The Catalogs Are Coming!

Every day a handful of catalogs arrive. This is the one of the first signs that the holidays are just around the corner. I’m not ready yet.

At Costco today, I noticed all the Christmas items are already out and it’s not even Halloween time yet!

What will you be for Halloween?

How will you spend Thanksgiving?

  

Do you have plans for Christmas break?

Only ten more weeks plus a couple days until Christmas!!

I don’t know yet what to be for Halloween. I’d love to be with family and friends for Turkey day and Christmas and that’s all I have planned so far.

Wishing you all the best as we get ready for the hustle and bustle of the end of the year and celebrating all that is good.

xo

The Easter Bunny is Coming!

Charlie loves holidays and today we realized Easter is already this weekend. We went up into the attic together to bring down the Easter boxes.

He’ll probably hate this one day but right now, he gave me permission to share this picture.

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I adore him and his spirit.

We love to decorate and to look through our treasure boxes of holiday decorations and memories. I LOVE that he still loves this tradition.

He asked me to look through the box with him and I loved seeing the Winnie the Pooh dressed as a bunny from 1999 that was Christian’s when he was a baby. I loved seeing the crocheted chicken that my grandma made. And I loved the kids’ art and even the messy grass.

Easter is this weekend. Are you preparing for HIS arrival?

Hope you have a good week!

Namaste

Celebrations

Do you find it interesting that humans choose to celebrate different holidays differently?

When we were in Holland, we celebrated the arrival of Sinterklaas on December 5th with his sidekick Zwarte Piet. Everyone was in the streets celebrating and waiting for the arrival and parade and giving of gifts and pepernoten. Of course, I’m oversimplifying.

In America, this holiday isn’t celebrated and would be viewed as racist, which isn’t how the Dutch see their tradition at all0. In Holland, this holiday was bigger than Christmas and the birth of Jesus and is part of Dutch culture. I find it fascinating that two Western countries share such different celebrations and that many other countries and religions don’t recognize either of these celebrations, and that there are several others that we hardly hear about.

I’m only sharing a bit of my context and connection as I was reading about the celebration of Eid in the Muslim countries that ends Friday (already today there) and realizing how little I know or understand of this significant celebration in another part of the world.

We all have so many different cultural and religious ways of celebrating life.

I’m always curious about how others choose to live, love, and celebrate.

‘Eid Mubarak’ which means Blessed Feast.

From reading about a couple people’s descriptions of how they celebrate Eid, it sounds like Eid is a celebration with friends and loved ones, with a grand feast and gifts shared after a month of fasting. It is a cultural celebration.

Sounds like a great practice of mindfulness and connectedness.

What celebrations do you most enjoy?

I love Halloween and Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day to name a few. Heck, I love them all!

Namaste.

Day 204: I Choose Love

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I love the idea of love.

I love to love and I love to be loved.

I love to celebrate love and to be loving.

I love babies being born.

I love weddings and watching families unite in love.

I love old people and I love kids, and some peoples in between.

I love Jesus and all he represents.

I love Valentine’s day for what it represents, but I don’t love roses on Vday.

I love that there is a day to say I love you out loud and in loud colors and with chocolate.

I love life and living it minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day.

I love my family and I love my friends, and believe it or not, I even love those who hurt me.

I love you more than anything you can say or do. That’s a good motto to help forgive and choose love for anyone, but especially those closest to you. Love is powerful if you choose it.

I choose love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Day 132: Making Friends and Stealing Their Stuff

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This is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I love any and all events that bring friends together – for cookie exchanges, dinner parties, brunches, holiday meals, ornament exchanges, white elephant exchanges, gift exchanges, you name it. I love the whole spirit of it all – even though we’re all busy and tired and have a ton to do! For some crazy reason, I find this fantastic.

I love bringing people together and celebrating our community, whether I’m hosting or attending, I’m always thankful and find the gathering of friends a true gift.

Last week I received an email reminder that one group of friends from back home were gathering for our annual gift exchange soon. I felt bummed that I was going to miss this fun gathering that I absolutely love. So I decided that I would host a gathering for some of my new Holland sisters, and hopefully bring the Christmas spirit here.

This morning about 30 of us gathered for some holiday cheer. We all brought a wrapped gift that cost under 10 Euros to exchange and several friends brought delicious sweet treats and drinks to share. Mom and I cleaned the house and rearranged the furniture for all of us to fit. We baked chocolate chip banana bread and served cookies, coffee, teas, and juices. Jeff took care of the kids in the morning and got them off to school for me. The house was decorated with flowers and plants that they brought as gifts and candles were lit everywhere.

The Christmas tree lights were twinkling and the buzz of our chatter filled the room (and even out onto the street, so they say!).
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Each guest picked a numbered star ornament from a basket and then the gift exchange began. Several friends had never participated in something like this before. The way it worked is that the first person picked a wrapped gift and opened it in front of everyone. The person with the number 2 star could steal the gift from the first person, or pick a new gift from under the tree. If the first gift was stolen, then the first person would pick a new unwrapped gift from under the tree. A gift could be stolen a maximum of three times and then it was owned for good. If later in the game your gift was stolen, you could then steal from someone else, or a new gift until all the gifts were claimed. And the twist at the end was that the first person got a final chance to steal since they didn’t get a choice at the beginning.

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The more a gift was stolen, the more laughter erupted. It was so much fun and everyone got a kick out of seeing all the presents and stealing from each other in a fun way.

I loved the party and that so many people came. I loved all the noise and that everyone was happy just being together.

Happy Sint! Merry Christmas!!