Monday, December 27, 2010

After Christmas Musings

Christmas is over, and my thoughts are now focused on putting away all of the decorations and getting our home ready for a new year. I often get a touch of depression during this time of the year, but I am determined not to let it happen this year. It’s all a matter of perspective, I have decided – how I look at things – and mine is going to be upbeat.

While writing this, my kitten, Zuzu, is pawing at the letters on the computer monitor as I type. It makes it difficult for me to see what I’m writing, but she sure is having fun. As I think about a new year, I look at this beautiful kitten, and imagine what she is going to be like as an adult cat. She has added such a lively addition to our family, and her curiosity is something that I can identify with. It gets her into trouble as it sometimes does me. Mine is more often categorized as nosiness, while hers usually includes pens and pencils getting stuck underneath the furniture, or a soaking if she falls into the sink running with water. I am eager for the new year with all the discoveries this little cat and I will make.

I am also looking forward to lots of walks with Diamond. Jeremy gave me a Sherpa hat for Christmas, so I have no excuses for not going on blustery winter day outings with my girl. With my silk long johns, a warm coat and gloves, and this fantastic hat, I’m ready for the coldest of Georgia winter days. Diamond is beginning to show her age with a touch of arthritis, but she never hesitates to get excited when I start lacing up my walking shoes. I can learn a lot from her about getting older and loving life.

I begin a new job next week. I’m not sure what my feelings are about this. I’ll have to wait until I get started to make a statement about being back in the work force. These two years have been great as I’ve stretched my wings in many creative endeavors and have enjoyed the luxury of creating my own daily schedule. I have completed projects that had been put on the back burner, and have fulfilled some dreams that I didn’t ever seem to have the time to pursue. My novel is written, my photo note card business is now a reality, and the summer produce market is part of our summer lives. While 2010 has been a challenging year in many ways, it will have to go down in my archives as one of my best years.

This morning, some of our Christmas snow is still on the ground. It’s the first Georgia white Christmas I’ve ever experienced. But, as I look out over our property, I see our garden, now covered with white splotches, and imagine springtime and young vegetable plants sprouting in the warming soil. My soul longs for springtime, even as I bask in warm Christmas memories. In a couple of months I’ll be planting tomato and pepper seeds, and another growing season will begin.

I’ll begin undressing the Christmas tree this morning. I will pack up my angel and other ornaments, which now include a beautiful new angel from my cousin, Susan, a pink beaded breast cancer ribbon ornament from my friend, Bea, and an “Angel of the Garden” statue from my sister, Molly. This one won’t be packed away, but will find a new home on the bookshelf above my desk to help remind me who I am.

Phil decided that next year we may need a larger tree, as our collection of ornaments grows each year. Coming from my resident, bah-humbug Scrooge husband, I can declare with a smile that this Christmas was a huge success, as I put away the decorations for another year.

Lookin’ forward to 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What Is Love?

This is my Christmas letter from 2007. It means as much to me today as it did the day I wrote it. I hope my blog followers will enjoy reading it. For some, it's for the second time.

What Is Love?

This was a question posed to me this summer by a very dear friend. Did I have an answer to the question? My immediate knee jerk response was, “Beats me!” followed by countless hours of pondering the meaning of love. Now, as the holidays draw near, and we turn our attention toward gift giving and receiving and celebrating our faith, family and friends, I decided to share some of my insights with all of you. I could write on and on about love, but maybe this Christmas letter will hit the highlights. I always welcome responses from you if you have something you’d like to share with me on the subject.

First, I’ve come to the conclusion that love is enduring. Even when we think love dies, it doesn’t. Through the pain of what we think is the death of love, we find ourselves growing and our horizons expanding, and we become capable of even greater love- it may be directed into a new direction, and might lie dormant for awhile, but it is still there waiting to emerge and bloom.

Love makes us cry. We cry when we are happy and we cry when we are sad, angry or grieving. It is love that brings tears to our eyes and pain to the pit of our stomachs. Sometimes love causes us to hurt- it isn’t love that hurts us, but how we deal with the many facets of love.

Love makes us a family. Whether those we love are blood-kin (a familiar Campbell family term) or are those we “adopt” into our family, it is love that binds us together.

Love changes. Romantic love matures to either enduring love or transforms itself through heartbreak and loneliness as it motivates us to expand our reach toward others. Disappointment from love not returned motivates us to find love in new places.

Love is flexible. It is forgiving.

Love comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. I love Phil, I love
my sons, I love my friends and family, I love my home, I love my
dog and cats, I love the feel of the wind on my face, I love pizza
and English toffee, I love a long hot shower, I love country music.

Love is eternal. I love my parents dearly, even though they have
been gone from my sight for many years. When asked if I believe
in life after death, I have two reasons for believing as I do. First,
I am incapable of not believing in it, and second, l believe that
love cannot be destroyed, and is the essence of God.
We are created to love and to be loved.

Love is the song of the universe and God’s greatest creation and gift.

May you be blessed this Christmas surrounded by love.

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God. (I John 4:7 NEB)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not a Winter Person!

I miss sunlight, warm breezes, and open windows! I am not a winter person.

When I woke up this morning, it was still dark. I thought about summertime, when I’d be out in the garden picking vegetables at this early hour, getting a head start on my day. As I wrapped myself up in my warm, fuzzy bathrobe, and slipped on my equally fuzzy slippers, I wished for a t-shirt, shorts, and my gardening Crocs. I could hear the furnace running, pushing warm air into the house, and I wanted to open the French doors in my bedroom to listen for some early morning summer sounds. I poured myself a cup of hot tea, cuddled up underneath a warm lap blanket, and longed for daylight.

With light brightening the day outdoors, I decided to go downstairs to see what Phil was up to in his shop. I knew the weather report for last night was for freezing rain, but when I hesitantly checked the deck floor, I was delighted to find that it was wet and not icy. Thankfully, I continued with my cautious steps, so when I slipped on the top step – ice! – I wasn’t caught entirely off-guard. As my feet went out from under me, I proceeded to slide and bump down the stairs. I grabbed the handrail and was able to stop my forward progress after only six steps. I hate icy stairs! With my slippery slide halted, I checked myself out, noting that nothing on my body was terribly painful, although I knew I had hit pretty hard. I couldn’t stand up or get a foothold, so I ever so slowly inched myself backwards step by step by pulling with my hands on the handrail. When I finally reached the deck floor, where it was only wet and not icy, I was able to stand up, and walk back inside.

Once inside the house, I discovered that I had a pretty raw scrape on my arm, a sore place along my spine, a red spot on my left thigh, and I was shaking like a fall leaf on a windy day. I checked my robe to see if it had torn, but it was only wet. Other than that, and being shaken from my adventure, I gave a prayer of thanks that it hadn’t been worse, and poured myself another cup of tea.

Now, an hour later, my neck is beginning to ache a little, my arm is burning from my scrape, and I know that I’ll have a few bruises on my back and leg. I’m not going to venture outside again until after the sun has hit the stairs, and has melted all of the ice.

I think I’ll spend the rest of the day dreaming of warm days and sunshine!