State of Pray: New Hampshire Memories

A while back, Mark Koopmans  was looking for people across the country and beyond to represent their states or countries in a project called 50 States of Pray today. Here you’ll find thoughts, reflections, memories, wishes for the future or regrets of the past, perhaps something entirely unexpected, the best kind of gift. 
I’m honored to represent the great state of New Hampshire and wish everyone reading this a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
IMG_0839

The Presidential Range as seen from my mother’s kitchen window

When we were kids, we thought the first snow of the year meant Christmas. It was hard not to feel that the big day was close when all that white stuff finally came down and drifted up against our door. In New Hampshire, of course, snow can come at any time in the fall, winter, or spring and stay as long as it likes. The snow knows nothing of holidays and many times has refused to make an appearance at all.

Christmas happens anyway. In this way, Christmas is like the weather in New Hampshire. It won’t necessarily be what you expect. There are times when Christmas bites with the ferocity of the air when the wind chill factor is 25 degrees below zero. It can be the time when everything breaks down from the dishwasher or the furnace to the detente everyone tries to observe while sharing a few hours around the Christmas table. Or, it can dawn with the smell of bacon crisping and the sounds of laughter in the kitchen as siblings pour coffee and help set out breakfast. It can be the crunch of boots across the ice, the plugging of cars into heaters. It can be the flakes of snow falling from a midnight sky outside St. Agnes’ church in Jefferson, New Hampshire. It can be staying up to all hours wrapping presents. It can be times when we take out the paper and glue ornaments made years ago in school or around the kitchen table when we were driving my mother crazy.

photo 1

It can be the time you miss the people you love the most. It can be a time when you realize how much time has passed, how much has changed. Maybe that was the beauty of the cold and the wildly unpredictable weather of New Hampshire winters — it gave us a reason to huddle close, to be ready for whatever comes, and to cherish the moments of random and sudden beauty that come with Christmas in the middle of the White Mountains.

IMG_0798

Here’s a wish for all: may you stumble on your own moment of peace and beauty today, tomorrow, and every day.

I asked some friends and family to share their New Hampshire Christmas memories and thoughts. Here are a few. The theme running through each is a memory of family, friends, and strangers coming together:

 “My mom marge whose home has become a community quilting zone with five sewing machines set up in her sunroom for anyone who wants to stop by, and a state trooper who stops there to sew on her way home– uniform still on gun and bulletproof vest and her bomb sniffing dog by her side. (Cate Goodson Boeth)”

 

I see the holidays as  a time of reflection and, of course, giving and one never knows how the giving will be accepted.

 

The beauty of New Hampshire mountains is magical this time of year… Every hour seems to say ok here is another view…even though it is 10 below zero

 

I miss the crowds that used to open the mud room door on Christmas Eve. There were always so many family and friends and, yes, people who just needed a family for this time  of year… Hopefully someone else has taken this on…

 

On Christmas day there is a free dinner (with all the fixings) at the local church..this is in its eleventh year. No charge just come  alone with family or friends..we will cook one of the hams and  probably wait on table and clean up.
We will still have Christmas Eve dinner at home.  There may not be as many people opening that mud room door, but we will love having the family that is here and the friends that join us…(M.)

 

“I remember Dad plugging the car in on the coldest nights; Our “Wildcat jackets” trimmed with fur because Wildcat was the coldest place to ski; Weekends at Wilderness. Sam used to rescue me from the daycare and ski with me on his shoulders (OMG); Smell of mud season; Our parents’ parties.” (Libby)

To find your state or country just click here, scroll down, select your state, and enjoy the brief reflections you’ll find there. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

betsywhitefield 006

St. Agnes’ Church in Jefferson, NH

photo 2

Another view out my mother’s kitchen window — a grey winter day with a silver lining

betsywhitefield 00sun5

Whitefield, New Hampshire – The Common

20 thoughts on “State of Pray: New Hampshire Memories

  1. So it was Mark who came up with the idea! It was a good one, and I really enjoyed reading your contribution. Sorry I couldn’t contribute anything. It’s just been a bit crazy around here… But Merry Christmas, Betsy!

  2. Aloha Elizabeth (or can I call you Betsy, too :)
    That was simply a *wonderful* post, and thank you so much for all the work you put into it. I loved, loved, *loved* the extra (bonus:) comments and you knocked this one out of the mudroom, never mind the park :)

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours :)

  3. I think I shivered a little bit just reading your blog. New Hampshire is so beautiful but soooo cold. Merry Christmas and stay warm.

  4. Hi Elizabeth .. there are so many wonderful caring people out there and your family sound just like one of those – prepared to go the extra mile to help others .. I love the photos too ..

    Many blessings – Hilary

  5. Aloha Elizabeth,
    Nice to be here, thanks for visiting my blog and for the lovely and encouraging feedback. Yes, I thank God and Mark for this wonderful opportunity he provided to the friends from around the world, Yes,I am so glad to be part of it. This piece is really a cool one with good number of lovely pics which speaks volume.
    Keep it up.
    Keep informed
    Have a wonderful, Blessed and joyous holiday.
    Phil & Ann
    From India

  6. This was beautifully written with gorgeous photos! I also loved the special moments that your friends and family shared. Tell M that after all of these years, I’ve finally heard of another family that grew up with a mud room! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  7. Awesome photos! Delaware is the subtropical version of New Hampshire, it seems. lol When we do see snow in December, it’s usually a blizzard. Otherwise, it’ll snow in January or February.

    Great Christmas memories, too. :D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s