Saturday, December 31, 2011

Embracing a Positive New Year

Out with the old - In with the new...    

     How many times have we made this statement?   Speaking for myself, quite often.   Most of the time I made the comment sort of off the cuff, you know, not really thinking about the significance of it.   This year, like none before, I am so ready to do just that...not only make the statement, but actually take it seriously.

     As most of you know by now, 2011 has not been a good year for my family and me.   It has been the toughest year I have ever lived through.  Not to dwell on it but just to give you an idea, this time last year I was recovering from my second cervical spine surgery in just 17 months (my 5th spine surgery total).  That surgery has left many after affects due to damaged nerves.  In July I lost my mother unexpectedly in a car accident and later the same month I broke my ankle and was laid up over 2 months.  And that doesn't even cover financial difficulties on the farm and health issues with my husband's parents.  Enough of that.

     In spite of the hardships, I must say 2011 also held many blessings.  I am so blessed to have a loving family and great friends who provide such joy in my life.  In April thanks to an Avon convention I visited the beautiful city of Chicago for the first time and had a wonderful time with a whole bus full of terrific women.  We had a fun time and it was a trip I will never forget.    In July, the night I broke my ankle, before the accident, Kenneth and I had attended a charity concert and I not only got a date night with my handsome husband, I also got to hear Craig Morgan in concert and meet Jimmy Johnson, my favorite Nascar driver (we just won't talk about the rest of the night after the concert when I fell).     In October I went to the Smokey Mountains with 10 other crazy women and had the time of our lives (if you haven't already read them you must read my 3 posts on our hilarious adventures).  We had a fabulous family Christmas without all the hustle and bustle.  This past week I got to have another date night with my husband.  We went to Lexington to watch the UK Wildcats ballgame and then spent the night at the Hilton Hotel.  It was some much needed R and R for both of us and it was a wonderful time.  This is only a tip of the iceberg.  I could go on and on about the blessings of laughter and fun shared with family and friends.  

     While counting my blessings, I have to mention the  bright side that came out of my months spent recuperating after my broken ankle.  If not for all that time on my hands, not to mention the boredom, I would never have started blogging.  I knew absolutely nothing about blogging, who blogged, what they blogged about or even that it was something I might be able to do.  All I had was enough curiosity about it to check into it.  It wasn't too hard to find interesting blogs that I enjoyed reading.  The more I read the more I was hooked.  It didn't take me long to decide to try my hand at setting up my own.   And the rest, as they say, is history.  

     It would be really hard to adequately put into words what a blessing the blogging world has been to me.  I have made the most awesome friends from all over the world.  Each of you, in your own way, has opened up new worlds for me and allowed me to experience new places and new ideas.  In the beginning it was therapeutic helping me work through my grief and depression.  Then it became something I looked forward to and gradually it has become an addiction.  I love reading everyone's blogs and hate when I get behind.  I also love when you visit my blog and leave a message.  Your kind and encouraging words have fueled the fire that I always kept hidden deep inside.  I want to write.  I want to share my stories, even if it is only through my blog.   Thank you all for that.  You all have a special place in my heart.

     So now, as I write the last blog of 2011, it is time to put the past year to rest and look forward to the exciting possibilities ahead in 2012.   I am looking forward to a great year full of God's abundant blessings.  I hope your outlook is for a year full of wonder and surprises as well.  I wish for you everything your heart desires in the new year.  May all your dreams come true and I'll see you next year.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!



Until next time...that's my view.

Kat











































Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas and End of Year Wrap Up

     This week's GBE2 prompt (week #32) is a 15 minute free write.  In other words, we are supposed to set a timer for 15 minutes and purge our minds of any and all random thoughts.  If we decide to post, we are to post as is with all spelling and grammatical errors still present.  That being said...here goes.

     Christmas is over and now it is time to get back to the real world.  This year was different to say the least, but still was good.  Not enough time with the grandkids.  Williams family Christmas went well was somewhat strained.  Mom's loss was like the pink elephant in the room that no one wanted to mention.  I thought maybe we should have just talked about her and got it out in the open but new this wasn't how others wanted to handle it.  All in all was a pleasnt day.  Taylor family Christmas was also different.  Mother-in-law was in the hospital.  She has serious lung and respiratory disease and ended up in ICU.  Father-in-law did well considering it is very hard for them to be apart.  She is out of ICU now and improved.  Hopeful now that she will get to go back to assisted living.

     The time that was magical was the time  spent with my son, daughter-in-law and grandkids.   We never have enough time but what we have is a lot of fun.  We didn't get to make our special baking project this year because of extra time spent running to hospital and assisted living but we did have lots of fun playing board games that we gave them for Christmas.

      Now the kids are gone home and the house seems lonely.  Ready to put Christmas stuff up and get back to normal routine.  Looking forward to playing cards with friends and family here for New Years Eve.  Don't really make a lot of resolutions but do reflect on the past year and things I would like to accomplish in the nesxt.  2011 was not a very good year for us so really hoping 2012 will be better.  Want to improve my blogging and find time to do more writing.  Have found lots of good role models through blogs that I follow.  Sort of intimidated by their great writing since I have no formal training but also learn a great deal from them.  Made some great friends and look forward to learning more about them in the coming year.

     Want to spend more time on what is important in life.  My view of what is really important has changed over the years and especially in the last 6 months.   

Well my timer just went off so my senseless ramblings are over.








Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Christmas Wishes for You

     Today I am baking brownies and finishing up last minute details before all the chaos breaks loose.  This is definitely the calm before the storm as the old saying goes.  The next three days will be a whirlwind of family activities as we celebrate Christmas with all those we love.  

     Actually, my Christmas started yesterday as I partied all day with the best friends in the whole world.  The love, laughter and friendship we shared yesterday was what the real meaning of Christmas is all about.  Now, I am ready to move on with family.  My son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren will be here in the morning to stay until Saturday.  Tomorrow we will be with the Williams side of the family, Friday our immediate family will share our Christmas together and Saturday we will be with the Taylor family.    Tomorrow we will remember mom as her loss leaves an empty chair at our table but we will celebrate the wonderful memories of the woman who gave us life.

     So now, before my quiet solitude is disturbed by all the hustle and bustle, my Christmas wish for you...

1.  I wish for each of you to be surrounded by the love of family and friends.

2.   I wish you peace and joy.

3.   I wish that in all the hurrying and scurrying you will find time for yourself.

4.   I pray that no matter if you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or any 
      other holiday, that you will take time to give thanks and find the true meaning of the holiday.
5.   I wish you health and happiness throughout.

And now, from my family to yours...

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Until next time....that's my view.
Kat


Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Wonder as I Wander (my mind that is)

     Upon reading this week's GBE2 prompt, my mind immediately started to wander.  Many topics came to mind but soon fled for lack of interest.  What to write about?  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, you know, when the proverbial light bulb flashes in your head so bright it gives you a headache.  Helloooo.....it's Christmas.  Is there any season that is more abundant with wonder and amazement?

     So, in keeping with the spirit of the season, I've decided to make a list of my top 10 most amazing moments of Christmas wonder.  Here goes...in no particular order.

1.  The first time you see a living nativity.

2.  The joy when your child is in his first Christmas pageant.

3.  When you listen to Handel's Messiah.

4.  The expression on your child's face each time you read them the Christmas 
     story about the birth of Baby Jesus.

5.  The excitement of your children on Christmas morning.

6.  The beauty of the first snow.

7.  The realization that Christ was born to save me from my sins....how awesome is that!

8.  The love of family as we gather together to celebrate.

9.  The gleam in a child's eye when they sit on Santa's lap.

10.  The beauty of Christmas morning when the earth is covered with glistening 
       snow and the house is still quiet giving you time to reflect on the wonder and glory of life itself.

     Like the shepherds in the fields, I stand in awe of the wonder and glory of the reason we celebrate Christmas.  I am humbled by the fact that God loved me enough to send his only Son.  How could we not wonder about the beauty around us and how blessed we really are.

     I, for one, love this season and I never forget it's real meaning.  Love came down at Christmas and it has never left.  How wonderful is that!  May God's love always surround you and your family and may your wonder and excitement over Christmas always be as that of a child.

From my house to yours,  Merry Christmas with love.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat

Written for GBE 2 week #31 prompt - Wonder







Sunday, December 11, 2011

Curiosity Killed the ...Christmas?

     
      This is Felix's new favorite place to lay.  I'm really not sure why,   maybe because he has found something new, maybe because he feels like he's lying under a real tree, or maybe it's because of his curiosity about all this Christmas stuff.  You know what they say about curiosity and the cat     but at least in this case his curiosity is harmless.   



     This isn't actually a story about Felix's curiosity.  Instead it is about the curiosity of a 14 year old girl who wanted to know so badly what she was getting for Christmas that it got the best of her.

                                                      Meet Sister Sleuth...


     It was Christmas 1971 and she thought there was no way she could wait until Christmas to see what Santa was bringing her.  She knew Mom was helping Santa out that year so therefore the presents had to be hidden somewhere in the house.   Sister Sleuth set out to find them.

     Searching high and low it didn't take long to find the hidden packages in the back of Dad's closet.  There was just one problem...they were already wrapped.  Not to be deterred from her mission, Sister Sleuth soon devised her plan.  She would unwrap all the presents and then wrap them back just like they were.  No one would be the wiser.

      With the precision of a brain surgeon she proceeded to skillfully unwrap each  present, being especially careful not to tear the paper.    Once she had uncovered the hidden treasures she immediately rewrapped each one with the same precision used to unwrap them.   Upon returning them to their original hiding place she smugly thought to herself that she had successfully pulled off her mission.

     "Harmless curiosity of a kid," you say to yourself.  Well, maybe.  But without realizing it, she had killed the magic of Christmas.  How much fun can it be on Christmas when everyone around you is opening gifts, exclaiming their delight at the surprises found in each opened box but there are no surprises for you?   Isn't the anticipation and the joy of the unexpected part of what makes Christmas so exciting and so much fun?  I think so.
      
     Maybe curiosity didn't kill the cat, and maybe it didn't really kill Christmas, but, I do believe that particular Christmas had to lose some of it's magic and excitement for Sister Sleuth.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat


Written for week #30 GBE2 prompt - Curiosity











 











 



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Making New Traditions

     As I mentioned in my last post, Christmas traditions are very important to me.  Not just the old memories from my childhood, but also the new ones that we make with our children and grandchildren. 

     The grandkids have always loved to help me cook so it was only natural that something we had so much fun doing would turn into my favorite family Christmas tradition.  

     Each year before the kids arrive for the holiday, I choose a special treat for us to bake and make sure I have all the supplies.   Once we start, I guide and supervise while they do all the work.

     
     Over the years we have made  a huge gingerbread cookie...




     Small gingerbread boys and girls brownies...



     Small Christmas Trees, Santas and Stocking Cookies...




     Which brings us to this year!  This year we have a set of 10 star shaped cookie cutters of graduated sizes.  Once the cookies are baked the kids will icing them with green icing and decorate with sprinkles.  The cookies will then be stacked in varying angles and voila...


We will have a Cookie Christmas Tree!

These are the memories traditions are made of.

Until next time....that's my view.

Kat

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Traditions - Making Memories

      Family traditions are an important part of the Christmas season.  Most families have some sort of tradition even if it is something as small as Dad always placing the star on top of the tree, or always spending Christmas day at Grandma's.   Our family was no exception so I would like to tell you about my favorite childhood family tradition.

     Santa Claus always managed to get to our house early on Christmas Eve.  I guess he had to start somewhere, right?  But with 4 excited, nosy, little girls of various ages living in the house there was no way he was going to sneak in and out undetected.   Not to worry, this was never a problem.  Every year as soon as it started getting dark, we would all pile into the car to drive around town to see the Christmas lights.  It was a treat we always looked forward to as Mom and Dad drove us around our little town to see everyone's decorations and colorful lights.  We were way too excited to figure out why we always had to wait for Daddy in the car.

       So, in case you haven't figured out by now where this is headed;  sure enough, when we returned home we would walk into the living room and find that while we were gone Santa had stopped by and left a room full of presents!  Pandemonium then set in as packages were torn open and paper flew through the air at a frantic pace.  Bedtime was late as there were new toys to put together and playthings to try out.  Those are wonderful family memories.


      As we got older certain details of the evening changed.   After Jane married, her husband Gayle became our chauffeur for our trip around town and Mom and Dad stayed behind to greet Santa.   Then when I became a teenager and sang in our church choir I would have to leave in time to attend our 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve church service.

     After we all grew up and had families of our own, we started out trying to keep our Christmas Eve tradition, minus the sight-seeing trip.  Unfortunately, as our families grew and branched out it became harder and harder to keep our Christmas Eve tradition.  We still always make time for our families to get together at Christmas but the date often has to change.  The date isn't important.  Family is what's important and we will always find the time to get together.


     This year our family gathering will be much different.  This will be our first since Mom was killed in a car accident.  Mom was the heart of our family and she instilled in us the importance of keeping family close.  Her spirit will still be the heart of our Christmas.  

     My wish for you this Christmas is that you will take time to appreciate your own family traditions.   Remember the old ones and while you're at it, make some new ones.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat

























Sunday, December 4, 2011

Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

GBE2 Week #29 Prompt - TRUTH


     Truth or Dare; To Tell the Truth; I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; Truth or Consequences...and on and on.  As Americans we seem to spend a lot of time searching for the truth.  There have been numerous TV shows and board games based on this premise.  But just how far are we willing to go to be the truthful people we confess to be.

     

      I've always tried to be a truthful and honest person,  but, if I'm totally honest here, I haven't always succeeded.    You see, I have a real problem intentionally hurting someone's feelings.  I guess I bought into the whole "little white lie" for the sake of keeping the peace or not hurting someone's feelings propaganda.   You know what "they" always say, "What's the harm if no one gets hurt?".   (By the way, wouldn't you love to know who "they" are...these unnamed people who we are always quoting?) 
     
     One of my favorite bloggers, Jo, http://jo-mywanderingmind.blogspot.com  made a strong case for always telling the truth in all circumstances.  In theory I agree with her, but again, being totally honest, I'm not sure I will always be able to follow through with it.  If faced with a situation where I would have to hurt someone's feelings by telling the whole truth and nothing but, I can't promise I won't revert back to my old ways of telling the "little white lie".  

     Of course I would never hide the truth in really important situations where lives could be changed or someone could be injured or harmed.  I'm talking those instances where your girlfriend says doesn't my hair look awful today and you know it does but you also know she doesn't have the time to do anything about it, so why make her miserable worrying about it.  Or you know the big one..."Does my butt look fat in these pants?"  Can you tell me you really want to be brutally honest in these situations?   If it is something they can do something about yes, but if not, why make them more miserable.  Am I really a horrible person for feeling this way.  I don't know, I'll let you decide.

Until next time...that's my view. (And that's the honest truth!)

Kat



    
    





Friday, December 2, 2011

My Bucket Runneth Over

GBE2 Week #28 prompt - Bucket List



      This weeks topic is one I find very interesting.   I consider myself a bona fide list maker - grocery lists, shopping lists, Christmas lists,  where to go, when to go, what to take, what to do, people, etc., etc....you get the picture.   But even though I am constantly making lists, it never really occurred to me to make a bucket list.   I've heard the term and knew what it meant, but I just never felt compelled to sit down and actually think about it.  Maybe I didn't want to think about it.

      Making a bucket list requires that we think about our own mortality; not an easy thing to do, but at the same time, not a bad thing either.  On the other hand, maybe I just never felt the need because my life is so full there is not really that much I could list.  I'd like to think that is the case.

      In all honesty, I'm not sure I could come up with 100 or 101 things, whatever the correct number for an official bucket list - but I will have to admit there are a few things I would love to accomplish in my lifetime.  It might be fun to see them in writing, so, here goes.

1.  I don't even have to think about my first one.  It has been a lifelong dream, secret desire, wishful thinking,   or whatever description you want to put on it.   It would have to be to write a book and have it published.  

2.  Take a cruise.  This one I am actually going to be able to cross off in January.  My friends and I are going  on a Caribbean cruise and I am so excited.  I've always wanted to go on one.

3.  See my grandchildren grow up and have families of their own.

4.  See my husband get to retire and live life for a change.  He has been a dairy farmer all his life and works himself to death.  He doesn't know how to relax and enjoy life.

5.  Make a difference in someone's life.

6.  Get out of debt.

7.  Make it to "old" age without arthritis completely deteriorating my back and feet to the point that I end up in a wheelchair.

8.  Organize all my photos.

9.  Read all the books I have that I haven't read yet.

10.  Meet Jon Bon Jovi and see Bon Jovi in concert.

11.  Figure out how to put pictures on the side of my blog page that stay there.  I would love to show the Versatile Blogger Award and the One Lovely Blog Award that were given to me by wonderful blogger  friends but I can't figure out how to get them on there.  UGH!!

12.  Since I am dreaming, I will add how wonderful it would be to get to meet some of my new blogging      friends someday.  I am so in awe of some of you - your accomplishments and your writing skills.  I am so honored and also humbled that you allow me to be in your circle of bloggers.

      Okay, whether any of this qualifies as a bucket list or not is questionable.  Such as it is, it was fun to think about things that I haven't done, want to do, or just wish I could do.  Some for fun and some are deep desires of  my heart.  Either way, this is probably the closest I will ever get to writing a bucket list.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat  






















 














Monday, November 28, 2011

Thank You to One Lovely Blogger



     Thank you, thank you, thank you to my lovely friend over at http://mydistanthusband.blogspot.com.  She has graciously awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award and I am most honored by her kindness.  If you haven't checked out her blog you must put it on your to-do list immediately.  You will be extremely happy you did.  She is a very thoughtful and meaningful writer and I'm sure you will find her writing as interesting as I do.   You will be amazed at how she manages to teach, raise her children, write and keep her family's lives as normal as possible while her husband has to live hundreds of miles away because of his job.  And occasionally she entertains us with her fictional cat stories!

     Considering some of the blogs I have seen this award given to, I am sincerely humbled and exuberant all at the same time.  It is so exciting to know that others enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it.   Thank you to all who keep coming back.

     As recipient of this award, I am supposed to post the award for all to see and then I am to list 15 blogs that I feel are deserving of this Lovely Award.

     If I choose your blog to receive this honor, your task, but only if you are up for it, is to mention my blog, and then to also make a list of other blogs deserving the award. (If you don't have 15, list as many as you can).

So, again I express my appreciation, and list the following blogs to receive the One Lovely Blog Award.


Well, I didn't quite make it to 15 but some of the other Lovely blogs I follow have already received this award.   Please check out these I have listed.  It will be well worth your time!

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat