(I felt like I walked above the ground.)

Greeting from friends–

some I hadn’t seen in quite a while—

and that made me smile,

I felt love

unasked for, unsought,

but freely given

(or so I hope).

There were delicious treats: cheeses and dips,

a huge chocolate, chocolate cake

with chocolate frosting, too,

(Have I mentioned I like chocolate?)

and wine, of course,

poured in the barrel room

where one could schmooze a bit

with the gracious vintner

about the various selections.

I was given my birthday crown,

and daughters performed a song parody–

All of the things I didn’t know they had done

when they were children

and that they were now sorry for


We did things we regret, like shaving the heads of our Barbies

Cause we need just one more shot at forgiveness

I know you know that we hid candy maybe once or twice

By once or twice I mean maybe until all the ants arrived


So now I know,

light in the darkness

and light in my heart.


My 60th Birthday part at Monroeville Winery


We went to my niece’s house,

our traditional Christmas Eve brunch

my niece, a bit of a stressed-out mess

because we were meeting some of her

her father’s family for the first time

(it’s a long story)

“Classic family” and new family mingled

we ate

so much food

(of course)

and there were light sabers


and cookies


I baked a few cookies. This is a sample.


a Christmas challah





and love


and we lit her menorah before we left

and then she put it in her sink


because she was afraid her house would burn down–

Crazy family,

I love them so much.

There was light in the darkness

and light in my heart.


We came home to light our own Hanukkah candles

and to decorate our Christmas tree

Merry, Happy Chrismukkah!



On Christmas morning,

dark, quiet, and still,

I saw the moon


a crescent miracle of light

Jupiter and Saturn nearby,

shining brightly

and I felt hope in the darkness

and light in my heart.


We ate our traditional Christmas fondue

with Buffalo wings for the meat eaters.

We opened presents,

lit the Hanukkah candles,

and drank some wine,

drops of gold and sips of purple,

we told fart jokes and laughed

laughter and love

light in the darkness

and light in my heart



We will go to see my husband’s family

exchange hugs and presents,

and come home to fry latkes,

the house will smell like oil for days

lingering like memories,

but we will light the candles

and we will laugh

and there will be light in the darkness

and light in my heart.












34 thoughts on “Light in My Heart

  1. What a nice birthday surprise.

    Your Christmas meal won me at “Buffalo wings” – I’m there now, having driven on the 26th to see my sons & daughter for the next two days. What better place to have Buffalo wings than in Buffalo?

    For Christmas we had Bagna Cauda – last year’s was the first I’d had it. It’s totally decadent, and I really enjoyed it. Also, it’s as much a social experience as it is anything, waiting for the individual food morsels – meats, vegetables & fruits – to cook while seated around the table drinking wine and chatting. There’s a brief description at wiki –

    • Thank you, Ken! It was a very nice birthday surprise. I’m still waiting to see photos that son-in-law took.
      I’m sure your Buffalo wings were more authentic than the ones my daughter made (which were baked). They were a treat for her husband. She and I don’t eat meat, but her husband does, and he didn’t want our traditional Christmas fondue. The Bagna Cauda sounds great–similar idea. I love meals like that. I’m glad you got to see your sons and daughter, too. Enjoy that family time!

  2. …and there will be light in the darkness
    and light in my heart.

    Beautiful and inspiring words I will remember.

    Happy Belated Birthday, Merril!
    So much love from your supportive family, and how protective they are (the menorah in the sink was sweet!).

      • So glad what I said gave you happy feelings, Merril!
        I would like to check out your birthday party pictures, too. . .
        My adult children asked me not to be on FB. I am on WordPress and LinkedIn. Who knows, maybe they think I will embarrass them?! 😀
        Hope our “dread” for some of the happenings in late 2016 will somehow be balanced by good and special “blocks” which will keep the damage under control. 😉 We can hope!

      • Thanks, Robin. We will definitely hope!
        That’s funny that your children don’t mind you sharing with the world, but don’t want their friends to know what you say and do. 🙂

      • My blog streams through LinkedIn and many of their friends read my blog posts.

        Facebook~they think~ is more about personal things with 30 year olds. (Dare I say, “gossip and bragging?”)
        Poems about happy stuff are meant to be my thoughts not how they “get along.”
        My artist brother and once BGSU brother are on FB. Randy has a public page and Rich talks about trips and yes, his grandkids. Theo and he saw the Cavs play, etc. . . 🙂
        Hard to explain, but I would never talk about their problems or finances. They have friends whose parents tell me things but I wouldn’t dream of sharing them. Just the “little world of Nana” is mine!

      • I have a LinkedIn account, but I hardly ever use it–just sometimes professional stuff sometimes. There are so many types of social media now. I’m on FB mainly to connect with friends. I don’t have an author’s page.

  3. Many delights in this post. First of all, a belated Happy Birthday to you. What a wonderful celebration!

    Ah yes … wine … wine for a special occasion is one thing … but a good wine making the occasion special is also worth noting.

    Love your greeting … Merry, Happy Chrismukkah!

    Cheers! … (as I toast you with glass in hand at the moment)

    • Thank you very much for the birthday wishes and the toast, Frank! With one birthday celebration at a wine bar and the big party at a winery, I certainly had my share of birthday wine. Then there were wine presents, too! 🙂 It was fun having my girls here to celebrate birthday and Chrimukkah.

  4. Hi Merril,
    Merry, Happy Chrismukkah!
    I haven’t heard this word before but like the merging of traditions and the acceptance and tolerance entailed. I was working on a post about Christmas traditions and how they’re slipping through my grasp. I’ve realized that what I know as Christmas has long since passed and is the Christmas of my childhood. Making the same Christmas Cake recipe every year and having the fresh tree, going to Church and carol services, have helped bridge the gap. I also need my European biscuits and cakes. Yum!
    If you were going to come up with a word for the local Christmas you could call it Surfmas or beachmas.
    Also, a belated Happy Birthday. I’ll join you in a glass of wine!
    xx Rowena

    • Last year, we had Thanksgivukkah. That was really unusual, and quite something for me to cook two big holiday meals in a row. But it was fun. My husband and I don’t really have Christmas/Hanukkah traditions from when we were growing up. They’ve all come from what we’ve had with our kids, but now that they’re married, it’s a bit different. Our New Year’s Eve get together with our friends though–with one couple goes back to when we were in college.
      Happy Beachmas! 😉

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