Holiday Countdown

I should be wrapping presents. I have almost everything purchased.  We sent a box to California, today.  I hope it makes it before Christmas.  If not, it will still be full of goodies when it gets there.

Last week, I refinished a table. Photos below.  I used chalk paint to redo an old coffee table I found at a junk shop.  I filled it with votive candles and two birds over a crocheted doily a dear lady made for me years ago.

This past weekend my niece brought my little nieces for a visit. Among the fun was cocoa served from an old tea pot alongside homemade shortbread frosted with milk chocolate and Christmas sprinkles.  We used the table featured in the photos for this event.  It was the follow up to an adventure in town walking through a park filled with Christmas light displays.

We walked and raced round the creek and pond, pausing to look at the lights and get out of the way of the train. We opted to walk rather than wait with a two year old in the line to ride the train.  It was a great option.  She slept soundly, barely moving all night!  This matters because she was in bed with me.

Our daughter and her loves will be here this weekend to have our Christmas with them. I should be wrapping presents.

I am enjoying the season more this year than I usually do. It feels a little more magical for some reason.  A sign of healing?  The grief of so much loss is releasing its grip, perhaps? I am believing Him for that.

I care greatly about several friends and some family members whose grief might never be relieved this side of Heaven. This season reminds them of the moment tragedy struck. The decorations that were so brilliantly beautiful before that moment of disaster now glare and blur through the tears that still linger in their hearts.  I pray for His Peace to pour into their spirits and His Joy to fill their hearts.

I am grateful I have joy this season. I will savor my joy with praise and thanksgiving.  Not smugly, but carefully.  Mindful of those who do not have it.

And yet, I want some moments of wild abandon. Exuberant joy overflowing and bursting out.  Thrills seeing lights and tinsel, pretty presents all wrapped under the tree, my heart beating rapidly as the children pull into the driveway.  Our son and his bride and our little Princess will not be here physically. But distance is no master to Love.  They will be here in my heart for Christmas.  I will hug our daughter, her groom and our “borrowed” grand all the tighter for it.

Well, enough for now. I should be wrapping presents. Here is my pre-holiday project.  I am well-pleased with the outcome.

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Dinosaur

I think I am officially a dinosaur. Our daughter says I am not.  I feel like one.  So many things going on the world of pop culture today about which I am clueless.  I hear catch words and try to remember them long enough to write them down.  I have to write them down if I have any hope of getting to my computer to look on line for an explanation.  She says I am not a dinosaur because I am still interested to know about things even if I don’t care to participate.  I appreciate her generosity.

I have been dabbling in some additional social media sites. I am trying to figure out Twitter.  I can follow and unfollow. I can like. I can look at links. But, I don’t know how to re-tweet or initiate a tweet to someone correctly or how to tweet back at someone.

I have been working on figuring out Tumblr. I like that it is similar to Instagram but has the blog connection often lacking on Instagram. I love Instagram, of course.  Just lovely photos flowing along for the most part.

Pinterest is great and very familiar. I maneuver in it just fine. I enjoy it.  Not being one who can just pin and pin without reviewing what I have pinned, it becomes work sometimes.  I like to edit and resort and delete.  I confess I use secret boards more often than the public boards.  Just because it is a tool I like to use to sort out ideas and focus intentions.

I want to upgrade my WordPress to a dot net. I think that will be my birthday present to myself.  It was less than twenty dollars for the year last time I paid attention.  I have aspirations to create a specific logo for Raining Orchids. You know, tee shirts, hats, stationery.  Ha! Ha! Just for fun.  Additional creative flow.

Still, one of my favorite things to do when I want to be quiet and still is to color. I have one of those new adult coloring books and map pencils.  That is okay.  But what I really like is my bag of Crayola crayons and my Disney coloring book.  I bought it years ago and am slowly coloring each page in order through the book.  The bright colors, the smell of the crayons, the soothing rhythm of rubbing the wax onto the paper all work together to create magic for me.

To each his or her own. I like the technical world of social media.  And I love the innocent world of crayons and coloring books.  Just because I do.  Not going to analyze this.  Just going to savor the moments.  Dinosaur or not, I am still exploring.  Still asking questions.  Still learning. Still loving life. Not yet a fossil.

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Strange Treasures

From time to time, I consider the following question. If I had to load my earthly possessions in my small car and evacuate, what would my I count as irreplaceable treasure?

Like most, I have photographs. I have two small trunks full of old mementos. The trunks themselves are heirlooms.  Then, there are my books.  I have a lot I would not pack. But, I have previously shared comments about the ones I would try to save.

I have a large pottery jar and an ostrich egg. There is a glass tray of sea shells.  An old flour barrel has some dolls and toys.

I do have a few pieces of furniture I would like to somehow stuff in there. They wouldn’t fit in my car.  So in my imaginings, I allow him to place them in the truck.  One piece is a credenza.  It is full of glassware collected from both grandmothers, my mother and my own purchases.

Three jewelry boxes should go in the pile. For themselves as well as for the odds and ends in them.

My kitchen cabinets are an entirely separate problem. The collection of dishes, pots, pans, casseroles is two lifetimes of work.  My mother’s and my acquisitions are interwoven behind those birch panels.

I am resisting getting up from my writing to wander the house and see what I am missing in my description.

Just today, I pulled from my shelves a small assortment of vinyl LP albums. These are the melodies I would put on the turntable on sultry summer afternoons.  Exotic, dramatic orchestral performances by Mancini or Mantovani.  What does this collection of music my mother acquired reveal about her?

Many of the tunes familiar from old movies that were broadcast on our little television that got two channels, NBC and CBS, until I was a freshman in high school and mother got an antenna booster than allowed us to get ABC, too.

Those albums would go in there someplace. Though I don’t have a turntable to play them anymore, I would rather not leave them behind.

I have had to let go of so many people and so many ideas and dreams for one reason or another. My treasures, strange though they may seem to onlookers, help me feel a connection with my ancestors.  Perhaps my strange treasures will help my descendants feel a connection with them also.  And with me.

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Trouble with the Orchids

I am having trouble smelling the orchids today. Of course, it is Monday. This morning was not a bad as some have been lately. I don’t know what was different in my preparation for it. Sunday was good. Not exceptional. I slept okay, not great. But, somehow, the morning was better than I expected.

The day went fairly smoothly. I didn’t hit any big snags doing reports. I walked at Magnolia Ridge this evening. I saw five deer. They saw me and just watched me stroll by and then back by on the return. Supper was good.

The family is doing pretty well. Aunt and cousin still firmly in our daily prayers as they struggle with ongoing health issues. But, the rest of us are okay.

I had planned on writing about my son. He turned thirty this past Saturday. He is four thousand miles away working and playing. I miss him, but am so proud and thrilled he and his wife have this opportunity to live in paradise for a little while. I decided I was not brave enough to write about him. I might come undone if I delve too deeply remembering my sweet son. Oops…stop…even now my eyes sting.

Changing the subject quickly, I am once again sitting at my new desk typing. I also have continued to write the prescribed “morning pages” from Cameron’s work. I have too many things awaiting my attention. Too many courses of study pending. Not enough hours in the day. I have been saying that a lot lately. I don’t usually have this complaint. My biggest problem is prioritizing what to work on at any given moment.

Decision making is one of my weakest points. I even try to make certain rules to go by so I don’t have to struggle with such trivial things as deciding what to eat from a menu or what products to purchase for housekeeping.

Other things I simply put off deciding until the decision is made for me. Either the opportunity is lost or someone else decides and I go along. It is a trust issue. Not trusting my own choices. I feel I have made so many poor decisions in my life that I still feel the repercussions from I don’t want to take risks. Fear.  How I despise it.  Yet, it still stalks me.

But, the fear has to do with him, too. I don’t want to make poor decisions that adversely affect him. I try to avoid causing him chaos. I am not sure he would agree with that statement. I know he goes out of his way to tend to my difficulties. I so appreciate him for it. And yes, his patience has grown by leaps and bounds over these many years.

I suppose I do smell a faint whiff of fragrance after all. The orchids are sometimes lost in the tangle of my mind and I don’t see them or smell them. I have to stop and untangle my thoughts. Stop and talk to Him. Walk out in the fresh air. Fuss at myself some. Then, finally, sit down to the page. Whether here or in my journal to write it out.

I write almost every day. Sometimes, I seem to write all day. When I go too many days without writing, I can’t see the orchids. The dark tangle of my emotions overcomes me and I struggle to get through the hours. The words flowing onto the page are like the flood of tears from a grieving heart. They give relief and ease the spirit. Even when the thoughts and words, the days and occasions are happy, they can become tangled for me if I don’t write out the feelings.

I know when I am at my worst. My journal becomes a long to-do list. Listing, of course, being my great crutch to try to resolve chaos. I am almost without a list at this time. I know of a couple of short ones and then the long lists of books I want to read and songs I want on my iPod. Those don’t count. Like some of my pin boards don’t count when I feel the need to redirect my interests. Books and music are paramount for me. I don’t know if being without the lists is a good thing at the moment or if I am just in transition. Time will tell. Besides, Cameron’s book has homework assignments requiring lists! (Hmmm! Maybe that is part of the appeal!)

I need to do some untangling of my thoughts before bedtime. This is what my mind feels like sometimes:

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A Room of My Own

Recently, we have worked on making a space for me to piddle. I needed a desk and storage space close at hand. I also needed a spot for a small book case.

This is a big house. But, I needed a spot that could be private and closed off when visitors come. I didn’t want to have to pick up a mess in the middle of a project when having company. I didn’t want to worry about supplies being where little hands could come to harm. I need our bedroom serene and our public rooms uncluttered. I need the guest room clear of messes. His work room is too full and too chaotic for me to share with him.

There is a large pantry, or utility room, as Mother called it. I call it the wash room. Washer, dryer, second icebox, upright deep freezer, small sink, a closet with deep shelves, a built in storage pantry. Lots of room for a desk, too. I now have a spot. I am enjoying the space very much.

I am surprised at my response. It was with some reluctance I decided to try out my idea. He has been nothing but supportive and helpful. He helped bring home and put together the desk I found at the second hand store. I am typing this sitting here at the desk. Listening to the rain outside. The lamp sitting up high providing soft light to work.

I also share this room with our puppy dog. He has not bothered anything in here. I did have to move his kennel bed out. I will store it in the shed in case of emergency. We retrained him to sleep on his blanket in a different spot in the wash room.

I don’t have all my things sorted and set up quite yet. I am taking my time and arranging as I go. I would also like to get my iPod loaded up with music and have a speaker hook up to listen. I need a no-tick clock, too. I have a digital clock to put in here. But it is on the back porch. So I need the no-tick clock for the back porch when I move the other one in here.

I am hopeful this new arrangement will lead to greater creative expression. Both with words and textiles. With paper or canvas and color, too. I have things to work on. Now, I have a place to work. Oh, no. That means I have fewer excuses.

I am working through a book about developing creative expression. I have worked the book previously. It was about five years ago. I have golden memories from the first time through it. I am expectantly hopeful to have an even better experience this time through.

For anyone interested, it is Finding Water by Julia Cameron. She is better known for The Artist’s Way. I have it also. Finding Water was better for me. Although I confess it has been a long time since I explored The Artist’s Way.

So many projects in my plans, so many books to read, so many things to study, so many words to write. I am trying to keep at it. Keep showing up. Do the work. Let go of outcomes. Let Him work out what He wants me to learn. Creating with the Creator, Himself, watching and encouraging. Awesome feeling. Even when it is just a simple stitch or a few paragraphs on a blog post. Even when it is just my old coloring book and chest of crayons. Maybe is it simply the quietness that allows me to hear His still small voice. “Here, child, have an orchid.”

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