Christmas On A Budget
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:31How exactly do you work it out with very little or no money at this time of year? You have to get creative. Giving presents doesn’t have to break the bank--unless you let it. Besides looking in the mall, or in craft books and magazines, or on the Internet for low cost gift ideas, here are some others that can work. Where do you start?
1. With your camera or iphone
Think your love would be happy to have a bunch of pictures you have taken spontaneously? Print and put them into a theme album, like: "Crazy Fun Frank", or "Mary, Mary, Mary!" or "24 Hours of You and Me." You could also frame the pictures for the walls or make a collage with them.
2. With a homemade coupon book
Make an album or buy one at the dollar store. Fill it with your invented coupons that your love can present to you. You will be obliged to respond to: a back rub, car wash, homemade dinner, walk by the lake, movie night at home with popcorn, foot massage, five kisses on the cheek, or a cup of your favorite brew during cold weather. Only you know what he or she would like coupons for.
3. With a needle and thread
Ever tried embroidery? It's easier than you think to put people’s names or initials on towels, pillows, or potholders. You might start something here that could become a hobby. Hand stitching is enormously satisfying and calming.
4. In the kitchen
If you don’t know how to cook, following the directions on a cake or cookie mix box is not hard to do. Slice and bake cookies can even feel homemade if you add something extra, like nuts, icing or sprinkles. Breads, candies, cookies, pies, and cupcakes usually cause people to smile and hug you. Want to add a special twist? Invite a friend over to help. How about some music? A little eggnog? Who knows. Maybe you'll want this to become a tradition you do each year.
5. With your green thumb
If gardening is your thing, then nurseries and stores almost always have a shelf of low priced tired plants that need some TLC. Freshen them up, pot them, and add a ribbon. (I have a friend whose backyard is a jungle--all from dying plants the nurseries were getting rid of that she revived.)
If you have a love interest who expects expensive presents when you are living on a tight budget, you may be dating the wrong person. However--if you've got a great partner, or you're dating a nice someone, having only a small amount of money doesn't have to hijack your imagination, or your holidays. There's still time. Get going.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 14:26You just have to love a country that has a national holiday celebrating thankfulness. I'd never thought about it--at all--until I spent two different years in two different foreign countries on Thanksgiving. And man--was I homesick.
I guess I hadn't stopped to think about the fact that other countries don't celebrate this day, and, more importantly, that it was important to me. But there was a definite blip in the middle of my psychic screen --and my spirit knew it. I couldn't wait for the year to roll around so I could have my November again and I could get back into the grace it provided.
Perhaps the planning, the food, the coming together, and the moment of blessing; the tenderness of pausing to reflect at this special time, quickens something deeper in the heart of the family and even in the national soul. I'm not sure what it is. I only know I had a longing that nothing else could still.
I realized when I was gone that Thanksgiving isn't about just the day itself. I missed the entire month of thinking about gratitude. I felt the absence of the people I wanted to thank. There was no communal or solitary time to remember the moments of the past twelve months that should be savored. And in retrospect, I had lost the unconscious summarizing of the good that had been accomplished during the year, the letting go of what had passed, and the new direction that the wisdom of those events brought us.
So, I know better than to take my Thanksgivings for granted anymore. From everything I've experienced in my travels, I'm grateful this year to have a home and to be at home; I'm happy to have had another year with my steamin' hot husband; and I'm really, really glad to have you as readers, for all your sharing, caring, questions, and kindnesses. Thank you.
I hope your table is full of love this holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving and God bless.
Warmest thoughts to you, Tonja
Love and Movies
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 01:05
I love movies. I love good movies about love. I love just plain good movies -- about anything. But lately, I have seen a series of movies about subjects that are so sad or depressing or hopeless or violent, I almost didn't want to see anymore movies. Maybe I saw too many of these downers, one after the other, and I lost my objectivity. But I was starting to get kind of jaded. These were movies that came highly recommended on Rotten Tomatoes. Popular magazines gave them great reviews. Movie critics on TV raved about them. Me? I wish I'd stayed home.
However -- there are two I did see this last month that I will suggest you try. ENOUGH SAID, with James Gandolfino and Julia Louis Dreyfus, was a little gem. Sort of a quiet sweet story between two divorced people trying to reach out to each other. Both actors did a wonderful job of being wobbly about dating and vulnerable in their emotions.
The next one--ABOUT TIME-- was absolutely my favorite. With Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy, it's set in England in current time. Hilarious, fanciful, and a touch emotional, I was so ready to be entertained and to feel good in a movie for a change, it was -- well, what can I say. A love story that was just my cup of tea.
Life After Divorce
Sunday, 10 November 2013 22:48Dear Readers,
This week, I received a letter in my in-box that was too inspiring and remarkable not to share. With permission from the writer, omitting her name and some identifying markers, here is a beautifully told story of loss, courage, honesty and love...and ultimately, renewal.
Just takes my breath away.
Warmest thoughts to all of you,
All I Can Think About Is Him
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 01:12Dear Tonja
I have been in love with Tom for many years. I tried seeing another guy, but all I could think about was him. I have been praying that God will change him into the man he was made to be. Tom is all messed up emotionally. His dad died over a year ago and he is still hanging onto the hurt and using it as a crutch to go nowhere in life. I have put all of my care of the situation in God's hands and I'm waiting for a miracle. What's meant to be will be, right? Tom and I have been going together off and on for the last year. He was drunk the other night and told me that if I wasn't going to help him make himself something to eat @ 12:30 at night then I needed to leave. So I got my stuff and left. Haven't heard from him since. I have so much love for him but I know what I deserve and I am not going to let any man treat me that way. Any advice?
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