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He who has
not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
Well, this Christmas is going to be the
start of new traditions, new dreams and new everything for me. All of my
decorating is done, shopping was easy. Christmas cards were sent weeks ago, and
now I am left to reflect on Christmases past.
You see, prior to my divorce, I was the
Queen of Christmas. I hosted an annual open house on Christmas Eve complete
with Santa, gifts for all the kiddies, a smorgasbord of scrumptious food,
plenty of drinks, two Christmas trees, and then after all of the guests would
leave in the wee hours, I’d prepare for the Christmas brunch that I served on
Christmas morning. I loved every minute of it and hold so many memories dear,
but, now that I am divorced, I literally had to make many changes. For one, the
cottage that I am renting was built in 1925 and does not have enough room for
clothes, let alone the twenty four years’ worth of decorations that I had
Secondly, many of the collections that I
had amassed were tied to "him." I felt as if my whole life had been
forever changed without my consent. I did not want to bring anything to my new
place unless I really loved it. That meant, ornaments, bins and boxes of
Christmas decor were set aside, and I scheduled three separate pick-ups from
the lovely people at GoodWill. As I watched everything being loaded up onto the
truck each time, I was saddened. Mostly because I realized that it was just
"stuff" and it was no longer needed. In the end, it was truly
cathartic I was starting with a clean slate, like it or not, and I learned that
I do not need "stuff" to make me happy.
Last year was my first official
Christmas-After-Divorce and I bought a pre-lit tree and some vintage ornaments
that I picked up at a Thrift shop. Some candles and the collection of things that
I had brought with me completed the scene and the cottage truly did look cozy
and warm. Although I had made the effort to decorate, I found myself looking
forward to putting it all away as soon as Christmas was over, and I did. The
very next day. It was a painful reminder of what used-to-be. I knew it would be
a big adjustment for me, but honestly, I found myself feeling like the fifth
wheel at gatherings, and although I knew this was not the case, it was a
feeling that I couldn't shake.
This year, as November was creeping up on
me, I felt Scrooge-like and vowed that I would not decorate. Yep! No tree, nary
a Poinsettia or a Santa would be brought out from storage. That is, until I
received an email from my landlords who live in New Hampshire, telling me that
they were coming for Christmas to stay with family in town and they couldn't
wait to see me - shit! So, little by little, I began the process of sprucing up
the place and today I am completely satisfied.
I decided to make it a White Christmas.
The tree is decorated all in white and so is my dining room. My sun porch I
kept to a traditional red and green theme, complete with fresh pine boughs that
I salvaged from a local tree lot and, yes, a real Poinsettia. Believe it or
not, I always had a brown thumb and was known for killing cacti and
Philodendron, but, the Poinsettia that I had from last year survived the whole
year, and is beautiful! I guess there is hope for this former Queen of
Christmas yet. And, like last year's Poinsettia, I will survive and thrive,
Who knows what the future holds for me. I
would like to start traveling for Christmas and make new memories as I go
Affirmation: I’ll take in all of the holiday fanfare with
a flourish and be open to new experiences!
Heat oil in a medium skillet and saute onion and garlic until soft. Mash beans into the onion mixture. Gradually stir in water; heat until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce, chili powder, mustard, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the tortillas; top with cheese. Fold tortillas burrito-style around the fillings and place on a baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until warmed through, about 12 minutes.
Serve with some steamed rice and veggies and you have a healthy, yummy meal!
Sweet, Sticky and Spicy Chicken
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
halves - cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Mix together brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and hot sauce in a small bowl.
Lightly salt and pepper the chicken strips.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken strips and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.
sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, a blade of grass springing up in
the fields has the power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a
message you understand, REJOICE, for your soul is alive!”
With the holidays fast approaching and all
of your personal deadlines weighing down on you in preparation, remember to
take a moment to just sit and relax. This does not require a lot of time on
If you live where winters are frigid,
step outside and breathe in the icy, fresh air. Watch each breath escape into a
puff of white. Picture your worries and fears vanishing with each exhalation.
Maybe you live by a lake or ocean,
envision your troubles washing out with each wave as it gently laps the
shoreline. No matter where you reside, nature abounds.
One of my favorite things to do when stuck
in traffic is to watch birds on the telephone wires. It never ceases to amaze
me how well they get along. A few fly away from the group, and then others come
to replace the vacancy on the wires. There are never any squabbles, just
acceptance of a place to sit and rest. I am awed by how they take off in flight
together, swooping and soaring in formation. It lifts my spirit and makes me
smile, and I’m thankful that I had a moment of escape from the ho-hum of
Before your feet hit the floor when you
wake up in the morning, give a quick prayer of thanks for another beautiful
Start a gratitude journal and list
whatever you are thankful for each day. I try to list at least five things.
There may be days when you may feel you are only thankful for the sun shining.
We have to learn how to cherish the simple
things in life. Things we might normally take for granted. Today, try to search
for opportunities to touch your soul. Maybe make a list of things that make you
happy and tuck it away so that you can pull it out whenever you need an
attitude adjustment, or to add to it. Take the time to sit and be. You
Affirmation: I remember to breathe as I release old
habits, and practice positive ones.
In a large pot over medium heat, combine turkey, broth, canned tomatoes, green chiles, fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, and lime juice. Season with cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in avocado and cilantro, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Spoon into serving bowls, and top with shredded cheese.