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.

 

Reflections

Once June hits around here, we have a birthday/anniversary/special occasion at least monthly for several months, which is pretty cool. 🙂 My birthday is coming up next month, and I have been thinking about the emotional growth spurt that I experienced recently. One morning this week, before I got out of bed, I had a phrase from one of the birthday songs the children of our church sing to one another by Barbara McConochie: “one year older and wiser, too.”

Though wisdom might have evaded me as a child, I have considered moments from this summer which have brought me insight and strength. I have been taught in ways that I would not have imagined possible on subjects as diverse as faith or screenwriting, as connected as family is to friends. I have experienced moments of ease as well as moments of pain, moments of heartache and moments of triumph. Each day, I have been sustained by those around me and a power beyond my own.

What have I learned?

  • I am stronger, more capable, more powerful than I knew before this moment.
  • My family has the capacity to strengthen, bless, and uplift.
  • I have a voice to sing.
  • Life is filled with blessings, even as we struggle.
  • Struggling helps us (if we let it).
  • Life is good.
  • Gratitude each day is crucial.
  • I can be happy, no matter what goes on around me.
  • Prayer changes situations, hearts, minds.
  • As we work together to support each other, we’ve got this.

Till next time. xoxo

Beyond Blessed

Today I am feeling overwhelmed with joy…and I wanted to pass some along in your direction.

I have a place to sleep, and it’s filled with people I love.


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My kiddos don’t notice if I cut my hair, much less if I “do” it or put on any make-up. They don’t want me airbrushed in photos. They love me for who I am.


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My husband is one of the most patient men on the planet. I’m convinced. Don’t try to dissuade me. We’ve stood together, ready to tackle the ups and downs of life for many years–and I’m looking forward to an eternity of more.

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I have a cupboard full of food, cabinets overflowing with pans, and a recipe box stuffed with the roadmaps to create our favorite foods. Plus, if I don’t feel like cooking, I have frozen pizza in my freezer or a car with gas to grab take-out.


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I have amazing friends. Need I say more?

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I can listen to favorite songs on demand. Wow. That is so cool.

(See the Spotify Playlist in the sidebar.)

Clean running water, warm showers, and painting my toe nails rock my day. 🙂

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I can smile…anytime. Anywhere.

Karin

What are your favorite blessings right now? How do you celebrate gratitude in your everyday living?

Deadlines…

So, I’ve been working on a project that entails several components…and the process has been a bit slow at times and brilliantly filled with energy at others. (Such is the creative process, eh?)

Well, I’m on the last leg of this…and the most-involved…and could use a little positive energy to send me whirling through this last step before I say goodbye to this part of my journey. 🙂

While I’m here, though, let me share a few points I’ve learned through the process:

1. Feedback is not only appropriate, it is beyond necessary and extremely important.

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2. Friendship and family support are invaluable.

Friendship Day
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3. Inquire. Ask questions. Ponder. Think. Ask again. Find the clarity you seek. Then, move forward with your goals.


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4. We each have individual roads to walk. Don’t judge others on their paths and don’t seek their approval for your journey. It’s yours. Own it.


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5. Feed your body (with good food, fresh air, and exercise) and your spirit (though connection, meditation, prayer, and study).

6. Let go of your past. Conquer your fear. Live in the moment.

7. You can do this.

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8. Be happy. 🙂


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9. Enlist the help of others. They have skills. So do you. Share the love.

How To Love
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10. Keep a positive energy flow. When you start to feel down, pull yourself back up to a place of positivity. Post affirmations; create a mantra–whatever works.


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***Above all, have FUN! Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured! Find your happy place and roll!!!!!***


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Well, I’m gonna get back to work. I have a deadline, you know?

🙂

And Now My Heart Is Full…

With my apologies to Morrissey…and to you for being absent for all of June….  You see, I’ve been a little busy…travelling here:

hanging out at the beach here:

and watching the boats move in and out over here:

While I was gone, it wasn’t all leisure time.  We did some push-ups (after lots of stair-climbing, I might add) on an old fort here:

and we also did some snorkeling and swimming after we took a few pics here:

Our site seeing included a visit to a (freezing cold) waterfall here:

and more views of the cool fort:

We saved some time to get dressed up for dinner:

enjoy the night lights on the water:

check out the cool cloud formations:

and chill by the pool:

All in all, my time was very productive.  Though I still have a busy rest of my summer to come, I did want to touch base to say that I’ve enjoyed so much being out in the creations of the earth and getting showered by a little love and sunshine (which was long overdue).  I’ll get back to regular writing and blogging soon enough…but, until then, I’m busy with packing for various destinations, working through summer reading lists, and enjoying my time with my family.  We even made some loaves of bread today!

Sending you love & hugs & the happiest of summer wishes (and safe travels, wherever your road may take you).

🙂

Happy New Year!

I’ve missed being here in my own little corner of cyberspace!  I had intentions of beginning again when my little people started back to school, but an unexpected accident (are accidents always unexpected? Was that redundant?…I apologize…I’ve been through a bit of trauma in the last few days and am hoping to have my wits about me again before the end of the week…but who knows?)…anyway, I’ve been in and out of the ER, doc’s offices, and surgical center with someone in my life this week.  I’m looking forward to some peace and quiet (does that really exist?) soon.  Maybe.

So, I’ve been thinking since the opening of 2013 on the blessings I receive through the generosity of others and how recognizing their kindnesses gives me energy to go out of my comfort zone and bless the lives of others.

Take last week for example.  I spent one day having a friend and her children visit…and, while we chatted in the kitchen, she grabbed a rag and began wiping down my stove.  She inquired whether or not it would bother me (and it didn’t, so she continued).

We also were able to have dinner with some dear friends in their home.  They let our children meander through various activities (including helping with dinner and dessert preparations) while making our family feel welcomed, valued, and loved.  And my heart was full.

So, the next day, as I thought of a friend who was suffering with sickness in her home, I prepared a meal to take to her family.  I felt so happy and grateful to be able to spread around the kindness and feelings of love that had been recently extended to me.

As we have had this trauma experience as of late, I have continued to be grateful for the helping hands, encouraging emails or phone calls, and the prayers offered in our family’s behalf.  We have been blessed beyond measure through this experience.

I hope that 2013 finds you well and happily filling your days with love and light!  Sending hugs to you and yours! (I’ve missed you…and writing…and blogging…and hearing your stories!)

Blessings All Around Us

Okay, so before I get back to posting some fiction that is bouncing around my brain (literally–sometimes it hurts until I get it out and down through my little fingers which type the images through words onto a screen)…I just want to take a moment to encourage each of us to look around whatever setting in which we find ourselves.

What do we see?

I see a screen (which is a blessing itself as it allows me to communicate with the world from my tiny little desk).  I see windows and sunlight streaming in through them, which produces Vitamin D and boosts endorphin levels.  I see a photo of a child that once grew inside me which brings back fond memories.  I see Kleenex for when my nose runs.  I see Germ-X, which I can use to clean my hands after I use the Kleenex.  I see artwork of children I love, a table where people sit to eat together and exchange ideas through conversation.  I see a kitchen filled with memories of making sweets, breads, and dinners, and images of my family around the counter making plates of goodies to take to friends and neighbors.

What do you see?

Look a little deeper.

The blessings are all around us, if only we stop, look, and listen.

🙂

Hope you have a glorious weekend, my dear blog friends! I’ll catch up with you on Monday!

(photo copyright Sarah Knight Photography)

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