What’s in a Word?

Have you seen the New Year’s resolution idea of picking a word, just one word, to focus on in 2018? Maybe mine should be “procrastinate” since I’m two weeks into the New Year and just writing this blog? At this time in January, many who make resolutions have already cheated on the diet plan, skipped the gym a few times, or drank far short the daily ounces of water.  Well, I intentionally held off for a couple weeks before even thinking about a resolution so that I wouldn’t be a January statistic. That’s the story I’m sticking with, if anyone asks, and because I really don’t want the word “procrastinate” to be my one word for 2018!

Picking one word is tough! It makes me think of church around Thanksgiving when everyone is encouraged to stand and say, “I’m thankful for _________.”  I never have the courage to stand, first of all.  As I contemplate my answer, I have difficulty picking just one thing to say.  I feel like if I do choose one, I’m ranking my thankfulness or prioritizing my blessings.  I don’t like doing that! I have so MANY blessings and so much for which to be thankful.  They’re all equal in my heart.  So, “I’m thankful for the choice not to stand.

I have so MANY words I focus on regularly, each with its own meaning, dear to my heart, and “unrankable” in my mind.  A few from around the house:

 

I like words! I read them. I sing them (not publicly).  I speak them.  I type them.  I also unscramble them daily with Jumble in my local newspaper.  Have you ever done the Quote Cryptogram or Cryptoquip – letters are substituted for others to complete quotes or text?  These are some of my favorite newspaper word puzzles.

I’m interested in seeing what one word you would choose.  Why did you choose it?  Does it motivate you or inspire you? Does it remind you to do something each day? Is it a word that requires action or expresses emotion?  Does it make you smile or remember someone special? Is it something you need to focus on in the upcoming year?

While I was finding word pictures from around the house for this blog, I came across a stone in my jewelry box.  I’m sure it was presented to me as a reminder, a souvenir from a lecture or an inspirational speech. Unfortunately, I don’t recall from where I got it or who gave it to me.  My memory challenges me at times.  Engraved upon the stone is a word, one I need in my life right now.  I’m thankful for the recent procrastination that afforded me the opportunity to find it.  I choose this word for my one word in 2018:

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It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.  – Philip Green

Why?!?

The big W.H.Y. question.  You hear it over and over when the kids are small.  Their curious minds or their way of annoyance?  Come on, y’all think this at times, too.  Parents, be honest.  How many times can a child ask “why?” before you get tired and say things like: “because that’s the way it is,” or “just because,” or the default, all-time-go-to, favorite . . .”because I said so.”

Well, the kids are grown and have children of their own now.  Not all of the grandchildren are old enough yet to ask the endless “why” questions.  Their time will come, and I will continue to answer them all without tiring.  Why?!?  Because that’s what grandparents do!

I am thinking about the childhood “why?” colloquies because I’ve been asked that little, but powerful, one-word question numerous times since we made the move back to Pennsylvania this past summer.

When we run into people we haven’t seen in a while (or share our story with new acquaintances), the brief greeting usually goes something like this:

“Hi! How have you been?  Are you visiting?”
“Not visiting. We just recently moved back to the area.”
“Oh, from where?”
“We lived in Myrtle Beach.”
(blank stare) And guess what the next question is . . . Why?!?

I know, many people dream of retiring and moving to someplace warm, preferably near a beach, somewhere they’ve vacationed each summer and vow to move to as soon as they can, or become “snow birds” during the cold wintry months up north and go south to wear flip-flops every day,  etc., etc.  I get it!

We did it.  We sent the last son off to college, emptied the next, and moved to the beach. It was fun.  It was an adventure. It was warm (actually hot in the summer). And, it had no snow (well, there were a few inches that one February, and a dusting another January) and winters were rarely COLD, at least not for very long.  We enjoyed living at the beach.

I was missing something, however.  It took me a decade of gradually longer bouts of sadness after visits back home with family to figure out that, though it was warm, life was void of the fuzzy.  Please don’t misunderstand.  We made new friends. Some still very close to my heart and I truly miss.  We were blessed with opportunities to enjoy the beach almost daily, to be weekend tourists, to engage in our community, to run and play softball all year round, to wear open-toed shoes and shorts when our Pennsylvania family was bundled up in boots and coats, and to make the 5-minute drive to the airport to fly north for visits several times a year.  I miss those things and the people who were part of our life at the beach.  So again, you ask…. WHY?!?

This is W – welcome   H –  home    Y –  yinz 
(EDIT: I was advised to say “yinz” now that we’re back in the ‘burgh.)

We are finally all together!!

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Let’s Get Real

It’s that time of year. I try to focus on one holiday at a time, but the retail stores make it difficult when the “seasonal” aisle is mixed with the orange and black of Halloween, the browns, yellows and reds of “fall” – with a rare turkey or pilgrim for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday, by the way!) – and the festive “everything Christmas!” decorations.

Let’s get real….do people really start buying decorations for Christmas in October?

We have an unspoken rule in our house:  no Christmas anything until the day after Thanksgiving! When you have a whole week in November because the fourth Thursday falls that way, I’m tempted to tune into the “Christmas Stream” on my favorite radio station (because I really LOVE Christmas music!), but . . . it’s still November.  I actually made up the rule for my own sanity, by the way, but I just don’t want to start too early.

Let’s get real….shouldn’t October be for Halloween, November for Thanksgiving, and December for Christmas?

I like change…yes, I said that. I know change can be tough on some, but change can be good, too.  I look at “change” as “opportunity”…you can redecorate!  See how I kept that not too deep and on focus here?  I do tend to change focus when I’m writing (or thinking, or talking), I know.  My point is: each season brings a reason for change.  The weather changes. Our clothes change. And our decorations should, too.

Let’s get real…do you really want to see ghosts and goblins or Frosty the Snowman in April?

It’s December. On one hand, I can’t believe it! Time goes by so quickly. On the other hand, it’s Christmas decorating time!  Let me remind you, who have not followed until recently:  We have spent the last 13 years away from our Pittsburgh roots.  Most years, we came back to PA for Christmas. I didn’t spend much time putting up decorations for the holiday when we weren’t going to be there to enjoy them.  I did put a wreath on the door, but stockings were not hung by the (electric) chimney with care, and we did not put up a tree (unless you count the few lights and ornaments I haphazardly hung on the artificial palm tree in the corner of the living room?)  So, here we are home again, and I want to decorate! We downsized (again) and the question was:  Where do we put a tree?  We just finally got settled after moving, unpacking, and arranging furniture several times.  Now I needed to rearrange to accommodate a Christmas tree?

Let’s get real….Yes!  I said, “I want a real tree!” And, not a pre-cut tree or an artificial tree (even though some look really real now – it’s amazing!)

In our Christmases past, we would go to the local tree farm to cut down our own tree. They have saws, twine, and people to help you, if you need them.  We would dress for the weather (mostly snowy and cold) and head out on this holiday adventure of finding the “perfect” tree.  I learned over those years that my vision of “perfect” was quite different from my husband’s.  I wanted soft needles, lots of branches for ornaments to hang (not lay), and just tall enough that putting the angel on top required some acrobatic effort or a lift of a child at a safe height.  I was willing to hike into the depths of the farm to find it.  My husband saw the first tree that looked about the right height and thought if you turned the bare side to the wall, no one will see it anyway.  Go big, cut short, turn, and adjust decorations – perfect!  I came to understand that it wasn’t the tree that he envisioned, it was the warmth of the inside; and the sooner, the better.

Let’s get real…who moves from a warm beach town back to snowy Pittsburgh?

We do. We did. And it’s Christmastime in the city – Pittsburgh!  Ring-a-ling!  Soon it will be Christmas day!  My husband understands the importance of being home (it’s where my heart is), and he understands the importance of traditions (tree cutting, even when it’s cold), and he understands the adventure of this life we do together (he cuts, and I decorate), and he does it all because…

Let’s get real…he LOVES me! We are “blended and happy” through all the seasons.

Merry Christmas!
And may all your wishes be REAL!

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