‘Tis the Season

ONCE AGAIN, CHRISTMAS IS NEARLY UPON US and by next Friday it will have passed, leaving only piles of festive wrapping paper, leftovers and bills from overspending. Sadly, the stressed-out, over-wrought feeling of the season will also hang in the air. Commercialism has moved the “holiday” further and further into the middle of the year in hopes of capturing more of the public’s attention and earnings—in doing so, much of the public is stressing, worried about what to get, how they can afford it…etc.  I think more and more the Bah-Humbug attitude flourishes because of this. Over the past few years, even I was starting to climb on and settle into the B-H wagon…getting overly cynical of all the commercialism.

Then, I was reminded yet again why I celebrate—why Christians celebrate (well, of course I already knew…it’s just that I’d allowed commercialism to overtake my thought processes and like so many others, started dreading the season, anxious for it to be over). I need to move away from that line of thought and focus on the true reason for the season. It’s certainly not about what to give or what I might receive or whether I’ll get the house decorated—or enough food prepared—in time for family to come over for the annual feast.

December 25th may not be the actual day (or even the right season) for Christ’s birth, but the actual day or season is not what Christians are celebrating. We are celebrating the amazing fact that God gave to us the most precious of gifts—he allowed his one and only son to be born into this awful world, full of hate, disease and turmoil. We are celebrating the birth of Christ. The gift of giving from one’s heart. A beginning of our saving. And for this, I am joyful. Grateful. Humbled.

Did you know that Christmas simply means Celebration of Christ? A celebration—shouldn’t we be doing that every day?

I want to joyfully celebrate our received Gift each and every day of the year (I do celebrate—but in a very quiet way, but not with the enthusiasm I’d truly like). I look at this time of the year as being extra special and should be celebrated with gusto. I have a friend in the UK that cannot contain her exuberance (I love that word—it’s so appropriate…look it up) to a few weeks of the year, and it’s fun to watch her display of excitement ebb and flow throughout the year. She is filled with such wonder and delight, it is hard to describe. And it is contagious. I so want to be infected with it—to unleash my enthusiasm every day…but the meek, well-mannered side of me keeps getting in the way. I think, if I lived closer to her (how I wish), I’m sure I’d do a better job of squashing my meekness—letting my true feelings show through so much more vibrantly.

This year, my celebration will be relatively quite compared to my exuberant friend—filled with a day of precious family time (my daughter and her husband) and hopefully a few new traditions will come to be. I have the right spirit filling me to overflowing this year. Here’s hoping that ‘overflowing’ will spill over into the new year—and well beyond.

I wish you and your family a blessed Christmastime together. May you also find that exuberance spilling over into your new year.

 

 

 

Boundaries

SOME PEOPLE WERE MADE FOR SHOPPING…IT IS QUITE apparent I was not. I’ve never been thrilled with clothes shopping. My mom used to take me shopping and I dreaded each and every outing. Find shoes was especially bad. She used to tease that all of her children fit better in the boxes the shoes came in than the shoes themselves. We all had wide feet—not so much a problem with boys, but my small, wide feet (I was wearing a DDD width as a youngster) made it quite a challenge. I was a tomboy, so finding clothes that would withstand my rough-and-tumble ways always added to the challenge—Mom found that if she reinforced most items after purchase, they lasted longer. (Thank God she was good with a sewing machine!) It wasn’t like I had a choice when it came to shopping. If Mom said, “time to shop”, we shopped. As I got older and more curvy, with narrow shoulders and a short waist and legs, trying to shop with her…and then on my own was just as daunting. I love to shop for others—I love buying gifts, but for me? I’d prefer having my teeth pulled…

Since I dropped about 30 pounds (I still have more to go), shopping is not quite as bad—but still challenge. It’s easier to find things that fit—and actually looks good on me (the sticker shock is what kills me now). Though the shopping part isn’t such a trial, I’m finding that my body has it’s limits. I’ve had to set boundaries for all activities, including shopping. On my own, I probably will spend no more than an hour looking for clothes. I have quite friends that a few that take the “shop till you drop” quite literally. For me, that would be about 30 minutes into a “spree”.

I’m usually pretty good at monitoring my body’s limits—staying well within my boundaries. I stop before things begin cascading to the point of no-return…thereby avoiding the resulting unnecessary pain. The key word is usually. If I’m overly-focused on a labor-intensive project and am nearly done, I may ignore the signs—and pay the consequences. If I am with friends, and don’t want to be the “anchor” that holds them back from having fun, I definitely ignore the signs ’til it is way too late. Boundaries go out the window completely. And I pay the price, doubly so.

The other day, I was with a friend that loves shopping and was helping me pick out a few things for my wardrobe…which morphed into a double shopping spree–for me and for her. My “few items” turned into way too many things—I spent more on clothes that day than I usually spend in a year…in a three-hour ‘sprint’. It was nearly 3 pm when I realized we hadn’t even had lunch yet…and I was fading fast.

I love spending time with her. We’ve got quite a history together (insert huge grin here). She’s a kick to be around—and I don’t get to see her that often with our busy schedules. I also knew my dear friend was just getting warmed up with our shopping spree. I didn’t want to stop—but my body said otherwise. We did stop for lunch, finally—in hopes my body would recover, but I’d already long-passed that point of no return, So once we were done eating, I reluctantly bade her farewell with a promise to get together later in the week for ’round two’. I may have to ask for a rain-check until next week—my schedule is starting to look crazy again…

I must admit, I found some pretty sweet deals with her help. And the outfits are cute. She makes shopping a joy—if only I didn’t have to deal with the after-effects…or if I could talk her into shorter sprees…we’ll see. I’m sure we’ll work something out.

Did I mention my body has limits? Limits whose boundaries I regularly test? I think I easily exceeded the outer limits that day—and then some. And ‘paid the price’ for a solid day and a half after…I’m still dealing with some residual fallout from all the walking, bending and standing, but it was worth it. Definitely!

Would I do it again? Of course. Friends come first. My boundaries important, but are far more pliable where special friends are concerned.

Enjoy the holidays, with all that it holds…and the true reason for the season, my friends.

 

 

Upcoming Book Signing

JUST A QUICK NOTE: for those of you local to the Monterey County area, the last book signing of the year is coming up on the 20th of December at the Salinas Baptist Church, 1130 San Vincente from 10am to 2pm.

I will have my Secrets Beyond Scymaria sci-fi fantasy series and sharing the table with Joyce Oroz, murder mystery author of the Josephine Stuart Mystery series. We will have our autographed books available for purchase and will answer questions you might have about the making of each series.

Please join us and spend a some time perusing the other delights for sale…there’s still time to find a last minute gift to put under the tree…whether a book or craft item.

Salinas Baptist Church
1130 San VincenteSalinas CA 93901
Saturday, December 20th
10am-2pm

Hope to see you there!

Photography

I LOVE TAKING PICTURES AND I’M sure many of you do too. It’s fun to capture special moments, saving them forever. The problem is, like the old ad says…”I’m stuck on your computer (or camera)! Please print me—do something with me…”

I am as guilty as the next where this is concerned—even worse, since I have saved hundreds of thousands of photos to CDs, DVDs and external hard drives (yes, I did say hard drives—plural), not to mention on each computer’s internal drive. I have way too many photos taken over the years. Far less than half were taken before I turned ‘professional’ artist/photographer.

Are your photos imprisoned on your computer or still on your camera? It is time we all free our Moments (aka captured images) to create a collage, album or in my case, art work. Get them off the computer or out of the camera and show them off. Or, if not worthy of saving, then be bold and hit that delete key. I’m sure when I begin, I’ll be striking that key quite a lot. And it will be freeing. I also need to update my Flickr and SmugMug accounts. I haven’t added any photos to either page in simply ages.

I plan on beginning the arduous task with the heralding of the new year. Carving out some time daily or weekly to weed through, saving the best for my art (maybe the ‘good ones’ too, so I can play/experiment with them without worry) and the personal shots for an album or two (dozen)…and share my final products with you.

Until then, I can at least share a few simple photos from this last week…except I’m having technical difficulties getting them loaded. A conundrum…do I post the blog and come back to post the photos later, or keep trying, even if the hourglass for today is running low on sand? Sigh. I’ll try one more time…if no photos with the initial post, you’ll know I’m still having issues.

Moon Rising with clouds

Nearly Full Moon, rising with clouds dancing across

 

Well, got it to work—somewhat. Kinda hodge- podge…couldn’t get them to line up—sorry.

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Near Full Moon

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Setting Sun through trees

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Near full moon, with clouds dancing across

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Nearing Sunset, looking out my west window

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Moon Rising at Sunset

May this day, this week, the remainder of this year hold delights, surprises and uplifting challenges to carry you through.

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