Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Club

I haven't been playing along. Time and I haven't quite made a truce yet. But today I felt the pull, the urge, the calling... to come out to play... to wax nostalgic... to join in...

At Christmas We... used to go to Elmira every year. The girls would have Christmas at Grandma's house.  They would all dress up in matching Christmas outfits and see Santa (a.k.a. Uncle Frankie... who, by the way, still plays Santa to this day).
 Our last real Christmas at Grandma's house was in 1996.  In 1997 she was already sick and confined to a bed. In 1998 we had our first Christmas at home, just the five of us.

At Christmas We... used to put up the Christmas Tree in the basement. And the girls used to hang all the ornaments. My job was simply opening them up and passing them out.
 Now the Christmas tree is put up in the family room. Same Christmas tree though! Now I hang all the ornaments. They aren't interested any more.  They want it done. They just don't want to do it.

At Christmas They.... used to love each other... pretty much unconditionally.
 Now, one of them is choosing not to speak to another one of them. Perceived hurts and injustices combined with a little unwillingness to forgive makes for a bit of tension in the air.

At Christmas We... used to hang the stockings along the bannister.
 Now we hang them above the fireplace. Same stockings though!

At Christmas They... used to wake up ridiculously early and wait at the top of the stairs for the all clear to come down.
 Now they wake up later and aren't in any rush to see what Santa brought.

At Christmas She... used to get excited about simple little things like slipper socks...


At Christmas We... gather in the family room, around the tree, and open stockings first... then presents. We eat a turkey dinner, watch the parade on television, and eventually go out to see a first run movie. Some things have changed over the years.  Some things have stayed the same.  I haven't caught a decent Christmas photo of my girls in years... hopefully this will be the year to remedy that.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy your family, enjoy your traditions... whatever they are!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 50

Is your holiday shopping done, or do you still have a few last minute items on your list?  As I'm typing this, I know I have at least one more run to make. And while I'm out, I'll be looking for an opportunity to fulfill this challenge for week 50:

HELP A FELLOW SHOPPER

Whether you hold a door, carry bags to a car, let someone with only an item or two ahead of you in line, give directions to an area of the store, share coupons or information about sales for a product someone is looking at... just make someone else's shopping day a little brighter!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 49

This week's challenge is short and sweet - VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME AND TALENTS.

There are unlimited opportunities for you to make use of your time and talents in service of others.

You could volunteer at the local library shelving books, at a food bank, or at the hospital as a greeter.
You could knit or quilt blankets for newborn preemies or sew pillowcases for children in the hospital.
You could help build homes. 

Whatever you choose to do, you'll know that you are helping others and I promise... you will feel so good about it!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Life Tunes 6

This is the last installment of the Life Tunes meme.  The suggested theme is your favorite Christmas or Holiday song.  Your own favorite may be anywhere in the range from Christmas hymns like "Silent Night" or "Away in a Manger" to secular pop titles like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" or "Frosty The Snowman".  There are so many choices!

Here is my layout:


The layout was created using Krystal Hartley's newest kit "Joyeux Noel"

Now it's YOUR turn to share your favorite Christmas/Holiday tune!  Choose a song that speaks to you, has a special meaning in your family, or just gives you the warm fuzzies during this season. You can create a layout, write a blog post, or share a link to a YouTube video. The linky will remain open until the end of the month, so you have plenty of time to join in!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

AYear Of Kindness - Challenge Week 48

Can you believe it is December already?  I lost most of November to back pain and kidney stone issues. I'm grateful that I was well enough to be home and to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. But I'm quite happy to bid adieu to November. Looking forward to a much kinder and gentler December!

And of course for most of us December means colder temperatures and Christmas. So the challenge for this week is to DONATE CLOTHING. 

Especially coats, hats, mittens, etc. Do a quick purge of your wardrobe and coat closet. Pull out anything that no longer fits, no longer suits, or is no longer needed. This is the time of year when the less fortunate really need these items. And there are so many places that will take your gently-worn pre-owned clothing off your hands! Some will even pick up. Just Google "Where can I donate clothes" and see for yourself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coming Soon - Life Tunes 6!

This final installment of my little mini series known as "Life Tunes" is late, but still hopefully very timely for you all!

My suggested topic for our last installment is your favorite Christmas/Holiday song. Your own favorite may be anywhere in the range from Christmas hymns like "Silent Night" or "Away in a Manger" to secular pop titles like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" or "Frosty The Snowman".  There are so many choices!

So pick a song that speaks to you, has a special meaning in your family, or just gives you the warm fuzzies during this season. Then create a layout or a blog post to document your choice. Come back on Friday, December 5th, when I'll be here posting my layout about this song:

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Weeks 46 and 47

For those of you who are my facebook friends, this is yesterday's news... but if you don't happen to be on facebook, let me catch you up with my life....

November has gone by in a blur of pain, starting with back pain, for which I began chiropractic treatment, but was finding absolutely no relief.  Then, on Saturday November 14, I was admitted to the hospital, via the Emergency Room, with some of the worst back and belly pain ever. Morphine became my new best friend. It was a kidney stone. With no improvement in pain levels (absent the meds) by Monday, a decision was made to proceed with surgery. Really it is a procedure, no cutting involved, called a ureteroscopy and the use of a laser to break up the stone (which was too large and too high up to pass on its own) into tiny fragments which can then pass on their own. The procedure is done under general anesthesia. Surgery was 2 p.m. on Monday and I was back in my room by 5:30 or so. And discharged home on Tuesday morning. I spent the remainder of last week going through the basic motions of living while still in a lot of pain.  Friday I had the stent (the worst part of the entire ordeal) removed.

Today is the first day I have felt almost human again. And I am so incredibly grateful. For the excellent medical facilities, for all the nurses who took such good care of me, for a relatively quick diagnosis and resolution, for the fact that I am home and able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family - and all my girls are home too!

So I came to my blog feed to catch up on things and with over 200 unread posts, I had to declare amnesty. I have read or skimmed most of your news, but commented on very few things. Please forgive me. I hope to do better as I feel better!  It is also time to catch up with my Kindness Challenge blog posts. Having missed last Monday, I have two today. So I opened my calendar in which I had laid out suggested topics for the year... and what do I have written down for Week 46, for the very Monday I was in surgery?

VISIT SHUT-INS.  

Surely you have to see the humor in that? I laughed out loud when I read it. I had never considered the possibility that I would be one myself!  But having been there, let me just suggest this... if you hear of a friend or relative who is feeling poorly or in the hospital, reach out! Phone, text, visit, whatever. Plan to keep your outreach short - people in pain tend to tire very easily. But the contact I had while in the hospital, in the form of flowers, phone calls, text messages, Facebook comments, really did help me to feel better. To know that I wasn't alone. To know that people were thinking of me, praying for me, and wishing me well. I am SO GRATEFUL!

Which brings me to today. To Week 47 of the Kindness Challenge. And this week, being Thanksgiving week here in the U.S., my challenge to you is to EXPRESS GRATITUDE.  Think about all the things you have to be grateful for and express it! Say it in a blog post, say it in a scrapbook layout, tell the people you love how grateful you are to have them in your lives... however you wish to go about it is fine, but make this week the time to acknowledge all that is right and good and beautiful in your world!