Happy Valentines Day! I hope you all had a happy time either with people you love or thinking about the many blessings God has given you. We are all richly blessed and if nothing else I love every person reading these words (it’s really true!).
I had an interesting experience today. Valentines can be a little bit hard for us single folk who are without a valentine in their life. Yes, yes, I know lots of couples don’t celebrate Valentines including my own parents. However, at least you know if you were going to celebrate it you have someone to do it with. As far as my life companion I haven’t found him yet. He’s still hiding (come out! come out! Where ever you are!).
Mothers Day is actually the hardest holiday for me because I feel like I am not fulfilling my spiritual calling and purpose for being a woman not having a family. It is all laid on so thick on Mothers Day that typically I do not go to church. The Mothers deserve having their day but it is just too painful for me.
Valentines Day I have a tradition of designing my own valentine and this year was no exception. This helps me have fun with the holiday and focus on my many blessings.
But an interesting thing happened today. I haven’t been feeling well and been sleeping even worse lately. This has made it hard to get everything done including keeping up both blogs and my youtube channel. I ended up going 10 days without a video. Yikes! I had filmed 2 but the sound didn’t work so they had to be discarded. Then today I decided to make up for lost time and filmed 6 different videos and because of audio and other problems I had to film them each 3 times!!! I ended up working on videos for 11 hours!
Here’s how they all turned out.
This is a really fun one with my Top 10 Romantic Comedies (just in time for Valentines Day!).
This one gave me my first youtube crying moment! It’s a very special movie Song of the Sea. Read my review on the blog as well. http://wp.me/p4VRGy-13p
And then some unboxings
They aren’t perfect videos but I’m proud of them especially the movie posts. I’ve certainly come a long way in the last year and will continue to improve.
But the interesting thing about making the videos is it took all day. All of the sudden it was 10 pm and I finished my videos and sat back exhausted and happy. It is probably the happiest I have been on Valentines Day in a long time. It made me realize while we are often overbusy in this world there are moments where that comes in handy! Where the best thing you can do is put your head down and get lost in creating something. Forget about your problems, fears, anxieties and loneliness and just work hard on something you love.
In that sense making silly videos that probably not many people will see is quite powerful. It made me happy and if I’m lucky it might make a few other people happy who get to see them. I got a tweet from Song of the Sea director and creator Tomm Moore today thanking me for my review. That made me feel like a million bucks!
That’s the Valentine I needed. It reminds me of President Hinckley’s Dad saying “forget yourself and go to work”. Isn’t it the truth!
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents”
That my friends is the opening line to one of my favorite novels and the first big book I remember reading- Little Women. In the story the March sisters have been told by their Mother they should forgo Christmas presents because “it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can’t do much, but we can make our little sacrifices”
As the story continues they decide to spend the dollar they have on themselves but unselfish Beth convinces them to instead buy a present for their Mother. The girls get as much pleasure selecting gifts for their Marmee (Mother) as if it had been for themselves. They even end up giving their Christmas breakfast to a family in need rather than enjoy it alone.
While I am eventually getting the desire of my heart for Christmas, and the March girls went without, I found myself thinking about this classic scene today as I kind of had a Christmas without any presents.
I’m not complaining at all as I had a great day but it was an interesting experience to have a Christmas with one present to open (an awesome book from my sister! Thanks Meg).
Sadly even the gift to myself was a bust as my Le Creuset pot had a giant crack down the side (both sides). I can return it of course but that was a bit of a letdown.
My siblings and I didn’t exchange gifts this year and my parents are bringing me my gift on Monday (so again don’t feel sorry for me by any means).
I’m not going to lie to you and say my experience was perfect and I didn’t miss opening presents on Christmas. Of course I did. That’s part of the fun of Christmas is opening presents and seeing what people have thought to get you.
But on the other hand it did force me to focus on the day in a new way. I know this will sound cheesy but I found myself as excited to see the reactions of the presents I had sent as I would normally be for my own presents.
Particularly my gifts for my nieces were a big hit. I had found a lady on facebook who made bow and arrow sets for kids and sent one to all 5 of my nieces and they loved them!
I was also excited to see what my Mother thought about the knitting book I got her or my Dad the Beethoven set he had requested.
I also looked at my life for the many gifts I have and tried to focus on those. I got invited to my friends The Porters for Christmas day breakfast this morning and what a lovely way to start off the day. I’m so blessed by good friends in my life. I got to see the sister missionaries and think about the gift my mission was. I’m so grateful my favorite mission comp Julia Graves is coming to visit on Tuesday.
I woke up to snow on Christmas when we had none up to the 24th. I don’t know if I have ever had a true White Christmas out of nowhere like that before. It was really fun.
I put together a version of our German Christmas Eve meal and thanked my Heavenly Father for the food I have and the bounty in my life.
I looked at my tree and felt grateful for each of the memories captured on my Memory Tree. The travels, smiling faces and love that abounds in my heart.
I thought about the joy art, music, theater and film give my life. Yesterday I went to see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen and had a tremendous experience (probably causing me to be extra sentimental today).
Aside from the breakfast, I have basically spent Christmas day alone. I know people who would find that idea incredibly depressing, almost unimaginable. And yet today I felt gratitude for the overwhelming blessings of my life.
Mostly I felt grateful for the gift of Christ’s birth and atonement in my life. For my knowledge of His goodness and love and that when I am alone he is always there to buoy me up and I mean ALWAYS.
So yes Jo, I can confidently say ‘Christmas is still Christmas without any presents’. It is what you make of it and in the end we all have many presents just being an America and living a life with a witness of Jesus Christ in our hearts. That is what this Christmas taught me. While I missed opening presents (I’m not a saint!) I realized its a tertiary joy of Christmas not the primary reason to celebrate. Sounds cheesy but it’s true.
And as Clarence told George Bailey- ‘no man is a failure who has friends’. Thanks to all of you for being my friends this holiday season.
Keeping up 2 blogs is sometimes a challenge. It feels like I just wrote in this one and then I look and it’s been 6 days! Sorry about that. Make sure to check out the other blog for Scrooge month. I think you will all really enjoy it and I would love your feedback and comments.
I don’t know if I mentioned it on this blog but this year will be my second Christmas I have spent away from my family. The first time was Christmas 2012 while I was waiting for my house to finish. That was an incredibly stressful time and honestly my family was better off with me far away from them because I was a worried mess!
Plus, it was so stressful living out of boxes and never knowing if I was moving in a week, a month, whatever (ended up closing on the house January 31st when they had originally told me 12/31. It was made even more stressful because my roommate and tenants were also waiting to move in and the weather was awful.
This year is much different. I have had a very full Christmas season. Name it I’ve done it. From watching every holiday film I can put my hands on (and blogging about many of them), decorating 2 trees, outside decor, cookie swap and baking, shopping, singing with choir and for RS party, and more. I LOVE my trees this year and have gotten so much pleasure out of looking at them and all the memory ornaments and smiling.
I have also watched my share of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies and eaten delicious food. I have plans for Christmas Day breakfast at my home teachers and then will go see Into the Woods (can’t wait).
Things are exciting at work with lots going on and it’s been fun having my first Christmas with my new job. They are just the best!
I do sometimes feel a little sad being alone for Christmas. I’m human just like anyone else. I particularly miss having children to share the holidays with (although my presents for my nieces is awesome!). I’ve long said most of us are chasing the holidays we had as youth and it can never quite live up to that magic as an adult. That’s ok. So is life.
So, yes I am human and do feel sad and lonely on occasion but I also feel incredibly blessed. Now I am just crossing my fingers that the sore throat I’ve been having doesn’t morph into a full blown sickness like I had last year. Please no! My favorite mission companion is coming for New Years and I am soooo excited! The last thing I want is to be sick for her visit!
It’s also nice my roommate is staying here for Christmas and my tenants are also very festive (we technically have 3 trees in my house! Happy day!).
So it is a single Christmas but it is also a very full and blessed Christmas. As a single person I lose out on some of the magic of the season but I also have an ability to focus on what really matters that is tough when you have little one’s to shop for and entertain. I am grateful for that focus in my life.
What is your Christmas looking like? If you are single how do you manage the holidays? How do you deal with sadness or loneliness? What are your favorite traditions to celebrate for just you (a lot of traditions we do for other people so what’s the most important for you and why?).
I would love to hear your stories and wish you all a Merry Christmas!
(Some of the graphics on this post are just trying to have a little sense of humor about my situation. Don’t take them to seriously!)
Recently I was talking to a single friend of mine about my Thanksgiving plans and telling him I was going to be solo this year. He seemed horrified by this notion. Technically I will eat Thanksgiving meal at my aunts house (but wasn’t planning on that at the time of this conversation).
I told him that it was fine with me and I am okay being alone. I told him ‘I am comfortable in my own skin’ and he said ‘I wouldn’t be. It would kill me’.
I guess it’s a normal reaction to being alone on Thanksgiving and some years it would make me sad, but this year I’m ok. I was actually a little bit more sad to be facing Halloween alone (ended up having a great time with 2 couples my friends Danielle and Cory, and Rachel and Grant). The reason I was sad about missing Halloween is that it used to be a highlight of the year with my friends. We would throw a big party, dress up and just have a blast.
I guess the reason I get a little nostalgic for Halloween and New Years is that I know it’s a time that is gone from my life. My friends are almost all married. Like seriously I have 4 or 5 single friends on my phone and they are usually so busy. Even book club has become impossible of late. I get it. I understand people have to be with their little one’s on Halloween and New Years but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss all the good times with friends.
With Thanksgiving I know next year I will likely be with my family and the year after that and onward. There isn’t a feeling of devastation because it’s just a day and like I said I do have friends and family to share the day with.
If you are alone on Thanksgiving and want to still cook a turkey dinner make sure to check out my Thanksgiving for one article I posted last year on my friend Samantha’s awesome food blog.
This year I am going to order a Thanksgiving meal from Harmons (a local grocery) that make delicious food so that I have some thanksgiving food besides the meal at my aunts. (My knee isn’t quite up to preparing feasts yet)
Anyway, this conversation about being alone at Thanksgiving and my friend being so horrified at the idea made me think about my life. I am alone a lot. Even though I have a roommate and tenants we don’t really get to sit down and spend time together that often. It’s so much effort to get together with friends but I am a very social person and I do make that effort, but still I am often alone.
Many people have a fear or social anxiety about eating alone or going to the movies alone . Eating I get a little bit because you don’t have anyone to talk to but I do not understand why people care about going to the movies alone? You can’t talk in the movies so unless you are there with your honey and can snuggle I don’t see the value in having another person accompany you to the movies? Please someone explain why that is such a social faux pas?
In fact, I realized today that all the movies I have been to this year have been alone. I have seen in the theater- Boyhood, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Ghostbusters, Meet the Mormons, Edge of Tomorrow, Guardians of the Galaxy, Book of Life and The Boxtrolls and Big Hero 6. None of those experiences were hurt by being alone? I don’t get it?
But anyway, I feel like there is this anxiety many feel about being alone. My Mother gets very nervous being alone .In fact, she has probably spent under 5 nights in her whole life alone without family of some kind with her. That blows my mind. She’s very fortunate that life has worked out that way for her.
I would love to have my own family and fall in love but that’s not the cards God has dealt me. My job is to be as happy as I can be with the life I have. And never forget I am surrounded by amazing people. Whether it is reaching out to someone on phone, Facebook, twitter, this or my disney blog, my channel, or someone in my ward there is no shortage of people who care and love me. That’s the great part about being single in this day and age.It is so easy to not feellonely even if you are alone.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. I do. I have days where I feel sad and bemoan the fact I may never have my own children or a great love story. It may happen but it may not. I’m a human being just like anyone else and I express the full range of human emotions at different times of my life.
But I can confidently say being alone is not a fear for mine. It is the reality of my life and I always know that with God I am never truly alone.
So if you are alone this holiday season know that you have a friend here at this blog and on social media who knows how you are feeling- both on your good days and bad. I get it. I love you and we can support each other.
Take care my friends and god bless!
Btw thanks to Emily and Megan today for calling me out of the blue and cheering me up! I’ve got such great friends and family to support me.
Spoiler alert- if you don’t know the winner of big brother do not read this blog!!!
So if you guys didn’t know I really love strategic game shows like Survivor (well especially Survivor and watched Big Brother for the first time this year). I find it fascinating to see how people work together and what rationale they use for different moves. It’s a gimmicky social experiment but still a social experiment and I find it very entertaining and occasionally enlightening.
Well Big Brother just ended last night and Derrick had been dominant the entire game. He had aligned himself closely with Victoria who was sweet but had done little strategically, and with Cody who had been more cutthroat throughout the game.
In the final HOH Cody had the choice whether to take Victoria who had almost no chance to win or Derrick who hadn’t been nominated once out of 55 times for the block and had been allied with almost everyone. And he chose Derrick?
Why? Cody could have won the 500k almost certainly but he chose his ally, his best friend in the game over a sure win. Many in my RHAP patron group couldn’t believe it. What a stupid move we all said!
The interesting thing is earlier this year in the fantastic Survivor Cagayan season we had almost the same situation unfold. Kass had been an angry version of Victoria. She had burned bridges with everyone and just been very unpleasant all season (I would go nuts with someone like her!). Then there was Woo who was a taikwondo instructor and his ally Tony who had played like a maniac all season building spy shacks, cutting alliance members and speaking in llama (probably my personal favorite survivor player ever).
Just like with Big Brother Woo, the calm, team player, won the final immunity challenge and had the chance to take Kass to the end and win a million dollars, and he chose Tony out of loyalty and respect.
Both Cody and Woo said they felt their partners had ‘earned his spot in the finale’ and they’d rather lose to their friend than win to a nothing person. Seeing these two scenarios play out so close together had me thinking.
Is this just random or is there some kind of cultural reason that we value loyalty and friendship so much, even over money. Or we value them when we are young and unmarried even over money. Is there a connection?I could be overthinking it but here’s a thought. I love the book Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters. Watters wrote an article for the New York Times that he then turned into a book about an experience he had at Burning Man. He was there with his closest friends and as he headed towards the fireside he saw his friends and realized they were his whole life:
“It looked like home, that little encampment in the dust-home because these particular people were there waiting for me. And then I could see the scene in a different way- as an anthropologist might who was studying a group of great apes . It was almost dark now and I stopped 20 years away…
Certainly each of these people had a relationship with me, but they all had distinct relationships with each others. There was a web of love affairs, friendships, rivalries, work partnerships, and shared homes. Connect any 2 of these 25 people and you would find a history of hundreds of hours of conversation, secrets, gossip and all manner of insights into the world”
He goes on:”Maybe I had not been delaying growing up, my real life, but had been living it fully- sailing through my 20s and early 30s as a member of a functional urban tribe”
Now you might be thinking how can an urban tribe exist in a game show where people are voting people off the tribe? Isn’t that counter-intuitive? Yes, and no.
First of all, not everyone playing the game is used to living in an urban tribe environment but the young single (especially men) are, so they are perhaps most vulnerable to this type of attachment. But aside from the votes, which some like Woo and Cody are basically kept safe from, the dynamics of alliances and a tribe/house are near-perfect urban tribes. They satisfy family roles, traditions, gossip, work (challenges), insight etc.
So if you are a young person who is used to living in an urban tribe environment like frat boy Cody or martial arts instructor Woo perhaps their choices at final 3 aren’t that surprising? Both Tony and Derrick were very confident they would be picked so it didn’t seem to be a tough decision. It was that much a part of who they are to make the choice easy.
I am less an urban tribe dweller now I am 33 but there was a time when I fit the description and I ate up Watters book. I felt like someone was finally telling me my life wasn’t a total waste of time because I was unmarried. You should see my copy it is underlined and highlighted. So, there is a time when I would have absolutely made the same choices as Cody and Woo. In fact, I’m still a very loyal and friend-oriented single person so I might still do it today.
And people say ‘it’s only 39 days or 3 months’? How can you get that kind of urban tribe bond in such a short period of time. I actually find that completely believable. On my mission I was isolated from my family and friends and there were people I would have cut off my arm for if they had asked me. I would have done anything for them. And most of the time I had only known them for a few weeks. My companions I had for 6-12 weeks and I was incredibly loyal to them (some I wanted to rip their head off but most I liked!).
In fact, when you are in that kind of intense experience the bonds form even faster, and I know if I was on an island somewhere you can bet I would form an urban tribe real quick that would be tough to severe for money.
I realize it is a game but I just think the culture of urban tribes has created a loyalty-over-all-else culture and I’m actually glad to see it. It’s kind of refreshing in a way. Especially as a single girl, it is nice to know there are guys out there who put loyalty and friendship over money and success. As a married woman I might want it differently but I don’t know?
Watters quotes a woman named Leah and she pretty much describes my life “I’ve grown a lot through my tribe. I’ve found out more about myself, developed in areas I would not have if I weren’t involved with these people. I now know what I want out of life or at least what I don’t want. I know I will not settle for the wrong man or the wrong job. I have a strong source of support…I guess you could say I have found myself”
Now that I am in my 30s, some friends are gone and this type of close-knit bond is harder to find for daily support. But fortunately I have my roommate and great friends who are there when I need them. They are honestly more important to me than family as far as this type of support goes.
I could be completely wrong and an urban tribe mentality may have nothing to do with Cody or Woo’s choices but it seems probable. I can at least imagine it influencing them.
What do you think of urban tribes? Do you watch Survivor or Big Brother? Did you watch these seasons? What do you think?
In the end, friendship is everything to some of us (and seriously Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters is a great book!).
Most of us that are active in social media have a few friends that aren’t really friends. They are people we have met on forums or fan pages and we chat about our mutual interests, enjoy each other’s company and think nothing more of it. I have these from several angles and I love them.
Well, today I had a very touching experience. I am writing this from my bed at my home. To get here I had quite the day.
First of all I had a busy morning and I said goodbye to my family, some of which I won’t see for a long time as they are moving across the country and to Japan. 😦
Then I hobbled to the airport and got a wheelchair from Delta who were amazing through all this. They coordinated the wheelchair, cancelled my ticket at no fee and I got first class for only $59.
Btw, I really liked first class. If it is $59 again I am totally doing it. It was a rough flight too. I came so close to losing my first class snacks when we hit a long stretch of turbulence. Then we got my bags and I was picked up by my new friend Amber.
She is one of those people that was a facebook friend but I hadn’t met. I had posted I needed a ride to the airport a few weeks ago and she responded. I said ‘are you sure?’. I couldn’t believe that someone was willing to take a complete stranger to the airport. It was so nice.
I told her I have never met anyone via airport pick up but it went great and she agreed to get me on the way home as well. Then when I hurt my knee and had to change flights around she was more than amenable.
I called her to talk about the injury and she suggested getting a cane from walmart so that it was ready for my arrival and I would pay her back. It was brilliant and she took the time to purchase it.
She even got me one with some pizazz. It was perfect.
Then she drove me home and helped me in with my bag and all the mail I had.
Next was tackling the scary stairs and she helped encourage me as I took it one step at a time. It was hard but I made it through.
Once I was settled she took a grocery list and helped me stock the mini-fridge and microwave with food and drinks so that I wouldn’t have to go downstairs for a few days.
It was beyond nice.
I’m really quite touched by it. I mean how many times have you devoted days to someone that is basically a stranger? Most of us, including myself, have never done that outside of charity projects or writing this blog.
It would have been so easy to let someone else take care of it but she didnt and I find that remarkable.
Now to some rest and quick recovery.
Thanks again. I’m usually the one giving service and making things work so it humbling to be on the other side for a bit.
Basically the idea is instead of buying in bulk or cooking large quantities, you go to the grocery store every day and buy what you need for that day or perhaps for 2-3 days.
This is smart for the following reasons
1. You get the freshest ingredients
2. It avoids waste saving money and time
3. Fresh, seasonal ingredients typically are the least expensive
4. For a single woman who eats out a lot it makes it easy to eat out without spoiling food or meal plans waiting to be made. You can just plan on eating out instead of shopping.
5. With a grocery store in walking distance of my house it isn’t really any more work to shop everyday.
6. Less groceries and less mess. Today I dirtied a few pieces of silverware and 1 plate instead of tons of pots and pans. Of course, I can plan an everyday meal that uses a lot of pots and pans but at least I know that’s what I am doing and can plan accordingly instead of just having ingredients and trying to make something good out of it.
7. It allows you to order what you are in the mood for on a particular day. Not stuck eating leftovers or ingredients that sounded good a month ago.
Today for example I went to the grocery store purchased a rotiserie chicken, a kale salad and twiced baked potato they make at Harmons and stuff to make easy crepes for dessert
The other day it was a tub of chili, another it is chicken and sauce. A lot of items are hard for me to purchase because I just can’t eat them fast enough. A loaf of bread for instance is hard for 1 person to polish off before it is either stale in the fridge or moldy outside.
With European grocery store I can buy just what I need for that meal and be done with it.
It may seem like this type of shopping would be more expensive and while I haven’t done the math I don’t think I’ve spent much more if any.
I know that such shopping might be impossible if you have a family but if you don’t, give it a try. I bet you will love it!
Plus, you get to sound all suave and debonaire with your European shopping trip… 🙂
How do you shop for evening meals? What strategies work for you?