Candlemas Day

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

Candlemas DayOn Facebook this morning people are talking about Groundhog Day. It’s also being talked about on the radio. Bright and early this morning we were being told that we were due for six more weeks of winter, but growing up we always went by what the weather was like at noon on this day. Somehow things get changed along the way without any of us knowing how or why. Who knows, maybe that was just a regional thing?

But Groundhog Day isn’t the only happening thing going on today. The 2nd of February is also known as Candlemas Day an ancient festival that marked the midpoint of winter.  Yay! We’re half-way there. Isn’t that enough to make you shout for joy? Already, you can see a big difference in the amount of daylight hours we have and I find it exciting. I love the way the longer days are becoming more noticeable. It makes me feel happy and hopeful in a way that I don’t feel any other time of the year.

From what I read Candlemas Day was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc which was called the Festival of Lights and focused on lighting fires. The lighting of fires celebrated the increasing power of the sun over the coming months, and we’re certainly feeling that!

So how did The Festival of Lights become known as Candlemas?

The church turned this pagan festival into Candlemas Day. It was the day when all the candles, that were to be used in the church during the year, were blessed. They were then distributed around and a lighted candle was placed in the window of each home. Sounds kind of nice actually. Of course, back in the day, candles were important, not only for shedding light, but people thought they gave protection against nasty things like the plague and famine. Nothing like a famine or plague to take the fun out of winter I like to say.

So while I did know this day meant we were half way through winter I didn’t know exactly why it was called Candlemas Day. Thank goodness Google can answer all our questions.

While this is totally unrelated to Candlemas or even Groundhog day, I do want to mention that there’s still time to enter a contest over at Lynn Davidson’s blog for a chance to win a copy of Steve Vernon’s YA novel, Sinking Deeper OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster. I’ve already read the book and enjoyed it a lot!  Here’s the link if you’d like to enter.

So what am I planning this Candlemas Day? Well, I’m not building any bonfires I can tell you that right away, but I may just light a candle tonight to welcome in the second half of winter. I’m also going to enjoy this sunny day and feel glad that we’re half-way through winter.

Happy Candlemas Day! Do you have any special plans for today?

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Serendipitious Moments

I’ve been known to make declarations to the Universe at least a few times in my life. Now don’t go picturing me, head drawn toward the heavens shaking a clenched fist, crying out with passion, a hot tear trickling down my cheek. Come on now folks, it’s never anything that dramatic.

Last year I made such a declaration when I completed my current novel perhaps believing it would stop me from tinkering with it once and for all. One of the hardest things for any writer is to stop fixing every little flaw in their manuscript and move onto something completely new. We go over our manuscripts with a fine toothcomb so many times we can drown ourselves with the sound of our own words. Honestly, are a few rearranged words really going to keep us from being published? I hardly believe that to be the case. Of course, writers go on the assumption that if our baby is ever accepted for publication we’ll be working with an editor to try and make it the very best book possible, so when we reach the point where we declare our novel complete it really isn’t. But that’s another post altogether.

So, to continue my story…

Most of you know I have another blog where I post photos from around the area “..way out here in Dalhousie.”  You’ll see the link over on the right side. The posts are fairly simply– a picture and a quote and little more. I don’t consider myself to have any great skills when it comes to photography, but the blog is really just me playing around.

The evening I declared to the Universe that my novel was compete the very next thing I went on to do was post a picture of a chickadee I’d taken earlier in the day at a bird feeder on my Dalhousie blog. I needed a quote and randomly typed in bird quotes to see what sites Google would bring up. I found one and clicked the link. The very first quote on the list was this:  Hold fast to your dreams because without them life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.—Langston Hughes.  I stopped cold. I knew I’d found my quote and I knew my book would be published. How? The title of my book, the one I had moments ago declared complete is — To Fly With a Broken Wing.  Pretty cool I thought. Now with this very same novel about to be published I’m reminded of this moment even more.

Now it’s difficult for me to ignore these serendipitous moments although I know many people pass them off with hardly a thought. (Coincidence, they mean nothing!) Well maybe so, but I like to think of them a signs that I’m kind of on the right track. If nothing else, they warm my heart for a time and make me smile. There absolutely nothing wrong with a heart-warming moment, nothing wrong in taking a few moments to say a simply thank you to God or the Universe (however you want to say it) for sending these serendipitous moments our way.

Do you believe these serendipitous moments come to us for a reason or they are simply nice coincidences but mean nothing else? Have you experienced any serendipitous moments lately that you’d like to share?

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