Christmas 2018

2018-12-25_19-46-57Another Christmas has come and gone, my heart is filled with love and my stomach with goodness.

Watching the joy of Christmas through the eyes of a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old is about as good as it gets.  Their glee-filled joy at every gift, while their kindness and appreciation for everything they receive is heartwarming and their genuine excitement to give the gifts they have picked out for others is even more of a blessing.

Christmas is my favorite time of year, we honor traditions that have been part of my life since day one and create new ones each year.  My favorite day of the Christmas season is Christmas Eve, now at my house, on that day I feel closer to my mother than any other day of the year.

I do my best to make it as special as she always did, I don’t come close to her expertise, but I do my best.

As a child we always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and had Santa on Christmas morning, now, we have turned Christmas Eve into our “tacky sweater” competition, and like most things we do, we all compete hard to win!

Christmas Eve is also filled with lots of laughs, at some point everyone is the butt of a joke as we tell old and new stories on each other.  As the night ends, we depart, hopefully with memories of fun and love that will be called upon again and again in our minds and hearts.

Christmas morning, everyone heads to my niece and nephew’s house for Santa, breakfast and gifts.  An embarrassment of riches fills the floor of my childhood home, now made anew by my niece’s family.

The giggles and joy of sweet girls now fills the room where rambunctious boys once played.  More memories are made and heartfelt gifts with special meaning get interspersed with toys, clothes and housewares.

After breakfast, we all return to our respective homes, I usually take a nap while my sister-in-law is busy preparing one last Christmas feast.

In the early afternoon, we gather at my brother and sister-in-laws home for a traditional meal and more laughs.  Another new tradition we have incorporated over the last few years is board games after we eat and clear the table, once again we fight to win and play hard to come out of top.

As evening approaches and the sun sets on another Christmas we make our way to our respective homes, filled with love, laughs and stomachs bursting after the consumption of more food than humans should eat.

Now in my mid-50’s Christmas memories are even more precious than when I was young.  It no longer has anything to do with the brightly wrapped gifts, the real treasures I get on these days are the memories and gifts of time that I am able to enjoy with my family.

We aren’t perfect, we all know how to push the buttons of each other and sometimes do, but overall, I can say we do a pretty good job of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, the one where love prevails and the joy of that first Christmas miracle is celebrated.  We’re definitely not Normal Rockwell, but we are about as good at being Rumsey as you can get!

I hold these memories close to my heart, I try to remember each word, each laugh and each expression of love, I hold these memories in my heart in hopes of many more with the people I love most.

Merry Christmas friends and to my family, thank you for another great celebration, filled with the magic of Christmas!

What are You Offended by Now?

wpid-wp-1436742937115How did we become a society of the permanently offended?

It seems like there is a whole group of people in our society who just live to be offended by something, and let me say from the outset, you being offended does only one thing…. makes you offended.

Everywhere you turn, someone is offended by something.  Politics, religion, sexuality, entertainment, words, clothes, media….. offended, offended, offended… here is a piece of advice….. GET OVER IT!

In the society that we now find ourselves in, Republicans are offended by Democrats, Democrats are offended by Republicans; gays are offended by straights, straights are offended by gays; black are offended by whites and whites are offended by blacks; men are offended by women and women offended by men, Christians are offended by non-Christians and vice-versa; and on and on and on….. GET A GRIP PEOPLE AND GET OVER BEING OFFENDED!

At this rate, who and what are we not going to be offended by?

I learned this week that I am supposed to be offended by a Christmas song; one that I have listened to my whole life and never knew was evidently about a man “supposedly” trying to sexually assault a woman.  I just thought it was a cute song about a man trying to get a woman he was dating to try to spend some time with him.

If you look at the internet, everything is a conspiracy,  who knew that every agency created to protect and defend the Constitution was now a left-wing conspiracy group designed to bring down the government… who knew?  Evidently, the internet taught us that.  Thanks internet!?!?!?

We all have crap in our lives, crap that sometimes makes it hard just to put your feet on the floor in the mornings and get moving, but we do it and most of us do it in private.  We don’t have the need to share with the world what offends us and demand others be offended too.

In our world of being offended, we now have co-workers afraid to get into an elevator with someone of the opposite sex because of what may be said.  REALLY?  It’s an elevator going between the 3rd and 5th floor.

How about we all just take a breath, grow up  a little and live our own lives without trying to bring everyone else along with our “being offended” mentality.

You know what offends me?  You being offended and expecting me to care!

There is a guy in my town who moved here because he loves it so much.  He opened a successful business and has done very well.  But now, he is offended by other businesses moving into town who he doesn’t agree with politically.  He now wants to homogenize our little corner of God’s Country into the way HE thinks it should be…. here’s a history lesson for you,…. we were this way before you ever moved here and will be long after you leave, take the offended entitlement and move on!

Is there stuff in our world that offends me…. you bet!  But guess what, I’m not asking you to be offended by it too…. I’ll just not listen to the music that offends me, or patronize a business that I don’t agree with or vote for a candidate who doesn’t represent my views on how I think our world should be operated.  But I’m not going to expect you to feel the same.

2018, is almost over, it has proven to be the year of “I’m offended,” on all sides….. here’s an idea, in 2019, let’s all put on our big boy and girl pants and grow the eff up!

And now, you can be offended by what I just wrote!

Unplanned, Uneventful, Perfection

Do you ever have one of those days that is totally unplanned, totally uneventful and turns into total perfection?  Today has been one of those days for me.

To start, I didn’t wake up until almost 9AM, something I rarely do and three hours later than I usually rise.

After a leisurely morning around the house, I headed out around noon. I had waited until noon, as that is when the recycling center opens and I wanted to drop off my trash.

I arrived to drop my trash and no one was in line, again, something rare especially on a Saturday or Sunday.

I got out of the car and was greeted by the sweet lady who always has a smile on her face and kind word for everyone who stops by.  As I finished dumping my trash, she smiled and said, as she always does, “have a blessed day angel.”  I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was moving that way.

I ran by the store and wrote my monthly column for Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine.   This month I had been struggling with my column.  I knew what I wanted to write about, but the words weren’t flowing in my mind yet, it was a struggle.

With tomorrow’s deadline on the horizon, I sat down at my laptop and 20 minutes later almost 1,000 words had flowed from my fingers onto the screen.  I did some edits, but somehow the words that I had been wanting to say came.  (I hope you all like them, the new GML will be out in early November.)

After submitting my column, I cleaned the inside of my very dirty car and gave it a quick wash.

I then came home and decided to rake and blow the leaves off my drive and then put out some Halloween decorations I had forgotten about.

Now, the day is coming to an end.  As I write this I am sitting on my screen deck, enjoying a beautiful Fall day, my girl Lita at my feet.  An awesome 70’s Disco playlist on in the background that Alexa chose.

See what I mean….unplanned, uneventful, perfection.

Life’s Playlist….. Word Crimes by “Weird Al” Yankovic

Day 10 – Jeff Goins – 500 Word Challenge….. Write About Writing.

When I saw today’s assignment terror flushed through my body.  What do I know about writing?  I write, but do I really write?

I know that I get a rush of excitement when I sit down and look at a blank screen and start writing, for me it is a rush.  I love to see the words show up on my screen as they flow from my fingers.  But the constant fear I have had since I actually started writing is…..”is this any good?”

I started writing this blog in 2009, it was originally posted on a “Blogger” profile http://notesfromasouthernkitchen.blogspot.com/.  You would think that after nine years I would have it figured out by now…. I don’t.

I started writing “Notes from a Southern Kitchen” as an experiment.  I hadn’t done a lot of “real” writing up until that time.  I wrote a lot of Press Releases for my job, but nothing just for enjoyment.

As my mom’s health began to fail, I thought the blog would be a nice way to help her remember family stories from my perspective.  The experiment worked, she loved the blog and read every post. After she passed away, it was difficult to write.

I wrote sporadically, but the joy was gone.  Over the course of a year, I started posting a bit from time to time and near the end of 2011 I moved the blog to this WordPress format.

After moving over, I started to write a bit more, not usually family stories but my views on pop culture, food, politics and the like.  I found I didn’t enjoy those posts nearly as much as I did the stories and moments of life that impacted my days.

Once I moved back to God’s Country, I started having a renewed story to tell, a return to my hometown after being away for over 30 years.

I started to find my joy in writing again and with that joy started writing a monthly column for an area magazine and sharing more here on the blog.

I started writing a novel and then switched over to a life-story and then a second idea for a novel.

I’m now concentrating more on the novel, although the life-story book is almost ready to go, I have a mini-meltdown every time I think about sending it off to a publisher.

You see, quite frankly, I am petrified to finish up any of my work and send it in.  I fear the rejection, I fear that the book in my brain simply isn’t as good on paper as it is in my head.

When I write, I still see those red-marked grade “C” essays from college.  I am afraid I still haven’t learned where to put a comma and where to leave one out.  Are my sentences mature or do I write like a fourth-grader, do I ramble, do I repeat and on and on and on, I know it is fear that holds me back.

Then I start worrying, what if it is good, what if it is published, what if people like it, oh my, fear really is my worst enemy!

‘All these thoughts hold me back, fear, doubt….. ugh!

I’ll just put it out there, I would love to write books and columns and human interest stories.  I think I excel in that homespun writing that leaves people with a lump in their throat or a swelled heart filled with pride.

Now if I could just get past my fears and have enough faith in my ability to find out if I “have it” or not, maybe this would all be easier.

Writing is my joy, my excitement, my best friend.  Writing is also my insecurity, my fear and my dread.

Oh Calgon….. take me away!

Pursuing My Dream, Listening and Learning: Life’s Playlist – Paperback Writer by The Beatles

Now that I have made the decision to pursue my dream and work on “the book,” I am constantly looking for inspiration and advice.

I have been incredibly fortunate to get some great feedback from Chris Maxwell, an esteemed author in his own right, a publisher, other writers, friends and family.

The support means more than I can ever express.

Some of the comments I have heard, from people I trust, is I need to write on a regular basis and not just for the book.  The blog is that outlet and I am going to utilize this platform more for expression and writing opportunities.

One of those opportunities includes the “Life’s Playlist” posts.  I enjoy choosing songs that are speaking to me and making an impact in my life, but have never shared why I post the songs I choose.

I hope to begin sharing those reasons as an opportunity to write… hence the post on “We Are the World” and today’s Life’s Playlist song by The Beatles, “Paperback Writer.”

Recently, I heard about Jeff Goins, an author, blogger and writer who shares his expertise with others.  I believe you should learn from experts and I am open to learning anything I can to make me a better writer and share my voice with others

Today, Amazon delivered these two books.  I plan on digesting every word inside the pages, in hopes of my own paperback, hardback or e-book someday seeing the light of day!

Have an awesome Friday friends and keep your dreams alive!