Annual Renewal

The loveseat enveloped my body last night when our day of Christmas celebration was over. There was the buoy effect as I tried to sink in but I was just too inflated to actually feel comfortable. “Why” I screamed in my brain as the melancholy set in. Now begins the day after Christmas.

Unlike several of my friends, I have never been the day after Thanksgiving shopper nor do I look forward to bargain shopping the day after Christmas. Manic buying, shopping, cooking, planning and the joy of Christmas decorations ends at sunset on Christmas Day. The week before The New Year has always been the week of renewed hope. I like to think of it as I have been loved and nourished on Christmas which gives me the courage for the “start over” week….and the new year!

So onward and upward…this beautiful sunrise reminds me I have my week of hope, love and renewal beginning.

Until next time…..

This morning

Preparing for Christmas Eve brunch.

  • Throwing the ingredients for monkey bread into the greased angel food cake pan, I reflected on how many times I have cringed while greasing the cake pan all the while wondering why you aren’t suppose to grease an angel food cake pan.
  • Wondered if my mother somehow knew I greased angel food cake pans which drifted into remembering my mother and Aunt Frances cooking every holiday meal together and even after 80+ years still arguing about it.
  • I had coffee with my dad (where ever he is) in his red and black Christmas flannel shirt and I repledged my undying love for him. My best qualities…the ones I don’t take credit for, I got from my dad.
  • Realized the Christmas cry was going to happen at some point today.
  • Made “company potatos” from a beloveds recipe and I hope she knows I miss her so much today!
  • Wondered if the girls and their families have the slightest idea how much I love and cherish them.
  • Turned on the cold water in the sink to rinse a dish and wondered if I just scalded “him” in the shower, felt bad, then snickered because he’s probably cursing.
  • Realized I am feeling so much gratitude for the love around me.
  • Commencing Christmas Cry.
  • Merry Christmas!
  • We went to see Cats…the movie

    Before I delve into the movie, I feel like talking.

    Before I went to see the movie, Last Christmas, at the theater in November, I cannot tell you the last time I stepped foot in a theater. One of the Bushes was probably president…theaters had a lot of seating in chairs with seats that flipped up and down and you had to share an armrest with the person next to you and as someone mentioned this morning, you had to continually move your feet so emergency responders were not called to pry you up from the sticky floor after the movie finished. Or I could have just said, it’s had been a long time.

    Last Christmas the movie was ok. I didn’t love it but I liked it. The twist at the end still gives me a warm feeling 2 months later.

    Knives up….or was in Knives down…knives out. It was ok. I didn’t love it, I didn’t dislike it. I was entertained and that’s good enough.

    A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…oh my…I loved it and I didn’t watch Mr Rogers when I was young. Nor have I seen the Snoopy Christmas’s movie…or any Snoopy movie or cartoon for that matter. That’s another blog topic. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor!

    Cats. Cats aren’t Dogs. That will only bring a chuckle after you have seen the movie. I was hesitant after reading reviews…pretty much everything I read said horrendous was a kind word. I liked it. I didn’t love it. There is no plot. The music was very disappointing… I was expecting heart jarring emotion from the music…it was Andrew Lloyd Webber music for crying out loud…the costumes were interesting and I think appropriate..especially cat tales. The dancing was pleasurable! I was reasonably disturbed with Rebel Wilson’s character but I should have expected it…it was Rebel Wilson. The movie is not going to be enjoyed by everyone but I lean toward it may be enjoyable for real feline lovers? There were scenes I enjoyed…ahem And if you love Idris Elba…well hold on!

    Until next time….

    Losing the need to “tell my story”

    When I was in the grips of pain, depression, and overwhelming anxiety which I blamed on my job, my role as caretaker of my elderly mother and Aunt, feeling like an outcast in my husbands family and hating who I was because of the way I was thinking and the way my body looked…whew…I felt like at every opportunity, I needed to tell my story. My story had no happiness but involved my upbringing, my loneliness, my familial burdens as well as every other thing that I considered to be my negative personal affliction. By telling my story, at least I got attention, I had a line of people who felt sorry for me, I had friends who would get down there in the mud and wallow with me. I thought I was fortunate *fist on forehead, that I at least had that!

    Each step forward I thought I could make myself feel better by changing my surroundings and my personal appearance but the brick wall I was running into got thicker and thicker. Finally a therapist led me around the brick wall.

    Today…I woke up feeling like I was going to have a sensitive pre-holiday day…but I started out mindfully feeling gratitude…I took my oldest grandson to school this morning and he chatted as if he was in my head and knew I needed to hear what he was saying….gratitude. I’m babysitting my 3 year old grandson today and he’s laughing and full of joy…gratitude. I was thinking about Christmas past and I felt gratitude….I was loved and I have friends and family who love me. When my grandson pushed the button on the paw of a toy dog that sings Blue Christmas over and over again, I felt gratitude. My mom bought this stuffed dog for herself a couple years before she died…I felt an unusual thankfulness for my mother and her gift to me of memories of those cherished christmases past. For a moment, I felt myself wanting to rethink my story…the familiar story I used to tell myself… but I just stopped and realized gratitude was my new story and here I am. Right here and right now, I’m so thankful!

    Happy Holidays….

    A post about winter coats 😁

    Last Monday my friends started wearing winter coats.

    I was at peak awareness as everyone arrived to our book group and as each woman walked in the door someone said “puffy coat”. And it was true…unlike my half winter coat which has no stylish puffiness and is barely a winter coat I bought 5 years ago for the first winter in our new warmer climate state. State being the territory or my emotional state of new and warmer. I noticed that most of the women did not assume the modeling pose when their coat was mentioned but all seemed to grab it in a fist just below their neck and I understood the body language indicating the coat was perfectly warm.

    Saturday I went to JC Penny and because of their 50 percent off sale I purchased a nice puffy coat so I could fit in with my peers….and because I freeze in my milder climate coat. Although I’m mildly concerned about the Champaign color not being status quo…it was 50 percent off…which was appropriately the exact amount I would pay for the design, the workmanship and the fact it has fake fur around the collar. Not that I would even consider real fur but I really didn’t want fur.

    This morning I saw an article about The Amazon Coat. Last years Amazon coat. I am obviously so out of touch with fashion that I had not even heard of the Amazon Coat. APPARENTLY it was stylish at least in Chicago and New York… here you go

    Is this not the ugliest coat you have ever see . I mean even on a skinny girl with leggings. Can you imagine this same coat on a normal size woman or one with a little girth? Polish sausage in a bun wrapped with aluminum foil, perhaps.

    Here’s my new puffy coat…

    I can hardly wait to walk into group tonight..I will already know to walk in gripping just below my throat and feeling like a stylish maven!

    Until next time….

    Lonely or Nice

    The holidays….they can go either way..

    I have heard my friends lament about the sadness they feel especially when viscerally injected with holiday cheer bouncing off every wall, ceiling, music speaker and Christmas tree. It doesn’t really matter whether you are a reason for the season person; your ethnicity doesn’t matter, sleeping on the streets or in a mansion…you are either living through or celebrating the holidays.

    I especially mourn with people when a loved one transitions around the holidays. I don’t think I’m hanging crepe when I say that The “holidays” will never be the same for them. This happened to me…my dad had a heart attack on Christmas Eve and passed the day after New Years. Moving forward when the holidays roll around the reference is always that day, month, year before dad passed and after dad passed.

    A good friend of mine told me that I should accept the holiday feels by feeling the emotion, letting it pass through and if you feel like a thorough holiday sob, just let it happen. Stop fighting it.

    There really are no rules…the holiday is the holiday…one hour, one day you may feel festive and full of love and joy…and the next hour or day, you may not.

    Namaste

    Get off that anxiety train

    For the last couple of years, I’ve immersed myself in the study of learning to live in the moment. The past is done. There is nothing that can change it…and the past we recall is our illusion of events and interestingly, every time we try to bring the past back in our thoughts, its probably not the same memory from the last time we thought about it. Regardless…it is the past. It is not who we are or what we are right this moment. The future we agonize over and plan down to the last detail is also an illusion. I’m not referring to the weekly calendar or event future, I’m speaking of the worry and planning of our lives such as what happens if I run out of money, what happens if I get sick, What happens if we lose the house, what happens if all the chickens die…FEAR OF THE FUTURE…These thoughts are just a destructive cycle in our thinking that keep us from living right now.

    How many times do we miss what is going on in the pleasant, present moment because we are focused on something from our past or fear of what might happen in the future (usually won’t happen in the future). I’m learning to recognize when I have these life robbing thoughts. I recognize when I’m starting to feel anxiety about “something” and to just STOP and get off that thought train. What are 3 things I see right now, 3 things I hear right now, 3 things I can physically feel right now. This exercise which might take 10 seconds will bring me back to where I am right here and right now.

    My anxiety, morbid thinking, fear of the unknown and anger about the past is becoming less likely to ruin my day.

    This has been a “lesson” I wanted to share today because I woke up with some fear based thinking and writing it down always helps me to retain the information!

    Until next time…..

    Fear

    In my spiritual journey, I find there are so many topics, themes, opinions, beliefs that are universal among new thought books/authors, teachers and gurus. As I have drilled down on these topics, I have found that this stuff makes total sense as opposed to the fundamental beliefs of the preachers, teachers, opinionated male dominant hierarchy teachings that have been used to control the multitudes for thousands of years. The bottom line is that we…as in everything on this planet…are connected. Each human being is connected as one and is reliant on all of nature to keep the balance. Everything is connected.

    All of our angst, feelings of superiority, insecurity and hate…everything that isn’t love…is fear. And fear comes from that little voice in our head that is constantly talking to us…we can call that little voice…the ego. All of our fear thoughts originate from stories we tell ourselves. I’m ugly, I don’t fit in because I have a big nose, I don’t like someone because they looked at me a certain way…on and on and on. These stories we tell ourselves are not the result of what someone has DONE to us but actually is that “something” buried deep within us. So we revolt. Often, those things about ourselves that we recognize and “don’t like” are exactly the behaviors in someone else that causes us to be locked and loaded when triggered into an angry response and behavior. A simple example…the friend who thinks they will be safe from everything by having rules for everything….built in protection…if I can control it with rules, it can’t hurt me. If this friends behavior crosses your invisible line of acceptance of your rules and he/she irritates you, is it because you have very fixed rules for the perception of safety and you are triggered. The friend that doesn’t wear makeup….do you judge her because you are insecure about the way you look and never leave the house unless embellished? Is she wrong or do you need to examine the insecurity within yourself that she triggers? In general we judge or dislike someone who brings out the insecurities we are hiding.

    The illusion of the need to protect ourselves comes from a long history of experiences in our life that may have hurt our feelings, damage us physically/mentally and made us feel unsafe or not good enough. We attached emotion to those “things” and initiated protection alerts for our hearts. It all seems so complicated but is actually very simple. If it is not love based, it is fear based and we have the capacity to change the way we think.

    Namaste

    Most tricks in a minute by a pig

    That would be Joy who is proudly in the Guinness Book of World Records…

    We have been away from our “Home Town” for nearly 6 years. It seems to be the perfect amount of time needed for me to forget about the things that irritated me about small town living; but, enough time that I can embrace what delighted me.

    Since we have been gone, old buildings on the square have been refurbished, new traffic lights down the main drag and the movie theater has been updated. The new theater owners have a pig named Joy who lives her life on display in a store front next to the theater.

    Under the heading, “you can’t make this stuff up”, Joy appears to have an idyllic life. She does tricks for gawkers passing on the square. I only stayed around for her twirling trick so I didn’t witness anything else she does…

    It’s just a precious snapshot of small town life. We stood in sprinkles at 35 degrees to watch Joy and the hometown parade which brings Santa to town following the courthouse lighting and tour of the trees on display at the courthouse…which includes a massive 3 story tree.

    Thanks for the memories Newton, Iowa.

    Happy Holidays!

    I can remember staying in hotels that provided HBO

    A part of me was so attracted to the idea of watching HBO all day and all night in the room because we didn’t have it at home…. I recall after looking at the little paper pamphlet left on the desk that listed all the shows playing on HBO during our stay, I was totally irritated because actually there was nothing I thought was worth my time…just a shiny little distraction.

    I can remember when staying in a hotel was fun! An adventure. That was before I started paying attention to how dirty the floor might be, how filthy the remote had to be because I saw it on Facebook. Are the glasses really clean or do they just wrap them up?no doubt…you get the picture.

    Seeing an HBO pamphlet in our hotel tonight, I had to looks to see if there was anything that piqued my interest even though we have HBO at home now. For some reason, I flashed back to a memory of a Florida trip in 99. It was the week John-John Kennedy was killed. Our oldest daughter had graduated high school and this was our last “family” vacation together. The night in question we had a hotel room in a perfect location to see a space shuttle launch. Of course, not really the launch but we would see something. So He and I and our youngest daughter sat in the parking lot behind our hotel waiting…waiting…waiting….waiting. The 18year old stayed in the room because nothing could drag her away from the continuous news loop about John Kennedy’s death.

    Finally, dejected, we went back to our room and as we opened the door she turned and announced ….oh…something happened and they had to scrap the space shuttle launch. At the time, I remember voicing my displeasure that she did not come out and tell us..WE SAT OUT THERE ALL THAT TIME. It seems like something so insignificant now…I wonder if the other 3 would have the same recollection of that night? Memories are not always accurate but when they result in a snicker and love in my heart…I am thankful and feel so blessed!

    Until next time…