Things I’m Thankful For (2019)

Negativity comes naturally to me, so I decided to make a list of all the things I’m thankful for from 2019:

  • Family member out of jail and now on appropriate medication after years of untreated mental illness
  • Family member out of prison and gainfully employed
  • Husband’s new job offer, after 15 years spinning his wheels
  • First novel finished and ready for querying
  • Family member survived Navy Bootcamp and now in Nuke school
  • Saying “goodbye” to a dead-end job in order to open up new possibilities
  • Family member overcoming addiction
  • Family member moving out of the basement and getting an apartment
  • New benefits, health insurance package for my husband’s cancer follow-up care
  • Laughter, fun, peace, grace

What are you thankful for from last year? Did you have any personal successes? Any happy moments you’d like to share? Please leave your responses in the comments below!

Christmas Blues

Every year I get the Christmas blues. I create expectations for myself to find the perfect gifts; plan the perfect menu; decorate and clean the house (perfectly). I blow my diet. I overspend. I become nostalgic to the point of sappy sniveling, I over-think the significance of everything. I start judging myself (and others); interact with unpleasant relatives; undergo criticism, drama, and stress;  work harder so I can take extra time off; rearrange my whole schedule so I won’t disappoint anyone; eat unhealthy foods; get less sleep than normal.

Please, can we just cancel Christmas? Can we blow off tradition next year? Can I undo years of expectations and just skip it all?

Maybe that’s the solution. But maybe I just need to learn to reframe all the negativity that seems to accompany my unfulfilled expectations.

Hoping to establish some new norms for myself I created an alternate version of holiday cheer. Next year,

  • Instead of expecting to find perfect gifts for everyone, then expect special “thanks,” I will give with no strings attached
  • Instead of planning/preparing an elaborate menu all by myself, I will let others contribute to a potluck and share the fun of working together
  • Instead of decorating and cleaning like a fiend, I will go somewhere already decorated or simplify my own decor with just a few special items
  • Instead of blowing my diet and eating junk, I will rethink “healthy” as fun!
  • Instead of overspending my budget and going into debt, I will declare a limit or host a White Elephant party
  • Instead of becoming overly nostalgic and sentimental, I will go on a trip to a new place (maybe to the coast!), without pressuring myself to observe all traditions
  • Instead of overthinking people’s actions and intentions, I will see their quirks as potential “character profiles” for future books–warts, wrinkles, and all
  • Instead of judging myself and others, I will spin a new story to explain human actions in a positive light
  • Instead of staying up too late, I will bow out of the festivities early and keep to my routine
  • Instead of interacting with unpleasant relatives, I will reframe my own actions as purposeful extensions of love and grace toward those who need extra love this time of year
  • Instead of enduring criticism, I will laugh more, grow a thicker skin, and–if all else fails–walk away
  • Instead of working harder, I will take a much-needed break, with faith that really and truly I lack nothing!

Saturday August 2nd, 2014

Good morning to all my wonderful fans.  I don’t feel so very awake yet today but just as soon as this coffee hits my veins, we’re off to the Rennessance   Renaisance  Renaissance Festival (where is my auto spellcheck when I need it… Don’t judge me…) I told my teenage son I would dress up with him as someone medieval–myself as Sir Lancelot, and he could be “Dora the Explorer. ” I have bruises on my arms and legs now. (Sigh). I saw that coming from a mile away.