Tag Archives: holidays

Shadows

The holidays are upon us. It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism…I just want to take a moment to remember the things that don’t have price tags. The things that now, more and more,  seem to be lost to the shadows.

When I was a little girl…the magic and wonder of watching the house transformed was something I never got used to. One night we would go to bed like the night before, and the next day we’d awaken to a different world. A tree that seemed like it would blow through the ceiling stood tall & proud…flocked, always flocked to look like it had snowed inside, with hundreds of little twinkle lights on it that beckoned. Boxes were buried beneath it, wrapped in colorful paper…but no names…just packages, like great mysteries waiting to be revealed. There was no squabbling over who had more, or whose was bigger…we just knew that somewhere in there was one for each of us. My parents avoided a lot of the sibling chaos this way, and left us to image what could be in each of the packages, regardless of if they were for us or not.

That day, the day of the unveiling, the fireplace was lit for the first time of the season too. Almost before we hit the stairway landing, we could hear it crackle and knew it was “the day.” Funny thing…now that I’m older, I can look back and see that it was actually the same day every year. The perfect memory of it though, is that we didn’t expect it and got surprised every time. I did anyway.

We’d watch as through the days leading up to the holiday different packages would disappear from the stack…with mom or dad to work, or to schools in our pack, or any other number of places…and that too was magical because we got to be an elf for the day and deliver a gift. It was about the giving…not the getting. The simple joy of giving because we could.

I know my mom would say it’s about the reason for the season…and that’s her faith. I don’t diminish it. I only mention all of this to note that there is something that has gone missing from the holidays. The magic of the season, the spirit of generosity for the simple sake of giving…is disappearing, or maybe even gone. It makes me sad. The shadows have claimed a piece that is desperately difficult to reclaim.

In my home, we have packages wrapped without tags…just as my parents did, but more and more…I’d just as soon not have them at all. A grand holiday for me is one where my family is all together and there doesn’t need to be more than that. The world has picked up the pace of crazy to the point that simple things like sitting down to dinner together during the week is impossible. And, having a family vacation is an exercise in planning so far in advance that it seems unreachable. I want to go back and reclaim the simple…pajamas and a book by the fireplace, or matched sweaters and a meal so grand that your belly aches.

For holiday this year I’ve asked for just one thing…Family game night. I want to sit on the floor with finger foods, play games, and laugh my ass off with my family. No phones. No television, No distractions…just us, as we are, with no strings attached wrapped in colorful paper.

I want to see my husband win Pretty, Pretty Princess for the eleventy-billionth time because we girls conspired to make him have to wear the crown and jewels. I want to see the Perfection board blow chunks everywhere because the player was too busy being tickled to get the pieces all in before the time ran out. I want to shut the lights off, and watch the faces around the room as the Cherries Jubilee is lit on fire…because hot brandied cherries over ice cream is AMAZING on a cold night. Most of all…I want to shut off the world for just one night and forget that there are bills to pay, hours to work, and chores to accomplish. I want to leave the dishes in the sink and watch cheesy movies until we fall asleep in a pile.

I want the simple things back…just for one night.

I hope we can accomplish it. Everything else will still be there the next day. Whatever your holiday…this is my wish for you too. Simple joy with no strings. There’s still time…all the holidays are days and weeks away yet. Seek out the shadows and shine a bright light into the darkness. You never know what you’ll find.

Until then…there’s work to be done. If you were playing along with my Crossword Puzzle BlogHop…you have until MIDNIGHT the 5th to get your card in for the drawing. If you’re part of the review roundup going on…thank you for choosing Veil Break or Gravedigger…I hope you enjoyed your selection, and I thank you for the reviews. If you are local to me…we’re moving my daughter out – she’s leaving the nest for her own abode…help is appreciated. The list is longer…but you get the gist.

Thank you for being here.
Thank you for you.

Sav.

 

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Leftovers make me happy

November has been manic. Those following along on my Thanksgiving Crossword Bloghop can surely attest as posts have gone into the black hole of cyberspace, and others have come up with missing pieces. No worries…every missing post has been caught up on my personal blog so the puzzlers can finish…but it’s been a busy time making sure everything gets where it needs going. I love doing a big hop and having a great prize…but this might be the last time for the month-long hop with the puzzle, I’m sad to say.

In other news, I got to enjoy a great meal with my immediate family and laugh for a couple of hours on Friday night…a treasure I don’t take lightly or for granted. It is so rare that the 4 of us get to sit down together, someone is always running…so, a meal together is a gift beyond measure. I will have leftovers for a week easily, because I don’t know how to do a family holiday meal small-scale, but I’m pretty sure we won’t hear a complaint. There were enough dishes to give variety for several days, even as leftovers.

As we wrangle our way toward the end of the year, I am blown away by the odd weather pattern that persists too. This year has been so off-kilter that I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. We went from low twenties and snow flurries earlier in the month to 50+ degrees the day after Thanksgiving and the weekend as well. The forecast shows more of the same to come. Weird – just weird. The predictability of the seasons here in the northern Midwest is out the window for 2017. I’m hoping to see some regularity return soon. I like the predictability…but more than that…I want a color filled Autumn again next year. I feel like I got jipped.

November was also, “Mom, I need…” month as my girls made life-change choices. One is moving out, and the other is trying to line up the ducks to return to school, starting college. I honestly never know if the sound of the door is someone coming or going. I can’t decide how I feel about it either.

December is stacking up to be zoo-ish as well. I’ve got a huge stack of ‘to-do’ on the desk, not counting commitments to others. I’ve got 3 editing projects to finish and a blender full of stories that are in pieces. I tried to do Nano, but honestly, the hop had me divided for focus and the story I thought I’d work on, like so many others, is a paper wasteland on my office floor, and every other available surface. I’m also preparing for the next step in my jaw reconstruction. There are 3 or 4 pieces left now, which seems surreal, but they will be wrapping up in rapid fashion as the next surgery happens in December…and great Goddess willing…the whole thing will conclude by the end of January, nearly 2 years after it started.

All in all, things have been crazy, and will continue on that trajectory for the foreseeable future. I’m up to the challenge, just don’t ask me what day it is. It makes the down time sweeter, and personally…leftovers that much tastier as the memory of a family night filled with laughter wafts up with the smells from the plate. Maybe that’s the true magic of leftovers…they are more than reheated sustenance for the system…they are food for the soul.

Holiday blessings to all as we are inundated by the season. Until next time, read something amazing and share with those you love.

Sav.

 

Happy Whatever You Choose to Celebrate

It’s that time of the year. You know…the time of year where people try to claim the reason for the season, when in reality, there are many reasons for the season. Mine may not be the same as yours. Yours may not be the same as the person next to you. Whatever your reason for the season, I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t include bashing another person’s beliefs. Not everyone believes the same or has the same faith…and that is more than ok.

Yule and the Winter Solstice has started. Can we get a YAY for the days getting longer and the nights shorter? This year, Christmas and Chanukah start on December 24th and Kwanza starts on December 26th. Ooooooh…and there’s apparently a thing called Second Christmas that’s also on the 26th. Who knew?! And please do not tell my kid about this second Christmas…my wallet will not appreciate it and I’m soooo over the whole shopping thing.

My point is…Whatever your reason for the season may be…I hope it is filled with love and laughter, spent with those you hold dear in your heart. Don’t forget to take a book along with you for when you need a break from the cray cray…lol

Until next week….Happy Holidays and Happy Reading! 380985_10150407835810819_547290818_8803086_605559779_n

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~Jolanthe~

Happy Thanksgiving

Today, in the US is Thanksgiving, a day to give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives. I am thankful for so many things, a roof over my head, food on the table, family and friends, the gift of putting words on a page and creating a story, and a publisher who is tolerant, but most of all…I am grateful for my son who shows me every single day the meaning of unconditional love. There is no greater gift than that.

If you are in the US, I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is spent with those you love and hold dear. May your blessings be more than your woes.

Until next week…Happy Reading and Happy Thanksgiving!
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~Jolanthe~

Holiday exhaustion

I’m peopled out and it’s only the 9th of December. Seems year over year that the good will reprieve of Thanksgiving and gratitude wears out sooner and sooner. I haven’t stopped yet to track it, but I’m mighty tempted to do just that.

I’d like to say “what is wrong with everyone?” but it isn’t everyone, it just seems that the afflicted are louder and more visible than those who are content to remember that holidays aren’t about the bloody stuff. Mind you, I am Pagan so it was never about the stuff for me, it has just become harder and harder to get myself motivated to go anywhere that there might be people. Of late, I don’t go any farther than the grocer or the barber unless I am unable to manage it somehow online. The crazy is pandemic.

Even the ruddy fuel depot is miserable, and fuel prices are DOWN. Things that should make us cheery don’t. Things that should make us smile don’t affect a change at all. It’s like we aren’t content unless we’re unhappy. I for one don’t want to live like that. Give me an island or a sailboat and I’ll gladly do my best hermit.

For now, I think I’ll be stocking up on the things that don’t expire, like say…soup, and hiding in my cave. It’s safer there. They know me there. And, maybe just maybe I’ll get the damn book done.

Aedan

Welcome December

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year….” The winter holiday season is upon us. Some look upon it with trepidation, some with great joy. I think there are more than a few of us that fall somewhere between the two. lol

This year, while in the midst of working and shopping for that perfect gift, I’m also working on the sequel to Beyond the Veil of Whispered Dreams and beta reading for a fellow author. Like Savannah, I’m falling behind where I had hoped to be. I have to admit to being lax on decorating my home for the holidays so far. If it were not for my child, I think I would gladly forgo the decking of the halls. The joy of seeing the tree decorated on my son’s face and eyes makes it all worthwhile, however.

December represents a lot for a lot of different people. Different faiths, different celebrations. The ending of a year and the heralding in of a new one. Whatever it means to you, I hope you are able to find a moment or two to embrace the magic. To see the wonder with youthful eyes. To find you moment of perfect peace. And maybe find some time to read a good book or two. 😉

Until next week….Happy Reading.

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~Jolanthe~

It’s a wonderful time of year

The holidays…….some look forward to them and some just hope to survive them. It is all a matter of perspective.

Personally, I love this time of year. It starts with Thanksgiving and continues through the end of the year. It doesn’t matter what your religion or which holiday you celebrate, be it the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, or any of the other holidays that fall during this time of year. These holidays bring out the best in people.

With Black Friday being the exception, this time of year is when everyone stops and looks around them. We all come out of our own little bubble and finally see the other people around us. We see the homeless man that we walk past everyday and never noticed, the withdrawn child that is struggling with the divorce of his parents, the single mom that is doing everything she can to give her kids a wonderful memory and we see that we are not alone in our struggles .

When I write I escape from all of my troubles and struggles. Most people don’t have the option of escaping. This is the time of year that everyone opens up their hearts and offers a helping hand. The bell ringers stand out in the cold hoping to gather enough loose change to make a difference in someone else’s life. The working people buy an extra toy to put in the collection boxes to help make sure that a child gets at least one present for Christmas even if their parents can’t afford it.

Children are enthralled with the magic of the season. Santa Clause has been given the credit for that. What everyone fails to see is that everyone of us is Santa Clause. One person may not exist to claim this title but he is very much alive in each of us.

The magic that captures the children is seeing the change in the adults around them. Their parents and relatives are not yelling at the car going slow in front of them, they are being encouraged to give to those less fortunate than them, they see a change that most of us don’t even realize is happening.

The magic of the season is held in all of us, we just have to let it run free.

~Miranda

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Counting down and paying it forward

Tis the day after Thanksgiving and all through the house, no one is stirring, not even to reheat leftovers… The holiday itself is ended, but the replete calm of time together is in full swing. Chess, books, old movies, and time to just talk is my favorite part of this holiday…week. (until the next week in a month or so) We take five full days to just enjoy the company of each other. I love this time of year.

Of course, no family gathering would be complete without something getting broken. This year the pull switch for the kitchen light and the toilet handle in the main bath needed to be replaced, hence a trip out into the madness was necessary. Thankfully, the Ace is not the prime destination for most Black Friday shoppers and was survivable.

The challenge now is to hold tight to every moment and not let the craziness of the season overcome us. Sadly, this time of year, which should be about being together has become a time of about spending and having, and push & shove has become more pronounced than the love that the season boasts.

I want to have faith, but find that more and more the sweet portrayal of what the holiday is supposed to be about exists more on commercials than in life. There are still too many without a warm place to sleep or food for their belly. There are too many who jump to fight instead of lend a hand to someone in need. I would love for this to change.  For us, it already has.

Our season is not about things anymore. It is about a warm meal and family together, no matter how long, no matter how far. Time is the season now. We spend every spare minute we can appreciating that we have those moments and planning to spend more. Every year at this time we take those things we no longer need and take them to the shelter for someone else to give them a use, and stay to serve a meal. It is time we get to be together, and we get to pay forward the blessings we have been given.

I hope that as we count down to the end of the year holidays, Yule and Christmas…that you find a way to give beyond what your money can spend, to those beyond your circle. You’ll be glad you did.

Abyrne