Happy Holidaze

FsFTB has been busy getting her holiday ON!

IMG_6357

Well, okay, not quite THAT on. The credit for this incredible light display goes to Peter Archie, whose commitment to seasonal decor awes me. It took hubby Steve and me an entire afternoon and then some to select, decorate, and hang two lighted garlands and a wreath on our front porch entry; another few weeks passed before we got to the trees. Yes, plural. Between the two of us, we’ve been amassing ornaments for 104 years.

In fact, we visited the above awe-inspiring light display a few days after the holiday, because we couldn’t cobble the time any earlier. This first-married-Christmas thing has been beautiful, surprising, and not a little intense. Continue reading

Image

A Whole Lot of Wonderful (with a Little Bit of Ick)

Happy New Year! It’s still kind of hard to believe that 2015 is our year: the year we’ll tie the knot. Wow. And…wow!

I don’t know if it’s true that one’s New Year’s Eve experience is a harbinger of the year to come, but our conclusion of 2014 was a microcosm of the mixed bag that is marriage (and life): a whole lot of wonderful with a modicum of miserable thrown in to keep us humble. The wonderful: we concluded an amazing trip to England, where we spent Christmas and New Year’s visiting Oxford (Steve’s youngest, Dusty, is studying there), London, and Stratford-upon-Avon. It was an incredible week: attending midnight Eucharist at St. Mary’s church in Oxford, drinking cider at a tavern older than the United States, touching an English yew in the botanical gardens planted in 1645. After days spent viewing London from the top of the Eye, watching the ravens at the Tower, and seeing a moving performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost at the RSC, we toasted the New Year with chocolate stout and warm mulled cider at the Angel and Greyhound pub. It’s hard to express the sense of wonder, gratitude, and even disbelief that comes with sharing such moments—Am I really here? Is this really my life? How did I get so lucky?

Yet the universe has a way of keeping your feet on the ground, and while there are far worse miseries, the last days of the trip offered an excellent chance to test loving and cherishing each other “in sickness and in health.” We think it started with Steve (though I’m still second-guessing the wisdom of drinking from the communal wine goblet on Christmas Eve). But in any case, his sniffles became my sinus congestion became son Tucker’s stuffed-up ears. Exhausted, it was all I could do to keep my head up off the table and breathe without a coughing fit during our New Year’s visit to the pub. Full disclosure: we didn’t make it until midnight. Continue reading

Image

Guiding Words for the New Year

So, 2015 is gonna be kind of a big year in these parts. 🙂

A couple of years ago I saw a post about foregoing New Year’s resolutions and instead choosing “guiding words” for the year. I believe this concept originated with Chris Brogan, who, in any case, has been doing it for a while. Though I can only speak for my own take on the practice, I think of guiding words as a way of articulating intentionality, in terms of attitude as well as action.

Brogan advocates choosing only three words, but when I chose mine in 2013, I picked five, and defined them for myself as follows:

Openness = Being open with and to the world, sharing honestly and generously, and welcoming new ideas, people, and experiences.

Love = Being a loving person, letting love and compassion for self and others guide my actions.

Follow-through = Completing what I start, following through on commitments made to myself and others, while honoring time’s fleetingness.

Gratitude = Wanting what I have, expressing thanks for the gifts of my life, and keeping joys and challenges in perspective.

Sparkle = Living a life filled with wonder, adventure, and beauty, shining light on the world and seeing how the world shines back.

I wrote longer descriptions for myself, connecting each word to more specific aspirations. I still like these words, yet, looking back, they’re a bit lofty. Maybe that’s why I didn’t create a list of words in 2014—and why three might in fact be a better number. Continue reading