Archive | December, 2013

Montage Monday: A Christmas Week in a Peek

31 Dec

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”
Peg Bracken
***********
I certainly hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! In between the stress and bliss, the heartache and the heartwarming aspects of life, we need to give thanks for the blessings we do have. I’d like to thank the many friends and family members, old and new, (some pretty darn old, you know who you are) for being that special spark in my life.

20131230-190759.jpg
A week in a peek.

20131230-191336.jpg

Sunday Sermon and Special Friendships

30 Dec

“Kid’s don’t care how many sermons you preach to them. The only sermon they’ll hear is how you live your life in front of them.”
― Bruce Van Horn
****************
Today at Mass, we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family. Father shared his thoughts about the importance of family, even cracking a few jokes about, “It’s nice when relatives come to visit, and even nicer when they leave.” I’ll admit that I wasn’t really paying much attention to his words, but rather, I was looking around at the families gathered to worship on a Sunday morning. There was a baptism of a baby boy during mass. The entire congregation was able to be part of the celebration, welcoming a child into the fold. I think that faith, love, tradition, and teaching our children by example are the reasons families stay strong. It was a lovely service.

Another belief I have is that family doesn’t always mean just blood relatives. A family can be the people in your life who are special to you, who you care about, and those who care about you. (HA! While I was writing this blog, I received a phone call from both my sons back in Chicago, just minutes apart. Must be a maternal ESP thing.) Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve become very close to many friends who have graced my path. They truly have become part of my family, part of my life. I am very lucky and very blessed.

20131229-220114.jpg
The Holy Family. Every family is special in its own way.

Sunday has always been a special day for me, and today started out with church, visiting with a special friend, and a leisurely brunch at our mutual “happy place,” Snug on the Square. Later, calls from my boys, calls to friends and family, and mindless television viewing with a cup of tea. That was my Sunday. Sounds pretty good!

20131229-221547.jpg
My good friend Chris and I had a lovely brunch at Snug. See, it even says “bee happy, ” right behind us. Orders are orders.

Saturday: Sun and Fun on the Square

29 Dec

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
― Helen Keller
************
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday. No way was I going to sit in the house all day. Our writing group wasn’t meeting, but I decided to head over to the Square anyway. I had a leisurely breakfast at Sweet Spot Bakery then meandered over to Snug on the Square for a tall hot chocolate. My buddy Daniel always gives me a big ol’ smile and a hug when I come in. Snug and a hug go hand-in-hand.

20131228-201015.jpg
I sat outside, positioned my chair directly into the sun and absorbed every ray of sunshine and vitamin D possible. It felt invigorating. I bumped into Jeremiah Hammer and chatted a couple minutes. Then, my neighbors, Sheila and Bob Johnson, strolled by. We ended up talking and sipping our drinks for over an hour. That’s what downtown McKinney is all about.

On my way back to my car, I popped into Art on the Veranda. It’s an adorable gift and art shop that features local artists and crafter’s work, and has the most creative gifts. They also offer a wide variety of classes. I just so happened to peek in during a Zentangle class. If you aren’t familiar with this fabulous doodling art form, make sure you check it out. Anyone can learn and create some nifty projects. (Did I just date myself and say, “nifty?”)

20131228-203221.jpg
Zentangle instructor/artist, Angie Vangalis, leads a class at Art on the Veranda.

20131228-203537.jpg
I was so pumped by the sun, fun and friends on the Square, that when I got home, I strapped on my tennis shoes and went for a long walk. More sunshine! Life is good!

20131228-203842.jpg
The perfect end to a perfect day!

Friday: Fun Photo

28 Dec

Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.
Ansel Adams
************
I was warming up my hot chocolate in the microwave the other day, and as is my custom, I punched in a random time and walked away. Of course, the darn thing over heated and boiled all over the place. I do that every time. There is a fine line between warm enough and…oops! I do that with oatmeal too. Anyway, when I grabbed the messy drippy cup, the spill had formed an interesting design on the glass below. Naturally, I ran and got my iPhone to take a photo. Happy little accident, or a mysterious message? What do you think?

20131227-214149.jpg

20131227-214216.jpg
I’ll take it as a sign!

20131227-214635.jpg

Theme Song Thursday: Revenge

27 Dec

The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.
Marcus Aurelius
**************
Sometimes a quote or a song can express volumes of feelings. From ancient Roman words to heartbreaking country songs, a little goes a long way. Here’s an oldie but a goody!

But then again, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!

20131226-220235.jpg

20131226-220320.jpg
Aileene was most helpful at the Macy’s after Christmas sale. Did I mention it was 6:30 am? I managed to get in some great shopping and still get to Zumba class by 8:30.

20131226-220806.jpg
And much better in a few new outfits, some bling, and a lovely lunch with friends! Life is good!

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: There Is Only One Religion

26 Dec

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.
Dalai Lama
*********
It’s Christmas Day, a day for family, friends, laughter and joy. Not everyone is so lucky or blessed. I happen to be one of the lucky ones. My sons called me today, as did many of my dear friends. My friend Karen and her husband invited me to their home for dinner so I wouldn’t be alone for Christmas the first time in my life. I baked and dropped off some more cookies to take to Fire Stations 2 and 8 on my way. After a lovely dinner, I stopped to visit my sweet friend, Della. We shared a cup of tea, cookies and conversation. What could have been a sad and lonely day, turned out to be a delightful day, all due to the kindness, love and sharing of time with others. Yes, I am truly blessed. Feliz Navidad!

20131225-214250.jpg
Why, what did you have for breakfast today, Toni? Well, chocolate chip cookie dough, of course!

20131225-214548.jpg
Firefighter Craig Ferguson over at Station 8.

20131225-214649.jpg
Firefighter Brent Jones at Station 2. Don’t we have the nicest, most handsome firefighters? And they like cookies, too!

Yes, there is only one religion! When you share kindness, you receive kindness in return.

20131225-215104.jpg

Tuesday Tips and Chocolate Chips: When the Going gets Tough

24 Dec

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
*******************
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
******************
When the going gets tough, the tough bake cookies.
ME
*******************
Yes, I’ve been baking my Christmas cookies. Yesterday, I took the first batch over to McKinney Fire Station 5, as I have since we moved here in ’04. Firefighter Dave Paranteau answered the door and welcomed me. I asked if I could see their Christmas tree, and was delighted when I saw that all the ornaments I had painted over the years were prominently displayed.

20131224-173521.jpg

20131224-173538.jpg
Dave and I ended up chatting for about half an hour. Turns out he is a graphic designer and we exchanged art, painting, and creative stories. That is, until the alarm sounded and a call came in. Dave said he’d try and make it to a McKinney creative Community gathering sometime.

20131224-173940.jpg
Well, that was yesterday. Today was a tough day. It’s Christmas Eve and my mind and spirit are not in a very happy place. I went to my 8:30 Zumba class in the morning and wiggled and jiggled out a lot of frustration. Then, there was an even tougher afternoon. When I finished feeling sorry for myself, I took out the huge bowls of cookie dough and started baking cookies. Thus, when the going gets tough…

20131224-174755.jpg

The holidays can be wonderful or they can be difficult, but one thing is always true. If you hold Christmas in your heart, love in your soul, and you know there are people out there that care about you, everything will be OK. Share your love AND share your chocolate chip cookies. Merry Christmas!