Another Christmas Passes Into Memory

This has been an extraordinary Christmas for me simply because of the Jeep. I find myself thinking I will need to take it back to whomever it belongs to any minute now.  It doesn’t seem real that it is mine to keep.  I still can’t believe he bought me such an extraordinary gift.  Sorry my mind still doesn’t wrap around the California Dream living in the shadow of the mountain in the photo.  She is real and yet elusive in my comprehension.

As I was sitting here pondering what to write about, I was looking at the Christmas tree. I plugged in the lights again.  I love colored lights on the tree.  I miss the adjustable twinkle lights we used to have.  I could turn the dial to the perfect speed to set a tranquil mood in the darkened living room.  I would sit and drink my coffee with just the tree lights sparkling to illuminate the room.

I will probably take it down this evening or tomorrow rather than leave it up through New Year’s Day. The thought makes me feel sad, as usual.  The feeling seems amplified because of the feelings about the Jeep being temporarily at my disposal.  If I take the tree down, Christmas is really over.  And I will wake up and the Jeep will be gone, too.

Craziness of my thoughts. My mind argues with my heart.

I am already looking into the next year. I have a line-up of projects to do.  I have the materials to do all of them, too.  Just need time and focus to get them done.  Time is not so much of an issue as focus.  I piddle around, stalling.  Stalling because the creative endeavor might not turn out the way I had hoped.  Or maybe I won’t be able to work it out technically.  Will I have the skills needed to turn the idea into a successfully completed project?

I am such a sporadic “crafter” I don’t have a depth of skills. I have hit a lick at this and a lick at that.  Never really committing to one thing or another.  I don’t seem able to get too involved in something.  I tell myself it is because the something isn’t Something.  That I am not really all that interested in it.  I’m not sure what is the underlying issue.  Maybe the shadow of my father’s illness?  Fear I will get too involved and go over the edge.  Maybe some notion that the only thing I should be really interested in is evangelizing lost people and anything that takes from that energy and focus is sinful.  Concerned that I will get lost in the “flow” of creativity and lose track of time and not have supper ready or my chores done and he will be put out or inconvenienced because of it.

Maybe all of the above. There is a song on the radio: “you keep a slip knot in the strings you attach”.  Yes. I do.  I don’t maintain long term relationships beyond my family.  I keep to myself most of the time.  Oh, I yak and laugh with co-workers at the 9-5 and with fellow members at church.  But, I have difficulty socializing outside those arenas.  The friends we’ve had over the years have, like us, moved along in life phases and most have moved geographically, as well.  The ones nearby are busy with other things.  No one has the energy to take time to be together anymore.

One of my hopes for the New Year is to re-learn how to “visit”. To drop by a friend’s house to chat.  To call someone up on the phone to trade gripes about some trivial nothing that happened to us.  To ride to town and go “fumbling”.  That is what my grandmother called what might be translated as window shopping or browsing.  All we would end up buying is a cold coke to drink on the way home.

Another Christmas passes into memory. Another year passes along right behind it.  I feel like Bilbo when he said, “I want to see mountains, again”.  The “mountains” I want to see again are friends.  I want to see my friends, again, and see them often and casually.  Without all the planning and strategizing it seems to take these days.  It feels like a mountain of a wish.  If it plays out, it will bring a mountain of memories.

Next Christmas with two Dreams in the world………………….

Come on New Year. Bring with you more time with certain little Dream girls.  Bring with you more time with friends.  Bring with you mountains of memories and tie my strings into knots.

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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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Me:

Me:

I will write it out.  May not be exactly the plan for you. We are in such different life stages.  But, the ideas may cross over.  I have been struggling about blog topics.  Maybe this could be a two or three part series.

My friend:

Will you start this week or next?

Me:

I am writing on Wednesday’s now.  So, for tomorrow, I could do part one.  Describe and define the problems and then next week start the resolution phase.  If I get inspired before then, I will send you private previews!

My friend:

I will pray for you. Any specifics in prayers?

Me:

I want to let go of what I think my life should have been and embrace what my life is.  I want to let go of actual physical belongings that don’t add to my quality of life but rather cause anxiety and concern.  I want to let things be the way they are without feeling I should “fix” me to make things seem better.

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So, I had a great post going and my computer decided to auto shut down and update Windows. I am going to try to restart.  Pretty sure this will not be a good as all I lost.

Here goes:

Last week I loaded four bags of clothes and hauled them off to the charity shop. I took some things to our daughter.  She kept part and sent part back with me.  I will refill the box and haul it off this week.  I have a couple of boxes loaded in the turtle hull already.  I have another bag almost full of clothes ready to go.

I recorded a thought in my journal the other day. If a ship is sinking, plug the leak to stop the flood then bail like crazy.  I am trying to plug the leak, but by bailing like crazy, I hope to strengthen my resolve to not let the flooding continue.

Why am I obsessed with minimalism? I don’t really know. I just want to have less stuff to clean, store and shuffle through when looking for the stuff I really use.

What is acceptable for storage? This is highly subjective and personal.  Holiday decorations.  I have an artificial tree because it is less mess and easier to put up and take down than a live tree.  I have minimal decorations to go on the tree.  I also like to do a large table center piece using antlers, candles and silk flowers and greenery.  I don’t do outdoor decorations because we live at the end of a very quiet dead end street.  Maybe when the grands get old enough to enjoy such a thing, I will add them.  For Hallowe’en, Valentine’s and Easter, I do a simple table decoration.

What else to store? I have a few extra-large pots and things for bigger gatherings that we no longer host.  I haven’t quite decided to give up on that idea.  Things may expand again someday.  I don’t like the idea of  storing clothes out of season simply because I don’t want to have so many clothes they need to be stored in rotation.  I should be able to put summer things in the back end of the rack and fall things in the front.  I can do that.  My closet’s hanging rod is long enough for that.

I considered getting another shed. My shed was overtaken by a chupacabra (see previous post about a pack rat).  We cleared up big daddy, but I discovered junior has moved in, recently.  I don’t have anything stored in the attic.  I like it that way.  I am physically hindered from accessing things in the attic. (getting too old and arthritic to climb and haul up and down that ladder) My things are in the washroom, the back room closet and in those under the bed storage boxes.  Even as I write this, I am mindful of the things in the boxes I could eliminate.

One of my favorite de-cluttering writers suggests eliminating activities that don’t have adequate rewards to justify the baggage and resources they use. In other words, consider the activities I pursue.  Do I actually enjoy the activity enough to provide space to do the activity and store the items used in the activity?  Do I just do it because I should do something?  Is it something I used to enjoy, but I have lost interest?

Or is it like sewing? I know how to sew.  I am pretty good at it.  I used to sew. My mother loved to sew.  I should want to sew.  Right?  I don’t think I want to sew.  I just want to feel my mother’s presence again.  Sit with her digging through the fabrics and patterns.  Hear the machine whirring as she stitches up a beautiful dress for me to wear.

I would love to have a tiny box with a couple of needles, some basic thread colors, a pair of tiny scissors. Just enough to repair a button or hem.  I have a little more than that.  Not a lot more. But more than I will ever use.  I don’t see myself sewing, again.  Or maybe, after writing this, I see the truth of the thing.  Sewing is something I once enjoyed.  When Mother could no longer sew, I could no longer enjoy it for myself.  Even now, the process gouges too deeply at the wound of losing her.  The big empty place in my life.

I guess I will keep on with my piddling and sorting and hauling off and acquiring. Till someday I latch on to something that doesn’t hurt so much to do.  I didn’t know I was still hurting so much.  I don’t know what I will do with this revelation.

He had to comfort me earlier when the computer went down in the middle of things. He always comes to my rescue when the dragons threaten.  I hear the pounding hooves of his white charger even before I click “publish”…….

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Scrub a Dub Dub

I have spent my evening cleaning house.  I estimate I am half way.  Maybe a little more.  I spent some time outside putting things away.  I even washed four windows.  Odd, I know.  They needed it more than the rest.  I will try to do a few more next week.  The fish tank needed some water work. I am give out now.

I have my menu for the holiday weekend made out and my grocery list about ready for tomorrow after the 9 to 5.  Rather than a traditional Thanksgiving menu when my daughter and her husband come, we are having a traditional Sunday dinner.  Fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, creamed potatoes, gravy, yeast rolls, corn, crowder peas, greens, cornbread, sweet potato pie.  We don’t eat like that anymore.  It has now become a treat in my mind.

My niece and her family are coming over the holiday.  I have a menu planned with two little girls in mind.  I checked my supply of chocolate syrup and will make sure I select some delectable cookies.  I don’t have time to bake cookies this week.  We will have to make do with store bought.

He was reviewing the menu for the several days.  He mentioned I had forgotten his ham rolls.  Added them immediately along with the cheese torte.  I hope he enjoys the festivities and the feasting.

Our holiday times are so different from the traditional ways of our childhood and even early adulthood.  The passing of our parents and the marrying off of our children changed everything.  I miss those two little people who used to live with me.  They made my life magical.

I see two grown-ups who seem familiar.  I think they are wonderful people as adults.  But, I still seek glimpses of my young’uns.  I still want to gather them in my arms and hold on tight.

The holidays will roll in and pass by.  I want to make some more magical memories.  I eagerly anticipate two little girls coming to visit.  I hope and pray weather and wellness permit.  I also eagerly anticipate seeing our daughter and her love.  Not sure if our grand-girl will be here.

I hadn’t been looking forward to putting up a tree and laying the table with decorations.  After writing this, I am feeling more like having Christmas after all.  Sometimes, it helps to give myself a good talking to.  Stop wistfully mourning the past and look happily toward the future.  Get the house scrubbed and ready.  Christmas is coming. And so are some of the children!

An image below of a place that never fails to ground me.  My beloved lake in winter.  I will need to spend time there soon.  All the festivities will have me teetering.  I go there and visit the ghosts and talk to Him.  He knows all about my heart, both the strong parts and the fragile.  He will scrub my soul and refresh my spirit.  Any day, not just the holidays.

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Christmas is Here!

Christmas is a time to remember Christ.  A time to remember our loved ones gone before us to meet Him.  A time to gather with our loved ones present and create bonds of love that strengthen throughout the trials the rest of the year brings.  A time to pause and see beauty of baubles on trees and lights on eaves.  A time to believe in goodness and magic and possibilities.  A time to give tokens of love and graciously receive tokens given to us.  A time to grow our compassion for an even greater year ahead.  Always looking upward to the Heavenly Star for guidance and comfort.

A Christmas colored picture to remind me.  Red for His shed blood gifted for me.  White for His perfect peace bestowed on the believer.  Green for His provision of everlasting life.  Merry Christmas to all and may His perfect peace and gift of everlasting life be yours.

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Busy Mondays

This has been a busy day!  Work was slightly hectic.  My own doing.  Sometimes I don’t follow my own rules to pace myself and not let “it” get to me.

But, after work, the busy-ness was terrific!  I got the tree put up and decorated.  I set up a little vignette on the table next to it.  I arranged his dining table centerpiece with the antlers and poinsettias.  I cooked up a couple of steaks and some shrimp in a lemon pepper sauce to go over them for supper.  I have been doing this fairly frequently these days.  Steaks on Mondays.  Sets the week off to a good start.  Why save steak and shrimp for weekends?  Weekends have their own rewards what with all that play time!

Life is wonderful!  Even on hectic Mondays!  I hope the rest of my week finds me as productive and uplifted as today.  Whether it does or not, I am satisfied with today.  And since today is what counts, it is enough!

Getting ready for a Happy Christmas!  Even with my heart that stands before me half way around the world, we will still make merry with the ones near to us.  My angel baby will be with us.  We will get to the see our little girls again I hope.  I have a visit to see my brother planned.  I have already attended a wonderful holiday gathering hosted by one of my dearest friends and her husband.   Happy Christmas has begun even now!

 

 

 

Christmas Cards

Let me preface the following with a few statements.  First, I love Christmas cards.  I love getting them in the mail.  Second, I love the cards themselves.  They are mini works of art.  I love that someone took a moment to include me in their ritual of sending cards.

I used to send Christmas cards to every person in my address book.  You know.  The address book in which folks used to keep “snail mail” addresses.  Every year, a couple of boxes of cards, signed, stuffed in envelopes, addressed, stamped, dumped at the post office.

When we first married, I enjoyed the process.  Picking out the right cards, addressing the envelopes, making the trip to the post office.

After a few years, it became just another item to do on the Christmas list.

Then, it became a chore.   I felt obligated to send cards.

Next, it became a burden.  After all, I still received many cards in the mail each year.

Finally, I stopped doing them.  And the feelings of guilt set in. We were still receiving cards by the bucket full.

After a few years, I got over that.  I realized I have a choice.  I can choose to participate in whatever I want.  I owe no one for anything.  I am grateful for the love and support I have received from friends and loved ones.  I still receive love and support from many, including him and the children and Him.

But, I have given my love and support over and above.  At times, nearly losing my health, sanity and economic stability to do so.  I still have love and support to give.  Resilience.  My friend and I spoke of this today.  Mother instilled resilience in me.  He reinforces it.  Life continues.  Through illness, death, dismemberment, divorce, parting of the ways, life continues.  Meals need to be cooked.  Washing has to be done.  The light bill has to be paid.  The garden needs planting and the grass needs cutting.  People pass into and out of our lives.  Some are here for many long years.  Some for a few short months.  Life continues.

No one owes me anything.  I have given whatever I can of service, time and money from the feeling of love and a bone deep desire to serve.  Parents, children, other family, friends, church, co-workers, neighbors.  Whoever He put in my path to touch, I have tried.  I have failed many times.  But, I have succeeded some, too.  I am choosier now about what I will agree to do.  I want to be able to commit completely and in depth to things I do these days.

Someday I may resume sending Christmas cards.  When I do, the list will be select.  I will send out of love and a desire to express it.  If someone is sending cards to me or anyone else, I just hope they are sending them out of genuine positive feelings and not out of guilt or obligation.  If it doesn’t make one happy, don’t do it.  There are enough chores that must be done in this life without this being one.  Of course, this sentiment could translate to a million other things our society members do as well.

“I just want you to be happy.”  Ten thousand times he has told me that over the last nearly 32 years.

So, I say to my reader, if sending Christmas cards makes you happy, please continue.  Please don’t be offended at mine missing from your mail box.  Should I receive one from you, I will send good thoughts your way and prayers upward on your behalf.  If I find out you have a need, I will try to help.  That will have to be my Christmas greeting to you for now.

In a musty trunk, my Grandmother’s and Father’s sentiments to me are stored.  “Dear Molly Darling” begins one from my Granny Arie……………..

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