The importance of holiday traditions is very apparent in my profession. As a kindergarten teacher, I spend my days surrounded by that particular joy and magic that only occurs in childhood. For the wee ones, whose little minds have yet to grasp the concept of time, the progression of a year is gauged by the succession of holiday traditions. Turning a page of the calendar does not signify the beginning of another month, a seasonal transition or another phase of this year’s journey around the sun. Turning a page of the calendar means it’s time to move on to the next phase of festivities. These days, it seems the first of December marks the beginning of Christmas, a month-long holiday that has less to do with the winter solstice or the birth of Christ and more to do with candy, crafts and extravagance. As I grow older (a little less young, I mean to say), I find the spirit of the season waning as, one-by-one, I discard my own favorite holiday tasks and traditions all in the name of “simplifying”. What is a tradition anyway? This thing you do to mark an occasion, this custom passed down through generations, this habitual ritual in which you engage simply because your calendar page proclaims the time has come…and so it must be done?
I know I have said this many times before, but sometimes it is the simplest things in life that bring the greatest sense of peace and satisfaction. It is not always the roughest road, the epic journey or the grandest of discoveries that ignite and excite your sense of adventure. Sometimes it is just a simple exploration, a humble revelation or a smooth and easy trail that lead you a place of contentment and gratitude.
Hello November. And welcome Autumn! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your return. I hope you can settle in and stay awhile, for I do so enjoy your company. I adore your seasonal sensations above all others, you know. Your cool, crisp air kissing my cheeks, the golden glow of your color palette, those wonderful spices of yours that tickle my tastebuds and the warmth of your cozy embrace. Oh, do stay…please? And join me for a cup of tea?
Do you ever feel like the path you have chosen in life is like an amusement park ride? You know, one of those roller coasters with the endless loop-the-loops. Trapped on a track, flying far too fast, forward, backward, ’round and ’round, then upside-down and back again. One minute you’re screaming Yay! Weee! Hooray for me! and the next you’re hollering Please no! Let me goooo! Finally, the track begins to level out, you slow to a stop, the safety bar lifts and you find yourself suddenly released. No longer trapped, you are free to step off that loopy track and back onto solid ground. Dizzy and reeling (and slightly nauseous), you stumble awkwardly as you struggle to gain your footing, get yourself oriented and pointed in the right direction. And as you stand there all wobbly and woozy, you ponder your choices…do I hop back in line for another wild ride or simply enjoy where I’m at?
Well, I am sorry to say I’ve got myself all wrapped up in my crazy chaos lately and I’ve been sadly neglecting this space. I have been missing you, it’s true. I started on a new adventure a few months ago, bravely stepping outside my box to explore an opportunity that just happened along my path. It seems that in stepping outside the confines of my comfort zone, the Universe immediately sensed my vulnerability, my openness to possibility and slyly set in motion a series of events, challenging me to extend the boundaries of my box. Needless to say, things are in disarray around here and I find myself more grateful than ever for the tiniest little bits of inspiration.
Sometimes I get the greatest satisfaction from the simplest of things. I often have this experience with food. I love those moments when you create something beautiful and delicious and it fills your body and soul with delight. I have not been having many of those satisfying kitchen experiences these days. Lacking excitement and filled with frustration, my healthy food explorations have been uneventful and devoid of delightful discoveries. So, when I unexpectedly experienced one of those increasingly rare moments of culinary satisfaction, I decided I better milk it for all its worth.
I have never been one to express strong political views or overtly display my patriotic colors, but there is this song that I really love and I always find it especially poignant on Independence Day. You know that Woody Guthrie tune…
This land is your land, this land is my landFrom California to the New York island;From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters:This land was made for you and me.
Well, I don’t know how it happened, but summer is in full swing, it seems. For many months now, I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this “Summer Break” I had carefully planned for myself this year. I have been longing for and looking forward to a lazy summer schedule with an abundance of free time, trips to take, projects to make and some serious catching up to do. Then suddenly it occurred to me that this precious summer time of mine has come and is already slipping through my grasp. With me, it always seems the best-laid plans never quite turn out the way I expect. I tend to be the flexible one in life, always willing to accommodate, usually able to rearrange, happy to change my plans for the sake of seemingly more important priorities. Sometimes I think the universe knows this about me and intentionally takes advantage of my flexible nature. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for I have grown to adore and look forward to those delightful little discoveries that so often accompany an unexpected change in direction.
Just the other day, I enjoyed a casual conversation with a friend of mine as he reflected briefly on the subject of fatherhood. He said (something to the effect of)…you know, before you have kids, you think one day they will grow up and that will be the end of it. But no, it ain’t that way at all. Once you become a parent, you’re a parent forever and your kids will always be your kids, no matter how old they get. Now, I am not a parent, but I have grown to understand this to be true. And as a daughter, I know that, no matter how old and independent they get, your kids will always need their parents.
Wow. It’s been quite a stretch of time with not a single visit to this little space of mine. Sorry about that, to those of you who faithfully visit. And thank you for coming back. I do so enjoy our little chats and I am trying to get caught up. Life has been a little chaotic lately and I seem to be suffering from, what I fondly refer to as, a busy-hangover. Too much busy time with the To-Do’s and the Need-You’s can leave a person feeling slightly out of sorts, you know? Yesterday, I woke up to my first free day in what feels like forever and I had no idea what to do. To be honest, I am feeling a little lost and very much out of control these days. My body is sluggish, my brain is in a constant fog, my inspiration and motivation seem to be on permanent hiatus and my physical space is in utter disarray. You know how that feels…blah. So, I sent my hubby packing yesterday and set about looking for a way to clear my system, calm the chaos and find my way through the fog. Whenever I find myself suffering from the negative effects of a busy-hangover, I turn to nature in one of two places: the kitchen or the great outdoors. Nothing revives the senses and calms the mind like a little visit with Mama Nature.