The Journey

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “journey” these past few days, that path we’re all on, and how different that journey is for each of us. Life isn’t just about the end result, but the journey; all those twists and turns along the way. It’s about the deeds we do (the good AND the bad), the mistakes we make, the people in our lives, the love we give and receive. It’s not about things or money. It’s not about perfection. Because truthfully, “perfection” is really a matter of personal taste. What is perfect, but a notion, an ideal that varies with individual taste. It’s like the reader who hates a book you loved and loves a book you hated. Who’s right?

I don’t think there is a right.

Recently, I asked my Facebook friends if they allowed their kids to help decorate the Christmas tree. It was a subject that got brought up at work that day and I was curious. I was surprised by how many said they didn’t– apparently because they felt the kids wouldn’t (I wanted to say “couldn’t” here but if you never let them try how would you know? ) do a good enough job at decorating.

Good enough..wow!

Good enough for what?

For who?

I’m curious.

As a child I always helped decorate our Christmas tree. It was a highlight of Christmas. I even remember some of my favourite ornaments. When my kids were old enough I couldn’t imagine them not helping because seriously, it wasn’t about the tree or how “perfect” it needed to be. It was about doing something together, having fun, sharing some laughs, building memories.

I’m not saying that all those Facebook friends are wrong. If having a “perfect” tree is that important to you than by all means you should keep the kids as far away from the tree as humanly possible.😉
I don’t believe in the right or wrong way to do things. We all live life differently. We all have different values, different beliefs. We all do things differently. Thank goodness for that!

I’m not going to ask here if you let your kids decorate your Christmas tree. I just want to leave you with the thought that sometimes the end result isn’t as important as we believe it to be. Sometimes the important part is the experiences and people we encounter along the way.

Lately, my own journey has kept me away from blogging but I’m hoping with the new year coming , and my busy season now at an end, that will change. I try not to dwell on the fact that I’ve been absent here for quite some time because it really wouldn’t help change anything. I can tell you I’ve been working on a new book with no plans on when it will be finished. I don’t often impose unrealistic deadlines on my time. I’m just hopeful it won’t take me a few years to come to the end.

Here’s hoping you enjoy your journey this week.

The Memory Tree

Every year there is a lot of emphasis put on decorating the Christmas tree. Some people even have multiple trees because one simply isn’t enough. Colour schemes are selected, decorations chosen with care…Everything must match. It needs to be perfect.

And while that’s all nice, it certainly isn’t me. The decorations on my tree might seem a little simplistic to some but, for me, they create a tree full of memories every year.

I always loved the ornaments the kids made at school and how proud they were to hang them on the tree. Here are a few that seem to make it onto the tree every year.DSC06873

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I saw this blue jay one Christmas and picked it up for my next-door neighbour because she loved blue jays. When you squeeze it it sounds just like one. After she passed, at the age of 100, her daughter gave it back to me as a remembrance of her. This ornament reminds me of the time I spent with her and the Christmases I helped decorate her tree.

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This Christmas tree owl my daughter made the year Miss Charlotte was born. It came with a poem—a story about a little night owl named Charlotte who didn’t like sleeping at night. I’m happy to report that she did outgrow that night owl stage.

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I posted this one on Facebook a few days ago. It was made from Miss Charlotte’s hand print the year she was two.

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This is a painted bulb of our house more than ten years  ago. Some subtle changes dates this one for me.

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Aunt Elsie made a few ornaments that adorn our tree every year. This one she made my daughter and it doubled as a tag on her gift that year. That has to have been nearly 30 years and dear Aunt Elsie is no longer with us.

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Here’s a silly one my daughter made last year. It brought plenty of laughter on Christmas day. I posted this one on Facebook, too. Cracks me up!

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My son’s Baby’s First Christmas ornament. This year he has two babies celebrating their first Christmas. Exciting times!

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I have a few of these birds that I always put on my tree. We had the same kind on our tree when I was a kid and I loved them. I bought these in 1979 the year we got married.

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Over the years a few friends have tole painted ornaments for me. Can’t help but think of them, the fun we’ve had over the years, as I hang them on the tree.

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So there are a few memories from my Christmas tree. While my tree is not fancy and will never make the cover of a magazine it warms my heart every year.  I couldn’t imagine not finding a spot to hang these ornaments among the branches. And really, isn’t that what Christmas is all about, the memories, the love and laughter?

Wishing you all a Christmas filled with much love and warm memories, and may 2016 surpass your expectations and dreams.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

A Christmas State of Mind

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. ~~Calvin Coolidge

Our tree has finally been brought in and decorated so it feels a bit more Christmasy at out house.  You might even say I’m in a Christmas state of mind.  Coupled with the fact that we’re getting our first *real* snow of the season, it seems like a day to take it easy and relax and enjoy the season.  What gets done gets done, and what doesn’t well…

I’ve got a few more little things to pick up plus grocery shopping before the “big” day. We’d planned to go shopping today,  but with the snow we’ll stay were where are. Tomorrow will be a better day for travel.

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The edits on my novel are on schedule to be finished before Christmas. Since they’re not due until January, I’ll give it another read through before then. It’s always best to have a bit of a break before reading it through a final time. But this is the place where I’ll have to resist the urge to keep fiddling with the sentences. It’s difficult to let that story go. There always seems to be something we can see that needs to be changed, whether real or imagined.

It turns out this wintery day will be a good day to tie up some loose ends while I’m in this Christmas state of mind.

How about you, are you in a Christmas state of mind? Are you all ready for the “big” day? What things put you in the Christmas spirit?

The Christmas Tree Owl

So I’m an advocate for thought-filled gifts. Most of you know that about me by now. I long ago gave up being impressed by expensive gift buying at Christmastime. I’m at the point in my life when I’m pretty much able to buy something if I truly want it. I don’t often “want” things simply for the sake of “wanting” but every once in awhile I’ll splurge on something that really catches my eye. Truthfully, that doesn’t happen often. My kids will tell you that. Okay, I do buy quite a few books, but books are a need, not a want, right? See, I knew you’d all agree.

I’m just not a shopper. I don’t particularly like to browse the stores. I like to go with a purpose in mind, get what I want and go home. Not much fun, huh?

Now I’m not for a moment suggesting that everyone should stop buying gifts for one another, nor am I saying that a costly gift cannot be a “thought-filled” gift, because it can depending upon the circumstances. We all know that. There are many things that factor into our gift buying, first and foremost getting something we know the other person would like and want.

I’m no expert when it comes to gift-giving. But one thing  I can honestly say is that the gifts that have touched my heart the most, in many cases, have been quite simple. And cost more in the way of time and consideration than money.

Today, I was unwrapping ornaments and came across this “Christmas Tree Owl” my daughter made me last year, and the little poem that accompanied. (I’ve mentioned that this family is big on writing silly poems.) It is a snapshot of that time and place, and will forever be looked back on with fondness— Miss Charlotte’s first Christmas.

I wonder what memories we will make this year?

The Christmas Tree Owl
 
Twas the week before Christmas, and you can be sure
Things were much busier than ever before.
There was a new baby, just eight months old
Charlotte Rose was her name, as the tale goes.
 
When it came time for bed, she’d hoot and she’d howl
For little Miss Charlotte was quite the night owl.
But sooner or later, not before  nine
She’d drift off to sleep with on final whine.
 
Once all tucked in, then Mommy would act
Working hard though the night on this Christmas gift craft;
A little owl for your tree as your yearly reminder
A sleeping baby, you know, there ain’t much that’s finer.
 
Since it’s Christmas, and we should all be filled with some Christmas spirit, can we share with one another our stories about a thought-filled gift you once received or gave?
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