Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach

Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach
How I'd spend every day if I weren't redecorating, cooking, sewing and blogging!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Mess Before Christmas

I hope everyone has plans for a thankful family gathering tomorrow. I am fortunate that the holiday gathering is not at my house because my house is a mess. I've been too busy this week to look (only off work Thursday and Friday), but I'm sure bloggers all over the Internet are showing beautiful pictures of gorgeous Christmas decor in their homes.  Pictures of lights twinkling, fires burning and cookies baking.  I'm good for two of the three.

I've got a fire burning and a cat relaxing in my chair.  
Where am I? 
I'm trying to get the house decorated for Christmas. 



I cooking food to take to our family Thanksgiving gathering, including these yummy chocolate chip cookies.  They are my specialty.  We are trying not to eat them all before we leave home. (I'll share my recipe soon)




The twinkling lights?  Well....we're working on that. If you know me, you know I believe in keeping it real....so here's our reality this week.  Christmas decorations are piled everywhere,




In every room


throughout the house,


it's the mess before Christmas.


And if you are like me and decorate a little bit in each room, you know exactly what I'm talking about.


So someday soon I'll show you those twinkling lights and beautiful decorated trees, but this is what it looks like this week.

As I was unpacking decorations I found a letter I left on the counter for "Santa" last year in December. (why did I keep this? maybe I was planning to use it again?)  




I found this pretty amusing because my SuperDave continues to be my Super Man, he had me hire someone to clean my house next week. So I don't need to send this letter to Santa again this year.

When our halls are decked and this mess before Christmas has turned into a beautifully decorated Christmas home, when I have collapsed into a glitter covered heap in that chair now occupied by a cat, I won't need to work up the energy to clean the whole house.  Merry Christmas to me!  I'll be sitting in that chair reading Christmas novels and blogs about Christmas.  I'll be entertaining friends, singing along to Christmas carols and making merry. 

"And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us!  And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!"  
- Charles Dickens

With a thankful, happy heart,

Laura


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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Can Christmas Creep result in Christmas Peace?

It seem like I just put away all my seashells and sand and put the beautiful gold and orange fall decor throughout the house.  And now it's almost time to decorate the house for Christmas.  I'm one of those people who is resistant to early Christmas music and decorations.  I think you should wait until the day AFTER Thanksgiving to start decorating for Christmas.  Otherwise, you don't relish and enjoy the season of THANKFULNESS.  And concentrating on being thankful seems SO important in our world today.  It often seems like the focus is on getting more, more, more! (I'm also opposed to Black Friday shopping, but if it is fun for you be my guest!)



My "Love Language" leans toward Acts of Service, so completely skipping gifts at Christmas wouldn't be that difficult for me. But I understand that is important for some people, so I participate. I love to give gifts and welcome a gift received, but if you really want to show me some love, focus your time and attention on me for a day. Wash the dishes, dust the furniture, mop the floor.  If you want to show me you love me take away some of the chores and errands that fill my list of "Things to Do" day after day.

Once Thanksgiving is over, I LOVE the Christmas music, the decorations, the good cheer.  I love parties and Christmas Eve communion.  I love trees and lights and pretty much everything about Christmas.  I even love beautifully wrapped gifts with bows!  I just think we should celebrate Thanksgiving first.

I am VERY resistant to the Christmas CREEP.  Christmas trees and decorations in the stores in October!  But I've reached a decision and here is my message to everyone out there in the world, "Do what works for you." There I said it and I mean it, I really do. 

I'm going to be tolerant of Christmas lights burning brightly the week before Thanksgiving and Christmas trees put up by Halloween.  I'm going to be okay with this because I know that time is limited for most of us. And I think each family should do what works for them, even if it's too early for me, to make Christmas a time of PEACE.

Here's one of my secrets to a peaceful Christmas season - I like to be totally finished with my Christmas shopping BEFORE Thanksgiving.  This originated from not wanting to shop with huge crowds of people (before internet shopping). But it has evolved. Now, I do it primarily because if my shopping is done, I can focus on Christmas instead of shopping in the weeks between Turkey Day and Christmas Eve.  It makes my December a time of PEACE and I firmly believe Christmas should be a time of Peace.

If Christmas decorating before Thanksgiving makes your Christmas season more peaceful, I say go for it!  I may even get started myself this weekend on a little Christmas decorating because I see by my calendar that my weekends are pretty booked for the next 3 weeks after this one.  I better get moving because I don't just decorate one tree, check out some decorating from last year here.

If you need a countdown, 

It is 8 days until Thanksgiving and ONLY 35 days until Christmas!

Much love and laughter,

Laura


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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful for Family

Thanksgiving is almost here and there are a lot of reasons why it’s my favorite holiday of the year.  First just let me say that my family IS thankful every day of the year, but any opportunity to gather as a family and be thankful – how can you go wrong with that?  It’s especially nice for those who get a four day weekend.

There's No Place Like Home

We frequently go to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving Day and it is always very special. A little crazy - but special. One reason is because my parents have lived on the same small farm since 1964.  Yes, that is correct 1964. They are the ONLY people I know who have lived in the same house for almost 50 years. And the four kids they raised in that home have grown up and multiplied to the extent that I have to write down everyone’s name and calculate a total (about 40 of us).  I wish I had been able to raise my kids in one place and never move, but it's a different world nowadays.

Mom & Dad - 1954

I am very thankful for my parents and their stability, the roots they have given our family and their commitment to a marriage going on 60 years.  My in-laws have also been married almost forever – 58 years next year, I believe.  I have a wonderful relationship with my in-laws. They have always treated me like their own daughter. And my husband has a wonderful relationship with my parents.  So the blessing count just keeps growing.


SuperDave and I on that special day
with both sets of parents - 1979

And then there is my SuperDave and me celebrating 34 years of marriage next month.  It went so fast it’s rather scary. If I could go back in time, the older wiser me would do some things differently, in life and in raising my children. But as I always tell my kids, you can only go forward from right here and try to do what's right from today forward. I made my share of mistakes as a parent, but my kids still love me. I've made my share of mistakes as a wife, but my husband still loves me too. My kids come home to visit when they can and stay in touch. I’m thankful my children have full lives and are willing to include me.  I’m also thankful for today's technology that allows my kids to record and send photos and videos of my grand girls so that I can “see” them on all the days when they are far away from me.  

I have so much to be thankful for just in relationships with my family. As much as I hate to be in FRONT of the camera, one thing I've decided as I've grown older and wiser is that I WILL have pictures of me with my family even if I don't care much for the picture - because each picture is a moment of togetherness.  A moment to be thankful.


Me with Mom & Dad on a recent visit
I’ve read some true stories in recent years where the author’s parents led interesting lives and the kids were at times the responsible person in the relationship.  It makes me realize how blessed I was to grow up in a stable, boring home with parents who were always there and were the grown-up in our relationship when I lived at home. 

My family is full of people with different personalities and when you get a bunch of us in the same house it is loud and a little crazy.  I always pray for good weather so that we can spread out over my parents’ forty acres of land to be “together”, it just easier that way – and quieter. 

One thing I believe makes family work is RESPECT – yes we’re all different, but we are okay with that.  They may make me crazy sometimes – but I’ve got to respect my family members and their right to find their own way, even if it’s not my way.  And then there’s LOVE.  We have big bushel baskets full of love, my Mom would say, and it covers all the stuff that we don’t understand about each other.




I encourage you to be thankful for all the good things in your life, but especially for family.  Be thankful for those moments together - even the ones that make you roll your eyes and want to pull out your hair.  Because those hours of togetherness are here for a moment and then they are gone and you'll wish for more.

I'm looking forward to our family Thanksgiving gathering, the moments and the memories - even those photos of myself that I will hate this year and cherish forever after.

Much love and laughter,

Laura


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