V.A.C.#11- Dear Santa

Good late evening Travellers,

I have just had a Christmas miracle!! Or at least from my perspective…I have just discovered how to get blueberry stains out of clothes thanks to Epicurious…Let me back up, I bought myself this fabulous pink hoodie on a substantial sale from the Gap for Christmas. It’s the men’s style, in a size small, it fits like no other hoodie I have known..Truly, I am so very fond of said hoodie, poetry could written about this hoodie, you should go get yourself five…

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V.A.C.#10- Read ‘em & weep

Happy one day closer to your weekend Travellers,

Here’s one for the sentimental nostalgic souls out there…Little door #10 of our virtual Advent calendar opens to reveal a tiny little person reading a tiny little book while curled up in a blanket…

And before you think, just read a book? That’s all you got today?…NOPE. It’s so much better…

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V.A.C. #9- Let them Eat Soup

Good evening Travellers,

My my, it is brisk as f*ck outside…and I will be so glad to have my new washing machine next week because slinging a large mountain of wet laundry in and out of my car, down a flight of stairs in a precarious balancing act is not my idea of fun. Because my dryer works, so I’ve only been washing at the laundromat to save money and while that was fine on warmer days, tonight it felt like an odd obstacle Indiana Jones would have had to conquer in a far more domestic adventure…

Enough about me and my trivial winter hardships, let’s talk about opening that little door on our virtual advent calendar, and behind the little door is picture of  a tiny bowl of soup with those little steam trail swirlys above it’s liquidy surface…nothing feels more yummy than soup on cold days. Or rainy days or just crappy days during the fall and winter months. Does it?

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V.A.C. #8- Make a list, check it more than twice

Good morning Travellers,

Oh, it is cold. So very cold suddenly…I awoke this morning bookended by pussy cats, that’s one on the left and one on the right, snuggled up to me in such a manner that I couldn’t have adjusted for my own comfort if I wanted to…but I find Joy in such moments, don’t you?

I think most of us awake in the mornings during the winter with dread, we dread going out into the bitter cold. And this time of year, there are so many things to do that require us to trudge through ice, sleet, snow, and near blizzard temperatures in order to be Merry. And what we all think is, AARGHhhhhhhh, enough!! Right? So I have a little exercise for you…

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V.A.C. #7 It’s so fluffy!!!

Good evening Travellers,

Today’s little door #7, and behind it is the image of a tiny little person snug in their bed with a little smile on their face…and you can see their tiny little feet hanging out the sides adorned in fluffy socks…

The reason for the season today is comfort. Comforting your aching souls with fluffy, soft, warmly embracing, reassuring hug, deep sigh, fuzzy comfort. I’m not sure how you’re doing this season so far, but today I’ve taken abit of nose dive. Just alone, feeling very alone looking at my wonderful tree, unsure if anyone else will see it but me and my fur kids. Trying to find validation for your life inside yourself is rather challenging somedays, isn’t it? Being on your own is both a liberating journey and super sad at times during the holidays.

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V.A.C Day #6- It takes a village

Happy Weekend Travellers,

It’s been a long one so far, too many things to do and not enough weekend, do you know what I mean? When you open today’s little door, there’s a little tiny person crowd, all smiling at you…because it takes a village of many people doing many small deeds to make this world work. Especially at Christmas time…

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V.A.C. Day 5- One word: GREEN

And I’m back Travellers,

Due to my previously mentioned wobbling, I missed a day here and I owe you another tiny little door, don’t I? Because if this was an actual Advent Calendar and you forgot a day, you’d open a second door today wouldn’t you? It’s like eating a second cookie or piece of wedding cake when no one is watching…

Behind the little door today, is a picture of a blooming Christmas cactus…in case you are unfamiliar with that plant, here are some images of mine…

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V.A.C. Day 4- Having a truly silent night

Good morning Travellers,

Last Sunday night my furnace lost consciousness, and on Monday a miraculous resuscitation was performed. BUT today, I am experiencing my greatest home owner fear fully realized. Because it was not a lasting fix, and the time has arrived for the little guy to go to the big graveyard in the sky for all the appliances we’ve loved and lost. So as I sit here typing this morning, my 22 year old furnace and 16 year old air conditioning system are being replaced. Very loudly replaced. It sounds like my house is being torn out from underneath me and then hammered back together.

And I’ve just been told I need to get my ducts cleaned as well because it apparently looks like no one has ever cleaned them before, which is another couple hundred dollars on top of the five grand I’m down with the system replacement.

Merry Christmas, Happiest Holidays!! Am I right?

I’m just sharing this story for a little perspective for all of you. I just want to let you know while I come here and write about all the wonders to be found in the season and life in general, I’m also struggling my ass off right alongside you. I’m trying REALLY HARD to not let the possible joy of this first Christmas on my own get smothered by rather the unfortunate occurrences and sentiments of life. And that’s a struggle too. Happiness is not at journey’s end, it’s a choice of how you see this world. I remind myself of that everyday. Likewise, the holidays are not a destination, but a choice of how you experience them as well. And that’s something we have to cultivate, isn’t it?

Today our little door opens to a square of darkness with a little crescent moon shining in the center, which represent silence and serenity. A true real life silent night.  I’m going to ask you to consider the value of taking an evening, possibly this evening or AT LEAST ONE EVENING in the days PRIOR TO CHRISTMAS in active silence.

The goal of this activity is to create a quiet and still environment in your home for one evening. The larger your clan, the greater the masterminding required. And possibly an even greater reward. This means no TV, no phones, no internet abled devices, no talking, no music, no sounds other than everyone breathing. It’s called serenity.

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Virtual Advent Calendar, Day 3- Nobody like a Dirty Belly Button

Happy Wednesday Travellers,

Behind todays little door would be a tiny little drawing of you in a bath wearing gloves…A bit odd I realize, but allow me to explain…

One of things I think is really important when you find yourself in a stressful period of life is self care. Simple acts of self care help lift our spirits versus neglecting your body when you already are down in the holiday dumps will only make matters worse. And showing yourself some love I think tends to help with whatever unpleasant feelings have arrived at your door this holiday season. Because no matter the thoughts and emotions you may be experiencing, they are just guests in the house of your soul. Whereas, your body is your forever vehicle in this life.

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V.A.C. #2- Put it in writing

Good morning Travellers,

Behind the little door for day #2 would be a tiny little drawing of you writing in a card. What kind of cards you ask? Holiday greeting cards…WAIT, don’t leave, hear me out..

It feels to me like our human world is slowly being stripped of all it’s tactile experiences in favor of digital ones. For example, I know the art of penmanship is something of the days of yore and people choose emails and texting as their primary  form of “written”communication. CDs, cassette tapes, and vinyl records, have largely been replaced by ITunes or downloads. We shop online without touching the clothes before we buy them or talking to other people in a shop. We forgo movie theaters to sit on our own couches at home and watch movies. Even DVD rentals are falling under the tires of streaming service giants. We are literally losing our sense of touch & decreasing our real life human interaction. What becomes of humans who no longer touch anything but flat screens?! What becomes of us when we no longer interact in a three dimensional world?

Today, after work or whatever errands your days requires, I’d like you to go to anywhere that sells boxed greeting cards and find your favorite ones and buy a box. I think my box of 16 cards cost $7 plus tax. They came from Target. Then you’ll also need stamps. You remember stamps? We used to have to lick those things…again, a change in our tactile experiences.

Option #2 is making your own cards, if that’s on your menu, do that instead. The messenger isn’t as important as the message here.

Now make a list of the people who you really appreciate in your life this year. We’re not sending obligation cards to your aunt you never see, or form letters. These are for people sitting front row to your life, not the high balcony spectators. And you don’t need to feel guilt for anyone not being on your list, this isn’t a contest, this is about sharing your sincerest appreciation and gratitude. AND lastly, set one card off to the side…

I have tell you  that I have received cards/letters over the years of my life that I’ve saved simply for the words someone sent just for me. It’s preserved kindness, and there is an energy in penning letters versus typing them on a keyboard. When you hold writing from another person in your hands, it’s a kind of magic, someone touched this and wrote this…and the words are there for all of time, just for you to see whenever you like…

For each person on your list, write a very specific message of why you appreciate them and their presence in your life. Give it some real thought, use as many words as you need to, take your time, maybe do 3-4 cards an evening, it’s only the 3rd of December!! But do mail them by the 12th…

I think this time of year can really cause people to reflect more on what they don’t have versus what we do have. I spent a great deal of time agonizing on Christmases for the family I didn’t have or the overwhelming sadness I felt. Worrying about gifts, buying and receiving in somewhat equal measure. In truth, it’s quite possible that the best gifts we have in our lives are each other. When I look at my four fur kids each day I think there’s nothing money could buy that’s better than them. And yea, I adopted them so technically they were a purchase, but really I see that more like adopting a child. Children & fur kids are not things or possessions, they are fellow Travellers.

I think looking outside ourselves for the blessings in our life is HUGE for our overall health. I think taking time for others is also good for us. Your mental health and physical health are so very deeply intertwined and it’s important to take care of both during the holidays. And oddly, I find that expressing kind words to other people makes you feel good inside too. I think humans were actually meant to be a kinder species than our current form, don’t you? Which brings me to that card you set aside…

I’ve never actually done this before and I’m not one of those hippy hippy love yourself gurus, BUT I think it behooves us to show ourselves some gratitude as well. SO, inside that last card, write a note to yourself, whatever you want, BUT it has to be kind and full of gratitude. Something you’ve done for yourself this year that made a HUGE difference in your life. EVEN IF IT’S ONLY ONE THING. TRUST ME, YOU’VE DONE AT LEAST ONE GOOD THING FOR YOURSELF THIS YEAR….write it down and then read it out loud to yourself, put it in it’s envelope and pack it away in your Christmas decorations. Over the course of a year, you’re going to forget that note just like I forget certain cute ornaments and next year, you’ll find it again… I think that written words preserve time in a way unlike any other art from. And the hardest lesson I’m still working on learning is to get on my own team. All of life changes but we will always be with ourselves…

Happy writing Travellers…and how about this morning’s sunrise with a Christmas tune

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