The Simple Gifts of Christmas

As we move closer to Christmas, I’m beginning to see more posts on the social networks…some with the countdowns of shopping days left, some with happy remarks about how far they are with their shopping, and several with not-so-happy remarks about how much they need to accomplish. What I read between the lines is the stress that often comes with this season. I just want to encourage everyone, who might be getting caught up in this sort of stress, to lay down your lofty expectations and just embrace the beauty and simpleness of Christmas.

When our boys were young and still at home, and HB and I were just taking off in our careers, money was very tight. Most Christmas’s were focused on our kids. He and I didn’t exchange gifts for years, and if we did we would come up with an idea for something to be enjoyed by the entire family.  One year, it was a new TV. Another, a new VCR. Remember those? And another time, it was a new game system. And we never bought the newest, state-of-the-art, version. No, we were usually a couple of years behind what was most popular. It’s just the way things were.

But, in spite of the tight finances, we never allowed it to squash the Christmas spirit inside our home. We couldn’t provide a lot of “things” under the tree, but what we could provide were memories. So, we made a conscientious decision to turn our focus to creating something that money could not buy and that was time together as a family.

If you were to ask my kids, they would probably only remember a handful of gifts received. Probably ones that were sentimental in nature. Okay…they’d probably remember that first game system we bought too. That was a pretty big deal that year.

But, what they would clearly remember would be…The drives up the hill to play in the snow. How we’d take a break from the cold and crowd into the back of the old suburban to eat summer sausage and cheese – and drink hot cocoa from dad’s big Stanley thermos. They’d remember days where we planned movie marathons until late into the evening. And like I said, they’d remember that one year we got the game system – and not because of the system itself, but because of the hours we spent together playing, to the point that our hand muscles ached from gripping the controller for so long. They would remember a home filled with life, love and laughter.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not trying to convey that gifts are bad. What I’m trying to say is, resist the urge to be pulled into the peer pressure that often comes with this season and thinking you have to buy the biggest, most popular, “what everyone else is getting,” gift. Don’t create a memory of Christmas as being a crazy and stressful time of year.

Regardless of where you are in life…commit to making this season a memorable one for you and everyone you come into contact with. I have found, while “stuff” can be fun and sentimental, it really isn’t what it’s all about. What people truly long for most of all, no matter who they are, is time spent with loved ones. Your time is the most rewarding gift you can give.

So in the true spirit of Christmas:

  • Invite a friend or family member over for dessert and a fun movie.
  • Spend an afternoon baking and decorating simple sugar cookies with a child.
  • Take a drive somewhere to see Christmas lights and enjoy being around people.
  • Make a puzzle or play a game with good music as your background.

…the list can go on and on. Simple. Fulfilling. Memorable.

In addition to celebrating the gift of Jesus
…these, to me, are the true and simple gifts of Christmas.

~CindyLu~

simple christmas1

 

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By the chimney with care…

One of the traditions I’ve decided to bring back to our home, this Christmas, are the stockings. As each of our kids have grown and married, their stocking has been removed from the fireplace mantel and sent along with them. As a result, only mine and HB’s stockings hang there – and honestly, they look pretty lonely. When I announced my idea to him a couple of weeks ago, his first response was, “Ummm…ok…but do you realize how many stockings we’re talking about here?” He makes me laugh. “Well, of course! Eighteen total…for now!” was my peppy response back.

I gotta give props to this guy. For almost twenty-eight years of marriage, he has graciously listened to my requests, big and little, and has done quite an amazing job of making my hopes and dreams become a reality.

He went on to ask, “Okay, but how on earth do you plan to hang eighteen stockings from our mantel?” My reply, “I don’t know. I guess I need to search Pinterest!” And off I went, looking up anything I could possibly find to hang A LOT of Christmas stockings. It’s one thing to hang them empty, but you need to have something strong in place that will hold them filled. In years past, I would shove a push-pin into the wall just above our brick mantel, but even those would pull out from the weight of the items inside. Many times, once filled, we would take them down and place them on the floor by the fireplace. So I was on a quest to find something strong and sturdy. I came across some fun ideas, like using those weighted hooks and hanging a curtain rod or tree branch across the hooks. Cute and practical…but even then, I was afraid it wouldn’t be strong enough.

About our mantel…we’ve pretty much hated it from day one. The fireplace is all brick and the mantel is only about 4 inches deep, if that. It has always posed a problem to put anything on top, unless it’s something small. And because we had to paint it all white (we had no choice, the original owners of the house had painted it orange with white in the grout…yeah, I know…very odd…) it’s always been sort of bland and boring, in my mind.

After days of searching, Pinterest was kind of failing me for ideas of what to do with my current mantel situation. But I did see some sturdy wooden ones in cabin-type settings and the wheels began to turn. I asked HB, “Do you have any left over wood from the porch project?” He must have seen the wheels turning in my head, because I could tell that he was getting where I was going with this question. He stated he didn’t, but then said, “But, I do have some salvaged posts from the back patio cover that I took down.” At that point, he went outside to search for something that might work. He returned with a long, sturdy and solid 4″ x 6″ post. It was PERFECT!

The man loves a good project, so he took some measurements, grabbed the saw and took the wood out back. Because we have a corner fireplace, the angles on the brick are really odd, but you’d never know because he cut it perfectly. This was actually a very simple project for him (made us wonder why we waited so long to do something like this), but wow…amazing results, as far as I’m concerned.

I tried to find a “before” picture, but it seems that I never really had a reason to take a picture of it. But, I now have a mantel that is strong and sturdy and will have no problem for eighteen Christmas stockings hung by the chimney with care.

mymantle

~CindyLu

PS: That’s my Snapple Cap collection in the jars to the left – and my marbles (from when I was a little girl…I haven’t lost mine yet) in the jar to the right. 🙂

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

We had an early Thanksgiving this year. Real early!

My youngest son and his new bride were returning to their mission field in Mexico earlier this month, so the family decided we needed to plan something before they left. Yep, Thanksgiving came early…like, November 1st early. It had all the makings of our traditional feast and festivities. We had a wonderful time visiting, chowing down, and playing our annual game of Bingo!

An added plus was that it opened the door for the kids to spend time with other family members this Thanksgiving Day. No need to synchronize our clocks to fit in with other celebrations taking place. This year will be a quiet one for me and HB, but honestly, it sounds really romantic. I’ll still make “the” dinner, but just for two. Strangely, I’m totally okay with that.

That said, the problem with the earlier fesitivies…we all feel like we should be in Christmas mode! We feel as if Thanksgiving has already come and gone! Let’s put it this way…I’ve had my little Christmas tree up for almost a week now. It usually doesn’t go up until the day after Thanksgiving. And we’ve watched, at least, one Christmas movie. I suppose the nice twist to that is Christmas won’t feel rushed as it sometimes does. By getting a little head start, the season will feel like it lingered for a while – and I’m totally okay with that.

This has always been a magical time of year for me. Growing up as a 60’s and 70’s child, our home would take on a whole new life in November and December. My mom has always had a zest for fun and tradition. She would begin cooking up delicious seasonal meals. Did you hear that? My stomach just growled…no, seriously! Oh…and the baking…cookies, pie, popcorn balls, and my grandma’s fudge. Mmmm.
(My grandma always claimed she got ahold of Mrs. See’s recipe – and honestly, I wouldn’t have put it past her.)

Then there was my dad, an old romantic. There was just something about this time of year that put a dance in his step. He loved all sorts of music (and always had an awesome stereo system), so he’d fill our home with seasonal music…Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, oh…and Mahalia Jackson, singing “O Holy Night”…it still takes me back. Magical, spiritual…wonderful.

Can you feel it? Maybe it’s just me, but even talking about it takes me back. There was just a heartbeat in our home – and because of it all, they instilled tradition in me, especially at this time of the year.

So, I thought for the next month or so, I’d spend some time blogging about the holidays. Since we’re still a week ahead of Thanksgiving, I’ll definitely include that, but I’ll be directing most of my writing towards Christmas. As many of you know, HB and I are all about legacy, so we’ve kept many of our old traditions alive, but have added some new ones into the mix.

In keeping with my Simple Life Adventures (yes, I’m still working to achieve simplicity), from earlier this year, I’ll also share with you simple ways that we’ve brought the season into our home, without getting caught up in the commercialism that often comes along with the holiday. Blech!

The desire of my heart is for Thanksgiving and Christmas to always have deep meaning in my family. So, each year I start out by asking God to fill my heart with His perspective and to help me focus on family, friends, love, laughter  – and, of course, the true reason for this beautiful season…His Son, Jesus.

So travel along with me as we enjoy and embrace this Christmas season together, because it really is…The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

~CindyLu

it's the most wonderful time

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Begin Again

It was a little over a year ago when HB and I read about and committed to a drastic lifestyle change. I’m referring to the way we were eating…because we were, essentially, out of control! This new and drastic change meant removing all wheat products (regular flours, pasta, cereal, etc.), grains and sugar from the diet. We’re talking a complete overhaul.

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with hypertension and HB was diagnosed with high cholesterol and Type II Diabetes. We both started up on meds, but didn’t really take things serious enough to start eating better and exercising. When I read about eliminating these foods and the testimonies of people who were becoming healthy again by this drastic approach, I was intrigued and ready for a change.  We decided this was totally what we needed and went head-on into it.

First on the list was a complete revamp our kitchen pantry. I still remember the day my kids showed up to get twelve grocery shopping bags filled with our processed foods. They thought we had gone stark raving mad. Truth is…there was a little part of us that thought the same thing. To live without our beloved cereal, breads and pastas…I mean, that’s just crazy! But we set out on this new adventure and found that we loved it, especially in how it made us feel.

It got us back into our kitchen and we began making our own versions of bread with almond and coconut flours. We bought one those nifty spiralers and started making our own noodles out of zucchini and cucumbers. We even began making our own condiments and dressings. Yes…we’re talking over-the-top drastic changes. We began to love the flavors of fresh food and could taste the difference between something “clean” and something processed. Who knew a healthy lifestyle could feel so good?!

Almost immediately, our bodies began to transform. Not only did we begin to feel good from the inside out, but the bonus was how the weight was literally melting off of us. In a matter of about two months, we had easily shed almost 20 pounds each. We had never felt so healthy. In a matter of months, HB was off of his cholesterol and diabetes meds, and his glucose numbers were coming in, each day, within a normal range. We were amazed!

But…somewhere along the summer months, we fell off of our wagon. I can’t even put my finger on how and when it happened, but little by little we began to introduce some old vices back into our daily life. I strike it up to times when we felt stressed, and in a weak moment said, “Okay, just a little bit.” which then became, “Just a little bit more.” And then, little by little, the weight and glucose numbers began to rise, and the meds returned to the kitchen window sill.

So why am I sharing this today?
Because we have our focus back!

This past weekend was one of relaxing and refocusing. We spent several hours on the front porch, sipping on coffee and discussing our plans for moving forward in various areas of our lives, and this was at the very top of the list. Without our physical health, we will send the ripple effect of being unhealthy into the other areas of our life. If we want to get off of the medications we take – or significantly reduce them – then we have to treat certain foods as if they are poison to our bodies.

And so today, we’ve committed to Begin Again.

I like the sound of that. Don’t you? In the past I’ve used terms like “starting over,” but that has such a negative tone to it. Like I’ve tried something and failed – and I hate negative talk. But, to “begin again” sounds brand new, fresh, light and encouraging.

What about you? Is there anything that you need to get refocused on?
Stop putting it off.
Today is a perfectly good day to Begin Again!

~CindyLu

The Monday Chat

 

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Simple Somethings

“You never know when one act
or one word of encouragement
will change a life forever.”

When I came across this quote today, my heart did a mental rewind to Saturday when I came home and found a message “from” my chair. *giggle* I still don’t know who put it there, but honestly, I prefer it this way. Their little act of fun and kindness really touched my heart in a big way. (Read “To: My Favorite Booty” if you’d like the details.)

In fact, it touched me in such a way that I’ve decided to pay it forward – and not just once, but every time I get an inkling to do a simple something for someone else. If a moment presents itself, I plan to act on it.

That simple something might come in the form of a handwritten note sent to a friend who just happens to be on my heart that particular day. Or maybe when I’m in line picking up a special coffee drink, at a place that reminds me of someone else, I’ll get a $5.00 gift card to send to them. You get the gist…I just want to be better at slowing down and responding to thoughts of the heart.

I know that in my busyness I miss many opportunities like these. Someone will flutter through my heart and before I know it, I’m off to the next thought. Sometimes when I’m out and about, I’ll see a simple something that reminds me of a friend or loved one. I’ll have that thought of “Oh, I should get that for…” but again, my mind will move on to something else. The moment is gone.

Do you ever have moments like these? Do you ever wake up with a certain someone on your heart, or have a thought of someone just flutter through in the midst of other things going on in your mind? Like, just out of the blue? Do you think it might be possible the thought is there for a reason?

What if we were to slow down a little bit and just linger there for a few moments. Encouragement, sent to another, in any shape or form is always a wonderful gift. Right?! So, I want to encourage you to act on it in some little way. Because, you never know…what you may think is very small and silly could change a person’s entire day – or life.

As you can plainly see…someone’s simple something meant the world to mine. 🙂

Happy Monday, friends!
~CindyLu

mondaymorningpeptalk1

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To: My Favorite Booty!

I cannot stop laughing at this!

After a busy morning, I had just come home and was getting ready to begin some Saturday afternoon chores. I walked through the house, pulling back curtains, and opening windows to let the sunshine in.

I stepped out onto my front porch to re-arrange some of the chairs, from visitors we had earlier this week. As I walked across to where my two favorite wicker chairs sit, I noticed a piece of paper laying in the seat of one. I almost dismissed it as something one of my grandsons probably left there. But the words caught my eye and I had to do a double take…

from my chair1

It took a minute for the words to register. I somehow let out a laugh that sounded a bit like Goofy, “GUH-HYUK!” and then slowly opened it and read the rest of the message…

from my chair2

BWAHAHAHA!! Oh my goodness….this just made my day. I can’t help giggling over this very simple, but extremely sweet, note. I especially love the Harley-Davidson note paper. Hahaha!!

To whomever left this for me...THANK YOU! Not only does it tell me that you read Zoning In but, wow!, that you cared enough to make a special trip to my front porch to remind me. So I’m raising my hot cup of coffee to you right now, dear friend. I’ve pulled a book from my library that I’ve been wanting to read for years and starting it right now. 🙂 From the bottom of my heart, thank you, for having an awesome sense of humor and a very sweet heart. Praying the blessings of your life runneth over.

Happy Saturday, friends!
~CindyLu

from my chair3

 

 

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Healing Balm

It happened two days ago. The work week had been a busy one, but I was feeling like I had an energetic spunk in my step. I was on track and moving through a very productive day. In spite of falling off of my healthy band wagon over the past month, I was feeling particularly good about myself; good hair day, cute outfit, jewelry that rocked, and high heels. Just feeling good and focused.

The mail had just been delivered to my desk, so I was walking around and handing it out to my coworkers, giving them all a cheery “Hello!” as I dropped items onto their desks. With a busy month behind me, and a fairly clear calendar ahead of me, I was feeling pretty jazzed about the forward momentum I was feeling. As I finished up and turned to walk back into my office, I felt the punch! BAM!

“What the…?!?!” I had just been sucker punched right in my back!!   As I tried to relax and hobble back over to my chair, I told myself, “Don’t even think about it. Just relax. Mind over matter…mind over matter.” But as I sat there, the pain became so intense I thought I’d go crazy. Before I knew it, the entire area was becoming a huge knot, seizing to the point of pain if I even moved my right arm. And good grief, it was right in that upper area of the back that’s impossible to reach, but I sure tried. I thought that if I could just rub it out, the knot would subside and relax. However, the stretch to try to reach it caused the pain to go up the side of my neck.

The feeling of old age and worry began to creep in. I don’t just flick off those pains like I used to. No, my brain begins to take me on a mental rollercoaster ride of possibilities as to what could be causing such pain. Instead of thinking I’ve simply pulled a muscle, my mental ride loops me around twists and turns of, “Is it my heart?! Is it some sort of foreign growth?!” Yes friends, I am a closet worrier when it comes to health issues. I guess when you’re diagnosed with hypertension (which I always thought was just over-the-top positive energy) and are told “…it’s the silent killer, especially in women,” well…the brain can take you on some serious loop de loops when even normal stuff happens.

I immediately logged into Avocado (a great site for couples, by the way) to have an IM chat with my husband. “Are you there?!” I type. (pause…for what seems like forever) “Yep, I’m right here.” he writes back to me, seconds later. I begin to tell him about the pain I’m in and I write, “Please tell me that I’m okay.” Seriously….this man of mine is amazing in so many ways. He never ever treats me like the big baby I sometimes turn into. Instead, he assures me with all sorts of encouragement that he knows how to speak in my own language. Thank you HB.

He writes back, “You are fine, my love. You’ve had a lot of stress going on and I think it finally hit you.” I write, “You think so…?”

Huh. Stress? Could it really be that? I took pause for a moment to go through the mental list of things that had taken place over the last month or so.

Hmm, let’s see…my old boss retired, a new boss stepped in. Attended new meetings and assisted in office moves. Made travel arrangements for out-of-town wedding. Went through address book to find someone to take care of the animals while the family was out-of-town. Attended non-work meetings and events. Planned, coordinated, bought decorations, food and other necessary items for out-of-town rehearsal dinner.  Hosted rehearsal dinner. Attended most romantic and fun wedding ever! Paid bills. Scheduled and rescheduled meetings and events. Paid bills. Oh yeah…broke my tooth (the week before the wedding), made dental appointments for that. Paid big dental bill. Oh wait…that reminds me…excuse me for a sec while I take my blood pressure medication. 🙂

Yeah…I guess HB was right. I guess it was possible that a little bit of tension here and there punched me right square in my back. And this morning, when I woke up, I was reminded of it all over again.

So what do I do with all of this? How can I use this, in a positive way, to move forward?

In looking back on my big mental list, I was hit again…with a visual of what a control freak I really am! While I do love to create casual and relaxed settings for others, I practically kill myself in the process as I seek to acquire perfection.

This morning I picked up my “Jesus Calling” devotional and just have to share what today’s message said:

Trust ME enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. Relax, and refresh yourself in the Light of My everlasting Love. My Love-Light never dims, yet you are often unaware of My radiant Presence. When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient; to be adequate without My help. This is a subtle sin–so common that it usually slips by unnoticed.

The alternative is to live fully in the present, depending on Me each moment. Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply. Train your mind to seek My help continually, even when you feel competent to handle something by yourself. Don’t divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help. Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation. This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently. ~Psalm 37:3-6; Philippians 4:19

Wow. Like balm to my sore muscles, just the thought of this Truth eases the tension within me. Why is it that I continually take the reins as I charge through the days of my life? I did have several spiritual moments throughout the busyness listed above. But that’s the thing…they were truly just moments. I didn’t really have Him with me as I charged in to make all things perfect.

We’re told to give thanks in everything…so that’s what I’m choosing to do today. In spite of the pain I still feel in my back, I’m feeling thankful that it caused me to slow my mind down enough to re-think the things that I do and the chaos I can create when I take control and go it alone. So today, I’m refocused spiritually…with Him out in front of me.

So what about you? Got any events on the horizon that you are over-the-top controlling? Come on, be honest. Have you even taken a moment to sit down, relax and depend on Him for your abundant supply? If not, I can’t encourage you enough to get your focus back. Re-read the words from my morning devotion.

My favorite part…”Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation. This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently.” Oh yeah…Healing Balm…I just felt it rubbed into that little knot in my back.

Have a blessed day, friends.

~CindyLu

friday chats

 

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Want S’more?

Earlier this week, in my “I can tell you this…” post, I included pictures from the rehearsal dinner we hosted for our son and [now] daughter in-love. In addition to setting up our fancy pizza spread, I also found the idea for a S’more Bar as our dessert – and I must say, it was a huge success! Many who attended the dinner commented on how they had seen pictures (fellow Pinterest addicts) but had never actually seen one in person or used one. Needless to say, it was so much fun to enjoy this first experience with so many others.

s'more - setup1

…and since my earlier post, I’ve received several e-mails asking how we made the boxes and what was used inside. So I decided today’s post would be on creating a really fun S’more Bar of your own.

I wanted mine to be three feet long and fortunately HB had scraps of wood to accommodate the request. He made these in about 30 minutes, tops.

s'more - boxes1

For each box, wood was cut to these proportions:

2 – 1×4’s cut to three feet in length (these are the long sides)
1 – 1×8 cut to three feet in length (this is for the bottom)
2 – 1×4’s cut to 8 inches (these are the short sides)
⇒ Once cut, he used your basic hammer and nails to assemble.

Note: You can, of course, make your box whatever size you’d like. I wanted these specific sizes to fit either a 4-foot or 8-foot table, with room to spare.

Now for the fun part:

I bought the “safe heat” sterno cans at our local Sam’s Club. They come as a box of twelve, and we used five cans in each of our boxes. The flame lasts for up to six hours, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. In fact, knowing that I have these cans sitting around has me planning some-more mallow roasts this Autumn.

In keeping with the country chic theme of the rehearsal dinner, I wanted to fill my boxes with a cobble-style rock, (found at Lowes), but you can use whatever style of rock you prefer. Home Depot also carries something similar.

For roasting the marshmallows, I used 8″ bamboo skewers that I found at Party City, but I think you can find these anywhere. I just happened to be there getting other items and grabbed them. By the way, I did not have to soak them in water prior to using for the s’more bar (like you do when used for skewers on the bbq)…just put the mallow on there and roast.

I wanted everything to look pretty, so I put out separate bowls and plates for the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. That said, my brain has been working overtime thinking up additional items I could add, like caramel sauce and peanut butter cups. Yummo! Basically, whatever you’d like to eat on your s’more is worth adding to the table.

s'more - grahams s'more - marshmallows s'more - hersheys

So that’s pretty much it…
1. make box (or find something else that is non-flammable and would work)
2. place sterno cans where you want them
3. fill with rock
4. put a mallow on a stick
5. have fun!

I’m actually planning a little family get together Saturday evening. To make it a little more in season, I visited my favorite store in the whole wide world – Trader Joe’s! – and picked up some cocoa mix, Pumpkin Spice Coffee and Spiced Cider. I pour the Spiced Cider into a crock pot and serve it hot – it’s a family favorite!

So there you have it…all of the information you should need to create a nice get together.

You will find, as you read my blog, that I’m all about connections; bringing friends and family together for some simple and casual fun. I also love traditions, new and old, and I know this new one will last for years to come.

If you make one of these, I want to know! By all means, send me your pictures!! I’m on Instagram (cindylu_coffeeandatypewriter), so you can always attach me to posts. As well…if you have any easy and fun things that you do, I’d love to hear all about it. I’ll post pictures of our event on Sunday.

Happy Autumn, Friends!

~CindyLu~

s'more - setup2 s'more - people1 s'more - people2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zoning In

Sitting here at work, I just opened the monthly calendar. I need to schedule a couple of personal appointments and wanted to check my availability.

Wow. As I look over the boxes on the page, I am amazed with all of the glorious, wide-open, spaces. It wasn’t too long ago that our calendar was filled with places to go, people to see and things to do. Life was all about schedules.

When we became empty nesters and made various cuts, we couldn’t help but bask in the glory of our freedom. It was wonderful to be able to come home from work and not have to be anywhere at all. Oh, and to have a free weekend? Heaven on earth!

But as I sit here looking at the blank boxes, I’m kind of wondering…have we become time wasters? I mean, I much prefer to be on this side of the schedule, where it’s easy and comfortable…but I can’t help but ask myself, “Am I truly using my time wisely?”

If I’m completely honest, most nights now look something like this:
Come home. Eat dinner.
Grab smart devices. (But are they really?)
Turn TV on.  Assume the normal positions on the big couch and then…
“Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

That is not the sound of us sleeping, but the sound of us zoning out! We are wide awake, but I think in some way our brains are very clearly making that sound. Ummm…this sort of concerns me as I picture the two of us sitting there together, but zoned out in our own little worlds.

So, I think it might be time to re-think how I’m using all of these wide open boxes. Maybe I could turn off the TV, resist the urge to get cozy in that little corner of the couch, put down the device from time-to-time, and return to some old-fashioned ways of doing things.

I could do something like…

…read a good “fiction book.” I am always reading something but most of the time it’s self-guidance or tutorial related. How heavenly it sounds to hold a book in my hands that takes me to another city, another place in time, where I’ll meet new people.

…talk on the phone (gasp!) every now and then, so the friend or family member, on the other side of the computer screen, gets their true voice back. I used to be such a telephone talker, but modern technology and schedules made me feel like I didn’t have time for small chit-chat.

…actually invite family and friends over to just sit for a spell. With all of the fancy Pinterest ideas (which I do love), it seems every gathering now needs to be filled with entertainment for all of the senses. Can’t sitting, relaxing and chatting over a nice beverage be enough? Yes. I believe it can.

Or how about…

…push the stack of mail aside, turn on some good tunes and light a couple of candles at the dinner table, to turn our Chipotle Burrito Bowl meal into something relaxed and romantic.

…just an intentional focus on Zoning In. The possibilities are endless.

Today I had to step outside the office to go to another building. As I walked along, I breathed in the fresh air and really opened my eyes to all that surrounded me. Wow…it’s a gorgeous day! And I actually saw three little humming birds in three different places. They didn’t even seem to mind that I was so close to them. I love hummingbirds.

But…I was amazed and a little bit saddened by this.
When did I stop taking breaks from my work?
There’s a reason they give us breaks from our work.
Like I said, one extreme to the other…

Friends, there’s a world out there that we’re supposed to be living in. The place you work, the home you live in, the family you have, the friends in your life…we’ve been strategically placed. What simple changes can you make to embrace and be active in your life?

Lifting my coffee mug to you…

Here’s to finding a happy and healthy balance.
Here’s to opening the eyes of our heart and embracing our relationships.
Here’s to Zoning In and enjoying the life we’ve been given.

~CindyLu~

hummingbird1

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I can tell you this…

Wow…where in the world did September go? As I start this daily blog, I’m struggling with the thought of, “Where do I even begin?” There’s so much I would love to tell you about, but September, in many ways, is a complete blur for me now.

I can tell you this…

Our home was filled with over-the-top busyness and excitement as we prepared for our youngest son’s wedding. I had a blast working my way through Pinterest boards putting the last ideas together for a nice and fun rehearsal dinner. Who knew that you could turn a pizza fest into something glamorous? Add a bit of burlap, lace and silver plates and you’ve just stepped it up a big notch. By the way…the s’more bar was a huge hit! I highly recommend it! My family is already asking when we’re going to have an evening of roasting some-more.

I can tell you this…

From the rehearsal dinner to the very end of the wedding, the air was filled with so much romance and fun, that it practically overwhelmed our hearts. I have to believe that everyone who attended, walked away that evening feeling the passion these two have for each other. I know that in my own family, it seemed to rekindle something in all of us; love and passion in our own marriages, and a huge sense of family – and just how important that is in the scheme of this journey we’re all on. Family is everything. It should be.

I can tell you this…

I’m amazed at how fast September came and went. It’s made me aware of just how fast life can continue to flow. I’ll admit, there are times that I want it to hurry up and times when I want it to slow down. But as I sit here and reflect back on the last month, I realize that slowing it down is the better of the two, because I want to capture it all. Yes…all of it; my time spent at home, my time spent at work (imagine that…actually embracing our hours at work), my time spent with friends and acquaintances. But especially, my time spent with my family.

So Welcome October! I’m looking forward to all that this next season has in store for us and I long to embrace every single moment of it.

Do you have any special traditions?
Comment below. I would love to hear how you celebrate family and friends.
Happy October to you.

~CindyLu~

s'more bar1 s'more bar2

 

Posted in The Journey, The Simple Life | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments