Taking Stock

On the Trail
Walking the Black Rock Beach trail, Big Talbot Island, Christmas morning 2012
Happy New Year to you, friends.  I've not posted as much as I normally do these past couple months as the world's just been moving a bit too quickly!  As I think back on the year, I reflect upon a year that's been a bit challenging.  I've worked through continuing struggles at work, and our college has been in crisis for about six months.  The college will come through it as it always does, but times like these definitely make you take a closer look at what you are doing and determine whether or not its feeding your soul like it should. If I could make a change, I would, but I'm not quite there yet so I'll work to find peace in my workdays. 

I've also worked through struggles with extended family issues that I imagine will be ongoing for a while.  I've not shared those here, and I won't share the details, but they've brought hurt that cuts deeply.  In all, I think the year can be summed up in the month of December.  December has been a tough month for me since I lost my mom, but this year I think it hit me a bit harder.  I turned 47 this December, and for some reason, 47 feels incredibly older than 46, mentally at least.  Physically, I still feel like I'm in my 30's, and I'm grateful for my good health.  Typically I post on my birthday, but I didn't this year as my birthday fell on the second day of Market Days, leaving me no time to write.  But I guess I sort of just let it pass without a mention because I didn't want to accept being 47.  December brings the anniversary of my mom's death, and I miss my mom most on my birthday. I lost her 13 years ago December 27.  But this year, I also remembered that exactly three years later, on the third anniversary of her death, I learned I was pregnant with the two incredible little redheads that now bless my life daily. That little bit of God's magic has never been lost on me, but it spoke more loudly to me this week. My girls are forever my bright spot, as is my husband, who keeps us all sane and grounded.

So this week, I have been taking stock...taking stock of what 2012 has brought me and what changes I hope to make in 2013.  I want to work less and play more, or at least feel like I'm playing more when I'm working.  I've lost that sense of play I used to enjoy on the job, so if I can't recapture it there (giving it my best shot!), I want to recapture it in other ways. Spending time with my shelter pups has been a blessing in that area this year. I want to spend more time in the woods, like on the trail above. God's nature is my church, and due to my knee surgery, I haven't spent enough time in it this year. A walk on a trail with my camera in my hand feeds my soul.  I also want to slow down; it's so true that time truly moves more quickly as you get older.  So I want to slow down and mindfully breathe in the magic that I know happens around me every single day  if I would just take more time to fully soak it in. And I want to remember it. I want to remember all those little bits of magic that make up the minutiae of every day life happening right before my eyes.  It's those every day moments that make life the masterpiece it is.

Let's not take them for granted, those everyday moments. Let's find time to play, slow down, and take long walks on green trails.  And let's write it all down. So we can remember it all.  That's what I plan to do.  You with me?  I wish you the best of dreams in 2013. 


Happy Christmas from Us to You...

Christmas 2012-72

With Christmas day just a short 36 hours away, I wanted to take a moment to wish you a very merry Christmas. It seems that at times saying "Merry Christmas" has become a bad thing to those who wish to be "politically correct," but I'm not going to buy into that. I wish you the best of times in whatever way you choose to celebrate this season, and in this house that's the birth of Christ and Christmas.
buckeye hands
These days for us mean sharing special times with family, making traditional Christmas goodies (there is a reason I only make Buckeyes at Christmas time)....
Bouncing Livvie 2012-72
...and having a little Christmas fun. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family...and that you remember the reason for the season. As Dr. Suess said:
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”  

Making and Going and Doing and Baking

Custom Mother's Bracelets

This time of year, I get quite a few custom orders for mother's bracelets. I enjoy making these because they take me back to my jewelry roots. The very first jewelry piece I created was a mother's bracelet for myself. I still wear it regularly!

Speaking of those two little girls that prompted my foray into jewelry design, we've been home all week enjoying the Christmas break.  Let me tell you, I love these girls, but they sure can wear a mama out!   We have been non-stop going and doing...bike rides, walks, meeting friends for lunch, last minute shopping trips, and today we are baking.  The girls have even made Christmas presents for each other with their own jewelry designs.  There's one under the tree for me from Olivia too!  Her creating that was actually quite funny.  They both do fine coming up with designs, but they haven't mastered adding crimp beads and attaching the clasp.  So once Olivia finished my necklace, she realized I had to help her put the clasp on.  That was quite the task, not really being able to look at it!  We'll see how I did blinded when I open it on Christmas morning! 

I hope you are enjoying your holiday season!   

Furry Face of the Week: Meet Storm


Hello! How are you!? I'm still here! Hope you are too! Things have been incredibly hectic around the Happy Shack, juggling end of term responsibilities at work and getting ready for Christmas with two little ones.  I'm still managing to make it by the shelter almost weekly, as these sweet furry faces lower my stress level dramatically.  Sometimes you really need that, don't you!?

This is Storm, a very sweet lab mix new to the shelter.  Happy face, isn't it?  We had a huge adoption event at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds the first weekend in December (while I was at Market Days), and every single cat and dog at the shelter where I volunteer either went to a new home or to a rescue organization.  Yay!  More than 850 dogs and cats were adopted that weekend. Remember: adopt, don't shop!  Find your new best friend at your nearest animal shelter, not a pet store.  I hope you are enjoying your holiday season! 

December Free Bling!

red daisy pendant

Time for my monthly Free Bling Friday giveaway! Random.org picked comment number 13 as the winner of my November Free Bling, so congratulations to Meagan from Spencer, North Carolina!

For December, let's do a little holiday red combined with something to warm up a cold day.  Here is my Red Daisy photo as a 1" glass tile pendant.  To be eligible to win, simply visit either of my Etsy shops (here for jewelry and here for photography) and leave a comment in the comment box below with the link to your favorite piece, your location, and a way to reach you by midnight January 3. Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, January 4.

Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Click here to sign up for free weekly email updates or subscribe in the reader of your choice over there in the right column. And be sure to like my Facebook page for specials. Thanks for stopping in! Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.