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Libraries in Summer

The air is thick and hazy, humidity hanging like a curtain.

I reach into my bag of treasures, make a selection and smile sinking into the coolness of my leather chair.

Air-conditioning blowing, too hot and muggy to be outside.

Darn.

So much to do, no desire to do it.

Darn.

Summertime books are calling.

I’m diving right in … you?

“The library in summer is the most wonderful thing because there you get books on any subject and read them each for only as long as they hold your interest, abandoning any that don’t, halfway or a quarter of the way through if you like, and store up all that knowledge in the happy corners of your mind for your own self and not to show off how much you know or spit it back at your teacher on a test paper.”
― Polly Horvath, My One Hundred Adventures

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Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Summer, Strawberries and Silliness

It’s Friday & it’s time for 5 Random thoughts ~ here we go:

1 )  June 1st and our grand-kids last day of school ~ Summer break begins.  I don’t know about you but we had to go through most of June to make it to Summer Break.    Usually the end of school year involved a class trip and, on the way home, a stop at McDonalds:  Two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-sauce-on-a-sesame-seed-bun – Imagine a bus full of kids singing that at full volume!  So good – and back when a fast food burger actually tasted like the commercial made it look.

google.images.com

2 )  Earlier this week, at a county meeting, I chatted with a Community official who has been a bit of a “Grumpy Grumperson” at prior meetings.  Not that day.  Seems she’s retiring in August, selling her house, bought an R.V. at a “old folks park” in New Mexico – she’s packing her books, Daisy, her 3 yr old German Shepherd, and heading out. Said she’s raised 4 boys as a single mother and its now her time — when someone asked what her kids thought her response was “the Best Western near me charges $49 a night … they can come see me and stay there.” And, she confided, on the way to the parking lot, that she’s not taking social security ’till she turns 66, in the meantime “I’ll live on coffee, books, my house proceeds and walks with my dog.”   🙂    The experience reminded me how freeing and necessary it is to take leaps of faith and to remember that ~ people – and their moods – are often just a reflection of current circumstances.

3 )  A couple of months ago I decided to invest in a personal cell phone ~ I was tired of being “on call” for my job, often muttering “I’m not a Fireman,” under my breath.  (Some of that was my own doing, I’ll admit).  So I enacted my own secret brand of mutiny and subscribed to cell service, transferred personal numbers over and asked my (short) list of contacts (family, friends, Dr., Dentist, etc) to please contact me at that number instead.  Yesterday,  while at work, I set my personal phone to airplane mode to save the battery and missed calls from Hubbs.  He called my work cell to ask – why do you have a personal cell?   Moments like this remind me how absurd I can be and how much like  her I am. 

4)  When I think of June I think of my 2 favorite fruits:  Strawberries and Watermelon.   Any “diet” will tell state that both are high in carbs.   Don’t care.  I’m not a big sweets eater but my favorite dessert always has been the one Mom made for my June birthday: Strawberry Shortcake – garden fresh strawberries, in their juice, with home-made whipped cream dolloped over Angel Food cake.  (Remember cake soaking up some of that “juice?” oh man!)   And while Watermelon wasn’t ready till mid summer – the start of June meant it was coming soon.  Family cookouts, birthdays, and barbecues were not complete without several slices of watermelon (don’t eat the green you’ll get a stomach-ache!!) and the juice running down our arms … we’d sit outside to slurp it down, wipe our hands on our shorts and run off into the summer night to play Hide N Seek or Kick-the-Can.  Pretty sure the carbs in both fueled us for hours ~ So many good summer memories, ahh!

5 )   Saw this on Facebook and it made me smile ~ are there 2 happier words than “Blanket Fort?”  Maybe “Summer Vacation!” 🙂

What’s new in your world?   When was the last time you laughed at yourself?

Happy Friday, peeps!

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, News, Personal, Relationships, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Spring, Weddings and Anniversaries

Good morning and Happy Sunday to you!   Time for 5 Randoms from my world.  Ready?  Let’s go.

1 )   Spring.  I’d been away from the office for several weeks, returning last week to a stacks of mail and Spring  outside my window.   After (what felt like) a 10 month winter, Spring seems even brighter this year. And overdue.  Yes, it rained all weekend, but the rain washed away the pollen and, for the first time in a week, my eyes no longer feel gummy.    Farmer’s daughters have a hard time wishing away rain anyways.

**Hello Spring! **

2 )  Travel ~ as fun and adventurous as it was to be away ~ including staying an extra night because of flight delays (in a hotel, not the airport, yay), it’s wonderful to come home again.  With 3 days in the office last week and 1 more tomorrow, I’m nearly caught up.  On Tuesday I’m off again for a couple of nights and back home in time to slide into the long weekend.   This is the kind of travel I love~ by car, with stops along the way, the schedule is (mostly) all mine, structured enough to accomplish my objectives but with enough free time to take in the sights.  I’ll be winding my way north along the shores of Lake Michigan and back again.   And I won’t miss my desk one bit.

**Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.**

3 ) Companions– While visiting city officials and town halls I’ll have Dad with me.   See Dad, in addition to being a full-time farmer,  served his local Rural Municipality (R.M.) as a Councilor for 30+ years and this girl went with him much of the time.  I’d straighten the paperwork and make sure the coffee pot was full, watch how he listened, interacted, and worked the issues.  I learned from him how to relax and stand confident in what I know.   Although my present day role is much different from his, there’s much of what he did that comes with me.  And I still  experience a child-like wonder as I walk into a century-old City Hall, seeing the grooves in the floor from so many before me, smelling furniture polish and the must that exists in those cavernous old rooms.     I can easily spot the radiators still hugging the walls and, before long, enjoy a relaxed camaraderie with present day staff.

**A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.**

4 )  Anniversary –  This week marks 10 years as a U.S. Citizen.    10 years! Yes, 10 years ago I raised my right hand and, with 78 others (from 34 countries) took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and stepped forward as a new American. It signified the end of one journey and the beginning of another.   It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

You see, someday I will be a citizen for 15 or 20 or 35 years and I’ll still choose to tell folks that I’m a “new” citizen. Why?  Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it.    The choice of it.

We’re not perfect, this country, we’ve got our flaws.  Like most families, there’s bickering and divisions and  always someone willing to point out what’s wrong with us … but still … there’s a heart and soul about America that continues to inspire people to imagine a life here.

That’s me, holding the flag, during my swearing in ceremony; An Emjayandthem (C) photo

“The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.”

 

3) The Royal Wedding – Unlike past events, I didn’t set my alarm, instead I set the DVR.  Snoozing till 8:00 I hopped up out of bed, poured a large cup of coffee, and turned on the TV.   For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the same interest in this wedding as I did for Diana and Charles in 1981 or William and Kate in 2011.   Maybe I was still trying to learn about the gal who’d bedazzled a Prince and, let’s be honest, some of the attraction was the hot mess certain members of her family had been, too.    The day was dazzling, the sky glorious, the hats large and the dress fancy.   Having the DVR recording allowed me to fast-forward through the speculative coverage by “new” Royal experts and get to the good stuff.  Yes, I cried when I saw the two brothers walking so confidently together.   I giggled at the cuteness of the little page boys and flower girls.   I teared up watching Prince Charles join her on her lone walk in, when the two of them said their vows, shared a kiss, and hopped into the Carriage to be swept off to their future.   I’ve cried at this and every wedding I’ve ever witnessed.  This was no different: in the end, it’s all about love.  I wish them well.

image from Delish.com

**All you need is love … ** -Paul McCartney

So, how was your week?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Relationships, Thoughts, Traditions, Travel, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Hoarders, Deals and Stupid Ideas

It’s Sunday morning, the sun’s shining and we might * gasp * actually be seeing Spring today. I know, I know, we’re holding our breath because we woke up to snow Thursday.

To that end, it’s time again for 5 random thoughts, this time on a Sunday.

Ready?  Here we go:

1 ) Hoarders.  If I’m ever featured on an episode of Hoarders I’m blaming the books.   I’m not a shopper, hate the mall, and despise trying on clothes.  But click here to add one more book to my Amazon cart?  Oh, just one more nets me free shipping?  I’m in!   Many books have been devoured this past winter but this one is, hands down, my favorite:

2 ) Weekends.  A good part of the weekend is spent doing whatever I want to.  In the overly-scheduled world that is my work week, my soul craves an opportunity to goof off, waste time and accomplish absolutely nothing at all.  And I do.

“A mind preoccupied with planning plays homage to the idol of control.” – Sarah Young

3)  Stupid Ideas.  In my job I try to remain open to new ideas and different approaches.  But some ideas are simply stupid.  And stupid ideas are made stupider when brought up by those who should know better.  Except they don’t.  And, the older I get, the harder it is for me to stifle the snort a stupid idea commands. I’m working on it but let me just say, “Thank you, God, for the mute button!”  Snort Snort!

4 ) Deals  ~ about a month ago I was down with the flu – something positive that came out of that delirium was, in the midst of sleeping through watching morning T.V. shows, I learned of a cool site called MorningSave. Kind of like a buying group it’s a collection of all the “deals” featured on morning shows like “The Wendy Show,” the “Steve Harvey Show,” etc.   There are plenty of “deals & steals” on there, much of it is electronics (Bluetooth speakers, fitness gadgets, home security, portable phone chargers, etc),  fashion (handbags, jewelry), and personal items (watches, hair gadgets, skin care, teeth whiteners, etc) but here’s the skinny ~ most items are more than 65% off.    🙂

No chickens were harmed in this post

5 ) Saying Yes. I’ve written about the power of saying Yes.   And about how “no” is a sentence.   I’ve said “no” a lot over the past years.  Doing so has made room for Yes’s but I haven’t always said it.   I’ve enjoyed some time and some space without anyone in it.   Lately, I’ve started saying yes again — to things that challenge me – speaking opportunities, serving on advisory panels, putting myself out there to alleviate the boredom that comes with a little too much routine.  This has been soul-invigorating.  I’m not sky-diving or cliff jumping anytime soon, but pushing myself to say “yes” to opportunities that freak me out a little has brought something rewarding:  personal growth.

How about you? If you were featured on “Hoarders” what would it be for?  How do you like to waste time?  Heard any stupid ideas lately?   Got any new “finds” to share?  And lastly, what have you said “yes” to lately?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Products I love, Relationships, Seasons, Share, Technology, Thoughts, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

My FitBit is Flummoxed

Tuesday night, I felt it – a wave of fatigue, like a weighted blanket had been dropped on my head.

Rising early for Wednesday morning meetings, I felt like I hadn’t slept at all.  Later, walking in the bitingly cold wind downtown, I shivered pulling my scarf up over my ears. I never did get warm.

Driving back my throat felt hot and dry;  couldn’t drink enough water. Uh-oh.

It’s been 2+ years since I’ve been sick. No colds, flu, sinusitis, allergies, nothing.   It’s not for lack of stress or not being around sick people – I’ve had both in spades & fought the crud off many times.  But I know my signs.  Weds afternoon I came home early, crawled into bed and slept for 3 hours.  And didn’t feel better upon rising.

Thursday & Friday I used sick time, napping during the day, coughing through the night.

So, it’s no wonder my FitBit is confused ~ it’s used to me averaging 7.2 hours of sleep with the occasional weekend nap thrown in. It’s not used to this.  See the “warning” message below about the effects of an inconsistent bedtime.

The fever broke last night; chicken broth & scrambled eggs taste good, hot tea, ice water and throat lozenges soothe.  I’ve gone through 2 boxes of Puffs plus lotion, binge-watched shows I don’t remember, and feel sad that it hurts to read.

But hey, at least I got the flu shot!  🙂

How about you? Have you had a bout of the flu or managed to steer clear?   Please share your recovery tips with me ~ it may be a while before I respond b/c I’m probably napping!

Categories: Growth, Home, Life, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Random 5 Sunday in March

It’s a sunny Sunday and time for 5 Random thoughts.

1  Looking up from my desk Friday, I noticed both wall Calendars set to February.  It’s March and then some.

The bad news is that time flies.  The good news is that you’re the Pilot. ~ Michael Altshuler

2  Signs of Spring are everywhere; snow and wind one day, sunshine & smiles the next.   Birds and squirrels cover  the yard.  Snow clings to the fence.   Easter in 2 weeks.

Springtime is the land awakening; The March winds are the morning yawn. ~ Lewis Grizzard

3  Week 2 of a personal cell so I can turn off the work one.   Habits take practice and I’m enjoying practicing.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others. ~ Brene Brown

4  Stretch. Read. Rest. Repeat.

Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. ~Ovid

5   Last week I gave away something I didn’t use but another could benefit from.  Yesterday I cooked a meal for someone who needed it. The rewards outweigh the effort.

The best way to do good for ourselves is to be doing good to others; the best way to gather is to scatter.  ~Thomas Brooks

Shifting horizons, adjusting boundaries and adding in self-care = peace.

What’s new in your world?

related: On Saying Yes

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Friendship, Gratitude, Growth, Life, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Life sets us a challenge

I stood in the doorway, surveying the mess: about to sort and pack years of records in 24 hours.  My first reaction was shock.  Overwhelmed at the task before me, the next reaction was anger.   And finally, standing at the crux of the chaos, I felt sadness for what could have been.

Backstory:  an employee left so it was my job to sort through the ashes.  Literally.  Through the piles. The stacks. The dust. The dead flies and the mouse droppings. ** Cough Cough **.   Out-dated phone books, notes, scraps of paper, stacks in corners, corners unseen.  ** Cough Cough ** A rhythm developed ~ assemble box & lid, open drawer,  breathe, lean in and go.   ** Cough Cough ** The back of my hair, damp with sweat, black dress slacks brown with dust and debris.  Shaking my head at the “no jeans” policy ~ laughing because this was Hazmat worthy.

Sorting, stacking, cleaning, organizing:  Nearly 40 boxes to be shred, garbage cans overflowing and 7 – count ’em 7 – boxes to be moved /re-filed.   A sore back and stiff neck that linger still.

Asked how this could be done so rapidly my answer: “determination fueled by disbelief.”

I’ve recently made some self- care choices that, on the surface, appear inconsequential: I got a personal cell phone.   Next I exported all (18 -ha!) personal contacts from the work phone and moved them to mine.  Then I  deleted those same numbers and any personal apps, too.   Why?  This week reinforced something sobering ~ we are all replaceable.

It’s an adjustment to turn off the work phone Friday evening and not look at it again until Monday. I’m working through it.  Now, it’s the personal phone that accompanies me to the grocery store or out on a date night with hubbs.  And I like that, when checked, there are 2 messages instead of 60. The breathless 60 can wait.

Yes, it’s a small step that’s netting me peace of mind and the separation/boundaries I’ve been craving.

Life does not look back.  Life looks ahead ~ and leaps.

 

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”  Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

 

What self-care steps have you taken lately?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Forgiveness, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Take me to the River

Building on this post I thought I’d revisit a question I asked at this time last year: What’s saving your life right now?

Literally. Figuratively. Possibly. Maybe?

What’s keeping you going?

So much negativity in the news, way too many rants on Facebook (and not enough puppies, kitties & babies) and it’s the dog days of winter, so I ask you this:

What’s. Saving. Your. Life. Right. Now?

I’ll go first:

  1. Quiet (TV and phone off by 8:30 pm)
  2. Rest (aiming for 8 hours nightly, averaging 7.25 … yazz!)
  3. Faith
  4. Challenges ~ pushing myself to take on scary things like early morning public speaking engagements ~ Try that without copious amounts coffee. Yes, it can be done and it’s exhilarating!
  5. Music.  Tunes in the car, while cooking on Sunday afternoons, whenever the mood strikes.
  6. :: Love ::
  7. Repeat

 

Take me to the river,  wash me down …won’t you cleanse my soul, put my feet on the ground …

 

What’s saving your life right now?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Growth, Home, Life, music, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Travel, change and solace

Readying for another road trip later today, I thought about how much things have changed over the years:

  • Remember paper maps?  Maps that unfolded with landmarks and highway intersections?  You’d need a companion to help navigate. Now – I rely on an iPhone or car navigation system.  I prefer the phone because one can listen for upcoming turns and still enjoy the radio.  My car system talks over the radio and I end up missing sing-along opportunities, political updates, and advice from Dr. Laura. 🙂

  • Packing for an overnight requires just as much effort as packing for four.  Vitamins, hair stuff, makeup, jewelry, pajamas/robe, in-room clothes, work clothes, travel clothes, computer, portfolio, shoes, phone charger and more.    And coffee, don’t forget the coffee.

  • I don’t sleep well in hotels.  Part of my packing routine involves a good book and essential oils; most times, I average 4 hours of flipping & flopping vs. the 7 solid Zs at home.

  • As much work as it is, I still enjoy going.  Meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone.   Example, tomorrow I’m one of several giving a presentation to company peers and executives.  Now I make presentations on a regular basis but usually before total strangers.  Peers are far more daunting.  So I do what I always have:  prepare, know my stuff, and nail it!  (And a little self pep-talk never hurts.)

  • And as much as I love the going, the coming home is even better.  🙂

“Home is where you go to find solace from the ever changing chaos, to find love within the confines of a heartless world, and to be reminded that no matter how far you wander, there will always be something waiting when you return.”  – Kendal Rob

 

What do you enjoy about the going?   What do you never travel without?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, fear, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Men, Personal, Thoughts, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

R5S~ Peace, Joy and Progress

Random 5 Friday Sunday ~ here comes 2018, time to bid adieu to 2017.

1 ) Yesterday was that day of winter vacation – the day far enough past Christmas but closer to New Year’s  – the day when you can’t remember exactly what day it is or what you’re supposed to be doing … it’s a day I look forward to all year.  My day of “nothing” — nothing to do and all day to do it.  I slept in, drank a pot of coffee, read blogs, stayed in my fuzzy pants all day and cooked a wonderful stew in the pressure cooker.  A lovely shower, a bowl of stew, new fuzzy pants and blankets found me asleep in the chair by 9:30.    Today, I woke at 6:00 a.m., feeling like a million bucks.  Rest, a break from stress, schedule and chaos,  you can’t beat it.

2 )  Christmas with our boys and grands was just that – grand — we laughed, ate, played games, laughed some more, sang Christmas songs and told stories.   Gifts were exchanged and memories were made.    Love was in the air and it was the happiest of days!

3 )  Time off — I’ve not responded to most work emails, but have taken great delight in deleting any that aren’t applicable to  me; doing so has culled the volume. My job is demanding with many people pulling on me on a regular basis; making this small effort now lets me ease back in without resentment.   Value up!

4 ) Progress ~ in that picture on the left I was recovering from bronchitis (for the 5th time that year) and battling a lingering fever, body aches and chills throughout my Christmas holiday (ugh!) I read the 10 day Grain detox book  (accompanied by a cough, highlighter pen and sticky notes) and started a grain detox Jan 4 2016 — I have not been sick once – nothing – not even a cold – since — despite copious work stress, moving, the passing of my Mom, a heavy travel schedule and more.  Amazing!

*** 747 days without 1 sick day!*** I used to battle recurrent sinusitis and bronchitis, cold sores, frequent colds & the flu👍 Kick grains to the curb and feel your best within  days 👍😀. Amazing health can be yours!    An Emjayandthem (C) photo

5)  New Year’s Eve tonight ~  Friends are stopping by for a drink/appetizers before heading to an evening party. We’re staying in where it’s cozy; roads here are awful, temps hovering in the single digits.   I’m delighted to stay in, smooch my handsome hubby and ring in the New Year in the peace and comfort that is home!

Happy New Year!  Let’s surprise ourselves next year, shall we? 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life Lessons, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The wake of a quiet mess

Today marks the first of 11 glorious days off.   My “Out of Office” messages are on; the laptop and iPhone are not.

This morning started just as I’d planned — waking  naturally to a twilight house, with no alarm, to the aroma of coffee gurgling in the kitchen.

Hubbs was up already, I could hear the ting-ting-ting of his spoon stirring as I dressed quietly.

Plugging in the tree lights, and with Christmas Carols playing softly, I poured a second cup of coffee not long after the first.

Wandering through the house, tidying this, straightening that, I turned on the dryer to re-tumble the towels washed last night and stood to watch the snow fall.

This.

This is what I want for Christmas.

Quiet.

Peace.

No schedule.

No obligations.

No particular place to be.

No conference calls, no projects, no spreadsheets, no Power Points.  No deadlines, fire drills, last-minute demands.

Time to rest, to read, to stretch, to relax.

Time to sleep, to laugh, to cook, to have fun.

Time to …whatever.

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story.”
Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Tomorrow we’ll have our boys and daughter-in-law and girlfriend plus the grand kids over for yummy foods and games, opening of presents and more – oh they are so excited.  And we are, too.   A thousand conversations will be had, we’ll not finish one.  And as much as they’ll blow in with commotion and busy-ness and a 100 questions – they’ll blow out just as hard, leaving behind the wake of a quiet mess.  And that’s just fine with me~ because in the rush and build up that is Christmas,  it’s nice to stand still and savor the moments.   The most glorious messes I know  ~ are the ones created by the gathering of loved ones.

 * * *

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11).

Merry Christmas; I wish you peace today and always!

 

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Personal, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 December ~ Traditions, time off and dogs

Hello again, friends.  It’s time for another Random 5  from my part of the blog-osphere. Ready? Here we go:

1)  Thursday morning, I woke with a start …. it was 4:04 a.m. and there I was, wide awake thinking about Christmas cards!  Ack, rolling over, I tried to resume my slumber.  No-can-do.  Muttering to myself that Hubbs never experiences such thoughts, I found my way to the kitchen and pressed the “brew” button on the coffee machine.

I used to enjoy writing Christmas cards, especially when the boys were little and I could include a picture or funny story about them. I don’t enjoy it anymore.

I can remember my parents’ delight when a Christmas card came in the mail. They were such a lovely alternative to newspapers, bills and other correspondence.  I recall the sparkles on my hands after reading updates from people I didn’t recall: Aunt so and so.  Cousin somebody.   Mom carefully taped the cards and put them up all around the kitchen window.  Red and green, silver and gold, shimmered in the light and brought festive to the room.  That she took the time to do so for each card suggested reverence to me.

There’s only a few family members left that I would normally mail a card to – this year, I’m calling instead.  And I think they’ll be just fine with a laugh and a chat and a “I miss you, too.”

2 )   Balance. As an adult I’ve struggled to balance between what I want (to do) for Christmas vs. what (I think) is expected of me.    Shopping is done, wrapping is not.  Some baking was accomplished …but also eaten (Hubbs!).

So what I’m working towards is making room for MY Christmas —  I relax and smile when the tree lights are on; reading or cooking near them makes me happy. There’s a peace I feel being able to pay the bills, have $ for gifts and a bit to put away, too.  There was a time I couldn’t do that, and I appreciate now that we can.  I look forward to time with the boys – card games, good foods, “knock knock” jokes with the grands, and days off with Hubbs.  No particular place to be.  No schedule. Reading more than a page or two at a time.  Knowing I can sleep in even though I won’t.  I’ll be up early, watching the snow fall, sipping coffee and reading your blogs.

My stack of reading is close to this size

 

3 ) 9 and 119 days left of work for THIS YEAR then 11 – count ’em – 11 glorious days off!  Time for a reset button.  I’m fortunate that I enjoy the work I do, but this year the challenge has been in being able to do it.  This has been a year of organizational change, steady movements, restructuring, people coming, people going, and that constant shift of the horizon has left me dizzy and needing a break.  And I plan to take it, no exceptions!

4 ) Shades of Frankie. Youngest boy got a dog, and memories of our beloved Frankie definitely influenced his choice.   Our Frankie as a Pup:

Frankie as a wee one

Ladies and gents, meet Sullivan, or “Sully” for short:

Sullivan (an Emjayandthem (C) Photo)

I haven’t met this furry little friend yet but I’m sure I’ll cry when I do.

5 ) We’re heading into the new year soon.  Can you believe it?   I haven’t thought about my goals and dreams for next year, but I’ll work on them over my time off.    A good friend is leaving our company next week; she hasn’t had time to think about what her “next” looks like.  I encouraged her to create a Vision Board.   I know she won’t, but it reminded me that I’m ready to.  

 

What traditions are worth continuing and which ones have you stopped? 

What gift are you giving yourself this Holiday Season? 

Wishing you peace at Christmas and always

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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