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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Random 5 – Good-bye 2016

I don’t know about you but I’m OK with saying good-bye to this year.  It’s not been all bad, but it’s been far too rushed-stressed-scheduled-manic-busy for me.   I don’t foresee that the work pace will slow but do I feel a shift in how I’m managing it:  I’m speaking up more and saying “no thanks” where I can. I no longer feel responsible for everyone and everything.  (No one asked me to do that, by the way, but that’s just how I rolled).  The surprising part? No push back.  Huh – should have done this long ago!

Having (most of) this week off has allowed time for reflection.  To think about what I’ve done, what I’ve learned, what I want and where I’m going  – here are my Random 5 thoughts on the cusp of a new year:

1 Traditions can change and you can, too.  Everything about this Christmas was different – everything.  What day we all got together.  What we ate, how we managed gifts, who was here and how we spent our time. I loved it!  Fewer decorations went up and came down sooner.  We stayed in more. We rested – we cocooned.  It was wonderful, magical, soul-restoring.

between-christmas-and-new-years

2 Family – this was our first Christmas without Mom and we all felt the pinch.  My sister called late one night, her voice cracking, and as we connected our tears fell. She was just “having a moment” she said.  “I get it,” I said.  We told our stories and cried and laughed and gave thanks for a Mother so joyfully recalled.

motherhood

3 Gifts – the best gifts are those that cost little but take time and effort and come straight from the heart: this year I made our boys a family recipe book.  It’s not perfect and it wasn’t professional but the joy I felt as they sincerely reveled in it was my gift.  I teased that I chose a red binder for a reason – likening it to the President getting the Nuclear codes – and that they’d best guard it closely.  They assured me they would.  😀

food ina garten

4 Epiphanies abound, case in point:  When we go out socially, I yearn for interesting and fun conversations.  When those don’t happen I withdraw or get frustrated.  Crap – I’m a conversation snob!!  Hubbs and I can have hours-long meandering conversations and I shouldn’t assume they’re available everywhere.

get-your-happy-on-quote-1

Great conversations make me happy!

5 Here comes the New Year.  We’re heading out tonight for Japanese Hibachi dinner with a host of friends.  I’ll find something sparkly to wear and hope for good conversations.  I’ll take a breath and look around and give thanks for the chance to do it all over again next year.  ~ Happy New Year all!

photo from flickr

photo from flickr

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Years Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

 

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Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, fear, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Joy, Life, Mom, News, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The road to 2017

2017The days between Christmas and New Years afford us an opportunity to reflect and address the state of our union.  To take stock of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual happiness.

As we look back and ahead we pause to ask:

What was my biggest lesson?

What do I want to learn next?

What do I want more of? Less of?

What makes me happy? Sad?

What do I want to experience?

What do I want to feel?

What/who do I need to forgive?

What do I need to let go?

What do I want to do?  What am I willing to do?

What holds me back? Is it true?

newsboy 2

What will your 2017 headline say?

As you look to the new year, will you celebrate your accomplishments and forgive your blunders?  What excites you about 2017?

*Story idea: Frankie Perez’s MindGym

chapter

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

5 Verses, 1 message

Luke 2:1-3

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

census

Luke 2:4-7

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

journey-to-bethlehem

Luke 2:8-12

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

jesus-in-manger

Luke 2:13-15

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

shepherds-seeking

Luke 2:16-20

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

shepherds-see-jesusMessage:

Google.Images.com

Google.Images.com

Merry Christmas!

 

Source: http://Guidepost.org

Categories: Faith, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Love, News, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 – Christmas Vacation awaits

It’s almost here! Christmas vacation – so close I can taste it but don’t dare spend time thinking about it for I know I’ll be lost in dreamland if I do.

Soon we’ll step away ~ the ache in my shoulders serves as constant reminder of the need for some down time.

Our boys and grands and daughter in law and girlfriend will be here Friday night – we’ll nosh on appetizers and home-made treats, play games and tell stories. We’ll pop Christmas crackers and open presents and for just a few hours my heart will feel like it could burst.

We downsized this year in more ways than one:  Yes a smaller house but now there’s smaller everything – Christmas Eve will be just Hubbs and me, youngest boy and his girl – a whole new experience yet cozy and I hope, delightful.  Christmas Day winds down to just us 2.  What a change – no more bed-head grands tumbling out wide-eyed and bushy tailed.  They will be back at some point but there’s other family to see and that’s OK, too.  Hubbs and I will linger over brunch and later watch a movie, we may doze in our chairs, who knows.

Just the topic of Christmas vacation elicits so many conversations between us; for growing up in two different countries we share many similar memories:  Late nights at Aunts/Uncles,  sledding with cousins, and dinner at Grandma’s  on Christmas day (1pm sharp!).  Then “lunch” at 4:00 with skating-sledding-sliding-snowmobiling- all that snow, to follow.  Days later – time off to enjoy our new things, figure out board games or learn new skills – wood burning, pottery sculpting or jewelry making kits – those were all the rage in the 70s even if our finished results were less than spectacular!

Random 5 – after a rambling – ready?

  • Assorted chocolates.  Remember being a kid and someone would bring a box of chocolates to the family party?  Sometimes the treats were good but often times not.   Hey what’s this? (( big bite )) Ewww — orange marmelade swirl! Gag, retch, blah. Or how about hey what’s this one? It looks promising, like maybe there are nuts and caramel inside …. Nope, foiled again.  Strawberry cream delight!  Glach!  What is this? Is this mayonnaise?  Toothpaste?    Flash forward 45 years ~ I was gifted a gourmet box of chocolates this week.  Where are they?  In the office lunchroom. Nope,  after all those years, I do believe “you never know what you’re gonna get.”  My office mates are happy and I’ll take a pass, thanks!
photo from couponsaver.org

no thanks

  • Yesterday I found myself awake in the middle of the night – too many things racing in my head. At 4:00 a.m. I got up and made a list, thinking that would help.  Wrong. At 4:30 a.m. I started the coffee and showered, and was at the office by 6:00.  Arriving in the dark I laughed out loud because 1) I had my security code with me but 2) not the outside door badge.  Sipping my coffee I decided to give the outer door a try – voila it opened.  Sometimes what made perfect sense at 4:00 a.m. doesn’t translate so well later.

hit-me

  • Last minute Larry’s.  This is a phrase I’ve coined for the co-workers who’ve had the same project or looming deadline as I have – we’ve had it for weeks but they always arrive skidding to the finish line expecting me and others to save them. Nope.  Out-of-office is going on and your boat is yours to save.   How’s that for Christmas spirit? Ha!
Amen said the choir! Google.images.com

Amen said the choir! Google.images.com

  • Leisurely reading – I’ve almost forgotten what that feels like.  Yes I’m going plant my face in a book and not come out until the coffee’s gone. I hope it’s howling, snowing and blowing all the while.  I hope while I’m tucked in there, sipping coffee and reading, relaxing and enjoying.   I hope. I hope. I hope.

book-magic

  • Pauses.  It’s important to pause.  Pause to give thanks, pause to savor Christmas memories in the making. Pause to listen to little ones.  Pause to hug the big ones. Pause for kitchen kisses.  Pause in traffic to let someone in.  Pause to shut the door, breathe, and turn it all off.  Pause to allow for wonder.  Pause to know good news is soon to come.

 

Merry Christmas to all! 

 

Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Fun, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Memories of Masterpiece

Winter has arrived in Michigan – we’re on our 3rd day of heavy snow – yesterday was swirly, twirly snow spinning down and around and to the ground.  Today snow is falling quickly, like rain. It’s cold and beautiful and slippery!

“It’s a good day for a house,” Mom used to say.   Yes indeed.

Hubbs is making omelettes and I’m wrapping presents.  Christmas tunes play on the radio.  We’re cozy, tucked in and content.

Reminiscing last night about the Christmases of our childhood, Hubbs and I laughed at how our parents always bought us board games.  Well 1), because we asked for them but 2) setting up the board and figuring out the rules kept us all occupied for hours.  In my home our dining room table often had a board game set there on a rather permanent basis – Monopoly,  Clue, Masterpiece, just to name a few.

My oldest sister was the keeper of the rules and my youngest brother was the one most likely to bend them.  Oldest brother sometimes played and sometimes he didn’t – by my middle sister and I were fierce competitors.  The real fun started when our cousins and aunts/uncles arrived.  Kids games were quickly  moved to a back bedroom as the adults took over for Cribbage, Rummy, 7 card stud and Whist.

Hubby and I remember smokey clouds above the card table and counter tops covered in nuts, treats and ingredients for various adult beverages – Caesars,  Harvey Wall-bangers and Rum/Rye and Coke.  Nobody over did it, Bing and Dean played on the record player and sometimes they danced.  Ladies wore dresses and pearls, slingback heels and peep toe shoes.  Gentlemen sported dress slacks and buttoned-down shirts, jackets and sometimes a tie or a sweater.   I remember Dad grinning as he took Mom for a twirl around the kitchen before guests arrived – I watched in my Church dress and white tights.  Those moments stay close even though they’re both gone.

Coca-Cola was a hot commodity, too – that was a treat we rarely got.  At Christmas time Dad would buy a few cases of pop to keep in the basement (ever cold) and if we were good – and only IF – we might get to split a glass of pop with a sister or cousin.  Ooh what a treat.

Sipping on a glass of Ginger Ale, stealing Aunt Irene’s famous peanut-butter balls and winning at Masterpiece  — now that’s a Christmas vacation I can only dream about today.

parker_brothers_masterpiece_auction_art_game_board_box_lid

Forgery!! – A favorite from my childhood

**When you think back to Christmases of your childhood – what comes to mind?  Did you play board games or card games in your family?Which ones? What tastes and smells take you back to the Christmases of your dreams?

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Fun, Gratitude, Holidays, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Vacation, Naps, Plans and Cheer

It’s time for Random 5 Sunday on the first Sunday in December:

  • Thanksgiving week vacation:  I’ve never taken the whole week of Thanksgiving off. I’ve taken a day here and a day there. But never the whole week. And now, ladies & gents, I do believe I have a new tradition ~  whoop!

good-for-your-soul

  • Hallmark Channel Holiday movies.  While on vacation, I watched at least 5 Hallmark Holiday movies – sometimes I only caught the tail end or the beginning.  You have to admit, the plot is easy to predict most of the time – a beautiful young lass soured on love by a jerky boyfriend moves back to her home town only to bump into the world’s hottest handy-man while shopping for her daughter who it turns out only made 1 friend at school – the (widowed) hottie’s son … and in just a matter of weeks she finds the love of her life, saves a small town business, rescues kittens and puppies and all they live happily ever after, over hot chocolate in perfectly coordinated tartan jackets ~ sigh

hallmark-christmas-movies

  • Naps – glorious, wonderful, and life-redeeming.  Because we stayed on our “normal” schedule during our time off,  just 1 nap was enough. Somehow I kept up on my rest.   Went back to work wide-awake and refreshed.  And good thing, because I clocked 800+ miles last week alone!

kitten asleep

  • Travel plans ~  Sissy and I are planning a “sister’s” getaway – we’ll likely revisit Branson, MO for a week of visiting, shopping, visiting, shows and fun.  We’ve visited there once before, 10 years ago, when we took Mom for her 77th birthday.  What a great time we had – and such a relaxed and friendly place to be.   After our 3rd night Mom happily chirped, “You know, I’ve never stayed in a hotel this many nights and I’ve never gone out for every single meal!”  We were girlfriends on this trip you see, more than mother and daughters.  She loved the adventure and spoke of it many times with fondness.  I know she’d love that we’re planning to go back.
me, mom & my sister in Branson, MO, 2007

me, mom & my sister in Branson, MO, 2007

  • Christmas Spirit:  I wasn’t really feeling any Christmas spirit heading into our Family Christmas party last night.  The hustle and bustle and holiday ho-ho-hos didn’t do it.  Lots of yummy foods, hugs and merriment didn’t do it.  No – it was capturing this picture – of wee cousins (with our grands in the mix) at the exact moment they all cheered “SANTA CLAUS” – that’s what did it.
xmas-party-2016-kiddos

Santa Claus!! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”  ― Roy L. Smith

What randoms would you like to share?  Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Random, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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