peripheral perceptions

a look at life from the corners of my mind

Twix 10 months


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Time definitely doesn’t wait for anyone

Twix 10 months
Texture by Kim Klassen: chill magic, 100% soft light

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who just missed a train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask someone who just avoided an accident.

To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal at the Olympics.

Treasure every moment you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with. And remember time waits for no one.
~Unknown

This really puts things into perspective. I hope this weekend and every day forward, you value every precious moment in life. We’re given 86,400 seconds each day. How we choose to spend them is completely our decision. We can spend them being bitter, resentful, angry and depressed. Or, we can value every second we have and spend that time making the most of what’s been given to us.

It’s a hard concept. Believe me, I’m learning this the hard way. Many times, at the end of the day I realize how badly I’ve failed and lost that precious time. We all need to learn how to savor every moment, and not take time for granted. A lesson sometimes learned too late.

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reindeer riding elf


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The elf is everywhere except on the shelf

Before you tell me this isn’t the official Elf on the Shelf let me explain…….

Last month, in desperation, I threatened Peanut that I was going to call Santa and tell him to send an elf to keep an eye on her to report her less-than-good behavior. Big mistake. After a lengthy discussion about how exactly I came to have Santa’s phone number, she told me to tell him to send a girl elf. Since the North Pole was fresh out of tiny, little girl elves, Santa dispatched a larger version.

So our elf-ette arrived just before Thanksgiving. And she’s been just about everywhere except on the shelf.

Peanut named her Wendy and our morning ritual now included searching for Wendy before heading off to school. One morning we found her reading Peanut’s library book to some of her loveys…and the turkeys.

reading elf

Then, there was this scene with the dining room table decs. Peanut is sure she was flying around the house while we were asleep.

reindeer riding elf

Looks like Wendy does some acrobatics at night while everyone is sleeping. Or could this have been a jump rope gone awry? Wonder if I need to count the wine bottles to make sure she’s not having a few drinks after hours.

acrobat elf

Some of her antics have me wondering whose behavior needs to be reported. Peanut said she probably knew where we kept the markers because we found her hanging out in the office one day. Mental note: hide the markers.

sharpie marker elf

I believe since we haven’t had any significant snow fall, Wendy might be missing her friends at the North Pole.

snowman elf

Sometimes she does really try to hide from Peanut. We’ve found her tucked into the Christmas tree, peeking out above the Advent calendar, nestled inside Peanut’s sock on the fireplace mantle and hiding behind photo frames. Occasionally, she does show up high on a shelf or ledge to get a bird’s-eye view. Her reports are varied…but I’m sure Santa will balance the good with the bad and all will be forgiven by Christmas Eve!

Is there an Elf on the Shelf at your house?


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Why Santa is alive and well at our house

Santa-Peanut-TwixTexture by Kim Klassen; chillmagic, 100% soft light

This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas – as am I.
Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.

~Santa Claus, Polar Express (2004) 

Bell jingle. Paper crinkles. Candles twinkle. And there’s a Santa on every corner.

It’s impossible to avoid the jolly elf in this country, regardless of your faith preference. This time of year I hear of those who discourage the childhood belief in Santa. For them, they prefer not to perpetuate the focus on Santa for many reasons. Some fear Santa will become a (little g-)god and will replace the focus of the Christ Child’s birth; some people equate belief in Santa with increased materialism and commercialism; others don’t like the idea of gifts being connected to whether a child deserves them or not.

Whatever the reason, that is their position and I respect their decision. But belief in Santa is alive and well at our house…and here’s why.

Santa is magical. In this world of too much reality television and real-life drama to say nothing of what they see on the news, what’s wrong with some good-old-fashioned imaginative fun for a few years? Fantasy is an important part of childhood. That’s why we read fairy tales and other magical, fiction books. Those stories foster imagination and creativity. There is so much ugly in the world, a temporary belief in a bit of fantasy can bring a smile to the face of one who is worried, depressed or dealing with the anxiety of life. There will be enough heartbreak in their lives as they get older…let them create memories of a simpler time.

Let’s face it, have you ever known a child who believes in Santa NOT to get gifts? Yes, sometimes we threaten that Santa won’t bring gifts for naughty children…but really….does that ever happen? Of course not. Santa is the embodiment of gift giving. Like the sunrise and sunset, gifts magically show up under the Christmas tree every year regardless of how often they are threatened that they won’t. Wonderful gifts that are given from the heart out of love….selfless acts that require no return payment on the part of the child.

Santa has not and will not replace the real meaning of why we celebrate Christmas at our house. We are not threatened that Santa will replace Jesus and his saving grace. That message is front and center. The magic of Santa is secondary. In fact, as Peanut was watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, she announced the Grinch’s heart was too small because he didn’t understand that Christmas was when Jesus was born. And Jesus is love. That was the moment I realized Santa was never going to unseat God. Christ is the foundation. Everything else builds off of that. It’s not Santa’s fault that our culture has hijacked Christmas and turned it into such a commercialism holiday.

The Big Lie is an opportunity to help children understand about selflessness and humbleness; to understand the joy that comes when anonymously giving from the heart. Santa opens the door to discussions about generosity, kindness…and forgiveness. When done correctly, it can be a tangible understanding of the concept of being forgiven for not being perfect. And that can help them understand that bigger concept of God’s forgiveness in our lives when we screw up. The real story about Saint Nicholas/Father Christmas is a beautiful segue in this area.

All fairy tales teach life truths through metaphors and symbolism. With Santa, we will teach our grandchildren about the joy of giving and not demanding.

Christmas Day we will celebrate the birth of God’s son who brought us the best gift of all…salvation and eternal life. Will there be presents? Yes, just as gifts were brought to the Christ Child. We will celebrate our love and generosity as a family. Will Santa bring gifts? Yes….the spirit of Christmas will bring gifts Peanut and Twix did not earn or maybe even deserve. And he will do that in hopes of a few cookies and a bit of reindeer food. :-)

Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows; who shares his joys with those who are sad; whose hand is never closed against the needy; whose arm is ever outstretched to aid the week; whose sympathy is quick and genuinein time of trouble; who recognizes a comradeand brother in every man he meets upon life’scommon road; who lives his life throughout the entire year in the Christmas spirit.
~EDWIN OSGOOD GROVER, Vicki Howard’s The Book of Santa Claus
Linking up with Texture Tuesday and Texture Twist
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hands


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Friday Finds Friends and Family

November 2014 collage

My find this past week for Kim’s Friday Finds is this collage of our November. Who can think of November without thinking of family, friends…and FOOD! November brought cold temps, but warm hearts as we hosted Thanksgiving this year at our house for the clans on both sides of the family, plus a couple of friends who found themselves family-less for Thanksgiving. So I guess we were a framily this year. November also brought football weekends and our first skiff of snow. Twix turned 9 months old and Peanut continues to be six going on twelve-teen…as you can tell by the “attitude” photo in the collage. :-)

Family. What does that mean to you? Nuclear? Extended? Close-knit? Estranged? Close-by? Miles apart? One thing is for sure, we usually take them for granted. We think they will always be there….exactly the same all the time. We gather during the holidays and sometimes it either brings out the best or the worst in the family dynamic. But we are what we are….good, bad and otherwise. Despite all our faults, we’re all in this together. And never is that more true than when rallying around a family member that needs support, help, comfort or guidance. May we never take anyone in our family for granted…and never pass up an opportunity to tell them how much we love them.

Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted.
~Paul Pearshall

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.
~Erma Bombeck

The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit. No two people — no mere father and mother — as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child. He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.
~Pearl S. Buck

At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.
~Mark V. Olsen and Will Sheffer, Big Love, “Easter”

So, before we dive head-first into Christmas, let’s pause and reflect a bit longer on our blessings, and give some more thanks for the people in our lives that mean the most.

 Linking up with Friday Finds
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Twix update: Where does the time go?

Twix born-9 mo 72Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things.
~Robert Brault

Oh em geeeee! Where does the time go? Not only is Twix 10 months old today, this montage of her 3/6/9 photos has been sitting on my desktop for about half a month. And now the holiday hoopla is in full swing and time will fly by even faster. And I’ve totally forgotten just how much time a wee one takes on a daily basis….especially this one! It just doesn’t seem possible that 10 months have passed since she arrived in our world….three weeks early.

Twix monitoredTwix is growing like the proverbial weed. She can do a full crawl, but commando crawling is the preferred method of covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Pulling up on ev.ery.thing and standing is her new favorite activity. She feeds herself pieces of soft food and is a busy, Busy, BUSY girl in her waking hours. Nothing less than 2 feet off the ground is safe anymore.

We have a pseudo daily schedule that involves three meals, some snacks and two naps. And we attempt to stick to that routine even when away from home base. Yeah, sure. Her stranger anxiety is beginning to show with people she is not used to seeing on a regular basis. But overall, she is a happy, inquisitive baby that is one of the lights of our lives. Her daily discoveries are a joy to watch unfold. However, we are finding out she has a definite temper. No, really, she does….just try taking something away from her, or prying a tree ornament out of her hot, little hand and she’ll let you know just exactly what she thinks about that!

It’s cold here now. Long gone are the wonderfully warm Autumn days above 50F. But, after all, it is December so I guess it’s time. A winter mix is forecasted for tomorrow morning and cold rain on Friday. Lovely. I’m sure there’s more Christmas decorating I can do inside….or laundry…or cleaning a closet or three.

How was your Thanksgiving? Are you finished Christmas shopping? Have you even begun? The Internet may be my best friend for this year’s shopping needs this year. :-)

 

tenn river bridge


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Bravery, Courage and Commitment

tenn river bridgeTexture by Kim Klassen; waterfront 7 magic, 100% soft light

To embark on the journey towards your goals and dreams requires bravery.
To remain on that path requires courage.
The bridge that merges the two is commitment.
~Steve Maraboli

Entrepreneur and I went to the Missouri Tigers game in Knoxville, Tennessee a few weeks ago. It was perfect football weather and we spent our tailgating hours on the Tennessee riverfront….with this view! The reflection of the bridge with the setting sun was too good a photo to pass up.

And it got me thinking about journeys and bridges….how excited do we get when we begin a journey towards a dream in life? We’re so full of optimism and hope as we explode out of the gate, we forget that most journeys are long-distance races and not sprints. All that bravery at embarking on a new direction can sometimes becomes a distant memory if it takes too long to achieve our goal.

Staying the course on the journey can be difficult. Soon, the road gets hard; there are detours and potholes. At times we may find we need to start over, which cause us to feel frustrated and disappointed. We can either muster up the courage to push through the rough times…or give up. It takes courage to stay the course and finish the journey, no matter how long it takes to achieve the dream.

Commitment. Many times, the difference between success and failure. The bridge between the bravado of embarking on a dream and the courage of staying the course during the difficult times is commitment. A concept that is sometimes very foreign in our immediate-gratification-everyone-gets-an-award society. One or two set backs and our psyche is probably still okay. Three setbacks and we may be getting a bit shaken. Four or more? We’re done. Right? Sometimes we expect to be awarded our dream without really wanting to do the hard work to get it. After all, we’re entitled to live our dream, aren’t we?

Whether it’s school, relationships or career, the bridge between bravery and courage is always commitment. Sometimes that can be a very looonnngggg bridge! But worth it if you are patience enough to figure out a way to the other side!

Linking up with Texture Tuesday and Texture Twist
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backpacks


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November Photo Challenge: Where The Streets Have No Names

photo blog challenge

Sooooo, PJ gave us an easy prompt for October…photographer’s choice. Now, he’s swung the pendulum completely the other direction with November’s prompt….Where The Streets Have No Names. Whaaat? I’ve racked my brain all month to come up with a unique and a different perspective. It was definitely a challenge!

So here’s my thought process on deconstructing the prompt….scary, I know, but stay with me…….

Streets are areas that adjoin buildings and providing a passage for travel. Streets also intersect with each other, and their main function is to promote interaction. Streets facilitate unrestricted transport of people and goods.

Okay, now on to the second half….No Name. In many cultures, a name carried with it significant importance or power. No name is synonymous with anonymous. No identification or identity. Insignificant.

Now that we have that all cleared up, here are my five interpretations of Where The Streets Have No Names:

1. Our church participates in a program that provides backpacks filled with essentials for children who will enter the foster care system over the next year or so. Sometimes they enter with only the clothes on their backs and nothing else. Each pack is gender/size specific and include pants, shirt, pajamas, toothbrush/toothpaste, socks, underwear, water bottles, hair care products and accessories, lovey or stuffed animal (for the younger ones), a journal, photo album and bible. In total, more than 400 backpacks were returned for distribution. By anonymously (no names) donating these items, the backpacks intersect with a very disadvantaged population and offers unrestricted transfer of goods. A week after collection, about 39 of them had already been given to children.
backpacks

2. Some streets are so neglected, they really don’t look like streets. This one looks like a road to nowhere. There is no identification on this road and no one would mistake it for having any significant importance.
overgrown street

3. My imagination can take me just about anywhere I want to go….and the streets there don’t have to have any names. I can navigate from one idea to another quite easily…without any need for a GPS or map. I’m really more of a mind-mapping type of personality anyway. All roads lead to creativity.

crayon2

4. The classroom is filled with avenues to interact and intersect with learning opportunities to promote interaction. Each child travels a different street to success and, in a perfect environment, there are no labels or names on this journey. FYI, this is Peanut’s kindergarten class. It was “pink day.”

Fall Party 2014 1

5. Perhaps the best metaphor for Where The Streets Have No Names is the comparison to the Kingdom of God, or in layman’s terms; heaven. It’s there where it doesn’t matter what street you live on….there is no wrong side of the tracks or bad parts of town.  You won’t be able to assume a person’s status or wealth by their street address. Poetically, all “streets” are golden (aka: precious) and point to one destination….the presence of God.

clouds

If you’re still with me, here’s a little bonus based on the last interpretation.

Check out how others interpreted PJ’s theme this month HERE.

 

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