November 17, 2014

A Fond Farewell to Fall

Fall is almost but a memory. I'm looking ahead to winter because having 4 inches of snow on the ground gives me the right. I will soon be consumed with all things Christmas so I thought paying my final respects to autumn seemed appropriate. Did you know Thanksgiving is next week? I did, but I didn't! Tonight I worked on my menu and wrote out all of my lists. There's a lot of prep that goes into that production! Want to know what I'm thankful for? A husband that smokes the turkey so that I don't have to cook it. Amen.

We brought in our outside chairs for the season. This bench is also new to me and I painted the dining room table. Again. But then I never got around to distressing and sealing it so that was kind of a Jen-fail. I love the renewed need to nest that comes with each season. The embracing of the changes to the way I cook, decorate and live.

I loved this idea until I came home this weekend from a trip to Missouri to find that one of my cats had decided that freshly pressed napkins in a dough bowl made a cozy bed. I love cats but I don't love cats on the dining room table. This has since moved and the guilty party has been properly chastised. He doesn't even look sorry, does he?

In little more than a week it will be time to focus on my favorite time of the year. I've decided not to let myself get caught up in the stress of trying to do everything. I got a jump start on the shopping, making and wrapping. I'm giving myself permission to have an empty calendar, to not have a house full of homemade Christmas cookies, perfectly wrapped presents, handcrafted decorations and gifts for all of my friends. I do plan to practice random acts of holiday kindness with my family, go to a real Christmas tree farm, see Elf the Musical, go to the movies and make a gift for each of my girls. I really hope to live December as slowly and fully as possible and hopefully set the pace for next year.

November 12, 2014

Searching for Joy

First, let me say thank you all for your comfort and encouragement last week. Little did I know how my week was going to go south from there. Truthfully, last week sucked. And I don't even like that word. It was like the sucky cherry on top of the sucky sundae. What I'm trying to say is that we have had some trying months. Like 6 of them. Hey Life! I'm waving my surrender flag!

I'm a big fan of choosing joy. You guys know that. I look for it always and forever in the small moments as well as the big. There are certain times when that can be more challenging than others. I mean, it's pretty dang easy to find the joy when life is handing you nothing but rainbows and kittens, right? I think the times when it is harder to find, it's actually much more important to search it out.

I choose to not let the hard times make me bitter because I grew up in that atmosphere and it is pointless and toxic. I gave myself time to wallow in the misery a bit and then I picked myself up and forced myself to look beyond it. It doesn't mean the bad stuff goes away, it just means that I'm choosing to focus on something else. For now. To keep myself sane.

So I picked up my camera, which is an amazing way to help me see my world differently. It turns out there are small joys all around me. Like Christmas decorations in the studio. And almost finished knitting projects. The makings of a comforting cup of chai. Cold days and cozy evenings. Books to be read.

This was just the attitude adjustment I needed. It turns out I cannot be grumpy while wrapping presents or flipping through Christmas books. Now it's a new week and a fresh start. I'm feeling calmer and I've gotten my perspective back. I'm gently reminding myself that this too shall pass and the important things in my life are still as they should be.

November 05, 2014

Missing Momma

I am missing my momma today. She has been on my mind a lot lately. She was killed four years and 4 months ago. The man who killed her recently appealed his sentence, to no avail, thankfully. It still has given me pause since for some reason it never occurred to me that he would appeal. It's like I totally forgot how the system works.

Last night I had a dream about her. I don't dream about her often. It's strange. I dream about my Daddy and my grandparents who are all gone as well and then I wake up frustrated because she wasn't in the dream too. But last night's dream felt like a lovely gift. In the dream I knew it was my last chance to tell her I loved her, to hug her and thank her. I just couldn't let go of her and I kept trying to make my girls understand that they needed to stop what they were doing and talk to her. Listen to her. To make sure she knew how much they loved her.

I hope she knew how much I loved her. I hope she knew that even though our relationship wasn't always easy, that I loved her with all my heart. It's so hard not getting to say goodbye and losing someone to senseless violence. I don't know if it really gets better. I don't know if the emotional scars heal.

Please take the time today to tell the people you love, just how much they mean to you. Hug them like you mean it, just because you can.

I'm going to go wrap some Christmas presents while listening to Christmas music to cheer myself up. Before Thanksgiving. That would have made her crazy. Especially if I was wearing white after labor day while doing it.

I love you Momma. I'd give anything to give you one last hug.