Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

A friend sent this New Year's Blessing from the UK to me, I am sending it to all of you.  I hope we learned what we needed to learn from 2016, I hope that kindness wraps us all like a warm blanket in 2017.  May we all have joy, may we all have hope, may we all have good health and may love for our fellow man fill our hearts.




Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday Night

I started putting away Christmas decorations today.  Tomorrow I take down the tree and we put away the outdoor things.  I love my decorations.  I don't have many, but each one tells a story and holds a place in my heart.  I am not one of those who is thrilled to put away Christmas.  I cherish each moment that it takes to decorate and I am always sad to pack things up.

Jordan spent the day with us and he will come over tomorrow and help me with the tree.  His mom and Rick will watch the Alabama game and he will help me cook our New Year's meal.  Black eye peas, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, cornbread and ham...all for good luck, money and good health for the coming year.

We also went food shopping today.  Rick can eat real food again and we celebrated by going to three different grocery stores.  It was wonderful to have salad and crunchy veggies for lunch with our pizza.
Jordan loves cheese pizza so he was happy too.  Going shopping or anywhere with Jordan and Rick always turns into an adventure, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I am a tired camper tonight. It feels strange that this year is about to fade away.  Like any year, there have been sad times and good times, like any year, I try to be grateful no matter what takes place.
Dinner is ready and bedtime at our house will come early tonight.
Goodnight, Sweet dreams.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Same World

Sharing one of my favorite Wayne Dyer quotes with you tonight.


"Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world.  Same world."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Loss

For the entertainment industry this has to be the most devastating year ever...for those of us who love to be entertained it has been heart-breaking.

This has been a year that will be remembered for its loss for so many.  I have friends whose children have died this year.  I have grieved for the division that has taken place in my country this year.

There has been so much loss on so many levels.  Rick and I met friends for lunch today and driving home, all we could notice were all the trees that had died because of the drought...and then we talked of all the wild life we have lost because of the forest fires.

Life truly is made of ups and downs,  of loss and abundance, of sadness and joy.  My hopes for 2017...joy, kindness and love...may we all be blessed...may we all remember to be grateful, even when times are filled with loss.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Full Classes

My classes at work and the community center have been full this week.  I know at the community center the beginning of the New Year always brings new people wanting to see some sort of change in their health.  Classes at work are different, some come because it is part of their recovery program, but most come because they find rest and peace.

My group today is just awesome.  They come early, and I have to make them leave...believe me, that is a great problem to have.  The class has grown so much, Thursday we are moving to a bigger room.
They dynamics of each group I teach changes as the population at the facility changes.  Some embrace my classes as this group has done, others keep their distance.  It is ok, there is a yin and a yang to it all.  My thoughts are, those who need it, will come.

After an 80 degree Christmas day, it is finally cooling down a wee bit.  I know there are so many who love warm winters, but they just make me disagreeable.  I feel jumpy and out of sorts when it is warm in winter.  I suppose it is a good thing I can't control the weather.  :)

Tomorrow is my early day and hump day.  This year is leaving fast, just a few more days and 2017 will be here.  It will be interesting to see what the New Year brings.  I hope there is joy, peace and harmony and good will to all.
Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Monday, December 26, 2016

Patch of Green

With the recent rains and warm temperatures, all sorts of things are coming to life.  Walking the dogs this morning we came upon this patch of green glowing in the dead leaves.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day 2016

This is the letter that was mailed with our cards this year.  The story behind our little dove of peace.


The mourning dove appeared one morning during the throes of my IVIG treatments as aseptic meningitis had its way with my body.  She was such a pale grey that she appeared cream colored.   Every morning she would feed at the bird feeders and then sit and stare in our windows as I lay on the couch.  I got the sensation that she was watching over me.

She made appearance after appearance, always after my treatments when I would be so sick.  I knew she was no ordinary dove.

As the months went by, I blogged about her and Rick wrote about her in one of his columns.  His column was read by a friend in the 280 Living newspaper.  In a few days, we received a package and letter from her.

In years past, this
 friend had lost her teenage daughter in a car accident.  Our friend had bird feeders where she often had her morning coffee and watched her feathered friends.   One morning as she was drowning in her grief and sadness, a creamy mourning dove appeared at the feeder, hopped up to her window and observed her.

Our friend wrote in her letter of how this creamy colored dove appeared to be watching over her, day after day.


When our friend read Rick’s column about my dove, she knew we both had visited by a spirit of love and protection.  In the package, there was a small mercury glass dove with creamy gold flecked wings and ribbons for a tail.  It truly embodied our mourning dove.

I have that little bird, and some days I hold her in my hand as reminder that in our darkest moments, hope appears in truly unexpected ways.  So, that is why this Christmas my card is our mourning dove, with the message of peace.  We all have our darkness, we all suffer loss and experience fear, but there is hope and peace that we humans can share with each other.


This Christmas, may we all have peace, may we all have hope.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016 CHRISTMAS CARD

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM RICK AND JILDA!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookies, 2016...Jordan and Anthony rock the cookie world.  For our world famous cookie recipe, go to rickandjilda.com

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

Last weekend felt like Christmas, cold, windy, almost snowy.  The weather guys are saying our Christmas Day the temps will be in the mid-70's.  Ugh.  I know, for those of you who are facing freezing temps I must sound crazy.  But, I love winter...the cold, the snow, the clothes, the food, the bare trees.  Not even as a child, was I much of a fan of hot weather.  When you have pink skin and blue eyes, the heat, a tan, even the clothing is not very flattering.   Let's face it, rosy cheeks glow in the winter.  :)

I wrapped a few gifts tonight, will finish the rest tomorrow.  Jordan is spending tomorrow afternoon with us and we will bake a few cookies I am sure.  On Christmas Eve we will have breakfast with my brother Ricky and his family (Jordan's grandparents).  This will be the first Christmas in the 42 years we have been married that I have not cooked a turkey, some years I cooked 2 or 3, giving them to families that had no food.

I am glad Rick is feeling stronger, still unable to chew, but looking much healthier.  Things change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.  This Christmas is different and that is ok.  I am grateful for what it is.

I hope that you all are able to relax and enjoy the season.  It will be over with all too soon.
Since we are always later with our decorating, we will keep the tree up until New Years.  Even then, I will be sad to take everything down, it is all so beautiful.

Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Winter's Solstice

HAPPY WINTER'S SOLSTICE!   The darkness begins to fade, but the chill remains.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hectic Time

I am surprised sometimes by how well my students handle being away from home for the holidays.
Some of them do get pass-outs from the facility to go home for a couple of days while others for various reasons spend Christmas at the addiction center.  Many of them decorate the cottages they live in and on Christmas Day they usually have a community dinner.

Tomorrow when we have class if they want, I have soft meditative Christmas music that we will listen to.  I am lucky,  many years I have worked the holidays, but this year Rick and I will spend
a low key holiday together.  He is recovering slowly, still unable to chew and tires easily.  I keep telling him, it will be better soon but I don't think he believes me.

During this busy hectic time, take some moments to breathe and remember to treat others the way you would have them treat you.  Wishing you peace.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Night Musings

A cold and blustery day, but the weather guys say almost 70 by Christmas.   Hook has been very interested in the Christmas tree.  Yesterday, he walked under it, stuck his head up in the middle of the tree, not quite sure what to think of it.  Today, he has glitter all over his head from the ornaments hanging low.  He doesn't really bother anything, but he is so curious about that tree with lights that just appeared in front of his windows.

Rick is getting stronger and the benefits of all of this, he has lost 8 pounds.  I keep telling him he will be skinny by the time he can eat solid food again.

I hope your Tuesday is full of good surprises, lots of laughter and many hugs.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Good Will and Peace

Just a little north of us, there was a dusting of snow today.  We got cold rain and sleet, but it sure feels like Christmas.  Rick felt well enough that we made it to our local production of the The Nutcracker.
Our nephew James, his wife Andrea and their four children were all in it.  So much fun and I love seeing a production of The Nutcracker, it always puts me in the Christmas spirit.

A quick walk with dogs in the cold and the rain, so I promised them a run tomorrow.  I snapped a picture of one my favorite trees down by the barn.

Stay warm and dry, if your week involves travel, stay safe.  Wishing you a week of peace on earth, good will toward all men.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Tree

The tree is done.  Another dozen or so cards to paint, clean house and then wrap gifts...and then sometime this week all the kids will come over and we bake cookies!    Storms moving in later tonight, cold tomorrow, I just hope we have cold weather for Christmas day.

Wishing you peace tomorrow, joy and may you be hugged many times.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Soft Foods

Keeping my husband on soft foods until the end of this month is going to be a major undertaking.
Neither of us gave the Christmas holidays a thought when his surgery was scheduled.
I feel so bad for him.  Rick loves pecan pie, and ham and roasted turkey and my Irish fruitcake, he loves fresh nuts and coconut cake and all those foods you eat at Christmas.

My Vitamix and I are going to become extremely creative.  Soon I will be the soup chef for sure.
I  just keep reminding him, he does not want to go through all this again.  He can rest assured that for his birthday in mid-January I will cook him a feast.  So far he has been a real trooper, but I am afraid the grumpy Rick may make a showing if he gets a whiff of one of his favorite foods beings cooked.

It is windy and rainy tonight and for some reason I feel chilled to the bone.  I think it is time to call it a day.  Goodnight, Sweet dreams.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Soup

So our morning was spent at the oral surgery clinic, Rick had some pretty extensive work, but all is well this evening.  He is a trooper.  So glad this is over.  I know he is too.  Soft foods until December 29 and then, well we will see what the doctor says.  Looks like soup for Christmas, good thing we both like soup.  :)

Most of my cards are painted, Jordan is coming over in the morning so he will help me decorate the tree and if Rick is ok, I will work tomorrow afternoon.

It is cold tonight, but nothing like our family and friends north and west of us are dealing with.
I heard someone say that this weekend, the Chicago Bears football game will be the coldest in history.  Wow.  The weather just keeps getting stranger and stranger.  Nineteen degrees here tonight and by Saturday, almost 70.  Ugh.

It is about to be a very early bedtime at the Watson house tonight.  We are both tired and sleepy.
Wishing you a warm and cozy bed and the sweetest of dreams.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Changes

A day of Christmas chores after teaching my morning class.  Shopping, searching for a tree and finally after realizing how devastating the drought and heat was for our local Christmas tree farm we settled for the first time ever on an artificial tree.  It was a tough decision to make, but hopefully next year our local tree farm will have a bountiful harvest.  We can always use the fake tree on the side porch.  What can I say, I am always talking about change, we deal with it daily in small ways as well as big ones.

I have most of the cards sketched and tomorrow I will paint.  I mailed a couple to our friends in Ireland this morning.  I keep hoping that one year we can celebrate Christmas there.

A full moon on this cold winter's night.  The clouds moved out this afternoon and the stars are twinkling.  I have listened to some of my favorite Christmas music today and finally the funk that seemed to have wrapped me tightly has loosened its grip.

Hump day has been a good one.  Sometime in the next few days Jordan will come over and we will decorate the tree.  Stay warm and cozy tonight, sweet dreams of peace.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tuesday Thoughts

Finally the design came together on my Christmas cards, after tears, worry and no sleep. Lots more to paint tomorrow and mail for those that are far away.  We are also getting a Christmas tree tomorrow after my morning class.  So excited.

I thought we would get to see the meteor showers tonight but storms are moving in.  Maybe tomorrow night, especially since it is a full moon as well.  We did moon salutations in class today and I quoted one of my favorite lines from Desiderata, " you are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here."  I love that poem so much that I want to share it with you tonight.  I think the words are profound and very fitting for our lives right now.  May we all strive to be happy and yes, it is still a beautiful world.

    Max Ehrmann 


    Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.
    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.
    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.





Monday, December 12, 2016

Night Sky

I love that the night sky is putting on its best for the holidays.  Meteor showers and a full moon this week, what a gift!  Driving home from class tonight, we would drive through patches of fog, but you could see the moon shinning down...incredible gift of beauty.

Some of my yoga students tonight gave me Christmas gifts.  I am always touched by their kindness and thoughtfulness.  Several of them have taken classes with me for years.  They have become a family of sorts.

A long day, and I am starving.  Lunch was about 7 hours ago, oh my.   I hope your Monday has been
a good one, may the rest of your week give you what you need.  Don't forget about the full moon and the meteor showers.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday Thoughts

Some days drug and alcohol addiction makes more sense to me than some of the "normal" people around me.  Today has been one of those days when flight, not fight was in every cell of my body.
I think I must be way over due for a vacation, but I don't see one in my future. Tonight a migraine has claimed my brain, this too shall pass.

We did Jordan's Charlie Brown tree today, a bright spot in my day for certain.  It is the largest one we have ever cut down, but he loved it and insisted on dragging it over to his house.  The fresh smell of pine was intoxicating, the sticky sap on the hands was not.  The tree is probably 8 feet tall, and there are 300 lights on it.  Jordan was a happy boy.  We started this tradition with his mom and I am so glad we have continued.

The raisins, sugar and butter have simmered this evening on the stove and soon they will be part of an Irish fruitcake baking in the oven.  I don't make them every year, but comfort food has called to me the past few days. This cake is very comforting with a cup of hot tea.

The day warmed and the winds shifted, rain is moving in tonight.  I am so thankful that the drought, though not ended has definitely been broken.   We go Wednesday to dig our tree, by next weekend the Watson house will have a Christmas tree.

Two weeks until Christmas, how can that be? 2017 good or bad is knocking at our door.
Wishing all of you a week full of peace and joy.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter/Christmas

The house is decorated in all things winter/Christmas.  Cards are still dancing in my head like spoiled sugar plums, maybe tomorrow.  Tomorrow we go to the tree farm to a get another living tree.

I just took a nice warm bath and put on my fleece pjs.  A Christmas movie and a cup of nog await me.
It has been a good Saturday, cold and windy with sunshine...a perfect day, two weeks before Christmas.

Wishing a peace filled Sunday to all of you.  Be sure to gaze up at the night sky, it will fill your heart with gratitude.
Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Friday, December 9, 2016

Be Amazed

Struggling with Christmas card designs today...nothing that I have painted so far has hit the sweet spot.  Time to put down the brush and pencil, have dinner and sleep on it.  Sometimes the light of day shines on something I missed.

I think I might try decorating the house tomorrow and then see if the inspiration finds me.

It has been a beautiful Friday with blue skies  and crisp cold air.  We did a little more Christmas shopping today, Santa's list is almost complete.  And then soon, the wrapping begins.

Wishing all of you peace, the moon and night sky is dazzling tonight, take a look and be amazed.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Ride Home

Driving home tonight, there were wispy clouds swirling through the sky driven by the wind of the arctic blast that most of us are feeling.  I watched the half moon play hide and seek with clouds that looked like feathers.  Along the narrow country roads that bring me home, Christmas lights glowed in the cold darkness.  It was such a peaceful journey.  I turned the radio off and drove in silence feeling gratitude and joy.

Sometimes transformations are so simple, nothing earth-shattering, just fleeting moments of emotion and awareness.  My drive home tonight was one of those transformations.  I was tired and cold and a little sad as I got in the car to drive home, but peace, along with gratitude and joy rode home with me.

Tomorrow is Friday, I hope that at some point during this coming week, gratitude and joy ride home with all of you.
Goodnight Sweet dreams

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Rainy Golden Woods

I posted about walking the dogs in the rain the past few days and how beautiful the woods are right now.  Thought you all might enjoy seeing our path this chilly Wednesday night.  The weather guys say the arctic blast is coming, stay warm and cozy ya'll.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Snowmen, Walks and Yoga

For the past two days the dogs and I have walked in the rain.  Nothing like walking through the woods  when everything is golden and wet with a chilly wind in your face to make you feel alive.
Our world here in Alabama has just come alive since the rains began.

Only a couple of students today, sometime the schedules get so  busy there is no time for yoga and relaxation.  That is when life at the addiction center feels like real life back at home and you have to make choices, or go to your counselor and ask for help rescheduling your day.

I started decorating for the holidays this week.  Last spring, our neighbors brought us these delightful snowmen they painted.  Now  a part of our Christmas decorations but since they are snowmen they will hang out with us until winter is over.  Every time I look at them I smile, they are such charming gentlemen.  I start painting cards tomorrow.  Fingers are crossed that the vision I see in my head finds itself on paper.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Fence Moss

Ever since I was a small child I have loved moss...on rocks, trees, brick, trees, the ground, anything.
I love the color, the texture and the earthy smell.  Since the rains have come, this fence post has just taken on a life of its own.  Every time I walk by it, I have to touch the moss.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Holidays

I have a large family.  There were seven of us kids and now there are so many nieces and nephews, great ones and great great ones that I have lost count.  With the death of my parents the getting together of everyone just faded away, too many families involved, too many calendars to try to match up.  But we siblings ( well now there are six) get together the first Sunday in December at my sister's house for lunch and fellowship.

The years are flying by, and we know in our hearts our number is shrinking.  But today was fun and happy.  Pat's house was filled with laughter and good food and once again the love of siblings was warm, even with a cold foggy drizzle outside.  For me, this is Christmas and today I am grateful.
No presents, not even a tree, but love and laughter.  Happy Holidays to you and yours, today and every day.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Finally A Rainy Day

It has been a very long time since rain has fallen for hours here in Alabama.  It started with a sprinkle today around 11:00 and as the afternoon has moved into evening, the rain drops have multiplied.  It is now a steady rain falling, a little bit chilly and the weather guys say this should go on for the next couple of days.  I am thrilled.

Jordan and Breeze had swim meets today.  They both had an impressive day, shaving time off their past meets and placing in each heat they competed in.  We hope they are creating a "Phillips" dynasty for the next several years on their swim team.

We did Christmas shopping yesterday and birthday shopping today.   December is full of family birthdays.  I had meant to come home and paint Christmas cards, but a lazy streak hit me hard this afternoon and I have done nothing but  read and watch it rain.   Tomorrow my siblings celebrate Christmas with a lunch at my sister's house.  This weekend has been non-stop.

I can't help but continue to say how grateful we are for the rain.  For over a month, every morning when I opened the front door I smelled smoke, finally no more.  I am sure there are some who are already complaining about this rainy day, but I can't.   Tomorrow is Sunday, I wish blessings of peace for you all and a day full of joy.

Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Cookies

This is my column that ran in The Leaf  ( local paper in Birmingham) this month.

Christmas cookies – I am pretty well known for mine.  They are not you’re  traditional sugar cookie, they are full of butter and spice.  Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves turn the dough a deep rich brown and make the house smell amazing as the cookies bake.  Just the smell makes me euphoric.  Everyone who has ever eaten one says it is the best cookie they have ever tasted; I think they are as well.

Making the cookies has turned into a tradition that has even outgrown family. Now I have so many kids clamoring to bake cookies at my house that this year Jordan and I will do shifts. I have to warn the makers of sugar crystals and edible decorations they need to go into overtime because come the week before Christmas the Watson house will be knee deep in sugar sprinkles of all colors Christmas.  There will be kids whose mouths and lips won’t ever be the same color again and whose sugar buzz will last until New Years.

I have several cans of cookie cutters, some for Easter, Halloween, spring and fall, but most of them are for Christmas.  The cutters include candy canes, reindeer, Santa, stocking, bells, trees, snowflakes, snowmen, gingerbread men and more.  The kid's favorites are trees, bells, and snowflakes.  I think those give them the most freedom with their choice of decorations.

This fall as local politicians visited around town, one of them laughed and said “I know who you are, you’re the cookie lady.”  It turns out, his niece had been to my house to make cookies this past year.  His big complaint, she only gave him one.  I promised if she came this year, we would make sure he got more than one cookie.

The past couple of years we have also painted Christmas ornaments for them to take home and hang on their trees.  That tradition is growing.  This year I have plans for paint and ornaments as well; I just hope the parents remember to send the kids old clothes that are paint-proof.  When we painted Halloween pumpkins, there were some incidents…paint in the hair was a biggie and paint on “good” clothes made some parents unhappy.  Keep your fingers crossed that these issues are resolved.

I realized when my parents died that old traditions will not always survive; new ones have to be created.  Some of the old ones that I cling to, painting each and every Christmas card I send and not putting the tree up until the week before Christmas.  I listen to Christmas music starting December 1, and it is not always traditional/radio Christmas music.  My favorite Christmas tune is Last Month of the Year and old blues song. Of course, I also am partial to the two Christmas songs that Rick and I wrote.

I hope that this holiday season brings hope and peace to us all.
As my friends in the UK say, “Happy Christmas.”

PS.  If you want the recipe, contact me at rickandjilda.com


Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1

December 1...today is Rick's mom's birthday, RIP Elwanda

December 1...last month of the year 2016

December 1...listening to Christmas music now

December 1...every night a different Christmas movie

December 1...hot cider and my special cookies

December 1....baking Christmas cookies with Jordan and the rest of the kids

December 1...getting our living tree soon, and then after Christmas we plant it

December 1...time to paint my Christmas cards

December 1....I love seeing all the lights

December 1...my mom's birthday is this month

December 1...I have made my list, am checking it twice

December 1....finally it's cold

December 1...getting the Christmas dishes out, will use them until spring ( they have a snowman, not really Christmas)

December 1...decorating the house a little bit every day

December 1....we do a Charlie Brown tree with Jordan and Sam

December 1...time with friends and family

December 1....a slew of family birthdays this month

December 1...baking an Irish fruitcake

December 1... the smell of pine and cedar wood