Tuesday, 31 December 2013

One Last Serious Effort!  

  It's that time of year again folks, you know, the time to make lists, check back on your old ones and see if you've moved forward, remained the same or unfortunately allowed the big wheel called life to knock you back a few.  The funny thing about this space, for me anyway, is that I've documented forever the progress I've made, though vague as I may be most of the time, I do remember what was going on, and I do see how short a distance I've travelled in the progress column.
  That's not to say it's a competition, because it certainly is not, but regardless of that knowledge, I still know where I can put a big bold check in the accomplishment column and an arrow to mark the continuance of a journey in others.
  So where do all of these bouncing thoughts leave me?  With the year's final list, of course!

Here's What I Know/Favorite Things

~ I suck at keeping in contact with the people I love, and though that truly does suck, it doesn't mean I don't miss you or love you any less.
~ I still plan on seeing my book/books published, I just don't know how to do it or what that looks like to me, or honestly, what the next step is on that journey.  But this is a sort of declaration for my own selfish pursuit of that goal; It will happen, I will see it through, I will not give up.  I will repeat those words through every generic letter of rejection, through every bump on the road, and through every moment where my belief falters until I've exhausted all possible routes, even if it takes 20 years.  Declaration recorded.
~ I have eaten more cookies and chocolates in the past week of Christmas celebrations than I likely have since I was a child.  I definitely know I've got a lot of quality time with my dreadmill, yes dreadmill, ahead of me in the next few weeks!  
~ I don't know what the coming year holds for me but I know I will do everything I can to make it a good one.
~ I have loved doing very little with my boys the past few days.  There truly is some sort of restorative quality to downtime, no scheduling, no rules and nowhere to be!  And the frigid temperatures have lent a sort of hermit type theme to our holiday.  (Who knew living in flannel and fleece and watching Christmas movies for days on end would be the special ingredient to this holiday season!) 
~ spending time with family doesn't exclusively mean those with whom you share blood. 
~ Being miles apart from those you love is hard throughout the year, but during the holidays, there are moments when it squeezes the breath out of you and makes your heart yearn for the smells and traditions of home, or just plain and simple, resting in the arms of those you love.

  I learnt a lot this past year.  I experienced new things, I embraced the unknown and watched the world unfold before my eyes.  It was a good one.  A really, really GOOD one!  The key, in my humble opinion, is to embrace the small things; to endeavor to grasp the simple and make that the treasure.
  I love the simple, those precious morsels are everywhere around us.  A hot cup of tea from a sparkly new kettle.  Laying tracks down a hill of freshly fallen snow.  The lights that shine on the small patch of ice beside our house, which by the way, brings pure delight to the eyes of my three boys.  The smell of cookies rising in the oven.  The resounding tone of a choir on Christmas Eve.  The crackle of a fire.  The welcoming arms of Christmas morn.   The giggle of boys who play at creating monstrosities out of LEGO.  The privilege of welcoming a New Year, new goals and new attitudes.
  There is so much to be thankful for in the simple that I could go on and on, but I won't.  Make your own list and put the spotlight on the simple for yourself!  Make this New Year a special one!

Happy New Year!

Monday, 23 December 2013

ᴴᴰ Michael Buble & Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You (Live ...

Good Pre-Christmas Morning!

  I love everything about this song, it's one of my favorites, and it never feels quite like Christmas until I've listened to all versions on my playlist!  Stoke the fire, slip those fury slippers on your feet, dig up your sequins (or flannel pajamas) and let yourself slide into the romance of the season!
  That says it all folks!  Have a listen, buy the song, and have a spectacularly wonderful Christmas!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Ahh, Friday, lovely Friday!

  Tomorrow boasts the title of Least Amount of Sunlight in the Year.  I'm not going to lie and tell you it doesn't matter, because, yes sirree, it definitely does.  I miss the warmth of the sunlight terribly.  I miss t-shirts, shorts, sock less feet, and hot summer runs.  
  But there is something magical about the winter season where I live.  Yes, it is cold, beyond frigid most days.  Yes, going outside without proper winter wear could kill me in minutes.... no exaggeration there, and yes, the hours of daylight are fleeting.
  But I see the blanket that sparkles beneath my feet.  I see my breath turning to ice as it leaves my lips.  I see the promise of a fresh start, the newness of a clean layer of snow, the wonder in the concept that there are no two snowflakes alike.
  I'm speechless so often as I look out my picture window.  I don't always see everything around that has gone dormant, I don't see a lifeless existence.  I see rosy cheeks as they pass through the door.  I see an opportunity for hot chocolate and a comforting chat.  I feel the possibility of fun in this frozen wonderland; snow angels, ice forts, sliding down a hill as my stomach tumbles to catch itself, the joy of catching a fluffy flake on my tongue.  I feel something new waiting to spring to life on the horizon. 
  I love the seasons.  I really do.  I love that where I live there are four distinct and bold seasons.  I even love the cold.

Favorite Things

1~ no lunches to pack for two whole weeks!!
2~ choosing which recipe to make and set out for Santa .... (anticipating eating Santa's cookies)
3~ the rink at the side of our yard is almost ready.  My sweetheart has been working into the    
       deep hours of night to ready the surface for hours and hours of holiday fun.
4~ Christmas tunes!  Love them, both the traditional and the new.  I love that everywhere I go 
       these days, whether the grocery store, the coffee shop or the doctor's office, the old 
       familiar carole music plays!
5~ I love the glitter.  Maybe it's because my world is overflowing with boys, but I have never 
      wanted to wear sparkles more than I have in recent times, and what better season to 
      sparkle it up than Christmas.  Sequined skirt for Christmas Eve festivities?  Why  not!!
6~ chocolate; here, there, and everywhere!  I'm not usually one to cave at the invitation of 
       chocolate, but this year I seem to be all about it!  All I can say is thank goodness the season 
       is short, because I'm not sure how much  more I can take!
7~ it's the time of year to pick up the phone, send a letter, or take the time to catch up with 
       those people you don't see so often.  Time?  did I mention Time? I could also use an 
       infusion of funds to reach out to all the ones we love. 
8~ Candy cane, or peppermint hot chocolate.  Yep, I'm back to the chocolate! Yum. Seriously, 
       and again, not my normal thing!  I'm going to need a serious sugar detox in a week and a 

  Find your favorites and hold the ones you love tight in the next week.  Love is important.  It needs to be cherished and celebrated.  Love is why we celebrate Christmas.  
  Be thankful.  
  Share your love.      
  Slow it down and take a look around you.  It's not so hard to find the blessings, your favorite things, and the beauty around you.  If you can do that it's not so hard to find that what is so special at this time of year isn't the hustle and bustle to shove stuff under your tree, but rather it's the simple.  And the simple is all around us!

Happy Friday!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Justin Bieber - Silent Night (Audio)

Yes, I'm going there ... No, I'm not a twelve year old girl.
  All I can say is that this is done beautifully; it moves me and makes me slow to a stop and remember what Christmas means to me.  Furthermore, it brings me to a place where I can imagine a lowly manger, a cold stable, a dirt path that many traveled to marvel, give and receive blessings, and be humbled in the midst of the Christ Child's birth.  What was it like on that night so many years ago?

Silent Night, Holy Night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent Night, Holy Night
Son of God, Love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy Holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Mid-Week, Coffee Time Ramble  

  I'm aware this isn't a new thought, and also that I'm not the only woman in the world to feel this way, but as I tucked my favorite boys into bed last night, I couldn't help but feel how lucky I am to have them.  Ultimately they are my world, and I know that I am theirs (for a few more years, anyways).  
  A few weeks ago as we went through the bedtime routine they asked me, "Mom, who do you love more?"
  I looked at each of them.  Two pairs of brown eyes, one darker than the others, one with a corner of blue that hasn't faded since infancy.  Two goofy, eager, grinning toothless smiles.
  I was swamped; there was no choice to be made.
  I looked them in the eyes with seriousness and in turn told them that their daddy was my favorite, no question about it!
  They looked at me startled at first, then my oldest prince laughed, and in typical pre-teen fashion said, "no, Mom, seriously. Dad?"
  I smiled in return and nodded.  "Absolutely Dad.  Do you think I could love one of you more than the other?"
  They looked at each other humorously, it was a big joke and, obviously they each believe they are far superior to the other.  Then they laughed again until they saw my expression sober.
  "Boys, do you know one of the lessons I can teach you and one of the greatest gifts I can give you on this earth is to love your daddy?" I explained with seriousness and a light humor in my heart.  
  I continued.
  "If I didn't love your daddy and we weren't each other's favorites do you think our family would be so happy?  Do you think if mommy and daddy didn't make each other most important we'd be a very good family?"
  The older one got it, at least part of it; in some ways he is wise beyond his years.  Little Bear scrunched his eyebrows together in an "eww, dad?  Gross," sort of way, and I couldn't resist scooping him into my arms. 
  I love both my boys and they are both beyond special.  Any mother worth her salt would claim her children were the best, most brightest, most handsome and beautiful children on the earth.
  (We are lucky, I'm aware, and I do not look lightly upon how difficult and messy love and family can be.  I can also tell you, our family has been through some seriously tumultuous times where it didn't always feel like the sun would come out tomorrow, but after so many years it would be impossible to say time was always kind.)

  It was a precious lesson to be learned by those boys.  A lesson I pray sticks with them into their own married years.
  I love their father.  He is my favorite.  He is the one who holds my heart and can surprise me with his understanding of me and pour into me the fuel I need and only he can provide.  
  When children are small the whole world is about them, and to an extend it is true.  They need us, for everything.  It is our job to teach them to pour as much into them as possible; how to be a man, to understand that they need to take care of themselves, we show them how to have compassion for others, and more specifically, that we are not always the most important one.  That said, someday, sooner than we can imagine, it will be just the two of us again, us against the world, and what will we be left with if he's not my favorite and I am not his?
  Our family is a team, and on a team everyone plays a role.  Some day's your role is highlighted and others it is that of your teammate.  Sacrifice is part of playing on a team, and if you're well rounded, nurtured, and respected by your teammates, you will thrive.

  What is my point in all of this?  
  I'm not sure I really have one.  It may be more of a ramble sort of day, but the truth in that is; sometimes rambling produces good lessons. 

  Stay warm!  Enjoy, and make time or the one you love!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Ella Henderson 'Silent Night' - Live on the Saturday Night Show RTE 15/1...

  One of my favorite things for this time of year has always been the Christmas specials on the food network, this year is no exception.  They sure do know how to tempt you into the holiday season with a massive spread of mouth watering food, don't they?  If you're not like me I suggest you give them a chance, you'll be dreaming of brussel sprouts coated with bacon (my favorite), stuffing filled with fragrant sprigs of fresh thyme, sage, and crunchy rosemary, and if you let yourself go all the way, you'll be talking to your own turkey well before it goes into the oven to be the center piece of your feast!  
  Obviously my head space is dancing with food and the best part for me is: I'm not in charge of a whole lot during those special meal times!  SO excited about that!  I'll happily do the dishes, but it will be nice to pass the pot, pan and spatula to someone else for a day or two!  To truly enjoy something that has been cooked with tender-loving-care.
  Let this traditional song take you to the place that screams I'm-ready-for-Christmas-Eve!!!  Turn out the lights, turn the music on, corral your family for sit down time around your beautifully lit, twinkling tree and spend some quality time with each other this season.  Time is short, say the words you need to say, snuggle up and share the love, it'll be worth it, and my goodness it's cold enough the past few days to be scrambling for something to do indoors!

  Enjoy the small moments this season and stir the anticipation of enjoying a Silent Night!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Casting Crowns - O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Instrumental)

Mid-Week Confessions 

 I'm feeling all sorts of emotional the past few days.  It's gorgeous outside my window; yes, the wind is blowing fiercely and there is a snowfall warning in effect for my area for the afternoon, but who really cares!  At the moment I look out and see a blanket; a stunningly clean, almost majestic sort of sparkling blanket.  It's stunning.
  When I get busy my mind turns to a fuzzy disaster.  I try hard not to look even a day ahead on my calendar, because frankly, I'm afraid I may just shut down entirely and then none of us will get to where my pretty, color coded day planner tells us to be.  This summer, a friend referred to me as the energizer bunny.  Well, I feel the furthest from that as possible, I think.
  I've dropped a lot of those metaphorical balls the past few weeks.  I missed several of Little Bear's events this week; I just couldn't be in two places at once.  It was one of those guilty mom moments, where you know you can't do it, but the irrational guilt of not being everything to everyone whispered in my ears that you have to try.
  He will recover from my lack of attendance.  We talked about it and he seemed to understand and not really care all that much, he does after all see me all the time; and what matters more is that I give him my best when we do stop and have that special time.
  Anyway, in the midst of chaos I spent a focused hour with him last night.  We've been reading a story together.  It's a story I've been waiting to read with my boys since they were born.  My giant Prince doesn't seem to care, and hasn't participated, but Little Bear has been eating it up!
  We reached a pivotal point in the story last time we read, and last night we attacked those next chapters with gusto.  
  Curled up in a sea of pillows and fluffy down blankets we cuddled.  We responded to the words on the page, and Yes, I got all choked up and let those tears fall as I read words I could only pray he understood.  Little Bear watched me, unashamed as my tears humbly fell.
  His little eyes watched as the story went to work on my heart.  I've never made it through those chapters without being overtaken with emotion, I knew that going in, but what better way to show love than to share an honest emotion with the ones you love.  The best part though was that he got it!  He understood the story and why my tears streamed down my face.  He got it!!
  So there it is, I'm feeling all sorts of emotional the past few days, maybe better to be more honest and say weeks.  But if ever there was a time to embrace emotion it has to be at Christmas....right?  And maybe this year, more than ever before, I'm feeling, deep inside, the power of Christmas.
  I'm feeling humbled by the abundance of love in my life.
  I'm feeling thankful that I have hands and feet that are able to serve where I'm called.
  I'm feeling the joy of the season.
  I'm feeling the promise of what is to come.
  I'm feeling the power of forgiveness when I fall short.
  I'm obviously feeling a lot, more than my fuzzy overloaded mind can likely deal with.  But I can start by holding the ones I love, going that extra mile and extending a hand when I'm asked.  Will I still drop the ball.... oh boy, YES I WILL!  
  Hold the ones you love in the next week or two, tell them they're important.  Sit down and write out that card if you can't share words in person.  Every small and simple effort is a morsel for the heart to cherish.  Those little things will minister to your heart, and if you're extra blessed, they will minister to the receiver as well!

  Enjoy this pending blizzard and the fresh, clean smell of the air when you bundle yourself up to go and shovel your walk!  Maybe make yourself a hot chocolate or apple cider to warm yourself up afterwards, also go ahead and invite over the neighbor to share it with!  Share the love, the joy, and the laughter as you recollect how you had to grunt and groan to heave that snow out of the way!
  It's all about the simple folks, especially during this over indulged, commercialized time of year!

Monday, 2 December 2013

[Official Video] Little Drummer Boy - Pentatonix

Kick start the season!
  December 1st has come and gone and it is officially the Christmas Season!  This classic Christmas tune is one of my husband's favorites....there's a story, of course, but it's not mine to tell!
  Have a listen to this and maybe you can sneak a copy in the stockings hung by the fire!  Actually I suggest you don't wait that long, you'll want to listen to it for the next few weeks, so just go buy it now!
  I'm feeling more festive than I likely have any business feeling.  I feel love.  Thankfulness.  Joy.  Peace.  And all those other words we associate with Christmas.  I guess what I want to say is this .... these words, this space, are my way of sharing the joy of giving with you this year!
  Happy start to a beautiful December!