Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I rarely am able to stay awake until midnight, but each year I try. I even took a little nap this afternoon to see if that will help. I have played cribbage, wrote emails, read Facebook, played video games, washed the dishes, put dishes away, watched a movie, cleaned the get the idea...anything I can find to do to stay awake I am trying!

I keep thinking "it is 12am somewhere so can't I just go to bed?" I will let you know tomorrow if I made it, but in case I don't I just want to wish you the happiest of New Years to you all. May you reach all of your goals, reach for higher dreams, and be a better person tomorrow then you are today!

Are you thinking about your 2011 Resolutions?

Full circle in the blog writing. I started off last year around this time talking about New Year's Resolutions and throughout the year I have reviewed mine and seen which ones I accomplished and which ones I need a little more determination to actually pull off.

This year I don't know that I will have broad resolutions. It seems like when I have broad things to do I don't muster the dedication to actually do them! Maybe it is because the resolutions are to broad rather than specific? Maybe that is the problem. For some reason I feel confused thinking about what happen last year and how to make the next year even more specific?

As I type this I hear in the background the news talking about being specific in your resolutions. Losing weight is not specific it is broad. Hum...very true. Losing weight is not specific at all so maybe that is why I find it hard to be dedicated or motivated to do anything about it. I want to travel more. Hum...not very specific at all! I want to give more. Hum..not very specific at all either.

Making resolutions is dedicating your future to yourself! Making your future better for you and those around you is the outcome you want. To many times we just talk about it. Maybe 2011 needs to be the year of action! Plan specific goals and go for them!

Resolution: I want to travel more - Overall resolutions are great, but let's be specific!

Specific Goals:
I want to go Ice Fishing on Lake of the Woods in January 2011
I want to go to the Grand Canyon in May 2011
I want to take a Harley trip with my folks to Glazier National Park in July 2011
I want to go on a 7+ day cruise to the Caribbean in November 2011

How about some more examples. Maybe you want to be debt free?

Your Resolution: I want to be debt free by 2012 and have money to travel - Overall Resolution is doable, but what are the specifics!

Specific Goals:
Pay off all 'toys' by April 2011
Set up direct deposit to savings bi-weekly of $100
Pay off credit cards by December 2011

Maybe you want to lose weight?

Your Resolution: I want to lose weight - Okay, but how?

Specific Goals:
I will lose 10 pounds by March 1, 2011
I will go to the gym 4 times a week for the next 2 months
I will work on my cardio for 45 minutes a day while at the gym
I will find 10 healthy and easy recipes on line by January 15th

Now that is specific and very doable!

So, as you go into the New Year tonight and start thinking about resolutions think about the goals you will need to make into actionable items. What would it really take to do what you resolve to do? Be specific,be able to measure it, make it doable, be realistic and when will you do it? SMART goals mean success!

Go forth and resolve and write down those goals! Make sure you are realistic and honest with yourself! Resolve to be specific!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Are you keeping the Jingle in your Step?

Within a week the Charlie Brown Christmas tree is really beginning to look like "A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree". Needles everywhere except on the tree! Okay, so there are still needles on the tree, but it was overnight that they fell and now the cats think it is fun to pick them up and carry them everywhere. The couch, the bathroom, the rugs, the tennis shoes...nothing is safe! Beware of pine needles if you visit!

Okay this post isn't about pine needles falling off the tree but it does give me a good analogy for today's post!

I started taking the decorations off the tree tonight and with every one of them the tree looked a little less festive and a lot more like it should be outside protecting a bird or two from the winter cold.

It was during the taking off that more needles began to fall and it reminded me a lot about the end of the year for each of us.  We have dolled ourselves up for the Holidays. Fancy outfits,  music and movies are all cheerful, gifts in pretty paper, smiles and hugs galore and just a little 'jingle' in our step. All of a sudden the day is over and the outfits get put back into the garment bags,music is back to country (okay for me it is), movies are back to repeats, paper is ripped apart, and people head to their homes far and away and the smiles and hugs become few and far between and in essence our needles began to drop.

It is right at that time that we have a choice to put away the jingle in our steps or keep it around for a while. That one moment when you can decide to keep the spirit in you alive and going or put it away for another year! One moment at one time during the end of a year to either celebrate the past and look forward to the future, or revert to the past and forget the future.

We will each be faced with that one moment this season as it always happens. Maybe it is when you begin to think about New Year's Resolutions or like me when you take down your Christmas Tree. You will have that moment when you can celebrate or revert and look forward or forget. One moment when you have the choice of continued positive and purposeful living or keeping up with the same old same old.

Today what that day for me and I celebrated! I took a quick look back at the year and realized it was probably one of the best for me. I lived, traveled, loved, cared, gave, received, became, grew, cried, smiled, laughed a lot, reacquainted with old friends and made a few new ones. It was a wonderful year. Worth keeping the jingle in my step for a long time to come.

How about you? Do you have have a jingle and will you be keeping it around? I hope so. Take inventory of your year and know that falling needles, torn paper, and fancy outfits are all part of life. Live them. Enjoy them. Remember them. Grow from them!

Jingle all the way!

Monday, December 27, 2010

There is something beautiful about this time of year!

Yes I know, Christmas, family, friends, and food but there is more! One of the reasons I love going up north for Christmas is the scenery. I call it the Timmy Picture Time. Tim is a friend of mine who is an amazing photographer and when I see something amazing I really wish he was standing next to me as I know his shots would be even more amazing.

On the drive home I just had to stop and take some "Timmy Pictures". My little digital camera doesn't nearly do the job of a Timmy Shot, but I try.

I just had to stop and take a few photos as it reminded me that in the hustle and bustle of the season it is good to be still and admire. I didn't go to a mall to get an after Christmas special, no money spend, no frustrations had, just simple peace and admiration. I hope you enjoy my way of spending the day after Christmas as much as I did.

Friday, December 24, 2010

If you think you have had a tough day...

Think about the story of tonight that happened so many years ago. It is the Christmas story.

Now we all know the basics of Mary, Joseph, the Kings, Angels, Shepard's, the Inn, and of course the manger scene, but did you ever think about what really happened?

Next time you think you are having a tough day think about the faith and belief Mary and Joseph must have had.

First Mary is told she is "with Child", and not just any child, God's Child. No pressure there! Then she has to figure out how to tell her Fiancé Joseph that "hey I know you aren't the father or anything, but I am pregnant!" I bet that went over well.

Joseph could have had her stoned to death. Sleeping with others was a real no no back then. So Joseph gets the Angel talking to him and says "don't worry Joseph, Mary is carrying Gods Son, so no worries!" No pressure there.

So Mary and Joseph are good to go and just as they are getting the babies room ready the Government gets involved in these poor peoples lives and says "hey all you citizens, head to your home town so we can count you!"

Seriously a bad day had to just feel like it got worse for them. But on they go. A very pregnant Mary walking and riding a donkey 90 miles home to Bethlehem. Now I have never been pregnant,but riding a donkey 90 miles doesn't sound fun even without child!

So they get there and poor old Joseph is looking for some place for Mary who is now in labor. Gracious, let's head to the stable Mary!

After they have the baby Jesus in the stable they are visited by Shepard's and Kings. What must have they been thinking when Kings are giving them gifts!

So the story goes they finally get a room in the House of David when all of a sudden Joseph is again visited by an Angel who tells him to wake up Mary, pack up the kid, get one donkey right now in the middle of the night and flee to Egypt!

So, now after a 90 mile donkey ride, you give birth in a stable surrounded by sheep, cows, and other fine smelling barn animals, you just get to sleep and all of a sudden you are waking up, packing up the family and heading to Egypt!

So you think you had a tough day? Really!

Now what is the morale to the Christmas Story? Faith and believing? Faith in what you cannot see or understand, and believing that all that happens is for a reason. Yes, this is the real meaning of Christmas.

Maybe today was a tough day or maybe there is one to come. Next time you feel like it is a tough day ask yourself  "Am I pregnant and on the back of a mule? Do I have to find a place for my wife to give birth? Do I have to flee to another county so my Son will not be killed?

After you have asked yourself these questions, remember -- faith and believing! It can get you through anything!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pretty Houses all around!

Tonight we did the drive around and looked at homes brightly lite up with Christmas lights. It seems there are fewer this year. Last year we could have driven around for hours and seen so many, this year not so many, but the ones we saw still made us stop and admire. I hope you enjoy our little positive experience. Some are blurry due to lack of hand stillness. The last one is our tree out front that we decorate. It is lightly snowing so I love the picture!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Paying Attention!

I am loving my quote calendar this week as there are so many wonderful reminders of positive and purposeful living. I would like to think they planned it around my need to write the blog every day, but I doubt I am that important in the world. So here is today's quote:

Diane Sawyer - TV Journalist
"I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention."
Did I tell you! I believe some of my earlier posts were about the importance of paying attention and here you have it 300 days later, Diane Sawyer agreeing with me!

Paying Attention is such a critical step in positive and purposeful living it should be a week or more worth of work to figure out! Since I think I would lose many of my readers if I concentrated that long on one area, I will give you the highlights as a reminder again.

I want to revisit a post I did early May 2010 - How to live the rest of your life with NO regrets!

So how do we live the rest of our lives with NO regrets? Pretty easy to do if you are willing to be honest about what is important to you and know what you want in your life. Sounds a lot like purposeful living!

I will use my life as an example for all of you. There are four parts; understand what is important to you, pay attention to what you are doing, every day remember to live purposefully and keep in mind what you want to never regret.
Write statements for these parts and you can live without regrets.
Understand what is important to you
1. My family is important to me.

2. My health needs to be more important to me.

3. My friends are important to me.

4. Living a life that is full of new experiences is important to me.

5. Fishing is important to me.
Pay attention to what you are doing
1. I spend time with my family, but think I want more time with my folks.

2. I need to start having a dedication to healthy living and choices and I do not right now.

3. I spend time with my friends and am happy about what I give and get with them.

4. I am more comfortable with the common then the new and I want to expand my experiences.

5. I want to look at fishing as my personal quest and personal time; with or without company.
Live purposefully
1. I will remember what is important to me and live my live with daily purpose.
What I never want to regret
1. I never want to regret that I didn't spend enough time with my folks when they are gone.

2. I never want to regret that I lost a friend by not paying attention to their needs.

3. I never want to regret that I didn't take better care of myself.

4. I never want to regret that I didn't give something a chance or a try.

5. I never want to regret that I missed out on a great day of fishing.
Regrets happen when you forget what is important in your life, so remember what is important and dedicate yourself to purposeful living. In 20 years you will be able to say "I have no regrets".
How many of you have checked back on your goals, your objectives and your future? Have you paid attention to what you said you would do? Did you pay attention to what you accomplished?

I challenge you all to revisit your thoughts and work. Pay attention to yourself and your dreams!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Can to much planning destroy the event?

I read a quote today from Jane Austen that said:
"Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!"
This coming from one a highly acclaimed novelist, but how true?

How many of us sit and plan out all the details of an event or a day just to get so frustrated and overwhelmed that we actually plan ourselves right out of happiness?

I am a planner, an organizer, a list maker. I love to plan and organize and organize and plan. It is in my blood. This weekend we had a plan for delivering some treats to all of our friends and it took a little planning to organize all the stops. It worked out well but we didn't get everything done. My first thought was "darn, we didn't do what we had planned to do!" My mind quickly went to "But wait, we did exactly what we could do and in the mean time we connected with friends we hadn't for a long time!"

Had we stuck to the plan of 'drop and go' we wouldn't have share some laughs with our friends. We wouldn't have had a cup of coffee and caught up a little. We wouldn't have experienced a little Christmas cheer along the way. Yes we could have gotten everything done, but at what expense?

Sometime I think planning can really destroy the event, especially around this time of the year when everyone seems to want to get here or there and get things done. What about enjoying the adventure - the journey?

I was sitting "planning" out a vacation last night and as I did the voice said "wait, vacations are to experience not plan"! Now I know what some of you are thinking and yes I will plan some parts of the vacation, but seriously do I need to know right now what we will do every minute of every day? No! What happens if we want to experience something for longer then planned?

I know it is a busy week for everyone and my challenge is to plan cautiously and allow for the experience to happen. Don't worry about spending a little more time or energy doing the unplanned happiness times. Be okay and actually celebrate the event!

Here is to a carefully yet openly planned week!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's beginning to Feel a lot like Christmas!

What a wonderful day! Santa and her Head Elf headed out around 7am and delivered homemade treats to a number of homes around the area. After 120 miles of traveling we headed home to relax. I don't know how Santa does it all in one night, but I bet the time differences really help.

 When we got home the kids were enjoying the scenes of Christmas around the house. It is so nice when you see them enjoying all there is to see as well. So tonight, due to Head Elf being really tired, you get pictures of the day!

So after enjoying the sounds and sites of your holiday, sing a little Carol, find a cozy place to rest and hang our with your friends!

Friday, December 17, 2010

When the lights shine bright!

It is quiet in the house tonight. Cats are all sleeping and dog is as well. As I look out the window I see the Christmas lights that line the garage and am amazed as how bright they seem tonight. Maybe it's because it is so dark out or the snow is covering any other light out there, but the red, green, blue, orange, and white lights look like they are floating in line.

I love this time of year because of all of lights. The lights shine so bright in the dark winter nights.
Driving around it seems there are fewer and fewer people putting up lights this year, but I enjoy those that have.

There is something calming about seeing lights at Christmas time. It is like it brings you back to a time when life was slower, maybe a little more innocent. I wonder if the kids this day and age stop and enjoy the lights?

I remember in college when a large group of us would go out every weekend and walk around neighborhood to look at the lights. It was a wonderful time. We would crunch through the snow and at every house we would stop and enjoy. I don't know that this happens anymore, people seem to be in to much of a hurry.

Well, here is my personal reminder to slow down and go and see lights shining bright. They are still out there. We may need to just remember how it felt to be still and calm.

So, this weekend I will be going out and enjoying the lights. Enjoying the crunching of snow and seeing the lights shine bright.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I am Purple

Many of you probably have a favorite color or two. If you looked at my life I have two: Blue and Red. Most of my clothes are blue and all of my toys are red. I buy red toys – Harley's, Cars, Snow blowers, Ice Augers, Lawn Mowers, and such are red. Walls in our house are red; color on the dog is red and even my toothbrush sways to the red side. I buy blue clothes – jackets, sweaters, pants, t-shirts and such are mostly blue. I also like blue and red foods – blue berries, strawberries, tomatoes, red velvet cake…all very much good spiritual food for me!
The past few weeks I have been reading about colors and the impact they have on us. It is interesting that you can tell a lot about a person by their favorite colors. So what does it all mean and how can we use it to help understand ourselves?
First is to look at some common words around different colors:
Red: confidence, vitality, action, courage, enthusiasm, energy, protection, strong

Pink: love, calming, acceptance, contentment, relaxing

Brown: order, convention, wholesome, natural, stable, approachable

Orange: endurance, involved, creative, relief, bold, adventuresome, brilliant

Gold: wealth, wisdom, success, power

Yellow: wisdom, joy, happiness, clarity, uplifting, optimistic

Green: balance, change, freedom, new ideas, tranquil, secure, soothing

Blue: youth, truth, peace, calm, new, solitude, trusting, dependable

Purple: royal, balance, centered, innovative, uplifting, spiritual, respectful, humble

White: purity, cleanliness, fresh, clarity

Black: authoritative, earth, stability, mysterious, powerful, dignified

Gray: security, maturity, isolated, neutral
So my favorite colors of red and blue tell something about me: I am confident, I like to take action, I have energy, I am a protector, I believe in truth, I strive for peace, I am trusting and dependable. I would hope that is how others would describe me as well.
What is interesting about colors is that most of us aren’t just one; we usually are a combination of two or more. For me I gravitate to the mixing of my colors. Red and Blue make purple. My true color is purple.
So what does that say about me? Well, I do believe in balance, I like to be innovative, I thrive to uplift others, I am very spiritual and I feel I am a humble person. Now hopefully more people would agree with this color for me.
I gave each of you a chance to take this assessment early in 2010 but wanted to give you the link again to go and revisit your colors! What does it mean? Does it still stand true?
There are many colors in our lives and we all mix and match, but I do believe we always center ourselves with our true colors. I don’t know if you need to complete a personality test on this, just take a look at the world around you? What colors do you wear? What color are your walls? What colors excite you? From there see if their meaning is you or if you mix them together is that more you?

Just another tool in gaining a better understanding of who you are and why you are who you are.
Yes, I am Purple!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The power of inspiration

I wonder if anyone knows the power of inspiration? How much energy is generated when you become inspired? Positive energy that gets your heart pumping, you mind working, and you soul believing. How much energy is gained?

I was thinking about this today when I was giving my year end presentation about celebrating the past while we look towards the future. It was inspiring for me to speak about the greatness of others and the dedication to work through issues and change. It was inspiring to see the look on peoples faces as the words hit a place in their mind, heart and souls. I was inspired and I felt my energy rise.

I found today that the one thing I have a passion for, inspiration, is something I forget to do every day. I forgot how wonderful it feels to get positive feedback on a vision, a thought, a focus and a mission. I dedicated 2011 to becoming and being inspired. I feel again like i did the first day of writing this blog...I feel inspired to do more, to be more, and to give more.

Be inspired, you will love the energy in you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Giving to Others

I have been reminded a number of times this past week of how important it is for me to give to others and how wonderful it is when others are reminded of this as well.

I know that it is the season to give and the causes are out there to give too. I wrote a block a week or so about these opportunities, but do you know that every day we are reminded about little ways to give?

We had our neighbor want to give us a pan of baked goodies (we were going to give her the same) and we decided rather than giving to each other we would give to someone different that maybe won't 'get' anything.

At work today I was reminded that giving isn't just of material gifts but your thoughts, views, and ideas. You have a gift in being uniquely you and sharing your action and voice can be incredible gifts. It was a gift for me today to hear the views of others. I heard people talk about how they inspire others and how they make a difference. That in turn made me think about how I can inspire others and make a difference every day.

It was like a huge pay it forward day. I heard and was impacted and spoke and got others inspired. Hopefully they went on and did the same. One small gathering of idea giving lead to a days worth of giving of myself in a number of ways.

Yes, it is easy to give to charities and it is good to do so, but every day giving of yourself in action and words can have an amazing impact! Go forth and be giving!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It was a quiet Baking Party!

Well, all the pre baking was done on Friday and by 11pm the snow started flying. By 6am the snow was 6 inches deep so we cancelled people coming over to help out. Safety First is my motto! By 3pm the snow was drifted 3 to 4 feet so the snow blower had to come out to play. It was a different baking party, but one to remember.

We still baked all the recipes and filled boxes for everyone that usually comes to help and we will deliver next weekend, but the house was really quiet!

So why tell you all this? Well, as I thought about what to write this morning I thought the baking party and all that happened this weekend is a lot like life! You have unexpected events that happen and it isn't the event that matters as much as how you react to the event that really matters.

We could have cancelled and did nothing. We could have cancelled and been upset that no one showed up or we could have baked!

I choose to bake so that we could still share the treats of the season with others. You see it isn't the event or the getting people over that mattered to me. It was preparing special treats that we can give to others to enjoy. No strings attached, no work needed, no payment received...just a simple box of cookies for others.

Every event and every day you have a choice to be positive or negative, to give or complain, to move forward or look behind. We had a choice yesterday and the choice was to give to others!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pre Baking is so much fun!

Tomorrow is our 8th Annual Baking Party when we gather our friends and family and for a full day we bake. We have 17-20 different recipes that all the little elves make and decorate. At the end of the day every takes a selection of treats home with them as well as box and bag up many for others that are unable to come or that are in need. It is a wonderful time,

Everyone asks "How do you organize all of this seventeen recipes and 20-30 people and it all gets done and ready at the same time?" Easy! You plan it out, from the bowls to the sugar to the spices!

Today is the end of the planning. I start planning the week after Christmas when things start going on sale that will not spoil. I have an excel file that has every ingredient and amount so I know exactly what I need and hiw much I need. I evaluate the process and recipes after the par to see if I want to make them again or try something else.

The last thing to get ready for tomorrow is to perhaps the sugar cutout cookies! I do this as it takes a lot of space and time so pre baking is a must. It isn't the actual baking, but the aroma of Christmas cut-out cookies that will fill the house. It is the outcome of a planned event!

So now that you have read my blog every day this year, you know that this story isn't just about us baking, it's about life.

In order for life to have that rich aroma you have to plan, evaluate, take things in and get rid of things. You have to pre bake to get some things done before you get to the end. It takes friends and family to make this all possible, and you share and give as much as you receive.

Maybe this is why I love to bake. It is so much of my life and like my life.

There is a recipe for baking and a recipe for life. You can change an ingredient or two and
the outcome will be different. But if you plan, evaluated, change a few things, and try you end up with the aroma of your life.

So today if you can't bake a cookie, bake. Day in your life. What would your life's baking party look like?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Inuit Inukshuk

Town of Churchill Manitoba Inukshuk
While traveling in upper Manitoba to see the Polar Bears there was another site that was as magnificent as the bears, the Inuit Inukshuk's.

I was able to take a number of pictures of the stone markers in Churchill, but haven't shared many of these pictures with the explanation of what they mean.
If you watched any of last years Winter Olympics from Vancouver British Columbia you probably have seen one of them. It was the symbol used for the Winter Olympics.

Inukshuk on Hudson Bay in Churchill Manitoba
There are many stories, folklore and explanation of these stone structures and may lead to understanding the evolution of the structures.

Some say they are structures built to in the area where caribou migrate and served as hunting shelters or blinds. Others say that they were used for directional purposes. Some state and national parks in Canada still use these structures to provide visitors with navigational symbols. Others say that the structures were placed along main fishing areas and the distance from the water of the Inukshuk was the distance in the water to the fishing area. Still others say that they were placed on shores to warm ships and water travelers of distance to dry land.

The story I like best is the significance of the Inuit Inukshuk that symbolizes leadership, cooperation and the human spirit.
Each stone of an inukshuk is a separate entity but was chosen for how well it fits together with other stones. The stones are secured through balance. Each one supports the one above it and is supported by the one below it. Together, the stones achieve strength through unity. This effect is applied to a philosophy for people where a group can achieve greater success with cooperation and team effort rather than individually. The inukshuk stands for the importance of friendship and reminds us of our dependence on one another. (Source:
Inukshuk with moon at Sunset
       Strength and unity.
Building together and supporting each other.
Now there is a positive and purposeful living statement.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I 5 Love Winter!

That's right! I love, love, love, love, LOVE Winter!

I know this is going to make many of you think I am absolutely as crazy as you thought or maybe crazier then you thought, but I can't help it I FIVE Love Winter!

Now I could leave it to that, but it would probably make no sense to anyone, so here is my explanation of the Five Loves of Winter.

20 above to 20 below is part of winter in Minnesota and I LOVE it!  Here is why!

Love Number 1: Have you ever noticed that going outside in cold weather does one of two things? It invigorates you, wakes you up, and becomes reality really quickly and it makes you appreciate heat! I asked someone today "How would you like to feel warm and comfortable? She of course wanted it, so I took her outside and stood for a few minutes. On the way back in I said "Now you will feel warm and comfortable"! It is true! when you spend even a few minutes outside you really appreciate the fact that the furnace is working!

Love Number 2: Have you ever noticed that during the winter months food becomes so tasty! This is true for other seasons, but winter is my favorite. It is like comfort food becomes your soul mate. The only fruits in the store are apples, oranges and maybe the lady handing out samples of cheese and crackers in the back!

You can come home and make a big pot of stew and enjoy the comfort of feeling warm inside. Rarely would you make a really hot and rich meal in the summer!

Love Number 3: Have you ever noticed that with winter comes seasonal smells? The smell of cut grass is gone and is replaced by cut trees. Pine wood smell and cinnamon sticks. Next to fresh cut grass it really is my favorite smell.

In the summer you can buy passion fruit, Hawaiian Flower and a host of 100 other smells that meet your personal liking, but in the winter most of us gravitates towards cinnamon, sugar cookies, and pine. It is the most distinct aroma time of the year.

Love Number 4: It goes without saying but two weeks of -10 degrees and I am smiling while I sleep as I know that it is "making good ice". Yep, clear and cold nights are making ice on the lakes allowing for a littler safer trip when you head out fishing! This week is the most perfect week because of the temperature lows. Ah, good clear solid ice!

Love Number 5: Put the swimsuits away and pull out the oversize and fluffy clothes - enough said! Seriously, a fleece sweater, lined slippers, flannel PJ' is like you bond as one with your comfortable clothes.

So there you have it. My 5 Loves of Winter! I know many of you could say the same about Fall, Spring, or Summer...but it is my blog and I love, love, love, love, LOVE Winter!

Here's to warmth, comfort, aromas and food!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

With the new snowfall and the Christmas lights sparkling bright outside, it was time to make the inside of our home sparkle as well.

Yesterday a nice 6 foot Charlie Brown tree became a decoration. I am not sure which smells better, the tree or the cinnamon pine cones that are in baskets around the house.

There is a Nativity Scene in every room and the Christmas cards from loved ones near and far are hanging on the fireplace mantel. Nine Christmas stockings are hanging fro the banister, one for every furry kid, Suzan's 4 foot one and mine. It looks and smells like Christmas.

As I sit here today I am surrounded by all that is good about this holiday. Simple decorations, wonderful aromas, cards and pictures of friends, favorite carols playing, and the understanding that Christmas in my life is not about commercial gain, rather joy-filled blessings.

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It has meaning that goes beyond the presents, beyond the hustle and bustle. It's about sharing, caring, and believing. It really is beginning to look like Christmas!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Get your Snowblowers going!

What a glorious night. It snowed all night! All of the individual flakes came together to make for a 6-8 inch coating of glorious!

It looks like a Thomas Kinkade picture outside and although I am not a professional photographer I thought these pictures from this morning tells the story of the day.

Yes, Janice there is a God. One who can make everything bright and clean all from a group of flakes smaller then a pin top! The magic is there and I am going to enjoy every minute of the day playing in it! A big flake surrounded by the small ones.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Are you a Flake?

Riddle of the Day: What is white, a half inch tall and can impact thousands of people?

Anyone? Any guesses?

Okay, I will tell you! SNOW!!!!

The snow started around 2 today and by 4pm this little 1/2 of white stuff had turned freeways into parking lots, small hills into sledding parks, and homes into places of comfort.

While on the bus this afternoon I was thinking about how something so small can have such a huge impact. It is a lot like us!

Okay, so some of us aren't so small, but how many times have I heard or even thought "what can I do, I am just one person" or "I don't have an power to do anything". Full of I can't, don't, won't, wish I could, or really would like to but!

What if we were all like snow and just let it fly! Let ourselves build up and see what happens? Let ourselves join the other flakes out there and have an impact on thousands of people!

You see, maybe one person can't change the world or make a huge impact, but if all flakes united we would stop traffic! We could turn houses into homes! We could turn blocks into neighborhoods! We could CHANGE THE WORLD!

So, as I watch the snow fly outside and see the flakes pile up, know that I am thinking of you! Thinking of all the Flakes I know and how much we could impact if we came together.

Tonight and this weekend be the biggest Flake you can be and impact the world!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Stars of December

Have you ever noticed that the Stars in December seem brighter?

Maybe it is because with the long winter nights you have more hours of the day to notice them or maybe it's because people seem to look up during the season for hope, joy, and blessings.

Tonight, as I was waiting for the dog to do her business outside, I looked up and noticed. I noticed how bright the north star is on a clear and dark night. I noticed the constellations and how they have changed over the months. I noticed how the planets, that are visible now, are almost hard to look at because of how bright they are. I also noticed how the stars twinkle more through the cold air.

I looked up, I noticed, and I saw the stars.

Take a walk tonight. Go outside and notice the stars. Look up and be blessed.