Sunday, 30 November 2008

O' Tannenbaum

When I was about 4 or 5 my mother started the tradition of buying my sister and I each a porcelain doll for the tree. We have received one every year since. They have travelled all over the world with me. They have been to Nebraska, Okinawa, Texas, and now England. Every time I open my storage boxes to reveal each beautiful doll it brings back a memory. Memories of Christmases with my sister where we would lay down under the tree and look up, enjoying our own private Christmas wonderland. Memories of bubble lights, tinsel, and hand made ornaments made by two little girls with their whole lives ahead of them. It is very hard to be away from home during the holidays. I will not tell anyone that it gets easier, but I will say it stings less every year. You start your own traditions with your family and that helps. My children count on me to make the holidays memorable since they are creating their own memories that they will be reminded of when they unpack their ornaments each year. Who knows where my kids ornaments will travel? Will they have a passport like mine? Or, will they stay in one area in a garage or attic safely tucked away till next year? My mother did a wonderful thing for me when she started that tradition. She must have known that the dolls would each represent a memory for me that would come flooding back every time I hang one on the tree. So today I am grateful for that tradition my mother started so many years ago, but more so for all the wonderful memories I have because of that tradition.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

We have lived many places since I married my husband in 2000. First it was Nebraska, then on to Okinawa, Japan, then Texas and now we find ourselves living in the English countryside. I do get lonesome out here at times. It is very, very, quiet during the day and this is the first time we have opted not to live in base housing. When we first saw this house we knew we wanted it. Not quite sure why, just felt a pull towards it. It would mean a 45 minute commute for my husband every day but he didn't seem phased by that at all. Since I home school I wouldn't have to drive the kids to and from the base everyday so that wouldn't be a problem. We moved in September and set about trying to get used to the fact that we had so much space all to ourselves. One thing I know I will not get used to is walking out on a clear night, looking up, and seeing thousands of points of light. As simple as stars are to most people we really have not been able to view them this clearly in years. Most of the places we have lived were very crowded and the lights from homes and businesses would drown out any light we might have seen from the sky. Not here! You walk out, look up, and have your own planetarium. Crystal clear views of every constellation available this time of year in this region. I still remember the first time the kids realized they were able to see them. They really had not seen stars from their own yard ever and never so clear and bright. They stared for as long as their necks could tolerate it, astounded by their beauty. It brought back so many memories for me. Growing up on our farm in Maryland, stars were there just like that every night. Reliable friends that came out when the sun went down without fail. I used to lay down in my Dad's pick-up seat and look out the back window while he drove. My own private sparkly theater. Though I am older now and have children of my own the wonder of those little, twinkling lights in the sky has not faded for me. And, tonight I am grateful for those stars. I am thankful that we live somewhere where I can see them clearly. How wonderful it is to be able to see the beauty of the universe in your own backyard. What a gift!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Braids please!

Every morning after my daughter gets dressed and has her teeth brushed she comes running to me with her hairbrush and case of hair accessories. I ask her how she wants her hair done and she gives me my orders and I proceed. First we have to decide on what colors of hair ties or barrettes we should use. Then we brush her hair out and get it all styled. Sounds simple right? Just something I do every morning, 365 days a year. I realized something this morning. As I am styling her hair she begins to talk to me about anything and everything. We discuss T.V. shows, books, homeschooling topics, the weather, pretty much anything. It is a brief 10 minutes or so that we spend this way. Just her and I quietly bonding as two females over a very girly task. But, how important those moments are! I am sure when she is 13 or even before that she will not want to spend this time with me. Gone will be the braids, ponytails and animal barrettes, replaced by clouds of hairspray, hair dye (hopefully not that soon), and shut bedroom doors. Will she still be willing to sit and talk with me like we do now during "hair time"? I am not sure. But, I so hope so. That is why today I am grateful for "hair time". Those brief minutes I get to spend with my precious daughter every morning just her and I talking and relating to one another and hopefully in the process forming a bond that will outlast the sparkly pony tail holders and barrettes with bells on them. I am so thankful that I was given the gift of a daughter and that I get to be her mother. I know she was meant for me and I was meant for her. We are kindred spirits her and I bonding in the age old female tradition of "hair time".

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Ummmmm, it's snowing.

Today I have decided I am grateful for snow. We have been living in warm weather climates for the past 7 1/2 years so we hadn't seen snow in quite a while. More importantly my 7 year old daughter had never seen it. Except when she was a baby when we were living in Nebraska. Even her memory is not that good(though it is comparable at times to that of an elephant)! Now that we are in England we could expect to see some but were told by locals that due to global warming they didn't get to much anymore. Well someone else had another idea today. First we spied one flake (faces in expressions of disbelief) then another, and another, until it was cascading down in a torrent. We knew it would probably be brief and not stick but it would be my daughter's first glimpse of the white stuff and my son's first sighting in quite some time. To see the wonderment in both of their eyes was fantastic. They went outside and whirled and twirled in it and shrieked in utter amazement. Standing there watching them get such joy from a few fleeting moments of a snow shower reminded me what the stuff of life is all about. Those joyous moments that fling themselves in your lap. You can either let yourself enjoy them or go have a sulk because you don't have this or that. Today I chose to celebrate this moment of pure amazement in my children's lives. I am so gifted to be able to witness it. I am truly lucky to not only be a mother but to be their mother. I was meant for this purpose. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I want for nothing and have everything I require. How truly gifted I am. I am ever so grateful for that moment of pure wonderment in my children's eyes. They reminded me of simple joys. If you don't recognize them they will pass you by like a fleeting snow shower. One minute it is there, the next it is gone. So make sure, as I am learning to make sure, that you grab ahold of those moments and savor them. Who knows when you might get another like it?

Friday, 21 November 2008


Today I have decided I am grateful for coffee. Whover thought up this drink was a God or Goddess. I realize that I look forward every morning to measuring out my coffee, filling the coffee filter, and brewing that pot. Now it has been made even better by the fact that the holidays are upon us and they have the hoiliday coffees out now. My favorite is the peppermint. It tastes like you have brewed the coffee with some delicious sweet candy canes. Yum! I have tried through the years since I have started to drink this amazing concoction to abstain from it. I have lasted a total of 35 days. Ad then I was right back to my morning cup. So I started to think about what was actually going on here. Was it the fact that I was addicted to the caffeine? Could I just not wake up every morning without it? No, I have decided it is more than that. The morning cup signifies to me the start of a new day. New being the important word here. A day that has never been before. Ever. A day to fill with good things or bad things at my choosing. A day to dweel on what is horrible about my life (nothing, except when I am feeling sorry for myself then everything is terrible) or a day to see everything that is wonderful. Even the seemingly small stuff. The really small stuff. Such as tiny coffee grinds that smell of sweet peppermint sticks. Life is so good.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Poems, Prayers, and Promises

My very first blog. I think what is in order is a list. I don't neccesarrily enjoy lists, follow them, or even pay much attention to them when I have them, but this one I must pay attention to. There is no choice. I am 32 years old and enough is enough! I have to much to be thankful for and I vow today to write every single day about something I am thankful for and taking a moment to reflect on that. There may be days that I miss due to not being around but I will make up for them the next time I sit down and type. Most people might think it may be the time of year that inspires me to take this vow but it is not. It is actually a song by John Denver called "Poems, Prayers, and Promises". Now anyone that knows anything about John Denver knows he passed away quite unexpectdly in a plane crash in 1997. This song is all about John talking about his life and how he has enjoyed it though there is so much more to go. I really don't think he thought he would die so suddenly. He must have thought as we all do that there was so many more days to come. But, in his lyrics you can tell that if he did anything in those years he was talking about, John lived. He lived without fear. He lived without feeling sorry for himself all the time (though I am sure like all of us he had his moments). He lived in the present and not in the past. In short, he LIVED. So when he arrived in heaven I can see him thinking "Uh Oh, what happened?" But regret at how he lived his life, no way! Or at least his lyrics suggest otherwise. So as I was driving along listening to this song I realized that it needed to stop. All the years of feeling sorry for myself, craving attention by feeling sorry for myself, lecturing others to be strong and then doing the opposite was going to STOP NOW! The end. Who knows how many more days I have on this planet. I am surely not going to waste them feeling sorry for myself anymore! So about that list. When I feel that I have accomplished one I will share the news and how I have accomplised it. I will also share every day something I am thankful for. There is something every day. Even on our worse days that we must recognize and hold in our hearts. I believe those are the gifts that we are given by a higher power to keep us going. The light in the far off house proimising shelter and warmth that keeps us trudging through the mud, uphill in a rainstorm so to speak just to reach it. Today, I am thankful for the gift of that song. I am grateful that I picked it up to take with me on my journey. I am grateful that John was given the gift of song and that I grew up listening to those songs. I am grateful that my mother loved John so much that she played his music all the time so I became a fan myself. I am grateful for his lyrics which have given me resolve to do what I needed to do for so long. And now the list.

1. I will stop feeling sorry for myself.
2. I will stop being scared of just about everything. I mean I am the woman who grew up on a farm, drove all sorts of huge tractors and equipment, fed and reared hogs that weighed upwards of 300 pounds each, and helped rear cattle that weighed way more then that.
3. I will everyday write about one thing that I am grateful for.
4. I will stop wasting time feeling badly for myself.
5. I will show more kindness to everyone in my life.
6. I will try to solve my problems myself and stop trying to solve them with other things. (This one will make more sense as I continue this blog.)
7. I will laugh more. I have two crazy kids that I homeschool. I am sure I can find something to laugh about.;)
8. I will take more walks. I am in the English countryside. I NEED to walk more.
9. I will make a list of places I want to visit here, hook up the GPS, and go.
10. I will be more grateful, every single day, for every day that I am given!

Poems, Prayers, and Promises
by John Denver
Ive been lately thinking
About my lifestime
All the things Ive done
And how its been
And I cant help believing
In my own mind
I know Im gonna hate to see it end
Iveseen a lot of sunshine
Slept out in the rain
Spent a night or two all on my own
Ive known my ladys pleasures
Had myself some friends
And spenta time or two in my own home
And I have to say it now
Its been a goodlife all in all
Its really fine
To have a chance to hang around
And liethere by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and myold lady
Sit and pass the pipe around
And talk of poems and prayersand promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long its been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share
The days they pass so quickly now
Nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers when its cold
The changes somehow frighten me
Still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old
Forthough my lifes been good to me
Theres still so much to do
So many things my mind has never known
Id like to raise a family
Id like to sailaway
And dance across the mountains on the moon
I have to say it now
Its been a good life all in all
Its really fine
To have the chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around
And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
Howlong its been since yesterday
What about tomorrow
What about ourdreams
And all the memories we share