In Anticipation Of Christmas

I saw Santa and Mrs. Claus this weekend. He didn’t ask if I’ve been naughty or nice, but he did give me a candy cane…guess that means I’m on the good list.

Our tree shines through the window and into the night while inside we’re enjoying the ambiance of the Christmas season.

Our tree is decorated, and the presents are beginning to gather. Actually, though they are not under the tree in this picture, they have all been purchased and wrapped.

All the goodies have been baked. The baskets have been made and delivered.

All the stockings have been stuffed and hung…not on the mantle as we don’t have one but on the stair railing. (Sometimes in life we must improvise!)

This is the first time I started and finished prepping so early…now I can relax and fully enjoy the beauty of this Christmas season.

I Disappear As The Moon Rises

The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand.  ~Frederick L. Knowles

Two days before the full moon

I’ve never been a night person, especially not the kind who likes to be outside in the dark. I’ve always found it to be quite eerie…except if I’m with someone bigger and stronger than me, someone I trust like Dirt Man. I enjoy star gazing and walking in the moonlight, but not alone. Maybe I’ve seen too many horror movies or listened to too many spooky campfire tales. Or maybe my cousins just scared the crap out of me when I was a kid by telling me that a UFO was coming to get me! When the sun starts to set, I withdraw to the comfort of my second skin, home.

I’m generally a sunshine girl. I like to see what surrounds me. I don’t like shadows. Unidentified sounds make me jump. Darkness weighs me down, not only constricting my movements but also my creativity. I brighten with the rising of the sun and flow within its rays.

Full Moon

There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery. ~Joseph Conrad

This Is Your Life

Life is the game.

You are the player.

Listen to the cheers. Life is rooting for you.

See the smiles. Life loves you.

Reach out…grab life by the hand. Let your life touch another.

Do you smell it? That’s the fragrance of your life.

Do you taste it? That’s the sweetness of your life.

Life. Place yourself in the arena.

Give it your best shot.

Be the winner in your game.

Swimming The Waters As We Build Upon The Shore

Whether you step into the water or walk upon the sand depends on where you wish to go.

Often we need to weave in and out to accomplish our goals.

We jump into the water for inspiration, ride the waves for energy, and float the current while we dream.

We scribble our thoughts into the sand.

We dig, pile and shape, building dreams upon the shore, our process visible in the sand.

Every time we need empowerment, we head to the water.

We leave a trail of footprints to water’s edge.

The tide wipes out or proves the endurance of all we‘ve accomplished.

We need water to purify our souls and sand to show us where we’ve been.

Who will run along the shore to follow us?

Who will jump in the water with us and swim the course?

Open Doors

The door is open.

What are you waiting for?

What are you afraid of?

Take a chance, step inside.

You can’t spend your entire life on the outside looking in.

Besides it looks a lot different from the inside looking out.

You’ll never know if you don’t step over the threshold.

Opportunity waits on the other side.

This the time of your life.

It is waiting for you to step in and claim it.

Where Am I?

I am delighted to be guest posting at Rebecca’s place today. Altared Spaces is one of my favorite places to visit. Every visit is a rich experience. I always walk away thinking for days about what I read while I was there. Rebecca doesn’t throw words on the page…she places her heart there. She sees things the average person doesn’t see. This is because Rebecca doesn’t only see with her eyes but all of her senses and mostly her heart. Rebecca is a woman of extraordinary sensitivity, and she has a gift of word in which she uses to share her experiences.

Please come visit me at Rebecca’s place. Poke around her posts while you are there. You will be sure to make Altared Spaces one of your regular reads.

Beaverdam Park

Natural objects themselves, even when they make no claim to beauty, excite the feelings, and occupy the imagination. Nature pleases, attracts, delights, merely because it is nature. We recognize in it an Infinite Power. –Karl Wilhelm Humboldt

About three weeks ago Dirt Man, Wylie, and I hiked Beaver Dam State Park. The sun shone brightly with just enough of a breeze that we were comfortable. Fall colors were still in full swing with the leaves flying through the air and crunching beneath our feet.

One last lady bug was still hanging around in this holly bush.

There is a nature trail and a hiking trail that wind around the lake. We traveled bits of both paths. We got a late start so we only hiked a little over six miles.

They offer canoe rentals. We saw a few people hout fishing while we were walking.

Frogs were croaking in the water, and squirrels were scurrying about the woods.

I found the view along the water trail to be the prettiest area.

The earthy tones of the changes leaves reflected in the water.

Though there is a horse trail we didn’t see anyone riding horses. We only saw a few runners, families, and people walking their dogs. 

Wylie’s sneaking a peek through the tree. 

Dirt Man used one of the special camera modes for this shot of one of the bridges.

The cloud activity was just as awesome as the colors of the woods. 

There’s nothing quite like the solitude of the woods and water.

Hope you didn’t get tired of walking with me today.

Nature is the great emptiness, the source out of which our culture and all its flowering comes, and in order not to lose sight of this, not to become orphans lost in the minutiae of our daily lives and, like the rich man’s son starving outside his father’s gate, to forget who we are, it is vital that wildness be preserved for its own sake, which is to say, for our sake. –Dan Gerber, “Walking in Tierra del Fuego,” from Sacred Trusts

Hugging Our Lives Away

You can’t wrap love in a box, but you can wrap a person in a hug. ~Author Unknown

I come from a family of huggers.

Maybe it’s just a Southern thing.

Maybe we’re just affectionate people.

Maybe we realize life is too short not to let others know we care.

Whatever the reason, we will hug you whether we know you or not.

We will invite you into our space.

If you pull away, we’ll let go. We’re respectful if we think you feel your space has been invaded…still, we let you know the invitation is open to be a part of our lives.

My mother’s side of the family offered those strong-yet-soft, full-bodied enveloping hugs while my father’s side loosely wrapped their arms around you and you felt their restraint of not wanting an emotional commitment to the physical act.

I craved acceptance and delighted in the demonstration of it provided by my mother’s sisters. Their mother died when they were quite young; still through the nurturance and guidance of their father and grandmother they grew up knowing the warmth of love provided through the close bonds of enclosed arms. They understood they could not only hold love in their hearts but they could contain it within a circle. Together they held hands and stretched their arms to include all they met. That is the power of love nestled within a hug.

I’ve always known no matter what transpired throughout the day, there would be arms to hold to me, comfort me, and love me when the day was done.

A hug can say a thousand words without ever speaking a single one.

What flows from one body to  another in a single hug can restore a heart or create a lifelong memory.

I can tell a lot about a person from a hug. I immediately know how to approach and respond from there on. Reading a hug is not an art, but a gift, an opportunity to know another person in a way conversation does not reveal.

Most people know instantly if a hug is genuine. A reserved hug is worse than no hug at all.

It’s true you risk the possibility of rejection when you open your arms to embrace another. Caring does make us vulnerable, but think of how empty our lives would be if we didn’t take that chance.

Are you willing to lay your heart on the line to show someone else you care? Are you comfortable letting time continue to pass by without showing your concern?

Are you willing to extend your arms to include someone not in you immediate circle? You might be the only hug they receive today.

Your touch might be one that makes a difference.

A hug is a handshake from the heart. ~Author Unknown

NaNoWriMo Was A Go!

I joined the NaNoWriMo bandwagon this year. I didn’t officially register, but I did sign up with WNFIN/Write Nonfiction in November. I set a goal of 2,000 words a day which would total at 60,000 by the end of the month. My word target was entirely separate from blog posts and any other works in progress. I knew ahead of time that I’d be taking time off for Thanksgiving and for vacation. I figured I could make up the word count on weekends.

NaNoWriMo provides different challenges for each participant. Many do this writing challenge in an attempt to write a novel in thirty days. That was not my goal. Others do it for the discipline of writing every day. I already do that. My problem is that I edit as I write. I wanted to learn to write freely without my inner critic screaming at me. Being accustomed to doing this has made it difficult for me to write on demand. Therefore, writing on demand became my second goal.

I will not write if I’m not in the mood. I want to already have those creative juices flowing before I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. As a procrastinator I’ve always had a difficulty in starting. This process has proved to me that simply writing ignites creativity. I never lacked for material as one idea or memory led to another.

Had I edited as I wrote I would have lost many ideas. Free writing provides me areas to expand on the topic at hand. The greatest find is knowing I will be able to use many of these jumbled masses of words to start other writing projects.

Out of the thirty days, I only wrote for nineteen. I hadn’t counted on getting sick on top of the other times I took off from writing. However, I feel I was saved by some prolific days. My word total came to 62,180. Whether I was successful or not is a matter of opinion.

Facing my own stubbornness had been an invaluable writing experience. Learning to cut and paste instead of deleting had proved to be a beneficial process for me. Knowing how I operate will help me set more realistic writing goals. I think what I’ve taken from this experience will keep me from feeling overwhelmed and allow me to complete more writing projects.