Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas post-mortem

It was a wonderful Christmas!

The time spent with family, the food, the gifts.... everything came together. We even had a light dusting of snow to make it a white Christmas. This has been one of my favorite Christmases in recent years.

I was calm the whole time --- not a single meltdown. That's big for me. I usually work myself into a state of total craziness from trying to get everything done. Then have an ugly meltdown... really ugly. Not this year! I was able to get everything done on my to-do list and still slip in an occasional nap and read a book. I found myself, one night before bed, just staring at the tree. I stood there and enjoyed the lights, the smell of the tree, the presents around it. I felt more present than I have in years. It was magical.

So why is it that I am now craving to go back to work? I'm actually craving to go back to something that wreaks such havoc on my sense of balance. Why is staying home really nice but boring and unfulfilling in so many ways? I really don't understand it. It's not even that I'm looking forward to the work. Don't get me wrong, I find a great deal of fulfillment from my work. But the to-do list part of the job holds absolutely no appeal to me. It's more the idea of being out and about. Contributing. That is what I seem to be craving -- even though I know that I will struggle with it and its impact on the different areas of my life.

Does this further support my growing belief that balance is something I will never fully attain? Or am I just a glutton for punishment? Stay tuned...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Letting Christmas In...

My Christmas season officially kicked off this weekend. The girls and I went to Madisonville for my father's family's Christmas party. It was full of cousins, laughter and love --- not to mention a hilarious round of a gift exchange game. It made me think of all of the fun we had growing up, going to Granny's on Christmas Eve with all of its chaos, food, laughter, chatter, story-telling. I told someone that night that hardly a day goes by when I don't think of Granny. I thought of her a lot that night and wished she could have been with us.

Last night was our church's Christmas pageant. It is NOT a Broadway production, thankfully! A simple script and costumes, only 2 rehearsals and cast with anyone who wants to be in it. It fills up my heart every year and helps me welcome the holiday. This year did not disappoint.

I've tried to bring the holiday into our home this year on a more intentional way. I've decorated differently putting some things in their traditional place and doing other things a new way. It was fun and the girls seem to be enjoying it. I found an idea on one of the other blogs I read that had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, drawn with chalk, on a door. Since I now have a chalkboard door, I decided to do the same thing. I came home from a date with Jim one night to find that the girls had "decorated" the tree by drawing ornaments on it. That's it at the top of this post. Ignore the still-not-painted trim and walls in the kitchen. But, isn't the door too cute!? Other different things this year... a dum-dum sucker Christmas tree, stockings over the pet's food bowls and glass bowls with bright red ornaments in them on the mantle.

It's only Monday. I still have several days and a long to-do list before Christmas Eve. I want to really enjoy this week....take what comes, take it all in and try to make it memorable for me and my family.

Welcome, Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Check-In Time

Part of "The Artist's Way" process is to re-read your "Morning Pages" --- those 3 pages you are supposed to be writing daily of whatever is on your mind. I haven't written every day but, overall, I'm proud of my dedication to the process. That's the good news. The bad news is that it makes for a lot of reading! I also decided to re-read my posts here. They have served, in many ways, as a form of "Morning Pages (MPs)" --- especially since no one reads them but me.

One of my goals for this blog was to rediscover things that have been put aside. I wanted to be intentional about work-life balance and friends. I wanted to be intentional about my home life - decorating, baking, the fine art of homemaking. And, from re-reading the MPs, I realized that I've actually made some progress on these goals!

Over the last few months, I've spent more time baking and caring about how my home looks. There are almost always muffins baked now - unless the kids eat all the bananas first. The house has been decorated for Halloween, Thanksgiving and now, Christmas with a renewed sense of passion --- and for Christmas, whimsy. In the "needs more work" category --- um, housecleaning!!! But, I figure, a few dust bunnies never hurt anyone!

The MPs have helped me gain a sense of confidence about my friends --- those I have both needy and not, those that nurture and support me, those that fill other roles and those that I like but don't have to spend a lot of time on (I mean that in that nicest way possible... truly). I have suffered for as long as I can remember from an enormous lack of confidence in the friend department --- hurt feelings if I feel "left out", struggles of jealousy when a "best" friend has more than me as a best friend (the nerve!) and other struggles. I'm not saying that I'm healed but has there been progress? Absolutely! And, for that, I am incredibly proud of myself.

My attention to my family and juggling work demands continues to be a struggle. But I feel good about my efforts to... be a better wife, lover, cheerleader to Jim; to pay attention to Helen and her schoolwork; to support Katie and let her grow her wings. I'm more aware of my role as a wife and mother. I've been more intentional in the way I spend time with them and the way I love them. Work continues to be a demand on my time but I've realized that the pursuit of balance may be something I never achieve. I can only keep trying.

As my friend, Janel, says.... "We don't come to this fully grown". I feel like I've done some growing. The process continues...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lucky Girl

It's been a hectic week at work and at home. From a work perspective, the week still has one more day to go. I should be preparing for tomorrow's Board Retreat, studying my budget and financials (for the umpteenth time!).

Instead, eating peppermint ice cream and driving around on a hunt for tacky Christmas house lights with my girls won. And now, there is a homemade blueberry coffee cake in the oven --- made with blueberries we picked together this summer at a local farm.

Earlier today, I had the loveliest lunch with girlfriends. Jim planned it as part of his birthday gift to me. Friends I love... who love me and nurture me at a lunch planned by my husband. Perfect.

I'm a very lucky girl.