Friday, November 30, 2012

All I want for Christmas...

All my Christmas gifts are wrapped and ready to go...and under the tree. And, though it may seem impossible, I haven't done any Christmas shopping. Yes, I have gifts for every single person in my family...AND they are fun, thoughtful and personal (if I may say so myself), but I haven't PURCHASED anything at all.

This year, as we have the last few Christmases, the DiLallo family has decided to do the "Make it, bake it, write it, paint it, or re-gift it" Christmas exchange.
It's been quite a hit the last several years...for many reasons:

First off--none of us is in a financial position to go out and buy gifts for every person in our (rather large) family. This also takes away the pressure to spend money we don't have or to charge up credit cards and pay for things through the next year!
Secondly, and gratefully, NONE of us needs ANYTHING at all. We are all very fortunate to have all that we "NEED."
Thirdly, we all have too much already. Seriously. It's time to start giving things away. It feels good, frees up space and allows someone else to enjoy the things we don't necessarily require anymore. (If you don't know the JOY--the FREEDOM--of giving things away--of lightening your load--call me today and we'll talk! It's FABULOUS!)
Most importantly through this, the gifts become much more personal. They are thoughtful and meaningful. They are hand made or home baked or personally chosen for each person. You feel more of a sense of 'giving' when you know that what you give each person could not be given to anyone else. It's actually a good feeling to know that my belongings are now in the good hands of someone who will appreciate and love on them! Silly as it may sound, it's nice to know that things are being USED, WORN, WATCHED, LOVED...not just 'collected' and 'stored' and 'stacked' in my home. 

For me, because I am not necessarily crafty or creative,  I go shopping in my own home for everyone's gifts. I have SO much (yes, still!) and as we do this year after year, I have begun to take notes when people are in my home! When they mention they like something or need something that I have, I wrap it up as soon as they leave and check off another gift for Christmas! I am also fortunate to receive many gifts from guests in my job. Books, DVDs, clothing, notebooks...even perfumes and toiletries! Rather than stop at the Goodwill with these items (as I used to do for years!) I have stored all of these 'treasures' in a trunk in my living room!  It has made for AMAZING 'no shopping' shopping for Christmas (and birthday) gifts!

As I explained to my 12 year old niece the other night, the best part about this gift exchange is that it absolutely puts the JOY back in the giving. It's exciting to see what you can come up with! You get to be creative! Clever! Resourceful!
And everything is SO much more special for the receiver!
On top of it all, you absolutely don't have to spend a dime--and you can get a head start on your New Year's Resolution to clear out your home.

If you're wondering what you could give me for Christmas, please know that, honestly, all I want for Christmas is you. Come over and join me on my sweet comfy couch or out on my peaceful little balcony. I'll make a pot of coffee and we can share a donut or two. Maybe even some bacon.
Or I can open a bottle of wine or bake up some cookies...
I'll thoroughly be enjoying the present.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Sweet Lu!

Wishing you the BEST day, the BEST year, the MOST love and SO MUCH happiness!!
You BRIGHTEN my world!

Friday, November 23, 2012

When it's time to change, then it's time to change...

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.  ~Pauline R. Kezer

 When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.  ~Victor Frankl

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me.  ~Unknown

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

 Ten things I am OH so thankful for...
  1. My best friend--the happiest, most beautiful and incredible man on Earth. He makes me smile and laugh--constantly!
  2. My phenomenal circle of close friends--all of whom know the real me and like me anyway! I LOVE these people!
  3. My magnificent children. They have made me happy and OH SO proud as they have become intelligent, amazing, successful and completely independent adults!
  4. My lovely, comfortable, warm and cozy home. I will once again host 15 people for a sit down dinner here on Friday night. Despite being just under 1000 square feet, it has become the happiness-filled celebration gathering place of friends and family! And it's paid for.
  5. My practically perfect 2006 Volkswagen. Much like me, it looks pretty good for it's age and keeps on running! And it's paid for.
  6. A job where I am fully able to use my gifts and talents and abilities to make others happy! I am THANKED all day long. I help people! I make them successful! I am OH so fortunate to be able to make a living doing something that I love.
  7. The passionate, hardworking, happy and loving people I work with! It is SERIOUSLY a joy to come to work and be hugged and greeted and appreciated by these wonderful people--many of whom have second and third jobs on top of working at the hotel. I am PROUD to be part of this hard working team!
  8. My family--most of whom will be here on Friday--parents, sisters, nieces and nephews. Life is kept exciting with a big family around. There is ALWAYS something to celebrate!
  9. My health which is FAR better today than it was 10 years ago! I am strong and feel good and am full of vitality and OH what stamina. And I look practically OK!
  10. A good life. A GREAT life! A FULL life. A life that OVERFLOWS with love and friendship and travel and happiness and adventure and rest and JOY and PEACE and HOPE! 
Today, I consider myself the luckiest girl on the face of the earth.

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 19, 2012

49 and a half--today

 This is what I looked like in November of 2002. 
Six months before I turned 40.

 This is what I look like today--November 2012.
Six months before I turn 50.
I think it's going to be ok...

PS The differences on the outside are nothing compared to the amazing differences on the inside.