Take my white elephant……PLEASE!

With the Christmas holiday behind us, I have to say this year’s family get togethers were filled with laughter and fun. Each year to celebrate being together we participate in some sort of goofy hoopla. For this year’s Christmas Eve party, a white elephant gift exchange was decided upon.

For those unfamiliar with a white elephant gift, it’s usually something you have at home that you have no use for and hoping someone else will, or in other words you want to get rid of some useless crap. Numbers are drawn and rules are set before the game begins. This year the #1 draw was given a second turn at the end of the game.

The first person picks a gift, opens it, and waits for the stealing to begin. From here on out, when your number is drawn you can steal an open gift, or opt to pull a wrapped gift. If you choose to pick a wrapped gift, it’s yours unless someone after you decides to steal it. A gift can only be nabbed three times.

There are always a few gifts people fight for. This year it happened to be two: a bottle of partially consumed Jim Beam, and a “redneck” starter kit. My son had the #2 pick and in place of stealing, picked a wrapped one from the pile, opened it to discover the bottle of Jim Beam. Well….he was happy with his pick and decided to mark his territory by taking a swing from the bottle…..HA.

At maybe around person #5 or #6 it was taken and he had to either steal or open a new gift. He decided to take his chances and open a new one, which turned out to be one of those Coca Cola Christmas polar bear figurines. We all roared. With each new number, he proudly displayed the bears in hopes someone would take it off his hands. No one was buying it.

Along came popular gift #2….a “redneck” starter kit which consisted of a child’s pink Barbie fishing pole that had a dollar bill affixed to the end of the line, a pocket knife, shot gun shells, BIC lighter, a cold beer with koozie, and homemade charcoal. My brother was happy with his pick; but one or two others were spying it as well.

As you might have guessed, the Jim Beam was taken another time and the “redneck” started kit was stolen the allowed three times. Since the #1 person got to pick again, it was the last gift of the game to be stolen. My son was lucky enough towards the end of the game to happily give up his figurine to my mom; she has always loved polar bears. Andrew on the other hand picked another unopened gift that turned out to be a Christmas hat that had mistletoe and the words “KISS ME” with blinking lights…..LOL. We all roared again!

fullsizerenderEven though the reason of the season is much more then goofy games; spending time with family and friends makes the holiday special. In the thoughts of my son….”Take my white elephant…..PLEASE” is like music to my ears. It meant we were all together to celebrate Christmas love.




The end of last week my daughter returned home from her three month internship in Brazil. She was a beautiful sight for sore eyes; it had been a long time since I had held her tight. While she was away she made plans to redo her bedroom upon her return. I was good with that, and figured she would settle in for a few days before the project got underway……HA!

I don’t think it was even three or four hours before she started going through everything in her closet, stored under her bed, and on her shelves. She had a mission and was relentless in her resolve to update her room. Day one and two she gathered items she no longer used and delivered the bags to a place that would make sure her once used treasures, found a good home. Day three she opened and brought in the mattress she had ordered while in Brazil that had been residing in the garage. She also went to a few stores to get paint swatches, and pick up painting supplies.

Day four she took everything off the wall, removed shoe racks, bins, and everything else in sight from her room, and relocated them to every nook and cranny she could find in the house. It was starting to look like a war zone. On day five I did manage to talk her into taking a break and went to a movie; something we hadn’t done together in years.img_3246

As soon as we returned home we got to work with the painters tape, covering trim and anything we wanted paint-free. Later that evening she and a friend set out to pick up the final paint color; after a few days of looking at different paint swatches in both day and night lighting. The reminder of tapping the trim was completed before bed. Day six was painting day, or as I referred to it as P-Day. I had to work, and was a bit nervous to leave home…..I so wanted to control the situation….HA! Before painting she had managed to remove and dispose of the old mattress, haul the old bed frame to the curb since it was garbage day pick-up; along with a note and two beers for the garbage workers thanking them for the extra effort.

I was so busy at work, I had completely forgotten about the paint crew, and realized it on my way home from work. I was a bit apprehensive as to what I would find at home. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. The girls had almost finished the job and it looked great! I was skeptical since neither one of us had ever tackled painting a room.

As I was writing this post, I took a break to help take down all the painter’s tape to expose the finished room. Wow….what a great job she did planning, organizing, purging, cleaning, tapping and painting the room. She has a few other tasks before we move everything back in, but I have to say, “You go girl!” Who knew being stateside for only a few hours and days would result in a fast and thorough job well done. I love that girl’s spunk and tenacity….even if it does make me a little crazy from time to time.


Ding Dong

Have you ever had one of those challenging years? You know….the ones where so many things happen beyond your control, that you look forward to the up coming new year? Surely, the next year has to be smoother, right? 2016 was one of those years for me. After many out of the ordinary occurrences, I began to wonder what I was missing. Clearly, someone was trying to tell me something, and I wasn’t listening.

I thought I was doing a pretty good job of being still and listening to what my heart and soul needed, but I was picking and choosing what I acted on. It’s not that I was being outwardly defiant, I was just trying to control the situation on my own terms, and NOT wait for divine timing.

A few weeks ago while I was sleeping, I heard the door bell ring. It startled me right out of a sound sleep. It was so loud, I jumped right up out of bed and immediately went to the door. My Dad was supposed to drop something by, and I assumed it was him. As I made my way to the door, I thought 7:00 AM was a bit early, since I anticipated he would be stopping by late morning.

img_1081As I peered out the window, adjacent to the door, there wasn’t anyone there, or sign that anyone had been there. As I started to get back into bed, I felt a nudge, then a knowing to “WAKE UP.” It’s if I was being reminded of my path and not to waste anymore time…..DO NOT DELAY. Stop procrastinating, now is the time.

I love when things like this happen to me; it reminds me to stayed connected to the here and now. To stay the course, and keep focused on my “only-ness.” It’s what makes me….me. UGH….I wish I could remember that always. I start worrying into tomorrow and BAM….suddenly I’m out. How do you stay connected to the here and now? The next time you here “Ding Dong,” make sure to wake up and connect with your heart….I know I will.




First Snow

With the holidays knocking on winter’s door, the first snow of the season fell this past weekend. The first snow always seems magical, not to mention beautiful. It spreads a blanket of fresh and new possibility, and brings me right back to the wonder of the season. Whether it’s making the first footprints, angels in the snow, building a snowman, or catching the falling flakes on your tongue. The possibilities are endless.

Just as my brothers, sister and I loved the snow, my children also couldn’t wait for the fluffy white stuff to fall. They would anxiously wait to climb the piles of snow that were made from clearing the area between the house and the barns. They would scale up and down the snowy mountains, build snow castles, dig tunnels, and create make-shift bobsled runs. They discovered endless opportunity of having fun.

When looking at the first snow, do you see the possibilities around you? Are you taking that leap of faith and jumping into the unknown of something new? Do you feel your heart leap at the thought of the newness, or are you holding back?

Be a child again, feel the joy of the season, and let go of expectation, failure and regret. Let it feel like the first snow as a child; sparkling with new opportunities, preparation, anticipation and hope.

Wishing you a season filled with wonder, newness, possibility, and fearlessness.




No control

Do you ever feel you have little to no control of a situation, and feel helpless? I experienced this a few weeks ago. With my daughter out of the country on an internship, technology has been our saving grace. We are able to communicate several times a week, if not daily. Recently there was a stretch of time I wasn’t able to connect with her.

After day two of no communication from an earlier text I had sent, I thought it was odd. When day three arrived without a response, I started to become concerned. I reached out to one of her friends; they had also not heard a word in a few days. That’s when I started to really worry; especially after her friend thought I should call the consulate……”What?”

Before my daughter left she put together a list of the information needed in case of an emergency; from her travel plans to her personal account numbers, logons, international numbers, and so on. After rummaging through the paperwork, I realized I didn’t have the contact information for the man in charge. I began to panic because I remember asking her for the information. I thought my daughter had sent me his information in an email, but I couldn’t locate it anywhere. She also had an international phone that wouldn’t go through; which was supposed to be used for instances when she couldn’t communicate through normal channels.

So I did what any good mother would…..I hacked into her email account…..HA! I found his contact information and immediately emailed him a note. I didn’t want to sound like a crazy mother and explained I hadn’t heard from her in a few days, and was just making sure she was safe. I went on to speculate it could have been an internet issue.

Within five minutes he responded, and even though he was not in South America at the time, would reach out to someone immediately. He guessed the recent storms had caused the communication outage. His response made me relax a bit, but would feel better once it was confirmed.img_1077

Before the hour was up, he had communicated with the lodge and they were checking to make sure everything was OK on the Flotel (the floating hotel along the Pantanal where Hannah was temporarily staying). A handful of emails went back and forth during this time, but what I didn’t realize he had copied my daughter and the manager on all communications. My immediate thought was “Oh geeezzzz…..Hannah is going to think I am overreacting!”

As it turned out, it was a storm that had caused the issue and she was safe and sound. On day four we were finally able to connect. She teased me a bit about the emails, but in the end was glad I reached out. It is very humbling when everything is out of your hands with little to no control. Learning to trust and have faith would better serve my mind and heart. Charles, the one in charge, understood my worry and was happy to put my mind at ease. I’ll just be glad when my baby girl is safely back home. She’ll have great adventures to speak of, and I’ll hair grey hairs….LOL.


PS…..as I was wrapping up this post, I got word that Hannah won’t be able to communicate for the remainder of her stay…..ARGH. I need to trust and have faith……Lord, give me strength!