Monday, December 30, 2013

Out With The Old

I believe I've had enough of 2013. Yes, there were good times, fun, and happy days. But there was a lot more stress, sadness, and difficulty than usual for me this year. I am determined to put all that behind me; to move forward into 2014 with a clean slate.

To that end, I have been cleaning house, both physically and mentally. Cleaning and organizing my home puts me in a positive frame of mind. I function better and feel more motivated when things are in order. Purging things I no longer use or need gives me room to enjoy those that I love. Eliminating clutter frees up time and space.

Tossing out old thoughts and negativity clears my head and opens up space for happiness and peace of mind. I'm keeping the lessons learned but losing the difficult experiences. I'm hanging on to happy memories but letting go of sadness. I'm steering away from negative people and moving toward those who make my life better. I'm purging old habits, excuses, and time wasters, so that I can be free to explore new paths.

These last few days of 2013 are for clearing out the old, so I'll have space for what comes in 2014.  Here's hoping for a Happy New Year full of joy and laughter!

Life is overflowing with the new. But it is necessary to empty out the old to make room for the new to enter.”  -- Eileen Caddy

Monday, December 23, 2013

Beach Music And A Blue Angel

What a fabulous Christmas gift to ourselves...a week on the beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama!  The house we rented, a gulf front cottage called Beach Music, sits on the Fort Morgan end of the peninsula. It was nicely equipped with wide windows, big screen TV, satellite, a fireplace, and wi-fi. No one stayed in the houses around us until the last two days.

It was chilly when we arrived, and we had one night in the lower 30's. So what? We put on hoodies and jackets, and walked the beach anyway. Most days were fine, from the upper 50's to 70. Sunsets were bright and colorful; the stars were amazing. December is perfect here, since there are no crowds and rates are at their lowest. Shopping was fun, and the seafood was mouth-watering. We ate at our favorite places, Mikee's and DeSoto's.

The Blue Angels are based just down the road in Pensacola, and we've seen them practicing several times when we visited Gulf Shores. This trip, we only saw one of them, but he gave us a private air show that made our day! We were walking the beach, no one else in sight. He flew low toward Mobile Bay and wagged his wing a little as he passed us, very close to the beach. Then, he came zooming back and just as he got to us, turned on the smoke and did a loop in his F-18. Couldn't get the phone camera up quickly enough for that one! Then he moved out further over the gulf and went through some other maneuvers. We did get a few shots of those.

The beach is my happy place, rain or shine. I must have seagoing ancestors, because since the first time I saw the beach, I have been drawn to the rhythmic sound of the waves and the breathtaking beauty of the sea and sky. 

I am renewed and relaxed, with a sense of peace and happiness. And that is what I wish for you this Christmas.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dreaming Of A White Sandy Christmas

I'm dreaming of a white sandy Christmas
Unlike the ones I usually know
Where the white sand glistens,
and we will listen
To hear the waves as we relax from head to toe.

I'm dreaming of a white sandy Christmas
In a beach house on the Gulf
Where the shrimp are fresh and crisp,
and we'll walk the beach
To watch the sunset, I can't get enough.  

(Sorry to Irving Berlin for trashing his beautiful song)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sentimental Christmas Decorations

Sentimental decorations are the best, don't you think? They bring back fond memories of Christmas past, especially friends and family we've lost. I added two items to my Christmas decorating this year, both inherited from my mother-in-law. Her Norfolk Island pine is now a Christmas tree for my sewing room. We gave her the little tree one year for her December birthday. The tiny lightweight ornaments include a thimble and thread spool painted with Santa faces.

Her adorable lighted Christmas Village, which was displayed on their hearth every year, now resides on the sideboard in our dining room. There's a church, station, hotel, school, shops, house, barn, and lots of little people, animals, cars, fences and trees. I love the handmade accessories crafted by my father-in-law: twigs painted with white to simulate snow covered trees, a mailbox, and a sleigh.

I'm still keeping my simple decorating rule, using only my favorite things like my cute ceramic Santa bears, the iron tabletop tree, and quilted accents. It doesn't take long to put up or take down our Christmas decorations, but there's something festive in every room.

The freezing rain and ice that accumulated on our pine trees early Sunday morning brought down a dozen fairly large limbs. We'll have to get out the tractor today to drag them down to the burn pile, but not before I cut lots of pine branches. Nature provided easy access for me to create fresh arrangements for the house.

"Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree."  ~ Charlotte Carpenter

Monday, December 2, 2013

Twelve Ways To Ease Holiday Stress

Keep everything simple - food, decorations, and gifts  

Pace yourself, don't over-promise your time

Who said everything has to be perfect? Good enough is fine

Enjoy interacting with people – give them your full attention

Let go of the need to control

Watch a funny Christmas movie with someone you love

Keep special traditions, but toss unimportant ones to make room for new memories

Limit time spent with negative people

Share laughter and joy

Do something spontaneous

Make time for yourself to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and listen to soothing music

Be aware of each moment, there's magic in Christmas and you don't want to miss it!


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