The holiday season has begun and yet again this year I find myself struggling to find where I fit in. My mom got sick when I was 12 and I have such a short window of ever remembering a good Christmas. I remember the ones that were sad, lonely, and devoid of much joy. My mom was sick or we did not have money for food and bills so gifts, Christmas, and Santa were not top on the list.
Somehow my dad loved Christmas and yet what I saw of that was the love of decorating, the ambience that made it seem that all was well when really it was not. I am torn by my ghost of Christmas past, and how I really have never gotten into the Christmas spirit since I was 12. It has always felt forced and fake to me. I have been at other Christmas’ as an adult where the kids involved ripped their gifts open and only asked for more. It rubbed me the wrong way and I vowed to never breed that in my family. I either do not want to celebrate it the way the rest of the world does, or I want to create a different story. Chris agrees.
Added to my ghost of Christmas past — is that Nico’s birthday is on Christmas. Due to my past I would rather spend the day celebrating him and his birthday than Christmas. Yet, how do we do that when others in our life might not understand where we are coming from? I have long had the opinion (and have shared in other blogs) that I do not want to lie to Nico about Santa. I think there is a way to keep the world magical and real and not lie to our children. How do we ever expect them to trust us if we lie to them? Magic can happen with honesty. Did we all just get sucked into the story of Christmas? The one that circles back to Black Friday, retail, and consumerism? Or is it about spending time together, shared experiences, and giving to others? How many of us actually do that during the holiday season?
Gratefully, Nico will not know the difference this year, but next year will be different. This year (whether his birthday, or if we decide to do an actual Christmas) he is delighted to just have us open a box from Amazon Prime — even if the box contains batteries. Even better when it has a toy truck or school bus.
Call me extreme, but this momma is torn on what to do and how to bring the true spirit of Christmas into Nico’s life.
We all have things we want to change in life. It is why so many individuals decide to make New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes that means that some need to add more adventures in their lives, and others might need to cut back to make room for space in their lives.
She talks you through her experience from no shows to having 3 shows on Thursday night at once and what it is like to be so successful, have a family, and be a black woman in Hollywood. And yet, want to hide from it all. Year of Yes is her year to start saying yes to life, yes to what comes her way, and quit hiding from the world. We could all probably use a bit of “yes” in our life. On discussing the 100 pounds she lost (from saying yes to how she approached food):
“Did I not just say it was never going to be easy? Never going to be quick, would there be anyone left out there who talked about struggling with their weight? Now, I’m betting all of these big-time programs you see advertised and recommended by your doctor work. But only if you decide that YOU are going to do the work to make the programs work. Meaning, nothing works if you don’t actually decide that you are really and truly ready to do it.” Page 157
The key is “decide that you are really and truly ready to do it.” Applicable to so many decisions in life. Making the choice to really be in your marriage, to be the parent you want to be, to give your job your all, to stay fit and healthy. Decide to do it. It is that easy. Yes.
Random Olio is just a few weeks shy of its 4th birthday, and yet today is my 1,000th post. Shocking. I can hardly believe that I have found 1,000 different things to talk about in those 4 years. How is that possible? Of course I often have rants and ramblings about women’s issues, creativity, family, life, and of course books and food.
There are days when I get ideas for weeks full of blogs and others where I think: “I do not want to even try to think about formulating a sentence.” Other times I wonder who would ever care to read a specific post on a topic I might find odd, or a bit off the wall, and then I receive a heartfelt comment that makes me so glad I listened to my gut and put my fingers to the keyboard.
Chris has been incredibly patient through all 1000 blog posts. There are times when the last thing he wants to talk about is my blog. Or, I wrangle him in to make a “Random Recipe” (hey, he gets to enjoy the bi-product in his tummy). It has taken countless hours of our life to design and redesign the site, let alone writing all the content. Earlier this year, Chris asked me if he could be surprised with the post each morning like everyone else. However, with pregnancy brain I need him to point out my careless typos and tell me when something does not make sense.
I am not sure how Random Olio will unfold in the coming weeks and months and if motherhood will inspire me to write more or less. Regardless of the next stage of Random Olio — I appreciate each and every person that has read, contributed, shared, and been apart of the randomness.
This week, Chris and I were pondering the last 12+ years and how we know when we feel settled with decisions. Sometimes we know right away and other times it takes a bit longer for the decision to feel right. Sometimes he knows so clearly, and sometimes it is me. It really depends on what the decision is, how big it is, how costly and its impact on our lives.
A plane ticket: I will not purchase it until it feels right to me. I have had quite a few occasions when the trip changed drastically, and I saved a lot of change fees because I had waited to purchase the ticket.
Furniture or large house items: Usually I am not as picky as Chris is – I know when I like something and I know when I do not like it, but we have a rule that we both need to like, want, and appreciate it before we make a large purchase. Sometimes I can push the envelope a bit and continue to show him different options because I am not set on his choice. Other times all the other options still lead us back to our original choice.
Large financial decisions: These always get me to slow down to a snail’s pace. I hate spending money, and even though not all financial decisions are spending money — they could be about investing money. I still want to look at it front and back and all angles to make sure we are making the smartest choice. Nothing wrong with that.
Food: If I know I do not want something I voice it, but generally, I just want Chris to decide on food. If something sounds amazing, I will state that, and whatever sounds nasty I will state that too, but I have way to many other decisions to make in my day, the last one I care about is food!
What I find interesting — on most things at work I know fairly quickly what feels right to me, but at home I tend to hem and haw about decisions. Maybe because it might be a large purchase, or a decision that is extremely permanent. Maybe it is also because Chris and I always make our decisions together. Regardless of whether the decision is at home or work, it is always important to feel settled, happy, and content with your decision. You have to live with it and the consequences.
Can you imagine making a recipe from every country in the world? Sasha Martin did it. Over the course of a few years, she made a meal from every country in the world. She did 52 countries in a year, took each week to research the food, recipe, ingredients, and customs and make the selected meal and then published a blog post about the experience. Her husband did not really start out as a fan. A picky eater from the start. I would say she changed his life. Eventually her blog turned into her memoir: “Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness” by Sasha Martin. She did not give up. Even at times when she was completely burnt out, she was relentless in her priorities and effort to complete the project.
It is a book about food, family, and how to balance life. I love the idea she shares on page 335 as it is often the way I approach things in life:
“’When I don’t know what you do about something,” she tells me, ‘I just leave the idea alone for a while. A good idea will feed itself and grow. A bad one will disappear—as it should.”
It happens all the time at work. A project surfaces and the solution that presents itself looks to make sense, and then sometimes it just does not happen or work right. Whenever that happens, I do not look at that as a failure, I see it as a product that is developed and it not ready. Maybe it just needs to go back on the shelf for a while. Sometimes it gets taken off the shelf months to a year later, and then it is ready, it makes sense, and is timed just right. Other times that product never leaves the shelf, its time was not meant to be.
It might be in your personal life. It happens for me sometimes when we plan a trip. There are times when we know immediately that we should buy tickets. The timing, cost, and event all make sense, and it all works out. Other times, when a decision is not easily made, and you let it alone, you might find that a new idea pops up, or maybe a fare sale happens, or you learn that plans have changed at your destination. Then you are grateful you gave it a bit of air and delayed your decision.
Martin’s quote is such a good reminder to let it go, leave it alone, and see if it finds it way off the shelf. A good idea has a life of its own.