Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve and Christmas!

On this Christmas holiday, don't forget to hug someone you love,


christmas cats
Photo by tuija2005


Have fun unwrapping your presents,



Wee Westie Christmas 2007
Photo by randysonofrobert

Party! This is a celebration after all,



-200 : a very sir tom christmas
Photo by o_hai

Take a long nap,



santa Cosmo
Photo by bubblemonkey

And spread good cheer to everyone!

Merry Christmas Everyone
Photo by kthypryn

Merry Christmas!!

I'm on break until January 3, 2011. I love reading your comments, so please leave one and have a wonderful holiday!! See you in 2011!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One Minute Vacation: Add to the List

This week begins with frenzy and dissolves into flat-out panic for many people. Sure, we know Christmas comes each year, but when crunch time arrives, we freak out over the things left undone.

Nativity
Photo by jeffweese

Did I buy a present for Aunt Martha?
Will I run out of wrapping paper?
Can I make this pair of pantyhose last one more party?
Am I a failure for not baking Christmas cookies?

We make lists, either on paper or in our heads, and desperately try to remember every single thing on them.

I've been guilty of busy-ness this holiday season. The most important thing isn't even on my list.

I haven't taken the time to recline on the couch in our darkened living room and reflect on the meaning of Christmas as the lights from the tree cast a warm glow on the walls. My soul needs to hear the priceless words of the second chapter in Luke. Yes, I know that in those days Ceasar Augustus issued a decree, but I need to let the beauty of God's grace seep in.

He sent His son to die for me, for you, for all mankind so that we can be with Him for eternity.

I can't imagine sending my son to die. I'd do anything to make sure he lives, and not only that he lives, but that he's happy and fulfilled. Parents want the best for their kids, not death, not for people who don't deserve or appreciate it.

But that's what Christmas is all about. A precious, perfect baby sent to earth for you. For me.

So as you prepare for the holidays, try to throw off the rushed anxiety, try to shake the annoyed feeling when Aunt Kathy gives you a backhanded compliment, and don't worry if you didn't buy the perfect gift.

We have an eternity of perfection waiting for us.

Let's add soaking in God's gift of His son to our list.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, December 20, 2010

One Minute Vacations: So You Want to Write a Novel

This one is for all you writers out there!






It is longer than one minute, but you don't have to watch the entire thing to get a laugh.

I've been telling people I'm a writer for years, and the responses vary. They rarely offend me, because let's face it, unless you're a writer, you really don't understand what's involved. For every person who assumes all you have to do is read a few books to qualify as a writer, there is another who encourages you on your journey.

Do you ever get discouraged by non-writers' responses when you tell them you're a writer?

Have a very happy Monday!

Friday, December 17, 2010

One Minute Vacation: Pampering

Do you ever have days where you feel like you're sprinting from the minute you wake up until you collapse on the couch an hour before bed? Yeah, me too.

cub scout spa
Photo by wwworks

December is a glorious month, but it's hard to pamper yourself when you're rushing to get everything done.

Here are a few easy, inexpensive, fast ways to make your day a little nicer.

  • Massage thick, creamy lotion into your feet.

  • Place a slice of cucumber over each eye, recline back, and rest a minute.

  • Listen to a favorite song.

  • Stare out your front window. How often do you pay attention to that view?

  • Call a friend you haven't talked to in a while.

  • Snuggle with your child or a pet. No kids or pets? Wrap up in a fuzzy blanket.

  • Practice deep breathing.

  • Hop in your vehicle at night and drive around to see the local Christmas lights.

How do you squeeze pampering into your day?

Have a festive weekend!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One Minute Vacation: Reading

Want an instant vacation? Pick up a book!


Live Book
Photo by thyagohills

Reading is my favorite escape. I always have a stack of books waiting to be read, and I usually have a list of books on order from my local library.

Here's what I'm into now.

I'm currently reading Kathryn Springer's A Place to Call Home. This is the first book I've read of Ms. Springer's, and I'm thrilled to add her name to my new-to-me favorite-authors list. You know what this means, don't you? I can go back and find her old books. Hello, backlist!

My library just notified me that I have two books ready to pick up. Sarah Sundin's A Distant Melody, the first in her WWII series. Sarah's first two books have been reviewed by many of my blogging friends, and I can't wait to dive into this intriguing series.

The other book waiting for me is The Emporer of All Maladies, by Siddhartha Mukherjee. This is a non-fiction history of cancer, and I've read glowing reviews of it in Entertainment Weekly and on various Internet sites, and I know I'm going to love this book too.

What's next on your to-be-read list?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Minute Vacations: Sweet Stuff

Christmas is all about tradition, and one tradition high on the list is baking. Special treats for a special day.

At our house, we bake sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and peanut butter cookies with Hershey's Kisses on top. Some years I make homemade chocolates, a wide variety of cookies, and peppermint bark. This is not one of those years!

So today, drool over the sweet stuff, and enjoy a calorie-free vacation!


Cookies
Photo by plutor

Hello Kitty Cookies
Photo by sushina

Would you like some fudge?
Photo by jovanlaar

What is your favorite Christmas treat?



Have a happy Monday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

One Minute Vacation: A Snippet of Life

A cool 23 degrees Fahrenheit, I scurried from my mini-van toward the small unheated building where people go to sit and bird watch at a local park. Two elderly gentlemen chatted on the sidewalk as I turned toward the courtyard. The one puffing on a stogie yelled to me, "You need a hat or your ears will freeze."

"I know." I grinned, kept my quick pace. I find it impossible to take offense at gruff grandfather types.

DSC_0091
Photo by firechickenta99

Moments later, I slipped into the empty room, settled in an icy chair and exhaled deeply. The enormous window displayed an abundance of wildlife. A pair of ducks swam in the tiny, heated pond, and several squirrels dashed here and there, nibbling on nuts and seeds as they went. The birds were spectacular: blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers, sparrows, and chickadees rushed around, bandying for the best feeders. The woodchucks didn't appear, no doubt hibernating already.

Within a few minutes, the gentlemen entered and took two seats on the other side of the room.

I'm an eavesdropper. Can't help it, especially when there are only three people in a small, echoing room and I'm one of the three.

"Look at the ducks in there," one said with jolly awe. "It's duck season. Smart things. They're safer here."

"Duck season, huh? I read in the Blade that in Toledo alone hunters bagged 138,000 deer on opening day. 138,000. That's a lot of deer. Or maybe 38,000? I don't know."

"Yeah, Bob was driving the other day and one shot out in front of him."

"He hit it?"

"Nah, he missed. Lucky one, that Bob..."


A squirrel head popped up over the fence, distracting me from the entertaining conversation volley.

"My two daughters--they're gorgeous I tell ya--they could be models. In fact, Seventeen magazine came to Toledo--"

"There's modeling in Toledo?"

"Will you just listen?"

I missed this segment of the conversation too because three blue jays stormed a feeder. When the birds had settled, I realized I could still see my breath, so I stood and walked toward the door. As I passed the men, I wished them a good day.

"Same to you," Mr. Stogie replied in a kind tone. "You on your lunch break?"

I laughed--don't ask me why, I just laugh a lot. "I work from home."

"Nice to get out of the house then, eh?"

"Yeah, I stop by for a breath of fresh air and to see the fuzzy animals. Have a good one."

"You too." We nodded to each other, and I left.

I scurried back to my mini-van, my heart much fuller than when I arrived. Such a small and common scene in my life, but this one stood out. Maybe it's because Christmas is almost here, or because every headline lately centers around missing children, kidnapped girls, and other heinous crimes, but the two gentlemen reassured me that the world is full of good people.

Do you have places you go for a break? Are you like me, unable to resist chatting with people you haven't met?

Have a joyous weekend!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Minute Vacation: Delicious Scents

I walk into a coffee shop and relaxation drapes me. It has nothing to do with the hustle bustle or the color of the walls--it's the smell of coffee that lulls me.

Colombian Coffee
Photo by DeusXFlorida

Many scents make me happy.

A freshly sliced orange.

Orange, Sliced
Photo by bcmom

Boxwoods.

patio design DSC_6327
Photo by gregslandscaping

Warm chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Cooling
Photo by ilovemypit

And sea air.

Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan
Photo by pagedooley

What scents take you on vacation?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, December 6, 2010

One Minute Vacation: Clean House

I have a short list of things that bring me joy, and a clean house is on it.

Christopher Barson Interior Associates Project: PN Hofman
Photo by christopher_barson

When my house resembles the picture below, I fantasize about staying in a hotel, because a maid comes in and tidies up.

54 - Spring Cleaning
Photo by eyeliam


Sure, I long for a fairy godmother (or godfather) to *poof* my house clean.


Photo by dubross


But I don't believe a clean house is a sign of a wasted life.


A Clean House is a sign of a wasted life
Photo by krisandapril


So I set the timer, grab the broom, and keep my home in reasonable shape every week.

After all, who doesn't love climbing into a neatly made bed at the end of the day?

Mukmuk (a present from my boyfriend, positioned nicely by the hotel housekeepers)
Photo by pftqg


Does part of your vacation fantasy involve a hotel with a maid?

Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, December 3, 2010

One Minute Vacation: Tropical Getaways

This might come as a shocker, but I like the beach. Wait, I take that back.

I LOVE the beach.

There's something delightful about warm sand between my toes and the shush-shush of waves hitting the shore. In fact, I would love to be at a beach right now!

Doesn't this scene entice? Yes!!

Beach at Noon
Photo by wandering_angel


I'll pass on this next one. No thank you.

Ice & Snow - Manasquan Reservoir NJ
Photo by bobjagendorf


Yes, please! (Michigan looks just like Bora Bora in December. If I close my eyes really hard...)

The view from Matira beach at Bora Bora
Photo by jr_roy

No! Okay, maybe...because there IS a cat.

Gillie in the Snow
Photo by photofarmer

Yes. I'll take it!

M.McHolm-Hawaii_2010-22
Photo by mikemcholm

When you dream of getting away, where do you go?

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December: One Minute Vacations

It's December again! And you know, I love December, but it can get a wee bit crazy. So I decided last year's One Minute Vacations needed to be revived. Stop in all month long for a quick breather.

278/365 - December 22, 2009 (Y2)
Photo by meddygarnet

Today's one minute vacation is cute-a-rific! I recently found a few blogs that are guaranteed to put a big old smile on your face, and it only takes a few seconds to scroll through each.

Familiar with My Milk Toof? If not, then you're in for a treat. Here's a link to a mini-picture story from Christmas last year: Winter Mini-Story 3.

What about Disapproving Rabbits? Check out Hash Brown and tell me if you think that bunny is disapproving or what!

And finally, I dare you not to smile at this snoring beast!





Have a wonderful Monday and enjoy this first day of December!