Thursday, December 18, 2014

Most special time of year...

I can't believe we are only 7 days away from Christmas.  Time is going by so quickly, and I'm trying my best to embrace every wonderful day in December…it's always my favorite time of year (kicking off with my birthday and then followed by countless festivities with friends and family and so many special and memorable moments….highlighted by the twinkle lights on our tree).

I wish December would go on for months…it brings me such joy to celebrate tradition, create fun crafts with Ellie, decorate, listen to endless holiday music (yep, that's me!), gather with friends over candle lit dinners, and cozy up with my hubby on the couch after long days.  It's truly the best.  A time to be grateful and present…a time to celebrate how fortunate we are…a time to give more than you receive.  A time to let go of whatever is weighing me down and finally enjoy…and relax.

It just feels so good.  For me, tradition is at the core of it all.  Creating special memories for Ellie, starting now and carrying them through year after year, is most important to me.  A big part of that is reminding her that, while she is so blessed to be given such wonderful gifts and opportunities, also remembering how many children are less fortunate and doing our part to help make their holidays special, too.  This week, she helped me with a toy drop-off for our local holiday toy drive, and she really seemed to understand the basic concept of it all….starting small :)

And then there's the baking…and her love for it.  A new fave, our chocolate crispy treats, along with our usuals like our banana raisin muffins.  Something that we love to do together, year round, but that just seems extra special during the holidays.  And of course, Elf on the Shelf….and our annual holiday brunch with some of our closest friends at our house…celebrations and dinners in downtown MB...watching movies like Elf, Just Friends and The Family Stone…writing Gratitude lists…and perhaps our newest tradition (thanks Auntie Jeannie), doing Secret Angel with each member in our immediate family, and hosting Christmas brunch at our home with our extended families.  I'd also love to incorporate going to our local food bank on Christmas Eve to help provide meals and smiles to those less fortunate (I think we're still a couple years out for this one!).

Lastly, just doing what you can to donate.  Giving to responsible and reputable charities - St. Jude's, Children Today (Long Beach), Los Angeles Mission, Save the Children, World Vision…all organizations doing so much good for those in need.

All of these experiences are so incredibly fulfilling to me…and I'm holding on tightly as we come to the close of another year.  While it's been the most challenging year of my life, this month has been full of bright and happy moments that have taken the focus off me and allowed me to put that energy toward others.  That is when my soul and spirit is full.  I am confident that next year will bring much more peace and understanding for all that I have gone through…and what is next to come.  Perhaps the launch of an entire new chapter of life…I certainly hope so :)

Merry Everything!!!!  Taking a deep breath and soaking it all in….