A Little Caffeine

A Little Caffeine

Each morning when I prepare my cup of hot tea, I use the time as a moment of reflection.

Sometimes I think about the tasks to complete on that day or I review in my mind events from the previous day.

Many times I use this time to think about events in the past and how those events have influenced where we are now in life.

Everything has a correlation.

The little jolt of caffeine from my tea also helps my brain wake up and see the connections.

It is important to take stock of ourselves, our thoughts, our actions, our goals and dreams.

It’s like making a grocery list that we can check off and use to remind us of what we need and what we don’t.

If you have a hard time collecting your thoughts about the multitudes of things we are responsible for or would like to accomplish — using your tea (or coffee) time is the best place to start.

  1. Brew your favorite tea or coffee.
  1. Use cups you like to drink from-something that is uniquely you.
  1. Breathe deeply and relax.
  1. Focus on the warmth of your cup and let your mind wake up to your thoughts.
  1. Listen to what your mind is telling you.
  1. Practice directing your thoughts to the things you are grateful for.
  1. Allow your thoughts to flow freely but be conscious of when you need to redirect your reflection back to positive things about your past, present or future.

It does take a little practice to train your brain to direct itself to some positive reflection but over time you will find that it helps to order your day and your future goals.

The added benefit of a little caffeine gets your brain activated and firing on your synapses and can many times help you see things more clearly.

All from a few minutes over a lovely cup of tea.

Enjoy your day!

Deck The Halls

Deck The Halls

It has become our family tradition to put up the Christmas tree and the decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Since the birdies have left the nest, it was just me and the hubby doing the honors.

I have always liked an artificial tree and my husband prefers a real tree–and over the years we have had both, but I finally convinced him that an artificial tree is better for us because of our (read my) allergies and the mess of pine needles a real tree leaves behind.

So last year we bought one that even has the lights already on it!

While I was at it, I also bought all new ornaments in a country theme–and the results were spectacular.

To top it off my husband surprised me with a beautiful old fashioned country angel for the top!

So this year I was very excited to put it all up again!

We set up the tree and my 3 (count them! 3!) nativity sets and we were very pleased with the results.

A pleasant hush came over the house as even the doggies were impressed with the decorations!

It is really the simple things in life that makes all the difference in our hurry up run around life.

This time of year reminds me of the importance of family and traditions.

But it also reminds me how wonderful this American life is that we can have traditions about a tree and a barn that promises love, hope and charity to close out each year.

For This I Am Thankful

For This I Am Thankful

There is nothing like getting older to really put your life in perspective and to show you how to be humble, grateful and thankful for all we have.

And there is no better time than Thanksgiving to reflect and share those thoughts with others.

I am thankful for my family. My mom and dad who gave me life, good examples, education and purpose. My sister, who is not just family but my trusted friend. My husband who travels this journey with me as confidant, companion, friend and champion. Our daughters who have taught us the importance of living. My nieces and nephews that renew my motherhood. And all the other family members and friends who have added to my development and joy to be who I am today.

I am thankful to be an American, to live in a country that is free, strong and prosperous. A country in which we have a right to our lives, our liberty and to pursue our individual happiness.

I am thankful to all our military, past and present, who are willing to lay their life down to preserve the values of our founding fathers and keep our way of life alive.

And I am thankful for God who made all of this possible.

Wherever you are and whoever you are with–Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Santa Has It Right

Santa Has It Right

Tis the week of Thanksgiving and all we hear is on its way…is another busy run around Black Friday!

Silly me, what was I thinking going out this weekend to the stores? Well I was thinking I just wanted to get a look at what is available this year.

Maybe, I thought, I’d find a clever hostess gift for my sister who is hosting Thanksgiving next week.

Boy was I ever wrong! Even Walgreens has Christmas trees and Christmas stuff wall to wall.

And this is what I found…a lot of people walking around, just like me, a little overwhelmed with the impending season.

It’s a mixed up time! We are all looking forward to Thanksgiving so that the commercial Christmas season can begin–although it really began about 5 weeks ago.

Santa has it right…he is a wise old elf. He stays, safely in the North Pole, away from, well…everything and everyone and he concentrates on his job: making a list and checking it twice.

Then Santa makes sure that each person on his “Good” list has a little something under the tree, and those on the “Naughty” list receive a lump of coal.

We do the same thing. The people on our good list get a gift to show that they are important and thought of and those that make our naughty list–well I guess they didn’t make the cut.

That’s exactly as it should be. We gift the people we cherish most of all because Christmas should not be about everyone that crosses our path but about those we enjoy sharing the path with.

And while there is a multitude of stuff that can be purchased to put under the tree, it is the smaller, thoughtful gifts that are usually the most appreciated.

Also, a reason to be thankful, not for the gifts but for another year with those we love the most.

So this year I have decided to slow down, enjoy Thanksgiving with my family and be grateful for all our blessings.

Then I will make a list, and check it twice…before deciding on the gifts to be placed under the tree.

Thanks Santa!

The Color of the Fence

The Color of the Fence

When my daughters were little girls and I would tuck them in at night we played imagination games together so I could get them to fall asleep.

Many times the bedtime readings were not enough…and Dr. Seuss usually got them more excited than relaxed at bedtime.

One day I invented a game that worked for me for years in helping get them to sleep and just last night when I found myself wide awake at 2 am I thought of the game again…and sure enough, it worked!  I fell asleep within 5 or 6 minutes.

This is how the game went.  I would ask them a series of questions meant to help them visualize a pasture with sheep, and then we would count the sheep.  I know…not very original…but it was…because each night we played, the pasture and the sheep would change.

First I would tell them to close their eyes and think of a field with short grass.  And then the questions would begin:

  1. What color is the grass?
  2. Let’s build a wooden fence around the field.  What color is your fence?
  3. We left all the sheep outside the fence!  What color are the sheep?
  4. How many sheep do you think we have?  Let’s count them as they jump over the fence…
  5. and so we would count…slowly, until they fell asleep.

My oldest daughter loved this game and she was very imaginative with her sheep.  Her grass was almost always pink when she was very little and later it was always green because “there is no such thing as pink grass mom!”  Her sheep sometimes had stripes and polka dots and once they were all rainbow sheep.

She, being the oldest of course, outgrew the game first–one day announcing “I’m sleepy mom, I don’t want to build a fence.” And soon after, this little game was not needed for her to fall asleep. She has always been straightforward and logical.

The youngest also enjoyed this game but always tried to outsmart me. I would ask her the game questions and she would answer with a question of her own.  I would ask her what color is your fence? and she would ask me why the fence had to be made of wood?

It always took me a little bit more time to get her to sleep and I have to admit a few times I think she put me to sleep because I would wake up sometimes an hour later, still in her bed beside her.

She outgrew the game when she decided one evening that she did not want the sheep to jump the fence and come poop in her field. She has always been curious and practical.

And so the game was forgotten.

Until last night I had not thought of it in a long time…but in my mind I thought of long yellow grass, surrounded by a short white wooden fence.  I thought of white and gray sheep and as I visualized them jumping over the fence into the field I started to count…1, 2, 3, …. I was asleep before I knew it. The game still works.

What color is your fence?

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life

My life is probably, to the casual observer, a predictable and boring one.

And it is a life that I cherish exactly for that reason.

No matter how routine and boring you think your life may be, what makes it wonderful is that it is unique to you.

No one else will live the same life you have lived. Just as it is impossible for you to live life for others.

I love hearing about or reading about other people’s lives simply because their experiences are different from mine. Oftentimes it gives me a different perspective from which to see or understand situations and events.

But it will never change my life and my journey nor will it change yours because our journeys belong strictly to us.

A day in my life is–in my view–is typical. I wake up, drink tea, get ready for work, work, come home, do some household chores and go to sleep to rest so I can get up again the next day and start again.

Sound boring right? It’s really not. Over tea (and coffee) -for my husband- is when we spend quality time together before the start of our day.

We talk about the weather or world events or about how to get rid of ants in the backyard–it doesn’t matter because we are talking and enjoying each other’s company.

Getting ready for work can include a multitude of things I do around the house including exercising or playing with my dogs before the shower-hair-makeup routine.

Work, of course, is the bulk of the day but I never underestimate the number of lives I touch every day and the lives that touch mine. And the contribution I am making to my family by earning a paycheck.

When I come home in the evening I always enjoy that first step into my home where the dogs are happy to see me and my husband too-if he’s the first one home.

My evening routines change depending on my mood and what needs to get done but it is satisfying to have so many things to do.

A day in my life may seem mundane to you but it is filled with all that is important to me.

And your life holds all the important things to you. Let’s not forget to count our blessings and enjoy a day in the life.

The Freedom of Dressing Up

The Freedom of Dressing Up

This weekend my husband and I took a little road trip to Todd Mission, Texas home of the yearly Renaissance Festival.

We had a wonderful time even though the temperature hovered in the high 40s and low 50s all day and there was a little rain.

But as my husband aptly put it, it is like stepping back in time. The festival is held in a forest of tall pines and other trees in which a small village has been constructed. By small I mean pretty big since it takes a good 3 hours to walk the whole park.

The village looks like it is straight out of central casting for a medieval movie set in 1400s Europe.

There are shops and eateries throughout with wonderful names like: “The King’s Swordworks” and “MiLady’s Fashions”. There are statues of dragons and suits of armor but my favorite part are the costumes.

Not only do the people who run the fair dress in period wardrobe but most of the people coming into the park come dressed as well!

The costumes are varied and elaborate and I noticed no one being self conscious or feeling out of place. They felt free to be who their character was.

We saw Queen Elizabeth and King Henry the VIII, soldiers of the realm, Scottish royalty, and lords and ladies galore. But we also saw peasants, serving wenches, and street entertainers.

Among some of the more imaginative costumes also included Jack Sparrow, Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts, the witches from Hocus Pocus, and Robin Hood.

There were many dressed as famous couples too: Merlin and Morgan la Fey, Ursurla and King Triton, and the devil walking with Jesus.

My favorites are always the barbarians–because they look so–barbarous!

The beauty of the day is that everyone is there to enjoy the atmosphere and each other. Dressing in costumes frees people from their everyday realities and lets them escape into the fairyland world of the medieval forest in a trip back in time.

Enjoy the freedom someday and visit a Renaissance park-it is an experience no one should miss!