Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Smiles Volume17

A warm bed.
No alarm.
 
The sun peering through the window and creeping over you.

Toes curled up in the hem of a long nightgown.
Eyes slowly open to the sight of a cozy room all your own.

No where to be.
No rush to awake.
Just enjoy the moment.



Waking up on a day off during the holidays and knowing the day is all yours to enjoy however you would like is one of the best feelings.


Because the ultimate cure for the Monday blues is 
something that will make you smile and grateful for what you have.  
These things make me smile and hopefully they will make you smile too.
 
What makes you smile today?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Smiles Volume 16



The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
On snowing. And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.

~ Winnie the Pooh


Because the ultimate cure for the Monday blues is 
something that will make you smile and grateful for what you have.  
These things make me smile and hopefully they will make you smile too.
 
What makes you smile today?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

We Two...Christmasy Things To Do Together

The time of preparing for Christmas is one of my favorite things.
There are so many things to do to get ready, not to mention all the opportunities to become closer with those who are near and dear to us.
 
I want to soak up every bit of Christmas cheer and I cannot imagine anything better than sharing it with someone else.
 
Here are some ideas of things to do together while preparing for the holidays.
 
1.       Make a Christmas countdown calendar or paper chain.
 
2.      Pick up some hot chocolate and tour the neighborhood to view the decorations.
 
3.      Put on a Christmas CD and have a dance party in your living room.
 
4.      Go Christmas shopping for a charity.
 
5.      Make Christmas candies.
 
6.      Bundle up and go ice-skating.
 
7.      Cut out paper snowflakes and decorate.
 
8.     Go to a live performance of the Nutcracker or Handel’s Messiah.
 
9.      Write Christmas letters to deployed service men and women.
 
10.  Build a snowman…get creative if there’s no snow.
 
11.   Have a wrapping contest and see who is the most creative and can wrap the hardest thing.
 
12.  Bake a new Christmas cookie recipe.
 
13.  Write each other’s Christmas lists then swap and see how many are correct.
 
14.  Collect your spare change and go around town donating it to Salvation Army.
 
15.   Dress up and set the table for a fancy dinner in.
 
16.  Make a gingerbread house.
 
17.   Go to a local choir’s Christmas performance.
 
18.  Have a Christmas movie marathon.
 
19.  Visit the local Christmas displays around town.
 
20. Stay in the Christmas spirit, visit the stores to buy decoration on sale and decorate more!
 
21.  Create a Christmas playlist of your favorite tunes.
 
22. Visit a nursing home and spread Christmas cheer.
 
23. Make a Christmas List of immaterial wishes for family and friends.
 
24. Share your favorite memories from Christmases past, expectations for the Christmas present, and dreams of Christmases yet to come.
 
25.  Read the true story of Christmas by the fire.

 
Now the question is, which to do first?
What are some of your favorite things to do around the holidays?
 
Hugs,
Christina
 
 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Questions of the Heart: Answers of Real Women Edition 9

Today's guest post is from an old friend. Madeleine is a good friend from college. I have always admired her for her vision and perseverance for doing great things in big and little ways. You can see that in her dedication to living and helping others live a clean and healthy lifestyle while keeping in touch with reality through her Shaklee business, involvement in the Thrive Now Network, and blog. I love the title, WhoopsYummy: Tales from a messy Brooklyn kitchen. It is so insightful about life in general, especially the kitchen (at least my kitchen, but I know I am not alone in feeling like my cooking is a bunch of mistakes that somehow is edible).
 
Way back when.
 
So proud of this wonderful mother and to call her a friend! 
 

Questions of the Heart: Answers of Real Women

By Madeleine


Madeleine Pidel
 
What makes a beautiful woman?

A beautiful woman is one who knows herself deeply, is at peace, and who cares enough to make a difference in the world around her through living authentically and passionately. I've come to realize the joy and simplicity can't be faked, and women who reflect these traits are truly beautiful to me.

What makes you feel beautiful?

For me, being strong is what makes me feel beautiful. Having struggled with body image as a young woman and athlete, (who hasn't?) I have come into a sense of great peace as a mother, understanding that our bodies are meant not just for ourselves but also to give life to our children, and to care for our families and communities. This is made possible by caring for ourselves--exercising, eating right, getting rejuvenated and seeking strength--both physically and interiorly, in how we live. It no longer is about me and the mirror; it's about having energy to run after my 3 year old in the park, to tote my 3 week old around, and to live a full Brooklyn life with my husband and friends.

What has had the greatest impact on how you view yourself and encouraged you to be yourself?

Definitely becoming a wife and mother. Incredibly so. Also, the wonderful relationships I've had with female friends--especially starting in college and early adulthood--realizing the beautiful journey into womanhood that we all travel on.

What is your beauty go-to for the days when you feel anything but beautiful?

I might have to say a fun, colorful pair of shoes, and jewelry. I definitely accessorize even if I don't have time to shower! Same goes for my kids--they are the ones whose hair may not be brushed, but their shoes are darn cute.

What would you like to share with other women to encourage them to recognize their value and to be beautiful?

I'd say understand who you are and what you are made for. Remember to accept and appreciate that your life is a gift and will not (should not) look exactly like anyone else's--so let's stop comparing and start sharing---the unique challenges we face, as well as our joys. Let's judge less and love more--and remember to just be with the people that matter to us--our modern lifestyles can often threaten to keep us so busy we don't remember how to simple be...Breaking out of a clich├ęd busy modern life (just because we can do it all--should we?) to be creators, dwellers, to live passionately and generously, to seek beauty, and to put relationships first--that's what I'm hoping to share with the women around me...and I am learning how to live and thrive one day at a time over here.

Thank you, dear friend!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Smiles Volume 15

Have you had your Dali cup of coffee?
 

 
 
I cannot find the original source of this photo; if you know please share.
 
 
Because the ultimate cure for the Monday blues is 
something that will make you smile and grateful for what you have.  
These things make me smile and hopefully they will make you smile too.
 
What makes you smile today?
 
 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Counting Blessings

"When I started counting my blessings, 
my whole life turned around."
~ Willie Nelson

Words to live by.
 May I remember to count mine everyday. 
 


Wishing all the best to you and yours.
Have a wonderful holiday filled with family and friends!

Hugs, 
Christina

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Roots

The highways and air are filled with travelers going near and far 
to their destinations with friends and family.
I am blessed to not have to venture much to be with those most dear to me during the holidays.

In college, I had the desire to have a fresh start in a new city.
My job, however, brought me back home. It has been the biggest blessing.
And my desire to one day raise my family in my hometown grows stronger each year. The desire to roam still exists, but it is always coupled with the knowledge of the greater desire to stay.

For my roots are planted in the same soil my grandparents tilled.

Where I come from: 

Family comes first.

Laughter is a daily exercise.

It does not feel right until everyone is home.

There is no shame in saying, "sorry."

Holidays are spent with family.

Gentlemen hold doors for ladies.

The dishes sit until the dinner conversation is over.

Dinner can last a couple hours.

Please and thank you are still part of the vocabulary.

Movie quotes are used in normal conversation.

Fortune cookie fortunes are always read out loud and often saved.

Pajamas are not seen outside of home.

Shopping trips are followed by fashion shows.

Breakfast food is served for dinner.

Christmas is not about the presents, but presents are our love language.

Gag gifts may cost more than the 'real' gift.

Wrapping paper is re-used.

Meals always start with a prayer.

Kitchens are for cooking, singing, and dancing.

Musicals are re-enacted/created impromptu.

Books are read out loud.

Books are in every room of the house.

Leaving before the party is over does not feel right.

Faith is not just for Sunday.

Children are a blessing.

Doing what is right is not always easy, but applauded.

There is not a day without the words, "I love you."

There's no place like home. 


This post was partially inspired by Jenni's here.




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Perfect Red Dress

'Tis the season for red attire to suddenly appear. Whether red is in or out it is sure to be found everywhere specifically for holiday parties. 
 
Red is my favorite color and yet, there is not much of it in my closet. You see, I love red so much that I have high expectations of anything and everything that dons my dear crimson. Each year the coming of the holiday colors is joined with my search for the perfect red (insert item of desire here).

For years I searched for the perfect red dress. 
My search often ended in complete frustration. I felt like stores took frumpy, weird, scanty, or ho-hum dresses and made them in red because someone just might buy it simply because of the color. I was not so easily convinced. I should note I did indeed find several nice dresses, but there was always something off that they were not the dress.

Then with the dawn of multiple weddings and online bridesmaid dress shopping, I found what I thought was the dress at David's Bridal. Unfortunately it seemed a bit fancier than needed for my dressier occasions and out of my price range. I pinned for it and a good friend solemnly swore that when she got married I could wear it to her wedding. A year went by and happily engaged she did not forget her promise and reminded me of my obligation to wear the red dress to her wedding (what a true friend). While her sister tried on bridesmaid dresses, 
I found my red dress.

 The right shade.
 
A classic timeless style. 

Fancy enough for a special occassion, but not too fancy for a special date.
 
Danceable and comfortable or all night.

 And most importantly, it made me feel pretty and smile.
 
The perfect red dress.
 
Displaying photo.JPG
Towering height brought to you by ridiculous heels and barefeet. I'm actually half an inch shorter.
 
 
On to the perfect red sweater!
Any suggestions?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bold and Restless



Last week Megan posted this quote:

"In order to write we must have an awareness of who we are--and who we aren't. If you don't know either, writing can help teach it.

Know that writing is born from the ache of contraries, polarities in search of peace, of unity. But not the unity of making mush. You want to live in the country. Your husband is an urban boy. You compromise and both live in the suburbs. What a squash of desire and energy.

Can you instead hold the tension until something fresh and howling results? You must find your way to this when you write.

What bold restless extremes do you carry inside?"

This struck me. It expresses, in a different way, a view of writing about which I feel strongly.

Writing is a form of art. Through art truth is conveyed or the process of exploring and discovering truth is documented. Without the aim of sharing truth, writing can be “making mush” or a noise adding to an unintelligible din.

The most poignant of pieces are those that express a truth of human experience or thought that is timeless. A written piece does not have to encapsulate the entire truth of the world, but it holds at least a tiny aspect of truth. Sometimes it is only the simple truth that someone else out there in feels the same way as I do about a facet of the world.

It makes me wonder if this sharing and discovering of another or the greater picture may just be what puts those restless extremes to rest.

Some more of mine:

The worst environment for writing is one that is quiet enough you can hear every solitary conversation or sound clearly. The best environment is one of silence or enough noise that the sounds blend together into the background; both following several repeats of my writing songs.

Mr. Knightley is the best of Jane Austen's heroes.

Cranky typically equals hungry, tired, overwhelmed, or all of the above.

A pop of red makes everything better.

More than anything I want to be a wife and mother 
and to turn a house into a home.

Human love is a reflection of an even greater love. 
Despite how undeserving I feel, I am lovable. God loves me.

I have a burning desire to do something big and make a difference. Sometimes the big thing is to simply live and see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

What are some of yours?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Hugs, 
Christina





Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Five Favorites Volume 16

Lots of links for you today!
 
I have come across a good many of great posts this week that tug on my heart to be shared. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
I will warn you, the first three of these had me on the verge or in a puddle of tears.
 
---1---
 
 
They longed for children—flesh of their flesh, blood of their blood—
but in this one area they were thwarted.
It was the only thorn in their otherwise perfect union.
 
My sister shared this piece with me. Such a beautiful story. It is almost hard to believe it isn't fiction.
 
---2---
 
 
I could only focus on the sorrow, the injustice, the pain...
I look back on the days surrounding his death and funeral and can finally see some of that beauty.

Bon's post on the beauty she can now see from her father's death is touching. My heart goes out to her and her family. I can only imagine what this would be like.
 
---3---
 
 
The real romantics are the boring ones —
they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs.
 
I kind of like boring in this context, because boring isn't boring at all, but absolutely interesting.
 
---4---
 
 
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains
after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”
-Benjamin Franklin
 
I'm contemplating doing this...once I narrow down my list to a couple habits instead of the whole page. Making unreasonable lists-add that to the list, oh bother.
 
---5---
 
 
"I felt like I was in a movie or something.  The whole thing felt so surreal."
 
My friend, Emily, published her birth story this week!
 It was fun to read and connect the dots of the various updates I received and of course, the baby! Little Simon is adorable.
 
Hallie's five favorites this week are great. So make sure you check out our hostess!
The kissing one-words cannot describe.
 
Hugs,
Christina
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Smiles Volume 14

It has been a good while since I have posted one of these.

I am happy to report, however, that overall Mondays have not been as much as a challenge (of course there are Mondays that are, well, Mondays). 
What has been the challenge is finding something that seemed substantial enough to post; I was creating more work than necessary, striving for perfection. This series was intended to be the exact opposite:
something simple that made me smile.

Let us get back to that idea, shall we?

Sometimes we overlook how much we have to be grateful for and how our grass is just as green as the other side. We can get so busy that we do not see what is right in front of us and when we do have a moment to pause and take a step back we can see the simple joys of every day life. 

Nature is one of those joys that I relish in, 
when I give myself the time to take it all in. 
Today, nature came to me instead.

At first it is hard to see...

 

Get a little closer and it is clearer...
 

Then you just stand in awe.


It is like a beautiful painting, made just for me.



Have a wonderful Monday, friends!
 
Because the ultimate cure for the Monday blues is 
something that will make you smile and grateful for what you have.  
These things make me smile and hopefully they will make you smile too.
What makes you smile today?
 

Hugs, 
Christina
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