time for reflection
it’s that time again
I’m a little strange. I’ll admit it. I like this time of year. I love Christmas but I also love post Christmas. The next thirty daysor so I will engage in a lot of reflection-about the Christmas season-what I feel I did right-what I could have done better. I’ll take pictures of how I’ve decorated in case I want to copy some of the same ideas next year. (Some I’ve already decided I really, really like.) But mostly my thoughts will center on the events of this last year and how (based on my Christian values) I responded to life events.
So this will either be a lengthy post or divided between two posts. You’ll figure it out. As soon as I download my pictures, there will be those as well. Here’s the thing about my pictures. I used my i-phone and did almost no editing. I’m so envious when I see the beautiful photographs on other blogs. But then most of them aren’t using phone cameras. That’s a goal for next year. Learn how to take better photographs and get a good camera once I do.
The shopping: I shopped a lot via the internet this year. I didn’t like doing it that way but I had little choice. What little in-store shopping I did do, I accomplished in one or two days. Again, not my favorite way to do things but at least it got done and everyone seemed happy with their gifts. I also managed to make some homemade gifts-pillows and stockings from sweaters. They turned out great.
Missing chocolate chip cookie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The baking: Yea!!!! Great success. It was down to the wire when I started but I did it all in two days. I baked Anzac cookies, thumbprint cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, and chocolate chip cookies. No-bakes were the traditional chocolate, oatmeal, peanut butter kind, as well as mission balls, Chinese noodle candy, and peanut butter fudge and pretzels topped with Rollo’s. They all turned out great. However, the dough for the cut-outs is still in the freezer-maybe for Valentine’s Day? Our home is over one hundred years old and between the kitchen and the mudroom is a small hallway. My husband built some shelves on one side. I lined up all the cookies in my favorite red and white tins, labeled each, and set them on top of a snow blanket interspersed with little trees. It was a great idea but I didn’t take pictures. Sorry.
christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)
The decorating: I have lots of Christmas decorations. (It’s a big house so I need them, don’t I?) Pretty much everyone room is decorated. But here’s the funny thing. The one room everyone congregates in, the T.V. room, I forgot to decorate! (Note to self-don’t forget this room next year.) It used to be a porch. There is only one wall and because it’s long and narrow there’s not a lot of floor space. Next year I’ll have to think of a way to decorate with more wall “thingees.” I loved how I decorated the mantel, the desk, the dining room hutch and my old craft cabinet and will do exactly the same next year.
I felt very little pressure or stress this year. I was determined to stay focused and enjoy each moment with no worries about the next ones. (See two previous posts. Correction to “quite journey in postscript.) I was able to let people be who they are and not let their attitudes affect me. I made one change I should have made a long time ago. It turned out to be a really good decision and I was able to avoid some conflicted feelings I’ve had in the past. Sometimes it just makes sense to avoid a troublesome situation even if it means more work for ourselves.
Christmas Eve at my mother’s was wonderful especially if bittersweet. My mother is convinced she has only a short time to live even though there’s no medical reason for it. She may sense something I don’t and I’m not foolish enough to pooh-pooh her feelings so I wanted to make every second count and I did. Christmas Day my hubby and I saw Les Miserable. OMG! It’s a movie one “experiences” not just watches. The best part ? Hearing my husband sniffling at the end of the movie. He’s as tough as they come but he’s the most gentleman as well. I am blessed.
It’s a sunny day today and as I sit and think about the last few weeks I am acutely aware that life won’t always be this good. Christmas’s won’t always be this wonderful. I consider myself a very smart and astute woman and know life is predictable only in its unpredictability. I’m so glad I made the most of this season. I got tired at times but I just drank more coffee and repeated the mantra, “enjoy this moment, enjoy this moment, enjoy this moment.”
Now I have a month of “reflecting” coming up. I’m going to be away from home for much of that time but that will make it easier. I always think better when I’m away-either at our cabin or on a beach somewhere. I’m going to keep you posted on my process.
I started this post with “I’m a little strange. I’ll admit it.” Well, I’m even stranger than you think. You see I’m one of those people who do believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Of course, any month of the year can be set aside for reflection and resolution-making. I choose New Year’s because to me it just makes sense. January is usually one of the quieter months. Not a lot to do. And living in Michigan, there’s little one can do outside unless you really like cold weather-which I don’t. So it just makes sense to set this month apart-to eat my leftover cookies and drink hot tea and contemplate. I would’ve made a great monk!
I don’t know how you anticipate this next year but if you suffer from depression (http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx), you may feel very discouraged right now thinking “I can’t take another year.” I can remember thinking that way. If you’re new to this blog, read the archival material. There’s a lot I’ve written already that you might find helpful. Don’t give up. I know only too well how miserable and life-sucking depression is. I wallowed in it a long time.
I don’t anymore.
Not because I’m stronger than you, better than you, have more faith than you, or didn’t feel as bad as you do. I just got to a place in my life when nothing was working, not even medication, and I determined to get beyond it no matter what it took. I purposefully don’t make every post only about depression because that doesn’t help. Constant ruminating doesn’t help. Besides, depression isn’t who I am anymore.
Try using January as I do and really give some thought to why you suffer depression. http://www.indeonline.com/news/x1783186789/Holiday-blues-or-depression-Whats-the-difference. Don’t get morbid and don’t think every minute but set aside some time every day, sit quietly, and see what thoughts come to your mind. Examine them. Are you contributing to your own depression? I’ve talked to a lot of people over the years who are depressed and I’ve yet to meet the person who didn’t in some way contribute to their condition. Even it was only because they didn’t seek treatment.
Life is so much easier when we’re honest with ourselves, when we don’t have to be perfect. It’s amazing to me that a when I let up on myself a little; I let up on others as well. Anyway, I’m on a roll so I should quit before you get overwhelmed.
I’ll be back in a few days. Happy New Year to each and every one of you.
p.s. I apologize for the error in the “quite” journey. I really do know how to spell “quiet”. 🙂