580199_233632690097474_1861843018_n

Welcome to My Venture!

Although my approach may be a bit unconventional, it is my greatest desire for this online journal to be a unique place where we can share life lessons learned from the many wonderful people–past and present– who profoundly touch our lives!

I sincerely hope you will feel inclined to comment and pay tribute to these great mentors by sharing your thoughts with me and this community.  It’s my goal for all who visit here to benefit as we participate and read one another’s insights.

I’ve learned that everyone has something to teach and something to learn!

Hello 2017! Let’s Try A Little Harder To Be A Little Better!

Hello 2017!

It was such a fun holiday season…but as a new year gets underway, I’ll admit I’m dragging a bit.  One lazy morning before we had to head back to work, I asked my hubby what he was looking forward to most in the upcoming year…as pragmatic as always, he simply said, Just another great 365 days, if I’m lucky!”  Then he turned and looked at me with that knowing look that says, “I know you hate New Year’s resolutions, so let’s see you answer this one!”  Now, I’m not usually quick with a witty come back, but this time I think I genuinely surprised him with my answer…..“I’m just going to try a little harder to be a little better!” Just try a little harder to be a little better!

Let’s Try A Little Harder To Be A Little Better!

While making New Year’s resolutions seems to take on the notion that big changes need to be made in your life…trying a little harder to be a little better seems very doable!  Here’s a few things I’m going to try a little harder at being a little better at:

I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better at being more healthy!  A healthy focus shouldn’t solely be on weight loss.  I once heard the statement that we should exercise like a diabetic heart patient with a stroke so that you never actually become one!  While this may sound a bit extreme, taking good care of our physical health should always be a priority.  Starting the year off with an exam from our physician will help determine our present state of well-being and where we can improve.  Doing this doesn’t guarantee a long life, but working a little harder to be better at exercising daily and eating more healthy will certainly make for a more active, enjoyable one.  My son, who is a dentist, would also add to floss and brush your teeth regularly too.  Dental problems are awful.

Exercising cartoon.

“Someone’s health can often be judged by what they take two at a time…..stairs or pills!”  Joan Walsh      

I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better at being more content!  Life can’t always be a party. Darn!  We need to learn to appreciate the small things and be present in the moment; find contentment in our daily routines.  As Dave Dero wrote in his article,  Advice From Some Old People“We don’t get to stay on this crazy/wonderful planet forever, and the greatest pleasures can often be found in the most mundane of activities.  Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and call someone–or better yet, go visit them and have a conversation about nothing in particular.  Those are the moments to hold onto!”   

"Live in the Moment!" quote.

My dad always used to tell me,  “Mary, just enjoy life, don’t waste away your days looking for better ones ahead!”     

I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better at being more loving!  We’ve all heard a lot of good advice on this topic.  There’s just no better feeling in the world than knowing that you truly mean something to someone else.  Let’s be unafraid to express and show our love for others!  Let’s plan things to celebrate love!  Let’s make the most of the time we have with loved ones!Funny love quote.

I came across a fun idea for some neat date nights here.

Date Night Jar

Creating a Date Night Jar helps keep the romance alive–especially when you haven’t made other plans!

♦ I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better at giving my best effort!  There will always be demands on our time.  Our dream jobs aren’t always a dream every day, family and friends require a certain amount of commitment to help keep the relationships strong–in short, life can get overwhelming.  Let’s all remember to take a deep breath when needed, and simply vow to not make excuses and do the best we can in every situation.  Ultimately, I think when we put our best foot forward, so to speak, we are rewarded by others acting in kind…it’s a chain reaction of good!  No matter what though, it’s just a great feeling when we know we are giving our best under the the various circumstances we encounter!

Determination quote.

♦ What I really want to try a little harder to be a little better at this year is enjoying more adventures, connecting with more people who have good energy and learning a few new things that help me grow.  We all have that list of things we want to try someday…..new experiences we’d like to have, perhaps a talent we’d like to develop more–whatever it is, let’s pick one or two, make a plan and go for it!  I don’t want to wake up one day and be sad that I didn’t try some of the things I’ve dreamed about doing.  My husband and I are taking on something we’ve dreamed about for a few years now–I can’t wait to share more about it in the near future!

Curly Girl card.

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope yours is off to a great start! 

Inspire us!  Share some of your goals and plans for the coming year.

–Mary  

Santa’s Prayer!

Santa’s Prayer!

When I was growing up, my mom always seemed to know how to create the perfect balance between Jesus and Santa Claus at Christmastime; she used to tell me that they were friends.  “After all,”  she’d say, “they both want you to be good.”

Santa's Prayer!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

My husband came across this amazing song a few years ago by one of his very favorite country groups–and it has become a beloved Christmas song at our house!  You can push play and listen to it while you scroll through the words and pictures.  Best blessings to everyone as you celebrate Christmas and welcome in a new year!

“Santa’s Prayer” lead vocals by Larry Stewart with Restless Heart

“Lord, here I am all dressed up for the season, but it seems so many folks forgot the reason.”

Santa's Prayer!

“I’ve got on my bright, red suit, snow-white beard, black, shiny boots, but this year old Santa’s feeling blue…Lord, I felt a need to talk to you.” 

“I’ve seen my picture in all the stores in town–I’ve seen my face most every place…but yours is seldom found.” 

Santa's Prayer!

“I’m just a pawn, but you were born a King…sure, they’re gonna love the gifts I bring.”Santa's Prayer! Isaiah-9-6“But the greatest gift they ever will receive…is the love that’s bringing Santa to his knees.” 

Scroll design.

“I just have one wish I wanna wish tonight–that we might be reminded of that star so bright!”

Santa's Prayer!

“Let it shine down on the cost, from the manger to the cross, and let the world see me as a second thought…to the one that guides old Santa when he’s lost!”

“Oh, I’ve seen my picture in all the stores in town–I’ve seen my face most every place…but yours is seldom found.”

Santa's Prayer!

“I’m just a pawn, but you were born a King…sure, they’re gonna love the gifts I bring.”

Nativity scene.

“But the greatest gift they ever will receive…is the love that’s bringing Santa, it’s the love that’s bringing Santa–oh, it’s the love that’s bringing Santa to his knees.  Santa Claus is coming…kneeling down to pray.”

“Lord, make this a holy Christmas Day!”

May we all know kindness, love and peace this Christmas…and in the coming year!

–Mary

Christmasland!

Christmasland!

Christmas seems to have a way of waving a magical wand over all the world, creating an enchanting Christmasland of sorts, with festive decorations, good food and family traditions that celebrate the moments that fill our hearts and homes during this special time of year!

Creating our own Christmas Land!

(via Hallmark’s Christmasland movie)

While the version of Christmasland we each create in our little corner of the world may not resemble a Hallmark movie, per se, it is unique to each of us and should be what we treasure most about this wonderful holiday season!

Creating Christmasland!

Although my husband and I are empty nesters now, we still love creating the special spirit of the Christmas season in our home, as we look forward to welcoming family members, special friends and good neighbors.  (Besides, as grandparents, I think you want to be some of Santa’s best advocates!)

Christmas gifts

My mother often said, “The best gift around the tree is the presence of a caring family all wrapped up in each other!”  I confess to some eye rolling in my youth when she said this, but I now fully understand the wisdom of her words!

  • Add meaningful décor!

While the retail stores do their best to promote all the latest and greatest in holiday décor, (and believe me, I love adding bits and pieces of fun new trends to my home on occasion) I think you’ll agree, that some of the things we tend to cherish the most while decorating our homes, are the items we’ve collected through the years that celebrate special memories from past Christmas seasons.

Olive Wood Nativity www.mytributejournal.com

One of my favorite Christmas decorations is an olive wood nativity set that my husband and I bought when we visited Jerusalem with my parents one special Christmas season when we were first married.  I can’t help but think of the kind, elderly gentleman who so skillfully carved each piece with detailed precision.  I can also recall the spicy aromas that filled the air of this enchanting and noble city, and how humbling it felt to be walking on some of the same ancient, cobble stone streets that Jesus might have traveled on so many, many years ago! 

Creating Christmasland!

It’s always fun to pick out a few new ornaments every so often, but the ones that we’ve collected over the years when our children were growing up are the ones that seem to make our homes an extra special Christmasland!  

  • Treasure some classic traditions!

I think we all enjoy some eclectic family traditions that evolve over the years…like white elephant Bingo and ugly sweater contests, to name a few, and I love finding fun, new activities to do each year, but perhaps treasuring a few classic Christmas traditions, like singing Christmas carols together, jumping in the car to drive around town to see the dazzling light displays, then stopping at a local diner for peppermint hot cocoa, or reading some of the age-old classic Christmas stories, just might give your Christmasland an extra special touch!

Lantern light display at Temple square

Rarely does a holiday season go by that our family doesn’t go see the Christmas lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  The light displays there make for a beautiful vision that creates a special Christmasland all on their own! 

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

My husband and I found this new edition of a classic Christmas story, beautifully illustrated by Charles Santore, that we are looking forward to reading with our granddaughters before bedtime after all the other festivities on Christmas Eve.

  • Include a sense of wonder!

From inspiring Christmas programs at local community venues, to the sparkle of twinkling tree lights and the laughter of children as they anticipate all the delights of the Christmas season, I believe it’s important to be awestruck in Christmasland!

Lower Lights concert at Kingsbury Hall

This year for his office party, my husband and I took all his employees to a Lower Lights concert.  Such an amazing, beautiful night.

The wonders of Christmas!

There’s nothing quite like seeing the wonders of Christmas through a child’s eyes!

     Most of all…

…love should abound in Christmasland…the kind that gets a good grip on your heart and you can’t help but feel that all is right with the world for a while!!

Merry Christmas in Christmasland!

I loved celebrating Christmas with my children when they were young…but it has taken on an even more festive mood since having grandkids!  

Merry Christmas in Christmasland!

I hope everyone has a blessed and Merry Christmas!

What are some of the things you look forward to in your special Christmasland during the holiday season?      

–Mary