Dazzling Hope

Christmas Mouse Ornaments Tree Watercolor Illustration

For our final November prompt of “Decorations,” I ended up with a little mouse marveling at shiny holiday ornaments. As we head into the month of December, I do hope you’ll join us for our “Happy Holidays” art challenge as well! If you’ve followed along with my posts over the years, then you probably already know that I adore this time of year the most. I turn into a kid again and start counting down the days to Christmas while decking out my home in sparkling lights and lots of decorations. No matter what’s happening in the world outside, that glitter of light continues to fill me with happiness while shining a beacon of hope for the future. It’s nearly impossible to gaze at twinkling lights without experiencing a glow in my heart. I’m transported back in time, reliving memories of hot chocolate, candy canes, and teddy bears. Though there were cool gifts I remember receiving, the experiences of being with my family are what I cherish most. Being in a room full of sparkling lights while the fireplace crackles, providing extra percussion to the music playing on that record player in the corner. And, time stopping for just a moment to remind me that life is essentially good and beautiful.

Philippe and I finished putting up all of our decorations for the season and have been immensely enjoying the magical new environment we’ve created. Even our aging and often cranky dog Phineas has grown a touch more mellow and seems to be enjoying the season as well. So, the three of us can now cuddle up to enjoy the quiet beauty, like we’re being transported inside a snow globe. While there are some new additions to our decorations each year, I still love the cherished items that we purchased together more than a decade ago. A set of four white ceramic votive holders spell out the word “Noël” as an Eiffel tower ornament hangs gleaming on the tree next to a rather ridiculous facsimile of a U.S. Passport covered in glitter. A warm reminder that though our journey together as a couple hasn’t always seemed probable, love can indeed make the most incredible things possible. Inside this glow, each little light becomes a symbol of new possibilities, like a sky full of stars just waiting for that next wish.

This is why I love the holiday season. In just a couple of days, I’ll be reunited with my family and will get to enjoy holiday traditions that I haven’t experienced in a couple of years. While much of life is nothing like it was in the past, there are still things that never change. These are the things that fill me with faith that even during stressful times, there is always light to be found. As the clock ticks down another year, I would like to take a moment to wish you joy and happiness this season. No matter what traditions you follow, one thing is always certain. This is the time of year to celebrate love and family. There is much we can’t control in our ever-spinning world, but even through the most chaotic times those two things will always prevail. So, as the candles are lit and light fills the room, I hope you’ll always hold that joy in your heart. Anything is possible when you let in that ray of light that seems so small at first, but soon blazes into an incredibly wondrous and brilliant feeling of dazzling hope.

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Christmas Mouse Ornaments Tree Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
17 Comments
  1. writerleenda 4 months ago

    Charlie you are a poet at heart, those beautiful words — I feel your love and happy wonder. I know the three of you will have an incredible Christmas. Enjoy and give thanks!

    Done with my editing I mean decorating after six days changing things around on the poor little tree. I got it though. Except that today I had to fix a branch gap.

    Who knows what tomorrow brings….

    • Marisela Delgado 4 months ago

      Feliz Navidad, Linda! Decorating your tree sounds wonderful! 🎄⛄🎄⛄

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much!! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this post. Glad to hear your holiday editing is coming along! hehe I hope you have a beautiful season ahead!

  2. Mary Roff 4 months ago

    Beautiful reminder of what makes the holiday so special and that little mouse looks like he has mischief on his mind. Sweet!!!
    Have a wonderful visit with your family!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Hehe… a little mischief at the holidays can also be fun! lol Hope you have a lovely season!

  3. Marisela Delgado 4 months ago

    Hola, Charlie! Such beautiful words. It’s the simplicity of life like a cozy evening at home or a hug from someone missed or watching Christmas lights that truly is most valuable. Not a new car or giant house or being a social media giant and so on. It boils down to where you belong, who you belong to, and being content with your life. Not how much you own or worse, what owns you. Aaaahhh, I just got choked up. I’m going to speak my truth. I have been struggling lately. I don’t dread December, but it has caused me to wince in pain when I think about it. It’s been a sharp stab to my heart. Okay, now I’m crying. You see, I had hoped that I would be in a much better place than where I am and have been for 8 and a half years: physically broken, in pain, living in the debris that is left of my life. Last year, I looked up into the night sky and prayed, hoped, wished, dreamed that THIS Christmas things would be better. Like you, I hoped for the simplicity of life, nothing fancy, no big house, no fame. Just standing on better ground, a place for me to decorate my little tree and my little life. I’ve been waiting to exhale for a long time. Having to repeat the last 8 years again just makes me sad and I don’t want to be sad at Christmas. Putting my hopes and dreams on the shelf for ONE MORE YEAR……ugh, it just hurts. Having to wait ONE MORE YEAR makes me wince in pain and it makes me cry. 🏵 Okay, okay. I am okay. Nothing to worry about. It’s just my truth. Anyway, Charlie, such a great fireside chat again. I will be waiting for that hug to make it down to San Antonio via air mail. 😂😂😂 I may not be where I want to be or where I want my life to be, but I sure have met such beautiful people, who in turn have become my beautiful new friends. People who I might not have met otherwise. People like you and my jungle travelling friend, Mugdha. 💜💜💜 Is that what dazzling hope looks like? 😀

    • writerleenda 4 months ago

      Marisela you must find someone there to talk with and get some help. The best way to heal is to come out of yourself by helping others. Find some volunteer work in the community. The Catholic church is always looking for helpers. Seniors alone always need companionship and there are agencies set up for volunteer visiting etc. Daycares use volunteers. The only way to come out of yourself and the misery is to reach out to others and help them. In helping others (loving your neighbour) you fill your own soul.

      Pursuant to that, try not to use occasions (Christmas, Easter, birthday etc) as markers for your journey becasue then you might give up just before the miracle, as the famous saying indicates.

      The only one who can change your life is you. God will get you there. Ask. Seek. Find. Doors open.

      The tree finally did what I told it to. Now I can go edit the world…?

      • Marisela Delgado 4 months ago

        Thanks, Linda, but it was just a sad day and nothing more. It’s been a long wait for me and I’m tired of being in physical pain. I’m not on the verge of a breakdown or anything like that. It’s just been a long and painful road and I needed a good cry. I know that the Lord is faithful and that His will is at hand. I’m just tired is all. I always forget that people read my comments, but I appreciate your concern and your suggestions. Yeah, with a new variant out and about, I’m not volunteering anywhere.
        Just say a prayer for me. I know the Lord is in control and He will release me when the time is right. I think you’re right: my miracle may be closer than I think. The Enemy always wants us to give up just before victory.
        Happy news on the tree! We saw a Mexican themed Christmas tree yesterday and it was so beautiful!

        • writerleenda 4 months ago

          Hmm. Get a notebook and a good pen, the kind you can’t feel in your hand and then take the cap off, helps us write faster and under creative brain. Write all this kind of stuff into the journal. Yes I forgot about the pandemic when I said do volunteer work, oops. Take care.

          • Marisela Delgado 4 months ago

            Finding a good pen has been a lifelong mission. haha haha I do need one because I write a lot of letters. By the way, I shared this with Charlie. I had a couple of friends ask about seeing a picture of me. I don’t use social media and I don’t have a blog so no photos of me exist online, but an interview of me does. Our local news anchor interviewed me and it’s online. You can search for it, if you like so you can see who I am. You don’t have to. Search “Marisela Delgado” and “The Lost Art of Letter Writing.” The news station’s website is KSAT.com It’s a short video. I was fresh into my injury and by the time I drove home I was in brutal pain and ended up in the emergency. I had zero makeup on and I don’t know what happened to my hair, but I thought it was cute. It just didn’t translate through tv. haha haha
            Linda, thank you so much for your concern and kind words. 💜 Sending you warm hugs. We’re melting down here; humid and near 80*F every day. All of my plants are blooming. 🏵🌺🌻

    • Mugdha 4 months ago

      Hey Marisela!

      Cheer up my friend! Don’t think of this as one more year of your dreams being put on the shelf. Think of it as the very last time it’s happening! I know things look very dreary and uncertain again but just keep telling yourself what the kids in The Secret Garden told themselves – Magic is in Me! Coz I know for certain that magic truly does come to all those who look for it. Sending you a warm hug and a big mug of hot chocolate to cheer you up. 🙂

      Love,
      Mugdha

      • Marisela Delgado 4 months ago

        Awww, you’re sweet, Mugdha. Thanks for your email and your concern. And I will take you up on the hot chocolate. Yum!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      That’s exactly what dazzling hope looks like! Good friends are always a wonderful thing! 😃💕 And thanks for sharing your truth… it’s never easy when we know we have to wait on getting our dreams. But, I’ve always found that if it’s a really good dream, it’s always worth the wait. And what we have now, in this moment, even if it doesn’t amount to anything close to that beautiful dream, there’s always something beautiful to cherish. Like this virtual hug that I’m sending your way!! ❤️

      • Marisela Delgado 4 months ago

        Aww, Charlie, you’re always so sweet to me. It was just a sad day and I needed a good cry. I always forget that people read my comments. 😂😂😂 I’d been feeling sad about “missing” Christmas and then my mother and I visited this antique/knick knack boutique and, Charlie, they had a beautiful Mexican themed Christmas tree! They had mini donkey and mini pinata ornaments and little mariachi hats. It was so colorful and festive. And then it made me sad. 🏵 Thank you for your kind and wonderfully sweet words. And your warm hug. Yes, you have definitely been a beautiful blessing that unexpectedly entered my life. Through you, I got a double blessing with Mugdha, too. Thank you for understanding. 💜

        • writerleenda 4 months ago

          Marisela the pen I use is a PaperMate 0.8 F . There are two hearts atop each other between Paper and Mate. I use the black ones, with the cap off. I will look for the video.

  4. Mugdha 4 months ago

    Hello Charlie,

    Happy December!!! Like you, I love the Season too and I always go back in time to my first real Christmas – my first year in NY! Everything was new to me and looked a million times more wondrous through 8 year-old eyes. 🙂 I still try to look at things with the same wonder and most of the times I do succeed. And thanks to you & Doodlewash, I got to look at watercolors again with the same wonder and feeling of “I probably can do this!” I stumbled upon a Watercolor Advent Calendar Challenge on YouTube and have decided to give it a try. They’re tutorials so hopefully my little sketches will look better. Will keep you posted…

    Love,
    Mugdha

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      That’s so wonderful to hear! Sounds like it’s going to be a fun month of creating ahead for you! 😃💕 Yay for keeping that wonder of a child, and the constant courage. Little kids assume everything they create is an instant masterpiece. I don’t see why we adults should ever feel differently about our work! Hugs to you, my friend!

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