FEELING all the beautiful memories …

It was a quiet morning here. VERY quiet. And I needed it. No one was up early … but me, of course. I knew that would translate into a lot of rushing later but I didn’t care. My kids needed sleep. MY GOSH THEY NEEDED SLEEP. And I needed my moment of holiday calm. I am thankful that each year between parties and performances and late nights and early mornings, I find some time for myself that doesn’t include running shoes, sweat and swearing. This is time I usually find in front of our Christmas tree, under an overly decorated holiday blanket and sipping a seasonal coffee. ALONE. It’s wonderful. It’s needed. It’s what brings the anticipation of Christmas full circle for me. Somewhere between the first sip of my coffee and sunrise a sense of Christmas peace washes over me. I love it. Some years it comes early in the season. Other years, the opportunity comes later. But I don’t ever force it or schedule it. For some reason, I’ve been blessed to have it always come naturally. God is good. He gives me this time when He knows I need it and when I will appreciate it most. It’s honestly a gift.

But this morning was different than years past. Perhaps it’s my age beginning to squeak it’s way into my little tradition. Usually I lose myself in the “calm before the (holiday) storm”, admiring our tree, enjoying my coffee and thankful for the stillness. I guess I did do all of that, but when I looked at our tree I didn’t see a Christmas tree filled with memories. I FELT a Christmas tree filled with memories. What I saw was far greater than just a “decorated” tree … what I saw was a tree that held my family’s history. Ornaments that represented our journey together. I saw marriages, births, deaths, travel, change, laughter, traditions, joy and love! AND I FELT ALL OF IT. I didn’t just see, I FELT. No, this is not merely a Christmas tree we have sitting in our family room. It is some of my most precious life moments celebrated in one very special place … a tree, placed in our home, celebrating our Savior’s birth, who gracefully and graciously gave us the opportunities to share all of those moments together.

The sun rose and bodies started moving. Doors opened and “Good Morning” greetings were spoken. The silence of my little tradition was broken. It is over until next year. And that is OK. I will greet the opportunity, again, like a long lost friend. But this year I will wonder what changed. How did my heart FEEL more clearly the memories held on our tree? Perhaps I will never know. But I do know that I walked away from this experience differently than I usually do. I am more grateful and I am a whole lot more humble. Life is so precious. THIS I KNOW. And this morning I FEEL IT.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you FEEL all your beautiful memories!!!

Home for the holidays (in heart, mind, body and soul) …

My son, George, came home from college last night. I am so happy! Although Sid won’t be making it home this year and our house won’t be as full this holiday season as it has been in the past, I have a hard time feeling bad for myself. If I’ve learned anything over the past few years it’s that TIME is precious and HOME can very much so be a feeling or a state of mind. Again, change will always bring this MOM heart of mine a little bit of sorrow and a whole lot of joy. The process of growing and letting go, as a part of motherhood, is something that I suspect will challenge me for the rest of my life. But I can’t deny that regardless of proximity my heart is full knowing that the people I love most are where life has taken them. I know that they are where they feel they need to be. And THAT is beautiful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you return HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (whether it be in heart, mind, body or soul)!!!

Losing ground …

I was frazzled a good portion of the day. I have been staying on top of the holidays and everything they “require”, along with everything LIFE has handed me. Question: Why does LIFE hand me SO MUCH laundry?!?! Anyway, this morning I felt like I was about to lose my grip on all of it. IT WASN’T PLEASANT. I felt my handle on things was slipping away. I pictured myself falling into a spiral of online shopping and a frenzy of midnight wrapping sessions (that may or may not include crying). Somehow I managed to pull it together again and I even managed to squeeze in a manicure and pedicure before I picked Reese up from school. With a little more strategic planning I might even be able to go out tonight WITHOUT having any guilt for leaving things unfinished. Whoa.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t lose ground!!!

Merry and Bright …

I’ve mentioned before that I love running early in the morning. And by “early” I mean at UNDEAD hours when only me and the vampires are out. HA! As much as I love running early, I REALLY REALLY love running early this time of year. Why? Because of all the people who forget to turn their Christmas lights off. It’s beautiful being out there. Like my own private Christmas Light show. So quiet. So festive. This is another one of those unexpected gifts that God has given me through running. There are too many to count! And I find that this particular gift stays with me all day changing my thoughts and feelings into Christmas treasures.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel MERRY and BRIGHT!!!

Light up my life …

This year we hired a company to hang our Christmas lights. They came out today and I couldn’t be more grateful for their service. Without them our theme around here would not have been MERRY and BRIGHT. It would have been MERRY and DARK and DEPRESSING. HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where someone lights up your life!!!

Some wonderful people …

I’m not sure if it’s the holidays but I have been thinking a lot about how much life changes … and DOESN’T change. Change is not something I see, day to day, as anything HUGE. It is most visible to me when I look back across time. People age, we move, we get married, we get divorced, we change careers, we have babies and grand children, we get sick, we get well, we have losses and we have moments of joy. Life keeps moving. Things CHANGE over time and that is just a part of life. But what I’ve been thinking about most is what DOESN’T change. And specifically those relationships that have remained a constant in my life. I am SO THANKFUL for them. These are the relationships that have withstood the test of time and have weathered significant trials. These are meaningful connections with good people that have profoundly effected my quality of life. They give me strength, courage and support. These souls make me feel loved and wanted. There are no hidden agendas with them. They are genuine and I am blessed to live life with them. Sharing moments with them all year is a gift, but around the holidays am reminded of how much life changes and how much I appreciate their loyalty and love.

Well, I hope you all have a day that is shared with some wonderful people!!!

Holding it in …

I have tried EVERYTHING to keep myself busy these past few days. Sid and George are heading home for Thanksgiving and I am SO excited! This is when I tend to want to text and call them A LOT to plan everything out. What do they want to do? What do they want to eat? What do they need? I could go on like this for days! They have both had very busy schedules the past few weeks so I told myself that I couldn’t be excessive leading up to them coming home. Which has been ROUGH! But I wanted them to be able to get all their work done so that they could feel relaxed and enjoy themselves when they got home. So I have worked, baked, cleaned, shopped, watched Christmas movies, made lists, and checked them twice (HA) all in an effort to stay out of their hair and not drive them crazy with my excitement. Well, with George driving home today and Sid flying home tomorrow night I no longer have to contain my excitement! YAY! Thank goddess, because it was getting painful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t have to hold it in!!!

Let’s get this party started …

I. LOVE. THANKSGIVING. It is my favorite holiday and the days leading up to it are always filled with a great energy. With my big kids coming home from college and the plans we have to spend with our family and friends, I am beside myself with excitement! I am SO thankful for all of them! And let’s not forget our Black Friday tradition. We ALWAYS have a blast! It’s like a whole week of celebrating and it begins NOW!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get your party started!!!