Tag Archives: Holidays

Flowery Fireworks

 

A different type of bang

A different sort of boom

Bursting forth, summer’s blossoms shoot off a few fireworks of their own…

 

© Julie Rehnelt 2015

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And they’re every bit as dazzling as the explosive variety.  Though… much more quiet in their display.  😉

 

To those of you here with me in the States, have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!  To those of you elsewhere in the world… well, I hope you’re safe and happy too!  ❤

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Perspective

I’ve been avoiding writing lately.  Oh, I’ve got plenty of “material” roaming around in this ol’ noggin of mine, there’s never a lack of reflective or contemplative thoughts to share, it’s just that I haven’t felt especially inspired or able to really formulate any of it into words for using my “outside voice.”  And I still don’t, but I wanted to share a little story with you about perspective.  The perspective of gratitude.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a bit cliche’ to talk about gratitude while we’re having our Thanksgiving holiday here in the states, but so what?  So what if it’s a particular holiday that springs up a certain way of thinking?  And regardless of ones views or opinions about what Thanksgiving is really all about (where it originated or to whom it is that we are to express our thanks to etc.), isn’t the idea of giving thanks still of value?  And isn’t it better to have a season or a holiday where our awareness of gratitude is a bit heightened, than to not have one at all?  Obviously it goes without saying that we should live our entire lives (all year round) in a continual attitude of gratitude.  But sometimes things are going on in our lives that get us caught up, and we lose that perspective of gratitude.  Because after all… life can be really, really difficult at times can’t it?

Here I am in my own world, living each day, doing my thing, going about my business, dealing with my own set of various struggles and difficulties, and doing my best to live in such a way that brings love and light into the lives of others.  But sometimes I get “caught up” in all the things I have to do, and sometimes I become resentful of all the things I have to do.  I never used to get like this.  Honestly, I lived in a little joy bubble, lalalalalala.  But now I have pain.  Pain has invaded my little joy bubble, and now, anything that I have to do that requires any considerable amount of walking or standing, brings excruciating pain to my knees.  I have to do a lot of planning ahead and prioritizing, and I have to pace myself as to not to overdo it or I’ll be paying for it dearly for days afterward.  But sometimes there’s simply a lot of shtuff that needs doing all at once, and because I have other people depending on me to do all that shtuff, I have no choice but to take care of it.  This is always a very busy time of the year for me, we have family birthdays going on, not to mention the holidays and everything that comes along with them, in addition to the regular every day things pressing in as well.

This story begins at the grocery store…

First let me mention that I HATE the grocery store.  Not all grocery stores, I don’t mind going to the smaller markets and the local co-op, but the big warehouse type of grocery stores… = hate.  I always have, even before I had any knee pain.  It may sound sort of strange, but sometimes I actually used to have to do a little bit of mental preparation before going in.  I’d breathe deeply and determine within myself not to let the other shoppers’ vibes affect my mood.  I’ve always been sensitive to peoples vibes, but shopper peoples’ vibes are the worst.  Seriously, they can be so rude.  Sometimes I’d play a little game and purposely go out of my way to be extra kind, especially to the really crabby people (a little kindness can go a long way), but then someone would ram into my heel or nearly run down my daughter with their cart, and then it was game over!

Well, I needed to go to the warehouse type of grocery store the other day to go shopping for our food for Thanksgiving dinner.  My mom and my daughter came along and surprisingly, we had an enjoyable time of selecting our turkey and other fixings for our meal.  It was early in the day so there weren’t many people there, no one ramming our heels or running us down with their carts.   😉  We came across an elderly gentleman and I made a bit of small talk with him and teased around with him about us being in each others way in front of the lettuce.  My mom and I were both in tears after leaving him because he made us think of my dad.  The holidays are especially difficult when missing a loved one.  😦   We also “played” around a bit with an elderly woman who was riding in one of those scooters for the disabled.  Those scooters are such a wonderful idea.  Kudos to whoever thought up the idea of providing them for customers at those larger stores.  In fact, this whole story may could have been avoided if I had used one of those scooters myself.  I have used them a couple of times in the past when I’ve had a lot of shopping to do, but the stores normally only have a few of them available, and I always want to leave them for the people who are more in need than myself.

The problem with our little shopping trip arose when we went to pay for our groceries.  The lines weren’t too long, because as I mentioned, there weren’t many shoppers, but lo and behold the line we got into was a nightmare.  A nightmare for people who have pain when standing for long periods, anyway.  There was only one woman in line ahead of us, and she didn’t have many items, so we thought it would be semi quick.  We weren’t in a hurry, but like I said, it’s painful for me to stand in one place for very long, so in that respect we were in a “hurry.”  Well, I don’t know what was going on, but this woman was taking for-fricking-ever.  Seemed like it anyway.  I had to leave my mom and daughter and squeeze out of line to go and find a place to sit down nearby because the pain became so unbearable.  I don’t know how long I had been standing there prior to my going to sit down, but I sat on that bench for at least another 10 or 15 minutes before my mom and daughter came up.  How one woman, with barely any items, can take over 20 minutes to check out her groceries was beyond me.

I was feeling pretty annoyed, but of course once I was sitting down I felt better because I was no longer in pain.  And as I sat there I began contemplating about whether or not I am a patient person.  I strive to be, and I think I generally am, but am I patient while I’m in pain?  Nope, definitely not.  Am I kind?  Yes, definitely.  But am I kind while I’m in pain?  Well… I’m still able to be polite.

As I sat there contemplating whether or not I’m a patient and kind person, I was also thinking about how much it sucks to be in pain and how embarrassing it is to have to go and sit down because I can’t even stand in a line for 5 minutes.  That train of thought led to thinking about all of the other woes in my life, and as I became aware of that, I stopped myself.  I began a different inner dialog that went something like this… “Gosh, ya know, I’m thankful I even have the money to buy this Thanksgiving dinner”  many people don’t.  And then “I’m thankful I have my little family to share it with” many people don’t.  And on it went, more thoughts poured in about how incredibly fortunate I am, and all the things I have to be grateful for.  It completely shifted my perspective.  Even to the point of feeling genuine compassion in place of annoyance toward that unbearably slow woman in line.  God only knows what her situation is in life.  Here I had my mom and daughter shopping with me, while this woman was alone.  Maybe she is even all alone in this world.  😦

As I sit writing this, smelling the delicious aroma of the food we bought that day wafting up to my room, I’m saying a quiet prayer for that woman, hoping that she isn’t all alone, that she has someone to share this day, and all of her days with.  And I’m thinking about all of the other people in the world who may be alone, or hungry, or cold, with compassion and with profound gratitude that I am not.

Peace & Love…

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Pumpkin Eyes

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Our cat Sugar is such a curious little kitty and always has to be smack dab in the middle of things whenever there’s any action going on.  Last night while we were carving pumpkins she hopped up onto a chair so she could get a closer look at what we were doing.   She looked so cute sitting there that I wanted to snap a picture of her.  Well, much to my amusement the “red-eye” effect from the flash turned her eyes orange.  Just like the pumpkin guts!  Haha perfect!  And kinda spooky.  Now that’s really getting into the spirit of things!   😉

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Oh and incidentally, I carved out a cat on my pumpkin…

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Meow!

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But lest you be inclined to compliment my expert pumpkin carving abilities… not my artwork, I cheated and used a pattern.  😉

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Peace & love…

And happy Halloween!  😀

Fruit Pizza

I don’t post many recipes here, but this one is definitely worth sharing…

We had a BBQ yesterday for the 4th of July, and while talking to my sis about the dessert menu, she came up with the idea of making my fruit pizza.  It’s been quite a few years since I’ve made one, so when she mentioned it I thought “Oooh yeah, that sounds reeeally good!”

And good it was!  If you’ve never had fruit pizza before you’re seriously missing out on something yummy.  I’ve seen many variations out there for it, and I’m sure they’re all quite delicious, but this is a very old recipe that I got from a friend of mine a long time ago (before the internet came along filled with a plethora information on everything and anything), so I’m sure it’s better than all the rest.  😉

Here’s a photo of the one I made yesterday…

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Yeah, I know… the crust edges are smashed in a couple places (oops!) and that the design isn’t very imaginative, but it was still really tasty!

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Here’s the recipe:

1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 package (8 oz) soft-style cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the fruit you can use whatever happens to tickle your fancy, but for this one I used:

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced (it’s strawberry season here right now and I’m in heaven!)

1 kiwifruit, peeled, halved, and sliced

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh pineapple, sliced

The original recipe calls for 1 banana peeled and sliced, instead of the pineapple, but I was in the mood for pineapple so I substituted.  If you wish to add bananas, be sure to toss the banana slices in lemon juice to prevent browning. 

Directions:

1.  Press cookie dough evenly onto a lightly greased 12 inch pizza pan.  Prick with fork.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely.

2.  Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Spread mixture evenly over cooled crust.  Arrange fruit as desired over cream cheese.  Refrigerate at least one hour.  To serve, cut into wedges or squares.

The original recipe also calls for a 1/2 cup orange marmalade or peach preserves combined with 2 Tbsp of water to be drizzled or spooned over the top, but I forgot to get some at the store so ours was naked.  😀   It was still yummy, but topping it with the orange marmalade really adds to the flavor and gives it a delicious added touch.

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Sure, it’s overly sweet and packed with sugar, but it really is a light and refreshing dessert for the summer time.  Besides, I used organic fruit so that makes it healthier, right?!

😉

And… Exhale

After Christmas there is always this sense of a sort of exhale for me.  All the hustle and bustle is over and I can finally release the breath that I feel like I’ve been holding in through it all.  It’s really quite a relief actually, seeing as I usually rather enjoy breathing, in general.  😉

I’ve mentioned many times in previous posts how much I hate busyness and unfortunately sometimes even the fun kind wears on me.  The past few Christmases have been so different and also difficult for me.  I hope one day everything will be back to normal, but perhaps this is just how it’s going to be from now on.  Maybe once you experience the death of a close loved one and/or other multiple major life changes, the holidays never really go “back to normal” again.  Or maybe it just takes time.  I did have a nice Christmas though, for the most part, and I hope you all did too.

I’d have to say that the best thing about mine was having my punk nephew home from California.  I only get to see him every few years, so it was really nice to have him here for Christmas this year.  On the first day that I got to spend with him we all went out to see the movie The Hobbit.  I am a huge fan of Tolkien and I really enjoyed seeing a beloved story of mine brought to life on the big screen.  I also thought it was very well done and I look forward to the next installment.

The next day, my nephew and his girlfriend came over and we all made candy together.  My mom happened to snap this photo while we were working on making our Christmas mice.100_3816Maraschino cherries dipped in white chocolate = yummy little mice!

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Yeah, they may be all smiles in that photo there, but on Christmas Eve when he brought over a new game for all of us to play, things got a bit heated.  Taboo…DSCF0112aWe always play games after eating and opening gifts on Christmas Eve, and Taboo was tons of fun!  I had never played it before, but I think I was pretty good at it.  Well… except for the whole not being allowed to talk with my hands part of the rules.  That was a bit tricky.  Yes, I’m one those people who talks with my hands.  Hey, I’m often overly expressive, what can I say?!  😉

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Another thing I enjoyed this Christmas was the new recipe I tried out.  It’s called Christmas Crack and omyfreakinggosh is it ever delicious!  And addicting.  Hence its being called “crack.”  DSCN6265This will definitely be a regular treat that I will be making around the holidays from now on.

Edit note:  I would love to share this amazing recipe with you all, but I’m afraid you’ll have to find your own drug dealer for this one, as I’ve just recently been made aware that this particular recipe is in fact Top Secret and was only shared with me in the strictest of confidence.  Oops!  My sincere apologies to the dear friend who shared it with me as I didn’t realize that before I posted it here earlier.  There are many other variations of this recipe out there on the Internet free for the taking, none as delicious as this one mind you, but you’ll just have to make due.  I know, I’m such a tease.  😉

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Well, I don’t know about you, but between doing crack and devouring poor unsuspecting mice, I had waaaay too many goodies over the holidays.  Oof, time for a diet!

And speaking of needing to go on a diet, look at the picture I took of my cute, chubby little kitten.  DSCF0089aShe is usually a timid little thing whenever there’s company over, but she was celebrating like a pro with the rest of us on Christmas Eve.  She kinda has a thing for wrapping paper and she wasn’t giving this piece up for anything ~ not even for a nap.

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And look what we subjected my daughter’s poor dog, Teddy to…DSCF0024aHaha oh how he detests wearing his Santa hat, but he just looks too darn cute in it to not make him suffer in it, at least for a little while.  😉

Besides, we’re all subjected to a bit of suffering over the holidays.

And… exhale.

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Now it’s time to get busy contemplating all of those New Year’s resolutions…

Tis the Season to be Stressed Out Falalalalalalalalah…

I saw this the other day and thought, “I can relate.”

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The holidays can be such a busy, stressful time for a lot of people, but it’s not just because it’s the holidays that I’m so busy.  Things just seem to have been hoppin’ in my life for quite some time now.  I keep waiting for things to settle down, but then something else comes up, on and on it goes, and now it’s Christmas time.

I have always loved Christmas, absolutely everything about it.  There used to be a time when my daughter was little (and when I was younger too ;)), when I was all finished up with the “busy stuff” of Christmas before Thanksgiving.  Gifts wrapped, Christmas cards addressed etc. and I would just spend that time in between Thanksgiving and Christmas baking, decorating, being festive, and just enjoying the company of friends and family.  But now, after more than just a few major life changes, everything is different, and my perspective on things has changed a bit, and not just about Christmas.

But either way, I’m totally stressed out right now and finding that I’m having a bit of trouble feeling that ol’ Christmas spirit.  I’m really tempted to rebel against all the Shtuff* I have to do and take that nap instead.  But for the sake of my family I will suck it up, take care of everything that needs doing, and make myself be Merry and Bright (right after I finish complaining ;)).

But I really can’t complain because even despite life’s difficulties, busyness, pressures, and stress, still all I can see is how totally blessed and fortunate I am.  Truly.  I have only to look outside of myself at the others around me out there in the world to realize it.

In moving back home and being in my “old neighborhood” in the inner city, I see so many hurting people who are in true dire situations and struggling just to survive.  I think I have stress?  This is nothing!  At least I have a nice warm bed to take that rebellious nap in if things get too overwhelming, some of these dear souls around me don’t even have a place to rest their weary heads.  Shame on me for complaining about anything!  For real.  Oh, am I having trouble finding my Christmas spirit?  Am I stressed out?  Boo who, suck it up and count your blessings Missy!  Indeed.

And here are a couple of them ~ my precious daughter and my dear mom…DSCN6245Haha yeah, you should see our other attempts at trying to take a little family photo in front of the tree, we so totally fail!  Maybe they would have turned out better if we would have had a person taking them for us instead of using the timer on my daughter’s camera.  We tried to take a few with our 3 cats in them with us too, but those all turned out being just a big blur.  There is one semi-nice posed one of us that my mom intends to send out in her Christmas cards this year, but this one was my favorite because it’s a better example of our typical behavior.  😉

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To be completely honest, I guess I should mention here that even just trying to take those photos was a stressful ordeal, that’s probably why I like that particular shot because it was one of the moments during all of that where we were having fun.  And that’s what it should all be about.  I love my little family.  ♥

Well, I’m off now to go and run a myriad of errands.  Christmas Eve is only a week away!  No time for naps!  😉

But when I do lay my head upon my pillow, I will count my blessings instead of worrying…

~A very Merry Christmas to you and yours~

Tis the Season… to Cherish Family

I know it seems somewhat cliche’ to start talking about the importance of family when the holidays start rolling around, but that’s exactly what is on my mind.

Not only are Thanksgiving, Christmas and then New Years going on during this time of year, but my mom, my sis, and my dad also have their birthdays around this time too, so there has always been even more family togetherness going on during the holidays for me.

It will greatly embarrass my mom for me to blow the whistle on our ‘perfect family’ cover by leaking out this top secret information… but I must admit my little family is a bit damaged and broken at best.  I suppose this just very well may be the case for most families these days considering society, the world at large, and human nature being what they are.  But we always try to cover it up to appear ‘normal’ (whatever that is).  Maybe I should be a more private person and not air all of my dirty laundry out in public for all the world to see, but I’ve never been one for trying to portray an ‘image.’  What is the use in that?  In order to connect on any real level with others out there in the world, you need to be real.  I do however, need to be respectful of my family’s privacy and be careful not to share all of their dirty little secrets while I’m sharing my own.  😉

Not that we really have any of those, it’s not like we have a mass murderer in the family that we are trying to hide (of course I’d say this even if we did though wouldn’t I? ;)).  But even despite our bit of dysfunction, there is tons and tons of love here and I wouldn’t want any other people as my family other than this crazy lot I’ve been thrown in with.

But all joking aside, I suppose that apart from all the birthdays and the holidays going on, the reason family is so much on my mind is because I am realizing more and more every day just how very fragile and precious life is, and our dear families and loved ones are at the very heart of it all.  My aunt passed away a few days ago (on my mom’s birthday) and although I wasn’t particularly close with her, she was my family and I loved her, my heart is breaking for my cousins and my uncle right now.  In having my dad pass away just a year ago this past June, that sense of loss is still very much a fresh wound for me too.  It would have been his 84th birthday next week.  Gosh I miss him.  We really do need to cherish the time we have with our precious families because they could be taken away from us in an instant.

My mom can really get under my skin like no other, and can frustrate the ever lovin’ crap outta me.  But that being said, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love her, how truly grateful I am to have her as my mom (mistakes in raising me and all), how very much I appreciate everything she is and has done for me, and… how utterly lost I would be without her.

Try and cherish your family no matter what your family situation is.  I’m sure there are likely many families out there who are in very difficult circumstances. Sadly, my own brother is estranged from our family at the moment, but in the meantime I will still love him from afar, pray for him, and hope that one day things will be better.  And I will cherish the other precious ones in my family that I still do have…

Here’s my “bunch of crazies”  😉

and my crazy offspring, the most precious thing in this world to me…

♥♥♥