Posts Tagged ‘personal’

I venture to say that very few have looked forward to a new year quite as much as everyone has looked forward to this one. Thanks for taking this journey with me and welcome to the next stage.

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
~T.S Eliot, Little Gidding

“Any new beginning is forged from the shards of the past, not from the abandonment of the past.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

“Each New Year, we have before us a brand new book containing 365 blank pages. Let us fill them with all the forgotten things from last year—the words we forgot to say, the love we forgot to show, and the charity we forgot to offer.”
― Peggy Toney Horton

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”
― G.K. Chesterton, A Chesterton calendar

We had the best Christmas possible under Covid, Zooming with family who would have been here and sharing time with family we haven’t spent Christmas with in years. Tonight we’ll be FaceTime-ing with friends from Illinois, then tomorrow is not only another day, but another year, something I know we’ve all been waiting for.

Our daughter had some time off and slipped out of California to visit us, although her husband had to stay home and work. So yesterday we drove to Queen Creek Olive Mill for some coffee and mother-daughter time before she headed back to the west coast.

The outdoor area is in an olive grove shaded by olive trees and where there are several Christmas tree-shaped trees guarded by two lions. The trees are decorated for Christmas, the lion thankfully not. But this lion doesn’t look too happy, probably because…

…with post-dawn temperatures in the upper 30’s it’s not exactly the African savanna and it’s a bit chilly sitting outside even with a hot mocha. These gas fires are very cheerful and look nice and warm, but we found that they really aren’t, so we sat on the covered patio which had standing heaters as well as heaters above us. It was so toasty we were able to take of our jackets and just enjoy our drinks. It was lovely.

Yes, the trees have olives, but don’t eat one off the tree. Until they’re cured and fermented, they’re very bitter as my husband discovered in Provence years ago when his sister gave him an olive right off the tree. Siblings!

Since meals and snacks are served here, there are crumbs and where there are crumbs, there are those who try to help clean them up, whether or not they’re being paid.

Relaxing in the sunshine (with additional heat as needed), enjoying time with my daughter while sipping a mocha topped with whipped cream, surrounded by cute little birds and stone lions, admiring the bougainvillea…life is good. Let’s pray that 2021 will be the same.

From Luke 2:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

© janet m.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Merry Christmas and a 2021 filled with blessings!

When I was growing up, the children’s Christmas service was held on Christmas Eve. We worked for weeks memorizing our parts (no words put up on the back wall or sheets to read from) and at the end of the service, each child was given a brown paper bag filled with nuts (in the shell)an orange and an apple. There may have been some hard candy, too. I don’t remember. Then we would go home and open our Christmas presents. On Christmas Day, we’d drive to my grandparents’ farm for Christmas Day and Grandma’s amazing cooking.

My husband’s family opened all their gifts on Christmas Day, so our tradition eventually evolved into opening stocking gifts on Christmas Eve and the rest of the presents on Christmas Day. One present I enjoy all year long isn’t found under the tree. It’s the gift of having met all of you and today I’d like to share some of my favorite Christmas quotes. Of course for our family, this (and what I’ll share to tomorrow) are the Reason for the Season.

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.”
― Sigrid Undset

This year is perfect for following the advice in the next two quotes!

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
― Bob Hope

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
― Charles M. Schulz

“And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”
― Roy L. Smith

“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? ”
― Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes

“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

“The reality of loving God is loving him like he’s a Superhero who actually saved you from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gave you some stuff.”
― Criss Jami, Killosophy

“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”
― Eric Severeid

And maybe for this year…

“No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.”
― Greg Kincaid

At the end of our visit to Descanso Gardens last week, we came across these three fall beauties just as we were about to leave. I wish I could do something as attractive. But even though I can’t, I can recommend an artist who is 50% mine…our younger daughter. She’s updated her website and has some lovely pieces for sale. If you have a moment, please take a look and if you like, send her a message telling her what you think and where you saw her information. If you choose to buy something, that’s also appreciated. 🙂 For an artist who also works a “real” job to make ends meet, the encouragement is such a blessing. Thanks and here’s her site:

https://meganwebb.bigcartel.com/

small batch apparel

art + mixed media

based in Philadelphia

And now to the garden art, not done by our daughter. 🙂

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? For a year where we weren’t really supposed to do much of anything (or anything fun), it’s somehow flown by and it’s already the end of November…which in the U.S. means it’s time to give thanks, albeit in smaller groups this year.

Even though it’s easy to think about what we don’t have and can’t do, here are some things that came to mind that call for giving thanks.

Give thanks if you…

…are reading this, because you have a computer/laptop/tablet a/o phone or access to one.

…are healthy.

…have family and friends who are healthy.

….have family and friends whom you can visit in person/via some sort of other technology.

…have a job (if you want/need one) or are retired.

…have a home.

…have food.

…have access to health care if you need it.

…have books/e-books/cable/some sort of entertainment.

…have transportation of some sort.

There are many more reasons to give thanks, some that are particular to you. Even though the Thanksgiving we celebrate today is only official in the U.S., I encourage each you to take a moment to think of the reasons you have to be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving or happy thanks-giving and let’s remember those who are truly suffering due to this pandemic and see what we can to do help them.

Words for Wednesday

Posted: November 18, 2020 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

In September, I came across this quote that explains much about why I take photos and why I blog. I’m trying to bring these things into your life as often as possible. Happy Wednesday!

What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?

~E. M. Forster

This is how I’m starting to feel after almost three days of hanging out in my room, now waiting for Covid test results. Even if I do have it, my symptoms are so mild that there’s nothing to do but wait for any fever to go away. Yeah, that’s a good thing, but still boring. 🙂

BUT…the good news is that last night I got my test results back, in only one business day, and they’re negative!! Hurrah! I’m still on the mend from whatever it is, but I can come out of my room and that’s great because even a lovely room can be confining.

Nothing prepared us for for a year like this, did it? Things are very different right now: masks, distancing, stay-at-home orders, and worse: job loss, businesses closing, people dying. Some of the consequences of Covid are terrible. But let’s be real. Many are inconveniences nothing more, what I like to call first world problems, such as having to wear masks, not being able to go into bars, not being able to hang out with friends.

Even if you don’t complain, what do you miss? I think I miss spontaneity: meeting a friend for lunch, going on vacation without wipes and disinfectant spray, finding waiting at the airport a pain only for being boring, walking into a library, hugging someone, going to a craft bar, my yearly trip to France, deciding to browse at a store, and while I don’t have a problem with it, not wearing a mask would be pretty exciting. Without spontaneity, I feel as if I’m just hanging around most of the time.

So, lots of negatives. The more challenging question is has Covid done anything for you? (Spell Check wants to know if Ovid has done anything for you!) I’m not saying we should be glad Covid came along to screw up 2020, but although I know seems as if all its impacts are negative, maybe they’re not. Maybe some good has come out of this year.

Covid has made me realize again what’s important: family; keeping in touch with friends by actual mail, text, or phone; having a home to spend time in; my husband having a job even if he has to work ridiculous hours; how a blog can help me stay in touch with people; how blessed I was to be able to take things for granted; the value of libraries having e-books. It’s also made me realize that many things I complained about really weren’t worth complaining about!

How about you? What do you miss? What might Covid have done for you? ( And if Ovid’s done anything for you, you can let me know that too.)

Everyone has a superpower. My dad’s is being able to call on the phone at the most inconvenient time: when I’m as far away from the phone as possible, on another call, forgot to take my phone off vibrate for the night, etc. My husband, in the same vein, starts a conversation when I’m in the bathroom, doing something noisy, or have just walked out of the room. He can also nap any time and any place, something not in my super power arsenal.

Some have the superpower of always being elegant,

while others look great in feathers and a hat.

I’m a mom, so I obviously have a multitude of superpowers! But one very useful super power is being able to pack well, whether estimating how much will fit in a container for the fridge or freezer or packing the most possible items in the space allowed, whether in a suitcase or boxes in the van. My other superpower is being able to drive for long periods of time without having to stop (gas stops and bathroom/food breaks should always happen together if at all possible) and actually enjoying it.

What’s your superpower? I know you have one! If I don’t see any responses, I might be forced to come up with one for quite a few of you who follow this blog, so get your choice in so I don’t have to do it for you. 🙂

BTW, I look great in hats, too. 🙂