New traditions…

Change. It’s never easy.

christmas tree lot

(photo credit: Steven Dipolo/Flickr)

Today a BIG change in our Christmas tradition happened.

My family will probably think I’m silly and overreacting about such a seemingly minor change. But I don’t care. I’m mourning the change…despite the fact that it’s medically necessary. Yes…I’m still bummed.

Here’s the deal…we’ve always had a REAL Christmas tree. For 32 years. Beginning with the “charlie brown” Christmas tree we had for our very first Christmas in New Orleans. Seriously, it was pitiful…but it was beautiful to me. We were far away from family…in our new home and simply couldn’t afford a big beautiful tree. My sweet husband had to work Christmas Eve; he stopped on the way home and picked up a free, leftover tree. It was small with bare branches. We didn’t even decorate it. It was perfect!

Shopping for our Christmas tree came to symbolize (for me) the beginning of our Christmas celebration. Through the years we shopped at various tree lots, Boy Scout lots, commercially owned lots, “whoever has the best price” lots. We’ve shopped in in the warm and cold, rain and snow, daylight and dark. We used to be a family of 4 scouring the lot for the perfect tree. We’ve had flocked and evergreen. As the kids have grown into adulthood, we’ve transitioned back to just hubby and I on the hunt. Memories of the anticipation, excitement, temperature, sights, smells, sounds, lights, fires in metal drums, sawdust mixed with evergreen boughs on the ground hold a special place in my memory and heart.

Last year we discovered a new reality. Within just a couple of hours of bringing the chosen tree into our home, my hubby came down with what would become a raging sinus infection. He was perfectly healthy prior to the tree entering our home. He has a history of some pretty nasty, seasonal sinus infections often progressing to bronchitis. We had just never noticed it in relation to the Christmas tree before….but it was crystal clear. The tree was definitely a trigger. So out it went! Immediately!

This weekend, after some supportive, comparison shopping with my daughter…we finally decided on an artificial tree. Purchasing it in a big box…bringing it home to the garage…just didn’t have the same “holiday feel” as picking out the perfect tree on a tree lot. My son helped get it out of the jeep and into the garage; so technically, we ALL were involved in picking THIS tree and bringing it into our home.

tree_jeep

 

New traditions. I sense there are memorable new traditions yet to develop. And hopefully, my husband will NOT be sick over the holidays this year or into the future. Healthy holidays are the plan!

Disclaimer: Christmas is clearly NOT about the tree. I know that. I value that the celebration of Christmas is about the birth of Christ. The Christmas tree in our home is merely a seasonal symbol. I value the traditions which encourage us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Thanks for “listening”…I’m feeling better already! That was a fun trip down memory lane. Perhaps some new ornaments and holiday decor will help with the transition…

YOLO!

Jan

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll never forget…

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

I had just dropped my children off at school and was driving back home. Breaking news on the radio revealed a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. There was much confusion and speculation about the size of the plane, some thought it was a small plane and why? How? Was the plane having mechanical trouble and trying to make an emergency landing? Was there pilot error? What happened?

My husband, Rich, was watching the Today Show when I got home; I’ll never forget the feelings of shock and confusion as we listened to the news anchors trying to make sense of it all.

As we watched…we saw the second plane hit the second tower. In that moment…everything changed. It was clear this was now a terrorist attack.

My 11 year old son called from school asking about our family…was everyone safe…yes…we don’t have any family that lives in NY city. He did have friends with family members either traveling or living in the city. I was thankful the school allowed him to call and check. Clearly this was not something we could protect our children from learning about.

This morning I’m watching a documentary called “102 Minutes that Changed America”. The film is mostly amateur footage, taken live as the events unfolded. It is raw. We should all watch this every year.

You can watch it online here: 102 Minutes that Changed America  Another good site for information on History.com: 9/11 Attacks – 102 Minutes that Changed America

 

YOLO!  You (We) Only Live Once…let us live in peace.  May God bless America.

Jan

Lesson in Triggers…It’s NOT What You Think

Today has been an interesting day in the use of “triggers”. Even though I’m from the “patron state of shooting stuff” – I’m not talking about “those” triggers.

I’ve been learning about and teaching myself to use triggers as a reminder to look at my to-do list throughout each day. I’m doing a 30-Day Challenge with Chalene Johnson in which she’s teaching me to create the habit of using a to-do list on my phone and create the habit of checking it frequently…with the goal being to master organization so I WILL accomplish my goals.

A “trigger” is something that you can use to remind yourself to check your list. I use the number 9 as one. Anytime I see the number 9 – which should be at least once per hour – I check my list.

I’m honestly struggling a bit with the trigger idea and applying it to checking my list; however, I noticed today that I use a trigger readily in another aspect of my life and didn’t even realize I was doing it.

We live in a complex that faces a busy street in a main part of town. Throughout the day, sirens can be heard rushing by. They might be firetrucks, ambulances or police cars. Sometimes, it’s all of them.

As I was out doing my Saturday errands today, I noticed there were an unusual amount of emergency vehicles with sirens blaring going up this street. I found myself praying for the safety of whomever the vehicles were responding to; the safety of the emergency responders themselves and that the general public would get out of their way so they could pass quickly and get where they needed to be.

Then it dawned on me…I’ve created a trigger in response to the emergency sirens. Without thinking, I began praying for all concerned. And I did it repeatedly as I was confronted by another siren. THAT’s how a trigger is supposed to work!

Now if I can just apply it to my to-do list I’ll be another step closer to creating habits that will lead me closer to my goals! Perhaps I need to change my trigger…hmm…gonna think on that tonight.

Do you use triggers? I’d love to hear your stories so I can learn from you!

YOLO,

Jan

Flip-flop Friday:Gratitude Style

Today is the kind of day I wince about…ok…I do more than wince…I complain loudly… when I realize fall is leaving, summer is well behind and winter is fast approaching.

Cold. Grey. Cloudy. Absolutely NO sun or blue sky visible.

I decided to put on my pink Maui cap (instead of the black cap I’ve been wearing) when I bundled up in layers to take Angel on our morning walk. As I walked I’d let my eyes notice the pink brim of the hat and remember what it feels like to be in Maui.

Warm. Sunny. Blue skies. Blue water. Sound of the surf hitting the shoreline. Feel of the sand between my toes. Smell of the perfumed air. Beautiful flowers. Palm trees. White clouds. Happy people. Drinks with little umbrella’s in them. “Pollock-ini Lookout” (a spot my family has claimed and everyone takes a picture there when we visit). Happy times. Fun memories.

My mood lifted as I walked and purposefully filled my mind and soul with these feelings of gratitude for the memories. I choose to remember that even though the sun is not visible here today…it IS shining above the clouds. It IS present. I WILL feel it’s warmth on my skin again and soon I WILL free my toes from these stifling shoes, back into flip-flops where they belong!

Always maintain a kind of summer, even in the middle of winter. ~Henry David Thoreau

Yolo,

Jan