Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year...

Darling Daughter, Aunt J-ME, and Hubby Dearest, November 2011
Photo by: Christina Calderon @ Christina Kay Photography

From my little gang to yours, Happy New Year. Thank you for your support this year in this endeavor to write through my grief. This blog and you have helped ease the pain in my heart a little bit each day. My little online journaling has given my family an entry into my mind and feelings that I could not have provided in any other way. Stay tuned for me to get back into my regular programming like, Try Something New Tuesdays, My Happiness Project, Family Night and Write on Wednesdays! Be safe, be loved, and be yourself beautifully. As I used to tell my students before each break, "Don't do anything that would make me cry and don't get dead. I expect to see you all back here when break is over. Chocolate Milk!"

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Poem Inspired By a Song

In 2011, I...

Lost my sister soul mate on the side of a highway,
Got stuck inside my head with the grief,
Thought I might lose my way,
Needed a group of friends and family to pull me through.

This is where the Savior meets a need
This is where the best of the best survive
This is what I really didn't know
This is where the truth comes alive

I found out who my friends are
They're the ones who dropped everything.
They ran to my side and to my family.
They did not dawdle or waiver.
They never put their needs in front.
They are friends of the present and what I thought was the past.
Always with a kind word and love to fill my heart from theirs.
They are still with me every day.
I found out who my friends are.

Held my friend when her sister followed mine,
Ran to her side to be her rock,
Did all I had seen done for me and mine,
Needed to be the family my friend needed.

This is where the Savior meets a need
This is where the best of the best survive
This is what I really didn't know
This is where the truth comes alive

I found out who my friends are
They're the ones who dropped everything.
They ran to my side and to my family.
They did not dawdle or waiver.
They never put their needs in front.
They are friends of the present and what I thought was the past.
Always with a kind word and love to fill my heart from theirs.
They are still with me every day.
I found out who my friends are.
Everybody wants to be your friend,
Wants to hold your hand,
When life is an easy going float along,
But let your boat sink,
And break through the surface of that water you're drowning in,
See who's got their hand held out.

This is where the Savior meets a need
This is where the best of the best survive
This is what I really didn't know
This is where the truth comes alive

I found out who my friends are
They're the ones who dropped everything.
They ran to my side and to my family.
They did not dawdle or waiver.
They never put their needs in front.
They are friends of the present and what I thought was the past.
Always with a kind word and love to fill my heart from theirs.
They are still with me every day.
In 2011, I found out who my friends are.

I am praying 2012 has more high points than low. Be blessed, Friends. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursdays are Happiness Reports: Focus on Family and Friends Month End

Wrapping up 2011 with my updated happiness project report and getting ready to tackle 2012. For the month of December, I spent time focusing on family and friends. I made a point to have heart-felt conversations with everyone I hold dear. I tried to make everyone at least one home-made gift so as to give each person a part of my heart. I made a point to be present at every event we had planned this month and tried with my whole heart to be fully involved.

Because I have been feeling like this endeavor to follow a plan to make happiness is lagging, I also started re-reading Gretchen Ruben's Happiness Project. Below you will find an updated plan for my project. I am essentially going to start over and use the book's plan for the year. Since most of ours match up, I am just rearranging when I focus on one item.

Thank you for continuing to support this little bit of crazy each day! Visit my blog each Thursday to see how My Happiness Project is going! Here's the plan by month so far:
  • January--BOOST ENERGY
  • September--PURSUE A PASSION
  • October--PAY ATTENTION

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wrapping Paper...huge waste

So last week, I posed a question if anyone else felt the time, effort and money spent on wrapping paper is a waste. I weigh in with a resounding HELL YES!

First of all, my OCD-ish tendencies make me have to have a theme every year, complete with matching bows, tags and even ink color for writing names. I'm not very good at it secondly but try really hard and always feel less than adequate. This year found me sitting in our office floor after hours of working at wrapping boo-hoo-ing and darling daughter coming to my rescue. I would say it is all worth it except that it is not.

We actually teach our kiddos to rip into the paper and make a huge mess. Bags might be the solution but I have no fondness for such trappings. I am considering spending my time next year hiding presents like a scavenger or Easter egg hunt. Make it an adventure!

What is your opinion?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, friends and family! Today, I share the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible. Matthew Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 through verse 12
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The Magi Visit the Messiah
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Chistmas Eve (and 6th Day of Christmas Week)

Today's post is "Twas The Night Before Christmas." I always read it as if I am singing it along to ChopStix on the piano. We sang this in fourth grade when I was in the school's choir, and it has stuck with me all these 25+ years!

Twas the Night before Christmas
by Clement Clark Moore (no relation)

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry 5th Day of Christmas Week

"The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much." Henry David Thoreau

It's sadly amusing to sit back and remember about Christmas. It's sad because I have always thought that our family somehow was missing something because we didn't have strong traditions and ceremony. It's amusing because, now that someone is missing, I realize too late that we do have those established practices and now they all change.

Our Top 10 Traditions, A Listography
10. The hubster and darling daughter brought us the Christmas Eve delivery from the Pajama Elf.
  9. I make some sort of Christmas ornament for everyone (this year it's painted by hand).
  8. Gayla and the men go fishing while Mama and I take Darbster to the movies.
  7. Dana Sister brought us the Christmas Eve breakfast for dinner.
  6. Hubby Dearest buys me bubble wrap as a gift because everyone becomes a kid around BW!
  5. Gayla, Bubba and I pitch in to buy big gifts for Mama and Daddy.
  4. We drive around the ritzy neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights.
  3. Gayla receives something to keep her warm; Chad gets something for fishing; Darby receives something from A&M; I get a penguin something; Dana recieves something turtle-ish; Daddy gets something with bumble bees; and Mama gets jewelry or electronics we spend the rest of the year helping her use (:-).
  2. We raid the dollar tree and the $1 aisles for stocking stuffers.
  1. We have a fish fry for Christmas dinner.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry 4th Day of Christmas Week!

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."--Burton Hillis, columnist and author

The Moore's, Christmas 2007 (one of us was a Hunter)
Today's Christmas Memory: Christmas with the Moore's seems to be an all-week affair. We have just always loved being together (maybe the teen years were an exception). So today's memory is of the year that Gayla and I, still in our 20's, awoke to have our Christmas gift explosion with Mama, Daddy and Bubba only to find our cars loaded for us and our engines warming. Daddy had seen the weather and a freak ice storm was about to hit Texas.

The freezing precipitation was already falling and roads were slicking up. I hate to drive anyway so this was not going to be the fun holiday we had hoped (especially since we weren't getting any of our Mama's best stuffing in the world for lunch!). Like a NASCAR pro, I drafted behind Sister's pick up the whole way home with ice and snow falling all around us. Our usual three-hour trip took five. The fun thing about drafting...I used less than a half of a tank to travel almost 200 miles! Gayla, poor thing, emptied her tank ... hehehehehe.... OOPS!

Every year that we would take these
photos for our Mama, there would
always be one where the three
 of us were misbehaving.
Gayla and I had Whataburger that evening and celebrated Christmas together. Poor Mama, Daddy and Bubba were iced into that house for almost two weeks with not electricity or water. Daddy is sweet though. He tells stories of heating water, using his camp stove, for Mama to bathe and scavenging for candles, something we never thought important to have. To this day, they have a storehouse of candles in case that ever happens again. I swear we have the best parents just because they love each other so much!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry 3rd Day of Christmas Week

Matthew 2:9-11 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

It was this first offering of great love that spurred forth our (sometimes excessive) tradition of giving each other gifts at Christmas. BTW...someone made a good point...He was cold and without proper shelter...why not a blanky and some food! You should research the information out there about the symbolism of these three's interesting if you don't already know it. However, I was more interested in what would be the modern day equivalent. This is what I reasoned out in my squirrely little brain: Gold=Gold ( almost $1,600 an ounce, who wouldn't want a little ka-ching and bling!), F and M=perfume and incense (both were burned because of their aromatics). I would consider all three very fine gifts but would still prefer food, shelter and a blanket or sweater.

Today's Christmas Memory: Christmas traditions while growing up in small-town east Texas in the 70's, 80's and 90's consisted of a few standards. One of those was the Christmas tree. When we were still very young, I remember driving down country roads helping Daddy scout out a "Seater" tree (I was certain it would look like a chair and wondered how we would decorate it). In later years, we would buy our cedar at the tree lot. One year, Daddy took the tree out in the back yard and threw a lit match on the used, dead tree to show us how quickly it would catch fire. Even though it only took a second, the flash was so hot that I could feel the heat through the bay window in our kitchen. With that little demonstration and my allergies, that was when we went to fake trees. To me, traditions are alive. They change and evolve each year. For instance, I can totally see having an "As Seen On TV" gift exchange with the family we have chosen since this year was such a success. I do hope, however, that I find my Christmas spirit next year and don't have a repeat of hiding from the Christmas decor like this year. That would be a no bueno tradition.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry 2nd Day of Christmas Week

"Christmas is love in action. Every time we love,
every time we give, it's Christmas."--Dale Evans

My MOST Favorite Photo of
Daddy and Mama,
circa 1993.
Exactly forty-two years ago today, My Mama and My Daddy married their soul mates and best friends. At 9 p.m. in the West Side Church of Christ in New Boston, they promised to love, honor and cherish one another for all time. They have survived great joys and great losses these many years, and they have done it together. I am so very thankful for Mama and Daddy and the sterling example they set for their children in their marriage. Because they loved each other, and because they taught us how to love and be loved, we are the people you see today. Because of them, we live to our fullest in both our heartaches and our joys. Happy Anniversary to you both, my lovelies. My whole heart is yours forever because you made it so.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry First Day of Christmas Week!

Luke 2:4-7 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus was the son of God, died on the cross for our salvation and rose after three days to be with his Father. I am not, however, intolerant naive, so I also believe that each of us has our own faith and our own relationship with God. I came to mine through Jesus. I love that others came to Him on other paths. I love to hear about those ventures because it reminds me that He loves us all and doesn't care how we get to His house as long as we get there. I mostly love that the only path that doesn't lead to His house is the one where you do nothing and believe nothing. Even I, who gets lost in her own neighborhood, can avoid that ONE path!

Christmas memory of the day: When we were really young (Bubba was only a few months old), we lived in Wake Village on Ellen in a tiny house filled with three children under the age of six and Mama and Daddy. Gayla and I shared a room that we both thought was enormous but 8 mm film shows to be teeny tiny.

The first Christmas I remember is that one. I remember waking up to a clatter in the kitchen and instantly knew Santa was doing what he does best. I was excited beyond measure and crawled over into Sister's bed to wake her up.

"Gayla, SANTA IS HERE!" I whispered as I shook her and hugged her at the same time. She told me to shush and pretend I was asleep or he would leave and not deliver everything. Frightened of this horrific tragedy, I quickly and quietly scrambled back into my own bed and squeezed my eyes shut tight.

It might have been a few hours or a few minutes later, Mama and Daddy woke us up with the bright light of that 8 mm camera ready to capture our surprise for posterity. The rest of this memory is what I see in that precious treasure of film each year. Sister and I run through a gamut of gifts: a tunnel for crawling through, a table and bench seat toy boxes, beautiful blond baby dolls as big as us (whose hair net was just as fun to play with as the doll), and so very much more.

The smiles and silent laughter are the gems I clutch this year and play on repeat over and over in my mind's eye. The scene where Gayla pulls that mesh net from her dolly's hair over her own head so that it smushes her nose in particular pulls at my heart. I so badly want to go back to that Christmas and hug my Gayla and hold on to her so tight. I want to stay snuggled up to her and pretend we are asleep and waiting for Santa to finish his delivery.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wah-Oh! I'm Not Just Like My Mother...I am Just Like My Grandmother!

Mama and Nanny at our wedding shower in 2007.
My mother called me Wednesday to let me know that my Nanny is in the hospital with multiple blood clots (don't google will freak you out!). Now before you start tsking and worrying about how we are holding up, let me say Nanny is 83 years, nine months, and some odd days young and has been slowly doing the deterioration shuffle for a few years. It makes me sad to watch her go through what I have already seen Hubby Dearest's Granny go through to her passing, and I pray, pray, pray Nanny will not suffer.

I am, however, a little worried that when Nanny is finally allowed to rest eternally that she is going to be slightly miffed to be met at the gates of heaven by Gayla. I hope she realizes we didn't see how sharing sister's tragic death with her would have helped her quality of life. I am also hoping that I am right by telling Darling Daughter that ghosts don't exist because after living here on earth our souls don't want to stick around to just mess with people by opening and closing doors all the time...just in case Nanny is REALLY miffed.

Nanny has lived a long and colorful life with two late husbands, two loving and intelligent children, two caring affectionate children-in-law whom she has loved as if they were born to her, five grandchildren and their loving spouses and five great-grandchildren. She helped raise her sisters and brothers during the Depression and told us funny stories about living in the country. Nanny worked at the army depot in her young adulthood but was a stay-at-home mother for the most part.

When I was little, Nanny and I, to put it gently, butted heads a bit. I thought (and still believe) she favored Gayla over me, and occasionally my sass-a-frASS would show and get me into a mouthy debate with her. It wasn't all bad...I have been thinking about Nanny today and letting all the good things flow. Here's what keeps popping up:

She would perm my bone straight hair the day before school pictures, which I hear is what she used to do to my mother as well. She made me any number of crocheted sweaters and two crocheted dolls, Strawberry Shortcake and a baby doll I called Samantha, both of which I still have. Nanny even taught me to crochet with help from my left-handed Mama. She taught me about sewing and cooking and would always let me dust her living room with Pledge.

Bless her heart! Nanny tried on multiple occasions to keep all of us grand kids at the same time but seemed to always end up not feeling well with what we now call an IBS attack. I used to ask my Mama, "Is Nanny allergic to us?" Nanny introduced me to my love of coffee on those overnight visits as well as my love for crafting...what else do you do with five children in a two bedroom house for the weekend? She taught us all to climb the trees in her back yard and supervised us when we raced around the garden on Papa's home-made go-cart.

When I was four and Gayla had taught me how to copy the words "I love you" from her paper, I wrote it on EVERYTHING. I remember making Nanny and Papa a card with my one-liner scribbled in it with hearts and flowers. I also remember her telling my mother I must be some prodigy genius to already know how to read and write without schooling. I wish Mama had let her believe that for a little while because it made me proud that she was amazed by me.

Every summer I couldn't wait for Nanny and Papa to harvest purple hull peas from their garden so we could have ham, peas and cornbread with cantaloupe for dinner. I would sit there for hours shelling peas and helping Nanny bag them for freezing and cooking. At one family reunion, Nanny's sister's dog (NO LIE! A little bulldog in a diaper) chased my scared-of-dogs butt from one end of the campsite to the other with me screaming like a monster was chasing me. That afternoon, Nanny sent peas and ham over to our campsite to make me feel better.

At Christmas, Nanny made sugar cookies in the shapes of bows, wreaths, stockings, circles and bells. She would then coat them in a thin sugary, colorful shell of icing (Like crack cookies before crack cookies were crack cookies). Nanny also taught us to take plastic grids cut into Christmas shapes and create ornaments with a long needle and crochet yarn.

One of the times Nanny was her sweetest with me was when one of these four-inch needles accidentally went through the bottom of my foot. I might have been in shock because I don't remember it hurting but thought it looked really strange protruding from the bottom of my foot with the yarn still laced through the eye. Without so much as a blink, Nanny reached down and yanked out the needle and yarn. She had me prop up my foot with an ice bag held to my foot with an ace bandage. She may have yelled at the offending grandchild who had left the needle on the floor, which is always a plus among cousins and siblings in those situations. I think I just remember being thankful she wasn't yelling at me for once.

The summer after my Papa passed away at Christmas, Mama and Daddy decided Nanny should go with us on our vacation to Bull Shoals. We all rode in Nanny's motor home and talked to someone on the CB Radio (like cell phones before cell phones were cell phones). Nanny gave us each "handles." Gayla was Engine Number 1, Bubba was Caboose and I was Center Stage. She may have been taking a dig at my over-dramatization of life, but I chose to believe at the time that she thought I was charming and adorable and entertaining enough to be on the center stage in a circus.

I hope I loved on Nanny enough in this lifetime so that she knows how much she means to me. I pray she is embraced in heaven with the healing love of our Father without suffering here on earth. I am not looking forward to a life without her in it. May God bless her and keep her always. I love you, Nanny.

UPDATE: Mama messaged me yesterday that Nanny was going back to her nursing home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Because I like to imagine that I am a famous blogger like the Bloggess or Flourish in Progress or the Pioneer Woman and that I secretly have tons of fans, I am just going to assume that y'all are thinking this is like "Simon Says" and you are waiting for me to say "Aunt J-Me says do something nice today." It would crush my spirit if no one participated in my first give-away! I promise you'll like the prize and love the feeling it gives you to change the world.

If you don't know what I am talking about, read yesterday's entry. Big hugs!

Aunt J-Me says, "Do Something Nice Today!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Do Something Nice Today...

I hear on the radio every morning that in order to get into the holiday spirit, you should do something for someone else. At the end of last week's "Raising Hope," the funny little calling card said, "Do something nice today." My hero Ellen Degeneres always ends her show with, "Be kind to one another." There's even a wonderful foundation called "Pay it Forward" that states its purpose is "any person a favor for another person-- without any expectation of being paid back. Indeed one would request that the recipient of that favor do the same for someone else: ideally for three other people."

With all this support and encouragement to do good, why is our world not a better place yet? My late sister Gayla gave of her time and earnings to Habitat for Humanity and The American Heart Association. When sister was taken from us, our family asked for donations in lieu of flowers to either of these organizations. My brother and I secretly dreamed that there would be a home built with donations in honor of our sister. Yesterday, I took up my older sister's goodwill and began my tenure volunteering with a homeless shelter for children. It somehow eased my broken heart a tiny bit to do for others as Gayla would have done. In the spirit of the season and because I just want us to all live in a better world, I am throwing down a challenge today! DO SOMETHING NICE!

I am listing a few ideas but would love to hear all about what you come up with. Let's all go out and change the world today. Make sure you're a fan of my page and post a comment telling us all about your world-changing endeavor. On Friday morning (in Texas), I'll pick one comment at random and send you a pressie!

1. Donate to City House, Plano's emergency youth shelter at
2. Buy a Walmart Gift Card and give it to someone in need this season.
3. Pay for the car behind you in the drive through.
4. Donate your good-condition-but-never-used, clean coats and blankets to your local homeless shelter.
5. Rake your neighbor's yard and bag up the debris.
6. Smile at everyone you come into contact with today and pay them a sincere complement.
7. Call your mother and father and have a genuine, heart-felt visit; go see them if you can!
8. Go to your local nursing home and visit with the residents.
9. Donate to your local Girl/Boy Scouts.
10. Sign up for the national organ and tissue donor registry.

I am excited to see how you change the world today!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Try Something New Tuesdays: Skipping Christmas (decorations)

Well, it's kinda negative trying something new. I have reasoned myself into convincing myself if I just don't say anything, then we won't have to decorate for Christmas this year. I really do tell myself, "Just keep still and maybe they won't notice the tree isn't up." So far, I have made it to day 13 without failing. The shopping is done, and I am even hiding the wrapped pressies out of sight. I am such a bad person. I'll try to be better. Like for next week, I am getting a tan in I don't glow in the dark at Sosie's wedding...:-)!

What are you doing new? Tried anything wonderful lately? Anything not so wonderful?

The list isn't growing but is shrinking! Got anything you suggest I try?

· pomegranates
· making jam
· Russian cuisine
· New Boston Pioneer Days
· business travel all in one day
·Be an insane sideline mom with glittery sign and all
· kayaking
· 5k training to eventually RUN a 5k
· mud bath
· get a tan in December
· Zumba
· Ballroom dancing class
· Watch a Bollywood movie at a Bollywood theater
· Quilting
· Take Darby to see a Midnight show of Rocky Horror
· Participate in a flash mob
· Boot Camp
· Art Class
· Dance on a Bar
· Puerto Rican food
· Meditate at a Buddhist temple
· Volunteer at a homeless shelter
· be a tourist in my own town
· snow ski
· order and eat hash browns "all the way" at Waffle House
· Make a Funny Face Book
· Brag on myself

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Got More Than My Fair Share of Hips; Does that Qualify Me as a Hipster?

There's a billboard on 121 near the Colony with a balding baby boomer wearing an Hawaiian shirt and playing an electric guitar. The tag line says, "Getting a new hip does not necessarily make you hipper." I laugh (...does that make me old?).

Yesterday was spent with Sosie and M and J trying to educate me to what "hipsters" are. Apparently, the only hips I am familiar with are attached to my lower half because it is widely accepted among my gang that I have no sense for fashion or music or trendy movies. It makes me think, "If I am so uncool in every way, can I just say I am doing it ironically and call myself a hipster?"

Urban Dictionary defines hipster as ".. a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter...Although "hipsterism" is really a state of mind,it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs."

Funnily enough, Wikipedia pretty much defines the Hippie culture of the 60s in the same way...almost plagiarism-esque. Which brings me to my point. If that Senior on the billboard is not "hip" or "with it" now, then all those little whipper-snapper-hipsters of today have only to look forward to their grandchildren emulating them in fifty years and calling them uncool.

I! LOVE! IT! You know why; because I am not cool now, and I won't have to defend myself when I am uncool then. I am cool with being uncool. It makes my teen laugh. What's the most uncool thing you do? I write this blog and sometimes draw stick figures for my illustrations...wait...that's pretty cool in my book!

Friday, December 9, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

Christmas carols on the radio, especially Silent Night, and singing along like a pro
Warm cozy blankets and the smell of fresh snow, as long as there's no place to go
Praying continuously over the recipient when making a home-made pressies
          and imagining all the life they will witness
These are a few of my favorite things

Fun colored nail polish and crisp ironed men's shirts
Wind chimes in a breeze and rain on the roof and coffee with flavored creamers
The look of pure joy that family and friends have when receiving
          surprises they weren't expecting
These are a few of my favorite things

Real smiles on my loves' faces with gafaws of their laughter
JibJab videos I made last year with my family
Staring at this beautiful picture of my darling daughter and dreaming of her future
These are a few of my favorite things

When my heart breaks
When my tears fall
When I'm feeling sad/bad/mad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so sad/bad/mad

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursdays are Happiness Reports: Focus on Family and Friends

For my happiness project this month, I am focusing on my family and friends. For this first week, I am making it a point to have meaningful conversations with all those I love. Mama and I chit-chatted on the phone for more than an hour last night, and it just made my heart so much lighter. Sosie and I visited this morning and, even with the tears, it brightened my day to laugh with her and hear her voice. Annie-bo-bannie and I even knocked a visit out yesterday morning while she drove with her hands free thingy. In a time of technology like we live in now, we should be the most communicative people to have ever walked this earth. My phone bill will probably be outrageous this month, but it is making me happy to "reach out and touch someone" (that little ditty definitely shows my age!).

Thank you for continuing to support this little bit of crazy each day! Visit my blog each Thursday to see how My Happiness Project is going! Here's the plan by month so far:
  • August--being organized
  • September--eating healthier
  • October--having energy (hang my head in shame at the failure)
  • November--being thankful (SUCCESS!)
  • December--focusing on family and friends
  • January--focusing on marriage
  • February--focusing on parenting
  • March--being creative
  • April--being helpful
  • May--working smarter
  • June--being adventurous
  • July--loving Jaimee 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Write on Wednesdays: Nine Ladies Dancing

It's been a month, but I am back Gill! INKPAPERPEN gives us an awesome prompt for this week! I am a little shocked at what came out when I started writing. I pray my mother and father will forgive me.

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 27 - Mel suggested that we look at the "12 Days of Christmas" poem/song and select one of the days/lines for our writing inspiration. So, whether a Partridge in a Pear Tree or Five Golden Rings, write your line at the top of your page, set your timer for 5 minutes and write the first words that come into your head.

"Nine Ladies Dancing" refers to the nine beatitudes

Matthew 5: 3-12--"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when [men] shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you."

I first learned of the beatitudes from a group of women at Northwest Bible Church. I had just moved to Dallas after graduation and a friend from Denton Bible Church had given my name to the ladies in hopes that I would be able to find a new church home in Dallas. They called me up on a Monday and left a voice mail that they were meeting on Tuesday and would I join them. The first lesson was the beatitudes. It's interesting that that group of young women numbered nine as well. 

This is one of the rare times in my life that still gives me chills to remember. That Monday night, I had given up and was contemplating letting my chronic depression win finally. I had made arrangements via letters to my family and even packed my belongings to make it easier to dispose of my life once it was over. However, the red blinking light of my answering machine caught my attention and brought me back from that non-returnable brink of disaster.

The young woman's voice still plays in my head even today, "Hi, Jaimee, this is Elizabeth. You don't know me, but I got your name from Amy at DBC. Jaimee, this is going to sound strange, but I have an almost panicked feeling that you need to call me back as soon as you hear this message. Please call me. Let's get together. We want you to join our young ladies studies. Please, please, please call me, Jaimee."

I hit my knees and cried like my soul needed to wash away my previous selfishness. After a few hours, I calmed enough to call Elizabeth back. We made plans for the next evening. I don't think I ever told her that she saved me from myself that night. I just say a prayer of thanks each night for a young woman who doesn't even know that she changed the world that night in 1997.

If you've ever thought of suicide, please reach out and ask for help. Life is too precious to give up before you get to see all the beautiful times. I am blessed that someone acted on the weight that He placed on their heart to reach out. I would have missed out on true love, being a mom, being a teacher, seeing my nephews be born, meeting and being a part of my group of friends, and helping my family survive this last year. There is so much that we don't see that is worth living for when depression tells us its ugly untruths. If you suffer, please get help.

In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Try Something New Tuesdays: I have been busy!

Since last month was spent writing thank you notes to everyone, I didn't get to write about all the new things I have been trying! A quick list:

1. I am now a hockey wife in addition to a hockey mom! I have a glittery sign and cow bell to make myself a right crazy pest.

2. My hubby dearest paid me the sincerest compliment, and I am so proud! He called me a free spirit! I think it's the being proud part and telling everyone that is the new stuff.

3. Zig zag crochet took four tries and re-starts to finally get this going for my Bubba's Christmas pressie, but now I am rocking and and zagging?

4. Yesterday I watched a YouTube video tutorial on the basket weave crochet pattern and am rocking it right out of the gate! I think this one will be for MyMama.

5. I began writing a journal of letters to Darling Daughter. Sometimes I write about something that happened that day; mostly I write down the little life lessons I want her to know. Depending on when it fills up, she could get it for graduation, on her wedding day, at the birth of her first child, or in the event of my passing. In any case, I want her to have a legacy of Jaimee-isms.

6. I received a Sock Puppet named Arrrrgyle the Pirate as one of my birthday wishes (THANKS SOSIE!) and I love to make videos of him being snarky. I have made a music video or two as well. I think this is what inspired HD's comment about me being a free spirit. fun side note: during our walk this morning, I was singing the theme to Rocky and HD started doing the fist pump jog and even jumped up on a bench in triumph...i think my essence is catching!

7. Starbucks has these little chocolate and cream cake cookies called Whoopie Pies! TO! DIE! FOR! It's everything in my being not to shout,  "I want to make Whoopies!" (70's reference to the Newlywed Game that no one seems to get)

8. My attempt at making Darling Daughter a quilted comforter for her room is incomplete (short on backing material) and laying in a heap on our living room floor. I had such a good beginning...but fizzled out. Boo!

9. OPI has a line of nail polish for The Muppet movie, and DD and I have tried out the red glittery "Getting Miss Piggy With It." You have to layer on a color of some kind as a base coat for it to really shine through. I feel like I have Dorothy's ruby slippers on each of my fingers. I think I will get the blue one for Sosie's wedding!

10. While walking with HD each morning, I make myself run at first. The first couple of days I made it half way down our block. This morning I made it to the end of our block. This counts as training for my 5K in my mind!

What are you doing new? Tried anything wonderful lately?
The list isn't growing but is shrinking! Got anything you suggest I try?

· pomegranates
· making jam
· Russian cuisine
· New Boston Pioneer Days
· business travel all in one day
·Be an insane sideline mom with glittery sign and all
· kayaking
· 5k training to eventually RUN a 5k
· mud bath
· banya (not just food; they have a spa too)
· Zumba
· Ballroom dancing class
· Watch a Bollywood movie at a Bollywood theater
· Quilting
· Take Darby to see a Midnight show of Rocky Horror
· Participate in a flash mob
· Boot Camp
· Art Class
· Dance on a Bar
· Puerto Rican food
· Meditate at a Buddhist temple
· Volunteer at a homeless shelter
· be a tourist in my own town
· snow ski
· order and eat hash browns "all the way" at Waffle House
· Make a Funny Face Book
  • Brag on myself