Twinkle Lights

twinkle-treeIt’s what Christmas lights do for me, they twinkle.  I especially like the small, white lights on my tree or front porch, or in the wreaths that hang on our windows and doors.  My husband, on the other hand, likes colored lights but tolerates my need for the holidays to be filled with all that twinkles. (Today’s thank you to him!)

I think white lights show off the tree and the ornaments better than anything else.  Just take a look at this picture!  Too much color would just compete with the many shapes and shades of what hangs on the branches or gets tucked further into the branch as a hidden treasure.  Even after the tree is decorated, I like to go back and take a close look at what I’ve previously placed—moving things if necessary or because the mood has changed since it was first hung.  I try to make sure that special ornaments have at least one of the twinkling whites nearby to draw attention to it.

My favorite thing about the Christmas season, twinkle lights!  (By the way, as of today, there are 108 days until Christmas!)

Bloggers Who Twinkle

Writing with Pens and Pencils

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

I’ve been told many, many times that I have lovely handwriting.  It probably comes from learning how to write “cursive” in first grade–Catholic school.  I am often the de facto note taker at meetings, particularly if it requires writing on chart paper or dry erase boards.

There a couple of things I typically refuse to do with a keyboard:  Christmas cards and thank-you notes.

imagesT4XYVNYCI wholeheartedly believe that thank you notes do not get the attention they deserve.  At work, I have a drawer full of note cards.  I write about five thank you notes a week.  Sometimes it’s a few lines and sometimes a couple of paragraphs, but always by hand!  I often see the cards tacked to a bulletin board or sitting on a bookshelf;  leading me to believe that while most of the staff I work with certainly appreciate any acknowledgement of gratitude, it’s the hand written ones that are most valued by the receiver!

So, sharpen your pencils and make sure there is ink in your pen and say Thank You!

Check Out What Other Bloggers Think of Pens and Pencils:

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?

I tend to think of myself as a jack of all trades and master of none, as the saying goes; often calling myself a “generalist” in my work life.  I know a little bit about a lot of things, making me an ideal candidate for Jeopardy, but I haven’t taken the test yet (although I often know more than the players I watch on the show every night).

expertBeing an expert in any one skill is not appealing to me.  The focus and dedication it takes to become THE go-to person in the world is remarkable, but can you imagine living with that kind of pressure?  I’m not interested.   I enjoy the fact that I know how to do a variety of things:  to cook and sew and write and use a particular computer program and speak in public without peeing myself.  Somewhere very early in my career I recall someone telling me, “The more you know how to do, the more opportunity you’ll find.”  I’ve taken that to heart.

triviaI also enjoy knowing the bunch of fun facts and tidbits that make for a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit.  I imagine though, being the master of a skill could come with extreme expectations and rewards.  So, for the masters of skill in science and technology and education and culinary arts and the myriad others in the world, thank you.  Without you our lives would be, and have been, dramatically different.

“Master” Bloggers:

The Cello–Strikes a Chord

Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.

I’ve never played a musical instrument.  It’s never been something I’ve had an interest in pursuing.  I have a brother who took trumpet lesson, another who played the cello, and a sister who played the violin.  The last two, the cello and violin, they played in an award-winning high school orchestra; that’s when I fell in love with cello music.

After sitting in the audience for several years of holiday and pops concerts, I found myself with an appreciation for what, as a kid, I referred to as classical music. What’s fascinating to me is that, what I thought for years to be a sad sounding instrument, the cello can sound joyous too.

Today, I’d like to thank my brother David and sister Jen for being part of that orchestra that instilled in me a love for such beautiful music.

Chords of Bloggers

Back of the Queue, A Daily Occurence

Today’s prompt for writing: Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to starting (an activity, a hobby, or anything else, really)? Tell us about it — and tell us about what’s keeping you from doing it.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that I’m in a new job, and for the past five months I’ve been non-stop, learning, meeting, reading–in a constant state of “doing”.  To think about anything but work just doesn’t seem to be in my realm of possibility. To think about starting that crafting project or coming up with a plan for my next blog, is so far from my mind on a daily basis. But then, I looked up at the bulletin board above my computer screen to see this:

bulletin board

How appropriate for me since my blog is about gratitude!  So today I am grateful and would like to thank two people I’ve never met, for reminding me to stop and take a breath when life is crazy.

The first is the blogger who wrote what’s posted on my bulletin board:  Dan Rockwell, the Leadership Freak.  I so enjoy reading the posts that show up in my reader every day!

buddah doodle thankfulAnd the second, is the creator of the Buddha Doodles.  I love these things!  They pop up in my Facebook news feed every day and for such a little cartoon, they really lift my spirits.  I hope you might like them, too!

Back of the Queue

The Ends of the Ham

Yesterday was Father’s Day in many countries. If you could dedicate a holiday to a more distant relative, who would it be — and why?

Have you heard the one about the women who, when she cooked a ham, always cut the ends off before she put it in the oven?  It goes something like this:

baked-ham-treacleA young woman was preparing a ham dinner. After she cut off the end of the ham, she placed it in a pan for baking. Her friend asked her, “Why did you cut off the end of the ham”? And she replied, “I really don’t know but my mother always did, so I thought you were supposed to.” Later when talking to her mother she asked her why she cut off the end of the ham before baking it, and her mother replied, “I really don’t know, but that’s the way my mom always did it.” A few weeks later while visiting her grandmother, the young woman asked, “Grandma, why is it that you cut off the end of a ham before you bake it?” Her grandmother replied, “Well dear, otherwise it would never fit into my baking pan.”

We’re moving at a pace that would cause whiplash in our great and great-great grandparents’ generations; they might be surprised to find their family secrets on Pinterest on Stumble Upon! We do things every day because they’ve always been done that way.   Stories, traditions, and tips passed down for generations for how to prepare a ham, how to get a baby to sleep through the night, the best way to plant the tomatoes in your garden…these are the things that make us who we are.

Unless you’re someone who has spent hours on or in the annals of a local historical society, you may not readily know whose recipe you’re using or how the lullaby you sing to your child became emblazoned on your brain. Today’s thank you is for all the relatives who have somehow contributed to the fabric of our families’ histories–whether we know them or not.

Familial Feasts

Pick Me Up: Teachers Rock!

Two birds with one stone again today…I like it when this happens!

teachers rockIt’s National Teacher Appreciation Day, and the prompt for today is: What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it? 

The absolute first thing that popped into my head is:  Teachers Rock!

Totally, they do!  Being a teacher is an awesome responsibility and I’m not so sure they get thanked often enough.  I know that not every teacher is a “good” teacher, but honoring the profession of teaching is my intention in this post. 

Day in – day out, bar none, teaching is one of the toughest professions on earth.   Infant and toddler child care teachers (yes, they are teachers) right up through college professors; every level of the educational food chain has distinct challenges.  I myself, have taught from preschool through college level students and there is not one level that is “easier” than another, trust me.

future teachToday I want to thank TEACHERS:  the ones that taught me, the ones I have taught, the ones who taught my grandchildren…and the ones who teach all of us every day, that to be a teacher is to touch the future.  TEACHERS ROCK!

Pick Me Up’s From the Blogosphere