We got four more inches of snow this morning. These are the days of slow moving and looking out of windows. It is slow to warm up the water. It is slow to warm up the car. It is slow to get dressed to go outside and slow to clean our boots coming back in. It fits exactly not at all with the pace of a too-busy life.

I’m not free from stress out here in my off-grid life. I never have escaped it, completely, though I think I can shield my little ones from a fair amount. A lot of this whole year I’ve balanced two precious gifts — as if holding one in each hand — the gift of living a beautiful life and the gift of sharing it with others.

This last week and next one of those hands is much too full. It’s only a moment and so we take a deep breath and just plunge in and hope we’ll make it. I’m doing all these podcasts and other interviews that I feel so lucky to be able to do. I’m sharing lots of videos and articles and stories. I’m offering up my message of hope and quiet and intentional living and I’m offering it as generously and widely as I possibly can.

I am led to do this by my conscience. I think it’s the right thing to do. Also, I get tired.

I’m so ready for Christmas. As so many of us are. Whether it’s the coming of Christ or the coming of the snow or a needed vacation, or all of the above, so many of us just could use a little bit of star-shine right about now.

I used to be a Christmas hater. Deeply a Christmas hater. Auditioning for the role of the Grinch himself. I saw all the things wrong about Christmas, especially about how we are supposed to celebrate by spending lots of money on products very possibly made in questionable circumstances. I saw all the pain around Christmas, like celebrating the holiday without someone after they’ve passed away and feeling all the traumas and dramas of family brokenness in Christmas technicolor. I saw Christmas through that lens for years.

This morning I stood in four inches of fresh snow and looked up at my tall trees and felt the deep mix of dread and delight that anybody might feel at winter in the woods. It’s absolutely beautiful. It isn’t safe. It’s wild. A snow like that kind of wipes your mind clean. It gives you another chance. I just stood there in the winter in the woods and longed with every fiber of my body for Christmas.

I need the mercy of the snow right now. I need to be forgiven for rushing too much and stretching too hard in the season of my book release. This isn’t the kind of forgiveness I can really give myself, though everyone tells me I should, and I do think that I know what they mean. It’s the kind of forgiveness that I have to receive. I can find it in prayer and I can find it in a good night’s sleep and I can find it in the wonder of deep snow and tall trees and star-shine. I can find it in a hundred places. The only thing I can’t do is make it for myself. It isn’t mine to make, or mine to steal. It’s mine to receive. And then it is mine to pass along to others.

Lots of people are wondering if we’re going to hit our marks this Christmas. Some are wondering if their party dishes and the decorations and the wrapped gifts will be done in time, or as well as they’ve hoped. In the Little House we’re wondering if we’ll pull off running water. It’s the same thing, in a way. We all face these questions, of whether we’re doing enough or feeling enough or if we’re making up our share of star-shine.

But the woods are wild. These snowy woods are my weakness and my gift. They keep me from getting anywhere on time. And they keep me from being a slave to my own ego. They keep me humble because they keep me slow. And in that humility is also saving mercy. I look up and then I look down again, and the reset button has been hit. I think I’m going to make it to Christmas after all.

Wishing you all precious moments of quiet and wisdom in this magical season and beyond. Wishing you all deep, deep grace and light, sweet snow, and the miracle of beginning again.

And again.

And again.

Love from the little house,
Esther and family.


I am still doing a daily vlog of our lives in the little house. The latest is here:

And I am doing audio recordings of the tiny stories from Twenty Tiny Stories of the Woods. These short but sweet recordings will come out each day as I get up to my book release day, which is December 13. A week from today!!!!!