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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Weeds

Every spring we plant a garden. Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash and peppers are regulars.  We did this year as usual, along with eggplant.  We had greens earlier in the season. Every year, I promise myself I will keep up with the weeding.  And every year, I don’t.  Including this year.

I spent time yesterday trying to restore order from the chaos among the tomatoes and peppers. I will work on it some more over the next few days.  I ask myself why I even bother to plant.  Of course, we have fresh vegetables to eat.  Usually we have enough to put extra in the freezer.  I always make pickles.

Along the same lines, I got a dozen herbs and potted them. During the days of neglecting the garden, I also neglected the herbs.  I didn’t get them watered in time and lost a couple.  Why?  I ask myself.

It is because I don’t keep up with the weeding and watering. I let the grass grow in the tomatoes and the pots go dry on the carport and my life get overcrowded and parched as well.

So often I plan a project, prepare for it, launch it, progress with it. Then suddenly I look up and it has fallen by the way and been overrun with weeds.  In the past few years, I have been less productive. I have also launched fewer projects.

My main project at this point is editing. Even with the garden and flower beds and yard care, I am working toward less to maintain.  I am looking for beautifully streamlined set ups.  Yard care, home care, personal care, self-entertainment.  Streamlining and editing the things that must be done to make room for the things that are a joy to do.

I want my house to be tidy and clean all the time. I want my flower beds and vegetable garden to always be in great shape. I want my chores and personal care to be perfectly current.  I want time to read and watch movies.  I want to cook delicious meals for him.  I want to feel energetic and enthusiastic all the time.  I want time to paint my walls and redecorate my house.  I want time to fish and to go swimming. I want time to go visit family and friends.  I want to visit museums and parks and go to the zoo.

I want so much and reach for so much, I don’t have time or opportunity or energy to keep up. The weeds invariably grow in some areas.  Streamlining.  That is my current project.  I am streamlining as many processes and areas as possible.  Get rid of this to make time for that.  Weed out this just because it isn’t worth the place it takes in my home or my life to keep up.  This includes hobbies I thought I wanted to pursue.  I have gotten rid of more arts and crafts things.  I do still backslide in this area. But, I am quicker to notice and redirect my path.  Even getting rid of or returning items I have purchased very soon after acquisition.

Weeding. My life, my home, my heart, my mind.  Digging out things that don’t belong and making space for things that bring forth fruits of joy and satisfaction. I am happy with my progress.  I see more and more ways to make a difference, to improve my allocations of resources.  I enjoy the process of housekeeping.  I simply want to be sure the house I am keeping is one of my choosing and not what I have allowed to creep in like the weeds in my garden.

There is a reason growing in California to increase my rate of progress toward my goals these days. I need to get my life, my home and my resources in order. She won’t be here in this house for a good long while. But, she is already taking over my heart and my mind like a weed!  She is one weed I will keep!

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Pursuit

Sometimes I have clarity.  I clearly see my dream.  Then I look down to check the path for trip hazards and when I look back up, the dream has become shrouded again.

I will continue to seek the path to my dream.  To do otherwise is self-betrayal.  To be true to myself.  That is a big part of it.  To know myself and not compromise my own identity and values to conform or get by.

It is very hard for me.  My personality is to be pliant and submissive.  I laugh as I write that.  I haven’t always been such.  I used to argue at the drop of a hat with anyone about anything.

In trying to become the kind of wife I want to be, I have given up some things I shouldn’t have let go.  He doesn’t press for anything.  It has been my own quest to change and become the partner I believe he deserves.  But, in doing so, I have retreated too far with some things.

I don’t reach for things if I am not able to get them on my own.  If I will need help, I usually simply forfeit.  I short myself when I should be letting him and others close enough to help.  I may have just hit upon the key.

Letting someone help means being vulnerable.  I have too often equated vulnerability with weakness.  I don’t think of that with others, just with myself. I measure myself with a totally different set of standards.  I love to help others.  I don’t allow myself to need help.

Perhaps for 2016, I will let go of my self-imposed restrictions and allow myself to ask for help.  Ask for support.  Let others love me.

It is the only way to fulfill my dreams. I will not be able to do what I want to do without his support and his help.  He always encourages me to take the next step.  I am the one standing on the same step day after day.

That is not entirely true.  If I look back, I see how far I have come.  And I do see the next step.  Just muster the wherewithal to climb up one more.  After I get that one done, I can work on the next.  One step.  And another after that.  The dream is there, up ahead.

I am enjoying the challenge of the climb.  That ever ascending path.  That shrouded dream.  The faith to keep on the chase.  A good way to live.  Seeking the dream and yet not losing the joy of the pursuit.  A delicate balance.  Like the blossom of the orchid.

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Raining Orchids

What does “Raining Orchids” mean?

I love orchids.  I haven’t been successful growing orchids, yet.  But, I love them none the less. 

In my mind, the orchid is the true queen of flowers.  Delicate, long lasting, fragrant, exotic.  Less common than roses.  Very desirable and lovely. 

The idea of orchids relating to life was inspired by Marjorie Hillis’ 1937 book:  Orchids On Your Budget.  She explains the balance of budgeting for the happier things in life such as hosting parties and enjoying entertainments among other things.  She also touches on the idea of making do and being truly happy about it. 

If you are familiar with the phrase “raining cats and dogs”, translate that image to “raining orchids”.  Orchids rain onto my life.  Not in the sense of endless loveliness and happiness, but of blessings sometimes outright and sometimes disguised by difficulty. 

This past weekend, I got to visit with my loved ones.  I was able to cook copious amounts of food to serve them.  I had some time with friends.  We remembered the Easter promises.  Yet, I thought about my mother, gone 16 years, yesterday.  How much I miss her in so many ways. My heart aches for her and so many others gone. 

But, my heart rejoices in the company of my great nieces!  Age three and age 2 months, they bring a kind of joy only little ones can.  And yes, I still get a thrill to see my adult children.  Three of the most wonderful people on the planet.  Period.  And then there is him.  He guards me, supports me, brings orchids into my life every day.

So many orchids in my life!  People and circumstances that create endless love, happiness, and blessings, both outright and disguised. 

Despite the books on growing them, I have lost the live orchids I had.  These silk orchids on one of my treasure tables will have to do until I figure out how to grow the real things.  Meanwhile, I will revel in the symbolic orchids raining throughout my life.  Him, family, friends, a table of plenty, a Risen Savior. 

 

 

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P.S.  65 is the year I was born.  I am too glad to be alive to worry about anyone knowing my true age!