On the Eve of Christmas

As I sit alone at home this holiday eve, allowing myself one more day of rest after the illness that knocked me off my feet and kept me flat in bed for five days, I find myself contemplating what is important this day, and only one answer comes to the fore-front of my mind.

Family.  As I have always known and accepted, family is the biggest importance to me and always has been, but somehow over the years, the need to be with family has grown.  As has my strength in myself when I can not be with them (as tonight – one more day away to make sure the virus is passed and will not be passed on to loved ones).

This definition of family has evolved to include the many very good friends who have grown to mean so much to me throughout the years, whom I will not see this year as they are with their families.  These people who have made a great difference in my life, had an enormous affect on my life choices, and help me make sense of the direction I am headed, advising me, and encouraging me when I falter.

As over the years, my family has grown, I have found myself not even participating in gifting.  I know so many people who mean so much to me – each of them deserves a gift, yet the thought of trying to find something each person will like that is not just a gift to give something ultimately overwhelms me and I let go of the idea all together.  I want a gift to have meaning and be useful not just… collect dust until it is tossed in the new year.  Additionally, I often choose to avoid participation in the big commercial hubbub of the holiday.  So I resolve to make gifts… unfortunately, often too late to finish in time.  (Do you ever find yourself in this situation?) 

Alas, here I am on the eve of Christmas, grateful to be finally feeling well enough to get to spend time with family on the holiday.  Tomorrow I will bake my offering of cookies for the dessert after the family dinner.  My gift to the family with whom I get to share this holiday.  Made from the heart, with love, for each and every one of them holds a place in my heart forever.  As do those with whom I am separated by land, ocean, or circumstances this season.

And so, here I leave a note to all of my dear, precious – new and old – family and friends: Please know that each one of you is elementally irreplaceable in my life.  Without you, my life would be so different: your presence makes is so much more happy, more interesting, more fun, and fulfilling.  You are the best present I will ever receive in this life.  Thank you for choosing to be in mine.

Many wishes of great fun with family and friends this Holiday Season.

with Joy,
~Alaina

Saturday Nourishment: Fun, Family, Friends

Today has been a long day. I awoke early to chase the dawn on a 12 mile run, met a friend for brunch, introduced two good friends and their little babies to each other, spent time catching up, attended a house-warming party for a friend where I played a group game of “salad bowl” (and for the first time in many years – enjoyed myself), and got half of the party to join me in performing thirty push-ups altogether, just moments ago. Still socializing, enjoying a quiet evening in good company. For the first time in a long time, I am having a good evening out without worry of tomorrow’s commitments, or when I need to go to bed.

To relax, enjoy, and just be in the present moment … Truly joyous!

How are you spending your weekend?

To hoping you find joy and surprise in all the little moments of your day,

~Alaina

Holiday Traditions

As I sit here, at my home work-space, at 12:34pm Christmas Day, life is oddly quiet.  The rush of traffic is minimal on the busy street outside my window, the radiators are silent (and the air quite cool), nearby neighbors’ apartments are silent, and I keep the peace contributing only the click-clack of my fingers on the keyboard.  A very quiet, calm, holiday.

My refrigerator starts to hum, and reminds me of my chores.  Dishes to wash, food to put away, sweeping, clean the tub, mend some clothing… all the little tasks that run daily through my mind demanding attention on this day traditionally spent with family.

This is an odd perspective for me; I don’t know if I have ever spent a Christmas morning alone.  As a child, we were always together with stockings to open and sticky-buns to munch on.  The past couple years, I was fortunate to be invited to other’s homes for the holiday.  Today, I managed to sleep in and upon waking, made coffee, eggs, sliced up an apple, and started catching up on my email (a list of over one thousand messages un-read.  I have apparently been very busy the last few months).

Traditions are a funny thing.  They have a way of getting inside, planting roots, and becoming an expected event each year.  I never thought I had any attachment to specific events on the holiday, as I come from a very extended family with different celebrations each year, but now that the day is upon me, and I am sitting alone in my studio, I realize the one tradition I miss is sitting with my family in the morning, smiling and sharing the gift of being together.

Fortunately, I have wonderful people in my life and I get to go spend an early dinner with family.  Rather than delaying my arrival to close to dinner time, I am going early because being with people whom I care about and who care about me on this day of family, food, and being grateful is of utmost importance.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has come into my life.  I do not thank you often enough for helping to encourage, support, and shape me into the person I am today.  You are always in my heart.

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Happy Holidays!

Love,
Alaina