On behalf of introverts everywhere…

It’s that time of year… holiday parties. While most people look forward to the celebrations and fun, it makes me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, I like you, I just don’t want to be at a social gathering where I may or may not know everyone. It literally creates a physical reaction in my body. I’m sure I’m not alone. This time of year is when extroverts shine. The small talk, socializing & merriment is right up their alley. There is a lot of pressure to attend festive social functions. I love the holidays, but the parties are my least favorite part. So I avoid them… because I’m learning to say “no, thank you.”

If you’re not an introvert, let me give you some insight…. Introverts see the invitation as an obstacle to carefully overcome. Do I go and feel awkward or try to come up with an excuse? If I go, it’s like a land mine. For me, it’s like being in jr. high all over again. Who to sit by? Who to talk to? Drink something? Don’t drink? How long do you stay? What if you say the wrong thing? Forget to talk to someone important? It’s a long list. If I don’t go, then there is the guilt. Why couldn’t you make it? Where were you? The list is shorter. See where I’m going with this? It’s easier for me to skip the party and deal with the questions, and it’s far less stressful.

I don’t mean to be dramatic or sound like I’m a party pooper, but this is a real thing. So please, continue to have your parties but don’t feel bad if I’m not there. I’m probably snuggled up at home. On behalf of introverts everywhere, we respectfully decline. Peace be with you on your journey of enough, whether you attend or not, you are enough.

Emotional flood…

6 years ago, we said “I do (again)” in Las Vegas while doing my first half marathon. It was a “run-through” vow renewal. We didn’t know the twists and turns that we’d face in the years to come. We assumed we would grow old together… we felt invincible. I miss the carefree time & how fit I was.

4 years ago, Myles was getting ready for his bell solo at the 1st grade Christmas concert. I really miss the Christmas concerts at our old school. They don’t do them here and it makes me sad. Last year, Myles had a sing along, but it isn’t the same. I miss all of the songs & actions the kids did. I miss some of that magic.

3 years ago, we were also getting ready for a Christmas concert, but it was with a heavy, anxious heart. 3 years ago was my diagnosis of breast cancer. My world would change in so many ways.

So today brings a flood of emotions… Joy, sadness, thankfulness, love, hope, peace, remembrance & fullness.

Joy like the pure joy in Myles’ smile. Sadness for missing out on a Christmas program and the “end” of that kind of magic. Thankfulness for everyone who stood beside me, cheered me on or held my hand. Love of my husband, family and friends. Hope for the future & for a long, healthy life. Peace knowing that I’m a child of God and supported and loved. Remembrance so that I don’t take my birthdays and Christmases for granted. Fullness because my heart is full (& probably somewhat to do with the abundance of cookies too! – see previous post)

So, while the day goes on like any other, it does cause me to pause and be grateful. I’m grateful to be on this journey of enough with you. Thanks for reading – now give someone a hug!

Thousands to share…

When my friend and I get together, it’s quite the opposite of the “5 loaves and 3 fishes” story. We always over-do food. Not sure why but we both do, so when we are together, we could easily add a few more people and still have plenty. For many years, we have gotten together to do our Christmas baking. We aren’t even sure how it started. Likely it was while we were on a walk one time when we were still neighbors. I’m guessing we got to talking about holiday baking & thought that since we both liked to bake, it would be a great way to do it together. We would try to get together once a month for a group meal. Maybe we talked about it then. Not sure. It all started with her bringing over her baking supplies and using our double oven to make the baking go faster. Of course there were lists involved (who made which one and how much). We each picked our favorites to make. Eventually we found some new ones and got rid of some others.

We made a full day of it each year. Our husbands were in charge of dishes, packaging & the babies. Now our kids are much older and we don’t need the pack & play or diaper bags. The year I was diagnosed with cancer, we still baked. We made an extra batch of everything & took it to a neighbor who was also battling cancer. I was still numb from my diagnosis- still not sure what path my treatment would take. Baking has always been like therapy to me. Not sure why, I just love it. Last year we didn’t do baking day. We had moved into a rental and things were crazy. Between the two of us, we didn’t have a good weekend to do it and my double oven was gone. When we were cleaning out our old house, I cried when I saw sprinkles under the stove – so many memories of baking in that house.

So, this year, we took baking day “on the road.” Her friend wanted to join too, so this time, I packed up 1/2 of my kitchen and hauled it to West Fargo. We spent 4 hrs the night before having some wine & just doing “a few things.” Sunday was Game Day! It was an 8am start, and when we left at 5, they were still doing their cut out cookies. After seeing the pictures on Facebook, several people asked if we were doing a bake sale. It’s not why we made that much, but I am taking some of mine to a bake sale at work. We do a fundraiser for Relay for Life. Usually, we give most of it away. We like to eat some of course, but we mainly just love to share it. Several years, we have packed up a bunch to take to the homeless shelter. We give it to teachers and neighbors & co-workers. The fun is in the laughs that we have while we do it. It’s an all-day, 12-14 hr marathon. Our feet are sore, but our freezers are full and we have plenty to share. Her husband likes to keep track of numbers. Final count was 3500 treats, aside from our separate cut outs and the puff corn & reindeer chow.

I ended up sick but it wasn’t from eating too many sweets. Just a bug. Or God’s way of slowing me down. Or maybe I’m getting too old for this. Regardless, the treats were all divided into 3 groups by our packaging department & will be shared throughout December.

Whatever your talent, be sure to share it. This time of year is a great time to reach out to a neighbor or volunteer somewhere. May your journey of enough contain enough sugar for your cookies, enough music for you to sing along and enough laughter to make the time fly. I’m thankful to have had all of that and more yesterday.