Here we are already five days into the New Year. I decided to take down the Christmas tree and all the decorations that go with that wonderful time of the year.
Sigh. I hesitated. If you read my post O Christmas Tree then you know that we cut down a fresh tree. A VERY fresh tree. I hadn’t watered it but once since we first got it (the day after Thanksgiving). Very few needles had dropped and it was still fresh with sap.
Sadly, I decided to strip it of it’s magical lights and simple, nostalgic ornaments and send it on it’s way. We decided to stick it in the backyard where the birds can enjoy it and who knows, maybe saplings will pop up. Maybe not, since I have no idea how they come about.
But as I sat there, thinking about taking it down, all the ornaments piled on the coffee table before me, I got to thinking (a dangerous past time I know ; ). I got to thinking about the other reason I was hesitating. You see, I have a lot of thinking and hoping stock in this New Year. The last two and a half years have been a somewhat temporary situation. Mostly with our housing. It’s been alright for the most part, but having a landlord who just loves to save money any way he can has proven to be quite uncomfortable in many ways.
We are ready. We are so ready to find a better dwelling place. I don’t need large, I just need slighter bigger. I don’t need a dishwasher, but I do need central air. Just to name a couple. As a matter of fact, I want simple.
So back to the hesitation of taking down the decorations. That whole act speaks to me about moving forward. And I’ll be honest here, I hate moving forward IF there will be no change. That sounds silly to some, even to me a little, because the very act of moving forward implies there will be change.
Here enters that awful player called irrational fear. I hate him. He’s a bad actor and a liar. I cannot let him convince me he is good in any way. So there! The fear of things not changing is daunting. BUT, I am intentionally choosing to ignore that limelight stealer!I am moving forward! Tally-Ho! and all that goes with it!
And I know I am not alone in this. So many of my friends are anticipating change, for the good. Good changes in health, life, jobs, homes. The list can go on and on! My prayers are that we all get there. And that we surrender our fears and stress to the One who can take us all the way through, no matter what the path is like.
I can’t complain. The political stuff that filled my Facebook newsfeed was quite annoying and tiring. I really just want happiness on my newsfeed……live puppies safe at home, as opposed to lost puppies or abused puppies. I want flowers and birds, as opposed to dead rainforests and killing the bees posts. I want images of people enjoying the life they’ve been given as opposed to dead or bloodied bodies in war torn nations or children crying in the streets.
I know I sound like I want to avoid all conflict. I don’t and I can’t. BUT I just don’t want it on my Facebook page. The hate is real. The wars are real. The lost kids and dogs are real. I can find those reports on the news. I know there is stink in this world.
But what I also know is that exposing myself constantly to negativity makes me sad, can bring on depression and hopelessness, and even poor health.
So why do we do it? Why complain about your health, etc., and keep on filling your eyes and mind with the negatives??
Just words for you to ponder. It’s a New Year upon us, 2017. Do you want to change? I do. I’m trying and it is not easy. Not for anyone. It takes hard work and concentration and deliberate actions to change our thinking, our eating, our exercising. But the results of the hard work will be amazing!
Here are some wise words to repeat often that will help:
Philippians 4:8-9The Message (MSG)
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Isn’t that beautiful? That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this last day of the year.
Now here are some photos I grabbed on an intentional, refreshing drive yesterday. Enjoy! And may you have a prosperous and healthy New Year!
There are about nineteen days left in 2016. I never make New Year resolutions, but I do always look forward to what may be in store for us/me in the upcoming new year.
Ever an adventurer……
My future at this point is rather swelling with fear anticipation. Last Thursday was the last day of my son’s semester at University and that marked the last day of me caring for my three year old grand daughter. I have watched her pretty much full-time for the last three years and her sister, now in kindergarten, since shortly after she was born.
I have mixed emotions. More on the side of taking the dreams off the proverbial shelf and dusting them, throwing away some, creating new ones, OR curling up on the couch and watching NETFLIX for a while……. a long while.
I do love changes. They actually wake me up and make me feel more alive. But know, Dear Reader, that I am extremely human (as opposed to being simply human ??) and I am terrified of what I am to do.
I see this change in life as another adjustment. As a loss in some ways. The girls are only just over an hour up the road. I have already FaceTimed them twice. But I shall let this minor grieving time have it’s way in me and I know that I will see my future, my new roads and dreams more clearly as the days go by and as I finish up a series in NETFLIX.
My last Christmas in New Jersey was momentous. My daughter-in-law and my youngest grandson took me to a Christmas Tree Farm. It was magical in so many ways. That day was cold and cloudy and the back drop of the farm was woods and wooden fences. They raised pigs there. We looked in on the full grown sows and made our way over to a small enclosed area that housed the piglets for everyone to see and take photos of and with.
Of course I stepped right in with my grandson and I grabbed a piglet and cuddled him and oooed and ahhhed in his precious face. He began to wiggle and then squeal so loud I had to put him down. What fun we had that day.
Now, eight years later, in The Middle, we decided to venture out with our youngest granddaughter to a Christmas Tree Farm in the town of Knob Noster, Missouri.
While the back drop was more open farmland with wooded areas here and there, it was still magical. We were accompanied by the melody of a mule braying. Off we went with a saw in my husbands hand and a metal cart for carrying the tree back to the car.
Well, these trees were pretty but they were the kind that are bush-like. What I mean by that is you cannot see any branches or trunk. Just thick green needles. I was taller than most of them. For the life of me I could not figure out how I was to hang lights and ornaments on the hobbit trees.
I am old fashioned and nostalgic when it comes to Christmas. I love trees that look like I made them. We hang ornaments of all kinds from the years we’ve been a family. A mixture of home-made to old memories to modern eclectic. It comforts me. These hobbit trees just wouldn’t work for me.
Now the magic…. there, in the very last row of hobbit trees, I see it! A six foot scraggly fir-type tree with trunk visible and branches sticking out in every direction. A tree that started out with great posture and then went left then right then up then over as if realizing there was a whole world out there to discover!
A tree with a kindred-spirit to me.
The saw came out, and as our granddaughter watched in wonder, down came the tree and we plopped her on the cart.
As we were pulling her back to the car the tears came. I missed my kids from the east and the times we spent together. Such good memories. And now the new memories with another little one. I smiled through my tears and narrated to our girl on the art of setting up a tree and decorating.
We belted Lu into her seat and unzipped the back window of The Jeep. Yes, I said Jeep. Wrangler. Soft top. Where does a jeep owner put a tree? I’ll tell you where…. trunk between the front seats and body next to granddaughter and top out the back window, that’s where! Off we went!
At home we sipped on Christmas Milk (aka Egg Nog – don’t tell Lu what the real name is or she will never drink it again) while we hung lights and ornamentsaccompanied by Christmas songs.
Here’s to new memories and journeys and traditions! Here’s to not staying stuck in the same old- same old but moving forward while cherishing the past memories that shape us into adventurers.
It’s Thanksgiving Day in America. A day to gather with loved ones and be thankful.
And eat. I have to say Thanksgiving foods are my favorite!
I am thankful for all of you who have followed this blog of mine. Some of you I have gotten to meet in person, some through Skype and Facebook. This has truly been a wonderful journey that I could not have taken without you all.
Those of you who watch The Food Network on Saturday mornings will know of Ree Drummond, also know as The Pioneer Woman. She is a down-home kind of gal who cooks for cowboys and ranchers and kids. Comfort food that we all love.
In her biography she talks of once being a vegetarian while sporting black high heels and her love for city life.
All changed when she met Ladd, the cowboy that won her heart.
I’m talking about them because when I moved to The Middle – being a Jersey Girl from the beach – I was a bit lost. A friend told me about The Pioneer Woman and how I reminded her of Ree and referred to me as The Other Pioneer Woman.
Well, I certainly felt like a pioneer. The cultural difference of New York City/Beach influence and Kansas City, Missouri was vast. The locals did not understand me. Sarcasm was lost here. Sigh.
But through the help of my son – who spent time in mainland China and Canada – he guided me through the culture shock. I found new normals and have since moved to a smaller country town that feels very much like home. You will be pleased to know I have toned down the sarcasm……well, I try. I gotta be me. 😉
So back to the Drummond Clan. My husband and I needed a weekend getaway. We planned a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma – where the wind goes sweeping down the plain. This was my first time to the state of Oklahoma. Woody Guthrie and Arlo Guthrie songs played through my head the entire weekend.
Ree Drummond had just opened a Mercantile in the town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma on the 31st of October and I wanted to go. I use less butter and less sugar in her recipes but her line of kitchenware is right up my alley! Oh the colors! I’ve been slowly replacing my kitchen with her things over the past several months.
So, there we were in Tulsa. We met with a fellow blogger – Little Monk – and a friend who attends medical school there. But on Saturday we headed out of town on a very country road to Pawhuska.
I made myself have little expectations on this journey. That was difficult but I tried. But let me tell you, the drive through the Osage Nation Reservation was breathtaking. Such beautiful scenery.
Then we came into Pawhuska. A very small town. You see, the Drummonds had bought the old Merchantile building and refurbished it. Offices for the ranch and for Ree and all she does. Then, the Mercantile, Deli, Bakery, Coffee Bar and Shop.
The line for the Deli was too long so we went into the shop first. Oh. My. It was beautiful. I walked around and took it all in. Then I was going to walk around again and start throwing things in my basket……when what to my wondering eyes appeared???? The Marlboro Man himself. Ladd Drummond. The Mister Pioneer Woman!
I told myself prior to getting there and also at that moment to calm down! Don’t make a scene, which I am prone to do. So as he moseyed by me I leaned in and said, “Hello Mr Drummond”.
He stopped and said hello and asked how I was. Sigh. And I answered and walked away. There. I did it. No scene and an experience to remember.
Well, after I collected a few things in my basket, my husband and I went upstairs to the coffee bar and bakery. And there he was again. Ladies were having him sign things and have their pics taken with him.
I’m not one for autographs but I looked at my husband and said, “Get your camera ready!” A lady in front of me had me take her pic with him and then it was my turn!
He was so kind and I thanked him and went over to the coffee line. And there, behind the counter was their daughter, Paige, doing her new barista job. I asked her which she liked better, rustling cattle or this new job. Her face lit up when she told us this new job was better! And she makes great lattes.
I have to say that there was not a rude person to be found. I do believe that is mostly due to the fact that The Drummond Family are kind and positive people. You tend to attract people who are like you or who are attracted to your values.
On the street of this tiny town my husband and I sat down and reflected all that was before us. Here is a typical mid-west town with a lot of history. Buildings gone neglected like most of these little towns. But one person gets the vision to open a shop and change her community. And change it did and will. We noticed other neglected buildings were starting to be loved again.
A woman latched onto me as we walked out of a western store where we began admiring the saddles set out on the sidewalk. She began telling me of their artistic qualities and all the workmanship that went into them – as she gently stroked the leather and pointed out the details.
This lady was truly a Lady. She wore a long skirted western outfit and just purchased a pare of western boots that she insisted I look at. They were beautiful. As she talked and walked with me cultural walls melted. Her grace was amazing and it came out that she and her husband were ranchers from Texas and were there to sing songs in the street. This Jersey Girl was a bit awestruck. She truly was a Lady and chose to talk and walk with me.
Overall, we had a great weekend. Meeting up with old friends and getting to experience The Merchantile that I’ve read about in a blog for months will be unforgettable. And I will never forget the cowboy who graciously let me have my picture taken with him. Thank you Ladd Drummond.
And thank you Ree Drummond for following your dream.
Here are pics and some captions of our trip. I’m so sorry for the quality. iPhone 6.