Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Make 2012 Better!! (AKA: Memories of Christmas 1)

More than a month has passed since I last posted, which gave me much needed time to rethink many things in my life, not the least of which I turned 52 about a week ago!!  I'm always pleased to see birthdays roll around; we work hard in this life and we deserve celebrations in honor of making it through another year!

But what have I been up to?  Well.......let's see.  I think the most important thing on my mind is the difficulty I went through simply getting through the Christmas celebration itself!  Strange, I know, because I'm usually the "Christmas Fanatic" of the family,  all "gung ho and ready to go".  But not so this year.  Every day before Christmas seemed like one frustration after another, and time was not standing still.  Rather, it rushed onward, full speed ahead into a day that passed quietly and unobtrusively save for the fact that my sister Sherry came and rescued Isabel from my doldrums, taking her on a week-long trip to our home town of Jonesboro, Arkansas to visit family and friends.  And finally, about 7:45 that night, Nigel came home from work, the third Christmas Day he's had to work in as many years.  This supposedly ends for Christmas 2012. At least I hope and pray it is so!

Laura was in Afghanistan (God willing it will be the LAST Christmas she spends there) and Liz and Jake spent their first Christmas together in Seattle, before heading here to Alabama to help ring in the new (and prayerfully improved) New Year as well as take part in our annual Christmas Holiday Party.

Oh yes, the Christmas Party, which actually turned into a New Year's Eve party because Nigel's schedule didn't permit an earlier event. If I say I didn't finish decorating the house until the 28th of December, it is NOT an understatement! Finally I got it into my soggy brain that enough was enough and ended everything just where it was! Which I might add was still quite beautiful, but I simply couldn't get overly excited about anything by that point.

I know.....I know....."Waa!  Waa! Waa!" Sorry! Just a little pity party there.  When I stopped to think of all the blessings God literally showered upon us down through the years,  I felt even more shameful, but I still had my pity party! I guess sometimes we just need to whine!  I knew in my heart we shouldn't have planned so much, especially given all our crazy schedules this year.  But just because we knew this did not mean it translated into sensible action.  So on we went with the party plans, which was - as I mentioned earlier - quite lovely, with lots of wonderful family and friends.  And for the first time in more years than I can remember, we actually toasted the New Year in at MIDNIGHT with glasses of champagne held high!  So you see? God has been generous beyond measure!! 
Now...where was all this leading to?  Oh yes.....Sorry, but I should have warned you this was going to be one long, boring post, but too late for warnings now! As I mentioned earlier, I've had time to rethink many things about my life - where I'm headed, where I've been, and so on.  And I've come to the conclusion that I have GOT to start taking better care of myself physically and mentally, and taking BETTER charge of my life and its accompanying responsibilities!  It seems like this entire past year has been nothing more than one large pity/whine party for me!  (Duh? How can you tell?) And quite frankly, I've become quite sick of .....ME!!
So.....my motto for this year is.......Make 2012 Better!!  Which you'll be happy to know is already taking off!  I've started exercising in our gym at work with a dear friend and co-worker.  And I managed to tell everyone I could think of at the party that next year - or rather, THIS year - there will be no Fursdon Christmas Holiday Party!  This is NOT to say there won't be a celebration!!  Quite the contrary!  I intend to spend this coming Christmas holiday season celebrating the old fashioned way, by spending time with family and friends, baking holiday goodies with Isabel and Mom, and enjoying the true meaning of Christmas, rather than rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off (does anyone still use this expression besides me?).  Besides, we can always have the party next year; we've hosted this party now for at least the past 12 to 14 years and, quite frankly, it's getting a little old!  At least for me it is!  And if its getting old for me, it's time to put it aside for awhile!  The idea is to enjoy it; not dread it!

Also, my overall goal this year is  - Create, Rather than Buy!!  This will hopefully translate into hand-made Christmas presents for everyone this year!  I've always wanted to do this, but each year I've given in to the shopping insanity that's unfortunately the norm for the season.  But God willing, NOT this year! 

Whew! I feel better already!  Sometimes just the claiming out loud of a goal gives sufficient energy to get it into motion!  The rest is up to me!  And God!

Congratulations!  We've made it to the end of the post!  Yea!!!!  And to celebrate, I've decided to post photos of my favorite Christmas ornaments, amassed over the years and from all the many countries we've visited and lived in! So here goes!

The Welsh Dresser makes a beautiful display for my Santa Claus and Bottle Brush Tree Collections

Mr. and Mrs. Claus - by one of my favorite artists, Jim Shore.  A gift from dear, sweet Rita!

Vintage style snowmen - snuggled up together in a pewter bowl.

Mr. Icy Toes!  Believe it or not, when I first saw him in the store (at an After Christmas Sale, I might add), he had a Christmas Tree on top of his head!!  I kid you not!  Now don't get me wrong; I'm all for new and interesting designs, but there are some things that are just WRONG!!  So....after removing said tree, Mr. Icy Toes was much happier with his lot in life and has lived at Ashwood Circle ever since!

Mr. Icy Toes With a Vintage Tree from my ever growing collection!  I LOVE these types of trees! They're hard to come by, and can occasionally get costly, so I search throughout the year and usually confine myself to just one new one each year.  Some years I get really lucky and find several at a good price!

Isn't he lovely?  I found him 10 or 12 years ago in an antique shop, although the date on the bottom of the snowball is 1989.  I always thought his bum must be very cold, sitting on that snowball!  I think it's designed as a replica of a Christmas Candy Box.  I especially love the details of his face! Fabulous!

This church is a music box that plays Silent Night and when it's done up properly, it has a light inserted in a slot in the back which lights up the "stained glass" windows! It belonged to my paternal grandmother, Zella Ellen Hoffman; my brothers and I called her Grandma. I remember magical Christmases at her house. Unlike most everyone else, she put up a silver aluminum tree! Although not the "in thing" back then, to my eyes it was crystal and light and totally different from the usual dark evergreens we decorated. She had an accompanying color wheel that would turn slowly from red to green to blue to yellow, casting a warm glow over the tinsel branches. Since there were no little children in her house, Grandma always put down a tree skirt of white cotton batting, liberally sprinkled with millions of tiny pieces of glitter that sparkled in the light! This church would sit underneath the tree, in the center of a display of small ceramic and porcelain ballerinas, while toy soldiers marched in unison to an unseen band. To complete the ensemble, cardboard houses in an array of glittery colors stretched up one "hill" and down another, creating a magical wonderland I still try to recreate in my own home. I'd sit for ages, quietly looking at the magical scene before me! What sweet memories!

New "sweet memories" of our own making!!  Chaos after Christmas!  Notice the cat lounging in the chair to the left of the photo!  Dundee will always find a place to make himself comfortable!

Here I am - at the end of this first post, trying to decide how to proceed. What I want to do is put all my favorite ornaments on the blog, with a few words here and there to explain their significance, etc. I admit wholeheartedly that this is mainly for me and may bore everyone else to tears.  However, it's what I want to write about and its my blog.  So that settles it. Of course I may have no followers after this, but I think it's important to put down - somewhere - those things which are important to us - for whatever reasons we may have, silly or not.  It's how history moves forward - with lists of items and what they were used for, or meant to us, and so on.  So....although I'll create separate posts to accommodate the MULTITUDE of photos, I'll call them "Memories of Christmas" and include the date. That way, I can always write other things and still go back to the ornaments whenever I wish!

Poor you!  I don't think I'll blame you one little bit for leaving!  But maybe. . . . .just maybe, I'll encourage someone else to write about their favorite ornaments, or their favorite pastimes, or whatever.  And then maybe we can even create more history! So I raise my glass (no longer filled with champagne unfortunately!) to .........

History!!  Our history, mine and yours!

May God Bless, Jan