Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Scribbling - "Grateful"

I found this candid picture on my computer of TK and it spoke to me. This shot captures his joy of playing in the sand. At what age will he trade his amazement of sand for a cell phone, or the latest video game? This picture makes me want to wave my magic wand and keep his life this simple and joyful forever.

As fall begins to drift into winter I have been thinking and worrying about our economy. Christmas is just around the corner and I have been trying to think simple. Sadly, any holiday is hard to do simply. Gifting and being with all of our families is not an easy task this year. I stink at gift giving and I don't like receiving gifts that are a financial hardship on anyone. My kids think I'm cheap and compared to their other relatives, I am. I'd rather be together and having fun, than center the holiday around gifts. Who and where to spend Christmas is the tough call for everyone in my family. I just tell my kids I'll see you when things settle down. I like being home for Christmas and not traveling. I'm just grateful for good visits anytime of year.

This year we will have grandchildren at Christmas! Dave's daughter, Jolene, at will be bringing her family this Christmas to CA. The boys are 7, almost 4 and almost 1. I'm doing my best to make this a Christmas about fun. Dave and I are not the most exciting pair to visit according to my kids, but I have a plan. A pup tent in the hunting den for the boys, kid snacks, movies and a Wii game. I have until Christmas to learn to play Mario Kart Bros. Yikes! Now, if I can just get it to snow I'd be extremely grateful. It's been a long time since I've had kids at Christmas. TK was too young last year and this year Jessy is wanting to stay home for Christmas.

We are all effected by this uncertain economy, but I think of it as an opportunity to re-evaluate the way we spend. I hate being considered cheap and boring, so I'm changing those labels to smart and fun. I told Dave that I don't want presents this year but Dave said "well I do!" I got him to agree to one "man toy" a month from February 09 to Sept 09 at Home Depot. That did it for him! In the end we both win on that deal. I have a wonderful life that we have earned and sacrificed for, so I'm staying out of debt.

It's the simple things that I'm truly grateful for this year:

I'm alive, I have my smell back, I can dress myself, fix my own hair, brush my own teeth, shower on my own, I can feed myself, make love, live in the mountains, go fishing, read, swim, play Wii, laugh, talk, love and hug.

P.S. A personal chef, The Amazon Kindle and a driver would be cool too, I'm just saying. ;)


Amber said...

You are so right that we should think more about the good things in life that we do have! I am greatful for you that you have the blessings you do, still. And I hope they last for years to come. :)

We are stressed right now. I am trying to sell some things on Craigslist. I hope it works, because Wyatt and I picked two names off the Christmas tree at church for kids in need... I don't want to let them down.

But other than that, I agree that we can all use this as an oppertunity to do more with less. Find our joy in things that really matter, like the love around us.


Debra said...

Keeping it simple and stress free...thats my motto...after all it's Jesus's birthday, not everyone else's! LOL!

anthonynorth said...

There are always things to be grateful for, and to remember them can make the difference between carrying on or going under.
It is likely to be a leaner Christmas for many, including myself, and in this climate, many may discover life goes on without affluence - indeed, can be better, closer, more rewarding.

Andy Sewina said...

Sounds like you're going to have an amazing Christmas with the Kids! Don't we just have so much to be grateful for?

Granny Smith said...

You describe a universal problem for many of us - most certainly for me. At Christmas we will be at the home of son Otto and his wife (my honorary sister, and good friend) Kristin. Their Christmas tends to be beautiful and simple, focusing on music and jam sessions with other musicians - plus choral concerts etc.etc. I love it.

That still doesn't solve the problem of gift-giving to our far-flung families. I'm making my usual calendars, which will cross off a few on our gift list.

Your plans sound lovely. I hope it snows for your Christmas - hopefully dumping some rain on us in the bay area to rescue our gardens. I hope your whole holiday season is a stressless joy.

Hugs, Phyllis

Lucy said...

i think we could all use to adopt your 'keep it simple and fun ' attitude!
pop tent and Wii, what kids wouldn't want to come over? I will be there!
Pick up some chips and MY kids will come by too!
Your grateful heart is always a pleasure to vist. so glad you are smelling again. Well Not smelly smelling, but able to smell! haha
happy THANKS giving! xoxox

Devil Mood said...

We are all effected by this uncertain economy, but I think of it as an opportunity to re-evaluate the way we spend.

Ah, so true! Wish more people thought like that. It could be such an important change in our world of immense waste.
Having said that, a personal chef would come in handy here ;)

Carly said...

Hi Tammy :)

Darlin, I couldn't agree with you more about things. The economy is in such a state, well, you and I are about the same age, and I can't remember when it was ever this bad. It was never even close to this bad. We all have to try to get back to the basics. A simple Christmas is the way to go. Alan and I are setting a $50.00 limit on gifts, and we are giving each other a new food processor to share. I am finding the older I get, the less I need to truly be happy!

By the way, I am thankful that I rediscovered you and your blog. You bring me lots of peaceful thoughts and smiles. Your photography is always an inspiration. Thanks for being my friend, and sharing yourself with all who read you. You are a treasure in a very weary world.

Hugs, Carly

anno said...

I'm so glad to hear that you've recovered your sense of smell -- and I love your plans for the holidays. Like you, we are also trying to keep things simple. Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Mary said...

What a great post. We all need to take the time to stop and appreciate all that we have instead of constantly focusing on what we don't... although a personal chef sounds good to me as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is a blessing not to be in debt, and going into debt just to buy gifts is silly. Our family is much more oriented toward appreciating the time have to send together. If the opportunity presents itself throughout the year to do something for one another, we enjoy seizing the moment rather than waiting for a specific day (that may be many months away). That is not to say that we're into instant gratification; it just seems like more fun to get something for someone that you KNOW they really want and surprise them rather than asking for a list to choose from in December. It's also easier to adjust finances throughout the year rather than stacking the deck at the end of the year.

So glad you will be with family. I'll happily send any snow in our forecast directly to you ;)

Lippy said...

One thing that I'm always sure of when I come here to visit: you definitely have a firm handle on what's truly important in life. I think that serves you well.

PS One of the few things I enjoy about this season? Boots Season! Yay!

Good to see ya

Anonymous said...

This was beautiful, really goes to the heart of what Christmas is all about. I needed this reminder, I get way too stressed out about making sure my family will have a special Christmas, without going into debt. I think you came up with some wonderful ideas for fun and the bottom line is, just being together is the most important thing of all (and also the most fun!!)
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

emmapeelDallas said...


I love the pic and the sentiment behind it...that we should all celebrate the simple things. I've been thinking of that a lot lately, and you've said it so well.


Tumblewords: said...

You have such a fine way of going right to the heart of the matter! Simple is good. Happy is good. Have a lovely season!

Anonymous said...

You're so right, Tammy - simple pleasures are the best. Being together, celebrating that with the ones we love, is the best present of all.
That photo of TK is precious!

Giggles said...

I love you to bits Tammy, oh sage frugal one!! If the kids only knew how very wise their mother is! Later they'll get it. Despite how they feel now I can assure you they may need your economic skills down the road and will be ever grateful you taught them through example!

Big hugs and much love Sherrie

paisley said...

to me it sounds like you have the perfect holiday planned... i will cross my fingers and wish for snow.... and that kindle you want too!!!!!!!

Nancy said...

You really get it. That's just one of the many reasons I love you.

(Glad the migraines soon)

Geraldine said...

What a great post Tammy! There is so much here to ponder and to appreciate. I have never been one to enjoy the commercialism of Christmas; perhaps there will be a silver lining in this current financial crisis. People getting back to the basics, reevaluating what truly is important in their lives. People, time well spent, sharing, caring....not a mad spending spree as so many people seem to view the Holidays.

BTW, Is that personal chef position, is it still open??? You could do a lot worse LOL!!!I am a pretty darn good cook. :<)

Big hugs to you and dear Dave, G

Forgetfulone said...

What an inspiring post, starting with the photo all the way down to what you're grateful for, including getting your sense of smell back.

I'd love a Kindle, but I can't justify the expense. Maybe someday. Every year we say we're going to keep it simple, and it gets out of hand. I'm going to try harder this year. The economy is too uncertain, and if we save, maybe we can take a vacation or get something for the house.

Thanks for the positive post!

Pear tree cottage! said...

Tammy hello! Hope it is snowing on you!! (Smiles) well it is getting hot here but that is a good think Christmas here is all about summer holidays.........tuff life I know but someone has to do it!!! (Smiles! again) I am not sure why but I smile a lot and I think it is because I like you enjoy the simpler parts of life and visits from family can be any time of the year.

Gosh here it is exactly four weeks to Christmas day and I have the Leg of ham the Turkey and no gifts yet..... Simply going to think simpler like you this year again!! lol lol lol lol!

Your grandchildren will adore your well planned adventures have fun!!

Love always to you dear blogger friend. Lee-ann

TJ said...

Oh Tammy, that IS a GREAT capture of TK.
That holiday pinch has touched just about everyone I know..maybe it is a time to get ourselves all back into check.
I don't mean a cup of porage for tiny Tim check but a balance between gifters.
My tree went up yesterday, our gifts are wrapped and under it.
We have a sick family member and I wanted to used my time wisely in case I am needed to hold a hand for great lengths of time.
You are so right...we all can find great blessings. Have a happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Thinking of you up in those mountains with winter mountain friends! Love TJ

Kay Cooke said...

As always everything you say is wise and true. Happy Thanksgiving my friend.

JP/deb said...

I too am evaluating what we're going to do for Christmas ... I'm so grateful for what I have, and have few things on my wish list ... considering investing in "experiences" for the kids ... things that make memories.

Happy Thanksgiving Tammy!

Annie Jeffries said...

Christmas is a tough one this year just due to the economy. Add to that family "stuff" and the joy of Christmas becomes more a time of somberness. I love that you manage to find in the midst of demanding family the ability to focus on what you are most grateful for.

By the way, I hope you migraine has calmed down. Always thinking of you.


daisies said...

we have agreed to keep things simple this year and rather than spend money focus on our time together ... and there may be a surprise drive up to my parents who have opted to stay home this year to avoid the winter travel (but shhhhhh, they have no idea, tee hee)

Geraldine said...

PS: Some recipes to consider Tammy, until I can pack LOL!!!

(recipe archive link on sidebar) Blogger wouldn't let me copy the link here!!!

Bad Blogger. Happy Cooking!

rel said...

I'm a great cook and I love to read outloud.
Just asyin'. ;-)

Jan said...

Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one! There is always something to be grateful matter how difficult our situation is. Having visited you on many occasions, I always come away with uplifting thoughts! Thanks for your positive spirit! Jan

AscenderRisesAbove said...

i love this song you are playing here - wish i had a river; it always makes me so sad. it is like james blunt - something I can't listen to too often