Thursday, December 31, 2009

Joy x 2 in 2010

It’s been 2 years to this day that I started blogging. 343 posts later, I can say that I’m amazed at how meaningful blogging has been for me. Here’s an incomplete recap of the impact blogging has made in my life:

1) I’ve made friends literally all over the world and I now have a goal to come visiting. Really – pull out the couch and throw me a pillow because it’s on my “to do” list.

2) Blogging got me back in the habit of writing, which I love to do. I have goals in that area too. Good thing that with LouLou’s genes, I might live to be 100, as my list of hopes and dreams is long. Now that she's moved to heaven, I'm more thankful than ever that she inspired the theme of my blog. (Hoping for a bit of an updated look in 2010... that's on my list too.)

3) Journaling with you has caused me to pay more attention to the significance of seemingly small events. They say that a joy shared is multiplied by 2 and a problem shared is cut in half and I know it’s true.

4) Reading & commenting on blogs led me to contact with Michael Pink, leading to a major career enhancement with becoming a certified Rainforest Business Coach.

How can I say thanks? Every reader, whether you comment or not, is treasured.

I wish you comfort for your past and joy for your future. I am thankful that our future is not in the hands of the economy or dependent on our government. We are held in the hands of a loving God and I’m glad to be walking alongside you as we begin a new year.

“Last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. To make an end is to make a beginning." T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From Our Home to Yours

I received 2 Christmas cards in today's mail, so I decided it's not too late to post our greeting to you. I scanned the card itself and it didn't look too hot, so this is the blog version, less the ribbons and bows.
And in case you have a fabulous photo that you'd like to make into an 8 x 10 canvas, Uncommon Blonde just gave me this link for a $49. picture FREE! The shipping is $14.95 but I am thrilled with the deal.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Last Random Dozen

Linda's 2nd Cup of Coffee is one of the first blogs I ever read and so she's pretty special in my book. She's hosted a meme this year that I've read with interest but haven't joined in. Since this is the last "Random Dozen" of 2009, I decided to jump in. Here we go...

1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends? Not a big deal, especially if I’m really thirsty or vica versa. But I don't do it on purpose.

2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)
I’ve learned that prayer is the absolute ingredient for success and my prayers hold as much power as anyone else’s on earth because I am HIS! If you want to read a bit more about this, I was honored to write a guest post about prayer on Michael Pink's blog recently.

3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?
Usually on New Year’s day or thereabouts.

4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:
Reviewing my goals and refreshing my vision in preparation for an awesome 2010. Dump the fear and doubt.

5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?
Winter is okay. Living in the land of sunshine, one can’t complain! My favorite season of all is spring.

6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?
No. My family was so very generous to me that I feel very content and blessed. There was enough consumerism (which I participated in!) in New York City to hold me for awhile.

7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
No, never do. And that’s ok.

8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?
Yes. New dreams, open doors of opportunity and a beautiful grandchild who changes every day.

9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)
It would be a holiday special. : ) Adventure, lessons, drama and warm feelings with a happy ending.

10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.
Not as much in the last 6 months as before. Lots going on. Probably an average of only 30 minutes a day on personal blogging and commenting. I want to spend more - it's fun! I try to catch up by spending more time on weekends. I find I can read blogs from my blackberry while on the move, but I can't leave comments from my mobile for some reason.

11. Who runs your household?
My husband does the outside stuff, I do the inside, I pay the bills and we make decisions together. It’s a partnership!

12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.
I am expecting to schedule 2 paid speaking engagements per month. That’s my passion and my purpose… moving people through meaningful communication and imparting joy and hope into their lives.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturated in Love. And Butter

Watching “The Sound of Music” on TV tonight brings back memories of watching this movie on Christmas night with my dad. Many times. I think we both loved it equally. This past week has been so special. Rosebud adds so much joy to our family. Like many families, we alternate who goes where for Christmas and this was our year when all our children and my mom and sister were here.

I was busy baking in the kitchen on Thurs. afternoon when my sister kept calling me to come open a present. I needed to get the chocolate sheath cake in the oven but she was insistent and persistent so I finally relented. I was totally surprised when I opened a Kitchen Aid Mix Master from my mom!! WooHoo! I’ve always wanted one! We set it up and I used it to make the cake. Other than my one mishap with adding the powdered sugar and turning it to Speed 4 instead of “stir”, it was amazing. (I won’t make that mistake again. Trust me.)

Thanks for everything, Mom!

Uncommon Blonde gave me Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, so I’m sensing continuing temptation in the food department. Sigh.

I am altogether blessed. Hope your Christmas was saturated in love. And butter.

Two Roses in the Kitchen (They share the middle name "Rose")

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Forecast was for Fun - Never Mind the Rain

I'm thankful that the only moisture we experienced in New York last week was a bit of rain. This week it’s ice and snow… a little harder to maneuver in, I daresay. (That is theoretical and speculative as I have very little actual experience in the matter.)

When we hit the streets on Day 2, we realized the rain forecast was accurate. Our Broadway Show tickets were for the evening of Day 3, but we knew about the Ticket Booth in Times Square where you could stand in line to buy half price tickets to shows for that day. I had really wanted to take in 2 shows on our trip so here was the opportunity. We got matinee tickets to see Chicago - way to multiply our travel dollars.
The girls were excited to learn that Ashlee Simpson (Jessica’s sister) is starring in the show. She did a great job. I loved the jazz music and the dancing - it was well done theater. Quite different from the show we saw the next day and I love variety.

We met up with one of the girls’ friends who’s a model in New York. It was fun going to her apartment – a walk-up – and seeing how New Yorkers live. When we walked out of the Mexican restaurant after a fun and delicious meal, the rain had stopped, making it a perfect time to go to Rockefeller Plaza. We did a little window shopping along the way. No problem that these stores were closed. I think a necklace cost more than my car.
Empire State Building at Night

Across from Rockefeller Square, I was captivated by Saks Fifth Avenue’s “singing building”. Every 15 minutes, the building came to life with flashing snowflakes, dancing to a brilliant arrangement of “Ring Christmas Bells” that resonated in the crisp, freshly washed air. I had to watch it three times!!
I’ve always heard about the energy in New York and it was so much fun experiencing the city that never sleeps. I’ll wrap up the trip on my next post with some of my very favorite photos from the trip.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

4 Fabulous Days

My face hurts from smiling. My feet hurt from walking miles and miles of city streets in boots. My heart is warm from treasured moments travelling with 2 of my beautiful daughters.

The sounds of a lonely sax playing Christmas carols from a doorway, the rush of holiday crowds, the ice skaters at Rockefeller Plaza, the amazing window displays at Macy’s and Saks and the love of family have contributed to submerging me in Christmas happiness.

I’ve been asked, “what was the best thing?” I can’t answer that, as it was ALL good. Planes even ran early – is that not a miracle??

My plan is to give you 4 Fabulous Days in 4 installments.… did I say 4 days in a row? no promises. : )
Day 1. Checked in to the Affinia Manhattan at noon. Hop on the subway and head to the southern point of Manhattan to work our way North.

Memorial wreaths placed at Baattery Park in memory of those who died in 9/11 and soldiers who've given thier lives for our country in the war against terrorism.

The fraternity of the Fire Department. We visited New York's finest and got t-shirts for our guys.

Ice Skaters at Bryant Park. We ate at a wonderful spot overlooking the ice rink & wandered through the boutiques.

The ads in Times Square are BIG!
I had wanted to see these my first day (windows at Macy's) and we walked right by them on the way back to the hotel. Location was a key in choosing the hotel we did. It worked out well for us. And this was just the first day!! We made every moment count.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Up There

I haven't packed and leave in 2 hours but wanted to say, "See Ya Next Week!" I'm off to New York.
I'll be seeing all the sights that are in the funniest Christmas movie ever made, "Elf".
I'll take lots of pictures!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Gift of Love

I don't know who authored this, but it brought peace and a smile to me today so I thought I'd share:

First Corinthians 13, The Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shining balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crystal snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.

But giving the gift of love will endure.

My note: We can only freely give that which we have received. Have you stopped to absorb the magnificence of His great love for you today? Maybe that's why you stopped by here - for the gentle reminder - God loves YOU!!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chicken Little Grows Tail Feathers

Back in May, my only knowledge of chickens came from the cartoon that featured Foghorn Leghorn. I don't know much more to date, but I do know I like the eggs that this hen is producing at the rate of one or two a day. We have 14 more hens that are expected to start laying in January, at which point I'll have more eggs than I know what to do with. I may talk to the owner of my favorite vegetable stand and start selling them. Who knew?

This rooster is not my friend. In fact, he's on the Naughty list. Everytime I go out to collect an egg, he comes charging at me like he's guarding the hen house. Why is it that I feel threatened by something that is a fraction of my size? Builderman says he just wants to be fed crackers (he's trained him!). I like the hens just fine but I've politely suggested that her beau may be Sunday dinner if he's not nice.
On another note, I'm putting the "word verification" feature on my comment settings today to try to get rid of the nuisance of spam comments that started in the last week. I'm getting two a day now and want to stop them, so bear with me while I see if this works. Hopefully they'll stop and comments can be faster again in a week or so. I do appreciate you stopping by!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Her Taste is All in Her Mouth

Our grown children have had a playful battle ever since I can remember over favored ornaments vs. ugly ornaments. They constantly move the ornaments they don’t like to the back of the tree and strategically place their favorites front and center.

To me, there is no such thing as an ugly ornament and my tree bears witness to that. I admire themed trees that glisten with all gold or all silver or Victorian pieces or whatever. But as “eclectic” describes my house, so it describes my tree. A generous mix of old and new, silly and elegant.

I’m attending an ornament exchange party this week and in my quest for a distinctive ornament I visited a local gift shop. I was delighted to find birds and butterflies that I thought were fabulous. I bought extras for additional gifts.

I proudly showed them to my daughters who tried to be polite but burst into laughter. Cupcake’s comment was “those are the ugliest ornaments I’ve ever seen.” In order not to embarrass myself, I exchanged them. I had to keep a butterfly as I still think it’s beautiful. Aren’t ornaments supposed to be sparkly and fanciful?

My mom has always had an expression, “her taste is all in her mouth.” It took me until I was an adult to “get” that. Personal preferences are influenced by an indeterminate number of things and I think when it comes to admiring Christmas decorations, I will always be 5 years old. Growing older is inavoidable, growing up is optional.

I’m not going for a run this morning. I’m going to skip the whole way.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Blind Side

My annual movie outings are usually during the holidays with my girls. Thanksgiving evening seems to be a consistent time to get out of the house - I’ve usually been cooking for the previous 24 hours like everyone else.

Last Thursday, we saw The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. It was the best movie I’ve seen in a good while. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me think. To top it off, it had a happy ending. It’s based on a true story and brought to mind the family story of one of my favorite bloggers, Lysa TerKeurst .

If you get a chance to see it, I'm thinking you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sugarplums in the Big Apple

Once again, parental duty has catapulted me into an exciting place. (Oh the tales I could tell!) Cupcake had set aside money last year when she graduated from high school for a trip to New York City. She’s wanted to go for years and I advised her to do something significant and memorable with her gift money. She has talked about it constantly since then and decided the ideal time to go is during December to see the Christmas displays while experiencing the city. She desperately needed someone to go with her and I got elected! WooHoo!! Daughter-in-love is coming too - we’ve been planning this for months and we’re going next week!

I bought a new coat this week and am making final preparations. We’re going to see Mary Poppins on Broadway and have an itinerary sketched out. We’re discussing the hop on hop off double-decker bus ticket for 2 days, 1 day or not at all. Let me know if you have any thoughts on that or anything else.

Life is a grand adventure!