Am I the only one who wakes up lately wondering what day it is, what month or some days, what planet we’re on?
Like a surreal time warp lately.
Therefore, it kinda caught me off guard when hubby mentioned a week or two back,” hey you’ve got a birthday coming, what do you want?”
( My birthday was on Saturday)
Ah! Christmas in July 😁
Like wow, where did the year go?
If you will, allow me to wax poetic in this post on some reflections of another year around the sun .
Age is definitely a number
I giggle when my young friends lament that they are on the door step of 30, like it’s the end of life.
Although 30 is a ways back in my rearview mirror now, I love where I am in life. I want to tell them that getting older isn’t awful and it’s something many will never know. That getting older means wisdom gained, compassion deepened, love expanded, and a broader understanding of things you didn’t really grasp years before.
Getting older means knowing yourself, really. The good and bad and knowing how to manage both of those areas. It means knowing how to use to your voice and being comfortable doing so.
It means gained confidence in ways you have not have known in your younger self.
It can be developing new skills or talents you find along the way you didn’t know you had earlier in life.
Age also challenges you to press into hard things you may never have dealt with. It can either forge strength in you, or leave you weak or fearful.
You also learn to be true to yourself and who you are….or you don’t. Being true to yourself might not always float everyone’s boat but that is really their issue, not yours.
Be authentically you, there is no one who can fill your shoes.
Getting older doesn’t need to define life as “less”.
That’s how it’s often observed right? Getting older means you can’t or shouldn’t do certain things cause ya know, age right?
Don’t do this, don’t do that.
I jokingly tell my kids I will forever be the mom/grandmother/aunt in little shorts at the family picnic 🤣
I will be on the dance floor if there’s music and not observing life on the side.
I will continue to push my limits and challenge myself to new things.
I want to learn and grow and be better with each year marked.
Age is no excuse
Honestly, I do not even let myself allow that idea into my head. I refuse to be guided by a thought that would cripple me from living a life of more .
As I reflect back on this year, it is not without looking at some hard times I’ve walked through that have strengthened me in ways I had never previously known. Walking paths of illness with loved ones builds unknown strengths in you that you don’t know you possess until you go through fire.
Getting older is often looked at as getting weak with the thought older people should step aside so the stronger young ones can handle it.
Physically, my body is stronger and more capable than it has ever been.
I love that! I love that my sons call on me at times to help move something because they know I can deliver.
Pushing myself to lift heavier or ride farther on my bike, whatever, it may be is empowering! And training my body prepares it for those daily life tasks we can be called on to do.
I guess really, if anything, I don’t ever put limits on myself. That has allowed me to grow and tackle such big goals that if I had put mental limits on myself I would spend my life wondering if I could do it, instead of getting it done.
A friend tagged me in this post yesterday telling me it reminded her of me, of how I am and the fact she felt I’d say the same thing to my followers, and she’s right.
No matter where we are in life, choices are to be made. What we do determines who we will continue to grow into.
I will, no matter my age always be pressing into where I want to continue to be, and that is driven by what I do.
How I think, the goals I set and how I challenge myself.
Chronologically, age happens to all of us. We have no control over that.
How we approach aging, the choices we make, our behaviors and attitudes, our mental thinking, well we have a ton of control over that.
And with those ideas firmly in mind my mantra will forever be, age is no excuse.
The quintessential summer holiday marked with sunny skies, warm to horribly hot weather, kids in swimming pools, family gatherings with potluck foods of all types, tasty desserts, and after darkness finally falls on a long summer day, glorious fireworks.
My family is no different as we will gather to celebrate and observe the wonderful freedoms we’ve been given and of course, enjoy some good food.
I thought I’d share a recipe with you I found years ago in an ice cream cookbook ( uh, do you call ice cream, cooking??)
Anyway, it was a huge success and it’s been made for many July 4th celebrations. Not only is it amazingly delicious, it is beyond simple to assemble and then let the ice cream machine do the rest of the work.
*** on a side note, as I write this, said machine is making awful noises and I’m praying it will limp through one more go round of ice cream making.*** 😱
My scrawled happy face in the corner years ago is the thumbs up of approval for making again.
Nothing says summer coolness like real cream and fresh strawberries, and a little sugar thrown in for fun.
As we celebrate this year it is hard not to be mindful of all of the upheaval and concerns in our country.
However, even in the mix of difficulties, and overall unknowns with some things in our world, I still believe I live in the greatest country.
I’m proud to be an American and am blessed by all we have, the opportunities available, and most of all, our freedom.
So as I’m lounging on my sofa tonight drinking copious amounts of coffee I keep thinking it’s already Sunday night, yet it’s not.
Yay…one more weekend day.
It IS entirely probable my brain is fried from a busy day of hosting my 3 year old granddaughters birthday party with a house full of loud, active and busy kids hyped up on youthful energy and a dash of sugar.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s it.
The birthday party was a success and my granddaughter embraced the day with complete wild abandon.
I would not have expected any less from her.
I joke she’s my spirit animal but really I aspire to live each day with the constant joy and enthusiasm she has for all situations.
Ah…but back to the weekend
That means time to work on more of my vintage and antique projects. I need more time! 😫
I’ve picked up some uber cool pieces the past couple weeks. Between doing pieces for my shop ( things are moving out fairly quick there..not a bad problem) I’ve picked up quite a few custom orders as well as repeat customers so I guess you can say I always have a project going on.
Not a bad problem to have.
Ok …I know you wanna see some of the goodies… 😁
What about this turn of the century serpentine dresser?
It gets its name from the style of drawers..
The lady advertised *it needs work”. Thankfully, I have mad repair skills.
Oh…did I mention this beauty was 5.00?
Yes you’re reading right. It’s gonna cost a ton of labor but the end result will be awesome.
***listen to that confidence***
What about this old radio cabinet?
Yeah check out the original label in it…
I have a customer who quickly claimed it. She will put a stereo in where old one was…she wants it for her boys who collect records. I’m sanding and staining it for her.
And then I finished off this custom order. I got this old vanity and bench last summer. I showed it to a customer and she wanted it for a desk. The bench stayed with me for another project
Oh….here’s the after pic….
Sweet, clean and ready for a new adventure.
In more reflective thoughts….
I’ve got two things dancing in my head.
1. When did the world become so full of self entitled people?
2. Do young people really have such a poor working knowledge of basic daily math?
Ok..my first thought.
This has been in my head awhile from various experiences.
Working at my sons shop ( ah.. dealing with the public) I’m often shocked at customers who think they don’t have to pay for a service or think they shouldn’t have to pay what has been charged or he should do work for free,the list goes on…. there are times I’m left speechless.
Hmm… or more like attempting to hold my tongue. 🙄
However I had a personal experience this weekend when a customer went to my shop to buy a piece of furniture. I wasn’t working on this day ( we’re a co-op and as vendors work a few days a month) she had previously messaged me about price and I told her what it was. Yet when she got to shop, she angled at getting a lower price. Her husband even suggested to checker they should get it for even less. Then went on to act shocked/annoyed they had to pay tax.
Like…dude. This isn’t a yard sale and do you even live in this country? This is a store…you pay tax. This is life.
Death and taxes… it’s a given.
Self entitlement. It’s an ugly thing in our society.
My second point.
I had two similar experiences this week. I had stopped at a new coffee shop to you know, share the wealth and to try their coffee.
After getting past the shock of my small cold brew being 4.33 I handed her my money.
You get it, right?
Now let me say I’m not the world’s best math whiz. I don’t know who ever thought that putting the alphabet in math problems was a good thing and I literally passed high school algebra by the skin of my teeth.
But daily working math? I’ve got that. I can count change back and run mental numbers in my head. I can figure percentages and do estimates etc
You know….Basic life math that we all need.
It appears a lot of young people can’t do that.
The young girl took my money and proceeded to hand me change as if I hadn’t given her the change with my bill. I told her ijust needed 6.00 back.
She then fished more change out and handed me that along with my change and I said I don’t need change, just 6.00.
She laughed nervously and said “ohhhh I get it”
I’m pretty sure she didn’t get it.
Then on another day in a drive thru. My order was 2.52.
I tripped the poor guy up handing him 10.52.
I waited…and waited…wondering if I was gonna get my change back. Finally he slowly handed my money out the window.
I said “Hey sweetie I’m supposed to get 8.00 back” to which he asked for my receipt?
Then he carefully handed 2.00 more out the window. I imagined him standing there trying to figure out what fresh hell I was putting him through as he attempted to decipher how much money to give me back.
Oh. My. Gosh.
Is the younger generation so dependent on machines to think that they can’t operate with basic, easy skills?
Remember counting in ones,fives, tens, etc in elementary school? Isn’t that the basic idea in counting money?
What happened here?
When I mentioned it to my son ( who is a part of this generation) his response… they’re all dumb. 😱
That may be a bit harsh, but it’s a disturbing reality in our society.
Maybe we should bring back home economics and basic life skills classes? 🤔
Ok I’ll hop off my soap box now and on to complete randomness you could do without
Do you know Amazon has something called “chip fingers”?
And yeah, I didn’t know what they were either, but thanks to my little band of misfit friends I got educated.
Evidently they are like little socks for your finger tips so while you’re noshing on Cheetos or Doritos you don’t get those nuclear orange finger tips…I hope you aren’t eating those…. but if you do they are evidently helpful for keeping your fingers clean from eating anything messy.
Ah…how did we ever get along before?? I’ll attach the link so you know I’m not tricking you 😉
Maybe you should buy a set and impress your friends.
Speaking of orange
Ii see all the fall stuff showing up in the stores, but honestly with Texas still rocking July like temps, it does not put me on the fall mood…at all.
Ii did recently give in and buy an adorable sweater with the anticipation that some day I may get to wear it…
I may have bought a thing or two else along with it…..
Seriously though, I’m ready for some of those perfect fall days.
Has fall showed up where you live?
My athletic shenanigans. This sums up exactly how I feel…….
I’ve been off running for months. Long story short, an x ray date with my sports doctor, me thinking I’ve done something that’s gonna need surgery and he presents me with “you have arthritis ” was not what I was prepared to hear.
I’ve been doing some PT work to stretch and work muscles that have gotten tight with a greatly reduced physical work load. Gonna see how some of this helps and just go from there. I’ll tell you this…I’m not gonna just take this and go lay down somewhere nor do I plan on giving up.
There will be an upcoming post on my PT adventures…so stay tuned for that 😜
Meanwhile, I’m increasing my strength training days. I even upped my dead lifts last week to 185, so there’s that. Rowing is a good substitute for running so I will continue my rowing skills and of course, cycling. That should keep me busy, right?
Your turn….what’s going on in your world? Has fall showed up yet? What athletic activities keep you busy?
Today’s post boys and girls is brought to you from 35 thousand feet in the air.I’m pretty sure it may be quite a long time before I’d write a post again while I’m flying.What adventures have I been up to?Hubby’s daughter, my step daughter, got married this weekend in New York.Our entire family group went which made for a noticable tribe moving through check points at the airports.There were like…24 of us.Other than both flights going up there being delayed and dragging into our hotel at almost 4 in the morning ( have mercy that was a lonnggg day) the travel went well.My husband is from beautiful parts of New York….Albany area…although he grew up in Roundlake.We all made a field trip there on Saturday and my kids got to see his childhood home and hear stories from “back in the day”.I’m always amazed at the beauty of tall forest trees, old colonial styled homes and a calmer and peaceful atmosphere there.Small towns are “villages” and I found a sign that stated as such..Don’t ask why but I thought it was cool.It was fun to visit the places of his life from his earlier years. He still has family there and some made themselves available for us while we were there to visit and catch up on our lives.The weddingAh yes. Let’s get to the good stuff :)Weddings are always sweet, beautiful and full of hopes, promises, and new dreams.I always admire the new couple and think of them starting this journey of marriage.I think about the roads I’ve traveled on mine in 35 years.I wonder if they will have all it takes to withstand lifes ups and downs once the honeymoon is over.For a writer and a people watcher like me, weddings are perfect fodder for my reflective, wandering mind and thoughts.This was the first marriage for my husband’s daughter. She is strong, beautiful, hard working, clever, and fun.She is 42 and found the man of her dreams ( we all like him alot too 🙂 )I’d say she has had plenty of time to consider all she would want her wedding to be….and it was beautiful. She was a glowing, stunning bride and as best as I could tell everything went perfect.Of course the reception is the time when everyone can relax and have fun.And have fun, we did.With a DJ that was a ball of energy, there wasn’t a dull moment.Ok dear readers, I need to admit it here, but yours truly loves to dance.And I did and by the end of the night the heels were off, my feet were tired, my makeup had faded and my flowers had wilted, but gosh, it was a fun night.But it was one song that took me to that deeper introspection.He had all the couples on the floor dancing and they dropped out as he called out years you were married.It felt good to be one of the half dozen left standing when the years topped over thirty, then 35…that’s when we stepped off floor with only a few left.The grooms parents took it with 50 years.I thought about all the years of life lived with a person and all that goes with it.The good, the bad, the ugly and beautiful.And by damn….awards should be given!It takes a whole lotta work to get to that point in your life.Work. Sacrifice. Giving. Taking. Laughing. Crying. Inside jokes and getting each other in ways no one else on planet earth does. Years of being poor. Years of having plenty. Kids. Dogs. House payments. Sickness and health. Hogging the covers and taking over the bed. Learning to embrace and accept each other’s weirdness and idiosyncrasies.All of these thoughts rolled through my head as I danced with my husband, my partner in crime.I thought about his daughter and how she would learn these things too.You think you know your partner on your wedding day and you do.But you know them so much better year after year than you did that day.And it’s just the day in and out of life that you learn these things.They will learn too. They will travel down the road of life together and realize a few years from now they know each other better than they did on this amazing day and there is such a beautiful sweetness in that.Now back to regularly scheduled lifeWe’ve all experienced it right? The fun comes to an end and its back to doing life again that got left behind while you’re off having fun.And here I sit, high above the earth as darkness creeps into the cabin, the passengers quiet as the plane speeds us closer home, waiting to resume life again at home.The wedding was sweet. The time seeing the bride and her new husband was precious.Seeing a few family members let us catch up on life.The time away and having all our family there on a big trip was a first.The ages ranged from my new born granddaughter to us old people Haha and everything in between.Life is precious. But it’s the people in it that make it that way. As I come home tired and ready for my own bed, I’m reminded again of how truly blessed I am in my life.And I’m already plotting and planning when we can go on another adventure again.Have you been on any recent adventures?
Happy Monday world! This isn’t just another Monday. Here in the states it’s Memorial Day.
Yes many often view it as a three day weekend, a kick start to summer and a day to BBQ. The reality is, its a day of solemn remembrance for the men and women who served and gave their lives for our country.
I know if I made a trip to the military cemetery where my father is buried, a flag would be on his stone as well as the thousands of others who surround him.
My father did two terms in Vietnam. He was always immensely proud of his service to our country.
He never talked about his time there. It wasn’t until the last year of his life that he said some things that made sense to some of his ( we thought, idiosyncrasies) and I think it was only the advancing of his alzheimers that may have loosened the memories and let them out.
He always wanted the windows closed and locked. It made my mom crazy. He revealed in his later days that the enemy used to hide in the jungle and trees and then attack. ( we live in the country surrounded by some very dense terrain) he had never lost the worry that they were still out there.
Or more chilling how the sound of aircraft made him tense… the enemy would fly over and throw the dead soldiers from the helicopter. A reminder they could be next.
It was a roadside bomb exploding and causing the vehicle he was in to crash causing injuries that sent him to Germany to rehab and then finally home.
I’m not sure you or I can even begin to grasp what our service men and women go through, or how it makes a lifetime indelible impact on them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
On this day we remember those who sacrificed their lives. Those who left behind loved ones, dreams, and plans for the future.
Ithought of how so many laid down their lives as…..
I passed a man selling fresh produce on the side of the road this morning.
I saw a bumper sticker proclaiming political views.
I drove by multiple churches.
I made plans for my business.
I recently voted in an election.
I shopped in stores with a great abundance of food and other items.
We have so much freedom in our country to use our voices, to run businesses, to move about freely, to worship as we choose, or not choose. We have freedom to vote for our elected leaders.
We have so many freedoms and it’s on this solemn day we stop to remember…to remember those who gave all so that we can live in the daily freedoms we take so for granted.
Thank you seems so small…..such small words for gratitude of giving and serving with ones life.
As you gather with your family on this day, I hope you take a moment to pause and give thanks for the precious gift of freedoms you have and for the lives of those who make it possible.
Happy Monday beautiful people! It’s really Sunday evening as I write this, and I’m finally finding a moment to sit down after a long busy day and catch my breath.
Football has been on all day and of course all my men must keep the sound at a level that resembles being at the actual football game.
When the games are over, the sound comes down, it’s then I’m reminded how nice a quieter house is.
With everyone here I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family…. even if they do have the football games ridiculously loud 😉
It’s hard to not reflect on how blessed I am with my family. I have an amazing, wonderful husband, great kids, my sons wives, grandkids ( another on the way arriving in the spring!) and my daughters boyfriend who after 2 years of putting up with her 😉 is also family.
I’m grateful for who we are as a group. For the love, laughter, silliness and uniqueness of each person. I guess I’ve become even more appreciative in a world where so many families aren’t like that, who are mean spirited and cut throat to one another, where jealousy and petty things take place over the value of relationships. These behaviors are so sad to me.
It just makes me want to hold closer those I love and what we have. I don’t mean “perfection” because not one single person or family is “perfect”… that also is an illusion many try to present…. just learn to love perfectly with not perfect people.
But really though, if you don’t take care of your family, at the end of the day what do you have? The world is a rough place, love those who are yours, over look faults, be patient with weaknesses, set loving boundaries, speak truth, love fiercely and value the uniqueness of those who are your tribe.
Ok I’m gonna get off my soapbox now 😉
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Speaking of family… for me Christmas and family are closely tied together.
This past week I’ve gotten all my Christmas decorating done and my massive tree all decorated.
All 13 feet of it.
It’s got over 400 lights, 180 feet of silver beaded garland, and 100’s of ornaments. It took pretty much every ornament I have and my 6’0 body hanging precariously off the very top of a 6’0 ladder… but it’s done.
It is really, I think, the most spectacular tree we’ve ever had.
I love turning all the lights off at night and just sitting in the quiet house before I go to bed and just looking at it.
I find those times peaceful as it lets my mind unwind and wander and reflect on so many things. It’s a practice I’ve enjoyed for years and I find simple joy in it.
Here… I’ll let you have a sneak peak at it all….
Long before you young whippersnappers had that crazy little Elf on a shelf thing going on, I had this little guy be a part of all my Christmases…which are getting up there now 😉
According to what I was told a long time ago, these little guys came on dish soap bottles back in the dark ages.
My grandmother was the one who got them ( a green and a red one) the green I retrieved from an old tub of my mom’s where Christmas decorations go to die. Although faded and more worn looking I dragged him out and he has a spot on my primitive toy tree ( I’ll show you later )
The red one comes out every year to quietly perch among the branches of my tree.
I don’t have to do anything with him, move him around or pose him in a bowl of cereal.
He’s just a quiet sentinel marking another Christmas in his family.
I love having things from my childhood past to share with my kids and grandkids. Those things evoke feelings and memories of Christmases long ago and the people I loved who I shared them with.
I hope these traditions continue a long time in my family.
But on the topic of trees….
I somehow, in the past few years, have managed to have more than one tree. I’ve got little theme trees that I haven’t been able to resist doing.
A primitive toy tree surrounded by my old rocking horse obsession. A cool black and silver tree that holds all my kids ornaments they lovingly brought home from school projects years ago, a silver tree that holds tons of little glass ornaments that date back to my great grandmother. It’s so vintage looking… I love it.
A few years ago I got a pink one. Sorry, I’m a girl and pink is like one of my favorite colors. It’s in my kitchen and it’s all gingerbread and candy themed and my granddaughters adore looking at it. It’s full of whimsical sparkly play candy and garland although I do buy various colored candy canes to add to it.
I think I’ve got like five theme trees around my home… but hey! It’s better than being a crazy cat lady, right??
In other news….
in a busy month with not only usual life activities, but holiday preparations as well it might be tempting to skip your workouts.
May I suggest something short and sweet that also brings a punch ? HIIT (high intensity interval training) is hard work in a short amount of time.
Got 20 minutes?
Here’s an example of one I did last week.
10 push ups
10 jumping squats
20 jumping jacks
20 mountain climbers
30 sit ups
30 second plank hold
Do as may sets as you can in 20 minutes.
It was a cold morning when I did this. I was sweating at the end. I managed to get 5 sets done. I was thinking that didn’t seem like…a lot.. until I realized I had done 150 sit ups in those 5 sets. I do butterfly sit ups with a 25 lb weight plate to make it a little harder. I do a longer hold on my plank as well.
It’s important to remember that you can always modify a workout to your current physical abilities. If you’re stronger, add some weight or push a little harder.
If you are just starting out, reduce reps if you need to and go at an easy pace.
Short, powerful workouts are very effective and if you are limited on time, they offer a high energy boost and get you on your way.
Visit me on Pinterest and find more short workouts on my fitness boards.
Ok and you know I need to leave you with something tasty….
I will also encourage you to maintain healthy eating habits during the festive season of Christmas and all that goes with it however there are going to be tasty treats to eat as well…..
My daughter in law found this recipe and suggested we should try it. We are quite the dessert lab rats around here haha
These are delicious and will probably be added to our list of favorites. Don’t take my word for it, go make it and see what you think.
My cookie baking and candy making will be getting going soon so I’ll share some of my favorites with you in an up coming post 🙂
So tell me… are you ready for Christmas? How goes the decorating? Are you done shopping yet? Do you have a favorite Christmas item or recipe?
As the old Christmas song goes… “it’s the most wonderful time of the year….”
This is a disclaimer before you proceed reading anymore :
I’m gonna get all kinds of nostalgic on you so either buckle up and grab a fresh cup of coffee or abandon your computer for higher ground .
You’ve been warned.
I’ve always loved Christmas but I’m pretty sure my mom and grandparents had a lot to do with making that impression on me.
My memories of childhood were of fun, festivities, and family. Of course there were always lots of delicious baked goods and candies, and everything was always beautifully decorated. Christmas music was on and I remember my mom and grandmother singing along with various songs. There were special table linens and candy/cookie trays that were brought out every year to be filled again.
Cookies. Can you say… cookies? Of all the ones to be chosen, the cut out cookies still have my heart. All of those fun Christmas shapes in sugar cookie form … is there anything better? That is one thing today my kids all still love doing. Piling in at the kitchen table and decorating trees, Santas, reindeer, angels, sleighs, snowflakes, gingerbread boys and girls. My mom had tons of cool cutters that I enjoy using as well along with the ones I already had.
The season was steeped in many traditions for me.
As a family we always went together and bought a fresh tree. I’m grateful no one had any issues that kept us from having one because to this day it’s one of my favorite things to go do… pick out the biggest tree I can get my paws on… thank goodness I have 12 ft ceilings now! As a child our ceilings were much shorter so we were limited in the height we could drag home. This years specimen comes in right around 11 ft and it smells soooo amazing. Some years the fragrance isn’t as strong, this year, beautiful AND fragrant.
No, I don’t mind a real tree, and no I don’t mind cleaning up at the end of the season. It’s all worth it to me.
My children are adults now ( good heavens… I can’t believe that sometimes) and they too continue to expect a real tree and the married ones plan to carry on the tradition.
So we had the tree covered in bright lights ( remember those big C7 lights you could line a run way with?? I do have those on my tree but they are the more modern ones that stay cool and wont burn the tree down) and family decorations, amazing homemade treats, beautifully wrapped packages, family, special meals, worship service and of course the celebration of Jesus birth.
I simply grew up immersed in the beauty of Christmas, and not just the beauty, the magic too. The magic of waiting expectantly for Santa on Christmas Eve and the inability to fall asleep from excitement. My family always worked to make sure that the magic was a part of Christmas.
My mom was such a child at heart about Christmas till the day she left this earth. I’m afraid I’m no different. I still get excited at Christmas and I have a hard time sleeping sometimes.. only now I’m Santa and my kids and grandbabies get to experience it.
It was a sobering moment to me thinking this year that I’m the only one left to carry on all these traditions that have become precious to me. To pass them on to my children and their families.
Let me say I’m fully aware that Christmas isn’t fun for many, especially when they are acutely aware of loved ones that are missing from their lives.
Nothing brings that loss home more than Christmas time and I can fully speak to that.
In the last 5 years I’ve lost my brother, my mother, and this past year, my dad. At this time of year there are moments that the pain and anguish strike my heart and spirit so hard it almost takes my breath away.
I deeply miss my people.
I miss the ones who shared those long ago memories with me. I miss taking out certain decorations or ornaments and reminiscing about them. Oh, I still do on many items as I share stories of various treasures with my kids but they don’t have the memories associated with it.
In this last year I’ve also been busy cleaning out my parents entire house and going through years of….life. It has to be done but there have been so many days it’s been an agonizing road to walk. There were times I went in with the intent to work and only found myself sobbing on the sofa longing for those I loved to be there again.
However, in the cleaning process I’ve found some beautiful treasures that I have brought home to enjoy and to share with my kids. One thing I finally felt emotionally strong to do was go through the various boxes of carefully wrapped ornaments that had been my mothers and my grandmothers. I tried last year but opening the box that she had last carefully packed away was a bit more than I could handle at the time.
This year, I brought everything out. I laid them all on the table smiling, laughing and sometimes crying looking at all of the years of Christmas treasures in front of me. I pulled precious old ones from the mix, ones of my grandmothers that date back to World War 2. There were treasured delicate glass ornaments that have always gone at the top of tree to protect them, now in my care to treasure. There were silly ones that for some reason I always loved, like these colored glass balls that had big fake eyes and a foam mustache. When my brother and I moved out my mom gave me a blue one and my brother a red one. Two years ago mine fell from the tree and shattered in a million pieces. Yes, I cried. Going through my brothers ornaments I came across the red one… somehow it was like an old friend was back as I settled it into a position on my tree.
Speaking of trees….
I realized that one poor tree, no matter how big, reaches a point of holding all the memories of Christmas past. However, I can have several other trees that are fun or have a theme. Of course my kids might secretly be wondering if I’m turning into a crazy old tree lady… 😉
So many treasures are vintage collectibles now. Not just that, it’s the history they hold as well that means so much to me.
AH! I’m vintage.
Ha well in the life of Christmas decorations when they are up and over 50plus years that’s pretty old. I’m fascinated with the Christmases they have seen and sometimes wonder how they’ve survived so long.
My cardboard Christmas houses, so delicate and fragile and originally only pennies in a dime store are now worth hundreds of dollars depending on the era it came from, style etc.
I am completely enthralled with them. However, my love again, was started as a child when my grandmother would place her little village out with the Barclay skater people. It was one of my most favorite parts of Christmas. I was thrilled when my mother let me have the beat up old village when I found it in the back of the loft long forgotten. I took them home and carefully restored them. It was only when I began digging into their history that I found the ones I grew up with were actually the end of an era of these unique houses. The first ones had been produced in the late 1920’s -early 30’s into the 40’s and 50’s and were last made in the mid 60’s a far cry for the original grandeur they had been crafted in.
Today, I have my grandmothers original set I still put out for that is where my childhood memories are.
But I’ve also carefully collected some beautiful, unique houses by shopping carefully and skillfully on Ebay. There are some I have to look wistfully at and let go as they soar in price zones I won’t participate in.
All of the houses in my collection are 70-80 years old. How they have withstood the test of so many Christmases gone by always amazes me. Some I’ve purchased and carefully done some restoration on. Others, I’ve purchased knowing they will stay “as is” in my collection mainly because the coloring or materials would be impossible to find and replicate now.
I guess I should say for a more modern, trendy girl, I absolutely love and adore vintage Christmas. The new cheap modern day stuff doesn’t have the same appeal to me. I think though, it’s more because my heart is connected to the times gone by with the old items from the past.
But life moves forward, and memories are sweet and dear and keep us connected to those we’ve loved and have been privileged to share the journey of life with. As I’ve decorated this year it has been a sweet treat to incorporate so many things from the past that are old and beautiful with newer things I’ve collected with my family over these past years.
I love being able to create a magical, special season for my family like I knew growing up. It blesses me that they appreciate it so much and enjoy being there. I want them to have memories of special times and special things that they can share with their children.
Traditions. Simple or elaborate I want them to have the history of traditions.
But Christmas is so much more. It’s a time in the year when we should be more mindful than ever of peace, love, and joy. To be mindful of those we hold dear and the treasure that they are to us. To give those gifts freely and generously back to them. To embrace some of the simplicity of the season and not be swooped up in the commercial money train it has become. To enjoy the presence of each other because that isn’t always granted to us.
I hope that you make your own traditions with those you love. I hope you value and embrace the simple things that make Christmas so beautiful and magical. I pray you know the peace and joy that this season is about and that it stays with you all year long.
As I’m concluding this post, and thinking of peace, I can’t help but mention it has been snowing here now for over an hour. I’ve watched big white fluffy flakes tumble from the sky and blow through the air, silently beautiful, peaceful.
It’s kind of a big deal for a girl who lives in south Texas… we rarely ever see snow.
It’s peaceful and quiet… it’s been reflective for me. I pray you know and experience all of the things that matter most in this Christmas season and that you have eyes of a child to still appreciate the magic and a spirit that receives the peace and hope of the Christ child.
Do you have special traditions or things that make Christmas magical to you? What are your favorite childhood memories?
This is gonna just be one of those “life” posts. Because my life is made up of a wee bit more than my athletic adventures, debunking current health nonsense, and offering up sane and practical ways to be fit and healthy. Sometimes I just want to write about those “other” things.
As in… my first born son will be married in less than 2 weeks! That my faithful readers, is a big life event for this momma.
Now this isn’t my first rodeo marrying off a child. My middle son will celebrate 2 years married in just a few days. THAT is hard to believe. In those 2 years of marriage I’ve also received a beautiful granddaughter who turns one in a few weeks.
Will time just slow down already???
But yeah… I have a wedding coming full steam at me and as I write this today I will admit it’s my first round of actual, all out nervousness and that “OMG are we really ready for this?!” feelings.
By nature I’m not prone to that. I’m usually the more focused and in control of my feelings and emotions person. I don’t get all crazy from my nerves ( shhhh don’t ask hubby about that when I’m hours away from a race 😉 )
But today my mind is filled with all the little details and things still being done. My “to be” daughter in law has been very good with getting stuff done so that’s helped a lot. I’ve tried to work and help her to the best of my abilities.
Team work, right?
Planning a wedding is…well.. a big deal. There are so many details.. but you know…women…. we are into details.
Just ask us to tell a story 😉
So there are flowers… how many and where do they all go. In the church on the tables, off the rafters haha. What will the tables look like ? tablecloths, plates, decorations etc.
What goes in the church? Just the right touches to add to the beautiful old, antique look of it.
Food. Guests want to eat. We got to sample the goods recently and make decisions on that.
Cakes. Oh. We’ve got cake. We might have cake for days afterwards. They will be gorgeous though and oh so tasty. I hope I have time to enjoy some of it that day.
Brides dress… all done. Portraits done.
Bridesmaids dresses and tuxes picked out and ordered.
Mother of groom dress. Ordered and hanging in my closet.
It is stunning.
Unlike many who might try to knock some weight off before the big event, I’m over here hoping to maintain my weight so my “custom made fits like a glove” dress still fits like that on the big day.
How many mothers of the groom are heavy into training for a duathlon with a wedding also on the menu?
All of that aside… I know… it will happen. My nerves will settle, it will be beautiful, and I gain a new lovely daughter in law in the process.
Marriage. I’ve learned a little about it in the 33 years I’ve been married.
Weddings always take me back, make me think, how I’d do it all over again with the same wonderful man.
I don’t mean for that to sound cliché or corny. It’s just true.
You grow and learn so much about each other in a married relationship. You have good times and bad times. I’m thankful our years have been filled with more good than not.
I’m thankful that no matter what, we’ve always respected each other and I think that’s a huge key to a successful marriage. Even if times aren’t great, love and respect are (I believe) huge factors to longevity.
You learn to pitch in together with common goals. work for things you want together, support each other in their own individual passions (I’m serious when I say my husbands support of my athletic and health shenanigans are huge to me) you go through kids ( and some of the literal hell they roll you through) you deal with aging parents and illness and death, finances, job changes, health issues… life stuff people. Sometimes it isn’t pretty and you want it to just be over already.
Then there are quiet moments of waking up together and talking about the day or savoring that first cup of coffee together. Special dates and doing those things that matter to the two of you… things that have been born from years of being together… things that are about you, as a couple. There are the inside jokes and weird quirky things that are between the two of you that you could exchange in a room full of people and no one would get but the two of you.
You learn about the whole “better or worse” thing that you recite in your vows. In all our years together I can honestly say that nothing has ever caused us to use the separation or divorce words.
And don’t you either.
Those are harmful words and should never be thrown around in your anger with each other.
When you make a commitment to love the other, it may mean you love, but you might not always like each other.
If you’re married and deny that, well, I’d call you out on it …’cause well.. it’s true. You’re two individual people, who different ideas, likes, interests, opinions, thoughts etc.
You will never mesh on everything, and you shouldn’t.
There is such a beauty in the differences of individuals who learn to mold and blend those differences together.
I am definitely the fiery, outspoken one of our relationship. He is calm, sees things in different ways and keeps me tethered when I’d go flying off on a tangent on something. ( Ah he tries… sometimes.. I do go untethered haha)
It’s a beautiful balance of give and take. Learning and growing. Accepting and changing.
It’s the beauty of years of lives being blended together in something sacred called marriage.
So as I work, prepare and get ready to watch my first born son become a wedded man my heart desire is for him ( his brother too) to learn these things. To allow large measures of grace to always permeate their marriage, to allow it to be in their relationship as they grow together. To be patient when they might not feel patient. To be loving even if they don’t feel like it. To be understanding of the others weaknesses and flaws. To be a helper and not a taker. To support, encourage, and build each other up. That they will cling to each other in rough times, and learn to appreciate the goodness of simple, daily life and life events. To not sweat the small things and let them go. To not waste time on being mad or arguing because they are wasting time they could love and enjoy each other. To think of the needs of the other before themselves. To live sacrificially.
Marriage is a commitment. A lifelong one. Is it always easy, no. But the beauty of having another soul who knows you inside and out. Good and bad. Knows your sense of humor and what makes you laugh. Who knows those little things that make you smile and who loves to hear about your goals and dreams, someone who is willing to go the distance with you, works with you and desires to be with you, that my friends, is nothing short of priceless.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting back to my to-do list and settling my nerves down.
So it’s getting to be that time of year again. Some years, I get to participate, other years I’ve been able to skip it. Those are the years we save our money and our sanity.
What you wonder am I talking about ?
Having the privilege to graduate another child out of school.
The culmination of years of homework, teacher meetings, open houses, class parties, field trips, school projects, peanut butter sandwich lunches, new clothes shopping, tons of school supplies, sleep overs, class birthday parties, band concerts, yearly school pictures, dances shows, football games, fun and unexpected calls from the Principal ( if you have boys you may understand this better 😉 ) early morning practice sessions, after school tutoring, school dances, boy friends, girl friends, college applications, college testing…
Ok.. I could go on… the list of things you do in a child’s school career is rather vast and endless. At times you wonder if you’ll ever get to the end of it.
I can say I’m there. My final one is exiting school and heading into the big world with college in her future.
We’ve ordered announcements, taken final pictures, and done the hundred and one things that seem to come crashing in the last few months of school.
I gotta admit this. She’s the last of my big brood. By this time I’ve pretty well felt like I could lead parent/teacher night. Or that I could predict with certainty that when I showed up for another year starting in dance, it would be same lines, new year. Or that some things in school just never changed much and it was comforting already knowing the drill on it.
I was the older, smarter more seasoned mom. I figured that in a few years they’d get it too… it takes some moving through the ranks before you learn you can say “no” to things.. 😉
By the time my daughter hit Senior status I was pretty much like… “just deliver me the necessary paperwork”.
I knew the drill for it all. Many of teachers through middle and high school had already had the rest of the crew… a new year was like old home week… meet and greet… just another new family face rolling through their room.
Although in all fairness to my daughter, one of my sons had made quite a um…mark… on several teachers going through various grades.. she’d get the “ohhhh… you’re so and so’s sister?”
If you have kids then you may have one of these… the high energy, high maintenance, social, outgoing never slow down, yet charming, kid.
Anyway, thankfully, the daughter child was probably a bit more quiet and laid back than previous brood members who went through.
No matter what the bottom line was this…
Get them through. Get them on that stage wrapping their hand around that cherished diploma.
I swear when middle son walked the stage it was ALL I could do not to stand and cheer and whoop like some wild woman. There were debatable days in his final year I wondered if we’d make it.
Now each class has it own “cream of the crop” the “crème de’ le crème” right? You know the ones who’ve been marked since first grade to be the Validictorian ? Every kid in the class knows it. They simply accept it as what’s going to be and move on.
Then there’s the whole “class ranking” thing which was making my daughter get all twitchy one day till I reminded her…
“they don’t hang a number around your neck when you walk the stage. No one will know, and honestly, no one cares..”
I reminded her when she’s out in the real world it will be completely irrelevant as well.
Then there’s the whole college thing. The angst of wondering if one will want her… if she will “make the cut” or be found acceptable. It doesn’t help when her friends are collecting admin letters like candy at a parade.
I reminded her that she could only go to one school and she will still get her degree to do what she wants.
In a community that’s big on pushing college it’s a lot of pressure on kids ( and parents) to feel like they need to perform up to some lofty expectations.. who’s.. I’m not sure…
’cause you see I have ordinary kids and it’s ok.
I’ve never tried to make them do things they didn’t want to do.
Support them in their goals and plans, yes. Push my agendas and desires on them, no.
We learned the hard way when we registered my oldest son for a semester of college, paying cash for it so he wouldn’t have any debt. He went like… three times? and then he said something that really paved the way for the rest of the brood yet to come down the college path way…
He said “you never asked me what I wanted to do. IF this was what I wanted”
Ouch. Point made.
Did I consider him any less successful for not jumping on the college boat? Not at all. My son has always had an artistic bend and was in a band. He traveled around the country for months with them. He lived every 19 year old young mans dream… being in a band in a new town every night, living for those moments on stage. Living in new places and eating off value menus and sleeping folded up in a van driving down highways in the dark of night. He didn’t do that forever. He settled down and works with his brother now in a family business.
Two of my other sons have wanted to pursue college. One went for awhile and then quit to take on a floundering business that he has turned into a success over the past few years. One is in college right now working on his degree.
But through these years of raising kids and wanting them to find and embrace what their own passion is I realized it’s ok, really ok, for them to be ordinary.
And I don’t mean that in a plain vanilla way or that they lack value, substance and intelligence because they are all very bright, funny, and clever. They know how to learn and teach themselves things and they are always actively learning.
I mean they don’t have to live someone else’s ideals or expectations or get caught up in the hype with friends and feel like they are somehow “less than” ’cause they perceive the friends are somehow more successful. I don’t need to have them do things to feel validated as a parent.
I saw a T-shirt recently that made me laugh ’cause it’s how I feel so often. It said:
“Worlds okayest Mom”
Maybe I need to buy it. It reminds me I can be me, can be the best mom I can without having to “do it all” or be at every meeting or every event, or get my kids into Harvard.
At the end of the day its about my kids being happy, successful, productive adults and maybe even a bit, ordinary.
However, if they make an impact in their personal worlds and are decent human beings, I will consider them, and myself, quite successful indeed.