Christmas Thoughts of 2014

In the quiet, contemplative, moments of my life, it crossed my mind, how did I become the older generation of my family? We are enjoying a cozy day in our home.  I being the crazy mom decided we should have full on Christmas dinner just the five of us.  As I was setting the table it occurred to me I have not completed this task, on my own, for years. I remember when I was delegated this chore, by the elder women of my family, attempting to keep me busy and out from under their feet.  The kitchen was a flurry of family members orchestrating the perfect meal. I was the youngest during these gatherings, with too much energy and usually “starving”.  My mom would guide me to the table with a handful of silverware, instructing me to ‘help get dinner ready’.  I, in my childhood memories, would carefully set each piece of silver in its proper place.  My little hands only able to carry a few spoons, forks, or knives at a time. Round and round the huge table I would walk, my mission clear. Now time has passed over me, blessing me with my own home, my own children, and a wisdom that only aging graces us with.  As I laid each utensil next to each plate I remembered those precious moments of my youth.  Embrace your yesterdays and live in your present.  Merry Christmas eve, eve!

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Warm Fuzzies

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The wreath is on the front door, gifts are perfectly adorned under the Christmas tree, lights and tinsel are strung around my house, resembling the leftover decorations from the Disco Era.  I love this time of year!

This wandering traveler loves walking up her front path with the glow of colorful lights illuminating my small world.  My traditional symbol of welcome, a pineapple, graces the door, beckoning you to step in out of the cold.  The warm ensconce of being home instantly relaxes me.

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Soul Experiences wants you to feel this way each time you travel with us.  We travel not for the sake of moving from point A to point B but for the experience of the journey.  Whether we are a half hour away or half way around the world, the relaxing feeling of home will resonate with your soul.

Travel well my friends!

Holidays Hangover

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This is the greeting I was raised with.  From my very earliest years of adulthood I remember signing all my Christmas cards with this salutation.  I realize today that my Christmas celebrating also encompasses so many other celebrations.  I love all the variety in our amazing world.  I feel energized when talking with friends and family about their different celebrations.  Although I did not grow up in the midst of diverse cultures, I grew up with culture.  A family who embraced differences, while continuing our own traditions.  My family also consumes knowledge with fervor that rivals the Tasmanian Devil chasing Bugs Bunny.  This love of knowledge propels me to learn all I can about this wonderful world.  I carry our traditions with me in my daily life that are immersed with diversity.

On this, the first day of a brand new year, I feel hung-over with all the holiday celebrations.  The gifts are given, the parties in clean up stages, the mountains of food consumed, the hugs and best wishes are bestowed.  I loved all the activity but now as I clean up and prepare for the coming quiet of the post holidays season I feel…no better words for it…hung-over.

May your 2014 lead you on an adventure of self discovery, spiritual growth and love that encompasses your soul.  Be well, be happy, be loving. 

Small Church, Huge Community

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I come from a family steeped in tradition and faith.  We go to church together, when we gather for family events.  We pray the same table prayer at every meal.  We revel in all the history of our family and embrace our past.  It is not uncomfortable to me.  The traditions give me a solid foundation to live my life.  My faith guides my every decision that crosses my path.

This Christmas season my brother, father and I attended the small country church where my mother guides her congregants as their pastor.  I have attended a few times over the years.  Sometimes with my children and sometimes just with my parents.  I like this tiny little church.  It sits on the crest of a country, dirt road.  There is no parking lot, they simply widened the road to accommodate the parking vehicles.  My mother, being their pastor, has a little sign posted at her parking space that reads, “Reserved for Pastor”.  I have always found that to be a kind gesture for this congregation’s pastor, since this congregation shares their pastor with another small church in a town not far from this church.  There is, of course, a small fenced in cemetery next to the building and swing set on the opposite side of the church.  As you park and walk up to the front of the church it has always amazed me at the beauty of this church.  It is not a flashy, fancy church but I have always felt drawn to the building and the community of people who share their own personal faith with each other.

For in this small church is housed a community of people, that feels as welcoming and loving as coming home to family you have known forever.  The attendance is small in number, but the community is huge.  There are welcomes with genuine smiles.  Sharing of stories like you talk everyday.  Then the service of our faith starts.  The light streams in through the stained glass windows, casting colorful patches everywhere.  The organist plays with the precision of a professional.  The congregation joins in with joyful singing.  Prayers go up to the heavens with heartfelt praise.  The sermon touches your soul and gives your mind something to mull over in the coming week.  It is a very traditional hour of worship.  Recalling my childhood, singing songs I have not sung in a very long time and remembering each note like I sang it just yesterday.  The service concludes and everyone gathers in the tiny narthex on this Sunday after Christmas.  We lightly talk of our Christmases and what family we were able to celebrate with in our gatherings.  We talk of the weather, it is so cold today.  We laugh together.  We wish only wellness for each other.  It is community that is much too large for the tiny confines of this quaint building.

As we leave back down the dirt road, which has been freshly covered with white rock, I reminisce of the small country churches I have attended over my years.  I ponder locations, people, faith, and the building itself.  I think by far this small country church on the hill is my favorite.  Just as the children’s sunday school song says…I am the church, you are the church.  We are the church together.

Have a blessed day!

Exuberant

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Nothing in this world compares to the excitement of a child on Christmas!  Teenagers are no exception.  The only difference between the excitement of a child and a teenager is the amount of sleep they require.  It is almost 9:30 am and I have yet to hear the stirrings of my teenage “children”.  Without a doubt five years ago I would have been roused out of bed before the sun was up!  I do enjoy my new-found slumbers.  I will relax and have another cup of tea before the whirlwind of christmas day begins.  Merry Christmas to all! 

Christmas Panic

Twas two mornings before Christmas

and all was a mess!

Not a soul was restful

with the impending stress.

The children were restless,

the holiday was near.

Their hopes turned to

iPods, game systems and gear.

The tinsel was strung

with precision and care.

With hopes all would wonder

Martha Stewart beware.

And as I wondered

at this amazing sight

the days swiftly turned

from darkness to light

Lo, the season’s end

came swiftly around.

The gifts were not wrapped,

the dishes piled high,

the meal not planned for,

the shopping gone awry.

So I in my night-dress

put the tea on to brew

and settled in for a

marathon day or two.

For in my rushing, you see

I forgot to look at my nativity.

For it is not the

tinsel, the candy, the gifts

but a tiny baby

that brings us bliss.

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Silver Bells

“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style!  In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.”

I have always loved this Christmas carol.  I first remember singing it when I was in elementary school. The sound of it resonating off the walls of our school gym, while my 3rd grade class sang with gusto to the rest of the school during our Christmas assembly.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone, yes in the 80’s we were allowed to say Christmas at public school.

Life seemed so much simpler then. One reason was the simple fact I was a kid. It really was so much more than that.  Families had dinner together, kids were safe to play outside all day with friends, without a cell phone, respect flowed from everyone. At least as a kid that’s how I remember it.

As I prepare for another Christmas with friends and family, a wistfulness comes over me for those seemingly simpler times. My hope for you this time of year is to have a simpler Christmas! wpid-PaperArtist_2013-12-21_08-52-23.jpeg

Christmas Decorations

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The tinsel is strewn.  The lights are aglow.  The pine garland is strung.  Every decoration that can be brought out of the attic is now in a heap in the living room, begging to be honored with a niche in a corner, or on a prominent shelf, or displayed on a table top somewhere for all to see.  I gingerly unwrap each treasure.  Setting them aside to mentally catalog what and where each will go.  The Christmas season is a wonderful time of the year to really clutter up a house.  I have a lot of decorations!  I enjoy rediscovering all the precious little items that get packed away in large totes for eleven months of the year.  Each decoration has a history, a story, a memory.  I realize they are just objects but having a solid piece of artwork, in my hand, from my Grams, given to me when I was a child, is a wonderful way to recall memories.  The memories that come flooding back with each piece of tissue peeled back from a shinny glass ball, a jingly brass bell or a daintily crocheted snowflake, makes my home feel even more cozy on a cold Nebraska night.