I asked my younger daughter for a Christmas list this morning. I’ve already tucked away a few goodies for both girls and have a good idea of what I want to do for my husband, but I know the time for shopping will be in the panic zone before I know it. Still, I don’t want to miss this month. Though not exclusive, this is the month customarily designated for gratitude. For me, it is also a month of reflection; a time to look back before the busyness of the holiday season ushers in the closing of the books on another year.
On occasion, I pull out my old journals and read through the pages. Who was I two years, five years, ten years ago? What did I worry about? What were my struggles, dreams, and triumphs? What changes have I made? Have I made progress?
I started this blog (originally named Transitioning Mom) back in 2011. I wanted to use it to both record and reflect on my life as I moved through the transitional phase toward the empty nest. My days were so different back then. I was still actively homeschooling my girls. Life was filled with their needs far more than my own. That, in many ways, is what we do as moms, intentional or not. We lose sight of our own needs and before we know it, another year has passed.
Tonight I looked back on where I was and who I was the year I started this blog. Delightfully, I was taken to post that walked me back to the early days of this blog and my children’s lives. It was a walk down memory lane of Christmas ornaments and construction paper gratitude chains. And, for that, I am grateful.
There are so many things that make this the most wonderful time of the year. Let me count the ways:
- I love the lights. The lights that twinkle on the tree and the garland hung in the house. The lights that line the roof and illuminate walkways. The lights that brighten entire neighborhoods, decorate malls and make the city offices seem just a little friendlier to visit. I love the lights. But, I’ll also admit, I’m a traditionalist. No weird pink or blue lights for me, thank you.
- I love the music. But, not until after Thanksgiving, thank you! When our local easy-rock radio station started the holiday music early this year, I sat in my car, fingers in my ears and shouted, “La, la, la, la, la! I’m not listening!” Mature, I know. I’ve been playing it since Santa safely arrived at the end of the Thanksgiving Day parade and will turn it off again after January 1.
- I love the smell of a fresh tree. And, since I have a fake tree, I love that I can get that smell from a candle. Yes, I said it–a fake tree. The kind that I can put up the day after Thanksgiving and not worry the spontaneous combustion of dried brittle needles. So, every year I shop for the “perfectly scented” pine candle. Like a truffle-sniffing hog, I move from candle to candle. Some are too “perfumey” and some are just nasty. I am a bit particular about my candles. I found one last year, and realized yesterday it has been thoroughly burned. Fingers crossed that my little hobby store is carrying the same candle this year. If so, I’ll buy 3.
- I love the baking and candy making. I make candy and cookies and love the smells that fill my kitchen and waft through the house. I love the help of my “cookies tasters” and the memories of many years of shared baking. I love the taste of homemade fudge, warm Italian sesame cookies, and the sweet salty treat of honey’d almonds. And, I love that I have 11 other months of the year to un-do the damage of my overindulgence. 🙂
- I love the joyful spirits that fill my day. It could be the person I met at the mall, or the post office, or in church. It could be the stranger on the street. There is a joyfulness that seems to permeate the air at this time of year. It matters not if someone celebrates the same I do, or not at all. The world just seems more joyful. Usually. Unless you got behind Scrooge on Black Friday, or any other shopping day. Which is why I love Amazon. I love the joyful, helpful spirits at Amazon. A lot.
- I love the cards and letters. I love hearing from friends from far away and those close by but lost in the crazy busyness of the year. Most of them, anyway.
There are so many things I love about this time of year. But, aside from the extra time with my family, the thing I love the very most is…
- I love getting my new day planner refill! And, the new family calendar that hangs on the fridge, but my new planner most of all! As I think I have mentioned before, I am faithful to the Franklin-Covey day planner system and have been since long before Stephen Covey joined the group. But, I’m thrilled for the “Seven Habits” principles he’s added to the planners. Franklin-Covey does offer time-management software, but I prefer the good old fashioned paper planner. The “compact” size is too small and “monarch” is too big. Like the baby bear’s bed, the “classic” size is just right. Just in case it wasn’t already glaringly obvious, my kids will tell you, (with fear in their eyes,) that I’m a bit obsessive about my planner. I am particular about my binder (red leather, old, but I love it and it gets a good leather conditioning at the start of every year. See the picture above. I have the same style in black, as a back up.) I only use pencil–preferably a mechanical pencil–same rule for the family calendar.
I hate confusing cross-outs on my calendars. My family knows “the rules” very well, and the girls remind my husband if they see a pen in his hand near the calendar. I neatly store the past years in zip-lock bags for reference. It takes up less space than the storage binders Franklin-Covey sells and keeps them safe from potential animal “friends” and water damage in the garage. And, yes, I have actually referred back to them. Clearly, I give a great deal of thought to my time-management system, and yesterday, I devoted a great deal of time to their website. Though I was pretty sure I would stick with the same refill, (7 Habits, since you asked,) I looked at all the new planner styles and their clearance section. Then, I perused the bags and household organization tools they offer. I even looked at their new binders. I know, crazy, right! After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year, made a little more wonderful by the crisp new planner refill that I will use to keep track of my days and to prioritize time with the ones I love most.
What do you love most about this “most wonderful time of the year”?
©2011 Mary Lanzavecchia/TransitioningMom