Christmas is coming… Let’s just enjoy it… (December 17, 2013)

Gracious acceptance is an art, an art which most never bother to cultivate.  We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be harder than giving… Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you. ~Alexander McCall Smith

So much of the holiday season has turned to the Christmas Wish List.  I have one.  I make a wish list in my mind every year.  As the year goes by, I pay attention to the things people I care about are talking about.  Things they may want or need but won’t probably get for themselves.  I listen and pay attention to what the little kids are dreaming of getting as a gift. 

Do I have my head in the wrong place?  Maybe?  People are often complaining and upset about the cost of Christmas, the shopping, the busy stores, the online chaos, the shipping, the wrapping.  All things I strangely LOVE. 

Some families do gift exchanges and draw names.  Some don’t exchange gifts for people over a certain age.  Some focus only on the children.  Some try to make sure to give to charity in place of buying gifts.  Some families have crazy and over the top piles of gifts that turns in to total chaos and others have one or two gifts for each person and that is all.

Is any one way or the other correct or the best way to have Christmas.  Nope. 

Do we have to give a gift to anyone who bought one for us?  If we don’t, should we feel guilty about it?  I’m going with nope on this one as well.  A big huge NOPE in fact. 

The quote I chose today covers how I feel on the giving and receiving of gifts at all times.  I am not the best at giving gifts for birthdays or random times throughout the year, but when it comes to Christmas, I love watching people open presents and seeing the joy on their face as they find something inside that tells them how much someone else cares about them. 

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.  ~Mother Teresa

Learning to be accepting of and thankful for a gift that is given is sometimes really tough.  We want to reciprocate and make the giver of the gift feel appreciation by giving back.  But in reality, when the thought and love and kindness that went into the original gift can only be reflected back through a gracious acceptance of the gift.  That is all that the original giver ever really intended in return.

Take some time this year and think about someone you have given a gift to (no matter how big or how small) that was so much appreciated by the recipient.  Think back to that moment and remember how it felt to have the person open/receive the gift and remember to show that sort of gracious acceptance this year as you receive gifts and kindness in the coming weeks.

Here is a quote printable designed by Crystal Wilkerson of www.crystalwilkerson.com (her website has been down, but I am linking anyway so she receives proper credit for designing the page).  I love love love her work and pray her page comes back again someday so I can learn from her journal prompts and challenges.

Thanks

Christmas is coming… Let’s just enjoy it… (December 16 – 2013)

For it is in giving that we receive. –St. Francis Assisi

The holiday season (starting in October with Halloween) has brought me to a strange place in this world.  In fact, I am feeling a little “out of place” this year. 

I was in a bit of a ‘mood’ at the end of October and lots of things were getting under my skin and frustrating me.  I was letting the world bring me down and I needed to find a way back up.

This post is going to be a bit disjointed and I apologize in advance.  What happened is this…

People were all over social media complaining about all the hustle and bustle of Halloween and how the candy was such a problem.  Some people switch the candy out for a toy, some people toss it in the trash, some people just don’t take their kids trick or treating because it is like ‘begging’ for candy.

Well, here’s where I am… It’s Halloween and it is fun for my kids.  We eat the candy and then we toss some a few weeks into November.  Why do I have to hear about all the world and their disgust with sugar, candy and the chaos of Halloween.  Well, truth be told, because I was choosing to hear it by reading it on social media. 

Then comes Thanksgiving (or did it).  The commercial side of our world stole Thanksgiving from so many of us with the moving of Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day.  While I love a great sale and had fun going out one year for Black Friday, I really just enjoy reading the newspaper ad and making lists that I will never fulfill.  But, because people want to get out there sooner, the stores open sooner.  Does it impact my life… not really.  I feel for the people who have to work on the holidays, but there are some people who would prefer to work on those days.  I have never had to do it and hope I never do.  I want to be with my family.  But, am I going to whine about all of this and make it the focus of my Thanksgiving… nope.  Just had a nice peaceful day at the farm and LOVED it. 

Even before Thanksgiving ends, people start the chatter of Christmas preparations.  Are you ready?  Are you done shopping?  Are you exchanging gifts?  Do you have a spending limit? 

All questions to get ready for Christmas.  What bugs me this year though is the negative attitude toward the holiday season in general.  People are griping and complaining all the time about being busy.  Not having the budget to make things work. 

Well, guess what… we don’t have to do it.  We don’t have to be so busy.  We don’t have to spend so much.  We need to step back and realize that just the simple act of shoveling someone’s driveway is going to make a difference. Sharing a smile or a small chat with someone we have not seen for a time.  Sending a letter to an old friend (not cards to the whole world).  Putting a snapshot on your card instead of the photo of the year taken by the photographer of the century. 

We need to slow down and take the time to give of ourselves.  Grab some unused items from your pantry and get them to the community food bank.  Give blood.  Find something small and meaningful to give as a gift instead of trying to out purchase the gift you got last year.  Just celebrate the season and the holiday in happiness without all the chaos and crazy.  Just let go… Just let go…

Just let the wonder of the season be present in our days and nights.

It is my intention to blog each day now through the New Year.  I may post just a picture, just a quote or I may go crazy and share my soul.  Regardless, I am going to do something to spread holiday cheer and try to stop some of the negative and disgruntled thoughts that surround me each day.

-God Bless You

RobinChristmas 2008 Robin (49)

Christmas is coming… Let’s just enjoy it… (December 16 – 2013)

For it is in giving that we receive. –St. Francis Assisi

The holiday season (starting in October with Halloween) has brought me to a strange place in this world.  In fact, I am feeling a little “out of place” this year. 

I was in a bit of a ‘mood’ at the end of October and lots of things were getting under my skin and frustrating me.  I was letting the world bring me down and I needed to find a way back up.

This post is going to be a bit disjointed and I apologize in advance.  What happened is this…

People were all over social media complaining about all the hustle and bustle of Halloween and how the candy was such a problem.  Some people switch the candy out for a toy, some people toss it in the trash, some people just don’t take their kids trick or treating because it is like ‘begging’ for candy.

Well, here’s where I am… It’s Halloween and it is fun for my kids.  We eat the candy and then we toss some a few weeks into November.  Why do I have to hear about all the world and their disgust with sugar, candy and the chaos of Halloween.  Well, truth be told, because I was choosing to hear it by reading it on social media. 

Then comes Thanksgiving (or did it).  The commercial side of our world stole Thanksgiving from so many of us with the moving of Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day.  While I love a great sale and had fun going out one year for Black Friday, I really just enjoy reading the newspaper ad and making lists that I will never fulfill.  But, because people want to get out there sooner, the stores open sooner.  Does it impact my life… not really.  I feel for the people who have to work on the holidays, but there are some people who would prefer to work on those days.  I have never had to do it and hope I never do.  I want to be with my family.  But, am I going to whine about all of this and make it the focus of my Thanksgiving… nope.  Just had a nice peaceful day at the farm and LOVED it. 

Even before Thanksgiving ends, people start the chatter of Christmas preparations.  Are you ready?  Are you done shopping?  Are you exchanging gifts?  Do you have a spending limit? 

All questions to get ready for Christmas.  What bugs me this year though is the negative attitude toward the holiday season in general.  People are griping and complaining all the time about being busy.  Not having the budget to make things work. 

Well, guess what… we don’t have to do it.  We don’t have to be so busy.  We don’t have to spend so much.  We need to step back and realize that just the simple act of shoveling someone’s driveway is going to make a difference. Sharing a smile or a small chat with someone we have not seen for a time.  Sending a letter to an old friend (not cards to the whole world).  Putting a snapshot on your card instead of the photo of the year taken by the photographer of the century. 

We need to slow down and take the time to give of ourselves.  Grab some unused items from your pantry and get them to the community food bank.  Give blood.  Find something small and meaningful to give as a gift instead of trying to out purchase the gift you got last year.  Just celebrate the season and the holiday in happiness without all the chaos and crazy.  Just let go… Just let go…

Just let the wonder of the season be present in our days and nights.

It is my intention to blog each day now through the New Year.  I may post just a picture, just a quote or I may go crazy and share my soul.  Regardless, I am going to do something to spread holiday cheer and try to stop some of the negative and disgruntled thoughts that surround me each day.

-God Bless You

RobinChristmas 2008 Robin (49)

The Thankful Project… Day 28 (2013)

Well… this is it.  The final post for The Thankful Project that I learned about through Jodi over at www.touchingyourheart.net (my sister blog) and started by Kenzie over at www.thechasinghappyblog.com

Thanks to both Kenzie and Jodi for making this an amazing November for me.  I slowed myself down on the Cool Whip (aka Facebook) and took the time I had leftover to do my blog posts and to work on my house and my messy life a bit… not enough but some.

So on to my final prompt and a look into what is on my ‘to do list’ next…

11/28 Prompt: free write

For this prompt we are able to write about anything we want.  And I choose…

The Tivey Family

Years ago, I was a young girl playing anti-i-over at “The Farm”… the one in Gascoyne where my grandparents lived.  I have a foggy recollection of Mike and Jodi being there and I am not sure why.  I may be making this up in my mind.  I really don’t know.  I just have some memory of meeting Jodi when I was young and I was at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on the farm.

I knew they were a part of our family but it didn’t make sense to me why.  As it turns out… we aren’t really related… here’s the true family tree of how we are connected… My Aunt Nita is married to Tom Braun.  Tom Braun is a brother to Ken Braun.  Ken Braun is Mike’s step-dad.  And there you have it… our family tree.

Anyway… Over the years Mike and Jodi were involved in family events with us and then for awhile they sort of faded away.  Not sure where they went, but what matters now… is they are just across the street… ALWAYS!

Jodi has become a major supporter of mine and by my side through some pretty rough times in my world.  She referred to us as neighbor/family/friend for quite some time and now she is my boss too.  She makes sure I take my meds (most of the time), she tries to encourage me no matter what excuse I give her, she is there to listen when I need a friend.  She even went out chasing a lightning storm so I could try to get a picture (and it was way past her bedtime).

Mike is someone that is a tough read… but somewhere along the way I have come to understand him more (I think) and I know he would do most anything for me… all I have to do is ask.  He will tell me to do it myself but in the end, if I need his help… he would be there in a heart beat.  Don’t tell him I said this… but I don’t know what I would do without him across the street.

And Amanda… quite simply… an amazing young lady who has grown to be my friend.  In reality we are so much alike and I am old enough to be her mom so she is also my soul-daughter. Trevor asked awhile back why I refer to her as ‘my neighbor’ when in reality she is one of my best friends.  Yep… I have a 25 year old BFF!  I look forward to watching her get married in June and start her own life and family but it breaks my heart thinking I will have to let her go.  I have joked for years with Jodi about the day Amanda moves out for the final time… and in reality I think it will be harder on me than it will be on Jodi and Mike.  They have been preparing for years… I have only had the last few years with her as my daughter-friend. 

So… Tivey Family… know that you are a vital part of my life and I could not and do not have any intention of ever letting you fade out of my life again.  Love you!

Tivey 2007 (10)

And… I was planning to share with you my next blog challenge or journey but when I went to retrieve it and link to it… it vanished.  Guess I better find something else. 

The Thankful Project… Day 28 (2013)

Well… this is it.  The final post for The Thankful Project that I learned about through Jodi over at www.touchingyourheart.net (my sister blog) and started by Kenzie over at www.thechasinghappyblog.com

Thanks to both Kenzie and Jodi for making this an amazing November for me.  I slowed myself down on the Cool Whip (aka Facebook) and took the time I had leftover to do my blog posts and to work on my house and my messy life a bit… not enough but some.

So on to my final prompt and a look into what is on my ‘to do list’ next…

11/28 Prompt: free write

For this prompt we are able to write about anything we want.  And I choose…

The Tivey Family

Years ago, I was a young girl playing anti-i-over at “The Farm”… the one in Gascoyne where my grandparents lived.  I have a foggy recollection of Mike and Jodi being there and I am not sure why.  I may be making this up in my mind.  I really don’t know.  I just have some memory of meeting Jodi when I was young and I was at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on the farm.

I knew they were a part of our family but it didn’t make sense to me why.  As it turns out… we aren’t really related… here’s the true family tree of how we are connected… My Aunt Nita is married to Tom Braun.  Tom Braun is a brother to Ken Braun.  Ken Braun is Mike’s step-dad.  And there you have it… our family tree.

Anyway… Over the years Mike and Jodi were involved in family events with us and then for awhile they sort of faded away.  Not sure where they went, but what matters now… is they are just across the street… ALWAYS!

Jodi has become a major supporter of mine and by my side through some pretty rough times in my world.  She referred to us as neighbor/family/friend for quite some time and now she is my boss too.  She makes sure I take my meds (most of the time), she tries to encourage me no matter what excuse I give her, she is there to listen when I need a friend.  She even went out chasing a lightning storm so I could try to get a picture (and it was way past her bedtime).

Mike is someone that is a tough read… but somewhere along the way I have come to understand him more (I think) and I know he would do most anything for me… all I have to do is ask.  He will tell me to do it myself but in the end, if I need his help… he would be there in a heart beat.  Don’t tell him I said this… but I don’t know what I would do without him across the street.

And Amanda… quite simply… an amazing young lady who has grown to be my friend.  In reality we are so much alike and I am old enough to be her mom so she is also my soul-daughter. Trevor asked awhile back why I refer to her as ‘my neighbor’ when in reality she is one of my best friends.  Yep… I have a 25 year old BFF!  I look forward to watching her get married in June and start her own life and family but it breaks my heart thinking I will have to let her go.  I have joked for years with Jodi about the day Amanda moves out for the final time… and in reality I think it will be harder on me than it will be on Jodi and Mike.  They have been preparing for years… I have only had the last few years with her as my daughter-friend. 

So… Tivey Family… know that you are a vital part of my life and I could not and do not have any intention of ever letting you fade out of my life again.  Love you!

Tivey 2007 (10)

And… I was planning to share with you my next blog challenge or journey but when I went to retrieve it and link to it… it vanished.  Guess I better find something else. 

The Thankful Project… Day 27 (2013)

Well, two more prompts from the Thankful Project and I will be finished and can say I completed a blogging challenge.  I was not always caught up and on time… but I did each and every post.  Go Me!!!

11/27 Prompt: a simple pleasure

At this very moment I am sitting in my simplest of pleasures… silence.  As much as I love music and in days gone by some form of music would have been playing in the background… and as much as I love my children… I do enjoy the peace and calm and quiet that comes from everyone being asleep or gone.  And at this moment… that is how I sit.

Now… to make this simple pleasure even better… add a bowl of ice cream and I would have it made!

Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah. 

Random photo of the day…

IMG_0398

The Thankful Project… Day 27 (2013)

Well, two more prompts from the Thankful Project and I will be finished and can say I completed a blogging challenge.  I was not always caught up and on time… but I did each and every post.  Go Me!!!

11/27 Prompt: a simple pleasure

At this very moment I am sitting in my simplest of pleasures… silence.  As much as I love music and in days gone by some form of music would have been playing in the background… and as much as I love my children… I do enjoy the peace and calm and quiet that comes from everyone being asleep or gone.  And at this moment… that is how I sit.

Now… to make this simple pleasure even better… add a bowl of ice cream and I would have it made!

Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah. 

Random photo of the day…

IMG_0398

The Thankful Project… Day 26 (2013)

Nearly finished with this project and let me just say… there have been some tough ones to figure out just the right thing to write.  Today is no different.

11/26 Prompt: a criticism

When I was in high school, I was dating a really great guy.  Funny, loved to dance, cute, caring, and did I mention funny.  Anyway, he and I were talking one day during a bit of a family crisis at our house.  One of my grandparents was terminally ill with cancer and as such we had some pretty serious talks that winter.

One of the things we talked about was how my family functioned.  It was amazing how we could all pull together and live in strange conditions to help care for my grandpa.  But, Jay noticed something about our communication style and an overall dynamic of our family.  We were quick to blame and slow to take responsibility for being wrong.  In other words, we like to be right.  Who doesn’t, really? 

I think part of it is human nature to want to be right, but the part that I didn’t realize was how quick we all were to find blame someplace else in a sticky situation.

As a result of that conversation all those years ago, I still think about the idea of looking for blame and the innate need to be right.  I work hard to try and adjust my behavior but it does not make it any easier nor do it very well everyday.  I find myself blaming and needing to be right more often than not.  So… I am thankful for the chat Jay and I had all those years ago and the reminder that that little criticism about my family is something I can learn and grow from.

Random pic of the day… Miss Olivia fell asleep at a ball game.  I was on the floor taking pictures as usual and she needed a rest.  So tired she even fell asleep with her sucker in hand.

IMG_1095

The Thankful Project… Day 26 (2013)

Nearly finished with this project and let me just say… there have been some tough ones to figure out just the right thing to write.  Today is no different.

11/26 Prompt: a criticism

When I was in high school, I was dating a really great guy.  Funny, loved to dance, cute, caring, and did I mention funny.  Anyway, he and I were talking one day during a bit of a family crisis at our house.  One of my grandparents was terminally ill with cancer and as such we had some pretty serious talks that winter.

One of the things we talked about was how my family functioned.  It was amazing how we could all pull together and live in strange conditions to help care for my grandpa.  But, Jay noticed something about our communication style and an overall dynamic of our family.  We were quick to blame and slow to take responsibility for being wrong.  In other words, we like to be right.  Who doesn’t, really? 

I think part of it is human nature to want to be right, but the part that I didn’t realize was how quick we all were to find blame someplace else in a sticky situation.

As a result of that conversation all those years ago, I still think about the idea of looking for blame and the innate need to be right.  I work hard to try and adjust my behavior but it does not make it any easier nor do it very well everyday.  I find myself blaming and needing to be right more often than not.  So… I am thankful for the chat Jay and I had all those years ago and the reminder that that little criticism about my family is something I can learn and grow from.

Random pic of the day… Miss Olivia fell asleep at a ball game.  I was on the floor taking pictures as usual and she needed a rest.  So tired she even fell asleep with her sucker in hand.

IMG_1095

The Thankful Project… Day 25 (2013)

11/25 Prompt: something I know

Uffda… I am nearly caught up.

And let me just start by saying… this isn’t an easy one either… because I KNOW A LOT… Just ask me!

Ha ha…

Well, something I know and am grateful for because as the saying goes…

The best way to make change is to admit there is a problem.  So…

I have too much stuff!

I know I do.

It is a fact.

So… now what?

I shall make the change.  I have talked about it over and over and over.  But each time… I realize more and more how the ‘stuff’ in my life is causing me pain.  It is causing me to live a life I don’t want to live.  Or shall I say, live my life in a way I don’t care to live it.

So…

With that I shall go do something about it.

I have started making progress, but progress is quite often messy and for whatever reason I never finish.

Pray for me to find some sort of peace with it all and to help me finish.  I know having people pray for me will offer me a bit of extra strength to get through it and begin living the life I want to live.  Living a life doing things with my family without saying… yes, but first we need to get the living room picked up. 

Random pic of the day… from our visit to the pumpkin patch in Billings…

IMG_3210

Read tomorrow’s post to find the answer!