Thanksgiving …

(Written on 19Nov17)

I AWOKE SO EARLY THIS MORNING—so much earlier than necessary, that I realised I’d be able to catch the sunrise for the first time in such a very long time. I grabbed my robe and slippers, trod downstairs and started to brew my tea. I watched the pre-dawn light—first light—create beautifully contrasting dark and light grey shadows just outside my kitchen window. The few clouds hanging about looked like grey wisps against a lighter grey sky.
That made me smile—sunrises and sunsets are pretty, but clouds make for a more vibrant, colourful display.

As I waited, I sipped on my tea, contemplating this chilly morning hour. Why on Earth was I even awake? I didn’t have to be at the Aromas Grange until about 9:45–which means leaving about a half-hour before. Plenty of time to do everything needed with a normal 7:30-8am rise. So, why so early? There were some very logical reasons—among others: every day I’m feeling healthier, getting more restful sleep than I’ve had in ages—both give me more energy … but I don’t think that’s the entire picture.

I try (that is a key word …) to revolve my life around God—a God-centric, purposeful life. Trying to listen to what He wants me to do, how He wants me to act, what He wants me to say … keeping my mind open to His leading whilst going about my daily life. Sometimes I fail miserably … other times, I succeed. The way I try to interact and treat others is one of the successes. I think my fantasy series is another one of these successes. So is my photography. The majority of my images are of nature—plants, animals and landscapes. This is where I shine—because He leads me to the situations resulting in lovely shots.

But, just because it looks like I’ve got the camera in my face all the time does not mean the beauty that surrounds me escapes me. My mind, my heart—it takes it all in and I do a little dance of thanksgiving. It seems I am always doing this dance. What I see fills me with joy. Sometimes, the camera takes a nice shot but my heart says what I’m seeing is too beautiful to capture in a two dimensional image. So, I simply bring the camera to rest and breathe in the scene, enjoying it for what it is—a gift to behold, to wrap myself up in. And I thank Him for the delights He brings to me every day.

So this mornings early rise was one of His gifts—a sunrise I haven’t seen in so many years … all of the beautiful blushed pinks, reds and orange-yellows popping behind the dark oak tree silhouettes.

With all of the hustle and bustle in my life lately, my heart and mind needed to see something quietly inspiring. He always knows exactly what gift to give, just like so many other times before—wonderful one-on-one conversations with dear friends, seeing someone I haven’t seen in ages and having time to reminisce, does and bucks grazing in the yard, frisky little fawns frolicking, my mocking bird with new songs to share with me, an owl carrying a conversation with another in a nearby tree … magnificently delicate blooms to contemplate … and this morning, me being wonderfully present (both physically and mentally) when the beautiful, vibrant sunrise unfolded before me.

Thank you Lord for the splendiferous abundance of beauty you provide in my life—friends, experiences … it’s all in His timing, not mind.

May He bless you and your loved ones abundantly today, on Thanksgiving Day, and beyond.

 

Perfection … ?

NOWHERE IN THIS WORLD WILL YOU find a person that is perfect. Nope. Not anywhere. One can strive for perfection. One can attain a moment of perfection—like a tear drop in the ocean of life—one tiny moment. That’s all. Life is too messy for perfection. Those that continually attempt to achieve the impossible can find themselves very unhappy because it always remains just out of their reach. Does that mean we shouldn’t try? Oh, absolutely not—we must realise it is not something to attain, but rather, something to use as a goal … to continually strive toward.

For me? Well, I think I love the “messiness” of life. It creates challenges, discoveries and life lessons. Of course, there has been only one being that managed to achieve perfection. Only one—and it was not just anyone. I use His perfection is a goal—a goal I know I will never fully manage in this worldly life. But He knows that. We are all damaged goods, but He knows we are worth salvaging … worth saving, if we ask …

The messiness. I’m trying to figure out why I’m writing about this. It’s as plain as the nose on my face, right? My life is messy. Beautifully messy. And since I seem so disorganised of late, is everything around me is too (insert goofy grin). My home, yard, cars, my art and writing … it can be overwhelming. Honestly. But for some reason, it isn’t—once upon a time, it certainly was … but not now. Back when I was incapable of getting out into the yard to do the tiniest bit of cleanup or lacking the energy to do a simple pick-up around the house, or even put words on a page—oh, yes. That was overwhelming. Emotionally and physically. Thankfully, now my energy and strength is returning—finally (aaah, insert Snoopy’s happy dance here!!) I have been in the yard and puttering around the house all the time. Creativity abounds. Words flow. Still messy, but delightfully so.

The mess created over the last two years is mountainous—but I’m finding as long as I keep going (and with the occasional help of a team of gardeners), it gets better looking, which encourages me to do even more. Weird, but it’s the visual accomplishments—improvements—that keep me at it. The pressure is off (but not forgotten)—where fire safety is concerned—rain has quelled that. I’m past the “ugh—I need to get out of this mess (read: MOVE!) and start over”—I’m so glad to have moved beyond that horrible feeling of frustration. And, finally, my mind is beginning to move beyond “what’s next/now what?” to “how can I improve/beautify?” Ideas are pouring into my mind from who knows where. It’s exciting.

My messy life extends into every corner of my creativity. I find myself (finally) back to seriously working on all three of my Writerly projects—book one’s edit (so it can be republished with Inknbeans Press), book four’s edit (so it can finally be published … and book five (I am progressing in it nicely—it is an exciting “chapter” in the series). The life lessons continue through the series … and I still don’t know what the final book will be—book six? Book seven? Only my characters know for sure. They’ll clue me in at some point—hopefully.

Even my Painterly side seems to be re-ignited. I’ve acquired a new, much larger printer so I can make larger pieces of art—that definitely excites me (still have to figure out out to set it up, but that’s half the fun, right?)—I can hardly wait to begin playing with it. The funny thing is, there are only two more events (one this weekend and one the second week of December), so there’s no way I’m going to produce any new material for this year’s events. The nice thing is, that doesn’t really bother me. The important thing is that I’m re-energised … on fire. And I’m loving it!

The end of November and the whole of December are times of renewal for me … I do have personal (fun) commitments—parties, family events and outings with friends, both day and night. I am so ready to get back to being normal … it has taken two long years. God is good … especially when I remember all things can be done and will happen—in His time, not mine. So … I’m not going to waste a moment.

In the meantime, my dear readers, try not to stress over the upcoming holidays … just be in the moment, take in the joy where you can and shake off the craziness that others try to foist upon you. There is so much to be thankful for. Start counting all of those little things that help you get through each day … have a blissful, blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends, and I’ll see you just after Thanksgiving—no Black Friday for me. Maybe I’ll wander around Point Lobos or venture down into Big Sur—it’s opened partway, so it would be nice to see the area again!

And readers—watch out. Keep an eye out for New Things in the New Year.

FINAL EVENTS:
Book Signings and Art at Craft Fairs

Saturday-Sunday 18-19 November 10am-4pm
Aromas Grange, Aromas CA

Thursday-Friday 7-8 December 10am-4pm
Watsonville Community Hospital, Watsonville CA

 

 

 

Ho-Ho-Ho! Holidays…

Oh, my…the Holiday season is nearly upon us and already I have two craft shows I’ll be at to showcase and autograph my books (along with at least two other authors). The crafters will be hawking their Christmas wares, holiday music will be playing and scents of yummy food and pine will be wafting in the air.

Here’s that time sensitive plug for both events:

LOCAL AUTHORS Meet and Greet/Book Signings

14-15 November from 10am-5pm (both days) Holiday Craft Show at the Watsonville Elks Lodge at 121 Martinelli Street, Watsonville

22-23 November from 10am-4pm (both days) Aromas Hills Artisans Holiday Festival at the Aromas Grange at Rose Avenue and Bardue Street in Aromas. 

Yours truly, along with several other authors (Joyce Oroz—murder mystery writer, Giselle Roche—a 17-year old fantasy writer), and possibly Pat Hanson—author of Invisible Grandparenting will be signing purchased copies of their books and answering questions you might have at both events. If you are a local, perhaps I’ll see you there!

It’s hard to keep the Christmas spirit at bay until after Thanksgiving when getting involved with these events. I’ve found myself humming Christmas carols already—also watching (off and on) the Hallmark channel’s Christmas Countdown, which started on Halloween Eve. I’m dying to grab a truckload of persimmons (I will need to resort to purchasing them this year as my tree wimped out this year) and begin baking—I seldom, if ever bake…except during the Holidays. I love, love, love persimmon pudding. There’s also my mom’s sour cream mashed potatoes (with a whole cube of butter and carton of sour cream…well, I have lightened it up somewhat, but it’s still decadent).

I think I’m more excited than usual, which is a good thing! But I need to reign myself in until after Thanksgiving—at least while in public, so I don’t irritate my friends (insert huge grin and a chuckle here)…

As far as I’m concerned, I could celebrate Christmas all year ’round. He is the ‘reason for the season’ and since He is with us all year long, why not.

May your holidays hold the blessings of the season…joy, peace and love.

Oh, Bother…

Well, it is the day after Thanksgiving Day and the dust has settled.

My body has finally stopped groaning at all of the food I consumed.  No, it wasn’t the quantity in total, it was what I ate.

I have spent the last year trying to lose weight and have been successful — almost thirty pounds, and I still need to lose quite a bit more for health reasons.  I am confident that I will succeed — eventually.

I’ve made some major changes in what I eat, how much I eat and when I eat — even what I keep in the house, because I do know my limits & don’t want to tempt myself.  Also, I space out my “treats” with a minimum of multiple days between so my body can readjust.  So, if I eat out, then I always make sure there are at least three days between before I do anything else special.  But there are some nasty little habits that pop up at the most unexpected times.

I guess, my will power needs a major overhaul.  Yesterday, my wonderful son-in-law, bless his heart, suggested that we have some of the pumpkin pie while we waited for the turkey to be ready.  We were playing a game of cards and it was mid morning…breakfast was eaten hours ago and we hadn’t planned on eating our main meal till 2-3pm, so why not.  That was not the will power problem.

My son-in-law brought out a monster slice (each piece turned out to be one-sixth of the entire Costco pie) for each of us.  Mind you, there were only three of us.  Again, this isn’t so much the will power problem.

“What–not the problem?” you ask.

Nope.  Not the problem.  You see, though it was a very, very large piece of very high calorie food, I had decided that I would not have any more after dinner.  Good for me.

Right.

Well, I was even a good girl all the way through dinner.  Not too much stuffing.  Not too much of my cherished, calorie-laden family recipe of sour cream mashed potatoes.  And I was full, but not overly stuffed like I have been in past years.  I felt great.  Pat on the back.  Good girl!

After dinner, we cleaned up & put stuff away, played more cards, watched a couple videos, chatted and just had a marvelous day.  Then, when the traditional “dessert time” came, I conveniently forgot what I had promised myself.  To make it worse (I would love to be able to blame my son-in-law),  I was the one to go in and serve up the dessert.  I cannot blame anyone but myself for the size of the slices that I cut.  I duplicated the previous serving size for everyone, and with a great big smile on my face, served everyone up.

And I ate the whole blasted piece.  It did taste extremely good.  I should have stopped when I was feeling full, but the desire for the taste kept me going.  I think I actually forced myself to eat the last bite.  “Good girl.  Clean the plate,” echoed in my mind from my childhood.

Oh.  That makes two problems.  Will power and old, old habits.  I think they gang up on me when I’m in a weakened state.   Since I had caved-in to buying pizza (with a salad, thank you) the night before Thanksgiving, then had my huge meal the next day, I broke one more of my rules…not putting space between “treats”.  So, now we’re up to three!  Ho, boy!

So, today is re-group day.  I know better than to trust the scale today — it said I only gained a little over a pound…it’s usually day two that is more accurate, so I need to be extremely careful today.  And for the next week.

There are left 0vers in the refrigerator.  Not much, thankfully.  I was able to halve everything, so my daughter and son-in-law took a fair amount out of the house.  And, there is NO more pie.  Yes!  This is a very good thing.  I will go back to my normal way of life…until Christmas.

Oh, bother.  (I can hear Pooh Bear in my head anytime I say that and it makes me chuckle!)

The holidays are truly a mixed bag.  So many treasures abound — time with family, wonderful aromas flooding back memories of times gone by…delightful time of the year.

Yet, so many little land mines to dance around.  All that food that only comes out at Thanksgiving and Christmas — oh, yes…and Easter  (and for other faiths, there are other days, too).  Obviously family, the memories, all of the reasons to be thankful for the season far outweigh those little land mines.

But still, for someone battling with weight problems, it is a hard fought war.  So, if you are in the midst of the battle, as I am, take heart.  For every battle, there will be some losses, but the war will be won if you keep your heart and mind in the right place.  Dust yourself off when you fall, pick yourself back up and carry on.  That’s what I plan on doing.

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, full of memories to cherish — and now, brace yourself for Christmas.  Enjoy the season.  Know the true reason we celebrate it and cherish it.  Breathe.  Love.  Concentrate on what is important.

I know I’ll make it through, and so will you.