cosmic chaos

cultivating calm & creativity in my corner of the world

Archive for the category “Holidays”

Hello 2015

January — the month of new beginnings.

For years now, my family has gone to Sullivan’s Island (SC) on January 1st to celebrate the new year with the Dunleavy’s Polar Bear Plunge.

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A couple thousand people attend the event, some as plungers and some as observers. I have been the latter, holding towels and dry clothes as my husband and sons have taken the plunge. When asked about running in with them, the answer was “One day.”

Well, January 1, 2015 was the day.  For some reason, everything just clicked and in the ocean I went.  It was a wonderful day and a great beginning to 2015.

I belong to a knitting group (even though I am a beginner-level crocheter, they let me join) that meets about once a month.  These women have taught me so much about living life fully.  We are at different stages with a variety of life experiences, which has helped us form a close, supportive group.

During our January get-together, the knitting circle created vision boards.  We picked out images and words for what we wanted in 2015.  Here’s my board.

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Then on January 11th, I achieved a much anticipated goal.

When I was in college, I saw the band Concrete Blonde in concert.  From that moment on, Concrete Blonde was my favorite band.  I’ve listened to their albums hundreds of time.  The band has gone their separate ways, but lead singer Johnette Napolitano is touring.  Her set list includes songs from Concrete Blonde as well as from her solo career.  Johnette has been my muse for years.  As I write, her music often plays in the background.

On January 11th, Johnette played at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia – a venue a few hours away.  I got tickets to the show for my Christmas present.  Finally, I was going to hear Johnette Napolitano sing in person again.

My husband and I arrived in Decatur early enough to walk around.  We found an interesting store …..

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…. full of eclectic art work featuring lots of goats and other farm animals as well as unique gift items.  We stopped for coffee, where I got a “new” name.

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Then it was on to Eddie’s Attic.  I posed under the “Playing Tonight” sign.

Venue

 

I thought this was as close as I’d ever be to my ideal.  On entering the venue, I found a seat about nine feet away from the stage.  Opening act Laurie Sargent was great!  Then Johnette Napolitano walked directly in front of me as she made her way to the stage.  It ended up that I had the best seat in the house for the performance.  The show was AMAZING!

After the show, I got to meet Laurie Sargent in person.

Laurie Sargent

It was an incredible evening.

It has been a wonderful start to 2015 full of family, friends, fun and fulfilling goals.  I having a feeling that this is going to be a fabulous year.

The Day After

December 26th.

The pressure is off.  Our families have gathered and feasted.  The presents have been given and unwrapped.

Today is quiet.  An opportunity to sit and breathe.

I leave my Christmas tree up a couple of weeks after Christmas.  I find it’s this time that I can relax in the glow of the Christmas lights and feel at peace.  It’s a time to reflect and to plan for the new year.  It’s a time to just be.

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Wishing you peace, joy and a new year full of the things you love!

A Little Inspiration

Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer.  The long holiday weekend gave me a chance to catch up on some items I’ve been putting off.

First I tackled some regular housework.  With two teenage athletes in the family, there is always an abundance of laundry to wash.   A few months ago, my dear friend Amy Alley posted a recipe for homemade laundry detergent on her blog Pan Pan Studios.  I decided to try my hand at making laundry detergent.  I have to admit, there is something satisfying about using your own homemade items.  You can find Amy’s recipe here.

Last summer I released my first novel, Blood Adversaries, as a Kindle Edition e-book.  It is thrilling to see my book listed on Amazon.com.  However when my author friends would bring print copies of their works to events or book signings, I felt a pang of regret that I didn’t have a print version of my book that I could hold in my hands.  So I decided to pursue some avenues to bring my works to print.  I’ve been working on CreateSpace to self publish Blood Adversaries.  In July, I received the printed proof for my book.  I was sooo excited.

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Then something unexpected happened.  I was at a point where I was feeling overwhelmed by things happening in my life.  So my proof just sat.  I would edit a few pages and then put it down for a few days.  I pushed myself to finish the edits over the Labor Day weekend.  The edited version is uploaded.  I’ll proof one more time and then my dream of having my novel in print will be a reality!

I also wanted to work on some crafts.  A while back, my husband had asked me to decorate a birdhouse for him.  I finally got around to it.

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Finally, I worked on some decorations for fall.  I had seen pictures of Halloween luminaries on Facebook that were adorable.  Since I had a surplus of glass jars, I decided to try my hand at it.  I found the directions on the website Crafts by Amanda.  It was pretty easy.  Here’s my first batch.

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After being in a creative slump for a few weeks, it appears an extra day off is just what I needed for  a little inspiration!

Thankfulness

For the past couple of years, I watched as friends posted their 30 Days of Thankfulness on Facebook.  Sometimes I would post a blanket thanks for my overall blessings, but that was as far as it went.

I have several friends who regularly keep a Gratitude Journal or Journal of Abundance.  In fact, it seems like I’ve been seeing almost monthly articles — both on-line and in print — about the power of gratitude to make a positive impact in everyday life.  I thought why not give it a try in November.

So this year, I participated in the 30 Days of Thankfulness, dutifully posting on Facebook my daily thoughts of appreciation.  I tried to tie each thanks to something that happened that day — a meaningful church celebration, time spent with family and friends, thoughts about love ones.  What I found was that once I started thinking about things to be thankful for, I kept finding more.

November was an interesting month for me, full of changes in my work and home life.  Whenever something would happen that could have made me upset or depressed, I weighed it against the good things and told myself not to dwell on it.

In my profession I work with several counselors, so I have learned some points about different therapy models over the years.  In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, there is a triangle that is used to explain an aspect of this module.

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(Image from psychminded.files.wordpress.com)

Basically, the triangle illustrates that how a person thinks affects how that person feels which affects what that person does which affects how that person thinks.  Someone who focuses on negative thoughts feels negatively which influences her to act in negative ways and reinforces the negative thoughts.   Focusing on positive thoughts can lead to positive feelings and positive actions, reinforcing positive thoughts.

I think this is the benefit of expressing thankfulness, gratitude and abundance — a way to reinforce positive thoughts, feelings and actions.

Now that November is over, I won’t be posting my thanks every day.  But I do plan to take time to reflect on my blessings.  My foray into thankfulness gave me some perspective.  Even on my worst day, there are many people in this world who would be willing to change places with me.  My problems would still seem like blessings to them.

So this season, instead of longing for what I don’t have, I plan for concentrate on all the things to be thankful for.

Happy Halloween

I love Halloween. I love the orange and black colors that show up in this time of year. I love the decorations — black cats, ghosts, goblins, and jack-o-lanterns. I love creepy music and scary movies, well as long as I have my remote and can fast forward through them that is. I love dressing up in costumes.

Even though I started listening to my Halloween mix on Pandora in September — ok, I might have snuck in a couple of hours in August — I haven’t truly gotten into the Halloween spirit this year. I have one small pumpkin decoration sitting on a table in my den. That’s it. I started to feel rather disappointed with myself for not doing more.

It’s been a challenging couple of months. My husband has been working out of town since August. My sons have been involved with football. School is in full swing. And I just feel like I’m struggling to keep up.

I couldn’t let Halloween slip by without doing something creative. So yesterday I put together a few homemade treat bags for a some friends’ children …

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and I made Witch Hat Cookies that I saw on Pinterest …

Witch Hat Cookies3

and now it feels a little more like Halloween.

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