Thursday, December 28, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR! - Welcome 2018

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." –Mark Twain

As we approach the 2018, many people believe it’s time to look back at the past year, make corrections, and formulate resolutions for the New Year. We humans seem to need a beginning when we want to start something new—be it a skill, task, hobby, or exercise program. Dieting, for instance. How many people have you heard say, “I’m going on a diet next week…or on Monday”? After all, who starts dieting on Saturday night while sitting in a restaurant with a glass of wine and a menu that screams calories for the weak without willpower?

A beginning in our mind is always a mental picture of a first—the first day of the week or of the month, when the kids leave and you have free time, when winter ends and spring begins. The new year provides people with a clean slate and a place to start something new or to try to cast off an old vice. That’s where resolutions come into play.

Are you a resolution maker? I’m not.

I’m thinking the 2018 is a time to set some relaxed, even movable goals and explore some activities I’ve always wanted to do, but have put on the back burner. This year I’m focusing on what Mark Twain so elegantly said. I’m taking 2018 to explore, dream, discover and do new things I’ve sworn I was going to do “someday.” You know which someday I’m talking about, don’t you? The one that is really an enigmatic place in the future, without a day, month, or even year specified.  
My someday activities may include writing some short stories, returning to my wood shop, trying my hand at raising some herbs, reading more nonfiction, visiting some new places, watching more sunsets and enjoying nature.

What are your resolutions—or goals and activities—for the coming year? And let me know what “someday” interests you have on the back burner.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Our Thoughts Turn to Childhood Memories at Christmas

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, 
and we are better throughout the year for having,
 in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

One of my most favorite memories of Christmas is going out into the woods with my family and canvasing the hillsides to find the perfect tree which we'd load on our Farm-all tractor and bring home. To be honest, it wasn't always the most perfect tree. Many times it was a bit misshapen and often boasted a few holes, but it was "our Christmas tree." By the time the lights were strung and the ornaments were placed on its branches, it was considered the best tree ever.
My mother had the most beautiful reflectors that surrounded the bulbs on the light strings. They were stars with mirrors on the points to reflect the light from the colored bulbs.  An angel was always place on top, and down below the tree on the front skirt, the manger scene held an important place.

Tinsel? We put lots of tinsel on our tree. Talk about helping the aluminum foil industry! We'd start placing it strand by strand until one of us tired and started putting clumps over the branches--and in the end some tinsel was actually tossed near the top.

Someone asked me once what was my favorite gift? I think my Betsy Wetsey doll was a highlight of my presents, but I always loved books. To this day, I remember "Black Beauty," "The Bobbsie Twins," "Heidi," and the "Trixie Belden" series.

What were your favorite childhood memories? 
Please share them below in the comments. 

Wishing everyone a Holly Jolly Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

CHRISTMAS - Make It Stress-free

Christmas is an overwhelming time  during the holidays when we get caught up in the glitz and hustle and bustle of finding presents, writing cards, hosting parties, listening to radio and television advertising, making food and baking--and so many other activities that we become over-stimulated, cranky, and sometimes downright depressed. We think we have to get everything just right. Just perfect.

My mother used to remind me when I slipped into my crazy Christmas mode, that Christmas is only one day. It will come and it will go--in just twenty-four hours, she would admonish. 

Here are some quick tips to reduce the Christmas stress:

PLAN AHEAD – Plan ahead, whether it’s starting the Christmas cards early in November or making a list of things that are priorities such as travel plans, possible presents, or your food lists for menus for the season. It always helps to start early and avoid rushing later.

BUY ONLINE – There’s no need to elbow you way through crowded stores when many of the online specials already beat the Christmas prices advertised in the flyers and on the radio and television. Shop online and have everything delivered to your door.

TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF – Take time to breathe, take time to exercise, take time to do something you like. Grab a cup of hot chocolate or decaffeinated coffee and your favorite book and cozy chair for a few minutes. Psychologists say we need 20 minutes of “me time” or “personal down-time” each day. Take it and don’t feel guilty.

ENJOY THE SEASON – If Christmas music makes you feel joyful, turn up the knob on your radio or CD player. Take a quiet, solitary walk and get away from it all, if you must. Watch the snow fall silently and peacefully, covering the world in white. Smell the homey scents of the season: pine, citrus, cinnamon and vanilla. Listen to the sounds of bells or children laughing. Enjoy the very sights that remind us of Christmas such as a wreath on someone’s door or a lighted Christmas tree.

And in the end, remember—“It’s really only one day. It will come and it will go--in just twenty-four hours!”  
Merry Christmas to all!