Sunday, December 29, 2013

What Have I Learned?

It has been a whirlwind of a year with extreme lows, extreme highs, and everything in-between. The constant need to make decisions seemed to accelerate with each passing moment. At times, circumstances came with a heavy heart, but I moved beyond the weight and found what it meant to celebrate what is. In a year with much diversity, I ask myself, what have I learned?

... to look forward and allow this word to guide me throughout the year.
... to feel like a kid again by embracing the joys of Jell-O.
... to leapfrog grief after the loss of two dear friends.
... to bring more focus to my life by paying attention and looking both ways.
... to take the pressure off and relinquish priorities to a bit of putzing.
... to protect what’s mine after a prowler poked around my home.
... to accept the choices of loved ones after the loss of my brother.
... to celebrate what commitment truly is on our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.
... to move my book closer to publishing by getting it done.
... to look up and engage my senses.
... to find a glimmer of hope in tough love.
... to give thanks by looking ‘em in the eye.
... to get out of my own way with simplicity, one less thing, and box worthiness.
... to clear a path forward to the future.

I feel the whirlwind of this year moving me into next year. Follow me as I continue to find my way through the lows, highs and everything in-between by celebrating what is.

Twirl through the flowers photo courtesy of Anita Hart

Monday, December 16, 2013


In the home I grew up in, we had a large front room window my mom would adorn with her annual Christmas scene. I’m not just talking about strings of colored lights, spraying snow on the glass or stenciling Glass Wax patterns; she would come up with a theme, make sketches and work out the logistics. Then the creation would come to life with her paints, brushes and colored films. I always loved these scenes. When I was a child, it wasn’t Christmas until the window came to life.

My favorite scene was when she created the Nativity, birth of Jesus, out of a stained glass patterned contact paper. It was amazingly beautiful. Her windows were always labor intensive, but this intensity allowed my mom to share, not only her artistic talents with the neighborhood, but her love of Christmas and what it meant to her. More importantly, with each window she created a unique gift of passion and love of Christmas for her young children.

Viewed from the inside or the outside, day or night, these windows tiptoed into my memories of a child at Christmas. I may not remember all of the gifts I received over the years, but I will never forget the Christmas windows of my youth.

As we close in on this holiday season, one never knows what it is others will remember in the years to come. But as I reflect on this subject, doing one thing that stands out for you, may very well stand out for others. It's not about running around hither, thither and yon, or pushing yourself beyond your limits to create a perfect Christmas. Pick one thing and do it with passion and love.

Wishing you and yours all my best this holiday season!
Christmas reflections courtesy of Chris Costes

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Past

Christmas and family go hand in hand. But it is this very family that causes what can be the best of times and the worst. Our expectations of others and the desire to hold things as they once were get in our way. Then again, maybe you long for the perfect holiday celebration that never was. While you may think you are on the right track, you cannot compel others to do or be on the track with you. That is why it is important for you to let it go and do and be for you.

As we get older, family dynamics can become more difficult for countless reasons, and it is disappointing. When you feel this way, you are mourning the loss of what was or could have been with each disappointment. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and remove yourself from the picture. If you don’t, you may make it more difficult for everyone; but more importantly, you will make it more difficult for you.

If this holiday season brings on the feelings of loss and disappointment, for whatever the reason, now is the time to embrace change by making new memories, starting new traditions and shaking up the holidays. Before you know it, you will be able to look back on this Christmas and know you were on the right track. I promise!

1957 Christmas photo courtesy of Valerie

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I am currently working on a number of projects that need to be addressed. My refrigerator freezer is not working, as it gave up the ghost back in September, so now I need to buy a new one. Obviously, I haven’t been in any hurry to tackle appliance shopping. I have a contractor who will start working after the first of the year, so I am involved in picking out toilets, tiles and faucets to update the bathrooms in our house. Yes, I am still moving, but this is what you must do these days so the house will sell in a timely manner. And oh, there’s the holidays, and this and that, and on and on.

I am not Super Woman, although I have been known to try my darndest at times. These days I focus more on the priority at hand⎯instead of getting wrapped up in everything at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I don’t seem to get anywhere when I allow that to happen. By giving full attention to one thing at a time I am able to accomplish whatever needs to be taken care of⎯and not get my tinsel in a tangle this time of the year, or any other time for that matter.

In a month filled with want-to-dos and have-to-dos, I am choosing to focus. Focus gives me the space to do whatever I need to do. It cuts out the nonsensical and allows me to move forward. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll even get around to buying a new refrigerator this month.

Cattail photo courtesy of Rebecca Goodwin - my sister!