I was a guest at a party last weekend. There were plenty of people I did not know but we were all there to celebrate a mutual friend’s retirement as an educator. The food was plentiful, the drinks were flowing, and laughter filled the air. It was a fun celebration and I was happy to be a part of it all.
When I filled my plate with food, I looked for a place to sit down. So many smiling faces and you could tell that this long-time educator was loved by many people.
There was a seat on the couch with a TV tray waiting for my presence. I did not want to steamroll others so I patiently stood still for a few seconds in case someone else saw the same opportunity.
Will you look at the time?! Five seconds were up! No takers!
I walked across the room and carefully placed my plate on the tray. Before I sat down, I introduced myself to a couple who were already seated next to this same area. They were pleasant and the conversation flowed effortlessly. We were interrupted only one time when another friend stopped by to say hello to them.
When they returned to our own little conversation, she mentioned that they knew of two couples in their social circle who were undergoing cancer battles.
As another year winds down, it is a time of reflection on what transpired during the past twelve months. Did our New Years Resolutions get the best of us again? Did we accomplish our BHAG’s (big hairy audacious goals)? How many new friends did we encounter along the way? What new births did we say hello to? How many have we said goodbye to?
It saddens my heart when people tell me that “not much happened to me this year.” How are these people living? Do they really ignore all the little things that happen on a regular basis? We all have our stories to tell each and every year.
This was the reason I chose to use this picture to represent our lives. Hope you will find your own journey in this post.
The Christmas decorations are unpacked from their cardboard tombs in attics, garage spaces, and storage units. The annual ritual of carefully unrolling the bundled outdoor lights accompanied by hours of troubleshooting the dead bulbs can only be soothed with happy holiday music playing in the background (or a few shots of your favorite beverages).
Every year, we swear that we will pack up the lights and decorations carefully so that NEXT year, we will not have to deal with these holiday headaches. However, eleven months later, we always mumble those words – “Why did I pack away these lights and decorations in this lousy way???”
But alas, after the long hours of labor and love, we stand back to admire the hard work of decorating the outside of our homes (I have visions of Chevy Chase plugging and unplugging his electrical cords).
The nightfall revives these illuminated decorations and the child in us comes alive!
The next morning, lawn ornaments fall and the facade returns to normal (except for the wreaths or other non-electrical ornaments). There is a lesson I see in the day time of the holiday season….
The overturned laundry basket blocked the path on the upstairs hallway. The smell of adrenaline and sweat permeated the staircase. The window blinds were closed to create the effect of nightfall. The overworked automatic dishwasher screamed for a merciful break from the evil taskmaster. The half-empty bowls and platters revealed evidence of a once beautiful meal.
One of the beautiful indicators of change are the colors of leaves all around us. The vividness are a constant reminder that if there is anything consistent, it is change.
Why do we capture pictures of these changing hues year after year? After all, they will reappear this same time next year (assuming the trees survive the environmental changes). We have a fascination for these wonderful displays of coloration but I wonder if there is a deeper meaning that is aroused within us when we are reminded of the changing seasons?
The holiday season brings our own colors within our hearts and minds. What do I mean by this? Let me share my insights with you….
We had the honor and privilege of attending our second wedding in two weekends. The venue was perfect for an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception.
Driving on the beautiful back roads of Vacaville, California, we turned into a gravel road and were instructed to park in the open fields of this spacious ranch. Neither of us have been here before though we have driven by this location several times in the past years.
As we walked towards the crowd, we found our seats under some shade as the sun was beginning its descent. The gazebo was the focal point of the proceedings. The ceremony was concise and I am sure the family members in the first couple of rows were very thankful for that as they sat in the hot sun.
As we turned our attention to the reception, I saw an old friend standing in the shadows. She was a volunteer and I knew that I would catch up with her soon. During a break before the bride and groom reappeared, I stepped outside and bumped into my friend.
Then she told me some amazing facts about the Joyful Ranch.