Sunday, December 27, 2015

A New Year and the Word: Thoughtfulness

New Year's Eve is quickly approaching, which may mean different things to different folks.  Whether it is a time to plan a big party with friends, go out on the town, or set aside some quiet reflection time, we all celebrate it in some manner.  Or we already have, by celebrating the Winter Solstice (a time of renewal and return of light) or will celebrate it at Naw Ruz at the vernal equinox (the new year for Baha'is and Iranians, meaning "new day" in Persian).  My husband and I tend to celebrate with our ritual dvd marathon.

My point is not the exact date we celebrate a new year, it's that we all do, in some manner, at least.  We celebrate, and then seem to need a time for reflection, to review what worked for us this past year, and what we'd like to change in the new. It's a time to questions our habits, and challenge ourselves to become better - in small ways or large.

The last two years I chose the words of Balance and Authentic.  To be honest, I could probably stick with those two words and work on them for the rest of my life!  However, in the spirit of trying to move forward, I'm choosing my word for 2016:


What I'm hoping to learn this next year is thoughtful spending habits, thoughtful use of resources, thoughtful relationships, thoughtful prayer habits, thoughtful eating habits. To be honest, I'm really not sure how this all will look, but I'm simply hoping to live thoughtfully.  Obviously this isn't a new idea, but I'm eager to embrace it - or attempt to do so.

Wishing you a thoughtful New Year!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Holidays

Celebrating "the holidays" can mean so very many things.

Surprisingly, I have no intention of boring you with research on what each of them means.  Instead, I simply offer the suggestion of embracing this time of year with an open heart, appreciating our differences, embracing our commonalities, and loving all of mankind.

We work and pray for the unity of mankind, that all the races of the earth may become one race, all the countries one country, and that all hearts may beat as one heart, working together for perfect unity and brotherhood.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 99)

We need to figure out, once and for all, that strife and divisions only weaken us.  Aren't we smart enough to learn how to set aside our pride and anger to save ourselves and our planet?

May the holiday that you celebrate bring an abundance of joy to your heart and and soul.
(From my friend, Pamm Horbit)

Vitruvian Park Holiday Lights Photograph

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Tips for a Calmer & Saner Holiday Season

Instead of googling for a list of tips to share for keeping the holidays sane, I realized that I might just have my own list to share. So much for looking for the experts on this!

1. Lists, lists, lists
     There are never too many lists unless, of course, you forget where you put them.  Keep them in one place, and refer to them often.  A list for all the gifts you want to buy or make, complete with columns for recipient's name, materials purchased or item ordered, completed or bought, wrapped, and then mailed or delivered. (Sometimes we get everything done except for making sure it gets to that person!)  Lists for special meals or gifts items.  Lists for ingredients to make those foods.  Lists of what you want to take to each family gathering.  Lists of last minute items, shopping, coupons.  Mark things on your calendar....the one that you'll actually see and carry with you.

2.  Start early
     It's already well into December, but never too late to tackle your lists.  NOTHING feels as good as having things all ready and you can sit and relax.  Using your tools in #1 (lists), work on what you can, every day.

3.  Enjoy each moment
     The whole point of our holiday celebrations is to enjoy them.  But if we're constantly worrying about the next event, or something we forgot, or trying to think of what to give as a gift, we are not available and present to enjoy what we're doing in the moment.  If you are buying a Christmas tree, really  BE there, smell the fir, smile at your family, embrace the moment.  Take time for a cup of cocoa by the fire, look at the Christmas lights.  If you are shopping, enjoy the festive atmosphere.

4.  Don't be afraid to say "no"
     Every party sounds wonderful, all the food looks enticing, each event will be fun.  But you simply do not have to do everything.  Don't guilt yourself into accepting every invitation.  It's okay to say "no" and to have breathing space in your schedule.

5.  Perfection is not in the word Christmas
     There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas.  So give yourself a break and relax.  You do not have to be perfect.  Maybe even repeat that to yourself every day.  Once you can finally embrace this concept, your holiday preparations will be so much more emjoyable.

And that's it - not too long of a list, I realize.  But it's how I stay sane.  Well, as sane as possible for me, anyway!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Making Christmas Gifts

The bad part of this week was breaking my little toe. The really good part was the enforced down time to ice it and keep it elevated. So time is being well spent working in Christmas presents, such as these zentangled coasters!