“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” – Ellen Goodman
With 2013 just a few hours away, I began to think about the previous year.
I did the “room-by-room” walk through of criticism. But then I stopped myself.
I shook that negative inner voice.
As, I have so much to be grateful for in 2012.
Another year with my loving husband and two beautiful daughters…
The giggles and snuggles. The flickering fireplace and delicious home-cooked meals. The trips, games, homework and craft projects. The precious time with family and friends.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
I also picked a few more apples from my bucket list. One of those dreams was to take up creative writing again. To use my words to paint pictures.
Most importantly, I wanted to share my experiences of the past and present – and perhaps I could make a difference in the lives of my fellow human beings.
When launching my blog in May 2012, I’ve written from my heart – really writing for myself. I know it sounds cliché – but truth within myself is all I have left at the age of 41.
Life is just too short not to live your dreams.
Since we’re wrapping up this year (like now), I thought it only appropriate to share a few of my most “popular” posts (in no particular order) here.
So for those that missed a read or two – I hope you take the time to enjoy a few of these posts:
To close out the year, I leave you with a quote from another favorite blog of mine – Marc & Angel Hack Life. The couple always shares slivers of knowledge that make you think and breathe deeply into your soul:
“Even when you’re with others, you’re still with yourself. When you wake up in the morning, you’re with yourself, laying in bed at night you’re with yourself, walking down the street at noon you’re with yourself. What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? It’s your responsibility to be the person you want to be with.”
I am happy with the person I’ve become. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but when I close my eyes at night I have an inner peace.
Now, please join me in a sing along to a favorite classic movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” in … “Auld Lang Syne.”
Happy 2013. Lasso that dream. God Bless.
I twisted and turned in the passenger seat of the car to steal a snapshot of a rainbow that appeared in the sky as my husband sped down the highway.
I prompted him to slow down so I didn’t miss “the shot.” I had actually seen another rainbow earlier in the day, but by the time I grabbed my iPhone it was gone.
I now had a second chance.
At first glance, I could see a partial view of the rainbow. But as we drove farther, the rainbow put on an amazing show:
It was as if the sky opened to reveal a magnificent full double rainbow that arched and stretched following the rainy storm. A symbol of hope.
While my husband playfully explained to our daughters the folklore of the Irish leprechauns, and how they guard their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I was deep in thought…
Moments & Meanings
I began to think of the year in review with some inevitable missed shots. However, there were moments frozen in time during 2012.
My four-year-old mastered writing her full name, which is a feat considering it’s eight letters long.
My eight-year-old began verbally debating us on every point while wearing lip gloss and shutting her bedroom door.
My husband and I hugged each other longer than usual.
I also thought of my faith and the rainbow’s Biblical symbolism of God’s promise that He would never again destroy us with a global flood. And, my covenant with Him.
I considered the promises I kept during the year. And some of the promises I broke.
Peace Over the Rainbow
Of course, I couldn’t help but think about Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that represents connecting to a happier place:
Admiring the beauty of the rainbow with its grand arc, I prayed for peace.
The rainbow also represents a bridge from Earth to a brighter, happier place. I thought of our short time here in this place.
Rainbows are caused by the reflection of sunlight in millions of raindrops. The sun must be behind you and quite low for a rainbow to occur. The colors of the rainbow stay in the same color order, never changing in vibrant red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
Often times we need consistency – to know that things will remain the same. While other times, we need change.
Heading down the highway with 2012 coming to a close, I knew this rainbow had special meaning – one of promises, bridges created, second chances and maybe even a leprechaun or two waiting with a pot of gold.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
What are your take-aways during 2012? What lies ahead for you in 2013? What are your wishes for the coming year? What does your rainbow say about you?Follow
Church Christmas services for our family came early with a breathtaking choir, stunning holiday decor and a full orchestra.
The most fitting theme during the church service: “Comfort and Joy.” During the service, the message focused on the biblical correlation of comfort and joy – knowing that Jesus, our Lord and Savior has arrived to rescue us.
However, the aspect of the sermon that intrigued me most was how we can feel comfort, joy and pain. How is this possible? And why?
This was a hard message for me to digest. I understood it as: We feel pain, but need comfort and joy to feel some type of relief.
To be rescued.
As I sat in the stiff church chairs with my little girl leaning on my shoulder, I felt joy. Joy that I had this moment with my family to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
Then, I felt pain for those suffering. Like those families in Sandy Hook, Connecticut who will be without their babies this Christmas.
My heart burned at that moment as I prayed they would have strength and courage and perhaps a faint level of comfort.
My four-year-old daughter, tired from the evening service asked if I could hold her. I held her tight as we sang “Comfort and Joy.”
I leave you with this beautiful rendition of “Comfort and Joy.”
May God bless you and your family this holiday.Follow
Saying I love Christmas, well, is an understatement. Christmas means more than a cherished holiday full of traditions. For me, Christmas is about second chances.
The Sting of Christmas
My childhood Christmases were not bad – they were just unusual. Many were spent with a mix of hippie families and sometimes strangers who were rotating through our communal-style home. We usually had some type of casual meal, and then opened a present or two.
During one of my earliest Christmas memories,
Santa my mom, left the price tag on my prized Darci doll. I remember the disappointment when I learned Santa was not…dare I say it aloud?
But the grand poo-bah of all gifts – the one toy that made my little heart go pitter patter was the Barbie Dream House.
This two-story hunk of shiny plastic was my dream gift, which never exactly came to fruition. The $65 price tag in the 1970s was too much for our working-class family to afford at that time.
A few years later, I remember when Santa brought my younger sister the Barbie Dream House.
By then, I was too old for Barbie, but the sting of jealous disappointment hurt.
Of course, I know Christmas is not all about gifts, but for children there is a certain magical wonderment of Christmas.
I recently considered the importance we place on Christmas traditions when reading a magazine article that featured actress Drew Barrymore with her new baby girl.
Barrymore grew up as a childhood star in the fast lane battling the pressures of being a celebrity. Revived and refreshed with her new family, she said something that struck a chord: “I really wanted a wonderful, traditional home for my kids. For people who didn’t have the strongest families or traditional families, if you can create that, you can have a second chance. It just makes me so emotional because it’s a miracle.”
Now as an adult, I feel like I am getting a second chance to experience and create my own family Christmas traditions…of holiday cookies and milk left out for Santa, fudge making and the reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
A few years ago, my older daughter asked Santa for THE Barbie Dream House (quite an upgrade compared to my 1970s version – complete with an elevator, flat screen TV and penthouse Jacuzzi).
Santa worked hard at delivering her gift on Christmas morning. The look of joy and excitement when she spotted the toy on the fireplace was priceless.
Not only was I excited that my daughter would have the opportunity to enjoy the toy I had pined over all those years ago, I secretly couldn’t wait to play Barbies in that mack daddy mansion.
I believe in second chances.
I believe in miracles.
I believe in Santa.
Do you have fond or not-so-fond Christmas traditions as a child? What was one of your most memorable traditions? Did you have an ultimate favorite gift you wanted as a kid? What was it? As an adult, are there any new traditions that you’ve started with your own family? Do you believe?Follow
The children were a sea of red and green, Santa hats and reindeer ears. Tiny voices filled the air while their bodies swayed side to side. The audience was beaming with joy. The parents’ eyes twinkling as rays of sunshine streamed in the school gym.
As I sat on the wooden bleacher, I had no idea what was going on outside the room. Out in the dark.
Bumping into a friend after the school Christmas concert, she asked how I could have left my children at school after hearing about the shooting.
“Didn’t you want to hold on to them and not let go?” she asked. I didn’t quite know what to say as I did not have the full details of Sandy Hook.
I flashed back to the concert with visions of my daughter waving and smiling. How we hugged and kissed following the concert. I should have held her longer.
Flipping on the news later, images flashed on the screen. The faces of horror and fear were too much for me to absorb. I was sick to my stomach with tears filling my eyes.
The sickening feeling was familiar. As if I had been here before…
No Answers, Only Questions
That night, visions of the children and their families in Connecticut filled my dreams. As a freelance journalist, I placed myself there at the school covering the “story” as a reporter with Geraldo Rivera (go figure).
Notepad and pen in hand, I sat with the press in a crowd. Cameras flashing, press hands popping up in a flurry probing school and political officials with question after question.
How? Why? How? Why?
Their answers muted and garbled. The frustration reached a tipping point. I awoke in a sweat, my jaw clenching.
The morning light peeked through our bedroom window, I reached for my husband’s hand – holding it tight. Our two daughters pushed open the door and jumped in our bed to snuggle.
In the light.
Later that day, my daughter had spontaneously made me a homemade card from some cardboard she found in the garage:
I began to weep as she handed it to me.
She asked: “Why are you crying, mom?”
I pulled her to my chest and whispered, “Tears of joy because I love you so much.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those suffering in Sandy Hook. May God give you strength and courage.
I leave you with this from Rabbi Naomi Levy, who is the author of three best-selling books: Talking to God, To Begin Again, and Hope Will Find You. She is the spiritual leader of Nashuva in Los Angeles.
Praying in a Community
A community of faith can provide more than support when we are in need of help. The members of a faith community can strengthen our resolve to heal, can link their prayers to ours, and can restore us to faith. They can envelop us in caring and love.
Praying with a community alters us. Often when life hurts we pray by ourselves and assume that we are alone in our pain. When we enter a community to pray our eyes open up. We see that we are not alone in our pain—there are others who suffer too. And we also realize that we are not alone in the world, there are dozens of people praying for us, extending their arms to help. Suddenly the nature of our prayers begins to change. We stop drowning in self-pity. We stop praying for ourselves alone. Before long we begin adding others to our prayers. We begin praying for our world. We begin to see our own troubles in a new light. Perhaps things aren’t as bad as they seemed after all.
Sometimes a community’s prayers can literally save a life.
Excerpt from helpguide.org.