“…..with every Christmas card I write…..”

On our way home this evening, the song “White Christmas” came on the radio.  Aub and Cooter were in the car with me, as I was humming along without really thinking about the song.  The song continued, and the lyrics played:

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
with every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry…..”

and then I heard Cooter hollering at the top of his lungs from the very back seat–

“WHAT?” Palm to forehead.  “What?  I’m supposed to write Christmas cards too?”

*sigh*

Poor little guy.

Poor all of us.

How many folks have asked you, “Are you ready for Christmas?”  “Do you have it all done?”  “Have you planned your menu for the day?”

How many times have you asked those questions in an effort to make conversation?

*guilty*

All the pressure.  All the expectations.  We create list after list.  Shopping lists.  Gifts we’re giving lists.  Parties and dinners we are invited to.  Parties and dinners we want to throw.  A baking list.  A grocery list.  A list of errands.  And yes, Cooter, even a Christmas card list.

One of my sweet friends was all but apologizing to me today that her Christmas card wasn’t going out until after Christmas.  There was just too much to do and not enough time.

Bless.  Her.  Sweet.  Soul.

I remember the year I didn’t send out cards until Valentine’s.  It worked.  It was kind of fun.  And I’m guessing our card didn’t get lost in a stack with everyone else’s Valentine’s Day cards.  Just a thought.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves–scratch that.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to create the perfect Christmas full of all the perfect little moments in a clean, tidy home with lots of festive decorations and ornamentation and all of the joy and fun and laughter and contented sighs.

Yeah.

I’m betting I’m not the only one.

We have one week left, y’all.  To take it back.  To take a moment to rest and cuddle and read a Christmas story together piled up on the couch or chair or bed underneath the colorful afghans that bring me such joy with the people that make my soul glad.  Savoring the moment without worrying over the perpetual clutter or unwrapped gifts and all the other things we carry on our shoulders.  To simply be in the precious moment of NOW.

We have one week left to change our question from “Are you ready?” to “How are you?” or “Where are you finding peace and Light today?”  or “Where AM I going to find peace and Light today?”

We have one week left to change it. Even if we only take five minutes a day to step away from all the expectations and Hallmark commercials (doggone them for making me cry and wanting to create all the moments myself) and hustle and bustle and lists and pressure, and we just sit down and breathe.  And laugh.  Or listen.  Or sit next to the people we love or the people we’ve just met and BE.  That’s the goal.  If we can even take five minutes a day to welcome into our hearts the presence of Peace, we’ve come a long way from all of the things weighing on us, all of the lists we carry around, and we’re one step closer to that quiet night of reflection and Love beneath a bright star listening to the quiet, steady breaths of the little one newly come to us.

Go ahead.  Add THAT to your list.  You deserve it.  And *takes a deep breath* so do I.

Love to all.

Christmas_To_Do_List_(4206456664)

By Jon Curnow from London, United Kingdom (Christmas To Do List) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Because It Looks Like Y’all Have it All Together

Some days I feel like I have a good grasp on this journey, this life.  It’s not an everyday thing by any means, but there are days when I feel like I’m headed in the right direction, down the right path–in raising my family, educating them, taking care of things around the house, and in figuring out what I’m going to be when I grow up.

And then there are all the other days, where I count myself lucky if the littles are fed, the math is mostly done, the dog doesn’t have an accident indoors, and the house is still standing.  Even if we have to get creative on clothing choices because the laundry needs doing, I call it a win and move on.

Oh so many days like that.

It seems like everyone else has it all together sometimes, you know?  My Daddy used to say, “You compare, you lose,” and I know he’s right, but sometimes it’s hard not to.  You all look like things are trucking along just fine for you.

And then there’s me and the cacophony of ideas and thoughts and emotions running through my heart, mind, and soul.

So not together.

I picked up a book to read about men who changed the world.  I am interested to see who their examples are, as this is a book for young people.  Since I have been concerned, wanting to be sure I’m sharing good stories and role models with Cooter like I do with our Princess, I did some searching and found this particular book.

As I flipped through for a quick minute today, I came across this quote from Badshah Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Muslim leader who led the world’s largest nonviolent force–100,000 people–for social reform in his country.

From "Akira to Zoltan: Twenty-Six Men Who Changed the World" by Cynthia Chin-Lee  http://www.amazon.com/Akira-Zoltan-Twenty-six-Changed-World/dp/1570915806/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1W3CXFY2R8FTYB8C2KTB

From “Akira to Zoltan: Twenty-Six Men Who Changed the World” by Cynthia Chin-Lee
http://www.amazon.com/Akira-Zoltan-Twenty-six-Changed-World/dp/1570915806/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1W3CXFY2R8FTYB8C2KTB

“No true effort is in vain.  Look at the fields over there.  The grain sown therein has to remain

in the earth for a certain time, then it sprouts, and in due time yields hundreds of its kind.

The same is the case with every effort in a good cause.” 

–Badshah Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988)

Oh these words.  How they touched me–had my soul doing an about-face.  Picking myself up, dusting my britches off, and saying, Okay, maybe I can do this.

One more reminder that things won’t necessarily happen in my time, according to my “script.”  One more reminder that things won’t always be this way. One more reminder to take a chill pill and be where I am, who I am.  Making true efforts for a good cause.

Tonight I am thankful for the words of others that I write on my heart.  The ones that others say, I don’t suppose I will always know the why of their words, but I do know what they do for me.  I wish I could have words like these and others that touch my being painted all over the walls and mirrors of my house.  Where I could see them and be reminded–keep up the good efforts.  Keep planting.  You may not see the harvest right away, if ever, but it’s there.  So much going on within, even though we can’t see it.  Growing under the ground…..growing strong and one day will yield “hundreds of its kind.”

What a beautiful picture that paints for me.

Y’all, let’s go out and sow some good stuff.  What does that look like?  I’m not sure.  How about we start with smiling at someone who looks like they could use it?  Take the time to text or call or email a friend with a meaningful, truthful message about how they are loved.  Or with a joke that you know they’ll love.  Even greater things will come from it one day–maybe not on our timeline, not when we had planned, but one day greater things will come because of it.  And until then, we just keep making those true efforts in a good cause, even if that means sitting quietly.  And waiting.  *sigh* Did someone ask for patience?

Love and best wishes to all.

If the House is Quiet and the Brit-coms Aren’t On, Then…..

It’s Saturday night.  The house is finally quiet.  I went in search of my Brit-coms on PBS, but instead a concert was playing.  Missing the Brit-coms made me think about my favorites– “Keeping Up Appearances” and “As Time Goes By” among others.  Thinking about “As Time Goes By” made me think about their brilliant cast, which then made me think about Dame Judi Dench. (I’m living out my own version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” here.)   I remembered a quote I’d read from her several months ago:

The more I do,

the more

frightened I get.

But that is

essential.

Otherwise why

would I go on

doing it?

–Dame Judi Dench

Not only is she a talented actress, she is also a very wise woman.

So I decided to look up more words from this woman who seems so familiar to me, after years of spending Saturday nights together.

And I found this one.

20140322-221851.jpg

Wow.

Be careful what you seek.  You just might find it.

She shot that arrow right through my heart.  As though she’d been reading my mind.

Because, you see, I do this.  I build bridges left and right in my mind and cross all of them, testing them for security and comfort and safety, not trusting what they will be like on the other side unless I check them out.  Way in advance.  Well before I reach the bridges.  And most of those bridges are only in my mind.  I will never have to cross them in “real life.”  This is how I know Anxiety Girl* is back for a visit–you know, my friend who is able to leap to the worst conclusions in a single bound?  Yeah, her.

What would it look like if I didn’t cross any bridges until I came up on them?  There’s a fine line between being carefree and careless, between being over-prepared and without a clue…..these fine lines elude me.  I usually wind up over-prepared (for things that don’t happen), over-stressed (over things I am anticipating will happen), and over-worked mentally (trying to get all my plans together–plans I NEVER HAVE TO USE).  I wish I could no kidding (and sorry if you start hearing the Frozen theme song here) “let it go.”  All of it.  And try taking life–the joys and heartaches and adventures and rainy, sleepy afternoons–as it comes.  Whenever and however it comes.

Unfortunately, I learned the fine art of script-writing my life many moons ago, and it is a hard thing to stop.  But I’m trying.  I wish there were a twelve step group for those of us addicted to being prepared.  I’m not meaning to be facetious here, and I don’t mean to offend those with more serious life-threatening addictions.  I recognize it’s a minor one in the whole scheme of things, but it can be somewhat debilitating.  I feel like a catcher always in position who doesn’t know which way the ball is coming from, so I’m constantly spinning and watching for it from all directions.

Which isn’t really possible.

And now that I’ve exhausted and mixed metaphors like I do, I want you to know–if you struggle with the “what if’s” and “I’ve got to be ready for anything” and “what is coming next?,”  you are not alone.  There are several of us.  And one moment at a time, maybe we can overcome.  Being prepared is not a bad thing.  It’s just the being prepared for anything and everything that could potentially, might possibly happen–that, not so much.

I’m going to try to let go and only worry about bridges that I can actually see up ahead.  It’s a waste of time and energy to do otherwise, right?

*sigh*

I really wish the Brit-coms had been on tonight.  Would have made for a less exhausting evening.

Love to all.

*created by artist Natalie Dee of www.nataliedee.com

Expectations, Script Writing, and the End of the World

Today a wise friend shared with me this sage advice that someone shared with her.

20131230-215803.jpg

Well.

I am a script writer from way back.  For as far back as I can remember I have plotted and played out in my mind how something should/could go.  I don’t know when it started, it’s just what I do.  When a twist or turn happens in life, the wheels immediately start turning on how to bring it back around.  How to fix it.  To incorporate the “plot twist” into where I wanted the script to go.  Ummm, yes.  And then it inevitably happens.

I get disappointed.

Because sometimes (and only occasionally, mind you) it’s not all about me.

And sometimes it’s someone else’s issues and choices and I just need to let it go.  Because no amount of script writing on my part can change someone else.  And when I forget that and think it can, I set myself up for the disappointment.

Why do I do that to myself?

I am thankful to know that I’m not the only one.  And to realize that, as my Mama would say, “This too shall pass.”  Most likely my disappointments and hurt feelings won’t kill me.  Yeah, they knock me for a loop, but it’s not the end of the world.  It might feel like it at the time, but more than likely, it’s really not the end.

I found a great story of another person who is a script writer, and it’s so funny, she actually recycles scripts–those from movies.  She took a trip to IKEA and had it all planned out how it should go.  It was supposed to be so fabulous.  And of course it was not the movie theater/happy ending experience she  had hoped it would be.  That she expected it to be.  She too shared the bit of advice my friend shared with me.  And then she shared this little tidbit:

I think it’s wonderful to know that while disappointments might not be fun or taste really great sometimes, they most likely will not kill us.  Check out her blog here.  It’s a delightful read.  And I highly recommend reading it when you are suffering from disappointment or have a refrigerator with only baby carrots in it.  Her story is the spoonful of sugar that Mary Poppins sang about.

Tonight I wish for us all some joy and laughter and a friend to remind us to let go and that it will be okay…..eventually.  A friend to have our back and to bring us baby carrots when we need to be reminded of the light and laughter in life.

May you continue to have merry memory-making!  Love to all.