I’ll be home for Christmas-WISE project 2017 #tenacioustuesday

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Snow tumbles gently to the ground illuminated by white Christmas lights.  Holly and huge red bows adorn every street corner, cheeks are flushed, hearts are racing and the soothing sound of silver bells escapes every doorway as shoppers happily flee with their bounty. Unfortunately this coveted Christmas scene is one we long for and rarely see in our own lives.

Christmas should be an exciting time, a time of festive food, laughter and love but all too often we find ourselves overwhelmed and pulled in several different directions, under pressure to over spend on gifts, over eat and over-complicate every single detail.

When I recall Christmas’s past, my most treasured memories come from time spent with family and friends and though gifts are nice, there are only a few over the years that stand out as being memorable and that is because they were gifts that came from the heart. A well thought out gift means so much and unfortunately the commercialism of Christmas makes this almost impossible to achieve. I find Christmas is becoming like a gift swap where we are exchanging gifts cards and awkward gag gifts, and though our intentions may have been to send something thoughtful, the stress of the holidays leave us so frazzled that we find ourselves scrambling at the last minute. There are some people that genuinely love gift giving and others that feel that it adds a great deal of pressure, financially and otherwise.

Year after year after year, I have fallen into the trap of trying to load up the gifts under the Christmas tree, spending a fortune on our children on things that they really didn’t need. I would start out strong reminding myself of all of the most important things about Christmas and then I would scramble last minute to bulk up the pile under the tree.

The last couple of years my late husband and I agreed that the most important thing about Christmas was time spent together so the bulk of our gift giving was focused on experiences and time spent as a family. Last year our girls got a game night out at the local game cafe, sisters manicure & pedicure, concert tickets and as a family we got our summer family vacation at our special place in the mountains.

This year is a challenge; we are going home at Christmas for the first time in years, a wonderful gift from sweet friends who understand the importance of being with loved ones during our first Christmas without Kirk. With our super hero absent everything has changed but we are reminded now more than ever of what is really important and it is not gifts underneath the tree.

The holidays can amplify depression and anxiety as well as shine a spotlight on dysfunction and addictions in families. For a lot of people it is not the joyful and lively time that the media sells us and no amount of money can buy those feelings that we desire.

Maybe the answer is not to check out but to check in with yourself, use your wisdom and be courageous enough to set clear boundaries so that Christmas is not only what you desire it to be, but what it was always meant to be.

For me, going home has always caused me a bit of anxiety, there are always a lot of people that want my time, and my time is limited so it can cause a great deal of stress. I sensed that my kids were feeling some of that familiar anxiety around the topic as well so we sat down and had a little chat as a family and discussed some clear boundaries.

We realize that we are responsible for our own experience at Christmas and this is an important trip home for us, we will be seeing some of our loved ones for the first time since Kirk passed away and we are prepared for tears and healing. However, we have spent the past several months working extremely hard on our own personal healing journeys and well-being and we want to continue to do the next best thing to continue on that path to wellness.  We have given ourselves permission to avoid or back away from situations that have the potential to rob us of our peace of mind.

In the past our instinct would have been to tolerate situations as they arose as not to hurt or offend anyone but we decided as a family to not over promise or over complicate and to do as much or as little as we want to depending upon or own needs. This may seem selfish but it is actually self care.  Sometimes silent tolerance makes a complex situation much worse and can quickly steal the joy that the holidays are meant to bring.

The most important gifts will not take up a great deal of room in our suitcases. We are bringing love, friendship and memories with us; to share with the special people in our lives. We may not come dragging a red sack of full of colorfully wrapped good intentions but our hearts will be abundant with Christmas spirit. Whenever I feel stress creeping in I am going to ask myself “How can I simplify this?” After all, peace and simplicity go hand in hand.

Today I surprisingly found myself  dressed in red and humming Christmas carols. This has been a tough year, I never imagined making it through a day without Kirk and the thought of facing Christmas without him is not something I was able to think about but I am finding myself feeling grateful for the memories we shared as a family and holding those close in my heart.

I find myself imagining the smell of my mothers Christmas baking, the laughter of my granddaughters, the joy when the girls get to see their brother and the good natured ribbing I will get from my own brothers. I am looking forward to sharing a great big hug with my sister in law and telling funny stories and toasting Kirk with my mother in law. I am going to sink into the comfort of my parents and do my best to steal some moments with important friends.

The best we can be expected to do at any given moment is the next best thing, and the I believe the next best thing for us is to bring the all the love and joy to Christmas that money cannot buy because this will be one of our most important Christmas’s.  I truly believe that the way we choose to celebrate it and to honor Kirk will make a huge difference in our lives going forward.

 

A couple of tips to simplify your Christmas

  1. Focus on what the Holiday means to you. What do you like most about the season and what do you like the least? Look at ways that you can have more of what brings you joy and eliminate that which brings you stress.
  2. Simplify gift giving. Gift giving has gone way beyond its intention and we are spending more money and putting in less thought. Remember that gifts are not always necessary; sometimes the greatest gift we can give is our time. I like the idea of a gift exchange in families where you can draw names and focus on one special gift for someone important to you instead of spending a lot of unnecessary time and money just because. Decide what works for you personally and do that.
  3. Make a list and break it in three. Make a list of everything you want to get done and put it under three headers, Must do, possibly and bonus. Do the things you must do first, add what you can from the possibly list and the bonus list is nice but not at all a necessity. Set a budget for food, gifts and decor and stick to it so that Christmas bills do not follow you into the New Year.
  4. Recall a good Christmas memory that makes you smile, think about how it makes you feel and why. Keep that gratitude in your heart and bring it into your holiday celebrations.
  5. It is your experience, you do not have to go to every party or follow traditions that no longer suit you. It is OK to have quiet time with your family in front of the fire, it is OK to retire old worn out traditions and it is OK to make new ones. The only rule should be that whatever you do is based in love and the spirit of the season.

 

I’ll be home for Christmas and not just in my dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treat your skin to some Holiday Cheer

Holiday treat for your skin
Holiday treat for your skin

Hi There,

After over a year hiatus I am back!!

It’s that time of year that we are all getting ready for Christmas parties, visitors and special times with our family. If you are like me your skin suffers the elements more this time of year, not to mention the stress, lack of sleep and indulgence of  yummy food and holiday cocktails.

I had a break out last week that was lingering and taunting me. I have my husbands Christmas Party Friday so I was looking for a quick fix and I found one that you are going to love!!

What You’ll Need:

• 1 cup brewed green tea
• 1/4 teaspoon vodka (for the toner)

 

2 oz Vodka with ice and Cranberry/Cherry Juice for you (fancy cup)

• cotton ball for application

Directions: 

1. Brew one cup of green tea
2. Add vodka
3. Dip cotton ball in mixture and apply to skin

4. Celebrate with Vodka Christmas cocktail because you have done something great for your skin.

Vodka contains the alcohol ethanol, which when applied to skin, makes your skin feel tight, firm and refreshed. My vodka was in the freezer and felt so refreshing on my skin. This easy-to-make toner removes excess oil and dirt from the skin, leaving you feeling invigorated. Take care, however, not to add too much alcohol, as it can dry out your skin.

The above recipe, minus the booze treat for you comes from Hollywood Beauty Expert Kym Douglas and can be found in her book Bliss Happens. If you are serious about transforming your life and having a beauty, health and happiness routine that works for you and your family…on a budget no less, check it out! (Great Christmas Gift)

I use the luminescence serum from Jeunesse Global and it seems to be one of the few things that combats my angry Rosacea flare-ups without making it worse. Other than that I have found that products that I have in my kitchen are the very best treat for my skin. I apply organic virgin coconut oil right to my skin and if you are looking for a skin mask that will calm your skin try my favorite.

Silent Night Oatmeal Face Mask

3 tablespoons of ground outs (you can grind in a coffee grinder), mix with a 1 tablespoon of  very hot water to soften, add 1 Tablespoon of honey.

The above can go on your skin as is or you can add:

  • Instead of using hot water, use 1 tablespoon of cold milk.
  • You can also use 1 tablespoon of chamomile tea instead of water.
  • Add a few mashed up banana slices to the oats.
  • Consider adding a few drops of almond oil or a teaspoon of coconut oil
  • Replace the water with 1 tablespoon of olive oil instead, for a more nourishing mask.
  • if you are experiencing redness or acne I would suggest using a tsp. of turmeric, tea tree oil or lemon juice.

Did you know?

  • Oats act as a natural cleanser and have both exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties.[3]
  • Honey has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which make it great for managing acne and blackheads.[4]
  • Lemons have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which makes them great for managing acne and blackheads. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic.[5]
  • Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and toner.
  • Turmeric contains a photochemical called curcumin, which can benefit the body, both inside and out.

    Turmeric mask works for acne and eczema. It reduces inflammation and redness, and promotes skin healing. Due to turmeric’s antioxidant properties, it has been used for skin rejuvenation. It helps softening lines and wrinkles, giving the face a more youthful appearance. It is also effective with rosacea – a chronic skin condition that is characterized by redness and pimples. It eases the redness and treats this disease.

 

Have a wonderful holiday season and don’t forget to treat your skin!!

If you were following me on Twitter I cannot access my old account but you can join me @girltuesday74

HIBERNATION

Photo Credit McQueen Photography https://www.facebook.com/pages/McQueen-Photography/164760966993552?ref=br_tf
Photo Credit McQueen Photography
https://www.facebook.com/pages/McQueen-Photography/164760966993552?ref=br_tf

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and rang in a rockin New Year with those you love. My Christmas was very quiet, spent just with family. I had a couple of moments where I was very homesick for our family and friends in Nova Scotia, especially upon hearing some bad news from home but when I take a second to reflect I am always reminded of how incredibly blessed I am.

I have been absentee on here throughout the holidays to give my family my full attention. We have basically been hibernating. Late nights, late mornings, lots of movies, board games, card games. A whole bunch of togetherness!! Just the act of providing my family with three meals a day, cleaning up after those meals and laundering my families clothes seems to take up a great deal of time. The sleeping in may sound blissful but truthfully I am just trying desperately to sneak some shut eye in in between fighting for blankets and bed space. With hubby working away most of the time we are both very used to sleeping on our own. Most of the year we spend four solid days together at best and then he is gone for ten. Both of us are very used to our own space. I feel I adapt fairly well and respectfully to the addition of the extra body in my bed but it has been over three weeks now and in the wee hours of the morning while the moon hung low and the sun had not yet kissed the winter sky I woke to shots in the rib. I have no idea what my husband was dreaming of but he was lightly punching me in the ribs. I managed to roll him over but woke awhile later to an elbow in my face. He was spread eagled with his arms behind his head like he was lazily tanning on a beach hammock. He looked so adorably relaxed I settled myself onto a very small fraction of the bed, hugging the side so that I didn’t fall off. I dozed off once again and woke freezing. Hubby had all of the blankets wrapped around him tight and was snuggled in like a mummy. This is how I have been sleeping for weeks, here and there!

I came down the stairs to make coffee the other morning and found soil from my Mandevilla Vine all over the floor. It has started to dry up recently and I caught my cat in getting in it one day right in front of me. Today after seeing the soil all over the floor I inspected the plant to find that my cat has been using it as her personal potty. Unwilling to give up on a living thing I cut out the roots, disposed of the soil and I am soaking the roots to see if I can salvage them! My family thinks I am crazy. On top of this my allergic reactions to my cat are getting more severe so in turn she takes every opportunity to rub up against me and wrap herself around my neck with no regard to my swelled up eyes and congestion.

Our 9 year old Haley has been having Crazy eight tournaments with us in the garage. Her and I can not seem to win but if the mood strikes us we will keep playing till 4 am….NEVER GIVE UP!! I have great memories of playing cards with my parents growing up and I want to share that with my children but so far only Haley is interested. Morgan is fourteen so therefore not very interested in us at all!

We even did some Telus Christmas karaoke over the Holidays. I learned that after a couple of glasses of red wine I can do a pretty good rendition of Patsy Cline. Please note my standards are low and I am tone deaf.

As you can see nothing too exciting is happening and my brain is mash potato mush. I wanted to thank all of you for continuing to stop by during my hiatus and when my Staycation is over I will be back, I promise.

I figure by now most of you have sobered up and decided that your New Years resolutions were little more then drunk talk. I was stone cold sober on NYE so therefore I didn’t make a bunch of grand New Years resolutions. Too much pressure 😉

I am just going to fly by the seat of my pants. Welcome 2014, let’s have a fantastic year together!

You’re Going to Miss This!

I am sitting here on this frigid and snowy winter night thinking how quickly the moments of your life sail by and all the things you wished away that now you would give anything to have back. When you are five you want to be ten and at ten you just want to be a teenager and when you become a teen you can’t wait to become an adult. Then it happens, you legally become an adult and you just want to be a kid, you want to have the freedom to make your own choices but none of the adult responsibilities that come along with that.

Your parents inevitably told you to be careful what you wish for, they told you how quick it would pass by and how you would long to have the time back. What did they know? Old fogies! THEY KNEW EVERYTHING!

I remember how on Holidays and Sunday dinners at my grandmothers they always had a kid table set up. I sat with my brothers and cousins eating my turkey dinner all young ladylike while Mike played hide the boogie in Gerry’s mashed potatoes and Gerry fell for every tall tale and dare my cousin Billy laid out on the table and then some. In the blink of eye and without any fanfare we graduated to the adult table. Apparently you get to be an adult at a certain age even if you are still putting peas up your nose and engaging in eating contests.

Over the years we thought of those missing from the dinner table, those we had lost to life’s cruel fate and those who were enjoying their own family dinners miles and miles away. Some of us had our own young families now, taking their place at the kids table where we once sat.

As the world turns and it continually does, life as we know it changes so quickly but one thing will always remain the same. The moments that at the time may seem like nothing special or out of the ordinary are the moments that we would do anything to have back.

Christmas at my Grandmothers house is the one thing that will always come to mind during the holidays. My mother comes from such a close-knit and special family. The thing I like the most is that they never save their affection for the holidays. It is there all year-long and they make a constant effort to be together, even now. The Holidays always felt extra special because we were dressed in our good clothes and we were told to be on our best behavior (some of us must have been deaf) and there was even more food then usual!

Christmas can be a stressful time of year for people, mostly because people have long ago forgotten why we have Christmas and it has become so commercialized that we break the bank trying to give everyone the perfect gift when the very best thing we can give to the people we love is our time. It is the one thing we always wish we had more of, time with our loved ones. So I say that this Christmas though I cannot see my family know that the most precious thing that I have ever gotten from you is the time we spent together, the laughs we shared and the memories we made. Know that a simple phone call, letter (or text if you are so inclined) means more to me then any gift possibly could.

Merry Christmas and enjoy this special time with your loved ones and if they are far away or not with you any longer give thanks for the time you shared.

Love Michelle xo