Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Fare Thee Well

Dear 2011,

I'll admit it:  I'm not sad to see you end.  You chewed me up and spat me out, but I learned few things in the process.  Things like:

I learned how to say goodbye.

I learned how to enjoy the moment.

I learned how to breathe deep, freak out, then breathe again.

I learned that a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless, but who once spilled an entire bowl of melted Cheez Whiz down some stairs as I was walking behind him) is capable of petting porcupines and possesses magical powers too.  (He actually wears a cape under his casual Friday attire.)
 
I learned that "Crazy Town" is not only a noun, but can be used as a verb as well, as in, "She's just gone crazy town."

I learned that carving out space to be creative is necessary to my happiness and sanity.

I learned (again) that unhappy people are the cause of all unhappiness in the world, and it behooves each of us to grasp our happiness by the shirt collar and hold on for dear life, 'cause honey, there's road work ahead.

I learned (again) the power and joy of friends who sustain, guide and grant extravagant love with every breath.  I'm even going to call them out right here, and now, in no particular order: Sassy Britches, B.Ram, Clover, Rocky Babe-Boa, Mrs. Marcus, The Fancy Hatted Baptist, Lover, Mountain Man and GW Guy; and all of you who read, comment and share your stories with me.  I never dreamed in a million years that writing a blog would bring such wonderful people into my life.  Thanks for being here.
  
Here's to a new start, a new day and a new year...

Bring it on 2012!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Three Beautiful Things Thursday

Clean, birthday, split wood.


Clean.  Grandma is coming, the house is cleaned, a joint effort by the entire clan.  I breathe in sweet basil.  Mmmmmm...

Birthday.  Brace face will be 13 on Saturday, an official teenager.  She's fun to be with and talk to, she will soon be getting her braces off and her name will be changed to Straight Face.  I like to wrap presents for birthdays.

Split wood.  Mountain Man comes in sweaty and mannish from splitting wood.

What are your three beautiful things?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

January is coming, and so is small stones writing month.

Last January, I participated in small stones writing month.  A small stone is a polished moment of paying proper attention.  During the last two cycles of small stone writing, (last January and July 2011) I posted my small stones on my blog.  This cycle, I'll be writing my stones in a small book I made.  It looks like this:





This has been one heck of a year over here in the Square Tooth/Mountain Man clan.  It's been filled with many blessings and peaceful moments as well as some pretty rough patches--but, who's year hasn't?  I've felt like a top spinning out of control for the last 10 months.  I'm ready to reconnect, slow down, and pay attention.  

The best part about writing small stones everyday is that the process of writing them provides me with the opportunity to focus on the present moment.  The only way to truly describe what writing small stones is like is to borrow the words of Hafiz:
Pray
To be humble
So that God does not
Have to appear stingy.

O pray to be honest, 
Strong, 
Kind, 
And pure, 

So that the Beloved is never miscast
As a cruel great miser.

I know you have a hundred complex cases
Against God in court, 

But never mind, wayfarer, 
Let's just get out of this mess

And pray to be loving and humble
So that the Friend will be forced to reveal

Himself 
So

Near! 
 
The process of writing anything can be powerful--(sometimes it's just for the writer, not the reader, but hopefully both.) Writing small stones can shine light on the miracles that live in each moment.  
 
Join me, won't you?

Want to find out more about writing small stones, Click here.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas from 
our SquareToothed/Mountain Man clan to yours!!





Thursday, December 22, 2011

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen--and Ladies, or, the update on the most relaxed day I've had in a year.

Guess what?  It's Christmas.  Eeeeeeee!  I'm not expecting a present under the tree this year, because I don't really care about stuff--it just ends up broken or out of date and I give it to Goodwill--but I am over the moon this week because it's time for me to disengage from my life for a good ten days.


My phone just rang for the first time in 3 days, and it was a wrong number.  People have stopped sending me emails because I keep telling them I won't be in contact until January.  I've cancelled or said no to all commitments, save one on Christmas morning, and I am done. Done. DONE.


Hallelujah!  Today I spent running errands that I've put off for the last month but that I actually like to do.  I went and washed my car.  Mountain Man had the day off of work (due to the holiday season) and he accompanied me on my miscellaneous adventures which included going to the car wash.  (Side note: If you haven't made out with your husband in a car wash in a while, you definitely should.)  


Then we went to a fabric store, (where I did not buy fabric because I try not to sew unless someone needs swaddling clothes,) and I purchased paper to make Christmas ornaments.  I'll post more on that adventure later...


Homeward bound we headed, where we ate leftovers, watched White Christmas, and laughed while the kids assembled their annual lego town on the dinning room floor.  


I did not clean.  I did not bake.  I did not answer the phone, solve any problems, think deep thoughts or speak to a single crazy person.  This is the first day of the year that I have felt truly rested.


Thanks be to God.  


Have you been able to take a breath this holiday season?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Coats for Kids, one opportunity to give...

Today, I want to tell you about one of my favorite organizations  Coats For Kids.  Established in 2004, their aim is to see that every kid who needs a coat gets one.

Recently, my daughter, (Brace Face) ran a coats for kids drive at our church.  It was really easy.  She painted a big box we fished out of the recycle bin, and put a sign on it that said "Coats For Kids"  over the next three weeks she collected new coats and in the they went.  At the end of the three weeks, she took all the coats down to a local shelter where they would be distributed to kids in the community.

The entire cost of the project was the time it took to fish the box out the a recycle bin, and paint it.  Many kind, and generous people took the time to support her in this project and make a difference in the life of a kid they don't even know.

I don't know about you, but nothing says "Christmas" more than that kind of generosity.
Thanks, Smallville, for showing us your gigantic heart.  It's one of the reasons we love you--(that, and it only takes ten minutes to drive across you...)

Merry Coat Giving!

Interested in giving to Coats For Kids this holiday season?  Click here.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Here We Come a Wassailing...or a Cookiemaking.

I realize yesterday's post was a downer.  However, I believe in authenticity, so it was what it was.  I am well rested this morning, the traffic has subsided, and I will never go to Walmart again.  Problem solved.

Today, my kids have a mysterious illness that is keeping them home from school (it's called Christmas-is-coming-and-enough-with-school-already,) Mountain Man is skipping work and no one here will be answering the phone.  We are baking Christmas cookies alllllllllll day, and eating some too.

*Here's a cookie and a glass of milk  for you! *

Cheers!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In the Bleak Mid-Winter

Ok, here's the weekly update of the Square Toothed/Mountain Man Christmas Project:

I am emotionally exhausted, physically in the gutter, and ready to tuck into that "long Winter's nap" as soon as humanly possible.

Where's the joy?  It's there, but just wedged between rush hour traffic, people who make it their life's calling to create problems where none exist, and Walmart.

Walmart?  (You may ask.)  Think about it--can you imagine a worse hell that Walmart in December?  (I can't.)

However, there is hope underneath it all.  At the end of each day, we gather as a family and read a Christmas story and then sing a carol.  There is joy...

...even in the bleak mid-Winter.    

How do you manage the stresses of the holiday season?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rise Up Shepherd and Follow!

I was born to one of those amazing women who brought home the bacon AND fried it up in a pan.  She also sewed, kept house better than Mr. Clean, and baked like Julia Child.  Every Christmas, she would make delicious treats and her minions children would be put to work rolling, flouring, baking and packaging her Christmas goodies for all of our neighbors.

I don't know about you, but I don't have near the relationship with my neighbors as my parents did with ours when I was growing up.  Louise and Al across the street were our surrogate grandparents, Mamie was the older southern belle across the street who knew more about my schedule than I did.  Peggy lived on the corner and was the one we went to in case of emergencies if Mom and Dad weren't home.  There are literally countless other neighbors, friendly faces I can see in my mind's eye; peripheral characters who cheered me on from across the street or right next door.

Each Christmas, my mom would load up our red Radio Flyer Wagon and load it to the brim with Saran-wrapped goody plates.  There were sugar cookies, Hello-Dollies, Grandma Capell's doughies--so many varieties I can't remember them all!  We would drag our red wagon from house to house and make our deliveries.  There were hugs and carols and "Merry Christmas!!" over and over, and there was always something more, something I couldn't name as a child, but now see it clearly:  It was Love.

Grandma Capell's Doughies

1/2 lb butter
1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
vanilla to taste
nuts (as little or as many as you like)

Mix butter and sugar together with hands.  Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Add  flour, salt, vanilla and nuts.  Shape into balls or half moons.  Bake until golden brown.  Remove from sheet and roll in powdered sugar.  Allow to cool, then roll in powdered sugar again.

*     *     *

I think it's time to drag out the wagon, rise up and follow this sacred family tradition!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Deck The Halls

I posted this on the book of face yesterday, and just had to share it here...Deck the Halls!!


Enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?...or wish that I heard, or heard once and am trying to reconnect to.

As you've read, if you have been reading, we are saying 'no' to commercialism this holiday season...and here's the thing, we aren't really saying 'no' to commercialism as much as we are saying 'yes' to something more  substantial, something more abundant and something that will not fade, or break, or become a passing fad.  I ask myself each day, What gift would I like to leave my children?

The short of it is: to focus on what is truly important, and that's Love.  To love themselves, family, friends, God, beauty, truth (whatever that may mean to them), and to find the joy in learning to love better every day.  Our project is designed to refocus what we already know: that true happiness can't be found in the material, but in the intangible beauty of thought and feeling. 

I am not an extremist--not by any means (except maybe in my hatred of math).  One of the guiding principles of my life is that by small things can big things happen.  I feel like so much of my time and (other people's) is consumed by things that really don't matter.  With our family Christmas experiment, I'm just calling out the material stuff first and tweaking this one thing that makes the rest of our season feel out of whack.  There are a million distractions out there that can make our hearts wander, but lucky for us, we get to start anew each day and begin again.

I came across a story on Pinterest yesterday that really drives home my point. (And yes, even cool Pinterest can become a life suck without moderation, but seriously, what do you know that can't?)  Anyway, here's the story:

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. 

Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the top musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written,with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station 

was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty?

Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Here's the video:


So, this little refocus during this season of joy is an attempt to reconnect, say 'yes' to the present moment and slow down enough to really, really notice the beauty all around us and focus on the Love.

What beautiful thing did you see, hear, taste, touch, smell or experience today?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Joy to Our World...day one.

Welcome to the Square Tooth-let's-just-say-no-to-commercialism-put-joy-back-in-the-holiday-season....(I know, this project needs a new name.)  In a previous post I mentioned that our family would not be participating in the commercialism of the Christmas season.

Once too often, I've given in to the thrill of Christmas shopping.  Not so this year.  Each member of out family will receive one gift, and one stocking.  My hope is that our focus will be turned to service and simplicity.  The remainder of the funds usually spent on Christmas will be split between our favorite charitable organizations, which I'll highlight this month.

There will be recipes, craft ideas (even though I am SOOOOO not crafty) and maybe a few Christmas stories.  My friends Sassy Britches, Rocky-Babe Boa, Mrs. Marcus and I also have more than one night highlighting cookie decorating, concerts (free of course), more than a few evenings focusing on other culture's Christmas celebrations and even a night devoid of our precious little ones and our respective mountain men.

Today, in an effort to kick start the season,  I decorated our house for Christmas.

Then we went out for dinner...what?  I never said we couldn't eat out! :)

Season's Greetings!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saying NO!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I've been completely disconnected from every living thing besides the dear ones I live with for 4 straight days.

We emerged from the cave house, eyes squinting at the bright orb in the sky uttering, "My eyes!  My eyes!" and "Why is it SO bright!!?"  We sequestered ourselves away to live off nothing but pie and watch the extended versions of  "Lord of the Rings" over the holiday break.

I almost died (no really, I'm not just being a drama queen) the first time I watched it in the theater, being relatively new to the world of fantasy at the time.  I vaguely remember taking a nap during the final movie, waking briefly, disappointed to find that they hadn't thrown that stupid ring in the volcano yet.

Anyway, with the carcass of Tom Turkey now in the rubbish bin, the Christmas season is in full swing!  We, at that Square Tooth/Mountain Man clan, are doing something a little different to celebrate the season.

We are just saying no.

No to all the commercialism.
No Black Friday, 'no' to the material crap that gives temporary satisfaction, but ends up broken or forgotten.
No to gifts that don't mean anything.  'No' to lines, 'no' to shopping, 'no' to stuff.

No, no, NO!!!
We've had enough.

And it's not that stuff doesn't help us along the journey (because my inner uni-brow would run my life without my tweezers) but the incessant barrage of 'stuff' being thrown at me at every turn is just making me tired.  So, we're going Amish--minus the hats and Harrison Ford, which is kind of unfortunate, as long as we're speaking frankly here...
 
Instead, this holiday season we are celebrating creativity, giving, family, friends, traditions, music, laughter, cookies(--c'mon, there must be cookies) and joy.  Every time we put something back on the shelf, we reclaim a piece of our souls and find the true meaning in the season.

Wish us luck.

Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?  Share it with the Square Tooth/Mountain Man clan, and help us just say 'no' and say 'yes' to joy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vampires, Werewolves and Valium: The Follow-Up

Last night, I went to see that movie with the vampire, the werewolf, and the human.  You know the one I'm talking about.  In case you didn't read  my previous post, you can catch up here.

Like I said, at the whims of my pregnant friend, Rocky-Babe Boa, myself, Sassy Britches and Mrs. Marcus headed out the town to satisfy the latent need for vampire/werewolf media in our lives.  As we sat down, the first thing I noticed was how loud it was.  We were surrounded by 300 twittering (not that kind of twittering, well, maybe it was) teenagers.

As the saga unfolded and (bless her heart) the toothy mouth breather (I told you I notice people's teeth right off) girl walked down the aisle, Mrs. Marcus said something that made me laugh and then I couldn't stop.  I was finally able to control my laughing with thoughts of the blessed Matt Damon, which can pretty much solve any personal problem I might have, including, (but not limited to) being chased by a black-ops subsection of the CIA, solving uber-difficult math equations, or changing one's own destiny by sheer force of will.

Anyway, my laughter began again in earnest when the group behind me said, "Man, she looks like #@%!"  To which I wanted to reply, "Yes, dear heart, that's what happens when one gets pregnant with a vampire human hybrid."  Unfortunately, as I'm not a vampire, werewolf or even human expert, so I didn't feel qualified to have a heart to heart right then, not to mention that the petite Mrs. Marcus was clutching me with all her mighty strength, so I really didn't feel compelled to school these youngsters on the gravity of performing a c-section on a mouth breather in one's own home.  

In spite of the drama in the saga, the best part of the evening came as we left the theater. As we walked with the due-at-any-moment Rocky-Babe-Boa, we passed a group of teenagers who's eyes grew wide with worry and fear as they saw this very pregnant woman walking nearby.  They stared, and then pointed, no doubt worried that a baby vampire might emerge at any moment.  I caught their eyes, and then said, pointing to her pregnant belly,

"DON'T WORRY!  SHE'S NOT CARRYING A VAMPIRE!!!"

Yes, it was a good night at the movies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vampires, Werewolves and Valium

In just a few short minutes, I will find myself in a movie theater watching the saga of a certain vampire, human and werewolf transpire.  I'm going to enjoy the company of my best girlfriends, one of whom is due with her newest baby bun at any moment.

I find it best to bend the the whims of the pregnant, therefore, I'm going.  I'm also dragging my friend Mrs. Marcus who may or may not scream, "FIRE!!!" as the credits start just so she can leave.

(Quoting here,) "We're not really going to that STUPID movie, are we??"
"Yes, Mrs. Marcus, we are, and we are going for Rocky-Babe-Boa who will beat us up with her superhuman pregnant mama strength if we even hint that we don't want to see it.  So we will suck it up."

To be perfectly honest, I slept through the first movie, can't remember if I saw the second one, and I know that before number three I took a Valium (not for recreation, because I'd just had surgery or something,)  and therefore three stands out in my memory as the best movie ever made.  Trust me, if you've ever taken a couple Valium, you know what I'm talking about.  That same day I also told my doctor a story that ended with me saying, "At least I didn't get shot!!"

You can see why I would have thought Eclipse was the best movie ever.
So, if you are tucked in for the night, don't be jealous that I get to watch Kristin Stewart mouth breathe for the next two hours.

Now...

....where did I put that Valium??


Monday, November 14, 2011

The Difference Between a Good Artist and a Great One

There is a woman in my town who paints incredibly beautiful paintings that mirror the beauty of her own soul.  When she has a fair amount of paintings, she peddles them from buyer to buyer in local restaurants in our downtown area.  As I loathe cooking and because I firmly feel that the best way for our economy to recover is to support business, I've taken it upon myself to "do my part" and eat out as often as possible.

I run into Virginia about once a month.  She confidently approaches each table and asks if anyone is interested in purchasing her art.  She is turned down more often than not, but the rejection doesn't seem to phase her, she simply moves on to the next person.

You see, Virginia has down syndrome.  Her paintings only cost $5.00.  For a literal steal, people are given the opportunity to purchase a little slice of heaven and then hang it on their wall.  I don't know of many artists who would charge so little for their work, yet Virginia creates and shares and brings beauty to others, when they are willing to receive it.

We proudly own several Virginia Peacock originals.  We display them on a wall just by our main entrance. It is my privilege to experience their wonder and beauty several times a day, and I am reminded of a poem by the Sufi Master, Hafiz, which says,
The
Difference
Between a good artist
And a great one 

Is:

The novice
Will often lay down his tool
Or brush

Then pick up an invisible club
On the mind's table

And helplessly smash the easels and 
Jade.

Whereas the vintage man
No longer hurts himself or anyone

And keeps on
Sculpting

Light.


What brought you joy today?

  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When the loud mouth, square toothed girl says too much...

People...
* Laugh.
* Get angry.
* Think I'm stupid.
* Give me strange looks.
* Roll their eyes.
* Think, "Here she goes again!"
* Agree.

I have no idea why some of us were born with big mouths and lots of opinions and why some of us are quiet and wise and never say a thing.  There are times when I wish I was the wise person who didn't say anything, but then I think, "Where's the fun in that?"

Are you a person who says too much?  Too little?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Words from a Soldier

Taken from the Pocatello Tribune, date and author unknown, but the speaker was my grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel  Lloyd E. Haight.
In a forceful address at the memorial services honoring the  World War II veterans of Pocatello Thursday morning at the high school auditorium, Lloyd E. Haight outlined the obligations to the war dead in protecting and assisting their widows and children, and those still living who have suffered so greatly because of the war.
He said, "As individuals, we must be vigilant to protect and assist our veterans.  To those who feel that the man or woman who served his country in uniform, and was not injured, was repaid by the training he received or the travel he accomplished at government expense, we can truthfully say that even he suffered in a manner which money cannot compensate for.  Separated from his family he has come back to a disrupted home and to a job where he no longer feels that he is "one of the gang."  He has lost something tangible.
We who share the future must redouble our efforts to prevent another world conflict.  We hope to have peace without force.
Two generations of American men and women now lie buried on foreign soil, a testament to our overwhelming, burning desire for peace.  We, their comrades in arms, solemnly pledge ourselves to protect and sustain the republic for which they died.  We recognize our responsibility to make America a better place in which to live and to make her an exemplary nation before the world.  This we cannot do if we proceed with greed, dishonesty and unreality, but only if we make freedom, justice and responsibility our watchwords."
I often wonder how my right winged grandfather would have responded to his liberal feminist Mormon housewife, (sometimes pacifist, but not when people mess with my kids) grand-daughter.  I don't know the answer to that question as he passed away before we could get into a discussion about our world views.

But I will say this, even while wishing that there was no place for war in this beautiful world,  I am grateful for the many personal sacrifices he made as he served the country in which he lived.  He was a man of conviction, and I love his words and will claim them as my own today and ask for his forgiveness as I tweek them a little bit to serve my own purpose:
"I recognize my responsibility to make the world in which I live a better place.  This I cannot do if I proceed with greed, dishonesty, and unreality, but only if I make freedom, love and responsibility my watchwords."  
Thank you to all the veterans of nations who stand behind the convictions of their hearts. My hope is someday we can all embrace the words above and that you may lay down the heavy load you carry and return to your families.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our Ladies of the Cemetery

I've always like cemeteries.  My mom used to take us on picnics to one in the town where I grew up.  I've always thought of them as happy resting places.  This morning, I took some pictures of the ladies of the cemetery in Smallville.. I hope you enjoy their peacefulness.
















Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thing I could do with an extra hour

With the even of that blissful extra hour we received last night, I was making a mental list of things I could do with an extra hour...

*  paint my poor, neglected, summer-is-over toenails.

*  catch up on Grey's Anatomy

*  make freezer meals so dinner time won't make me cringe

*  return phone calls  who are we kidding...it's not gonna happen.

*  dust, mop, unload the dishwasher, clean the bathroom and do a load of laundry

*  fight the hordes of zombies just outside my door

*  do yoga

*  say a prayer

*  watch an episode of Being Human

*  learn how to be human

*  sleep in

Guess which one I did?

What did you do with your extra hour today?

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Wonder of Halloween

As I write this post, I'm sitting on my front porch, dressed as a gypsy, waiting for the first trick-or-treaters of the year to come my way.

You see, I love Halloween, and I love to sit on my porch, but unfortunately, those two things only happen on one night of the year.  I live on a busy corner in a very small town, and while our porch is comfy and cozy, it's location is more conducive to Mexican Polka music and fast cars than anything else.  Not that I don't enjoy Mexican polka, or fast cars, just not on the one day that children are trying to cross the street in the dark of night.

Halloween was my favorite holiday growing up.  We always started our Halloweening at Sister Dubose's house.  She was an older lady who lived in our neighborhood and who was a member of our congregation.  She made these pink popcorn balls that took forever to eat, and almost broke teeth in the process.  She would always invite us in for hot chocolate and after a lifetime 15 minutes or so, we'd be turned loose to roam the neighborhood until 9 p.m.

My brother and I would trick-or-treat to Harrison Boulevard, the street with the biggest houses in town--at the least the part of town where we lived.  We went from house to house and when we finished both sides of the street, we'd start again.  Our pillow case bags were perfect receptacles for our precious loot.

Wearily, we'd make our way home where our parents (who spent the evening in perfect warmth and eating the full sized candy bars my dad insisted on giving out) would make sure that our candy was void of hidden razor blades or obvious poisons.  Apparently, the M&M's always looked suspicious and were immediately confiscated.

My childhood was typical, average and absolutely wonderful.  I ran free--especially on Halloween.  Interestingly enough, my own kids don't trick-or-treat.  They say it defeats the rule that we've laid out the other 364 days of the year, namely to never take candy from strangers.  A few years ago, my daughter said to me, "Why go through all that work to freeze and get candy I don't even like?  It's bad for my teeth, we can just stay home to pass out candy and watch a movie instead."

I was heartbroken.  How did I fail to introduce the wonder of Halloween to my brilliant yet logical offspring??

No matter.  Here I will sit, on my front porch, waiting for the first trick-or-treater to arrive.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

A Post Worth Repeating, Just because I need to be reminded that this is a guiding principle of my life, and if it's one of my guiding principles, it may be one of yours, and we could all do with a little less stress and a whole lot more happiness...

Warning:  This post contains the word ‘hell’ several times.  If you happen to be offended by the word ‘hell’ then stop reading now, because I will just end up offending you, and then you’ll call me (heaven forbid), and write me letters about how offended you are and how I may be a bad influence, at which point I’d probably just laugh at you, which would, in turn, drive you mad. And you would be so red with rage that you’d try to strangle me with your little man hands…which would never fit around my neck, and then I’d simply kick you and run away…so, if you don’t like the word ‘hell’ then do yourself a favor and bow out now.  No one will ever know.

Ok.

So, those of you that know me well, know that I live my life by a couple of guiding principles, one of which I call the “Hell Yes! Hell No!”  principle.  The basis of this idea comes from a little gem of a book called Hell Yes! by Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin.  I came across this book one day and was blown away by it’s utter simplicity.  Without printing the entire work here, which violates more copyright laws than I can count, the gist of it is this:

Before you commit to one more thing, ask yourself, is it a ‘hell yes!?’ or a ‘hell no!?’.

Let me explain:  ‘Phoebe’ (names have been changed to protect the not so innocent) calls me one day and asks if I can bring in a meal for a mutual acquaintance.  Before I automatically say, “Yes.” I ask myself, “Do I really like cooking for people?”  For me, the answer is an unequivocal  ‘HELL NO‘.  I’d personally endure hot pokers in my eyes before I would enjoy making a meal for someone other than my family, and if by chance you are that rare friend that I have cooked for, you know that I only make one meal, and when you get tired of red beans and rice, just let me know.  I won‘t judge you.  Anyway,  I do like to clean--(strange, but true) so I say, “You know, Phoebe, I’m unavailable to make a meal, but I’d love to come help so-and-so clean their house if they need it.” At this point, this only works if I really can help them in another way.  And if not, that’s ok.  Because it’s ok to say ‘No’.
Now, you see how easy that was.  Phoebe felt all good inside because I didn’t scream, “HELL NO!” and hang up the phone, I didn’t have to cook for strangers, and I was able to stay on my true path which is marked by things that light up for me.

Wait.

What did I say?

Yeah.  You read it right.  I said, I was able to stay on my true path which is marked by things that light up for me. These things make me feel happy, excited, and energized.  In other words like saying, “Hell YES!”


Each of us is on a path in our lives and we are here to find, and fulfill, and do the things we need to in order to be happy.  We’ve all been blessed with interests that light up our true paths.  When asked to do something that doesn’t light up your path, and you decline, no worries!  That person will simply move to the next name on their list and for that person, that task may be just the thing that makes them feel happy, excited and energized.  As Elizabeth Baskins says, “Sometimes you might feel pressure to take on a ’hell no!’ because you feel bad saying no.  You worry about disappointing the person who asked.  But isn’t it a little egotistical to think that you might be the only one who could fill the bill?” By saying ‘yes‘, when we really mean ‘no’, just means that we are depriving someone else of something that may light up their true path for them.

You may be asking yourself:  “Don’t you feel guilty for saying ‘no‘?”  And I’ll tell you, at first I did.  But then, I realized that when I was saying yes to things that I didn’t want to do, they felt like a burden and I did them grudgingly.  And I asked myself, who wants a gift that was given grudgingly?

You also may be asking yourself, “What if I’m not sure if it’s a ‘Hell Yes!’ or a ‘Hell No!” ?  Well, let me ask you, if it’s not a ‘Hell YES!’, then what else could it be?

So now, after lots of practice saying, “Hell NO!” and “Hell YES!” (but with other words, mind you) I find that it is the easiest thing in the world.  I have big, gaping holes in my schedule to be filled with things that really do light up my true path, like working in my chosen profession,  cleaning the widow’s house next door, volunteering in my kids’ schools, stripping wall paper in a friend’s bathroom, and reading a good book.  Because I’m not over extended and stressed out all the time doing things I don’t really want to do, I’m happier, more excited and energized.

And to that I say, “HELL YES!!!”

And with that, dear reader, I'm off the my kid's Halloween party!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Do you ever sit down at your computer to blog and your mind is just a swirling mess of graceless slush??

I do.

And (I know, don't start a sentence with "and") I don't care because my mind is slush...but not good tasting like a Diet Coke flavored slushie,

just messy brain slushie, which if you spill it, is difficult to get out of your clothes.


Happy Saturday. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Picture for Friday because I spent my day herding cats/2nd graders


I spent the afternoon herding 2nd graders and so nothing witty/interesting/funny/profound occurs to my tired brain.  However, here is a picture of a hydrangea I picked from my yard!  Rock on NaBloWriMo!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Beautiful Things Thursday

Halloween decorations, Sunshine, and a Stranger


Halloween decorations.  It happens once a year, Halloween.  Since having kids, I get a little more into it every year.  This year I have a 2 foot black spider "crawling" up my front porch.  Wicked.

Sunshine. One of the last warm days before we descend into full frosty mornings and mitten weather.  The sun was glorious.

A Stranger.  On the road today, far from home, I ran over a nail.  I was blowing along at 70 mph and got off the road far enough not to get hit by on coming traffic.  Just ahead of me, a stranger stopped and came swooping in to change my tire.  I heart you, stranger.

What are your three beautiful things?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Drama Queen

My friend (nickname Lover) says I'm dramatic.

She's right.

Once, on a camping trip with our two families, my daughter had set up her drawing easel in the middle of the path to the bathroom.  I made a comment like, "Nona, move that before someone trips over it and dies."  Lover stopped in her tracks right there and said, "Nona, no one is going to die--even if they tripped over your art stuff, they would just fall down, and NOT die.  Your mom has a tendency to the dramatic, so when you need a reality check, call me and I'll tell you the truth."

Lover pulls me back from the brink on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we don't live near one another and from time to time I could really use her truthful and kind logic instead of wallow in the crazy scenarios that roll around in my head.

You see, I am a drama queen.  I don't stir up drama, in fact, I don't like that AT ALL. However, I frequently envision the most dramatic outcome possible for any situation I may be in.  Strong wind?  Tornado.  Scratch?  Tetanus.  Car problems?  It's probably a Transformer--no, not the kind that kind that manages an electrical current, but a large alien robot that lives in disguise as a really cool car and who fights the evil Decepticons.

See?  Drama Queen.
   
My thoughts may go something like this:

Drama Me:  I have a tumor.

Logic Me:  (Said in my best Arnold impersonation,) It's not a tumor.

Drama Me:  Really, it is.

Logic Me:  You have NO symptoms.

Drama Me:  That may be true, but my eyelid has been twitching for three weeks, and I am sure this is the symptom of a serious brain tumor.

Logic Me:  Before you jump to conclusions, perhaps you should try putting on the glasses that you never wear and see if that helps before you run off to the brain surgeon man.

Drama Me:  Shut up.  I refuse to listen to you.  I'm going to die!!!  This is simply the first symptom.  The next will be a headache, followed by me being able to move objects with my mind.  I'll come up with a cure for diseases, as well as be able to read entire books really fast, then I'll  create a way to grow gigantic zucchini in my garden, I'll fall in love with Kyra Sedgewick and she'll make these groovy twig chairs which I'll buy on the sly to support her...wait.
That's the plot to Phenomenon.


Logic Me:  See, you're nuts.


Drama Me:  Duh.  Have we just met??


Logic Me:  Go to bed, your eye will stop twitching when you're rested.


Drama Me:  ...Hmph...unless I wake up dead.


Crazy, I know.  But I'm so used to this type of rolling dialogue, that it's kind of comforting now.  The best part is, my kids have their father's non-dramatic temperament and that's a good thing.

After all, there can only be one queen.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Biggest Surprise

Through my blogging friend Delores, over at the feathered nest, I found this little gem of a blog called Prompts for Writers.  It's a fabulous resource--she gives prompts for non fiction writers, poets, and fiction writers.  If you find yourself stuck, try this site out.

Today's prompt is to describe a time when you were surprised.

Hmmm...this one took some thinking about as I like surprises about as much as I'd like a case of typhoid, but there is one surprise that stands out.

When I was 21, I became a full time volunteer for my church for eighteen months.  As a preparation, I went to a training center to learn French for two months.  This wasn't my first foray from home as I'd been to college for the three years previously, but this time I wouldn't be able to come home for holidays and summer breaks for nearly two years.

The night before I was to leave for Quebec, our group of French speakers wanted to take a picture near the big map at the front of the complex where we were staying.  As we were walking up the long hall, my older brother walked around the corner.  As he lived in Massachusetts at the time, I was simply blown away.

I didn't know that he was passing through Utah on business.  He stopped at the training center where I was on a whim.  It was pure providence that our paths crossed at that exact moment...then of course, there are no accidents.  I've always felt that one last connection to my family was a gift to help me through the separation of the following months.

It is a sweet memory.

What was your greatest surprise?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NaBloWriMo Failure....NOT!

Alright, I missed two days, Friday and Saturday...there goes my perfect attendance record on NaBloWriMo.  However, it was all for a good cause.  My mom, Magnolia, was here and we were taking on the town (that's code for eating popcorn, drinking Diet Coke, and watching British dramas all weekend.)

Here's a snapshot for Snapshot Sunday:


What are you doing with all those leftover green tomatoes from your garden??

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's in a nickname?

Do you have a nickname?

I have a few.  Some of them are obvious, like "Square Toothed Girl," others I would never repeat for fear that they may be inadvertently yelled out in the grocery store the next time you see me. I am also a shameless nickname giver.  My habit of bestowing nicknames came from the fact that one of the first things I was ever called was a nickname.  My great-grandfather called me Ethel Fitzwater and Little Miss Never Shuttum-uppum.
(Wow. Did. He. Know. Me.)

With nicknames like that it's no wonder that I'm a chronic nickname bestow-er.  I've given just about everyone that I know a nickname--friends, family, strangers...doesn't matter, it's almost an unconscious act;  like breathing, but more fun.  Indeed, many of my dear ones know the names by which they are referred to in my head.

There's Rocky Babe Boa, for her ability to fight off a purse snatcher single handedly with nothing but a hockey stick and a pair of stilettos.  There's Pete, who is petite and feminine despite her nickname.  There's Sassy Britches, who has the best fashion sense I know and always works the actual sassy britches she is undoubtedly wearing--Then there's Clover, who sports indelible ink of the same shape which she got one night in a seedy tattoo shop in a suburb of Salt Lake City.  There's also Lover, (who isn't my lover) but a lover of life and the opposite of hate, thus the name.

Other nicknames I've given or proudly claim as my own, even though I've stolen them:  Fidget, Purse Nazi, Hippy Chick, TBeck, Snoozefest, His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Dullness, Lover-ly, Graphook, Greasy Bits, Oregeritapn'caps, BRam, Clang-Clang-Clangity-Clang-Shoo-Bop, Ladyface, Brillo, I-Can't-Believe-it's-not-Beelzebub, Freakshow, Hollow Legs, His Eminence, Mamacita, The Flying Nun, Handlebars, Biker Chick, Communist, Hot Lips, Porcupine, Butthook, Chops (Lamb and Beef,) Pretty Pretty, Baby Girl, Short Shorts, Dirty Girl, Weirdo-Menerido, Nylon Runner, Git, Stoops, Heebs, Smooth Daddy, Clanker, Headshrinker, Baglady, High Priestess of the Land O' Drama Queen, Pinochio-ee-oh, Wicked Witch o' the Baby Mamas, Psycho Dog Bone Cheese Meat, Hott Stott, Whizpopper, Southern Belle, Mouthy, DooBeeDoo, Bug, Bumblebee, Choooopy, G Pop, Granddaddy Crazy Pants, and the list goes on and on...

Are you a nickname giver?  Do you have a nickname? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dementors in Smallville??

I took these pics this morning on a walk.  I can't decide it the oppressive and glorious fog is a merely the result of two pressure systems meeting in the atmosphere, or if Azkaban's Dementors have invaded the Northwest....I guess if I make it through the day without my soul being sucked out, I'll know...

Cheers, on this fine October day!!






Monday, October 17, 2011

My favorite Autumn Recipe

NaBloWriMo is in full swing, our challenge is to post everyday in October.  Today's prompt was to share our favorite fall recipe...here's mine...

Lasagna Soup


While not a fan of actual lasagna, this is a truly great soup.  I think that it is best made while listening to Rosemary Clooney's "Mambo Italiano" as I drag Mountain Man around the kitchen and we shimmy like we are contestants on Dancing With the Stars--only with fewer sequins, and less spray tan.

1 pound turkey sausage (not pork, beef or armadillo)
2 cups shopped onions
1 cup diced carrot
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 can chopped Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 cup radiatore pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
cubed mozzarella or provolone & Parmesan and chopped, fresh basil to garnish

In a large stockpot, brown sausage, onion, carrot, mushrooms and garlic.  Then add chicken broth, tomatoes, and radiatore (pronounced with a heavy Italian accent, and don't forget to roll your 'r'--rah-dee-ah-tor-aye.)  It's really effective to wear some kind of striped blue and white Venetian gondola captain shirt and sing a bit in Italian.  If you don't speak Italian, don't worry, most Italian's don't speak Italian either (I'm kidding, please don't write me letters--) Just do it with confidence and you can fool anyone.

Simmer soup until pasta is cooked and tender, about 10 minutes.
Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute more.

Serve over cubes of mozzarella or provolone and garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil.

Light a candle, crack a Diet Coke, sit with your family and enjoy this luscious and filling soup.  Celebrate your time together.  Celebrate yourself.   Mangia bene, vivi felice!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To Renew

They sat at a table in Starbucks.  Fat rain fell outside, rivulets forming as it spattered against the windows.  They sat across from one another; one tall and the other short. The taller one had thick, grey hair streaked with black.  The shorter one, blonde hair just past her shoulders, sat across from her.  They hadn't seen each other in almost fifteen years.  As they stared out the window, the familiar and comforting silence of two people who have shared the the palate of human emotion from the funny to the insane, settled in between them.

Feeling the warmth of the drinks between their hands, hearing the tink of coffee cups being gathered from tables and laughter nearby, each took a deep breath, and at the same time felt the paths of their lives converge.

This was a moment of sweet joy.    

Friday, October 14, 2011

A quote for Friday...

"God is not found IN people. God is found BETWEEN people.  When you and I are attuned to each other, God comes down and fills the space between us so that we are connected, not separated.  Both love and true friendship are more than a way of knowing that we matter to someone else.  They are a way of mattering to the world, bringing God into a world that wold otherwise be a vale of selfishness and loneliness."
                                                                                      ~Rabbi Harold Kushner

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Beautiful Things Thursday

Cupcakes, babies and leaves.  


Cupcakes.  Need I say more?

Babies.  My dear friend, Rocky-Babe-Boa, is having one soon.  A new life, bringing hope and joy--I can't wait to meet her.

Leaves.  While walking this morning, the first yellow, red and orange leaves of autumn were just touching the ground.  Fall has arrived.

What are your three beautiful things?



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not so wordless Wednesday...


Dear Random-box-type retail establishment,

We need to talk.
It's not me...it's you...

It's October 12, and I haven't raked a leaf,  or carved a pumpkin, and I still have flowers blooming in my yard.
Your blatant attempts at getting me to buy buy BUY for the coming holiday season has reached its limit.  I say "No Thank YOU" to your aisles and aisles of ornaments, Christmas lights and stockings this month.  In fact, I say "No Thank YOU" to all tacky Christmas decor in general...but especially before Halloween.

What's next? Mistletoe on Labor Day?  Stockings in July?  The Easter Reindeer?

Your premature pressure to drain, squander and waste my hard earned money is making me tired.  Therefore, I'm breaking up with you.

I'm just saying "No" to your commercial bastardization of a beautiful time of year.
Don't call, write, text or email me again.  I will avoid you, and I think you need to know, your behaviour is co-dependent, and you need professional help.

Sincerely,
Lisa

What do you think about Christmas in October??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hi, I'm Lisa, and I'm a liberal feminist Mormon housewife


liberal [ˈlɪbərəl ˈlɪbrəl]  
                  a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes,
                  views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
2.
a. Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor.
b. Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes.
3. Not strict or literal; loose or approximate: a liberal translation.
4. Of, relating to, or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education.

feminist [ˈfɛmɪnɪst]  a person who advocates equal rights for women

Mormon [ˈmɔːmən]  a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints

house-wife [ˈhaʊsˌwaɪf]  a woman who manages her household as her main occupation.
________________________________________

Hi, I'm Lisa.  And I'm a liberal feminist Mormon housewife.  I'm also a knitter, a reader, a lover, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and an average tap dancer--but popular media outlets aren't discussing those labels in politics right now. 

As the political scene revs up for another year, there is much tossing about of generalizations about certain groups...recently, I've heard things like, "Those Mormons!" followed by "Those liberals!" chased by "Those Republicans!/ Gays!/ Women!/ Children!/ Mexicans!/ Greeks!/ Canadians!/ Cows!/ Chickens!/Unicorns!"-- each group pointing a finger of fault at the other, in anger or ignorance, but usually both.  

I haven't thrown out many of my personal labels on my blog much--besides identifying myself as Lisa, or a square toothed girl.  Of course, in a perfect world, there would be no labels, which would make it difficult to tell baking soda from baking powder and gala apples from the ever-so-scrumptious-in-season-now Honey Crisp, but at least we'd be free to live with the wild abandon of deflated muffins and occasional disappointment in our fruit.  

There's a lot of talk right now in the world about some of the labels that define me, and I'd like to give you my take.  I'm going to work backwards, so hang in there.
  
For the last 15 years of my life, I've worked full time as a housewife.  I receive no paycheck, no health benefits, no vacation time and no breaks.  I made a conscious choice to leave the work force and focus my attention full time on the two people whom I chose to bring into the world.  

I clean, I cook, I chauffeur, I volunteer, enjoy and love my career.  I am passionate about it. I love making my home.  I graduated from university with honors and I love to learn; because I am passionate about learning, my people are passionate about learning...they can even do math.  I can fix a bathroom sink, calm a crying baby and recite Chaucer all at once. 

I am also a Mormon.  I belong to  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I believe in Jesus Christ.  He brings me hope, happiness and peace.  I believe that there are as many ways to be a "Mormon" as there are Mormons.  I don't scrapbook, craft, or quilt and I have serious misgivings about the "errand of angels being given to women."  However, I can renovate a house, drive like a bat out of hell and teach just about anything...except math, because that's just wrong.

I also honor other beliefs.  I treasure, cherish and believe the truths taught in the Koran, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao-te-ching, and many other holy books.  There are many belief systems I would like to learn more about.  My goal is to cast my net as far as possible and gather in all the light, joy, hope and peace I can find.  Mormonism is what works for me, and I honor what works for you.

I am a feminist.  I advocate for the equal rights of all women, everywhere.  Everyday, I try to extend respect, hope and dignity to every living thing I come in contact with--even that guy that perpetually cuts me off in traffic every morning. Unfortunately, women have been subjugated for centuries.  "Women hold up half the sky" says the Chinese proverb.  I believe that women are the greatest force for love in the world, and the world needs more love. This is why I am a feminist.     

But how can you be a feminist and a housewife? (You may be asking.)  Housewifery does not stand in contrast to feminism.  I choose to be a house frau, I was not forced to it by societal expectations, extremist authoritarian dictators, or my religion.  I chose it.  All of it.  It doesn't matter what I do, it's how I do it.  I feel that this short season of tending the garden of my family is a privilege and an opportunity. 

I am a liberal--or I try to be in every sense of the word.  
I try not to limit my thinking.  I question just about everything.  I attempt to seek.  I like to learn.  I am open to ideas that seek to improve the rights for women, the LGBT community and especially children.  I favor ideas and reform of programs that just aren't working.  I think there are some innovative ideas about the environment, term limits, women's health issues and many other topics that are worth looking at.  I'd like to learn more about as many of them as I can.  

I am tolerant of the ideas of others--ESPECIALLY if they do not agree with me, because therein lies the opportunity to learn and explore another way of thinking.  I am liberal with my contributions to charities, I'm liberal with the time I spend volunteering in the community where I live.  I seek to be  liberal with my praise of others, my encouragement and my love of all of God's children here on earth.  I am a liberal.  

I am also ample (liberal) in the backside, I'm pretty laid back as a parent (not strict/ liberal) and I went to a liberal arts school, which is neither here nor there, but it kind of proves my point.

And this is why I am writing this post today.  I'm not (said with contempt) "one of those Mormons/liberals/unicorns" I am a human being with thoughts and feelings as real and valid as your own.  There is nothing that can't be discussed if it is discussed in a spirit of love, kindness and true curiosity.  Come talk to me, and I will talk to you, and we will find a way to understanding each other.  

Instead of going for the easy generalization, I hope we can all try to see the child of God beneath the label we are casting about with such divisive abandon.  We don't have to be angry.  We can choose instead, if we disagree with someone's politics, to say, "I've never thought of that before," or, "That's interesting."  Let's discuss, without anger, our differences, rejoice in our common beliefs and honor the magnificent variety in every person we meet.
  
Then maybe send them some love...   

...and I'll send some too.





Monday, October 10, 2011

The Great Fall Clean Out

This week has been a week of organization--and I feel frantic.  However, it's an easy frantic--a frantic that makes me want to clean every drawer, pull out every piece of clothing and climb every mountain...oh wait, that's another day.

Anyway, today is going to be one of my favorite days of the year. It is the day I remove every book from every shelf and reevaluate what I own. Today is the day I get rid of my "stuff." Today is the day I take a good look at what I've accumulated and take the unused, unnecessary and uninspired and pass it on for someone else to enjoy.  Today is the day of the Great Fall Clean Out.

So you see, I can't spend much more time blogging...

Wish me luck.

How do you feel about getting rid of your stuff?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Almost a Year

I began this blog almost a year ago this month.  October 19th in fact.  In July, my friend Susan over at the contemplative cat, tagged me in a blog retrospection which I've put off in honor of reaching a year.

Over 13,000 hits and 61 followers later, it's been a great year in blogging--of course, I have nothing else to compare it to so even if my only reader was my brother Scott, then hey, I'd still feel successful.  I've made many new blogging friends who enrich my life, and I am grateful that they share their stories in all their diversity.  It makes me appreciate the beauty that each person has to offer.

As a part of the retrospection, I was given categories discuss.  Here's goes:

Categories 1 & 2: Most beautiful post, Most successful post.  I've combined them because they are the same post:  You Are Beautiful.  I was surprised the day that I wrote this post and how many people responded to it.  It is, by far, my most favorite post too.

Category 3: The Most Controversial.  I'm a lover, not a fighter, and I've always felt that contention never solved anything.  However, I was pretty surprised by a conversation that ensued on Facebook in response to In Defense of the Holiday Program.

Category 4:  Most helpful post.  Before You Commit to One More Thing.  Who hasn't felt like they give into the pressure to do do do all the time?  I have.  This encourages us all to follow the path that lights up for us and in the process find our joy.

Category 5:  The post whose success surprised me.  G is For Grey Hair.  I had no idea that women would respond to it so well.  Embrace your grey! (Or not.)  Just find joy in who you are, at any age.

Category 6:  Post most ignored. Honestly, I haven't felt that any post has been ignored too much because I have this number one fan, whom I mercilessly teased and tortured as a child, who must now be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome because he's always good for a comment and a laugh.  As long as he keeps reading, I'm good.

Category 7:  The post I'm most proud of.  Butter to the Bread of Life.  My friends are integral to my health and well being and I breathe gratitude for their loving kindness every, single day.
Overall, life was good in my own little blogdom.

How was your blogging year?