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To Every Thing There Is A Season…Some Seasons Are Just More Preferred!

Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” is referencing the “seasons” of our lives; or perhaps for some of my generation, it cues memories of the song “Turn Turn Turn” by the Byrds–ahhh, good times!  But for the purpose of this journal entry, I’m referring to the seasons of the year.

Glimpsing out at my world lately…you’ll see a sort of Dr. Zhivago movie-type view, but without the intrigue and adventure…!

 

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The air is murky and the cold chill seeps quickly into the layers of sweaters and coats worn.  Right now I dream of being here…

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Where I grew up, winter, spring, summer and fall all seemed to hold their own special fascination; I never wished one away before the other arrived!  As we get older, I guess it’s human nature for us to sometimes think that our lives will be better enriched with the essence of another time and season that’s just around the corner!  As this winter lingers, I’ve tried to remember how my parents went about fostering their regard for mother nature’s personality fluxes!  Days spent playing outside in the snow always seemed to end happily with my mom’s warm hands rubbing my cold fingertips as numb toes were placed over blowing furnace vents.  To top things off, yummy homemade soup was often served for dinner.  Reading or homework was done later while sprawled out by the living room fireplace.  It seemed so magical then.  I’m sure I’m romancing the memory a bit, but it still serves as a good reminder to do a better job at appreciating the unique qualities of each season, and to try and do things that will help make them more enjoyable for others too…including the winter months–ugh, that’s a tough call right now!

There really is nothing like the warm “comfort foods” of the winter months.  More important is the special tradition of getting together around the dinner table.  It seems like this is harder to do after your children are grown, but it’s something that my husband and I try to do, and find it’s well worth the effort, especially after being out and about in the cold weather!

I hope this scrumptious family recipe of Hamburger Soup helps you enjoy a bowl together with family members or other loved ones!

Mom's soup 015 (1)FAMILY FAVORITE HAMBURGER SOUP

1 pound hamburger and 1 cup chopped onion

Brown both together in a stove top skillet 

Put hamburger in large soup pot and add:

1 cup cubed potatoes  

1 cup sliced carrots  

1/2 cup diced celery  

1 cup shredded cabbage  

1 large can stewed tomatoes  

 Small bay leaf crushed  

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried basil 

2 tsp salt & 1 tsp pepper

Add 1-1/2 quarts water and simmer approximately 1-1/2 hours

Enjoy a warm bowl of soup and maybe a new perspective on the winter season! 

What I’m learning now is…

Winter really is over before we know it, as is every other season that comes and goes each year.  They all hold favorite aspects we enjoy about them, along with the more unpleasant ones that we don’t particularly look forward to as much.  Although it sounds cliche, what I’m learning now is that the quote on a plaque in my husband’s office states it the best…“Nothing is a waste of time, if you use the experience wisely.”

Share some unique activities you do to make the winter months more fun.

Hey, bring on the snow!

–Mary

February 7, 2013:  Just thinking…and I bet you’ll agree, that a winter afternoon could be fun spent here with a cup of warm soup and a good book!

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Rules To Live By…Especially When We Make Them Ourselves!

Just in case you looked at the title of this journal entry and thought I was going to renege on the constraint I used on my last post to forego a long list of New Year’s resolutions, don’t worry, I promise that’s not the case!  I’ve just been feeling a little bit of the January doldrums, wishing I could break free of some of my obligations and “fly the coop” so to speak!  I think we all feel the urge to nurture the more spontaneous facets of our personalities once in a while, and perhaps be a little less predictable; after all, doing so can be so much fun!  Then I saw this clip on a recent morning show about a lost rule book and decided that if we’re creative and use our imaginations, following rules can be just as much fun!  Well, almost as much fun!  As I watched this story about the rule book, I was not only intrigued with who might have penciled these unique words of wisdom, I also found myself equally fascinated with who the parents might be, they are obviously raising an insightful child with a wise and conscientious soul!  In the world we live in today, where breaking the rules too often gets our attention the most, knowing that a lost rule book can also create a small sensation is refreshing!  (Since my son is finishing up his dental studies, I especially liked the rule about not biting the dentist!)  May the ripple effect of this ingenious little rule book be felt for a very long time!

My son, Jake, who is attending dental school in Buffalo, New York, once sent me this picture he’d taken on a downtown street in upstate New York.  Knowing that he’d been taught that rules were usually made for our own good, he knew his dad and I would get a chuckle from the seemingly conflicted free-spirit who painted this wisdom on city property, but seemed to recognize that order and rules usually have a positive effect on our success in life…can’t you just hear your own parents expressing this same advice!

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What I’m learning now is…

Life offers so many ways to be happy and successful.  One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain where he says, “Always do right.  This will gratify some people and astonish the rest!   What I’m learning now is that living within the constraints that society may place on us, either by the laws of the land or accepted social graces, we are best served if we recognize that depending on our outlook, rules will either broaden our ability to seek after our dreams or laden us with the inability to gain a good perspective on what life has to offer!

Please share a rule that you live by and how it helps make a difference in your life!  I would love to collect these and create our own rule book right here!  

I’ll go first:  My mom taught me thisrule” when I was young, and continued to show me what a good rule it really is by how she exemplified it throughout her life!

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It’s my sincere wish that we can all know true success as we follow the rules that help make us better people!

–Mary

Speaking of my son, Jake, I want to give him a big CONGRATULATIONS!  He found out that he passed his dental boards last week!   I remember when he was in the second grade, his teacher wrote on his report card that Jake was an “eager learner”!  Little did I know then what path his life would take at that point, but he has indeed made the learning process seem very fascinating!   I recently asked Jake how he would describe his experience at dental school, he replied without hesitation that it was a rollercoaster ride, very intense, but so incredibly interesting!  Amazing job, Jake!  If anyone can make going to the dentist the least bit enjoyable, it is you!  You’ve worked so hard and you and Whitney deserve only the best as you embark on your next “venture” together!

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Update–January 29, 2013:  Even though it says there are “no rules” to doing what it suggests in this statement, I wish I could do better at living this way!

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                                                 …and this on February 7, 2013 Love this–happy living!tumblr_mcbael9cb71qkxrtro2_1280                  

–Mary

A Happy New Year–Redefined!

A Happy New Year–Redefined!

Hard to believe that it’s well into the first few weeks of the new year; hopefully it’s a happy one for everyone so far!  I decided to go in search of a more clever way to introduce a few thoughts and wishes for a Happy New Year, without making it feel too cumbersome with a lengthy list of lofty goals or typical outlines for a life changing overhaul!  Quite honestly, New Year’s resolutions make me feel a little bit grumpy.  I realize that says a lot more about my character than it does about this age old tradition.  Anyway, in an attempt to switch things up a bit, I decided to look up synonyms for each of the individual words that make up this familiar “Auld Lang Syne” message!  (I now have considerably more empathy for the seemingly daunting task of greeting card writers!)

      Here are my findings: 

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In reviewing these definitions, I’d now like to wish you a “pleasurable, confident, satisfying, and fresh twelve months!”  Perhaps like me, you’ll want to revamp your New Year’s greeting and even set out to redefine the year ahead for yourself!

A Happy New Year Comes From Using Good Judgment!

I don’t necessarily recall that my parents were of the mindset of being committed to making New Year’s resolutions.  I mostly remember that they usually taught from the school of thought that life ought to be lived so that the general trend was that you tried to improve upon each day–making the next day better than the day before.  My dad was always good to apply this philosophy in his life.  His personal history reflects this train of thought quite often.

“…Merle and I try each day to use good judgment in all areas of our living.  This includes good food, exercise, rest and the other things which add up to wholesome and balanced lives.”

I get a kick out of the fact that my parents got a jump on the fitness craze and set up a treadmill and stationary exercise bike in their sun room long before it was customary to have them in most homes, like many do now.  They also enjoyed hot cereal for breakfast a few times each week.  “Mush” is something I’m still not too fond of to this day!  New Year’s resolutions aside, my dad was a big proponent of moderation in all things!   In keeping with his lifestyle habits, my dad usually encouraged seeking out a variety of experiences; the end goal being no more complicated than realizing that this usually provided the best opportunities to develop a well rounded personality.

Both my dad and mom had many interests, and when I was growing up, I observed how they cultivated them by being active participants in our neighborhood and community.  They enjoyed associations with a broad range of endearing friends and acquaintances as a result.  My parents tried to instill in me the ability to recognize and appreciate the many opportunities that were available to me, and if feasible, I should jump at the chance to enjoy them.  More importantly though, my dad and mom just wanted me to be aware of the fact that I was fortunate to have so many wonderful choices accessible to me.  Even now, when I take advantage of interesting and unique experiences, I’m able to grow and expand my horizons, so to speak!

What I’m learning now is…

When I tend my cute granddaughter, Makena, we often spend our days together either playing house and dress-ups, reading story books in a makeshift couch tent, or cutting and gluing odds and ends from my sewing kit to make cards for her dad and mom.  When it’s time for her to go home, Makena often hugs me good-bye and says, “This was the best day ever!”  What I’m learning now is that the years really do go by much faster than you ever imagine they will when you’re deep in the trenches of young parenthood!  I can hear the the resounding sighs and visualize the collective eye rolls of those of you who are thinking, “Oh no, here we go again, someone else reminiscing about days gone by!”  (Believe me, I felt the same way when I was younger.)  With this in mind, perhaps an ongoing aspiration for all of us would be to always try to truly enjoy the experiences we have each day that help us live our lives to the fullest–however we choose to define that!  To be sure, life will always be a balancing act; thank goodness we have a lifetime to work at it!!

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How would you like to define the new year?  What are some of the things you’d like to do in the next 365 days minus a couple of weeks? 

When country singer, Brad Paisley, was asked in this month’s Reader’s Digest to finish the sentence, “Tomorrow is…” He answered, “…the first blank page of a 365-page book.  Write a good one.”  I say we do our best to really enjoy this year and make a great story collection!

 –Mary