Sunday, January 1, 2012

we've stuffed ourselves silly.  
a holiday always FILLED with excess, no matter how hard we try not to.
too much of. . .
food.  gifts.  wine.  more food.  some beer.
more presents.  and then the cookies.  those damn cookies.
an entity that really have a mind of their own, calling to me from their enclosed cookie tins,
tempting me with their sweetness,
to shove as many in to my mouth as possible, like a 3-year-old.
before that, it's the shopping, the wrapping, the decorating, the plays,
(yes, grace was an angel.  how apropos.)
but before we leaped head first in to the Christmas Day tidings,
which started over the river and through the woods,
our path illuminated by my father-in-laws magical ice luminaries,
with jammied cousins 
under one of the most beautiful trees you'll ever see,
(also my father-in-laws' creation,)
we needed to leave a little something for santa.
under the light of the moon,
a few picks from my last batch of cookies for the season.
(no, they don't look that good.  but let me tell you.  they're freaking magical.)
some carrots for the reindeer of course.
lugging ridiculous amounts of presents up from the basement, 
while the children slept,
anxiously awaiting early morning tip toes and shrieks of joy,
WAY before sun up,
that dragged us down the steps, peaking through railing rungs, at the spectacle beneath.
the party continuing over at my parents.
where pots and hearts, laughter and wine glasses, dinner plates and bellies spilled over. . .
my dad slicing his/my grandma's famous poppy seed bread.
and goofy uncles exchanged their goofy gifts.
(that's not their real hair, p.s.)
and we ALWAYS leave, 
ALWAYS feel, this season, not only full, but blessed.
truly. blessed.
The holiday season for us, is a week-long event. 
between Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, going out the day after. . .
leftovers, polishing off the last of the treats, despite our bodies saying no. . .it's a lot. 
but oddly, for me, it never feels long enough. 
it goes so fast.  
and every year, left more chubby in it's wake, I always ask myself, how can we do it better? make it more simple, less chaotic, but also prolong the celebration without the excess. 
i don't know.
maybe it's exactly what it's supposed to be?
the energy of the season is always high, but it's exciting.
maybe we just need to learn how to better manage our SELVES during that time?
and when it ends, i'm always reflective of it.  the beauty in ALL of it, 
no matter how loud, noisy and chaotic.
grateful for this time of year with family, good health and fabulous food.
but always sad when it's over, wishing for more.
(which is why i don't take down our Christmas decor until after new year's. . .like a week or two after.  i soak it up.)
but as if to grant us a little more holiday joy,
we were greeted with a remarkable morning sky the day after Christmas.
i ran around upstairs trying to get different views of it.
all the while, receiving a text from brian, who was sitting downstairs the wee hours of the morning, witness to the same thing.
i pounded down the stairs, camera already in hand.
"you mind?"  i said.  already heading for my jacket and the door.  he knew what i was asking.
"nope!  go ahead." without rolling the eyes or huffing a sigh.
best husband.
not even zipping up my boots, 
i had just enough time to grab a hat and headed for the sunrise.
(this is exactly how i saw it.  unedited.)
the colors and clouds giving a path to the sun, over our sleepy little town,
still rubbing sleepy eyes and brushing off the craze of Christmas.
living rooms still dusted with opened boxes and the twist tyes that hold every toy to its box.
another Christmas season passed,
pushing us not just in to a new and better year
but also continued winter break with the kids.
spent entertaining rugrats without the help of snow.
i always get anxious before these big breaks with all 3 kids at home ALL day.
yet i never plan for them.
surprisingly, this break was lovely, even without snow.
my computer conveniently needed a tune up and found its way to 'the shop.'
which forced me to just be.  something still very hard for me, but SO, SO good.
and because i wasn't tethered to that distraction, 
we had a truly, lovely week.
we played outside, in our beautiful spring-like weather.
we cut the pavement.
in our pajamas, no less.
we made monstrous messes with friends.
and that was just fine.
 we snuggled.
(yeah.  ok.  i took this before Christmas break.  but my break-snuggling photos were not as cute. . .you know, no make-up and sexy sweatpants and all.)
we toasted the new year per our usual style, by candleight in the warmth of our own kitchen.
grateful for this last one.
hopeful and excited for the next.
and hopefully, like us, you TOO have filled up with the more satisfying and healthy excess that this season brings.
homemade ornaments and works of art from your babes, more gratitude in what you've gained this past year, rather than what you've lost.
a little more peace, knowledge, and the never ending opportunity we're given each day,
to let everything else go.
my new year's resolution list is long and dicey for this stubborn and impatient woman.  
and i won't bore you with it.
but i'll tell you what i'm thankful for.
beyond the health of my family,
i'm eternally grateful for the many moments this past year, 
where I've been blown away by the devotion and support of my friends. 
i've had days where I've wanted to shut the world out and figure things out for myself. 
but I'm always brought back to needing others.  needing people.  not just their love, support, hugs, but their advice, knowledge, suggestions, caring eyes and comforting smiles. 
the beauty i was able to find in letting others pick ME up.
and the almost surreal and sacred in finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. 
in the most unlikely of people. 
maybe people who've always been there, but now, in a new way. 
simply amazing. 
it is no secret that I love people.  love getting to know, listening, sharing, learning.
i have my days where I long to be alone.  but it never lasts.  
for me, there is light in others' lives and experiences, linking us all in some way,
that always draws me back to what's most important.
cultivating those relationships and developing new ones.
for me, my truth, is that i can't have too many friends. 
i won't ever draw a line or cut short the list of people i have in my life,
because i know now, it is those people, those who love, that will carry you should you need it, in their unique ways. 
not just the close ones who have known you forever, grieved and commiserated the loss of your sanity, your good looks or your willpower, but supported your judgements, even your nasty ones, walked you through decisions, bring you back when you've taken yourself to seriously, lost your way, laughed with and at your failed attempts or complete idiocy, but let you anyway, because they knew you had to figure things out for yourself and walking alongside you, all the while.
THAT is a priceless gift. 
finding laughter through tears with someone, someone who sits next to you and brings you little glimpses of light in what seem to be the darkest of moments. 
these are the people, the women, and the men, i cherish and honor this new year.
i love my family. 
but they can't fulfill every empty nook of the soul. 
i have friends that have so beautifully and gracefully patched and repaired me in ways even my own family couldn't. 
we all have those. 
the kindred spirits of our life that almost seem to be angels.  put here for just for us.
and I thank God every day for that connection and the and humility to see and embrace them.
wishing you all a happy and healthy new year.

{and i'm just going to end with this beautiful poem my favorite photographer posted awhile ago.  it's perfect and a great inspiration for the new year.}

{"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.  Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.  Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.  If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.  Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.  Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.  Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.  Be yourself.  Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.  Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.  Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.  With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy."}


gabbygrace said...

Desiderata!!! We are soul mates I have it framed and a book of it! My face of all time!

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