Gremlins Running Amok

I’m happy to say that, mostly because of your awesome comments, I’m pretty much okay with my last post.  Yes…I do see failure when I think of myself next to the word “alcoholic”, but when I divorce myself from that word I’m proud and happy about who I am.  A mother-fucking-sober-warrior-ninja-lady!  It’s a good place to be.  It’s my place.  And I love it here.

Besides…we have cookies.

Speaking of cookies (smoooooooth segue don’t you think), I’m still eating too many of them – and everything else.  Breathe easy however, this post is not about my battle with sugar or food…it’s about my battle with me.  On the tails of delving deep into my psyche about why I feel the way I do about different things, I’ve discovered that the part of my brain that loves to beat the shit out of me is alive and well.  I think, sorta like feeding a Gremlin after dark,  if I feed her sugar she grows and gets really ugly.  Yeah…must be that.

Yesterday was a totally awful day.  No matter what I did it turned to shit.  I blamed it on the blood moon but I actually have no idea what it was…it just was.  In and of itself that’s no big deal.  EVERYONE has bad days and has to perform mea culpa from time to time.  Shake it off, rub some dirt on it and get on wit yo bad ass self.

Except that’s not what I do.  MY Gremlin does not have the ability to shake it off, let it go (damn…now that song’s in my head), or move on.  It just likes to start that damn tape that runs on a loop and tells me what a loser I am.  It doesn’t matter what the “good” side of my brain says, the Gremlin side is always louder.  Kind of like arguing with a drunk – you can’t win and no matter how hard you try to convince them they are wrong, they get louder and louder and more and more obnoxious.  Of course…I guess I am arguing with a drunk (albeit a sober one)…oh crap…now my brain hurts from thinking too much.

My depression medication really helps since the part of the brain that has gone haywire in me is also the part that feeds the Gremlin side.  A huge symptom of depression is the inability to shake things off and the overwhelming tendency to beat yourself up about how awful you are.  Even medicated though, old habits die hard and if I’m not vigilant, those Gremlins come roaring back with only the slightest of provocation…or cookies.

So for now I’m going to sit with it and try to figure it out.  I’m going to work on “beefing up” the good side of my brain so she can shut the other side up.  It won’t be for good but even a moment’s peace is a godsend.  Besides, I’ve turned this one over to God and He never lets me down.  He eats Gremlins for lunch.

Namaste

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Sometimes All I’ve Got Left to Give Is Love…

I have a niece (I’ve written about her before) who has been a part of my heart since the day she was born a little over 31 years ago.  She was born to my addicted sister when she was 17 which means I was a mere 21.  For the last 31 years I have loved that child with every fiber of my being and given her all that I could to make her life as normal as possible.

While she was growing up, we had her every weekend and most of the summer.  We funded and cheered her ice skating “career”.  We were Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.  We made sure she had clothes and books for school.  But, most important of all, we gave her a safe place to land.  We gave her “home”.

Or so I thought…

You see, my niece has the “crazy gene”, as my nephew calls it.  She has the personality traits that make her behave like my mother and sister.  Everything must always be about her.  She’s a compulsive liar.  When she talks about herself she always has the best job, is the most important person in her neighborhood, is a better, mother, churchgoer, worker, student than anyone else.  Everything in her life must involve drama or it doesn’t hold value for her.  She’s sneaky and manipulative and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

The hubs has been telling me about her since she was five years old but I, like most mothers, would hear none of it.  I just kept trying to be a better mother to her hoping that love would win out over genetics.

I was wrong.

The older she gets and the older I get, I realize that I love the way I love.  I love unconditionally.  I don’t always love equally (I try) but I love fully and with my entire being.  I don’t define my love with material things but I try to fullfill wishes and indulge rather than spoil.  I respect boundaries but will step in if asked.  I listen with my heart and my head and, if asked, will give advice (and sometimes when I’m not asked…d’oh!)  No matter what, I am always ready with a warm hug and a kind word.  However, if your ass needs kicking then I’ll do that too.  I’m the mom…it’s what I do.

Sadly, it’s never enough for my niece.  No matter what I do, she needs more and even that is not enough.  I recently told her that I was not able to love her any other way.  She’s convinced that I love “my” kids, or my stepdaughter or my nephew more than I love her.  I don’t do enough, call enough, send enough money, give enough presents, etc., etc., etc.

All I’ve got left to give now is love.  My love, my way.  If that’s not enough for her, then so be it.  I’m out of options.  Life is short and quite frankly, I’m tired.

So I love her for who she is and I no longer take responsibility for her happiness.  I used to obesses that she was angry with me or upset or bad talking me but now?  Not so much.  I am who I am and she is who she is and it’s not my fault.  I didn’t cause it.  I can’t control it.  And it’s taken 31 years but I finally know I can cure it.

But I can love it.

Namaste

Getting Pissed

I posted yesterday about being sick but then took it down.  No one needs to know THAT much about anyone else.  Sorry to those of you unfortunate to read it. 

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Things went very well Friday night.  The hubs seemed to have a good time.  I eat in places like that all the time for work but he never does so I think it was a really nice change for him.  For me…meh.  For one thing, I ate too damn much (the dessert was good but definitely overkill), for another…the pangs are still there.

A little clarification here…the pangs are so tiny that they would not be seen by even the Hubble telescope but I still noticed them and they still pissed me off.  And made me sad.  But mostly pissed.  At me.  At genetics.  At the alcohol industry.  At anything.  Just pissed.

But that’s okay.  Being a little pissed off from time to time is good for the soul.  It gets the heart pumping, the emotions rolling and the hormones (what few I have left) churning.  It reminds me that there are things worth getting pissed off about.  Like messing with my family, or injustice, or bullies, or screwing around with my sobriety.  Those are the things that I allow to mess with my zen and make me angry.  In fact, I’m pretty sure in the “How to Behave Like a Good Human” book (publisher…God) it states that you should get pissed off about shit like that.  Because getting pissed inspires you to take action, to do something about that which is pissing you off.  Am I right?  Hell yeah!  Oh..sorry…got a little carried away there for a sec.  Carry on.

Of course, it’s only good as long as you don’t dwell on it too long…as long as you recognize it, review it, feel it, take action if necessary AND THEN LET IT GO.

So I took action.  I shook my head, smiled at my adoring husband and ordered dessert.  Because there is no greater weapon against being pissed off at alcoholism for me than a good dessert.  See, when I drank I never ordered dessert.  And, even though it was overkill…I ate it.  Then I smiled inwardly because I know I am one badass motherfucking sober ninja lady and wine’s got nothin’ on me.  I got skills and I know how to use them.

Namaste

Date Night

I’ve written about this many times before, but date night for the hubs and I always revolved around alcohol…well…at least for me it did. 

Back in the 80’s we partied pretty hardy almost every night.  If we weren’t with a group of friends at a happy hour that stretched long into the night, we were at a restaurant having a 4-hour dinner where I talked and he listened.  We drank a lot back then and somehow lived to tell the tale (in spite of my alcoholism and the hubs’ bypass surgery a few years ago). 

After the kids were born we did date night once a month and then, after they got older, once a week.  I told myself it was “our” time together which it was, but it was also my time with the wine since I didn’t drink at home back then.  We tried to do dinner but later just ended up hanging out a bars where we could grab a bite and talk until it was time to go home.  I still love a good bar – I don’t go into them much – but I just love the look and feel of them.

The hubs quit drinking long before I did.  He would take me out on date night but only have one, maybe two V.O.’s and Coke and those he ordered in a tall glass so he got more soda with each shot of booze.  I didn’t see then that he was just indulging my need to get shit faced and spill my guts.  Or just get shit faced because looking back I realize that it was way more about the wine then it was about the conversation.  I just wanted to drink and going out made it seem okay.

Since I quit drinking, I’ve tried to reestablish date night.  We’ve tried dinner, movies, even pottery painting.  Nothing really worked.  Nothing felt as good as just sitting home together watching television.  (I KNOW RIGHT!)  I remember the first time we went out to dinner after I really got sober.  There are no words to express how uncomfortable I was.  Between the calories, the money we were spending and the fact that there was only diet coke in my glass, I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there and back to the safety of my home.

Well boys and girls, we’re giving it another shot.  I’ve come up with a plan to jump start this whole date night thing and see where it goes.  Every two weeks, payday weeks to be specific, we’re going out to dinner.  We’re going as soon as I leave work because if I go home first…I’ll never leave.  We’re going to try new restaurants (that I get to pick…yay) and see how it feels.   Try it on for size.

If it feels forced or uncomfortable then we won’t do it anymore.  If it feels fun and exciting then we’ll keep going.  If we end up staring across the table at each other with nothing to say then I’m going to have to revisit the entire concept of date night, my marriage and my reason for existence on the planet.

Just kidding…about the last part anyway.

Because here is what sobriety and age have taught me.  I do not have to do anything I don’t want to do.  I don’t have to pretend that I like something simply because some pencil-necked, know-it-all that needs a biscuit says I should like it.  I don’t have to feel like a loser because I like sitting home at night, in my big green chair and watching television with the man who has put up with my shit for 30 years just because some lame FaceBook or Twitter article says I should.  And I don’t have to pretend to be an extrovert and the life of the party just because society says that’s what is acceptable. 

Society can eat me.

And what’s more, I don’t have to make excuses for not doing any of that shit.  “We don’t really have the money,” or “I’m so tired after work,” or “We’re so busy on the weekends.”  What a load of bullshit.

How’s this…

Date night is spending time with the man I love doing whatever the hell it is we want to do.  All that matters is that at least one of us has a good time (because marriage is a compromise) and I don’t drink.

That’s it!  Simple stupid.  Now if you’ll excuse me, my ride is here.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Namaste 

Refuge From the Storm

Last night one of my son’s woke me at 2:30 to tell me that the young girl up the street (17) was spending the night because her mother had thrown her out of the house.  Her mother drinks.  The child has no idea how to cope.  Her mother is violent.  Child Protective Services has been called and the mother has been warned.  Apparently it doesn’t matter.  She stayed in my other son’s room for the night.

But on the way to work this morning I told the hubs that I didn’t want him alone in the house with her.  I’ve told my boys that as well.  The mother is crazy and I wouldn’t put it past her to accuse my men of something because she’s angry that we took in her daughter at 2:30 in the freaking morning!

Because clearly it makes perfect sense to put a child out on the street at 2:30 in the morning in the middle of winter.  And believe me, no matter how old they think they are, at 17 they are still children.

Clearly it makes sense to be drunk at 2:30 in the morning and arguing with your 17 year old who should be in bed because she has school the next day. 

I’m no genius but having been on that side of the wine bottle many times, never violent but also never in my right mind, and the fact that the young girl showed up at our door in tears and stone cold sober…well, let’s just say I had no problem taking her in at that hour.

Here’s what is amazing to me.  No one was out looking for her.  At least no one knocked on my door.  Let me assure you, no matter how drunk I was, if I thought my child was out there in the cold night somewhere I’d not only be knocking on doors, I’d be knocking them down.  And then I’d call the cops and get them to knock down some doors.

I don’t know.  Maybe she texted her mom and told her she was safe.  Maybe her mom passed out.  Maybe her step dad miraculously grew a pair and made the mom go to bed and then texted the girl to check on  her.  Doubtful…but maybe.

In any event, I hope that things have been worked out but if they haven’t, she’s welcome to stay as long as she needs.  Because I can’t fix her fucked up family, but I can offer refuge from the storm, a hug to make her feel welcome and an ear to listen if she wants to talk.

Namaste

I’m Okay; You’re Okay

I knew when the “holiday season” took off that I’d be doing another Whole 30 to jump start 2014.  I felt sooooo good at the end of the last one and I’ve remained cognizant of everything I put in my mouth since then.  There’s nothing new there really, I’ve always been hyper aware of what I ate because I was counting every freaking calorie and exercising my butt off.

Okay let’s be honest – you can replace “hyper aware” with obsessive.  I mean that’s what it was.  I was completely obsessive.  But I’ve spent the last year or so really examining what this kind of thinking has done to me and how I can approach myself in a kinder way.  How I can come to a place of acceptance for who I am, exactly as I am.  That’s been a huge part of my recovery.  After I took away the booze and stripped my soul bare (which is EXACTLY what it felt like) I had no choice but to look closely at who I was and why I did the things I did.  More importantly, I had to figure out how to keep the good stuff and ditch the crap.

I’ve made a great deal of progress with all of this stuff but I continued to struggle with the whole calories, sugar, food, scale, weight, clothing size, etc. and I got tired people…so tired, but I couldn’t figure out how to break that freaking cycle.  I’d get a little ways toward something only to fall back into old habits at the first speed bump along the way.  Situation normal…all fucked up.

But then I found the Whole 30.  I can’t remember where I saw it first but I know it was on one of the blogs I read daily.  One of you beautiful, wonderful souls (byebyebeer?  runningonsober?  karen?) talked about it and planted a seed and it grew.  And I did it.  And I felt FANTASTIC.

And I broke the cycle.

I stopped obsessing about how I looked and started caring about what I was putting into my body and what it was doing to the inside rather than the outside.  I started paying attention to how I felt rather than how I looked.

Un-fucking-believable.

So I’m actually anxious to detox from a wonderful holiday season.  Because let’s be clear, I don’t regret one single thing I ate. I enjoyed myself.  I loved cooking for my family and baking the “once a year” treats.  I loved not worrying about my diet because I knew that it was only temporary.  It was a treat.  And that’s OKAY.

And now I’m ready to get right back on that Whole 30 horse.  Tomorrow morning I’ll be
practicing clean eating once again (this time no cheats…maybe…we’ll see) for 30 days.  After 30 days I’ll continue by adding things back slowly, if necessary, and avoiding sugar as much as possible.  And get this…I’m EXCITED.  (Who the hell am I?)

As far as exercise for the new year…I’ve had to come to terms with some things.  I’ve been trying my best to learn to run but I’ve been thwarted by a bum knee as a result of extra weight and 20 years of high impact aerobics.  Both my Athletic Trainer son and my doctor have told me not to even think about running (on pavement which rules out my daydreams of half-marathons and triathlons).  Elliptical, walking, yoga and strength training are okay as long as I modify things like squats and lunges.  The damage is done.  My knee is old which makes me feel old but I’m not going to let it get me down.  I love to walk (I mean love to walk) so that’s what I’ll do.  I’m still wearing my FitBit and logging about 7,000 steps a day which I’ll bump to 10,000 as soon as possible.  Add to that the yoga, some Advil and an ice pack and I’ll be okay.  

I’ve also made a pact that I intend to keep no matter what.  I got on the scale on 1/1/14.  I recorded that number.  I do not plan to step on that motherfucker again until 12/31/14.  Breaking. The. Cycle.

This is going to be an okay year.  I’ve come so far in my recovery (next week I’ll be four years sober) and I’ve made great progress in understanding who I am and what I want.  I’m also beginning to understand that I am okay and that, no matter what happens this year, I will continue to be okay as long as I stay connected to what’s important in life.  Things like God, family, friends, truth, love, kindness…and our dogs.  Everything else is secondary.  As long as I maintain an open heart…it will all be okay.  It may not always be great, or fantastic or wonderful but it will also not always be shitty or hard or ugly.  It is what it is and that’s all that it is and that is OKAY.

Jeez…I’m rambling…guess I’m a little out of practice since my hiatus.

Namaste

You Say You Want a Resolution

res·o·lu·tion
ˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən/
noun
  1. 1.
    a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
    synonyms: intentionresolvedecisionintentaimplanMore

  2. 2.
    the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
    “the peaceful resolution of all disputes”
    synonyms: solution to, answer to, end to, ending to, settlement of, conclusion to
Yep…it’s THAT time of year folks.  Time to make grandiose promises that we won’t keep that will only serve to make us feel like failures on 12/31/14.  Why do we do that to ourselves?  Because it’s TRADITION.
Well…that’s a tradition I can do without thank you very much.  As you can see, no where in the above definition does it say… 
3.  a promise made in the emotion of the moment (i.e. the turning from one year to another) that is so big and so impossible you toss it aside by the 6th day of the New Year.
Doesn’t say that at all now does it?
Every New Year’s Day I’m filled with the promise of new resolutions made only to be thwarted by leftover cake, well meaning relatives or just plain stress of life.  I’ve had some success in my 52 years around the sun.  One year I promised to wear my seat belt while driving (before it was the law) and I followed through.  The next year I promised to wear it whether I was driving or a passenger and I followed through yet again.  Yay me!
I quit smoking as the result of a New Year’s resolution.
I quit drinking as the result of a New Year’s resolution.
Other than that, my track record sucks.  I have vowed to lose weight every New Year’s since I hit puberty.  Let’s be clear, it’s only been in the last 10 years that I actually needed to lose weight, but I vowed every year regardless, only to think myself a failure when it didn’t happen.
What a waste of precious time and energy.  Ugh!
So this year I’m going about this a little bit differently.  We’ll call it Sherry Resolutions 2.0.
  1. I resolve to practice eating cleaner and staying away from sugar as much as possible.
  2. I resolve to practice meditation and/or yoga every day in order to get more in touch with my spirituality.  As an added benefit, I won’t feel like such a fraud when I sign my posts, “Namaste”.
  3. I resolve to practice kindness at all times…even when angry, or frustrated or depressed…there is never an excuse to be unkind.
  4. I resolve to practice approaching life from a place of love.  Love for every one and every thing in the universe. That includes me.
  5. On a more practical note, I resolve to floss every day and not every other day the way I do now.
And that’s it.  Note the use of the word practice (except for the flossing thing…I really need to do this).  Practice not perfection.  I can practice these things every day or as much as I’m able and it will all be okay.  I will be a better person this year because at least I TRIED.
Happy New Year everyone!
Namaste

A Couple of Things

First, to all of you Ugg lovers who commented yesterday…I KNOW Uggs are the shit in footwear, that’s why I choose them for schlepping back and forth to the bus this winter (well actually I was looking for knockoffs but couldn’t find any so I purchased the real deal…then Christmas rolled around and now you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a pair of knockoffs).  And they are the most comfortable things I’ve ever worn on my feet and I am now officially an Ugg addict.  But they are butt Uggly (see what I did there) and I am not used to wearing ugly shoes.  So I have a love/hate relationship with the suckers. 

Still…the fact that I’m buying lower and lower heels and seeking comfort over fashion is really pissing me off.  And that’s a fact.

Next, for some reason I can no longer comment on Blogger posts from my work computer.  Who in the hell knows why…someone in IT decided that it was FORBIDDEN and so I wanted all of you to know that I’m reading even if I can’t comment.  (Yes I’m working but I read and comment on my lunch hour.)  So to Barbara – I am so going to miss your posts.  I’m glad we’re Facebook friends and please keep me updated if you start a new blog.  Amy – please feel better soon…sucks to be sick.  As to calling in sick?  Girl, keep your germs to yourself!  Your co-workers and customers appreciate the effort.

There is someone in my life right now that is sucking the Happy right out of me and I’m trying very hard to cope but it’s getting more and more difficult every day.  Just being around them takes me from a place of joy to a place of frustration and even anger faster than a Mazzeratti goes from 0-60.  I’m very sensitive to the feelings of the people I love, so what they feel, I feel…for reals yo.  I think I’m going to have to get some kind of force field to put around me to protect my Happy this holiday season.  Someone call Bella and get her to drop that shield she used on the Volturi around me.  (That was a Twilight reference…sorry.)

That’s all for today.  Protect your Happy.

Namaste

It’s Official…I’m Getting Old

Notice I didn’t say that I am old.  Because I’m not.  And I will never be.  I am the coolest, hippest, youngest mom/grandma on the planet and I plan to stay that way for-fucking-EVER and you can take that to the BANK.

But I am noticing changes and this one hurts most of all.  It cuts me to the core and leaves me raw and bleeding on the road of life.  This is the cruelest, most inhumane, beastly sign of getting older and I’m not sure what I’m going to do or how I’m going to handle it.  It’s just too painful.

It’s not the post menopausal weight gain.  I’ve made peace with these 40 extra pounds.  If they are insistent on sticking around well then so be it.  But I’m not letting them kill me.  I’m dedicated to being a carb-less carni/herbivore that will keep my blood pressure and cholesterol/tryglycerides in check and therefore keep me healthy.  I’m committed to 10,000 steps a day and anything else that will keep me active and vital.  So if those extra pounds like me all that much…I guess we can co-exist.

It’s not gray hair because I don’t have any.  Yep, 52 1/2 years old and no gray hair.  It’s genetics so I don’t take any credit for it.  I still color my hair though.  My actual hair color is the blahest, dowdiest, light brown you’ve ever seen.  I hate it.  So I color it and it’s a different color every 6-8 weeks which is fun and hip.  But it’s not because it’s gray…because I’m on trend!!!!  Right!  Yes…just nod.

It’s not that I can’t hear or can’t remember anything (because I’ve never been able to remember anything), or that my teeth are falling out or that my knee aches from too many aerobics classes for too many years on hard floors with the wrong shoes.  No…that’s not it.

It’s because I’ve lost my passion for SHOES!

Look away…I’m hideous.

I am a shoe-aholic and, up until recently, damn proud of it!  I still love shoes – I haven’t totally lost my fucking mind – it’s just that recently I’ve begun to get uh…more…um…sensible about the shoes I buy. (Wait…I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)

The shoes I’m buying are still on trend but…uh…gulp…the heels are lower; the toe box is roomier; the colors are more neutral than my usual “POW”.  They are more…ugh!…COMFORTABLE!  And I’m seeking them out!  I’m buying them ON PURPOSE.  It’s not like I buy a pair of stilettos and accidentally happen upon a pair that is actually comfortable (I do have a couple of pair like that).  It’s that I insist on comfort before I buy them!

No more, “I’ll break them in,” or “they’ll probably work with a pair of tights”, or “my toes aren’t THAT squished”.  No, now it’s all, “Nope…too tight,” or “Nope…can’t feel my pinky toe,” or the worst…”Nope, the heel is too high!”

Wait…I’m feeling faint.

I’m the girl who spent six weeks on crutches and still wore one high heel every day!  I had to replace all my shoes after the cast came off because one heel of each pair was worn down more than the other.  For reals people…I was serious about my heels.  I used to teach for eight hours in four inch heels and then walk to dinner with colleagues in the same shoes.  Change shoes for dinner?  What do you think I am?  OLD?

Yes…sniff…I am.

And to prove to you how bad this is…I want to introduce you to my most recent shoe investment…

See…told you it was bad.

Sigh…

Namaste

The Reason for the Season

Talking to the hubs on the drive in to work today (sun is shining blindingly…blahs have passed – thanks to everyone for your kind words…they really do help) and we of course got on the subject of Christmas.  I wanted to know how we were doing on the money front since I’m working so hard to stay on budget.  Answer?  We’re doing “great”!

That was a relief because this time of year always weighs on my mind when it comes to money and shopping for the “perfect” gift for people.  Many times without regard to what it costs.

See, my mother equated love with “things”.  If you had the right things, bought the right things, wore the right things and, at Christmas, gifted the right things, then you were normal.  No problems here folks…move along…nothing to see.  Didn’t matter how much it cost or how far in debt we were or how many nights she spent playing bingo to try and win the money while I stayed home and dealt with a drunk father.  Nope…just had to have the right things.  What’s more, if she didn’t get the right things as gifts (and it was never right), she’d pout and make you feel like shit all day. 

For years I didn’t even realize I was replicating some of this behavior.  I didn’t realize that I was trying to make myself feel better on the outside with things, while all the time I was dying on the inside.  And this was never more true than at Christmas.  I gave the kids everything on their list, every year, no matter what.  Most years, after all the shopping was done,  I’d go out and fine some “wow” gift that they weren’t expecting so that they would have “the best Christmas EVER.”  (Let’s get them all new Macs!  How about we go get them each a new car!  Let’s get them the XBox, Playstation AND a Wii!)  Add to that all the baking, decorating and time spent with them and you have a shit storm of crazy, manic behavior that left me exhausted (and usually hungover) and feeling empty and most definitely broke and further in debt.

No one (except, probably, the hubs) knew what was going on inside of me.  The kids had a great Santa experience.  The neighbors attended the best parties at the best decorated house in the neighborhood.  Friends received the best cookies and candies made from the most trendy recipes.  The house remained spotless at all times.  The only difference between me and my mom was that I had more money and I could care less if I got anything – I just wanted everyone else to have “the best Christmas EVER.”

But then I got sober and began to recover.  I started to dig and pick at old scars and uncover what was really going on inside this dying heart.  I’ve written about it over and over in this blog but one thing that has finally, blessedly, come to pass is that this year I’m not stressing about gifts.  I purchased things I knew people would enjoy, that I picked out myself but that are within a prescribed budget.  I clued my men into the fact that there would be a strict budget this year and no “wow” gifts under the tree.  I will make some candy and cookies but only if there is time and I feel like it.  There will be no Christmas party at the Magic House this year.

What there will be is a house filled with love and gratitude for the simple gift of being together for one more year.  There will be gifts, purchased or made, that were selected especially for loved ones and given with love.  How they take them is not up to me.  What they think about them is not up to me.  All I can do is love them and provide a small token of that love in the spirit of the season.

There will be a remembrance of the birth of Jesus and what that means in our Christian home (it’s not the same among all of my kids so it’s always a great conversation).  Again, there will be gratitude.

And for me?  There will be some hard won peace.  I am so okay with that.

Namaste