Welcome to Small Reflections

"Nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Duck photo source: Lisa's Chaos
I hope you enjoy your visit. If you're looking for something specific, check out the links to posts by category in my sidebar and down a ways. They'll assist with tracking down different types of posts found on each of my three blogs. You might also enjoy checking out the other sites: Sacred Ruminations, Blog Rolls, Bling & Blurbs, and Happily Retired Gal.

I hope you'll look around & leave comments
then visit me at my new blog ...

Giraffe Journal

and/or website ... Labyrinth Journal
both self-hosted at WordPress
where I publish as myself
rather than under a

I've not had much time for posting or blog visits, but if you're interested I hope you'll find time to check out my new blog, Giraffe Journal or my Labyrinth Journal website ... both self hosted at WordPress.

Thanks for your visit and have a delightful day ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Monday, December 17, 2007

Twelve Random Christmasy Things About Me

No "M" word here ... just some Hoopla!

I've been "tagged" by Mama Zen for a little Hoopla, and although I'm sorely tempted to hold onto this for my Thursday Thirteen activity (making it a baker's dozen rather than 12) ... as Mama Zen sez ... time is short for others to play so here I go.

The rules
(though by now you realize
I have difficulty being told what to do):

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word (which, for you bloggy newbies, is meme)

3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the Blogosphere.

4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over b
efore we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.

In no particular order ...

1. For the first 4 years in our very first home, we purchased live Monterey pine trees to display indoors and decorate. After Christmas we planted these in our yard. When we sold the place after living there 10 years (to move here to the beach), these were HUGE trees with lots of memories attached! Leaving them behind was difficult.

2. I'll be celebrating the holidays this year with friends rather than family because my sister and her husband are on the East Coast (in Georgia) while I'm at home in Southern California. They'll move on to Florida for the winter on the 26th and plan to continue their 2 year trip across the USA.

3. Here are some of the Christmas mugs hanging in my kitchen. If you stop by, I'll be happy to serve you Starbuck's Christmas Blend coffee in the mornin
g and/or make you tea (or hot chocolate) in the afternoon.

4. I haven't put up a tree for several years, but I do decorate with a few special things each year. I shared one such display yesterday at Sacred Ruminations here and intend to share other holiday decorations and traditions between now and Christmas.

5. I create original holiday cards each year to send to friends and family. I'm usually rushing at the last minute to get these in the mail before Christmas comes so they usually arrive between Christmas and New Year's Day. This year I'm worried they might not get out at all because I'm spending so much time blogging. Sigh!

6. Like Mama Zen, I watch "It's a Wonderful Life!" every holiday season, though not always on Christmas Eve.

7. When growing up, we didn't have much money and often gave "gifts of our time & service" to one another ... a tradition I continued throughout my 34 years in the classroom by providing a variety of holiday "coupons" my students could fill in, decorate, and/or assemble into books for friends and family members ... offering services like back rubs, hugs, a variety of specific chores (without reminding), etc. Everyone seemed to enjoy giving and receiving such gifts to one another.

8. When we bought THIS house in 1980 (it was well beyond our means at the time and necessitated serious spending cutbacks) we created and gave as gifts "Invitations" for an evening at our "Dinner Theater and Playhouse" ... complete with official "tickets" (containing instructions for making "reservations" ... along with a variety of menu, film, and video-game choices. Many of our friends had never played video-games at the time and enjoyed "reserving" games & videos as they selected from Chinese, Italian, English, & Mexican cuisine for their special evening at the beach with us. Doing this permitted us to spread holiday expenses throughout the year and spend quality time with friends and family. Interestingly, once we could afford to purchase and give gifts again, everyone missed these yearly invitations even though we continued to entertain regularly.

9. I'll miss my sister's Christmas cookies this year. She always makes the best chocolate chip cookies, but my favorites are the buttery sugar cookies using my mom's recipe.

10. And that reminds me that I'll miss making tamales with her for New Year's ... a tradition we've practiced for a decade or more.

11. Like Mama Zen ... I believe in Santa and one of my favorite Christmas books is THE POLAR EXPRESS. Since I didn't see the Tom Hanks version when the movie was released, perhaps I'll rent and watch it this year.

12. Attending candlelight services on Christmas Eve is a tradition in my family I still enjoy.

(I couldn't resist the bakers dozen idea) so ...
13. Although I don't have a tree, I do hang ornaments and angels throughout the house. Most of these were gifts from students throughout the years ... many hand made by them with loving care ... all bring back lovely memories.

If there are new visitors to my blog today, you can see how I used to decorate for the holidays here.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Now ... I'm tagging
Annie, Kikipotamus, Sandy, and Ladybug!

and Karen,
you can do this only if
you promise
not to stress yourselves out!
As Mama Zen says
the more the merrier so
if anyone else
feels the urge to participate
leave a link here so I can read your answers.


Mary said...


What a beautiful list you've created. I'm sorry that you're going to miss your sister this year.

Thanks so much for being such a dear friend. I have posted your lovely award on my sidebar.

Love and blessings,

Killlashandra said...

Homemade tamales! My kids would want to eat at your house. They're forever begging for tamales and I've never made them. Weird. I tried them a few times and just couldn't like them. My husband swears it's because they weren't homemade and that why. But I won't run the risk of making them to find out for sure. ;)

I think you should make them anyways...

Maude Lynn said...

Great list! I particularly like the "time and service" gift idea!

Momisodes said...

Oh I loved reading your list :) Can I come over and take you up on the offer from some coffee?? I'm sorry to hear you'll be alone this Christmas. I hope they arrive home safely soon:)

Oh, and I highly suggest the Polar Express movie. I loved watching it!

storyteller said...

Mary – Thanks for the kind words. I tried to make my list festively informative and interesting. I’m glad you’ve decided to display the award on your blog. I’ll be over tomorrow to check it out. I just posted on Sacred Ruminations after spending the day away from home and I need to turn off this computer and give Molly some quality time.

Killlashandra – Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself. I'll visit your blog soon, but tonight I'm out of time! It's been a long (but pleasant) day. I love our homemade tamales, but I don’t think I’m up for doing it alone. Perhaps you and your kids would like to join me?

Mama Zen – Thanks … me too. I get so tired of all the commercialization of Christmas because the emphasis is so skewed these days! As you might have guessed from my comments at your blog this morning, I wasn't really "up" for this M... Hoopla, but now that it's done I guess I did have fun, so thanks. Has the snow & ice melted yet? Have the St. Bernards arrived? Is there sunshine anywhere?

Sandy – I hope you’re feeling better. Sure thing – just hop on a plane and give me a call from the airport & I’ll pick you up. I’d love to share my morning coffee with you, but only after you’re well because I don’t want to be sick for the holidays. Actually, my sister and her husband have rented their house (for gas money they say) and plan to be “on the road” indefinitely for at least another year. We did meet for a Caribbean Cruise in April of last year and will probably get together sometime again in 2008, but I’ve done my time in RVs and like my home at the beach too much to leave it for any length of time. Thanks for the Polar Express film review. I don’t always like my favorite books turned into movies, but this one looks special. I’m looking forward to YOUR list when you’re up to sharing it.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and sharing your comments.
Hugs and blessings,

Monique Kleinhans said...

If you want something done ask a busy person! (even though I've made time to make a snowman I'm still running like crazy right now...HOWEVER, I did manage to make my list and really enjoy typing it out. I didn't tag others for the reasons listed on my site...hope you understand!



storyteller said...

Ladybug - I enjoyed your list and the lovely tree. I'm still chuckling about your mom. Give her a hug from me! Of course, I left a more detailed comment on your blog about it, but want to say thanks for playing along and have a wonderful holiday.
Hugs and blessings,

Mother of Invention said...

I LOVE Christmas decorations and all the lights. I'll probably always have a tree, even if it's only a foot high!
I seem to be starting an angel collection and put them all over, including by the hanging that says, "Where Angels Gather".
I alsp have tons of mugs that students gave me.

I used to read my Gr. 3's The Polar Express and give each one a silver bell on a green and red string which I hung around each child's neck one at a time saying, "May you always believe!"

I have tons of Christmas earrings, necklaces, sweatshirts and sweaters.

Sounds like you really enjoy the season as much as I do!

storyteller said...

MoI - 'tis nice to see you "out and about" in the Blogosphere again. I do enjoy Christmas, but don’t go all out as I once did. When I retired, I gave away all my teaching materials … but kept a copy of THE POLAR EXPRESS and a few other favorite books to share with nieces, nephews and neighborhood kids. In addition I gave away most of my "holiday clothes" since I had so many and figured other teachers would get more wear from holiday t-shirts, sweaters, jewelry and the like. I just kept a favorite or two I thought I’d still wear away from a school setting.

As for the three storms off the coast of California ... no hurricanes likely here, thank goodness ... just rain (and snow in the mountains)!
Hugs and blessings,

Annie Z said...

HI ST! Sorry I am behind with my blog reading and commenting. I am only just starting to catch up now. I'm not much of a chrissie person. Just another day for me, really. Just another family gathering that has not much meaning, I'm afraid. Apart from my parents, birthdays and Chrissie are the only time I see the other members of the family. And now the nieces and nephews are older, it is has lost that special excitement. I don't think I could find 12 things!!

But christmas blessings and peace and joy to you!

storyteller said...

Annie - I understand completely. It always took me quite a while to shift gears at "break time" ... so much so that just about the time I relaxed, it was time to return to work. As for the Christmas "Hoopla" ... I feel much the same way this year especially because if I do much of anything, it will be to create new traditions. When Mama Zen tagged me I wondered what I'd have to share. I relied on "Christmas Past" to bail me out. 'Tis good to see you "out & about" in the Blogosphere again, but I'm having trouble keeping up this past week. Scrambling ... knowing I need to create my holiday cards soon or else.
Hugs and blessings,

Momisodes said...

Mine is up! It's up! it's up! I know...I'm very tardy. Please don't send me to my room :(

Come check out my Hoopla when you can ;)

storyteller said...

'Tis not a problem Sandy. You've had lots on your mind what with being sick and getting ready to move into your own home ... all at this busy Christmas season. I marvel you got around to it at all ... and I would NEVER send you to your room (unless it was for some peace, quiet and blogging time)!

I notice Kikipotamus has added a link from her blog. I read her list yesterday. Ladybug has had her's up a while now ... and so has Karen (though I gave her an out, but she opted to play anyway). I'll be over to check your list soon. Thanks for leaving a comment here so we know where to find it.
Hugs and blessings,

Mary Ann said...

Your list is more festive and beautiful than mine. Wish I'd read yours first.

I really like the idea of creating personal Christmas cards. I'll have to remember that for next year. Or is there still time....

storyteller said...

Moanna – Thanks, but breathe and relax, remind yourself I’m “happily retired” with time on my hands to play here frivolously … a luxury for which I’m most grateful. I enjoyed your thoughtful list and am with YOU on the issue of stores refraining from Christmas displays until the day after Thanksgiving, but then I remember when all stores closed on Sundays and families spent that day together … so that makes me a dinosaur I suppose. I also like the idea of “Santa” being presented as a “Christmas story” to children rather than “truth” … I loved going “caroling” when I was younger and would love to have carolers walk by MY house these days (wow – that brought up a weirdly intense burst of feeling I may explore in a post later) …

As for Christmas cards … mine are finished finally, with notes added, in addressed envelopes, but awaiting stamps (how could I have not picked up stamps … I remember going to the post office, but if I bought them I have no idea where they are now … sigh)! Since it’s Sunday, I guess they won’t get in the mail until tomorrow … so they’ll arrive late, but at least they’re ready to go and won’t be Valentines after all. Thanks for letting me know who created this meme and I’d like to give her some link-love here: Andrea’s blog is located at
Hugs and blessings,

Andrea said...

YAY! Thanks for partipating in the Hoopla and for letting me know you did it (and I love the baker's dozen idea!).

And YES, YES, YES -- you can gladly take the puppy award and spread it around, even if you are a first time visitor! Come back again anytime!

storyteller said...

Andrea - How nice of you to visit in return and leave such kind words behind. Thanks for sharing the puppy. I'll come get him soon, but I'm feeling a little crunched for time right now because I found my stamps this morning and need to drop my cards off at the post office ASAP. I know, they'll arrive late ... but these things happen. I enjoyed your Holiday Hoopla and look forward to visiting your blog often in 2008.
Hugs and blessings,

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