True Abundance

Clump #127:  Pack up paper recycling.

Through the magic of Google Hangout, our son in Norway was able to join in the Christmas morning present-opening.  The creators of The Jetsons predicted this kind of technology!  He kept us laughing by adding visual effects like an arctic setting …


and this birthday-boy-with-an-eye-patch look. When a really good present was revealed, he would play a round of applause.  At other times, the sound of a toilet flushing.  It wasn’t as good as having him here in person, but it sure helped!


I was talking to a friend recently who compared the lead-up to Christmas to a wedding.  So true.  You work and work, shopping, planning, wrapping, wrapping, and more wrapping … and then in a quick blur, it’s all over.  Here’s a photo of the aftermath, ready for the recycling truck we hope will be here tomorrow:


We all wish for abundance …


But to me, the real abundance we crave is found in the song Silent Night.


“Son of God, love’s pure light.”

I’ve Got a Little List

Clump #75:  Make up Christmas list, check gifts on hand, and send out plea for gift ideas.

When our kids were very young and still under the magic spell of Santa Claus, I was trying to give them a sense of how lucky they were, explaining that there were many disadvantaged children in the world who didn’t get any Christmas presents.  Our son looked at me with an incredulous expression and asked, “Why don’t they just write a list?”  So easy … so obvious … so difficult to counter.

This is day two of my 30-day, 30-clump, 30-post Project Enjoy Christmas challenge.  Normally on a day like today, I would give myself a pass from blogging.  It’s Family Weekend at my younger daughter’s college and I could argue that I don’t have time.


But the force of this challenge filled me with new resolve, and I actually accomplished a meaningful clump.  I made up a list of all my usual gift recipients; checked gifts already bought; wrote them down on the list; and sent an email to my sisters, husband, and kids to please send me any of their gift ideas before the end of November.

The photo below is not pretty, but it fills me with great joy!  It’s my list with a few presents I had stashed away.

Usually (as silly as it sounds), I tend to put off this step so long that I’m avoiding it because I know I will have to confront the fact that my time and options have become limited.  Does that make any sense at all? Probably not to the normal person.


I’m counting the warm temperature, blue sky, and fall color of today on my gratitude list.


Another 30-Day Challenge

Clump #74:  Start “Project Enjoy Christmas” by ordering cards.

Announcing the start of another 30-day challenge:  No-Sweat November for a Dread-free December — Project Enjoy Christmas!

My history with preparing for Christmas is pretty dismal.  Despite consistent vows to do better, my procrastination habit always gets the better of me.  As a result, I get stressed-out, which leads to bad moods, which drive myself and my family crazy; I end up too tired to fully enjoy the holiday, which (oh, how sad to admit) leads me to feel that I just can’t wait for it to be over.  Every year.  Except for one year.  When I was pregnant with my younger daughter, her due date was right around the 25th of December, so I knew I HAD TO get all my preparations finished early.  For that one gleaming year, I proved to myself that I could do it.

This is an experiment in putting another artificial deadline upon myself, in the hope that when I turn the calendar page to December this year, I will not start to hyperventilate as I have in Decembers of yore. Join me, if you dare!  Here is a little green and red (actually a fall photo) to set the mood:


Today I did the unthinkable … the unbelievable.  I ordered our photo Christmas cards early!  What?!  It’s true.  I already had the photo I wanted to use (a great advantage), one taken when all three kids were together for our son’s college graduation.

Instead of racing into Target with wild eyes and foaming mouth at the eleventh hour, I calmly googled “cards that benefit charity” (or something to that effect) and found that The American Cancer Society offers photo cards, and “100% of the net proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer.”  If I didn’t have my heart set on personalized photo cards, I would have been tempted by other ones they offer featuring artwork by Tony Bennett.

Whoo-Hoo!!  This is a really big deal for me!  November 1st!  The Mexican Day of the Dead.  In the spirit of the day, here are some photos that celebrate the actual holiday.

Pumpkins in Strasburg, PA …


having a grand old time.


I love the faces pumpkins make when they begin to rot, like the one in the center:


Very creative people and pumpkins in Strasburg.


Happy Day of the Dead!