What If There is No Tomorrow?

 
 
Polysyllabic Profundities:

“If the Mayans merely ran out of time, material and energy to continue their calendar beyond December 21st, 2012, I will be back to pontificate on many more polysyllabic profundities.  But if the Mayans were right and there really is no tomorrow – what would you want the world to know before you departed this life?”

Aztec Calendar vs Oreo Cookie

Aztec Calendar vs Oreo Cookie (Photo credit: ArtJonak)

I seem to be deriving post subjects from my fellow bloggers a lot of late–but so many of you are so wise, it is difficult not to be inspired. The above quote is from Susan, a fellow Canadian and she certainly asks an interesting question. Like her, I do not believe the world is going to end tomorrow, and that the Mayans just lost interest in extending the calendar for some reason–but what if? Here are a few of the things I am pondering in answer to “what if”?
1.Should I go upstairs and wrap all the Christmas presents that are currently residing in a variety of plastic and paper bags–or wait until Saturday when I know it will be a worthwhile endeavour because I am still here.
2. Should I hug my boys and husband a lot today and write a little email message to all those I love just in case?
3. Should I buy a bottle of bubbly and toast my life?
4. Should I finish the laundry?
5. Should I eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we may die?
6. Should I reflect on my life and only consider the pros today…the cons can wait until Saturday?
7. Should I tell all my friends in the blog world a big Thank You for all the fun we have had together? Thank you.
In answer to Susan’s question– what would I want the world to know before I departed this life?

Okay here is my answer in one breath:

I would want the world to know that though life has been series of  ups and downs, with lots of in-betweens, I would not have missed the wonderful times though they were dispersed with the not so wonderful; I am lucky to have had wonderful parents; I have the best siblings (and their mates) in the world; I love all my nieces and nephews; I married my high school crush and we continue to this day to be in love; I am blessed with two sons that I love to bits; I cherish my friends and fellow bloggers; and I am happy to have been able to express myself in words….

Though I do not believe that the world will end tomorrow–this little exercise was a worthwhile way of climbing out of the reality of everyday life and into the realm of gratitude.
Also, I choose the Oreo cookie.
                                  I ask you: What If?

 

 
 
Published in: on December 20, 2012 at 11:27 am  Comments (67)  
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Christmas Cards ~ A Remnant of the Past?

Christmas card by Louis Prang

Christmas card by Louis Prang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A card in the mail was the equivalent of a gift from the sender….”  LizzieCracked from the blog, Running Naked With Scissors.

As of today, December 19, 2012, I have received seven Christmas cards, and I have sent seven. I miss waiting for the mail at Christmastime with the anticipation that I will receive what Lizzie calls “a gift from the sender”. Put in this perspective, I may just get my pen and Christmas cards out and “gift” a few more people with this little present of thoughtfulness.

It is too late to mail cards out but I can hand deliver some or put them in mailboxes and slip stealthily away, knowing this little gesture will bring a smile from someone remembered.

When did I get out of the habit of sending masses of Christmas cards, and receiving about the same number back? Did I get lazy? Maybe. Did I stop when I had kids? Yes, probably, but they should not be blamed for my lackadaisical attitude.

It is no longer all that inexpensive to send a card–in Canada I think a stamp is about .59 (I am not sure though, so what does that tell you?). It may be too late to totally revive the tradition this year, but I think I will start. I know how much I love getting  cards–I usually tape them to my front closet door in the shape of a Christmas tree. If I do not get enough cards this year to make a proper tree design I may just have to get into my stash of cards from days gone by. I think I have kept every card I have received in the last thirty years–they are tied together in separate bundles with the year they were received noted on the front with a Post-It.

So let this be my Christmas card to all of you. Though it was not addressed and stamped–my heartfelt wish is that you have a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday or Merry Happy (as I like to call it ~ terminology all of my own).

So have you continued the tradition of sending Christmas cards or have you eschewed it for other forms of good wishes?

Family Life – You Gotta Love It!

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” ~ Harry S. Truman

Wise advice that I have learned the hard way. My sons are in their twenties. They are wonderful, kind, and considerate except when they are not. I live in a 1950’s sitcom world where the young kids are fresh faced and innocent, and the older ones always willing to lend a hand to mow the lawn or carry in groceries. In my little world, there is no discord. There are no raised voices. There are no arguments.

Cut to real life. I am just going to have to realize that real life has facets of my ideal 50’s sitcom life, but that is not always how things are. My youngest son came home from college for the Christmas holidays on Saturday, and on Saturday night, my husband and I were in the living room. Youngest son joined us, then oldest son came in and sat down. Then the cat came and laid on the floor. It was bliss. We were all warm and fuzzy, and all together. It is the way I imagine Christmas Day should be, but it happened on a nondescript Saturday.

I paused. I took note. And I enjoyed the camaraderie. I enjoyed having my family all in the same room, under our roof. It was cozy and we watched TV and snacked and joked. And I decided right then and there to enjoy the moment and not wish it away, or wish that it would happen at a prescribed time and place.

Since Saturday, there have been a few arguments, there has been a bit of discord–we are, after all, a normal family. There are going to be good times and bad. There are going to be warm and fuzzy times, and times with raised voices. I am just going to have to deal with the times that are not perfect, and recognize and enjoy those times that are.

Family life is not perfect~but I would not trade it for anything else in the world. (Okay a couple of million would be a nice addition but not instead of.)

Do you have some perfect and not so perfect family times?

Pay Attention to the Present

Artwork made for William Carew Hazlitt's Old C...

Artwork made for William Carew Hazlitt’s Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I was reading through the blogs this morning, I came across these words from Alexis on the blog, From Scratch Club. They sum up how I feel perfectly and I thought I would share them with you. It is well worth visiting the site to read the rest of the article:

“We do ourselves, and our families, no justice by ruminating about the past or future.  If the purpose of discussing the past or the future is productive and helps us to heal or to plan, then obviously that should happen.  Otherwise, research has shown that people are most content when their attention is on whatever is happening in the moment.  The best I can do for myself and for my children, today and for every day they are with me, is to pay attention to the present.” ~Alexis, From Scratch Club (Reflections on a Tragedy) Cooking for the Moment

We all have our ways of dealing–and today we are going to find our way back to them. I wish for all of us to “pay attention to the present” and strive to find some light in the darkness.

Alexis found some light by making salt dough ornaments with her children: what will you do?

Published in: on December 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm  Comments (52)  

~ DESIRED THINGS ~

1976 edition of The Desiderata of Happiness po...

1976 edition of The Desiderata of Happiness poetry collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not sure the universe is unfolding as it should, but I find this prose poem comforting, and I need to be comforted today.  Last night I attended a Christmas Party for my Writers’ Group and one of the members took the time to write this piece of inspiration on a sheet of paper in printing reminiscent of calligraphy and frame it. It now sits on my desk where I can see it and read it at will. I cannot form any more words about the horrific events that took place yesterday and the story that continues to unfold. I hope that this will provide a little refuge, inspiration, and yes, hope for all of us:

                              Desiderata: Desired Things

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy. ~ Max Ehrman ~ written in 1927

I do not want to be trite; I do not want to deny that an unspeakable thing has happened; I do not want to live in denial. I do know that we have to go on; we have to set aside our trivial worries and realize what is really important. And we need to find some peace. While we may not be able to be cheerful or happy right now–we need to “nurture strength of spirit” to shield us.

I have no idea how the people who have to deal with this first hand will do it, but I do know that we can lend a hand in showing them that we care. Here is the address to the school provided by Robin Coyle. Write some words of compassion, address the envelope, and send it to: Sandy Hook Elementary School, 12 Dickenson Drive, Newtown, CT 06482. We can do something.

Peaceful and Calm

Peaceful and Calm (Photo credit: Striking Photography by Bo Insogna)

Party Cancelled

Remembering

Remembering (Photo credit: Puzzler4879 (Thank You for 500K Views)

Just a little heads up. The Virtual Christmas Party is cancelled. I will be writing a lengthier post shortly, but thought I would tell you that out of respect and  broken hearts, Robin and I have decided to postpone the party. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the town of Newtown, Connecticut.

As Maya Angelou said: “Each child belongs to all of us.”

UPDATE: Robin has provided us with an address for Sandy Hook Elementary School, 12 Dickenson Drive, Newton CT  06482 if you want to send some words of compassion, encouragement or prayers.

 

Published in: on December 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm  Comments (63)  

Gifts ~ Is It the Thought that Counts?

Pile of gorgeous gifts

Pile of gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Care to appear happy…..” ~ Saint Therese

Do you ever buy yourself Christmas presents? I do. One of my presents to myself this year is Gretchen Rubin’s book “Happier at Home”. I loved her first book, “The Happiness Project” so thought I would get this sequel of sorts.

In the December chapter of her book, she gives two particularly good pieces of advice. The first is taken from her favourite “obsession”, Saint Therese of Lisieux, whose philosophy entailed taking “care to appear happy and especially to be so.” (p. 116) This  quote from the Saint who died young of tuberculosis, tells me that being happy is something we can conjure up, something that is within our control, no matter how we feel. We can be happy (or at least appear so) if we set our mind to it for the sake of others.

The other piece of advice Gretchen provides in this chapter is extremely timely.  She says that Saint Therese emphasizes “the importance of accepting gifts in the spirit in which they are offered, instead of responding to the gift itself,” which is just another way to “care to appear happy.”

This takes us out of the equation and puts the emphasis on the person who chose the gift for us and the thought and trouble that went into the choice. I love this! I have been guilty in the past of just looking at how I will use a gift, or what I will wear it with, or whether I can keep it alive, or any number of other things, rather than the fact that the gift is an offering of love, thoughtfulness, kind-heartedness and consideration.

So, this holiday season, I am determined to take the time to respond to the spirit in which the gift is given rather than the gift itself.

Gretchen does draw the line at passive-aggressive gifts though. She says that sometimes the spirit in which a gift is given is not all that kind—for example, when someone is gifted running clothes, a certificate to a spinning class and an electronic calorie counter—a none too subtle message is being sent.

I myself would be very unhappy to receive gifts that emphasize “organizing your life”—I am afraid I would have trouble accepting them in the spirit they are given—since that spirit would be a little annoying. I do not need a “teaching moment” gift. (Pearls would be nice though–a single black pearl on a silver chain in particular if anyone is wondering–this is useless as my husband does not read my blog. It is something that he is going to get around to some day. That day has not yet come.)

Have you ever received a gift that you had to remember the spirit in which it was given, because otherwise you would wonder what the heck the person was thinking?

 

Even Charlie Brown Questioned Christmas

Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown Christmas (Photo credit: Keegan Jones)

“I just don’t understand Christmas. Instead of feeling happy, I feel sort of let down.” ~ Charlie Brown from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, 1965

Maybe because it is December 13th I am not feeling my usual holly jolly self. Other bloggers are letting their inner Scrooges and Grinches out, so maybe this is my day to let the merriment go on without me. Even Charlie Brown questioned Christmas—we are expected to be happy, but sometimes we are not.

I understand why this is the most merry time of the year, but I also understand that it is not all that merry to some people. I have been one of those people on occasion—two years in a row I lost a parent in December—my mom first and a year later, my dad. That does not make for a holly jolly time. That was over twenty years ago now—and I still feel the pangs – I miss them especially at this time of year because we had some wonderful family Christmases that were not quite the same after they exited this planet Earth.

I have of course come up with some of my own traditions and I will never lose the spirit of Christmas, but some days take their toll, and no matter the season, you have to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The ugly has reared its majestic head this week, and I am busy eradicating it, but it does not go away just because it is the holidays. Just as Charlie Brown had to find the meaning of Christmas, I too must go in search of it today.

There is so much I love about Christmas. But I know that this time of year can be stressful. Even trying to be merry can put a bit of strain on us when reality keeps butting its head in. We have to deal with life even if this is a magical time of year—and in the end, I know that the merriment will win out.

Hope

Hope (Photo credit: bitzcelt)

Your Party Invitation Awaits

You are all invited to a Virtual Christmas Party!

christmas 2007

(Photo credit: paparutzi)No party is a party without a disco ball!

Date: December 15th

Where: Virtually Here

Why: It Is Christmas!

Theme: Come as your favourite author or character in a book.

Co-hosts: LouAnn  and Robin

Bring: Your favourite appetizer from the 1970′s

Music Provided by: Rodents and Rebels (my son’s rock and roll band).

Special Entertainment: Margaret Atwood. She promises to be festive!

Headliner: Vanessa Chapman  will be singing a song chosen just for the party.

Requirement: Description of your favourite author or character’s outfit,  your 1970’s appetizer recipe, and favourite song request.

The UK's favourite bird

Not really Robin! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robin Coyle (you probably remember her as the hostess of the first virtual cocktail party) and I have put our heads together to create some other fun activities to make this party rock—so choose one or two (or as many as you want) and be prepared to comment on them or provide a  pic on party night:

1.Provide a photo of an ugly Christmas sweater or if you are up to the challenge — provide a photo of a beautiful Christmas sweater;

2. Show us a photo (or stick drawing) of your favourite author or character in a book;

3. Don be shy—show us a photo of you dressed up as your favourite author or character;

4. Tell us  the worst line you have ever read from an annual Christmas newsletter;

5. Describe your best or worst Christmas memory (depending on your mood);

6. Tell us the title of your favourite Christmas themed book;

7.  Tell us about a Christmas tradition you want eradicated from this flat earth.

8. Create your own video or stand up or whatever your imagination conjures up. There will be kids at the party, so choose accordingly.

There you have it—choices galore.

I will be serving some shrimp cocktail in champagne glasses with cocktail sauce and champagne cocktails to toast the night with. So be there or be square!

English: A shrimp cocktail.

I was so touched to have a blog dedicated to a request I made–enjoy–I certainly did.

Published in: on December 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm  Comments (15)