Another new beginning … 2014!

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I have been thinking the last few days about this past year and how it came together for me. In a funny sense, I reread my blog post from last year and I reflected on where I was then and where I am now. My mind, body and soul feel nourished but I push on wanting more for 2014. I started last year with someone being negative towards my writing and letting me know they think my Facebook and blogging is me bragging about my life. Wow – so totally not what I am trying to accomplish. It saddened me that is all they could see about me. Funny too, they are such a coward they shadowed themselves behind a false name and ‘pretend’ to be a friend to me on Facebook. So this year I want to put right out there – you go ‘pretender’ – obviously you seek to be part of something better but lack the skills and abilities to interact as an adult. This person chose to lash out at me – I have to wonder why? Jealously, inner anger, unhappiness – who knows – what I can tell you: I am blessed. I have an amazing husband, I have unshakable friendships, I have wonderful connections professionally and personally and I work really hard for the pleasures I receive in life.

Life this past year taught me some more great lessons. I still am in awe every day of youth and families and their resiliency. I love that people believe that life can be better. I also learned that sad times give us time to wonder and worry but that push past that place is worth it. I saw the importance this last year in friendship and over-coming hard times, differences, hurts and the reality that we are all who were are. I learned I am not made for politics and I hate, hate, hate it and the cut-throat games that go along with it. I was proud of some of the candidates and disappointed in others. My loyalties were pushed and I realized that deep inside, most people really are out for themselves. I am not sure why I am constantly amazed that people are not altruistic but I am. I saw more sunrises and they made me smile. I spent more time just hanging with my husband and remembering that our best times seem to be the small stupid things we do in life and not the big fancy trips etc. I laughed with friends and loved every moment of that. I got to watch friends accomplish great professional and personal successes this past year. I am constantly proud of my friends and their business ventures, their giving back to the community and families. I got to be with children and love them for the unique and quirky selves. I got to strive forward past change again and learn to accept the things I cannot change and believe I can be more. (This is still something that is really difficult for me).  I got to continue to learn and also share that with my husband and watch him go back to school this past year. That makes me so proud of him. I watched my dog animals also love life and continue to just be happy and what a joy to watch simplicity at its best!

Wow – 2013 was pretty darn good. I could focus on the difficult times but why? The difficult times are always around us. They feed the soul to go after something more. The grief and loss I experienced this past year with deaths, and changes in relationships made me appreciate the ones I have even more.

2014 sprung upon us and I was so glad I got to spend it with a special family and just be. The night had joy in it. Children excited and happy to be part of something grand. We sang, laughed, played games and hung out as a family. We banged pots – yes it must be a BC thing and we drank sparkling apple juice and counted down into the new year. It is here 2014 – full, vibrant, ready for life, change, loss, love, trials and tribulations and joy – lots of joy. I want this to be the year I say – ‘fuck yah” (sorry for language but I am who I am). I want it to be personal bests, and working for the greater picture of all and to be inclusive to all people who are part of my life or who are going to be new parts of my life this year.

Every year I think of things I want to do and this is the year for new – new what? Well I want to give back to my community. I think about it and I sometimes do small things but I want more. I want to sleep at night and know I am a small part of that unknown big. I like to think I am a star important to the big sky that my shining does add to the entire night sky.

So here goes the 2014 plans…

1. I had 12 people via Facebook share a day in one of the months of the year. On that day I am going to do whatever the number is and give back to the community. It will be in honor of that person. My first one for 2014 is Jan 22. It is for Lindsay – an amazing woman from Victoria BC who is a stellar stylist. She creates hair, she builds peoples self confidence and she is a giver, she gives to her family, friends and community. So for her – I am putting together hair care packages – 22 of them and will deliver them to the shelter for people so they can have a good brush, nice shampoo etc to move into this new year. I will do this each month for the person who sent me a number and month and I am going to try and think of things they like and do it in their honor.

2. I am really excited that my husband joined in and we both sat down with slips of paper for the entire year and each month we wrote an activity we would like to do for that month with each other. We put it in a envelope and sealed them and will open them on the first of each month and figure out how to build that into our month. We cracked open Jan 2014 and we are going to spend an evening creating a new soup together and the other activity is to go for a late night winter drive with hot chocolate and traverse about together. I am super excited to see what else the year brings for us.

3. I am going to do some giving back on my birthday – still a work in progress but something I am plotting as we speak.

4. I am going to Zumba, yoga, swim and go back to meditation.

5. I also asked Facebook friends for things they would like to do with me this year and I am going to get those things accomplished and look forward to spending some time with some unbelievable people.

6. I am going to continue to blog but I am going to start with a once a month due to time, school, work etc in my life.

I could go on and on as I have so many things I want to do but here is where I begin. These top 6 are my main ones and I will be excited to report on how they go. Thank you to all the people that make my life wonderful. I am thankful and excited to journey with you. I can’t wait to continue to share ideas and be creative and learn how I can be part of more in 2014. There is no time like the present to seize it and live it. I figure life has plenty to offer and how lucky am I to get to do it.

Happy 2014 – go in peace and harmony and enjoy it.

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Day 6, 7, and 8 – A miss-mash of parties, christmas junk and movies!

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Day 6

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I would like to say I have been on the ball for Christmas and blogging but life got away from me this weekend. Day 6 was spent at a Christmas party and every year they are different, some of the people are the same and some of the people are new but the parties are different. I want to say there are aspects of Christmas parties that I really like but I am not sure about them as I feel like a social misfit – I am one of those toys from Misfit Island that needs to find other misfits to hang out with. I think in all my years of Christmas parties I felt like I had to most fun at my husband’s Christmas party. I was hanging with the millwrights and other workers who were not about fancy or who is most intelligent or who looks the best – they are about having good ole fashion fun with too much booze and lots of laughs. What really is the meaning of a Christmas party? To celebrate what? Often you work with people but they do not really know you. They do not know what makes you who you are on the deeper level. I struggle as I think all my connections in life need to be intense  and complex  but often times they are not that – they are surface level connections. I figure I need to learn how to enjoy the simple moments of just being with people but I have not got there yet! Here is to the Christmas season, more awkward Christmas parties and the sigh of relieve when another one is done! Happy Christmas partying.

Day 7

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Do you ever wonder where all the Christmas junk (oops – items of wonderfulness) goes to? Ribbons, bows, paper, tissue paper, decorations for the tree, for the house, for the yard, lights, wreaths, tape, cards, Xmas package labels, candles, garland, tinsel – Oh my Gosh. It explodes! I figured I would ‘sort out’ the Christmas Tupperware bins and it has taken over my family room. I am left with crap everywhere. I am beginning to wonder when is enough.

I also want to know how the people who have classically amazing looking homes do it. I try every year to ‘create’ a winter wonderland of Christmas in my home and it looks like something the drunk elves from Santa’s workshop created. I almost think I need to hire someone – I would say Martha Stewart but she seems to keep herself in hot water most days now and I am thinking she might be losing her touch. Really though, it is ridiculous that I cannot seem to figure out how to ‘create’ Christmas magic throughout my house with ALL the crap I have. I am purging this year – time to give to someone else who can make my stuff amazing just not in my home. Enjoy this time of true wonder and know when you come to my house I didn’t create it – the drunken elves did!

Day 8

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Let’s focus on Christmas movies. I started off this seasons having my husband sit and watch – ‘A Very Merry Mix-up’ with me. It was terrible but really I must say – I loved every minute of this silly, sappy  Christmas movie. Who can beat Christmas,  love and joy all tied up with a bow on it. I don’t have to fret as we have another made for TV special set to go too. Next one to watch is ‘Christmas Song’. Let’s not forget that during this holiday season I am bound to catch up on the wacky  ‘Griswald Christmas Vacation’ along with ‘The Grinch that Stole Christmas’ and who can forget that dam stupid ‘ELF’.  I can’t stand Elf but I will watch I am sure as that is what one does at this time of year. We watch the shows we would not watch at any other time of the year. I figure it brings out the best in us. Thank goodness I have such a great husband as I drag him into these opportunities of fun. This Christmas season what will be your go-to movie? What puts a smile on your face? Makes you feel a bit more like a child or brings back those happy childhood memories. Whatever movie it is for you – enjoy it. Make it great and remember Christmas only comes once a year so make the most of these great Christmas silly, sappy movies!

Hope you enjoy the 2013 Christmas blog – please feel free to share your traditions and family fun with me!

Day 5 – Christmas memories

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Sorry – this is actually for yesterday – but the day got away from me. Enjoy!

Christmas is fast, colorful and full of social obligations for many people. Often times one is trying to find that quiet moment to just enjoy their beautifully decorated house, a favorite Christmas album or that extra great glass of eggnog and rum. When doing that, what are your favorite memories of Christmas? Why? Who do you share them with? Which ones have you recreated in your own adult life?

Many times, the Christmas memories are those every year traditions that you hate and love all in one. Christmas was a favorite time for me so I have some fun memories to share.

  • Every Christmas the family decorated the tree together. At the end of the decorating, my mother would go off and bring back a wrapped gift for each the children. Inside was a new Christmas decoration. This began when we were a year old until we were adults. When I moved out, I had a box of Christmas ornaments to start my own tree. These ornaments are treasured gifts of my past
  • Red and green Christmas lights
  • Fresh garland wreathes for the door
  • Prickly holly on the dining room table
  • The disgusting homemade fruit cake started in October so it can sit and stew and get yuckier over time. The only good thing about it was the marzipan on top
  • New PJ’s every Christmas eve
  • Putting out milk, cookies and a carrot for Santa and his reindeer
  • The TV Christmas specials
  • My mom’s melt in your mouth shortbread cookies
  • Eggnog
  • The book ‘The Night before Christmas’
  • Fancy croissants on Christmas morning

I could go on and on – what are some of your memories. Share them and embrace them. They are a part of us. Enjoy the season – only 20 days until Santa comes!

Day 4 – Christmas Cards – a thing of the past?

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From an age young enough to know, I was the girl checking the mail from December 1st forward all the way to Christmas time. Back then it was the joy of ripping open the door, lifting the mailbox lid and seeing if there were Christmas cards for the family.

Cards from far away, the neighbour down the road, the boss, business associates, you name it; they came from everywhere. It was exciting because most times, the cards were different. The variety of shiny cards, sparkly cards, religious cards, homemade cards, snow scene cards – there is everything. As a child, most cards said MERRY CHRISTMAS. Many of the cards nowadays say Happy Holidays or something else that is politically correct as deemed by someone, somewhere. Regardless, cards make a person smile. They take a pause and reflect on the individual, family or business sending it. It has one wonder; where did the last year go? This all happens from the time you rip it open until you place it on the table or find a sacred home to display the card.

Cards for many people are a thing of the past, they want instant, and cards are not cheap and people do not want to spend the money, they take too much time to write out, mail and deal with. Well I say ‘Bah Humbug’ to that!

Cards share moments in time that we will never have again. They are a backbone of hand written notes and sharing a love you, miss you moment with people we care about. They offer happiness and hope when one feels alone. Cards give light to a dark day. Yes, many of you may still think ‘Bah Humbug’.

Well I say give it a shot. Send a card, know that you are touching someone and while you may not know it – it makes a difference. It is a moment where you stopped your busy day and focused on that person and made them your priority.

I love cards! What I can tell you is that my deal friend Janet would say I am a hoarder as I have all my Christmas cards in ziplock bags dated year after year from all the people who have sent them to me. They are my treasures of past years and memories. While I know it is ridiculous – I do have ideas for them. I want to make something grand one day and I will as I am about doing. I just have to formulate how I am going to pull it all together. That is another post for a rainy day, not a cool winter day – where I need to go finish those Christmas cards and get them out so I can hopefully bring a smile to someone I care about.

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Think about it – send a Christmas card – you never know the impact it will have. If you want a Christmas card – send me a message – you never know – it could led to a friendship for years to come.

Happy Day 4!

Day 3 – Reflections on Gift-giving at Christmas time

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I am not sure if it matters when I blog – I seem to post these late at night and wonder if the traffic is there. Here is trying!

Zala In and Out Thoughts

Christmas is a time of giving and for many this notion gets sucked down into the depths of commercialism. It consumes us, this commercialism, as it is surrounds us from the end of October straight through until Boxing week. Sale after sale, bargains for this, layaways for that, pay next year and so forth. People lose focus and it becomes less about a thoughtful moment and a small, meaningful gift and more about big ticket presents. I heard a friend share how amazing it is to watch children in October excited by the idea of dressing up and collecting 50 cent candies from house to house to December where it becomes laptops, snowboards, iPhones, gaming systems, often times costing parents hundreds and hundreds of dollars for each child!

How do we reclaim the 50 cent excitement? How do you reclaim the traditions of new fancy PJ’s that you open on…

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Day 3 – Reflections on Gift-giving at Christmas time

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Christmas is a time of giving and for many this notion gets sucked down into the depths of commercialism. It consumes us, this commercialism, as it is surrounds us from the end of October straight through until Boxing week. Sale after sale, bargains for this, layaways for that, pay next year and so forth. People lose focus and it becomes less about a thoughtful moment and a small, meaningful gift and more about big ticket presents. I heard a friend share how amazing it is to watch children in October excited by the idea of dressing up and collecting 50 cent candies from house to house to December where it becomes laptops, snowboards, iPhones, gaming systems, often times costing parents hundreds and hundreds of dollars for each child!

How do we reclaim the 50 cent excitement? How do you reclaim the traditions of new fancy PJ’s that you open on Christmas eve for Christmas morning? Where did the magic go in opening a stocking and finding all the little, simple joys and being happy with that? How about the creative present that was nothing outlandish but was packaged up super cool or in an extra big box to throw you off?

Are those days gone? Have we lost the wonderful art of creative giving?

My husband talks about presents being a small part of his Christmas tradition as there were a number of children and the money only went so far. He does however share the joy of the family celebrating a wonderful Christmas breakfast. He highlights this as his favorite thing about Christmas as a child. For me, it was Santa writing me a note with the gift I got each Christmas from him and he telling me why he thought I would like it. I look back now and think how wonderful it was that my mother took the time to try and make it magical. This went on well into my teen years and Santa even had us follow instructions on how to find the present in the house and sing back “I believe in Santa” for the magic to occur. Simplistic? Yes, but joyful and doable.

How can you infuse joy into giving this year without it breaking the bank? What traditions can you reclaim from your childhood that bring simplistic joy to the Christmas holiday? Many people feel bad when they give homemade gifts or baking as presents nowadays but I must say; nothing beats homemade Christmas baking, like a delicious buttertarts made special for me. Enjoy this time, love your gift giving strategy and here is to not getting caught in the spiralling web of commercialism that threatens to consume the spirit of Christmas!

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Day 2 – Lights, lights and more Christmas lights

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Lights, lights, and more lights! Christmas is a time to recall the memories of years gone by and for me today it is the festive lights that people so diligently put up. I have fond memories of Christmas lights as a child my bedroom was on the 2nd floor and my room had shutters so I could see the sparkling shine of lights the entire Christmas season. What is of interest is how my parents had the same red/green light pattern the ENTIRE time I grew up. While other families changed their lights and up-graded the design – not my family. While I thought it was boring as a kid, ask me what my Christmas light pattern has been for 15 years at my house? The white icicle lights. Yep no deviating from the icicles (except for that one year but that’s another story).

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From beginning the process by going to the crawl space to drag out the Rubbermaid container of Christmas lights to the end of the process when they are up – I LOVE IT! It brings me such joy. I would almost go so far to say – even though I know what the lights will look like as they have been the same for a LONG time – the excited anticipation always gets me. I am sure it is not that for my husband that is often outside in miserable weather and also managing the ladder and light cords trying to please his wife.

They are up and this year I am getting more festive….icicle lights on the fence too. For anyone thinking of lights – what do you enjoy the most about them? Is it the structured patterns and order of lights, the bright, gaudy arrangements peppered with other such Christmas decoration, lots of lights, colorful lights, flashing lights, lights in high places? You name it – I am on top of the light decorating – love it!

I challenge you this Christmas to buy some Tim Horton gift cards for $5.00 or $10.00 and one evening take the family out and drive around looking at Christmas lights in your neighbourhood. When you pick out your top three light winners (however you figure that out), place, with a card, a thank you and put it in the mailbox, ring the bell – whatever feels comfortable and let them know how much you enjoyed their lights. It is such a small gesture but it is a night out having fun and enjoying the Christmas lights and also letting someone know that you value the time they put into creating a magical display.

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Just like my childhood house! Go out and get your lights on – have fun!