Tag: christmas

I Failed: Christmas Presence

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“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

On Christmas morning after we thoroughly inspected Santa’s cookie crumbs and opened the first stocking stuffers I made my way to the kitchen to produce pleasure in the form of traditional Christmas cuisine. I had prepped the Quiche and monkey bread the night before. Each recipe was carefully adhered to and I knew it was minutes before the bulk of my efforts were unveiled.

Cue chaos.

I opened the fridge to find egg dripping down the side of the door. Somehow my Quiche had tilted and spilled onto the monkey bread. I remember saying to myself, “I can handle this.” I scraped what I could off the monkey bread, preset the oven, and believed it to be salvageable. I got to work on remaking the Quiche and congratulated myself on saving breakfast. I retreated back to gift distribution with great confidence and self-worth.

Minutes later I smelled burning. The bottom of the monkey bread pan had residual egg on it, which was now burning in the oven. As I opened the oven door to grab the monkey bread my oven glove caught fire. Panicked, I dropped the monkey bread pan and sticky contents spilled everywhere. I mean it. No surface was safe.

As I set to work for a quick clean up to ensure I wouldn’t miss more magic, I noticed my Quiche wasn’t rising.

Cue meltdown.

I had tried so hard to create a perfect Christmas morning breakfast. I failed.

It became apparent to my parents and husband that I was in crisis. Ever so gently my mother pulled me aside. She took it upon herself to remind me that a perfect Christmas breakfast was far from what we were celebrating or what mattered. She urged me to sit down and watch my girls, which of course instantly brought me back into the realm of reality. This, their faces, their wonder, and their joy is what I’d remember. The messy magic and the miniature hugs were all that mattered.

The kitchen was sticky for a few days. My parents ended up walking to Dunkin Donuts to produce our morning Christmas feast. I sat, coffee in hand, next to my love watching our little loves revel in the spirit of the season.

I think my mother was wrong about one thing. I won’t forget about the Christmas morning I failed. It reminded me about the power of presence.

For 2019, here’s hoping we remember perfection is overrated and that presence is the perfect present.

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Can I Still Do This?

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Christmas was magic. I watched my preschool aged daughter get her dream unicorn toy, ride the darn thing incessantly, and sleep with it in her bed. My toddler was overjoyed by the act of unwrapping presents, found delight in all the lights, and discovered the chorus of “Deck the Halls.” Seriously, it’s her jam.

Christmas was bliss. Is there anything better than wonder married to joy? Throughout December I witnessed my girls revel in the mysteries and miracles of the season. And throughout December I kept returning to one simple question, can I still do this? Can I capture, create, and exude enthusiasm like a preschooler and toddler?

These kids had so much fun during the holidays and so did I, but I wanted the kid version of Christmas. After a glass of Eggnog or two I came to the realization that the foundation for their fun is rooted in discovery.

At some point in adulthood I preset my mind to impact. I was determined to find people to impact me and I wanted to impact others. This is all good intentioned and necessary, but so is fun.

Discovering who I am through fika has been the most fun, so yes, I can still do this. I can capture, create, and exude enthusiasm like a preschooler and toddler.

Part of the fun of fika is pressing pause. Are you ready for some coffee and conversation?     Let’s have some fun. Let’s discover.

Advent

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“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting” ― Andy Warhol
The other night a dinner conversation turned to religion. Listen, I know the rule and theory behind political and religious discussions. But this group of friends is the exception to everything. They’re what we need more of in the world, which is open-mindedness, kindness, and genuine enthusiasm for one another.
Talking about religion is natural for me. Born and raised Catholic, now Presbyterian, I am a faith-based explorer and overt believer. I find strength and solace in faith-based discussions. But there’s something challenging to convey, which is the crux of all religious discussion, and it lies within the application of beliefs, customs, and interpretations.
Our faith is deeply personal so it makes sense that it might not be easily understood or universal. Yet I find in discovery discussions that it’s natural to dismiss, label, or refute. I’m guilty of this. There’s freedom within acknowledgment. And while I’ll save specific confessions for the Almighty Himself, I do want to own this truth for myself and others.
At one point the other night I echoed the famous phrase given to me by my mother. I never get it perfect but it goes something like this, “I give you religion. You find faith.” It was her message to me from a young age.  Essentially she wanted me to understand that faith is personal and an independent component to religious commitment. It was her didactic promise of choice.

This time of year our faith is on prominent display. Aside from its preparatory appeal, I associate Advent with reflection. I’ve decided we need glimpses to understand the bigger picture. So glimpse with me. The Advent fika I’m proposing offers no chocolates behind doors, elves on shelves, or visits from the North Pole. Make no mistake, these things are a part of my traditions, just not my faith.  Let’s faith fika with a daily glimpse. Sign up here and comment “Advent.”

It’s A Wonderful Life

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Is Christmas in July still a thing? Or maybe I should rephrase and ask, was it ever a thing? I’m a big fan of December and all the merriment it brings, and this summer has felt like Christmas for all the perspective and passion I’ve been gifted.

To begin, I’ve embarked on a #60daychallenge. I’ve decided to write more about the projects I’ve been pursuing and the opportunities that are unfolding. I’ve committed to 60 consecutive days of writing, which will undoubtedly challenge and change me in more ways than one.

In other news, the podcast relaunches next week. I’ve had many fikas “off the air,” but I stepped away in June and July so that I could gather myself after I was flooded with interest and inquiry about my side hustle. To be honest, I’ve been more creatively inclined to keep things low key while I plan and plot accordingly.

So what’s the point of all this ambiguous sharing? Trust me, I’m getting to the good stuff.

I’m going all in for the remainder of 2018 and attempting to shake my soul with some life-changing decisions.

  1. My first big writing project in two years is in the works. With some courage and conviction, I hope to get this in your hands in the next 18 months or so. –Here’s to patience.
  2. Fishing for Fika is officially headed to night time recordings and daytime editings. Honestly, there’s no benefit to knowing this except that as a mama I am consistently challenged or called upon to discuss work/life balance. There are no secrets over here. We’re slowly losing the morning nap so it was inevitable.
  3. My favorite fikas are with seasoned dreamers and doers. I’ll be taking fika on the road to retirement homes and/or assisted living communities. There’s a project within a project here so stay tuned.
  4. I’m “out there” in other literary journals and magazines and making it a bit easier to be found. Check out my newest contributor role here
  5. My first professional love was and always will be teaching. I’m about to take a little bit of mom mode, mix it into reading and writing, and produce a workshop series for the tired but talented mamas of the world. Again, more on this soon.

I’ve missed writing on this blog, but I gave myself a true chance to gather myself and recognize what’s important, how to best manage my responsibilities, and chase my dreams with greater confidence.

If Christmas in July is truly a thing then let me leave you with this tidbit from my favorite film, It’s a Wonderful Life: “All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.”