As I undertake all of the my errands during this season…it’s just not feeling like Christmas. I don’t know what it is but this season feels different to me. Could it be the ads that start running well before Thanksgiving or the fact that holiday decorations are now crowding out the Halloween stuff in October? The extension of Christmas well in to October can be exhausting.
The tree is up and the lights are on the house…I am playing the Christmas Carols but something is missing. Could it be snow? I guess that is a possibility. I have a feeling the root may be a little closer to the heart. This is my first year without a child at home fulltime. Notice how I qualified that. I have a wonderful son going to school in Omaha and he blesses me nearly weekly with a visit and we talk on the phone frequently. My daughter is 3 hours north of me completing her first semester of college. I see her on occasion and am proud of her maturity this fall. This is my first season with no children living at home. It sounds like heaven – right?
The house has been very quiet this fall. They refer to this as an empty nest….I think it’s a weird reference. I thought I was ready for this change. In some ways I was…. but in most I was not. I miss the entourage of friends coming in and clearing the refrigerator or getting ready for the big event. I can remember many events when I walked in to a cloud of hairspray and glitter as the girls prepped for their “big” night.
Now there’s Saddie, Sully and Lucy. They are my other 4-legged kids and they do fill in many of the voids. They are entertaining, warm and cuddly. However, it’s still not the same.
I have a new appreciation for parenting during this season. Our window of time is so short with our children and it is a blessing in so many ways. For the holidays, I have adopted a family and many other children to help during this holiday season. I know turning my attention to others is the first step in helping me to get in the spirit. I am also going to re-read a couple of my gratitude chapters and focus on ALL that I have been blessed with. Family, friends, wonderful neighbors, a nice place to live, a fun car to drive, laughter, smiles, and above all else: LOVE!
As I am weaving through my gratitude list I want to make sure it starts with prayer. I pray for guidance, wisdom and the heart to express love to everyone I come in contact with.
It’s starting to feel more like Christmas……join during this time of spiritual renewal.
It gives us just enough time to unwind and laugh. I did a lot of laughing this past Labor Day weekend. All of our kids met us at the lake and they all brought friends. It is amazing to watch them grow and develop in to adults. We had a small army for the weekend.
These young adults form unique opinions on everything from politics to parenthood. They aren’t afraid to express themselves either. I had to cover my mouth and resist laughing on many occasions. Life is indeed an adventure.
We also played games. This proved to be most interesting. The competitive spirit came out in everyone.
I am also proud to tell you we all survived and laughed – a bunch.
The weather was cool and the smell of autumn was in the air. It was a terrific weekend. It also stirred gratitude in regards to family, friends and the blessings of a good laugh.
There is not a better stress-buster – laughter is fantastic.
Recently actor Henry Winkler was interviewed about Tenacity and Gratitude. In this interview he said: “As virtues, tenacity and gratitude are nice to have; as behaviors they are a strong combination found in many successful individuals.”
It is my wish that everyone I was blessed to spend time with during the weekend understands the virtues of tenacity and gratitude. May the memories created during the long weekend sustain the laughter and the smiles we shared.
I recently returned from the city of lights; Paris.
The history and culture of this fine city was incredible. I made this trip with my 18 year old daughter and it was interesting to watch her reaction to the different sites. It reminded me that appreciation sometimes requires maturity. There is no replacement for experience and education.
The expansion of art and architecture was unmistakable. The sidewalks had brilliant mosaics and doorways were anything but square. I left for Paris with great anticipation in regards to the food and I would not be disappointed.
The first place we ate at ended up being our favorite. Angelinas.
If you have been blessed to try this eatery you have enjoyed the savory confection of sugar, cream and chocolate. While this tea room restaurant is known for its African Hot Chocolate, we tried many of their cheesecakes and cookies. each bite was delectable.
We also met a delightful lady there on our last night in Paris. She was a native to the area and absolutely wonderful. She told us she was a well-known patron and each restaurant employee greeted her with a smile and several kisses.
She shared with us that he birthday was coming up however she also told us she was “20” in her heart and mind therefore any other number simply didn’t matter. One can only hope to have this same level of optimism as our exterior matures.
Our encounter with her was a delightful last chapter to our Paris adventure. We had a lovely time during our vacation however the old adage still holds true – there’s no place like home! I am grateful for the experience of Paris. Travel provides a tremendous opportunity for growth and appreciation for many things. Have you had a summer adventure? Bask in the glow of the final days of August…..where summer gone?
I wish you the spirit and decadence of a great cup of cocoa!
I attended a family wedding this weekend and relished in watching a young couple pledge their eternal love. Isn’t it amazing how powerful 2 simple words can be – I Do.
It was also a living reminder of what is truly important. I flew home late Friday and knew I was looking at a long car ride on Saturday to get to the wedding. To say I was jet-lagged was an understatement. I had a thousand reasons to not go and contemplated not attending. As I looked at the piles of laundry and mail I felt defeated. Where would I even begin to dig-out?
Well after my 30 minutes of self-pity I packed my bag, put a smile on my face and got in the car. The car ride was a bit tense and thank goodness I have a patient husband. We arrived at our hotel. It was beautiful. My disposition started to shift and in one fell swoop I finally got my head around the basis of the event. We had the honor in sharing in the celebration of love. The fragile union of two souls witnessed by friends and family.
I was teary-eyed as I watch to two young hearts profess their love and exchange vows. I met new family members and felt such a warmth from the dinner and reception.
It was a perfect night. Their perfect night. Mr. and Mrs. Adam Ahern.
I was honored to be a part of their celebration and all of my concerns from earlier in the day simply faded in to the sunset.
Dancing, laughing, smiling ~> it was the perfect medicine for my ailments.
If you have the opportunity to celebrate love – take it…no matter how large or how small – CELEBRATE. In the end….it is the most important thing we have.
A couple of weekends ago, I was out-of-town with my husband and he made the suggestion that we attend church in our new location. I was delighted. We went to church and found the setting and the message to be very welcome.
The service was in an older church where the floor sloped down towards the altar almost giving you the feeling of being in a theater. The walls were filled with colorful, old stained glass windows. It was a simple yet wonderful sanctuary. The message in the sermon stressed how easy it would be for all of us to get along if only everyone were like me. (a little sarcasm here) It highlighted how we are all unique and we offer each other the opportunity for learning and acceptance.
I wasn’t sure why this was the message that I needed to hear but I listened nonetheless and planted the seeds in my memory bank.
Later the same day we had an unexpected visit from friends. It was a first meeting for me and one of the friends. We had heard a lot about each other but had never met in person.
We had a cordial and warm visit however our personalities were vastly different. When our friends left I felt relieved but strange. It took a while for my husband and I to digest our visit and then the epiphany came.
The message from the sermon earlier that morning rang loud and clear for both of us.
Where we would normally stew over the fallout of the interaction, we decided to learn from our differences and think about how to be better friends in the future. It ended up being a wonderful lesson stemming from our unplanned visit to a new church.
I am grateful for the message. What a helpful reminder that we all possess lessons that we can share with each other.
Different is good and opens up windows for all of us to look outside ourselves to see a new world.
I had a miraculous taxi ride in Portland this week. The taxi driver and I had an enlightening discussion about simplicity. This gentleman has 4 children, a wife, a mortgage and drives taxi for a living. He scrimps and saves however he is dedicated to his family time. When his work is done, he is done. He does home and helps to parent the children. He said he doesn’t have much extra but his children have what they need in the way of material goods and above all else, they have his time. He doesn’t miss family functions and was positively content with his schedule.
He said that he would have plenty of time post-children to save money and travel. This is one of his passions however he enjoys living vicariously through the stories of all of his taxi cab passengers.
This was a fabulous reminder regarding gratitude. The gratitude in the simple things. A smile, a giggle, a fabulous sunset or the cheerful greeting from my puppy. I forget to savor some of these moments.
I hope you will find a few moments to savor with each day. Gratitude is all around us!