Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My 2010 Word

My word for 2010 came to me about a month ago. It's funny how when you decide on the word, you actually see/hear it often. You "own" your word. You actually say to yourself, "Hey, that's my word" when you hear or see it.

My word is SERENITY.

1. The state or quality of being serene, unruffled, tranquil.
2. Clearness, brightness.

So, what is it about SERENITY that makes it my word, you ask. Okay, so maybe you didn't ask, but as long as you're still reading, I'm assuming you're a little curious.

In 2008, I was involved with a mindfulness program as part of my wellness journey after breast cancer.  One of the things we learned in the program was meditation.  Although it wasn't an easy thing to learn (and I certainly haven't mastered it), I persisted and learned that there is an amazingly tranquil feeling you get when you meditate.  You can feel so rested without having slept.  I crave that tranquility in my life right now. 

I want to handle things in my life without getting flustered.  I know I'm better at that than I was a few years ago, but I want more of that.  I want to walk through my somewhat organized home and feel the tranquility.  I want to feel the goodness all around me and I know when you come from serenity, it's much easier to do.  I want to find the serenity in photography.  I know I've made a start, but I want more of it.  I want to feel the strength you feel when you are tranquil.

I thought about whether I wanted to have the word PEACE for my 2010 word (which is what my blog buddy Leanne had as her word of the year in 2008).  But SERENITY speaks to me as "peace within" if that makes any sense.  And I firmly believe that when you work on the peace within, you actuate peace all around. 

I have two dear friends who are also posting their Word for the Year today.  Please visit Leanne's blog and Cindi's blog for their words and what their thoughts are behind their choice.  And as I mentioned in yesterday's post, the original idea came from Ali Edwards.  You can read about her words here

I challenge you to come up with your word for the new year.  Make it something that inspires you.  Make it something that nags you, nudges you, tickles you.  Make it something that fills you with passion.  Just know that something as simple as a single word can have a huge impact on your life. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's the Word, Hummingbird???

2010 is fast approaching and as many of us do, we reflect on:
  • where the heck did the year go?? (yes, Virginia, it does speed up as you get older)
  • what did I accomplish this year (besides getting up in the morning and making a cup of tea)?
  • did I make it a good year?
  • what are my goals (a.k.a. resolutions) for the coming year?
Adding to that, might I humbly suggest you consider finding your word for 2010?

Early in my blogging career (y'like that??), I posted my thoughts about my 2009 word (which came about through my friend, Leanne).  She got the idea of the word for the year from a blog post by Ali Edwards (a.k.a. scrapbooker extraordinaire). Ali says, "a single word can be a powerful thing. It can be a ripple in a pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow." Take a minute to think about that statement alone. Have you ever heard a word, a single word that has an immediate effect on you? Either good or bad?? If so, you understand the power of a single word. I say, why not let the power of a single word work to your advantage? Why not let that single word have the power to focus you on what's most important to you in 2010?

This, my dear friends, is not an impossible mission. This, my dear friends, can actually have a cleansing effect.

So your mission, should you decide to accept it, would be to think of words that express what you want in or out of your life in 2010. But before you decide on THE word, sit on it for a day or two. As Ali says, "let it percolate a bit". Even if the words that pop into your head make no sense at the moment, don't toss them out right away. Write them down and ask yourself what they might mean to you. (You gotta give your subconsciousness some play time, y'know!!)

Need more inspiration? Visit Ali's blog post that lists links to all her previous Word of the Year posts.

My word??? I'll let you know tomorrow!  I've been blabbering on too much already.  Until then...enjoy your brainstorming.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Joy of Gift Giving - Part II

While finishing last minute shopping on the day before Christmas Eve, I found a stocking that practically screamed, "TAKE ME HOME WITH YOU." Although I initially resisted, I finally talked myself into it (or rather the grandmother of 7 sales clerk convinced me). Yes, it was totally an impulse buy. But you see, my younger grandson has recently found the wonderful world of Star Wars. And as if looking to capture my heart (yeah, like he even needed to try), his favorite character is also mine...Yoda.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I couldn't have felt more joy in giving this gift. Watching the excitement in his face as he enjoyed it was just about the best gift I've ever received. And although I still have a couple more Christmas get togethers to attend over the next couple of days, it is difficult to imagine that I will experience anything more satisfying than watching the excitement on my grandson's face.

I hope your Christmas Day turned out exactly the way you wanted it to be. Mine was!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Joy of Gift Giving

Here we are, the day before Christmas Eve (a.k.a., Christmas Eve Eve).  I've got the tunes on, enjoying the beautiful snow (isn't it always beautiful when you can stand at the window and enjoy it?!) and finishing the wrapping of the last of the Christmas gifts.  It has dawned on me that each year, I go thru the same thought process as I wrap gifts.

There's always that last minute "idea" that pops into my head..."Oh, I should have picked this up for..."  I think that's called doing your best work in the 11th hour.  I'm resisting that this year.  I'm not going out anymore.

So as I wrap each gift, I think about the recipient, what their reaction might be when they open it.  I inevitably question whether it was the smartest choice for a gift.  I hope and pray that they will be grateful for the thought behind the gift. 

You see, when I was newly married I had an experience that nearly crushed my soul when it came to gift giving.  Long story short, my husband was disappointed in the gift I'd gotten for him.  He had it in his head that I would get him...wait for it...the Atari PONG game.  This, after telling me NOT to get it.  It was just a matter of me not "reading" him correctly, I guess.  It happens with newlyweds.  As you can imagine, it caused a big fight.
On Christmas Day. 

That was a new experience for me...fighting on Christmas. 

You see, when I was around 8 years old, my sisters and I were given a couple of dollars to go to the local five and dime (the predecessor to the dollar store, for those of you who just said, "Huh??") and those couple of dollars had to stretch to cover six siblings and two parents.  Needless to say, my brothers and Dad got pocket combs.  And as much as they probably thought it was a lame gift, never once did I get the impression they were anything but grateful for the gift. 

Here's the point I'm working toward (I do digress, don't I?).  That saying "tis better to give than receive" really does carry some weight around the holidays.  Sure, it's fun to receive gifts.  But have you ever seen the look on a child's face when they've made something for you that they just KNOW you'll love??  Is that not just priceless??  They haven't yet felt the disappointment that comes when the receiver isn't really thrilled with what they got.  With some luck, they never will feel that disappointment. 

There truly is joy in giving gifts.  And sometimes, the reaction to the gift received could very well be the gift that the receiver gives the giver.  Keep that in mind when/if you receive a gift that isn't quite what you were expecting. 

I'm not sure I'll post anymore before Christmas (c'mon...let's look at my track record here!!!), so I want to wish each of my blog friends a joyous, love-filled Christmas.  Enjoy each gift that comes your way!  I know I've enjoyed the gift of your comments for the last six months.  It's the best gift I could have ever asked for!!

Merry, Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum

I was able to spend some time with my daughter and grandson this weekend.  We were in the car, radio on, headed to the store and my daughter said to Cormick (who was a bit cranky that day), "Tell Grandma what your favorite Christmas song is."  ... Silence... Nada... Not a word. (okay...still cranky).  Waited.  I finally said, I bet I know.  Does it have to do with a man who has a hat?  (thinking his fave was "Frosty").  ... Silence... Nada... Not a word.  So she and I continued to talk. 
All of a sudden we hear from the back seat, "Loud.  Mom.  Louder."  They had been waiting all week to hear the song on the radio. "...I play my best for him, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum..."  We sat listening to every word, singing to ourselves.  As we were eating dinner, I said to Cormick, "Do you know what my favorite part is?  Pa rum pum pum pum."  "I like that, too", he says with a huge smile.  Turns out he knows the story behind the song.  He knows why the "little boy drummer" plays the drum and who he plays the drum for.  Another "ahhhhhhh - life is good" moment. 
(little drummer boy pic grabbed from

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas, er, Winter Cards

Many people know that one of my hobbies is cardmaking.  It's sort of an offshoot from scrapbooking.  What it does is offer you a quick fix when you need to create and don't have a lot of time.  Well, every year I have good intentions to make my Christmas cards.  The theme is always snow, snowflakes, get it.  I've included a couple pics of previous years' cards.  (Boy, I've grown in my cardmaking skills!!!) 
I very much enjoy making the cards, but I know I should start much earlier in the year to get the cards completed.  But I don't.  As a result, most years my good intentions of getting these cards in the mail get, er, let's just say sidetracked.  The Christmas cards end up getting mailed the week between Christmas and New Year's.  So, I can't really call them Christmas cards, can I??  Among my fellow scrappers, it's now become standard practice to call the cards I send out at this time of year "Winter Cards".  I mean, it's not like they have a Christmas tree or Santa Claus on the card.  They have some form of snow on them.  And when you think about it, isn't it kinda nice to receive a card with a peaceful theme AFTER all the hustle and bustle of the holidays??  See??  I could very well be on to something here.
Well the good news is, I spent some time with some good friends in the Scrapbook Cellar yesterday and TA-DA!!!!!  I got some cards done.  This time, no two are alike.  Except for the greeting.  The greeting never changes.  I think it's one of the most beautiful messages we could hear, not just at Christmas/Winter time. 
Care deeply,
Give freely,
Think kindly,
Act gently,
And be at peace with the world.
This is the spirit of Christmas.

So, now all I need to do is get them addressed and into the mail. Hmmmmmm, I wonder if I can do that before Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Poker Chips

I have to admit, I have probably started a half dozen posts and none came alive as I typed.  So that's the reason I'm so late in posting something new.  But my dear friend, Leanne, posted something on her blog that got me to thinking about a topic that is so important for the survival of each and every one of us.  And even more so during a season that is filled with so much happiness and at the same time, so much sadness. 
When my daughter was in college, she wrote a paper about giving kids encouragement and praise to build up their bank account of self-esteem.  This was based on a book by Rick Lavoie called "When the Chips Are Down."  She and I affectionately refer to the whole concept as "poker chips" and  we still have conversations about the necessity to accumulate poker chips.  Jack Canfield, the originator of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series maintains that it's not just kids who need poker chips.  We all do. 
Just as Leanne mentions in her blog, I no longer watch the news.  Do you remember back when one of the local networks would end their newscast on a positive note?  Always a story that would make you laugh or sigh a happy "life is good" sigh.  They might still do it for all I know.  I just think more people need more of that in their lives. 
The point I'm trying to make here is this:  Is it all that difficult to come up with positive, uplifting things in your everyday life?   The law of attraction tells us that what we think is what we draw to us.  Whether or not you believe in that (I'd love to hear how it's any different from prayer) it certainly couldn't hurt, right? 
Just think about stand in the brightness of a warm sun and it lights you up, energizes you.  Conversely, you stand in a dreary, cold does that make you feel?  Don't you do the same thing with your thoughts?
I'm making a conscious decision to think of "feel good" things (or as one of my Texas friends would say, "chicken soup" things) that warm my soul.  I'm approaching this like it's an infection...the best possible infection that could be spread.  You with me???

Poker image courtesy of