Yesterday was not only my birthday, it was Secret Santa Day! Sarah brought her coffee into the livingroom and watched as I carefully peeled tape and opened lids. When I unwrapped the first gift, from Sarah Bard, I laughed out loud at how similar it was to the package I sent her. We are all guessing, having never even laid eyes on one another. But we are all cut from the same cloth, that much we know. Because here we are. Our lives have led us to this particular crossroads. And not by accident but by choice. It seems none of us went out and bought something for $35. Our boxes are varied- a few new things, a few made things, a few things that were previously our own. Beloved things that have made our lives better and that we now send to one another with the same hope. And so I sip this tea, this electric bruise, and I take in a bit of Sarah Bard's life. I am her for the first drink and then I am the woman who would drink such a fine brew, and then I am me- a bigger me!- making another cup. And I spoon oiled chilies with garlic and dribble it on my beans and kale and thank Sarah Black for expanding me, enriching me, with more of what I did not already know. You, right up north, making a new life in a new house... you send me food that you love, something that fills your kitchen with heat and tells you you are home. I do the same. You and I now share that.

Kris... I have not received a box from you but I know it is on its way. I wish I was someone who could wait for all three to arrive before opening. But instead I tore into the ones on hand. I promise to tear into your's too!

This Secret Santa idea started because I love giving and receiving gifts. And I have to admit that part was a total blast. But when it came time to open the package, I realized that I felt loved by the woman on the other end. I felt truly cared for. You gave me your time. You gave me your thought. I was important to you and you to me. And now we all have that much more.

Thank you friends.