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The Magical Allure of Balsam

themagicalallureofbalsam

I am still thanking Pedro, even days later and probably will until the tree comes down.  After all, that delicious smell of a fresh Christmas tree greets me every morning when I get my coffee and immediately, it puts a smile on my face!  For me, that balsam smell is associated with the thrill and child-like anticipation that comes during the Christmas season, most specifically for me on Christmas morn.  Even as a parent, there is a thrill of anticipation upon waking Christmas morning!  It’s that joy of giving.  That joy of family and love that permeates every moment.  It’s just being grateful for all of the blessings in our lives.  It’s the magic in the spirit of Christmas!

I’m grateful for being here every day, but especially upon waking on Christmas morning with my children.  It’s innate within me.  I am like a child, fully excited when it comes to Christmas.  I’ve always been this way, ever since I was little.

The smell of a fresh tree immediately brings me back to being a little girl, waking up on Christmas morning and seeing those presents under the tree.  If I sit quietly, I can easily remember that joyful feeling along with the thrill and magic of how Santa brought us presents while we were sleeping.  It wasn’t ever a lot of presents, but just the right amount.  It was in the excitement of anticipation of what’s inside the prettily decorated wrappings that charged me up!  It was also, as I got older, the happy anticipation of giving special presents to those whom I loved.  Finding that special trinket or sweater or special toy that couldn’t be found anywhere and delivering it to my loved ones with joy for knowing that they would be happy!

Christmas is about family being together on Christmas morning.  Waking up, sleepy with joyful anticipation for what Santa (ahem Mom) brought and what thoughtful gifts each of us in turn have gotten each other.  It doesn’t have to be a big deal.  It’s about giving the Presents of Presence to each other.  Being there, in that priceless moment of glee that’s filled with love and family.

What about you?  Does the smell of a fresh cut tree bring back memories of childhood Christmases and the anticipation of presents magically appearing under the tree for you too?

Shine On!

xo

 

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The Year Without A Santa Claus

Heat Miser?  Snow miser?  Mother Nature?  Mrs. Claus?  Jingle and Jangle the elves along with Vixen the little reindeer who they pretend is a dog?

Does any of that ring a bell for you?  A little twinkle of nostalgia?  A little song in your heart?  It sure does to mine!

So on a Tuesday morning, let’s keep the holiday spirit bright with a little nostalgia!  And just for the record, a white Christmas would be perfect for me!

Shine On!

xo

A Charlie Brown Christmas

ABC's "Charlie Brown"

Does this photo bring back memories of watching A Charlie Brown Christmas?  It does for me!  I love those old shows and I always watch them during the Christmas season.  That tree always makes me smile when I see it because it’s such a good reminder to keep Christmas simple and not fraught with commercialism.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.”

Linus then walks over to Charlie Brown and says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

When I was looking for a photo for the post today, I found it here along with some fun facts about the movie!    Don’t forget to sing along at the end,

Enjoy!

Shine On!

xo

 

Thanksgiving Blessings

thanksgivingblessings

“Not what we say about our blessings,
but how we use them,
is the true measure
of our thanksgiving.”
~ W.T. Purkiser

On this Thanksgiving morning, let me reach out to wish you all a day filled with love, with blessings, with gratitude and with being surrounded by loved ones.  Be more patient today.  Be kinder today.  Be loving today.  Be grateful for all the goodness in your life – from the biggest to the smallest of blessings!

Happy Blessed Thanksgiving to all!

Shine On!

xo

 

A Giggle Before Thanksgiving

agigglebeforethanksgiving

If you’re anything like me, you’re stressed out now with the start of the holiday season.  Thanksgiving is a tough holiday to prepare for and even though this year, I’m not cooking the bird, I have a few dishes to prepare for the meal at my sister’s house.  It should be fun this year as our Mom is going to be with us too which just makes me smile.  I want to take lots of photos and videos of her with all of us.  As our parents get older, it’s important to do that you know.  Every single moment and memory is precious and sometimes it’s only after, in hindsight, that we regret we didn’t do more.  So, I’m working hard to live with no regrets!

Anyway, I was thinking about decorating for Christmas because I always began after the Thanksgiving dinner was put away.  I started slowly at first, but often, I was well on my way by Sunday.  I can’t help myself!  I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

I came across the clever video below and laughed my way through it.  What a great stress reliever and giggle maker!  If you like animals, please click below and get into the Christmas mood.  You know, it’s almost time to Deck The Halls!

Shine On!

xo

 

Sludge Through Monday Morning?

sludge

I like Mondays as it’s the start of the new week and there’s much optimism in a new week’s adventures.  I know typically people feel like they are sludging through Monday mornings, but not me.  Maybe it’s just my personality, but to me, it’s a new beginning, like the start of school in September!

But this week can be particularly stressful since Thanksgiving is on Thursday.  All of the last minute preparations for the big feast can wear on those who are hosting the event for family.  Let’s face it, that all-encompassing dinner is a lot to prepare, even for the most seasoned cooks.  Sometimes the stress of being with family is hard too.  Lucky for me, I’m not hostessing this year, so I’m a bit more relaxed.  For those of you who are, well, I’m sending you lots of strength, patience and a delicious meal and well-behaved guests!

This week kicks off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, then Black Friday shopping and the Christmas season coming up.  I find it to be invigorating myself, but maybe I’m an anomaly.   How are you feeling?

I hope you have a lovely week and that today brings a skip in your step and not the dragging of feet.  Keep shining your heartlights and I’ll send you mine!

Shine On!

xo

 

Sandwich Generation

sandwichgeneration

Have you ever heard of the sandwich generation?  It’s when you are a parent who takes care of your own children and your own parents at the same time.  Sandwiched in between the generations and responsible for them all at the same time.  At least, that’s my attempt at its definition.

I should know…I’ve been doing it for awhile now.

I have friends who are beginning the journey of helping their elderly parents and it’s hard.  Hard for the parents to let go and to allow their children to help them and hard for all to realize that life is imminently shorter than we plan for when we are young.  The changes that occur as our parents get older are sometimes unimaginable and hard for them and for us to fathom and navigate.  I mean, what parent ever wants to give up control to their children?  We are the parents after all. (said in the parental authoritative voice!)

But it happens.  If we’re lucky to still have our parents and our children be able to have a relationship (and if we still have a good relationship with our parents as well), please remember to feel blessed.  Because sometimes as the years go on, family difficulties interfere and our relationships deteriorate.

But in a perfect world, we may be blessed to take care of our parents as they took care of us.  This goes for anyone really in the older generations, the aunts and uncles, the older cousins, etc.

So can I give you a little advice especially now that Thanksgiving and the holiday season are arriving?

  1. Do your best to include them.  Make the effort to go get them to bring them to the family get togethers if they are close enough.
  2. Make them feel important.
  3. Watch to see how they are doing physically, mentally and emotionally.
  4. You are now the caretaker so be aware of subtle changes and if you see some, gently approach the subject.
  5. Get Mom’s favorite recipes now while she remembers them.
  6. Take pictures!  I can’t stress this enough!  Get photos of the family together.
  7. Video tape them telling stories or singing or whatever memory you want to keep.  Someday you may wish you could hear their voices again or remember how they sang their favorite song or danced the watusi!
  8. Be patient.  Getting older is not for sissies and they are doing the best they can.
  9. Role model kindness because your children they will remember how you treated your family.
  10. Be affectionate with them if that’s your family style.  There’s nothing better than taking that extra moment to hug a parent or family member.  They will appreciate it as will you.
  11. Tell them how much you care and love them.  During Thanksgiving you can give thanks to them for all that they did for you.
  12. Include them in favorite memories that showcase their love.
  13. Be aware that as we get older, it gets harder to remember, to move and to hear other people.
  14. Take the precious time to talk with them and to ask and to listen attentively to whatever they have to say.
  15. Try not to put them in the corner and out of the way if they don’t want that because keeping them actively involved helps them immensely.
  16. Be kinder as you won’t ever regret it later.
  17. Take it all in stride and be patient with yourself as well.
  18. Smile and know in your heart you are doing a great job.
  19. Count your blessings that they are still here to spend time with you.
  20. Enjoy each and every moment for life goes by in a flash!

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!  I am thankful for my Mom and for those in the older generations of our family.  Having loved ones pass away in the last few years has been hard and I pray that you will keep in mind that every moment spent together is precious.

Shine On!

xo