art, blessings, Blog, creativity, friends, jewelry, memories

Feeling Accomplished

Day 57

Today I felt accomplished in some things but recognize I still have a number of things on my list that remains. It’s nice to check them off as tasks are finished.

Decorations

IMG_7915Finally, all the indoor decorations are complete. The tree has a topper and a skirt now. The fireplace is decorated and the nativity scene is out. I love this phase because that means all the mess of boxes can be put away until it’s time to take it all down again.

Hubby started putting the outside decorations up. We just do lights outlining the house and lights through the bushes along the driveway. He’s about halfway done so it won’t be long until we can just sit back and enjoy it all.

Shopping

I mailed a few things today so some of my shopping is complete, but not nearly all. We ordered a few items online and will go out a few times together to finish the shopping for the grandkids. It gets harder as they get older and have very definite ideas about what they want and do not want.

I really missed Toys R Us and Babies R Us this year. Going store to store in hopes of finding something is tiring. Then the toy aisles in stores like Target and Walmart are just picked over and messy. That is why people order so much online – it is so convenient and it does save money and time. It doesn’t do much for the local economy, unfortunately.

Memories of Treats

IMG_7893 2I bought a box of clementines which started a conversation with hubby about our youth. When Christmas rolled around, there were certain treats that showed up that we did not seem to have been around otherwise.

The first was soft peppermint sticks. We both grew up in a common geographic area, so the brands we had were often the same. The peppermint sticks were made by Helms Candy Company which was just down the road from my grandparents’ home. The candy came in a box and it was nice and soft – not hard like peppermint candies. They are still in business and you can find the candy at a lot of local stores.

The second was of course tangerines. Both tangerines and oranges showed up around Christmas and they were a treat! Our stockings always had an orange or a tangerine in them.

The third was ribbon candy. Now I am picky about my ribbon candy. It cannot be thick. I like it wispy thin. And I don’t like for the colors to be overwhelming. Of course, if you bought the thin candies, there were always little sharp shards of sugar broken in the box.

The last was chocolate covered cherries. Now, we always had these at home, but I NEVER liked them and I do not care for them now. It was always THE gift for teachers or gift exchanges at school — do kids even do that anymore? Probably not.

Creativity

I finished NaNoWriMo which was an accomplishment. All my writing buddies finished, too, which was really nice. (Goodonya Tanya for finishing first time out!) Now I have a nice novel that needs to be finished, then ripped apart to fix all the ‘stuff’ that creeps in when you write that much in a 30 day period.

This weekend I have another jewelry workshop. It’s supposed to pour rain all day, so I’m glad I have some inside fun things to do. This is similar to the workshop I had to bow out of a few weeks back because I became ill. I love working with silver so I am hopeful I have better luck this time.

Earthquakes

Today there was a 7.0 earthquake in Alaska. The epicenter was very near where I lived when I lived there. I only have a few friends who are still in Alaska so I was holding my breath until I knew everyone was okay.

This brought back lots of memories of my time in Alaska. I remember going to ‘Earthquake Park’ which was an area of town devastated by the Good Friday earthquake in 1964. I also remembered feeling small quakes when we lived there and waking my children up to stand in the doorways when they occurred in the middle of the night.

Earthquakes are the most unsettling of natural disasters I have ever encountered. Everything moves. The buildings and their foundations, the ground, the cars, everything that is not nailed down. I worked as a switchboard operator (another thing I doubt exists anymore) on Elmendorf AFB when a fairly strong tremor occurred. After that, they secured the switchboard to the walls for fear someone would get crushed if it fell over. They were huge pieces of equipment.

Of course, I never felt anything of the magnitude the good people of Alaska felt this morning. I am holding them all in my prayers. Thankfully, it does not appear there were any fatalities or serious injuries so that is a blessing, but there is extensive damage to roads, buildings, and homes. And there is an unsettling feeling that takes a while to overcome.

That’s about it for the time being. Now it’s time to unwind for the day.

“Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile, laugh as much as you breathe, and love as long as you live.” 
Rachel Ann Nunes

 

 

 

 

 

 

blessings, Blog, friends, religion, spirituality

The Gift of Friendship

Day 56

As I have said many times, my family and I celebrate Christmas. I grew up in a very small town and everyone there was Christian — protestant to be more accurate. That was my norm and I knew nothing about any other religions or beliefs in the world.

I was so fortunate to be loved and to grow up in a community of really good people. I guess my youth still stands as my ‘gold standard’ as an example of what Christian people should be. Kind, caring and truly loving each other.

As I grew up, I learned that people belonged to many different religions. Most of which I had no knowledge of at all. My parents were steadfast in their beliefs and like so many people, believed their beliefs were the ‘right’ belief.

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to move around and experience the world in a way I never would have, had I never left home. I had the opportunity to meet such good people that were Catholic or Muslim or Jewish and while their beliefs were different than mine, they were in many ways spiritual in the same way I was.

Discovering Goodness

My life has been so enriched by learning more about people who are different than I. As spiritual people, we all share so much. We strive to be good people in a world where we are bombarded by a lot of negativity and hate.

If we all believe that our belief system is the ‘right one’, why do we worry so much about what other people believe? Why do we build walls to protect ourselves from other beliefs if we feel confident in ourselves? What is the threat? Why must there be hate? What are we so afraid of?

Online Friendships

I have been so fortunate in having amazing friendships with people that I met online. I have met many of them in person, but there are many more that I have never met. We are all so different. Different ages. Different occupations. Different beliefs. Different locales. Different ages.

Through these relationships, I have learned a lot about friendship. I have learned we are all more similar than we are different. I have learned we all want the same things — peace, love, happiness, laughter, and connectedness.

Surprises

Yesterday, when we returned home there was a package waiting here. It was addressed to me — yay! I wasn’t expecting anything in the mail so I was thoroughly surprised. Since we do not exchange gifts with our family anymore, I knew it was not from anyone in my family.

After reading the return address, I realized it was from a new friend I met a few months ago in an online writing class. I was overcome thinking that she took time out of her life to send and share something with me.

Inside the box, I found a beautiful handmade card that said ‘Invited’. There were eight lovely gifts inside — one for each day of Hanukkah. I was invited to participate in a few her customs and her rich, rich history. What a touching gesture.

IMG_7918

I cannot tell you how touched I was. I have been following her blog and learning so much about the beauty of her history and her traditions. I have also felt the pain she has felt with the recent rise in anti-semitism. It is a tough time in our country and to stand by your beliefs in the face of violence says a lot about one’s strength.

So, my friend — I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so blessed to count you as one of my dear friends. As with so many of my online friends, I wish we lived closer, but I am so thankful to have you in my life no matter the distance. The journey in my life led me here to this place and this time and I am so grateful.

“Our differences are beautiful, yet sometimes connection requires us to focus on our similarities, like the fact that we are all trying, all struggling, all wanting to be seen and to be loved. Perhaps if we start there, with this basic understanding of what it means to be alive, we will grow in our connection to one another and learn to love the beautiful differences that embody our improbable human reality.” 
Scott Stabile