Free flowers and bourbon…

 

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December descended upon me and the first flakes of snow surprised my upturned face, and I began to hope for a very snow-filled holiday. While spending time over some very good bourbon with my husband, we began deciding where to travel next, but for now I’m happily tucked away at home, buzzing with energy and happiness. Is it the hot coffee I cradle each morning or the excitement of the season? Do you feel caught up in the fun? Are you merrily preparing for Christmas or Hanukkah?

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I’m back on a happiness hunt and finding it so many places my head spins round. I found these gorgeous flowers at the store and half of them were thrust in a shopping cart labeled “free”, and I grabbed the gift. It’s not about presents but about being fully present in the moments that make our days happy. My daughter came over and made a gingerbread house while I played with my free flowers.

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Have you noticed it’s the small things that bring us happiness? I love Snoopy and always have, and after the dog decided to ravage him last year, I replaced him and he sits, lovably, with all my bears. Small thing, discovering this Snoopy at the grocery store. (I know! My grocery store sells the most interesting things and I love it.) I’m creating a teddy bears’ picnic under one tree and sweet Snoopy crashed their party. I’m happy fussing with my trees and their themes. So…what’s your small bit of happiness today?

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These pretty pillows add to the Christmassy feeling. I know one of the guys in our family is going to comment on the impracticality of a pillow with jewels attached, but I’m on a tartan plaid hunt, and the reds are luscious. Everyone on my list is getting tartan flannel pajamas, and the reds turned my head. Red feels warm and this cold weather has me reaching for anything that brings warmth and beauty and comfort.

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These flowers look beautiful. And I have a few more secrets to share…

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This luxurious Advent calendar sits under my “main” tree and every day, after I’ve spent time reading and sipping hot coffee, I open another day and find a pretty treat. I’ll take these little treasures on trips since they’re perfect for packing on a flight. It’s a small bit of happiness, I know. But sometimes that’s all we need.

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I’m trying to enjoy each day. My cat thinks the “kids” Christmas tree is his personal play land and climbs the branches, batting at the “toys” hanging so deliciously. For him (or so he believes). I know it’s not his tree, really. But watching him enjoy Christmas makes me think how we need to find happiness today. Grab a book and head for a quiet spot. Watch those Hallmark movies. Head outside and embrace that cold and the skies that are the color of snow. ┬áIce skate again. Hike. Sit indoors with a little bit of bourbon and watch Netflix.

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Make this your happiest holiday ever. I’m wishing you skies full of snow and a basket of free flowers for the taking. Until next time…

comfy chairs and old cupboards…

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I wish you could sit down and visit over tea or espresso or a gin and tonic. I have a spot all ready for you and the sun is shining on the pillows and I’m sure the room is warm enough. But…I know you have grocery shopping to do (by the way, it is crazy out there) or a full Thanksgiving dinner to plan. Maybe you’ll be traveling? Plotting out your Black Friday shopping strategy? Me? I’m looking for slivers of happiness everywhere I look and I’m storing them up for you.

The last of the leaves changed this week. Well, I do have one recalcitrant flowering pear tree that simply won’t budge and remains green. That way I can rake leaves while I put up the Christmas lights. But do you see that gorgeous maple with the pale blue of November hiding behind it? I so love every season. Maybe you can look up at the sky in wonder this week. Take some time for you.

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See? I have a chair waiting for you. We can swap funny Thanksgiving stories or chat about the latest movies. I went to a comedy with my daughter last night and couldn’t stop laughing. And I am a die hard, this has to be a drama or action movie please. But I went to the one she really wanted to see and after the bad week she had, I couldn’t say no. Add that to ways to be happy… Do something with family or friends that means a lot to them. So you don’t want to play a game after stuffing yourself with turkey and green bean casserole? Try it! Play the game. Take a walk under the temperamental trees that might be singing with howling winds. Your hair will be a mess, but you won’t be.

It really is the little things that make us happy. Turning the thermostat higher. Piling blankets on top of your bed and then getting in and waiting for the sheets to warm up and when they do…so toasty and warm. Or making pies from scratch? I don’t love cooking but baking? Oh my, yes! I once lived in an apartment and two sisters in their ’70’s lived above me, and when I baked, I took my slices of cake or pans of triple chocolate brownies up to them. They seemed happy with my offerings. Those old ladies might have tossed my gifts in the trash for all I know, but we spent some time chatting since they were unable to get out much. They were hungrier for words than for blueberry muffins. Gifts given and time spent on others is wonderful.

Taking time for ourselves is a gift. Get a massage. Pedicure. Shop for you. Do yoga.

Maybe we can find a balance. I know it will be difficult but you can do it. When I had babies at home and started feeling trapped, my husband would watch the kiddos and I ventured out into the evening. Just taking 30 minutes to do that? Wow! A gift. I came home smelling vaguely of wood smoke, dead leaves and fresh night air, and I felt new again and not quite as drained. I also peeked into gardens and houses and got ideas on how to decorate. We didn’t have Pinterest or Insta or much back then. And that makes me happy too. Unplugging. Please try to keep your phone away this Thursday. Even if it’s just for dinner. You will LOVE it. Unless you’re supposed to pick up Uncle Harvey from the airport. Then the whole unplugged thing won’t work.

 

I wish you could be here, next to this antique corner cupboard that we transformed into a bar area. And now that we have a farm, aka The Rustic Country Cottage, my husband took up drinking bourbon. It’s not like it’s his new job, but he decided to learn how to enjoy the stuff. Me? One taste and I was back drinking my gin. Or Starbucks, but they don’t have that within 40 minutes of our farm.

Surrounding myself with furniture that is a bit older than I am makes me happy. I wonder who made this cupboard and how did they use it. Maybe they stored up moonshine in it during prohibition? Maybe it was meant for pies and vanilla cakes with sugar frosting?

Well, evening is here and even though my Thanksgiving grocery shopping is finished, I still have a few things to do. That periwinkle blue sky is telling me to light the candles and maybe set a fire in the fireplace. And I think I’m going to sip my tea while I work on my other projects.

I hope your soul is filled to the brim with good stuff. Try to enjoy Thanksgiving and don’t rush off to shop unless that’s your thing (I am waiting until midnight, so then it’s not technically Thanksgiving). Get your mom to tell you some stories. Or your kids! Mine remember the funniest and most awful things about me. Well, we take the good with the bad, don’t we? And after Thanksgiving, let’s take our time decorating. I know. I have 6 trees that I put up every year and a real one too. But, if we maybe only put up one tree? Maybe we’ll have more time to bake, and then give away the cookies that actually made it into the oven.

Enjoy this week. Savor the food. Buy yourself a bunch of flowers. Instant happiness.

Why do I remember the stories at the end? I saw Bad Mom’s Christmas with my grown up daughter and we laughed so hard. And then I confessed that I would go out and buy myself some Christmas gifts that I really liked and knew no one would ever get me. I have about 40 candles, but I want more! And the same thing with my coffee beans. So under the tree, I had small gifts from me, to me. And my girl wondered about that all these years and the movie pretty much covered why I did that kind of thing. My husband loves buying me jewelry, sweet man! But if I want sweater or a candle, it has to come from me. Mama was happy every Christmas morning, even if it was 7:00 am.

Well, let’s focus on this week. This holiday. Enjoy it. Knee deep in gravy and sweet potato casserole with pecans and marshmallows.

Happy Thanksgiving sweet friend!

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