On the Eighth Day of Christmas…

My true love gave to me eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On this eighth day of Christmas, we’re enjoying a quiet family day in gratitude for how much we have. Not everyone gets to spend his/her life surrounded by love. All of us have ups and downs in our lives, but being surrounded by people you love makes it all worth it.
My wish for the new year is to be the kind of person who spreads hope, love, and joy where ever I go.

What are your hopes for the new year?

Merry Christmas!

Serving Others

There’s a reason all good spirituality includes service to others. There’s a reason 12 step programs evolve into serving others. There’s a reason my Baptismal Covenant requires me to “seek and serve Christ in all persons.” Service to others is a key to being happy and spiritually fulfilled regardless of your circumstances.
Life has been hard the last two and a half years. There are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed. I’m tired of this renovation, and I’m tired of living out of boxes. I miss just spending time with my husband not because we’re too exhausted to do anything else but because we want to. I miss waking up to just a plain old day.
This renovation has been straight out of the movie The Money Pit. It has sucked our savings dry and sucked up every spare minute of our lives with no end in sight. We’re exhausted, and we’re frustrated. Every time we think the end is over the horizon, we uncover another mess that pushes out our goals another month… or two or three. Continue reading

Merry Christmas

Yes, you read that correctly…  I said Merry Christmas, because us Episcopalians are still celebrating Christmas.  We have 12 days of Christmas, ending on Epiphany (January 6).
In our home on Christmas morning, there was no tree, no unwrapped gifts, and no big plans.  My husband was under the weather and napping.  I had a sinus headache from the wonky, stormy weather we’re having in Middle Tennessee.  BUT…  I couldn’t have been happier or more grateful.
We live a very blessed life, and the only thing that could make that first day of Christmas more perfect would be some sunshine.
Here are just a few of the reasons this is one of the best Christmases of my life:

  1. We’ve been married for 7 years and have never been more in love or more devoted to our marriage.
  2. Our children and grandchildren are healthy and happy.  In fact, there is another grandchild on the way!
  3. We have three of the most wonderful dogs you could have; they make us laugh, cuddle with us when we’re sick or sad, and love us unconditionally.
  4. We have three awesome horses that keep Mom happy.  (Happy wife, happy life, right?  😉 )
  5. We have two cats…  We think they love us.  They’re cats, so we’re not sure.
  6. I have a great job working with good people doing good things in the world.
  7. We want for nothing; we have a roof, 4 walls, food, clothes, and tons of love.
  8. I’m an Episcopalian, so we have a loving, welcoming church family that extends beyond our church through out the Diocese of Tennessee and even into a few other states.
  9. We each have a purpose, a calling to drive us and to get us up every morning.
  10. I have friends that are kind, generous, beautiful people; they make others lives better by really connecting with and doing for others.

Bear
There are so many people in the world that don’t have simple things like a home or food or a closet full of clothes.  There are so many more who are lonely or unhappy, dealing with illness or abuse, or just lost.  We are none of those things.  Our life isn’t perfect.  No one’s is.  We have ups and downs and bumps in the road just like everyone else.  BUT…  We have everything we need to face any challenge that comes our way and more love than either of us could have ever imagined or wished for.  How could we be more blessed?
The saddest part about the commercialization of Christmas has been the focus on what we don’t have.  I don’t have an expensive car, and he definitely didn’t go to Jared’s!  I don’t have a fancy home fit for big holiday parties.  I don’t have the best truck and horse trailer.  I don’t wear expensive clothes.
At the end of the day, who cares?  None of those things will make me happier or more fulfilled.  The things that give me the greatest joy are already present in my life, and knowing that is what make life good.
The secret to real happiness?  An attitude of gratitude.  An acknowledgement that you are blessed and have everything you could ever need.
What are you grateful for this Christmas?  What has brought joy into your life?