It’s that time of year…

(Note:  I have hesitated in posting this, because I am not looking for charity or a hand-out for Christmas. Please do not misinterpret this post. Thank you.)

We’ve had some experiences this year that have stretched our budget beyond normal borders–and yet, I don’t feel a sense of suffering this time of year. (I have, however, been bothered with seemingly unending emails for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and posts on websites for giveaways and contests to win a certain amount of PayPal or gift card cash because, as one boasted this week, “Who couldn’t use an extra $500 this time of year?”). What???

If those who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, or anything else this time of year are focused on cash, spending, getting, and receiving, isn’t something missing? Aren’t several things missing? (Don’t get me wrong–I’m all for a good deal, for living within means, and for smart spending–but this is getting ridiculous.)

Last week, as a family, we decided to draw names so each person in our home could give and receive a little something to celebrate Christmas.  As we spoke, we talked about the many blessings we have received this year, among them the gift of life for a child who might have died and the gift of sight for a husband and father who might have otherwise been blind. Our finances have stretched to pay for such services, and we are grateful for the ability to do so. And, while I will not find myself in a typical posture shopping on Amazon or reading reviews about the best winter boots or Lego sets, I am at peace.

Let me reiterate: I am at peace. Without the shopping, spending, stress of wondering and waiting to see if I got the “just right” present. All of that has been eliminated. And I’ve made room for other things I enjoy about the holidays–like singing. I will be singing tomorrow at a Christmas brunch and in a choir for Christmas services–and I will attend concerts for my children. And we will bake–sugar cookies (if I can find my cookie cutters) and other treats and dip chocolate pretzels and peanut butter balls.

And maybe, just maybe, this will be our best Christmas yet.

 

It’s that time of year… (Flashback Friday)

Here is a post I wrote several weeks ago and neglected to publish then…so, as a Flashback Friday post, here it is!

No, Christmas isn’t here yet (though the retail market has been gearing up for Halloween since August…and I am certain that Christmas decoration sales are fast approaching)…it’s time for an annual office visit that I find terribly perplexing. So perplexing, in fact, that I’ve been singing these words to the tune of LL Cool J’s “Going Back to Cali” while loading the dishwasher this morning:

(In case you forgot the tune, you can listen here. DISCLAIMER: I wouldn’t let my children watch this video–and I won’t watch it again. It’s definitely not Miley Cyrus at the VMA awards, but it still isn’t really appropriate…FYI. If I were you, I’d minimize the video and just take a little listen.)

I’m going to the Gyn-o
Gyn-o
Gyn-o
I’m going to the Gyn-o
No, I don’t think so
🙂

Well, I did confirm my appointment last week…so from a monetary standpoint (and from a health-related standpoint), I probably should keep the appointment.

I am thinking this morning, as a distraction, though, that I will go into the experience as a writing exercise. I have been trying to approach each experience as possible research for writing, and that helps me find value in whatever I am doing when I might ordinarily focus on fear. (And, singing a parody of an old 90’s song helps a bit, too.) 🙂

So, I am off to my day…to face my fear (and the stirrups).

Wish me luck! 🙂

Favorite Christmas Stories

Since we watched the Boris Karloff version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! last night, and since we have been more actively reading our favorite Christmas stories, I thought I would share a few titles here for you to enjoy!  Here are some titles we love:

Of course, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Front CoverMr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

Front CoverThe Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston, pictures by Barbara Cooney

Front CoverThe Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

The Tale of Three Trees   -              By: Angela Elwell Hunt         Illustrated By: Tim Jonke The Tale of Three Trees, a traditional folktale retold by Angela Elwell Hunt, illustrations by Tim Jonke

And, who could forget Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express?

Reading together with my children is one of my joys during the season…when we take a few moments to slow down, breathe, and cuddle together.  Maybe we will pull out some of these tonight.  We still have a few we haven’t read this season!

Signing off for the holidays…and wishing all of you joy in the season (with whatever you may celebrate or not) and look forward to catching up with you in the new year!  Hugs!

Single of the Week?

Is Tuesday here already–again?  I’ve been wrapped up in Thanksgiving prep (can anyone say “pies?”) and trying to catch up on my writing (and ultimately get ahead–since I know that Thanksgiving is going to probably be a wash as far as NaNoWriMo–and did I tell you that I wrote over 4K words on Friday alone?!?!?!–probably a personal record).

So, what’s the iTunes Single of the Week?  iTunes is joining the rest of America (though, with a free single, one wonders what the push is) in celebrating Christmas even before Thanksgiving has arrived.  The tune is Norah Jones’ rendition of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”  I happen to (along with many) adore Norah Jones’ voice and music.  I have yet to download this song, though, as iTunes appears to be having some sort of silencing technical difficulties.  Maybe later…as in after Thursday…I will download it.  🙂  (For the record, though, I have started my Christmas playlist on Spotify…but just compiling, not listening to regularly as yet.  I love the Christmas season, but I LOVE Thanksgiving, as well, and wish the joy of gratitude didn’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of Christmas.)

Hugs!