January 10, 2016…three years ago I settled in my recliner to write my first blog post. Back then I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even be interested in reading it. It was the first time in a very long while that I put caution to the wind and really took a chance. Those fleeting moments of filling the page with words felt liberating. There…I had done it. I listened to my heart and invested in the possibilities. It felt like I had unleashed a woman who had hidden within me for ages, not only a married working mom, but a writer who had copious words and stories to share. This passion has always lived within me, bubbling up finally. I thought maybe no one would care. Maybe someone would. I simply trusted myself and my readers and put it out there.
Since then I’ve learned that not everyone in your life will pay attention or care. Some joke about my blog like it’s a stupid thing or that its funny. That’s okay! But some have been interested and have encouraged me along the way! They signed up for my email! They read now and then and comment, sharing in my experiences in life. Whether you are my family of friends or ones who have stumbled upon my site, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that you care, that you support me as I travel this special journey. I’m eternally grateful for your support, your love and friendship.
As I continue this journey and dream of compiling my penned posts, I am considering taking writing classes to learn more. I hope you all will stay connected with me. I wish you all peace, joy and love as you start this new year.
What is it about getting older that brings nostalgic thoughts and dream reenactments of childhood holidays? I think this happens to most of us as we age…when we truly realize how special family is and the holidays with them surrounding you. There are some Christmas traditions that mean even more to me as seasons come and go.
Every family has the tradition of special foods that are prepared once a year. My mom made spicy gingerbread men every year. Mom poked holes at the top to string ribbon through. We ate some and hung the others on our Christmas tree. Most Christmas mornings my mom made Bisquick Jam coffee cake.
Tom’s Mom’s Traditions
There was always a clementine nestled in the stocking toe with little boxes of cereal that the four children would eat for breakfast. They would open their stockings early around 4, discovering their new treasures. Meanwhile their mom and dad slept.
The Sears Roebuck catalog was the wish list and each child picked out one gift they wanted and they always got that one special gift. Tom received a bike when he was 8 or 9. One year the girls got ice skates.
Their father plowed snow and one year he was out all day working and they waited for him to come home to open the presents. I’m sure it was even sweeter that year because the children had to wait, but it was worth it to share with their dad.
Tom and his cousin Kenny
My Christmas Traditions
Growing up our family had a tradition of opening one small gift on Christmas Eve. I wanted us to continue the fun and so our boys always had one or two presents to open on Christmas Eve. Usually there was new pajamas and an ornament for the tree. It was fun shopping for unique ones that represented the year. One year I bought a little snowboarder for Dylan when he was snowboarding on our hill. Branden got a cinnamon smelling cat as he loved our cats.
As I wrap up this post I want to thank you all for staying with me and investing your time to catch a glimpse of my life. Many of you have become my friends and I’m thankful for the connections we have made across the country and the world. Things are getting quite busy here with finishing shopping, cooking and baking and wrapping for Christmas. I will not post again until Christmas or after. I wish you all a Merry Christmas with your loved ones and friends.
Most families have hilarious Christmas memories that are retold every year. Some of these antics are captured in photos and others live in the depths of memory, ready to be shared with family and friends. I want to share my crazy and not so crazy Christmas memories with you all.
My sister and I were probably 12 and 8 and it was the eighties. We had a habit of taking out the presents under the tree and inspecting and even counting how many they were. I know…this is obnoxious but it was innocent kids’ play. One night while everyone else was asleep, Barb and I started our present pile up. The tv blared HBO and Timothy Hutton in TAPS played. We laughed. We piled. Suddenly our Christmas tree swayed and shimmied, toppling over in a loud crash! Right on top of all the presents! We tried to get the tree back in its stand to no avail.
Finally I decided that we had to wake up mom or dad to help us. Oh boy, was my dad mad and cussed in his bed at us! It’s funny that I don’t remember if he got up to help or if he fixed it in the morning. I do know that our present piling came to an drastic halt that night!
While rehashing crazy holiday moments I have to share this one. My mom, sister Barb and I were coming home from Christmas shopping. It was a snowy day with accumulations with few snow plows in the area. We gleefully sang Christmas songs in the spirit of the season. Suddenly our car hit a patch of ice and our car spun in a 360 and hit a telephone pole. It’s humorous looking back because we were so joyful and singing and such a freak accident was so unexpected! Thank goodness we were all okay but the car was dented a bit.
Another memory was when I threw away one one of my Christmas records as a teenager! The 33 must have gotten mixed up in the clutter of wrapping paper and it was never recovered! It was a valuable lesson learned! Always keep organized when unwrapping presents and keep the bags of wrap handy in case something ends up missing.
Every Christmas my sister and I tried to wake up our sleeping older brothers to get up for the tree. No matter what they always kept sleeping! What a lasting memory of impatience on exciting Christmas morning! Then there were a few early mornings our dad made us have breakfast first before opening presents. Looking back I’m grateful he did this, a little family time over a festive breakfast is a blessing.
There is that Christmas Eve I heard jostling around and thumping around our fireplace. Being a curious child, I couldn’t help but try to catch the big man in the act! I gingerly snuck out of bed. Opening the door ever so softly, I peeked out to discover my dad filling the stockings. At eight years old I knew the truth…the magic was over but it was kind of humorous seeing him in action.
Sometimes Tom and I take night rides around our town gawking at deer or whatever wildlife is out and about. A few days ago we were traveling up steep King Hill Road when an owl swooped over our car and landed on a nearby tree branch. It’s wingspan was quite expansive and at first it was quite hard to figure out what type of bird it was!
Tom put the truck in park while we watched the owl in the twilight. It stood absolutely still, probably about ten feet away from us. It was too dark to take a picture but it’s image is burned in my memory, it’s small stature, it’s wide alert eyes, it’s calm demeanor.
There’s something special about owls. When I see one I feel that magic is around me. It’s absolute beauty and composure amazes me, sometimes bringing me to tears.
It was a special wildlife moment that happens, taking my breath away! We were instantly mesmerized and what was really a minute or so, seemed like ages. I thank God for these creatures in my town and the opportunity to see them!
This month of November it’s common to hear in podcasts and other media the theme of gratefulness. Thanksgiving reminds us all of what we have that we cherish…our family and friends, our health, a roof over our heads and food for meals. Although being thankful is truly what this holiday is about, I’d like to think that being grateful is my mantra every day of the year and not just the third Thursday in November!
I used to have a practice of listing five things I was grateful for. Sometimes I listed Tom and the boys. Others my job and friends were included. I listed my health more than once, for despite a few health scares I’ve always managed to stay strong and healthy. Most times I thanked God for having Tom and the boys healthy too.
I learned this habit from Oprah and did it religiously for a few years in my journals. Slowly it faded away yet I mentally go over my grateful list most days and continue to thank God for all the good in my life as well as the difficult challenges. It’s plowing steadily through those barriers that has built my character and fortitude. It comes full circle and after experiencing the rough bumps on this road of life, I am aware that the hurdles have strengthened me. I am extremely thankful for the gifts hidden along the way, for they have made me the person I am today!
Now that I’m approaching 50 this coming year and my family is raised, I have ample time to reflect. Being grateful every day doesn’t mean a joy ride or perfect circumstances but to me, it is finding special and maybe little things that can brighten my day. A kind smile or phone call from a friend or family member, feeling the rich soil of the garden and planting seeds for future days, being able to walk on both legs and cherishing serenity in nature are all things I’m thankful for.
The more I think about this the more I realize that being grateful in some way every day is the key to happiness. If you notice what you have( such as being healthy or having a beautiful family) and not dwell on what you don’t have, you’ll truly appreciate what God has gifted you. I believe everyone has something to be grateful for and if you ponder over this you can generate quite a list.
What are you grateful for? Do you reflect on this just in November or everyday of the year? The more we notice all the good things in our lives, the richer your experience will become.
I’m busy getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Today I’m vacuuming and shampooing my rugs, generating a last minute grocery list and planning my table setting. I’m grateful that I’m able to do this at home and Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris are coming, as well as my youngest son Branden. Dylan and his wife Lexy will come later for dessert , so both my sons will be here together. Excitement is in the air as the big day approaches!