it’s the perfect day: cool, rainy, autumnally delicious. i am perfectly and utterly, incandescently happy.
it’s been a productive, but relaxing day for me. earlier this morning, i went to the library and did some grocery shopping (including Trader Joe’s!), and now, i just got back from a brisk walk with the dogs. it was wonderful to be out in the fresh, wild november air. this is the time of year that i live for. spring, summer, and blustery winter days are nice, but i am alive in the Fall.
yesterday my co-workers and i broke out into some random singing of “The Sound of Music”, and because i’ve had “My Favorite Things” going through my head now for the past 24 hours, i thought i’d list some of my favorite things, inspired by this lovely overcast day:
leaves: falling, fallen, wet, crunchy, in piles, of blazing colors, running through
birds on telephone wires
Poppy Seed Chicken with whole wheat noodles (i’m making it for dinner!)
painting on canvas (my project for tonight- a christmas present for my sister)
postcards from family in far-off places
hot mulled cider
Over the Rhine
Bigelow green tea (i’ve had a lot of green tea, but this is the best)
snuggling under my cozy fleece blanket (sewn by my dear mama)
and without further ado, i must not spend another minute of this perfect day on the computer.
i was recently talking with an older pastor friend when the conversation came to the topic of “tradtion”. i casually mentioned that i love traditions. he was surprised by the fact since i am in my twenties. i guess he thought us young folk scorn the traditional over the modern. maybe that is true for many, but i have my foot in both camps. i love traditions, sometimes to the point of stubbornness, but i do lovingly embrace change for the greater good. i am a Vintage Modernist. i stand in the present, holding hands with the past and future. for me, tradition has grown out of the loyalty and security cultivated by a loving family relationship, and i am so thankful for it.
while tradition is rooted much deeper than just cozy holiday rituals, those are the simple joys of life that help me to be thankful and reflect the reasons behind them. and most of the traditions i’ve kept are the ones revolving around Christmas, such as:
putting the christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving, and then watching “Home Alone”.
going to the candlelight Christmas Eve service with my family at the church where i grew up. the accapella rendition of Silent Night at the end always makes me cry.
my family’s “cocktail pajama party” on Christmas Eve (after church) with a dinner of hors d’oeurves and sparkling grape juice. afterward, my dad reads aloud the birth of Jesus as told by Luke.
getting up at 6:00 am on Christmas to open stockings as a family. my mom always makes made-from-scratch whole wheat cinnamon rolls; my dad brews Starbucks Christmas Blend to go with them. words cannot describe…
the traditions by themselves would not last without the family love burning behind them that fuels our hearts through the cold, dark days and nights of winter.
over the past couple of years, i’ve also developed some new holiday traditions of my own: baking/decorating 100% whole wheat organic sugar christmas cookies (my family has come to expect them), shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child, listening to my “Peppermint Mocha Mix” ipod playlist featuring hundreds of Christmas songs, and watching “The Family Stone” after i decorate my Christmas tree (the day after Thanksgiving).
and tomorrow night i’m going to celebrate a new Fall tradition: watch “It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, with a cup of hot cider.
what are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
today welcomed the first snow flurries of the season. i am thrilled!
i was supposed to work job #2 tonight, but due to some fortuitious events, i have the evening off. i will spend it reading, crosswording, listening to the melancholy George Winston “Autumn” album, eating queso with organic yellow corn chips, and wearing my fleece sweats. it’s the perfect night to hang out at home. blustery, cold, wet.
i wish i could fully capture Fall’s cozy essence on my camera. but i can’t. so i’ll leave it to this amazing lady- soulemama. i could read this blog for hours. it’s so homey.
so i’m feeling nostalgic this evening. i’m missing home terribly. oh to snuggle in the blue handmade quilt by the warm wood stove. eat a piece of my mama’s apple pie (nothing short of glorious). laugh at my dad’s corny jokes. watch the snow and leaves swirl outside. sip hot locally pressed cider. i’m learning to make my own home, but it’s still not quite like home. know what i mean? but i’ll keep working at it. for starters, i do plan to make pasta fagioli tonight. the perfect soup for a chilly, late October night. and it’s oh so healthy- with lots of vegetables and 100% whole wheat pasta.
well, time to be constructive, but first, a question:
i chased joy today. i ran as fast as my little legs would go. the world is a cold wind on some days, and the asphalt has potholes. today was such a day. but i kept running. i saw it ahead. i wouldn’t stop, couldn’t stop.
i ran and ran, and with a big smile on my face, one final lunge, i grabbed onto joy and pulled it to my heart. i looked at it in my hands, all sparkly and new.
i laughed and threw it up in the air and danced as it swirled, glittering around me, falling on me, making me all sparkly and new, too.
thank you for your joy, Jesus. there is nothing like it.
so now that you know what i’ve been up to this evening, i’m going to go do a crossword puzzle. i just love the simple joys of life! God gives us so much…why do we always associate wealth with money? oh there is so much more, indeed!
check out The Green Bible, made with recycled paper and printed with soy-based ink. i think it’s very cool, but the last thing you should do is throw out your current Bible to get the new eco-friendly version. that would be defeating the purpose.
i would like to take this opportunity to list some steps you can take to be greener if you don’t need a new Bible. some of these i’ve already mentioned in previous posts, but it can’t hurt to hear them again, right?
Preserve Recycline Toothbrushes: You will have to replace your toothbrush eventually, and when you do, look no further than the Preserve toothbrush. Not only is it super cute, but it is made from recycled yogurt cups and is fully recyclable. Preserve provides postage-paid mailing envelopes/labels for you to send your toothbrushes and their cases back, and then transforms them into neat picnic tables and patio furniture. Recycline also offers other recycled/recyclable personal care products, too. just check out their website for more info.
Reusable grocery bags: If there is a Whole Foods Market near you, stop in and pick up a reuseable grocery tote made from recycled plastic bottles (it says: “I Used to Be A Plastic Bottle”). Of course, if you don’t have a Whole Foods Market near you, any old sturdy tote bag will do for your groceries, and most grocery stores are carrying their own versions now anyway! And whatever you do, please DON’T throw plastic bags away! Take them to a local plastic bag drop-off (many grocery stores have them).
Don’t flush every time you go: “If it’s yellow, let it mello; if it’s brown, flush it down”. Obviously, this does not apply to public restrooms- be courteous!
Women: have a green period: Sorry guys, i recommend that you don’t proceed any further. women: this little product will save you money, be healthier for your body, and save the earth from getting cluttered with your disposable female products. i can testify that it is truly awesome!
Buy recycled paper products: I buy 100% recycled and unbleached toilet paper from Trader Joe’s, and Seventh Generation recycled paper towels. to offset the cost of the paper towels (which do cost more than the unrecycled kind), i just try not to use a lot. regular old fashioned dish towels work just fine.
Bring your own to-go box: Don’t box up your food in a restaurant provided styrofoam container! If you anticipate leftovers when you go out to eat, take your own Gladware or Tupperware container with you! Your food will say fresher, you will save room in your trash can, and you won’t pollute the earth with another unbiodegrable piece of styrofoam!
Recycle!!!! You can even if you don’t think you can, but you may have to be inconvenienced. I have to drive 10 miles away every couple of weeks as my apartment does not have a recycling facility. Check your county’s website to find the nearest recycling options for you.
Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs: They will save you money and they will save energy. What’s stopping you? Sam’s Club has a reasonably priced multi-pack (there are 8-10 in a pack). Check out Energy Star’s site to find the right CFL bulb for you!