Ah the dilemma. The dilemma of what to put into my Saturday Snippets for you to read as you eat your donut and wash it down with coffee.
I thought I’d continue with my healthy living theme that I’ve got going on right now.
A few years ago when I began to um…accidentally…wander into the health and fitness world I had clear ideas of how I thought things should work. I still do although some have been dialed in on more since I’ve learned and grown more.
The one thing now that is so important to me is using my voice through my blog and other social media to share how crucial good nutrition is to someone wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle.
I love exercise. I’ve loved the hard work and challenges of training for big events. I love getting out of my comfort zone and doing stuff some of y’all tease me about 😁
However, at the end of the day, the best exercise I can do is make careful choices as to what I choose to shovel or not shovel into my mouth.
This is where it makes or breaks for all of us.
I firmly believe a sensible eating plan that includes all food groups is extremely important.
Sustainability long term ( can you do it forever) and important vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs from all food groups.
Yes, exercise I believe is crucial to our complete well being. However, if you want to lose weight, keep it off, and live “normally ” you need to do a couple things.
* Eat a balanced diet of all foods.
* Don’t engage in plans that restrict or offer “cheat days” or leave you feeling deprived and restricted.
* Practice mindful eating. Listen to your body.
*Portion control. You really don’t need seconds.
* Remember anything that is labeled as low fat, fat free, sugar free, gluten free, paleo, keto, low carb, whatever, whatever, still has calories! And your body only needs a certain number a day to do it’s thing. Eat over that, you won’t lose, eat under that requirement and you’ll lose weight. Remember, its science boys and girls 😏
Make a point to daily choose real, whole foods, allow for a wee bit of fun stuff, eat enough to satisfy your appetite, listen to your body ( it’s ok to get truly hungry!) then add as well some purposeful exercise to balance it all out.
If you need to start somewhere though, remember the best exercise is mindfulness of what your hand brings to your mouth and the quality of food you eat.
Like each one of us are unique, so will be the vehicle or ways that will help us live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
Personally, I don’t endorse anything that excludes food groups unless it is for health reasons, or if it overall makes you feel better by abstaining.
What I want to talk about today is learning to think about how/what you eat in the form of single ingredients.
There is a term spun around the fitness community referred to as “clean eating ”
Personally I’ve never liked this term as it seems somehow a bit elitist. Simplified, it really means trying to eat food closest to it’s original form without lots of other stuff added to it.
Just real food.
Mostly I try and eat foods that fall in this category.
Then I read an article recently that made me realize I’m not alone in the idea of wanting to eat this way.
I love the idea of just making the focus on your “diet” single ingredient foods, while still being able to incorporate and enjoy those other things in life that are “extra”. For me, it is having dessert with the fam. For the guy writing the article, it was occasional beer and pizza haha.
You get it though, right? Focus on healthy, real, “clean” foods majority of the time, eat in moderation, listen to your body’s natural hunger and full signals, and allow for some fun stuff in there too. And when I say “single” foods, I don’t mean just eating one at a time.
You can certainly mix up a variety of “single” foods. I make lots of one pan dinners ( these are the cat’s meow by the way….) and they contain assortments of veggies ( sometimes some fruit!) and lean protein. The idea is to build meals/snacks with a single idea in mind keeping you closer to eating just real food.
For instance, my breakfast may be eggs, sauteed veggies ( whatever is hanging in my fridge) usually spinach is the base of it, berries of some kind, and milk. Some times a slice of multi grain bread if I had a longer training session. That isn’t a single ingredient, but it usually falls under 5 or less. Most of the time the eggs, veggies and fruit adequately fill me up.
Or it could be a bowl of non-fat Greek yogurt with a variety of berries and raw almonds.
Steel oats with craisins and walnuts is a fav before longer endurance workouts
Lunch is usually a salad crafted up depending on my mood. It contains lots of colorful veggies, sometimes some fruit, and of course adequate protein. A few whole grain crackers can go with it if I’m feeling like a need them.
Snacks, I usually try and keep it with fruit or add some cheese cubes with it as well.
Hardboiled eggs, raw nuts, cheese sticks, fruit and veggies are other single ingredient snacks.
And chocolate. Sometimes, I may just want something chocolate. And yes, it is totally off single or less than 5 ingredients and that’s ok too.
You see where I’m going right?
Balance and moderation lead to a sustainable lifestyle.
This approach really gives you not only great flexibility in what you can eat, it will ensure you gather plenty of good, healthy nutritious, from all food groups in your day.
How complicated is this?
Simply put, anything that grows from ground and isn’t tampered with will make it easy. Also sources like dairy, meat, eggs, grains, beans etc
Are you a label reader? Learn to be. The ingredient list will quickly tell you what’s in your food.
Does the box just say “brown rice”? Or is it rice with other added things you can’t pronounce?
Focus and learn about new fruits and vegetables. Learn how to make new recipes with them and incorporate them into your meals. Be willing to experiment and explore new things.
I’m not talking crazy or restrictive here…..
listen there are some things I happen to like occasionally and don’t plan on giving up because they will leave the minimal ingredient list…
Chocolate, French fries, pizza, a fun meal out with hubby….
I don’t eat these foods often, but when I want it, I’m not gonna feel bad about it or think I’m “cheating” on my diet.
I really honestly, just want that stuff less and less as time goes on.
My point is, if people overall made an effort to eat more natural, as close to real food as they could, they’d easily lose or maintain weight, look good, and their bodies would reflect the healthier foods they took in.
Remember that old “you are what you eat” saying?
Don’t think for a moment your body won’t appreciate those healthy foods you offer it.
At least focusing on single ingredient foods is fairly easy, right? I say single, but really even 5 or less is good too. I know some people way more extreme who say 3 or less. The idea is to do what works for you, with a focus on healthy, balanced and sensible eating that allows you to feel energetic, not be hungry, and helps maintain a reasonable healthy weight.
Perhaps, initially, just focus on what you eat, the types of foods. How do they line up with the idea of being just five or less ingredients? Basically, take inventory of your eating habits.
Then challenge yourself to do it at one meal. From there it could be how or what you snack on. Each step will help you to make better choices for yourself in the long run.
Awareness is the key to getting started and becoming more successful at incorporating healthier foods into your daily nutrition plan, this in the long run, will help you live a healthy lifestyle and not the world of yo-yo dieting.
Tell me, have you considered single ingredient foods as a way of eating and a part of a healthy nutrition plan in your life?
Hello world and happy Monday! I’ve got a few things rolling through my head for todays Musings edition…
First, I think next to people making resolutions to lose weight, another top item on the list for many is getting more organized/tidy/having less junk… I mean…”valuable stuff”…. taking up their space.
Enter a little Japanese dynamo named Marie Kondo, an organizing consultant who helps people get rid of their useless valuables.
I can’t claim a long term following of her or her ways as I innocently stumbled on her while Googling some value fact or bit of info I was after one day. I read the article, noted the before and after of neatly arranged drawers and thought…. hmmm… maybe I’ll just give her version of drawer organizing a whirl.
First, though, if you’ve missed out on the movement of “KonMari”, get on the cool kids bus with us.
It simply means gathering all of your belongings, one category at a time, touching them, thanking them for their service ( ok odd I know… not sure how much of that I’ll be doing 😛 ) and only keeping those things that “spark joy”, then you donate what doesn’t.
The idea is to be left with only things that make you happy and bring joy.
Ok that sounds good to me…although I’ll state this here… I’ll never be a “minimalist”.
No offense if you are. I need some things around me that breathe people live in my home. I want cozy and comfy with a tiny bit of something not always in it’s place. I don’t like walking in somewhere and wondering where the person is who lives there, (personal touches) everything carefully staged, sterile if you will.
Just not my vibe.
But the less unimportant stuff that we all tend to keep around ’cause… maybe we don’t essentially feel moved to get rid of it, don’t know HOW to get rid of it… whatever the case?
Yeah, sign me up.
So as mentioned, I thought I’d start with a few drawers.
And I knew it wouldn’t take huge amounts of time. If I “liked” it, I decided I’d move on to something bigger.
Her folding style is different from how most of us may fold. I tend to fold and stack things into the drawer. Her method is to fold into neat thirds and then you stand items up on end, like book spines sticking up. Then you can see at a glance exactly what you have and easily select it.
I started with hubby’s undie drawer. (sorry hubster) I figured it would be fast and then… I’d know…. if I should continue on. Well, needless to say after I did his drawer, and had extra space that previously wasn’t there, I wanted to move to one of my athletic drawers ( yes I have more than one)
So this drawer, made me crazy every morning. No matter how I folded things or kept shorts separate from sports bras, I was inevitably throwing stuff out looking for one particular item. Now, I open drawer and it’s all neat right in front of me, with space that wasn’t there previously!
I’m still trying to decide if I wanna apply this to socks. Some of you may know how I feel about socks… so those might be the LAST drawers I tackle. I will move on to my closet next and although I’ve cleaned out quite a bit before lil Marie tripped into my life, I realize I can go back for more. I might be taking baby steps on some of this but it’s better than nothing, right? It’s a 2019 goal for me.
I did do something fun in my week though….
Hubby and I took off to play tourist in our home area. Our kids had given us an all inclusive stay at a gorgeous hotel on the riverwalk and we had gift cards to a local restaurant for food. What’s better than a pre-paid escape??
We didn’t stay in the room of course, but did some roaming around enjoying the beautiful day.
I’m not sure what it is about being downtown, but it almost has it’s own energy, it’s vibe, of people and culture and times gone by that I love. I also love people watching too.
I was kinda shocked and delighted to see one of the buildings still decked out with Christmas. You know how much I love old school vintage and this Santa and Nutcracker were worth snapping….
We stopped outside the Ripley’s museum and couldn’t resist playing with the distortion mirror…..
After roaming around all day, we headed out for dinner at a fun place called the Rainforest Café.
So inside is like a rain forest, it has animals and they actually move and “act” like what they are…. we happened to be seated next to a bunch of gorillas… it got really loud ….
Oh and of course we had to stop for a little coffee break while we were out… I love how they let you know you aren’t on your own coffee turf anymore.. hubby patiently waiting as he’s used to me taking random pics for my blog…..
All in all it was a fun little weekend get away, and all rather close to home. Next time we’re going back for scooter rides….
Speaking of coffee…..
Dunkin’ Donuts just opened in our neck of the woods. I happened to stumble in the first day, right after they opened, and decided to try their iced coffee.
Yes, it was good. I probably won’t be there as a permanent customer ’cause I’m on Starbucks rewards program and I get free stuff ya know…. and free is good… and not only that… I love so many of the people I’ve gotten to know there too.
What about food?
I made this amazing scalloped potato recipe for a family dinner last week. This won’t rank up there with slim and fit dishes, you gently boiled the peeled and sliced potatoes in heavy cream first!
Yikes, but they were tasty 😛 find the recipe below and dont’ forget to head to Pinterest and find my Sassyfitnesschick page for lots of great ( healthy) and wicked recipes, fitness tips and more.
I was feeling kinda lazy and toying with not writing and then I thought about you, my 1.5 readers. I thought about you and how you’d be bleary eyed over your morning coffee looking for todays Monday Musings and then it wouldn’t be there and you’d be mildly disappointed…ha… so here we are.
I do have a few things I’m musing this week… as in….
How the heck do I have a 30 year old child now? Well, not a child a man for sure, but you know what I mean.
Tomorrow, he officially turns “30”. For some reason he’s been dreading it like he’s now gotta sign up for AARP and get fitted for dentures or something.
I find myself pondering where 30 years rolled off to? I think I’m to young to have a child this age 😛
My first born son.
Sweet, kind hearted, gentle, ridiculously off the cuff funny, smart, ( he used to toss the directions for Leggo kits and just build them from sight), he impresses me with what he can teach himself and what he knows, he’s beautiful and comes in at about 6’5, a combination which often makes the opposite sex pay attention.
He’s also married and going to make me a grandmother again with a beautiful little girl in the spring 🙂
This is the gentle, compliable, laid back child that convinced us it was so fun we should have another one.
Enter my strong willed, stubborn, head strong, out spoken, bold second son. You know the shopping cart that refuses to go the right way and is constantly careening everywhere and you gotta keep a firm hand on it at all times? Yeah. This child may be more like me than I want to admit… but he’s another story 😉
I joke it’s good the oldest one came first….
Life moves along and I think one of it’s biggest markers/milestones is watching your children grow up. I’m blessed for sure with what I’ve been given and am so thankful to watch him celebrate another life milestone.
I realized this week sometimes I underestimate myself
Not often, but I do.
When I was asked before Christmas to offer up a wish list, it was on my mind to ask for heavier free weights. I have a variety of weights I use depending on what I’m doing, everything from light 15lb for higher reps, to a 35 lb kettle bell, and Olympic weights for all the other fun stuff. I had asked for 20lbs thinking that would be enough of a move up to make me work a bit harder than the lighter ones I used mostly for arm work
I did get the requested 20 lb weights.
What I realized is in the past months, the time I’ve been working out, my arms have gotten stronger than I realized and the 20 pounders felt, well, a bit breezey. ( Iguess tossing all that other heavy stuff around added up :-P)
As in, I easily curled off 12 reps without missing a beat. I knew if I wanted to be challenged more I’d need to up the weight. So I went to athletic store and played with the 25 and 30 pounds. Even though I use a 35 kettle bell, it’s usually with both hands so the single 30 was heavier for single arm work.
I opted for the 25’s because it’s hard enough, and when I add more reps I really start to feel it. Doing renegade rows with them I REALLY feel them.
Needless to say, I’ve got some new arm goals for this year 😉
The holidays are behind us, time to get productive again…
Meaning, I need to get back to flipping my vintage and antique furniture! My daughter in laws were asking me what I’d done lately and I’m like…uh nothing….
Tonight though, I finished off a chair that’s mine that’s been sitting waiting for a new seat and waxing over the paint. I love this old chair, it’s legs and weathered details. I bought it in horrible condition for 10.00. It now looks pretty, distressed, usable and cute with my old Sligh desk I refinished last year.
Want to read more about what I do in my uh…spare time? Find my posts here…
Do you remember, way back in April of last year, there was a Southwest Airplane that the engine blew out on ? The pilot, a woman named Tammie Jo Shults, calmly, successfully, navigated and landed the plane to safety with only one engine and a hole in the cabin after a window blew out.
Here’s the super cool thing.
I’ve gone to church with her for years.
I remember one summer doing VBS ( vacation bible school) with her and finding out she was a pilot and being in awe of that…and then finding out later she’d been a Navy fighter pilot.. the first woman to do so.
I mean, really, that seemed like a crazy, cool kinda job.
Needless to say, when that day happened and we heard about it, but then it got really closer to home when we all started hearing who the pilot was.
I tell you all this because this morning she shared her story during the morning worship service.
Before she spoke they played clips with air traffic control and her in the cockpit during that unnerving flight while pictures of the plane were shown.
To say it was moving is an understatement.
Soft spoken, well articulated with a good sense of humor, she shared her personal insights from that day.
Already a strong and committed Christian, she gave a beautiful testimony of peace and trust in God during that time. She said “I realized quickly that today could well be the day I meet my Maker” but then she said” I also knew we were still in the air and flying but somehow knowing the truth that it could be a possibility, a calm settled over me as I began to do what I needed to do. ”
This is the calm steady voice you will hear on the audio tapes from that day.
She jokingly said one of her sons friends had commented “Your Mom is so calm!” and his response was, “No she’s not, you should see her when I leave my dishes in the sink!”
She talked about the unsure, scary moments when the engine went out, the cabin losing pressure, smoke in the cockpit, not being able to hear, see, or breathe, how horribly loud everything was and how badly the plane was shaking.
She wondered if it would be able to stay together to fly. With one engine gone and parts of the plane destroyed with it, she said the left side was essentially like having an “anchor in the air”.
She talked about the pain she still feels knowing a woman lost her life that day and how she has kept up with her family. She mentioned passengers that she said were the “true hero’s that day” and her crew that did an amazing job at handling such a difficult situation.
Listening to her speak about that day was not only interesting to hear her personal account, but also to here her share about her steady and unwavering faith in God even in the midst of such turmoil and difficulties was encouragement to us all.
I can’t top that…..
What a story, right?
I’ve got a busy week ahead and ideas for new topics to bring you. One post I’m looking forward to writing is a comparison post on low carb vs. keto. Are they the same? Different? What are the good and not so good points on them? And lots more ideas as well.
Your turn… what do you have going on in this new week of a new year?
Well the first week of the New Year is almost under us. How’s it going for you? How’s it going in getting on track with your health and fitness goals? Did you stay fairly focused through the holiday season or did you get de-railed?
New Years Day morning had me out on the road for a few miles. I really love being out on that first day because it mentally sets a tone for me in the up coming year and my pursuit of being physically active.
Not that I’m “not” planning to being working out… but it definitely centers me for my goals and commitment to being fit.
Maybe you’re like I am though. Maybe you are making some changes in getting your eating back on track after a season of cookies and other treats.
Maybe you want to get back into your exercise after being off your normal routine for awhile.
I hope you haven’t just gone into the “all or nothing” approach. Sometimes easing back into things is the best way to get into a disciplined routine again.
Here’s a few tips that may help:
Don’t think you have to eat up all the left over cookies, candy, chips, whatever it is you may have laying around. I’m kinda joking, but kinda serious too. People do think they will make a final “last supper” moment and eat up stuff before they go on their “diet”.
Do allow yourself something if you’re craving it. Having a piece or two of chocolate is way less damaging than ignoring your desire than binging on a half a bag later on.
Don’t go all extreme and restrictive in your eating. Your body will rebel if you drastically reduce your food if you’ve been feeding it more than it needs.
Do gradually adjust the type of food and amount of food you have on your plate. It doesn’t take a lot to satisfy your appetite.
Don’t cut out all things you love. This goes a long way to being successful in new eating habits.
Don’t “over” exercise. Doing more than you are used to will only make you sore and not want to continue.
Do ease back into your normal routine if you have been exercising but maybe got off of it for a few weeks. Adding a bit more to what you do through the next week or two will bring you back up to where you were without negative side effects.
Do set small, attainable goals. If you have a set amount of weight to lose, consider looking at it in 5lb goals. This is easy to achieve and makes it a bit of a game. Weigh in only once a week.
Don’t get discouraged with what you need to do by staring at the “big picture”. Focus on one day at a time making positive small choices. These will add up. Move through each day with a focus on those choices.
Do remember that change takes time and don’t get discouraged because you are expecting to much to soon.
If you keep in mind that each day is a series of baby steps leading to your larger goal, it will be easier to manage and you will be much more successful in the end.
Do you have any tips or tricks that work for you to help you get back on track or to reach your goals?
Welcome to the last edition of Monday Musings for 2018! It’s hard to believe we sit poised on another brand new year full of possibilities and adventures.
I promise this isn’t gonna be any kinda “new year, new you” post nor will it be full of cliché end of year rhetoric.
Just yours truly with some random musings to end the year with and perhaps a little sass thrown in the mix just for fun.
The holiday season has been great
OK I don’t know how it goes for everyone, but my holidays have been good.
Busy? Yes. Controlled chaos at times? Yes. Food? Ugh more than enough. Family? See “controlled chaos” ha
Seriously though, I’m blessed to have my tribe together and everyone is happy and the kids play and drag toys everywhere to which I find pieces of things tucked in my sofa till summer time and Nerf darts in odd places but it’s all good stuff, ya know?
There’s been a plethora of food and sweet treats and really at this time of year I’m officially getting sick of food.
I’ve been cooking and baking since… well… Thanksgiving.
I’m ready to get back to easy meals and I’m ready to take a break from sugary treats. I guess it’s good I’m used to eating healthy most of the time because it doesn’t take long for me to realize it’s not my comfort zone.
The Snake Oil People Are Coming
Oh I have a good time with all of the “health and wellness” leeches out there. I don’t have a voice here for no reason, and having a blog and my social media is the perfect platform for speaking out against some of the craziness.
The tv ads have started. The stores have begun to set up huge displays of “meal replacement shakes” with athletic wear in the front of store and my social media feeds have all the DM people hawking their wares for weight loss.
Tricks and gimmicks abound.
Yeah, yeah we all ate cookies at Christmas and maybe to much of grandmas pie.
Here’s the deal, you don’t need their wizardry to lose weight, honestly, you don’t. Keep your money, buy healthy, real food and smaller clothes with it.
You don’t need to be cleansed, detoxed, purified, or any of that other nonsense. ( remember you’ve got a liver and kidneys to do all that 😉 )
I’m not gonna go crazy in this post about this topic but I WILL leave you with a great article that clearly defines all the “lingo” these companies use so you’re a little educated.
I have not gotten in the amount my body craves these past few weeks. I came off months of training, did the duathlon at the end of November, and headed into a busy month working and preparing for the holiday season.
I did get out the other day for a ride… of course it was one of the coldest mornings we had this week….
I hope you have found time to get out and enjoy some purposeful movement. I hope that as you move into the year ahead, you are already planning to make it a part of your daily routine.
I enjoy other less “active” activities…
The day after Christmas found me with my first “free” day in quite awhile. And by that I didn’t feel totally task oriented with a to-do list in my face. So I trolled the local stores for any after Christmas items I couldn’t live without then I went and got coffee and just spent some time… reading….
I started a book ( One Bridge To Life) before Thanksgiving and it got set aside ’cause I just didn’t seem to find extra time to lay down and leisurely read.
I was able to attend a public meeting at a local church and the speaker was a 92 year old man who had survived the Holocaust.
There is something very humbling about sitting there listening to someone recount horrors from ages ago, yet watching his face at times, it was like he was seeing it all very clearly in his minds eye. That got me more than anything… seeing his look become distant as if he were seeing it all over again… and he most likely was.
Of course his time to talk went all to fast so, what do you do to fill in the gaps?
You buy his book of course.
This one is his personal recollections of his life before the invasion, during his time as a prisoner, and then his liberation.
I read and then have to walk away at times as I’m dealing with the truths that these were real people. The horror is almost like todays graphic horror except I know this was real life.
I keep reading and I start to get involved with a “character” and I want them to make it… to get out…to escape…so many never made it to survival.
I’ve had to set the book down and walk away for awhile more times than I should admit.
I just cannot wrap my mind around the horrible, ghastly, inhumane treatment of human beings done by other “human beings”.
Yeah, not light reading I know.
I believe like so many others, these stories, the lives of those who went through this monsterous atrocity, must always be remembered. I guess educating myself further is a way for me to “not forget” such a horrible point in the history of mankind.
Boy that got heavy….
I finished my weekend up by working at the shop. If you remember I shared in previous posts, I took a space in a Vintage store in town to house all my creativity and to keep some of it out of my house 😛
Anyway, a slow afternoon let me re-work my space and take down Christmas, and overall be a bit productive.
Speaking of taking down Christmas
I will admit to feeling like… HUH? when people whip their tree and decorations down the day after Christmas.
Like what’s up with that?
I guess ’cause I put so much into my decorating I just love to enjoy it for as long as I want. My tree has stayed spectacular this year, for a live tree, now past Christmas, it’s not even dropping needles.
Considering how big it is, and how much work it took to make it look so gorgeous, I’m in no hurry to pull it down.
I jokingly tell my kids it may have Valentine hearts on it.
And with that I’ll leave you with this weeks question to ponder…
Do you take your decorations down soon after Christmas? Or do you enjoy leaving them up for awhile?
Hello world! Well not only is it another edition of Monday Musings, it also happens to be Christmas Eve on this particular Monday…. which gives me another perfect reason to write a Christmas post. ( I told you it would be coming ) We’ve got plenty of time heading into 2019 to continue our health and fitness conversations.
But for now…..
As I write this it’s Sunday night. My weekend has been busy with all kinds of preparations and the usual Christmas activities getting ready for the big day.
Who else out there hasn’t been up to their eyes in wrapping paper and tape?
I’m ready to be still for awhile, drink some coffee, and let my thoughts out writing.
Yesterday the kids and grandkids were over to decorate cut out cookies. These are definitely a more time consuming cookie to make, but are so worth the effort. I get the cookies made, (using cutters that were my grandmothers) and the kids decorate till they are covered in frosting and sprinkles.
I may or may not have eaten one or two”ish” 😉
I love building memories with my family. It’s especially fun watching not just my kids playing and making cookies, but my grandbabies as well.
Oh… and if you know anything about cookies like this then you know they have to be rolled out to a specific thickness.
Rolling pins are the necessary tool….
So the cookies are done ( well mostly) I never think I have enough. I kinda like giving stuff away to people too and the clan likes having some left to graze on… which means plenty of candy and cookies all around.
Speaking of all those treats…..
It’s always tricky finding the right ways to put the treats out, yet keep them safe from the dog or little child hands.
I love how this 100 year old desk I refinished earlier this year looks so festive with some goodies on it….
The cookies are made… the packages are wrapped and spilling from under the tree….
Christmas evokes many emotions and feelings…..
I love all of the traditions we have during this season. I love the energy and excitement of it. Most of all I love watching my kids during this time. Even my adult kids still get excited.
I recently asked them what made Christmas “Christmas” for them, excluding gifts. (this is what happens when your Mom has a blog and writes. Everything becomes a writing exercise. )
My oldest son told me that Christmas made home feel “extra homey”
Another one told me that “Christmas is Christmas when all of us are piled up in the kitchen in our jammies, anticipating gift opening and just enjoying the company of FAMILY.” ( when everyone is older, it’s easier to wait till day breaks to open gifts haha)
Another told me she “loves the “glorious mess” created in the living room on Christmas day. ” she continues…. ” I love the excitement we get waking up, eating breakfast and then opening gifts .”
( it should be noted, they anticipate my breakfast as much as gift opening)
I am going to remember and hold onto the “glorious mess” reference. I think it’s one of those cool statements to keep for future use. ( I will attempt to remember this in the aftermath on Christmas day)
Christmas is also bittersweet……
I think of all markers of time, each Christmas shows me how we’ve all changed in a year. I look at my children, now adults, and in my mind see them years ago as they were on Christmas morning, children. Now I watch my grandkids with the same eager anticipation of the morning and know next year, they too will have changed.
Next year as well, we will have a new family member with the addition of another granddaughter.
I look at all of their excited faces as they sit in their “spots” we all claim each year. This has had to adjust at times when someone new comes into the Christmas morning.
I see my husband playing “Santa” handing out gifts as he’s done for …well… a whole lotta years now….and think how blessed I am to have him and share another Christmas with him… our 36th.
The dogs are awkwardly everywhere not sure of this loud chaos in their morning.
As I look around the room at my “tribe” my mind also goes to Christmases past, thinking of family no longer with me. Thinking of times when my parents would take certain places on the sofa, or how we’d tease about them falling asleep on each other in the afternoon when things had settled down. They would come loaded with beautifully wrapped gifts for everyone in huge bags.
My parents were children at heart during the Christmas season and loved doing for others.
They haven’t been gone that long that the ache in my heart isn’t still tender and deep with a carefully grown scab on the grief.
My mom has been gone 4 years and my dad not quite 2.
So my mind sees them and thinks of those days… I remember them in their places and with all their funny quirks that amused us.
I miss them and fiercely wish they were still a part of our family and Christmas celebration.
The beauty in bittersweet….
Although my mind may wander back to Christmases from the past and memories of those I loved, I focus on the beautiful blessings of those I have and the memories we are creating together.
Nothing makes me happier than one of the kids telling me something they enjoy or mentioning a tradition they look forward to.
I find myself doing the same thing I once used to tease my grandmother and mom about. Everyone would almost be done opening gifts and they would have a pile of gifts around them, lost in watching everyone else open theirs.
Last year my kids were like… Mom! open your gifts! As I too, had my pile around me, watching the antics of my family.
So I will join in opening my gifts this year, watching, and adding to the “glorious mess” of the morning and another Christmas will go down in the books.
But for now…..
For now, tonight, I will sit and admire the beauty of the tree with all the gaily wrapped packages under it. I know in just a short time, the place under the tree will be empty again. a “glorious mess” left in it’s place, so I will appreciate the view for this season, for these last few hours.
I will drink my coffee in my fox cup, memories dancing through my head, with my mind thinking about things to still do, tasks still waiting on my list before Christmas day arrives.
I will give thanks I have so much that can’t be wrapped and put under a tree and it’s those gifts I value the most, those are quite priceless.
And Christmas will come and go, and long after a gift may be forgotten there will be new memories, stories and traditions that will become a part of the tapestry of our family, and that my friends, is what makes Christmas “Christmas” for me.
I wish you all the merriest holiday season and a joyful New Year!
Now tell me… what makes Christmas “Christmas” for you?