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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting ready for a new year

We are days away from 2012.  Goodbye to this year....   it was a truly great one.  There were many fun and rewarding times!  Many changes - all for the better.  I have been so blessed.  But, here comes 2 - 0 -1 -2 !!!   Ready or not.

It's time to think about "resolutions".  Do you make them?  And, a better question: do you stick to them?    I try to start out a new year with a few in mind, if for nothing more than to direct my head and heart the right way.  

Some are abit frivilous. Some more serious.   Here's a list I'm considering:

In 2012, I resolve to:

* Exercise more often.   This is on my list every year.  But with each passing year it becomes more important! Dang, aging.  My body is looser, and it's a bit heavier now.  So, really...Marla! Exercise! Move! Stretch!   As Nike says...do it!

* Eat healthier.  This goes right along with the exercise.  I really just want to add more fruit (chardonnay grapes don't count although they should), and veggies each day.  Stop eating too many carbs.  

* Show my love more.  I don't always express it like I should. I need to stop and take the time to say it, write a note, do something above and beyond.

* "Enjoy the moment".  I'm getting better with this each year.  But, I want to continue to live my life with the mindset that God is good, and every day and every moment of every day is valuable.  It's a beautiful gift.

* Play the piano more.  As my hubby reminds me, I know music, and I have the basics and have tinkered (or "tickled the keys") all my life. I just haven't taken it to the next level.  

* Send more cards through snail mail.  I still think a person loves to receive a real card in the real mailbox.  I know I do.  How nice to have something in the mail besides bills and junk.  It takes longer than sending an email, or an electronic greeting, or a FB message - and that's why it's appreciated.  So, I will resolve to send out more cards this year. Plus, I think the USPS needs my help...


I'm looking forward to the new year. I already have some exciting events coming up on the calendar.  June is shaping up to be another "country music month" -  we are going back to the CMA Music Fest in Nashville, and we have tickets to see Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw together in Charlotte.  I will probably buy into the Verizon Amplitheatre country package again.  That was alot of fun last year!

I have another little great-nephew, or a great niece on the way in May!  I have our annual Lakeside trip this summer too.  And summer here at the beach!  It really is my favorite time of the year.  Question: will the Fabians' Cinco (or Seis) de Mayo happen again?   It was a great celebration to kick off the summer. 

Oh - I digress. I have completely gotten off-topic from resolutions.  But, I guess it shows I am excited about the new year, and the possibilities ahead... the few events planned already, and many more (still unknown) to happen too.

So, come on 2012.  I'm ready for you!  Bring it on!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The ying and the yang of Christmas

I've been thinking about this time and the emotions and the happenings that lead us up to Christmas.
It makes me think there's a lot of ying and yang at this time.  For instance:

Busy loud malls and bell ringers vs. the quiet of a "silent night".

Giving gifts to others vs. the true gift given to us.

People traveling vs. enjoying time at home Christmas morning.

Feeling rushed and upset with humanity vs. a bond of joy with each other for grace-given love.

Anticipation vs. wanting to be still and "savor" the special moment.

Expectations vs. pleasant surprises.

Simple words vs. unexplainable events.


I am sure you can add some too.  I think it's what can make Christmas such a hard time for people.  There is this ying and a yang thing happening.  It's hard to understand.  Sometimes we try to feel everything, and in doing so sometimes we just try to hard!   So, we relax. Try not to stress - to let it happen - to "get" the whole picture.  Rush -but be still.  Sing - but be quiet.

Christmas is about a baby being born in a back yard, in an out of the way barn.  Centuries ago.   Not in a modern hospital by special medical means.  A baby born of a very young, niave mother with no power or money.  Not the royal offspring of a well-to-do leader.  A baby "given" to us, but not because we wanted him BUT because we needed him.  A baby.  Tiny.  Normal to the eye.  But a one-time-only special son of God.  A part of God.  Actually God.  

A normal baby vs. God on earth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Feeling the Christmas spirit!

Monday morning.  I just finished up a very busy and fun December weekend.  I really felt the Christmas spirit flying around in the air!  I spent some time with family and friends, and heard the scripture of the angel telling Mary she will have a son and name him Jesus.  And, I heard and played some good Christmas music too!   Tis the season!

I'm about to make my final list...like Santa.  Well, not really.  Mmy list isn't of good & bad children, but instead it's of what still needs to still get done by December the 24th.  Thankfully it shouldn't be too long.  No stress...    no, not allowing it.

I'm looking forward to this week ahead. The hubby is home ALL WEEK!  The daughters are coming in in time for Christmas. There will be more good times with family and friends.  Then, the Christmas message.  It's good - all good!

I'm feeling the Christmas spirit!   ( : 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Aging

So, tomorrow I have a birthday and for some reason this one has been bothering me more than others.  I handled turning 40 easily, and even 50. I felt like I was a "young 50" and I was still holding it together really well.  I had absolutely NO medical issues and was active through all those years.  What a blessed person I have been.  I know it.   Don't get me wrong. 

I'm still very healthy.  Ok.  The diagnosis of oestoporsis surprised me.  And, I have a a curve in my lower back that causes me some pain sometimes and now my chiropractor and I have an ongoing relationship.  But, all in all, I'm fit and lucky. I have good genes.  I know to live with moderate exercise and moderate eating.  It works for me.

But, for some reason this birthday number is annoying me.  Is it because it's a "downhill slide" to 60?  Is it because in my head I have thought to myself this age is really "middle age"?  I'm no longer young in any spark of the imagination. 

 Do you remember when you were a kid and you went to family gatherings and the older relatives were in their 50's?  SO OLD!  ha!  You thought you'd never be like them, talk like them, get set in your ways like them.   Well...    as my dad always has said "chronology is inexerable".   Time marches on.  You can't hold it back.   So, now here I am.

I tell myself - oh, it's ok. I'm the cool older aunt, and I'm really not a stick-in-the mud mother.  I LOVE being with young people. Sometimes I love my daughters' friends more than my own.  They are fun and make me laugh.  They have so much to get excited about still.

I do admit that aging has changed over the years.  Especially for women.  We color our hair and still wear fashionable clothing. It's hard to know a woman's true age anymore.  Men can't hide it quite as easily.  I find it interesting when I meet some of my lady friends' husbands because they usually look so much older than their wives.  It's still not acceptable for men to color their hair, and to dress like a teenager. Ha! I just got a mental picture of a 60 year old man wearing low-riding pants, that are falling off his butt.  No, that just won't work!

So, by this time, you are thinking  "gee, Marla, get over yourself!"  I know.   Believe me.  When
I do think for a few minutes about getting older I quickly tell myself that I have no right to complain. I am having such a lovely life!  "When you got your health, you got everything!"  "People love me for who I am on the inside, not what I look like on the outside."    And, I think if I had a disease strike me, or I'm in an accident, then this post will be pretty embarrassing and trivial in the whole scheme of things. 

I know. I know.  I'm just saying... some birthdays are easier than others.  Some numbers are fun to celebrate...18, 21, 30, even 40.    Tomorrow is another day, and it's another year.  I'm not going to sit and mope - or pretend it doesn't exist.  Actually, I really prefer to stop and thank my parents.  They are the ones that created me (with a little help from God), and started me out in life.  I thank my "older" sister (ha! I always remind her she is the oldest!! Sorry sis!), and my brother. I was a bratty little sister growing up. You didn't have a choice putting up with me, but thanks that you did.

So - happy birthday to me!  Happy day to celebrate where I come from...   and to celebrate this day! 
(Just don't ask me how old I am!?!) 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Before Facebook?

I am so addicted to Facebook.  I admit it.  I think there should be a support group for people who spend too much time on it, and I would certainly have to join. 

It's funny how Facebook started out as a college thing and students had the use of it before it was discovered by the rest of the world.  If nothing else is learned when young people goe off to college,  they are in on the new big thing.  They are at a time in their lives when they experiment and are open-minded.    But, Facebook is not new anymore.  It's been around some 7 or 8 years now - I mean, a movie has even been made about it.  I'm wondering:  will something come along and replace Facebook?  Remember "My Space"?    Does it even still exist?  Does anyone use it?

I thank the young people for accepting all us older people on Facebook.  I'm sure they groaned when parents started joining.  I know my girls had to rethink what they posted...  and yes, there were a few pictures that surprised me.  But, all for the best.  I got a truer picture of their life away from Mom.  Wake up Marla!  ha!

Now when I talk to friends or acquaintences I rush home and type in their name in "search" and see if they have a page.  Maybe I'll friend them online!  Like I said, I'm abit nutsy about Facebook.

But... here's the wonderful thing about Facebook.  I have reconnected with friends I haven't seen in years and ones that live far, far away from me.   Some have become daily connections, some are just occasional "dropins".  But, it's a wonderful thing to stay in touch and learn about their lives.   As a woman who lives alone part-time my computer has become my way to reach out and say hello.  

It's a way to send out one message to many people.  Like this post! ha!  (Are you still reading this?  You must not be too busy right now. )   For me, it's a silent megaphone.  What?  Facebook (and now blogging) has given me the ability to share my thoughts.  I really don't care who reads them, if anyone, because typing them and "getting them out" is satisfying to me.   Oh, I do think that one day beyond my time on earth my words will continue to live on the internet.  Floating somewhere. Kind of spooky but also a good feeling.  My daughters will have "something" left of me.   Sorry girls...this is what I'm leaving you!  

Words.  Thoughts. Pictures.  

Facebook is a way to share. To laugh. To be touched at times.

Thank you Facebook.   What did I do before you? 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pets rule!

So, it's just a little after 5:00am and I have already been out in the freezing, dark morning. I have already made 6 dishes of pet food - one dog, and 5 cat dishes.    In this house, pets rule!

Ok.  So, it started out as my mistake early, early this morning.  I awoke and had to get out of bed and go to the bathroom.  Natured called.  It was just enough stirring to wake up both Miss Honeybee (sleeping next to me in bed) and Midnight (sleeping somewhere close by.)    Once I got back in bed I tried quite hard to get them both to settle down.  I looked at the clock and moaned to them "It's too early!" 

Another mistake.  I talked to Honeybee!  The licking began.  Lick, lick, lick!  All around my face.  Then she threw her body on top of my face!  Somewhere during my morning Honeybee attack, Midnight jumped up on the bed - and made a beeline for my nightstand.   This is Midnight's favorite place to go for attention.   He has learned that items on my nightstand are easy to slide off and knock onto the floor. He has learned that I quickly react!!

In the past Midnight has knocked off coasters, papers and pens (he loves them), and once he knocked over my lamp.  Once he knocked off my phone's answering machine.  Side note: I no longer have a working answering machine so if you call me I may not get your message. 

My pets have won.  I'm up VERY early this morning!    In fact, I am up so early this morning I beat the newspaper man.  Really!  When I took Honeybee out for her morning business the paper had not yet been tossed out onto the driveway.  

The morning routine, even before my coffee, is to prepare the dog and cat food dishes.   I put on my back deck light as a sign to the outdoor kitties that it is time to eat.  Come and get it!   It's kind of like when Krispy Kreme turns on their "hot donuts" sign.   The cats never arrive all at once, so I put dishes out one by one.  I can't have one cat eat too much and not leave enough for the others.  Right?   Some get fed in the Carolina room, a couple prefer the back deck.  One, my stand-offish Galaxy, prefers his dish up on the railing so Miss Honeybee will leave him alone.  I try to count all five kitties each morning to make sure they get accounted for and fed.  They don't tend to show up at the same time.   Patches is usually last. I think he likes to keep his distance from Galaxy. 

So, as you can tell - here at the Fabian home PETS RULE!!   I adjust MY schedule to them.  And this is one very good reason, if I sit down to read a book for a little while in the afternoon it becomes naptime.  The sweet part, is I have a cute doggie cuddled up with me, and a kitty or two - or three - near by.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis the Season!

From now until Christmas day some of the best events, movies, and music are out there for the enjoying!  It's part of the reason why this can be such a wonderful time of year.  There are so many special one-time-a-year traditions to see and hear!   Some that I enjoy:

Brookgreen Gardens' Night of a Thousand Candles. If you don't live here, let me tell you that Brookgreen Gardens year-round is an amazing place to spend a day.  It's preserved land from an old plantation that has been beautifully changed into low-country style gardens, mixed with the largest array of outdoor sculptures.  For 3 weekends in December the staff and volunteers light it up at night with a gorgeous, tasteful display of Christmas lights.  It's like walking through a "winter wonderland"!!  (Without the snow - another bonus.)   To add to it, they have  musicians performing in various parts of the gardens, and offer cider, and wine, and other goodies.  It's a perfect evening - and a glorious time for the senses!

Our local town is a bit of an art & music colony so it's hard to pick and chose the wonderful music specials offered.  This Friday night the Charleston symphony is coming to perform.  And on Sunday I know of 3 events:  a choir & orchestra performance at the Presbyterian church, a handbell concert at the Surfside Beach Lutheran church, and the Hallelujah Chorus performed by local vocalists at one of the Episcopal churches.  

Then there is the tv specials, and the "must see" movies!  What are your favorites?   I can't go through this preparation time without watching "Christmas Vacation" for fun, and "White Christmas" for sentiment.   "The Peanut's Christmas" is short and sweet but absolutely perfect in it's message. 

My modern Ipod plays mostly old standard Christmas carols and songs during this time.   I admit I have downloaded some songs by my country music favorites but I still love hearing the traditional songs of the season.  I can listen to "Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer" once, but I never ever get tired of "Oh Holy Night" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".  

Our children at church are putting on their Christmas pageant this Sunday morning.  Again, it's another "priceless moment" watching the young ones tell US about the baby Jesus and hearing those precious little voices singing! 

I hope you get the chance to experience similiar music and movies of the season.   I know, where-ever you live, there are special events scheduled.  What are you most looking forward to seeing or hearing?
What is your traditional event? 

Tis the season!  What a glorious time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Prepare the way

Today I went to a couple of places where discussion centered on preparing for Christmas.  We are in the church season of Advent right now.  Christmas starts on December 25th with the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and the "season of Christmas" goes until January 6th, when on that day we celebrate the kings that arrived with gifts to give the baby Jesus. They followed the bright star that showed the way to the simple manger.

"Prepare the way of the Lord." Advent is the time of preparing, of waiting, of counting down the days til Christmas.  When you were young did you have an Advent Calendar and open a door on it each day as you got close to December 25th?  I did.  It was fun to open a new door each day and see a picture, or read a Bible passage. I don't have an Advent calendar this year but I have my regular calendar and am keeping track of the days left til Christmas.  (19 days an counting...) So, it makes sense that  now we are preparing our homes. We are decorating, putting up the tree, buying gifts, and will soon start baking.  We are preparing to  celebrate. We are setting the scene.  It's a hectic time now getting everything ready.  Preparing the way.

When Christmas Eve comes, and then Christmas Day, the pace changes.  Have you noticed?  The busyness (and business) of preparing for Christmas is done.  There is a quiet...a peace.  A pause.  It's the time to open our hearts and to hear the Christmas message. 

Christmas is coming.  It's time to prepare.  Prepare the way!

Monday, December 5, 2011

News reporting

This morning HLN News with Robin Meade had two stories about issues with the TSA, our federal agency that tries to keep us safe when flying.

The first story was a couple of days old but it ran again and was about a young lady, perhaps a teenager, who got delayed at the Norfolk, VA airport. TSA authorities stopped her because she was carrying a handbag with a fake metal-looking gun on the side of it as decoration on the bag.  First, I do not understand why a purse company wants to put a fake (but real looking) gun on a bag as a design, but they did.  Second, I don't understand who would want to buy a ladies handbag with a gun on the side of it.  But this young woman did.   The news story interviewed her because she was upset that she got pulled aside, and that the TSA needed to check her out.  She missed her flight because she was "singled out."

The second story on HLN this morning was about an 85 year old woman who could not go through the airport x-ray machine at an airport because she wears a heart defibulator.  Therefore, she too, was pulled aside by the TSA and patted down.  She said she was "strip searched" but the TSA denied that.

When I heard both these stories I had several reactions.  1) I was annoyed. Flying is an option for the public.  Nobody HAS to fly and just because a person buys a ticket to fly they still have to abide by federal, airport, and airline rules.  2) I laughed.  Can people still be that dumb to not know what happens when you go through airport security?  I guess so. 

3) But, I was also mad...  not at the two females who were upset about their treatment by the TSA.  I was mad at HLN.  Come on!  This is news? Really?  Two people out of the hundreds of thousands who fly made a little stink about getting pulled out of line and HLN ran their stories over and over.  These two now have their 15 minutes (actually more) of fame because the news organizations gave them time for something that the TSA is required to do.  Am I missing something?   I am happy that our airport agents are serious and do not let anything  or anyone through.  The elderly woman said "I'm 85 years old and weigh alittle over 100 pounds.  Do I look like a terrorist?"    I say...maybe.  Who knows!   Thank you TSA for doing your job.   As for HLN, like so many of the other news outlets, once again you picked stories that were for sensationalism, and not for informing us.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas card debate

Hi Facebook and blogging friends,

I have a question for you.  Are mailing Christmas cards in the mail passe?   Here it is December 2nd and usually by this time each year in the past I have cards bought and a picture of the family picked out.  I usually compose a letter to put inside the card that highlights our year.

I touched on this in an earlier blog post, but I'm sitting here this morning thinking that for the first time ever I really don't want to send cards - especially to those who have become my FB and blog readers.  You already know what is going on in my life (I probably give more info than you want to know! ha) and you have seen pictures of the family throughout the year.

I have received 3 cards in the mail so far.  One of them is from our newspaper man, who conveniently put his address on it.  Yes, he will get a Christmas tip.  One came from a nephew & family with a great pic.  Each year I usually frame the new picture they send - so thank you to them.  The other card came with no note, no picture, nothing.  Just a signature.  Like it's a yearly obligation.

I don't know.  Perhaps this will be my plan this year.  I will send a card to family and friends who have yet to get online (why haven't they??!)  I can really cut down the list, and the expense.  And, here's another promise from me: the money I save from not sending cards I will give to a charity for Christmas.  I'm going to a lunch next week where money is thrown in to pots in the middle of the table for the local food bank, for "Helping Hand" of Georgetown County, and other needy groups.  Your Christmas card money will go in that pot. 

So, if you do not get a Christmas card from me through snail mail, please do not think I have not thought about you this Advent and Christmas season.  Do not think I do not wish you a joyous season and long for peace.  Do not figure I don't want to share the "Good News" of the baby Jesus brought into this world - for us.  I do!  

Ok?  I think I just solved my Christmas card debate.