It’s December 29th and the year is drawing to a close. I want to take this time to simply recap the year and say thank you to my Dear Readers for spending your time with me in 2018.
From the beginning of the year, when I really got started blogging, I started out by writing Happy New Year . My main theme at that time was to talk about my hip replacement surgery which was the real reason this blog came into existance. I had been searching for personal stories of “younger” women who had undergone hip replacements but hadn’t found much, so I thought I’d share my story for others who might find it helpful for themselves. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was writing about my other health issues, including Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Invisible Illnesses.
I’ve had the opportunity to share my thoughts about body image, intimacy when you live with Chronic Pain, the sleeplessness that comes with Fibromyalgia and Invisible Illnesss, and how the simple loss of bathing can mean so much heartache. On the other hand, I’ve been able to share about gratitude and finding joy on more than one occasion, so I’ve tried to focus on the positives as much as possible, whenever possible.
I couldn’t do this without you. Without my Dear Readers, there wouldn’t be much sense in putting this out there, so I appreciate each and every one of you who comes to my blog and reads what I have to say. You may not comment on every post, heck…you may never comment on a post I write, but the numbers don’t lie. My stats show that you are there and that you keep coming back. In fact, when I took a week off and didn’t do a thing to market the blog…no Pinterest, no Twitter, no Social Media at all, the numbers dropped, but a bunch of you still came by to see if there was anything new.
You can see where I was away for the week. On Nov. 15th and 16th, I was in Vancouver for a volunteer meeting, and away from my computer the whole time. When I put the effort in, you do the same and come back to see what’s new…the numbers don’t lie, and I am forever grateful.
So, to wrap up 2018, I want to say thank you. You’ve helped me reach a far greater level of success than I ever thought I’d make, simply because you like to read my thoughts. That’s pretty amazing to me. I just want to provide as much information as I can to anyone who is living with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue or Invisible Illness. I want you to know you’re not alone. I’m right there with you and for as long as I’m able, I will continue to write and bring you articles and information to help you thrive.
I wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year. May you be blessed in 2019 with the very best the year can offer. Remember…
In the Spirit of the Season, here are 50 Christmas quotes to help bring good cheer to your heart during the holidays. Thanks to the website Daring To Live Fully for the list.
1. “I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why, this is Christmas Day!’”
~ David Grayson
2. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.”
~ Meredith Willson, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”
3. “Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”
~ Oren Arnold
5. “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”
~ Peg Bracken
6. “Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.”
~ Francis C. Farley
7. “It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.”
~ W.T. Ellis
8. “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
9. “Christmas now surrounds us,
Happiness is everywhere
Our hands are busy with many tasks
As carols fill the air.”
~ Shirley Sallay
10. “Each sight, each sound of Christmas
And fragrances sublime
Make hearts and faces happy
This glorious Christmastime.”
~ Carice Williams
11. “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!”
~ Hamilton Wright Mabie
12. “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.”
~ Janice Maeditere
13. “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
~ Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby
14. “I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.”
~ Harlan Miller
15. “Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
16. “Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.”
~ Ruth Carter Stapleton
17. “Good news from heaven the angels bring,
Glad tidings to the earth they sing:
To us this day a child is given,
To crown us with the joy of heaven.”
~ Martin Luther
18. “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”
~ Burton Hillis
19. “Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.”
~ Harlan Miller
20. “For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”
~ W. J. Tucker
21. “Christmas is not just a time for festivity and merry making. It is more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving.”
~ J. C. Penney
22. “I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
23. “I love the Christmas-tide, and yet,
I notice this, each year I live;
I always like the gifts I get,
But how I love the gifts I give!”
~ Carolyn Wells
24. “Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.”
~ Pope John XXIII
25. “Let us have music for Christmas…
Sound the trumpet of joy and rebirth;
Let each of us try, with a song in our hearts,
To bring peace to men on earth.”
~ Mildred L. Jarrell
26. “Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
~ Calvin Coolidge
27. “I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness.”
~ Carrie Fisher
28. “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”
~ Agnes M. Pharo
29. “May Christmas lend a special charm
To all you chance to do.
And may the season light your way
To hopes and dreams anew.”
~ Garnett Ann Schultz, “My Christmas Wish”
30. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know,
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.”
~ Irving Berlin
31. “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
~ Charles Dickens, Ebeneezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol
32. “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
~ Dr Seuss
33. “The merry family gatherings–
The old, the very young;
The strangely lovely way they
Harmonize in carols sung.
For Christmas is tradition time–
Traditions that recall
The precious memories down the years,
The sameness of them all.”
~ Helen Lowrie Marshall
34. “Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.”
~ Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas”
35. “This time of year means being kind
to everyone we meet,
To share a smile with strangers
we may pass along the street.”
~ Betty Black
36. “Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display–so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow. It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow. It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.”
37. “There is a Christmas song upon the air,
There is a joy innate within the heart;
An inner sense of peace, a holy light
Illumines life and sets these days apart.”
~ Edna Greene Hines
38. “I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.”
~ Taylor Caldwell
39. “Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.”
~ Lucinda Franks
40. “Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world – stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death – and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas.”
~ Henry Van Dyke
41. “Ask your children two questions this Christmas. First: What do you want to give to others for Christmas? Second: What do you want for Christmas? The first fosters generosity of heart and an outward focus. The second can breed selfishness if not tempered by the first.”
~ Author Unknown
42. “Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.”
~ Helen Steiner Rice
43. “Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given–when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.”
~ Joan Winmill Brown
44. “Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.”
~ Augusta E. Rundel
45. “Christmas day is a day of joy and charity. May God make you very rich in both.”
~ Phillips Brooks
47. “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
~ Charles Schulz
48. “Christmas, my child, is love in action.”
~ Dale Evans
49. “Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him–and so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.”
~ Max Lucado
50. “Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
I’d like to share some favourite holiday recipes with you here. These are ones that my family adores the most and that are my true favourites.
1lb butter, softened (REAL butter, no substitutions on this!!)
1⁄2 cup cornstarch
3 cups flour
1cup icing sugar
In a large bowl, cream the butter.
Add dry ingredients.
Whip for 10-12 minutes; batter will be shiny, and form peaks.
Optional- Chill dough overnight (you can keep for a few days in the fridge). Before baking, take out and leave at room temperature for 1 hour, whip it up again in the mixer for about 5 minutes. This option allows you to roll and shape the cookies. Still melt in your mouth!
Drop from a 1 tsp measure OR roll dough on to a cookie sheet based on the option you chose. (I level the tsp to make uniform, tiny cookies. A very small cookie scoop or tiny melon scoop is handy for uniform cookies. Due to how soft and delicate this cookie is making it bigger is not recommended).
Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes, OR until bottom edges begin to brown. If they are smaller then watch the first batch to monitor the time required per batch.
Watch them carefully they can burn quickly.
When removed from the oven allow them to cool for about two minutes on the cookie sheet, carefully move them onto a cooling rack with a spatula.
Allow them to cool on the rack for 15 minutes. If they are NOT cool they will crumble more easily and won’t set properly.
***Avoid letting them cool longer than necessary on the cookie sheet or they might stick and break apart when you try to move them.
It occurred to me that I’ve written a lot about my illnesses, etc. but I haven’t told you a lot about me, the person, so I thought I’d change that today. One of my favourite bloggers sent out a post with some questions on it that was a great start, so here we go:
What is your favourite summer holiday destination?
Hubby and I tend to stick around the home during the summer, but because we have a new motorcycle, we are exploring a lot more on the bike! I can’t go super far because I tire out fairly quickly but we’ve gone as far as Mill Bay and round-trip home on the Mill Bay/Brentwood Bay ferry, and then on other trips, out to Sooke and Metchosin. We just took a road trip from August 22-25th, going to Mt. Vernon, WA to meet an online friend in person for the first time! Maura and I binge-watched the second season of This Is Us since I can’t get it in Canada, and Ray explored the roads on the bike and then we all got together for dinner in the evening with Maura’s husband Paul joining us. We had a great time! On Friday, the 24th, Maura and I met up with another online friend of mine whom I’ve met before and had lunch. It was nice to introduce Megan and Maura and I think that will be another friendship that will blossom. Ray and I returned home on Saturday and I’m sure the cat missed us – she wouldn’t leave our laps for the rest of the day!
A favourite childhood memory of summer?
Every summer my family would go to Powell River, BC and spend at least 2 weeks at my Aunt & Uncle’s cabin on Powell Lake. No electricity, no washroom (just the outhouse) but more fun than I can possibly remember. Swimming, boating, water-skiing, skinny-dipping, hanging out with my best summer friend Tina…those were always the best 2 weeks of my life.
Which do you prefer ice cream or frozen yogurt?
Absolutely ice cream!!!! I love plain vanilla because I can dress it up in so many ways – with peaches or berries, or chocolate fudge and marshmallows, and I especially love it with chocolate pudding on top!
What is your go-to dinner on a hot summer evening? Feel free to share the recipe!!
Easy Ranch potato salad. Boil potatoes, let cool. Cut into cubes, add chopped celery, cooked bacon bits and ranch dressing. Mix well, add chopped green onion and chill until serving.
What is your favourite BBQ food!
Pork chops, potato and corn on the cob, all cooked in a foil pack.
½ cup barbecue sauce
¼ cup honey
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 pork boneless rib or loin chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick (1 1/4 pounds)
2 large ears corn, each cut into 6 pieces
1 cup baby-cut carrots, cut lengthwise in half
2 cups (from a 1-pound 4-ounce bag) refrigerated cooked new potato wedges
1 teaspoon salt
Steps Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Spray half of one side of four 18×12-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminium foil with cooking spray.
Mix barbecue sauce, honey and cumin in small bowl. Place 1 pork chop, 3 pieces corn, 1/4 cup carrots and 1/2 cup potato wedges on centre of each sprayed foil sheet; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spoon 3 tablespoons sauce mixture over pork and vegetables on each sheet.
Fold foil over pork and vegetables so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again. Allow space on sides for circulation and expansion.
Grill packets 4 to 6 inches from medium heat 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until pork is slightly pink in centre. Place packets on plates. Cut large X across top of each packet; fold back foil.
A song or songs that take you back to an amazing summer.
Mine are all movie soundtracks, so I’ll go with the Star Wars soundtrack. Any summer with Star Wars is a good summer.
How do you beat the heat in the summer?
I’m usually indoors with my fan blowing and a nice cold drink of flavoured water.
Do you prefer swimming in the ocean or a pool?
I live within walking distance of a wonderful lake with a great beach, so I’ll say the lake first, then the ocean. I only like the pool for doing Aquafit. I’m not far from the ocean so prefer to do my walking there, on the beach with the water lapping at my toes.
What is your preferred summer vacation? Travel with family? Solo? Or Friends?
If I was travelling, it would be with Hubby only. We’ve done a couple of cruises and would like to do an Alaskan cruise next. I would love to do a World cruise if money were no object!
So, flip-flops or bare feet?
Neither! I can’t wear flip-flops and my feet are too sensitive to go barefoot so sandals it is!
Sundresses or Shorts?
I’m totally a sundress girl! I wear dresses all year long, even in winter. I prefer them over pants any time of the year.
Fun Summertime Activity?
I love to go visit the goats at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm in Victoria. There are always baby goats there and as you can see, all the goats love to rub their heads on my bright pink crutches and scratch where their horns used to be!!
The Stream of Consciousness word for this past Saturday is Notice.
I have noticed an influx of hummingbirds in our area lately, so I recently put a hummingbird feeder in our backyard. We live in a complex of 12 townhouse units, all single level, and ours backs on to a small greenbelt. Almost all of the neighbours have feeders as the trees here are filled with hummers – I’ve seen upwards of 20 of them flitting around at any given time.
After putting up my feeder, I also noticed we had a huge problem with wasps. The first feeder type I had, the wasps were able to get into the nectar, so I swapped it out for a better design. On this one, the wasps can’t get to the delicious goodies within, but they still try, and it was keeping the hummingbirds away, so I purchased a wasp trap and hung that nearby, filling it with a combination of sugar water and two drops of detergent. It was quickly found and became very attractive to the wasps, and the hummers were able to enjoy their own feeder again without any problems.
Unfortunately, there were so many wasps we realized there must be a nest nearby. My hubby took a look around and sure enough, we found a nest in the outside dryer vent. He did give it a good spray with wasp killer, as much as I hate we had to do that but there were just too many of them to leave it alone. Our neighbours next door, Gail and David have a nest somewhere too, and so we are considering calling in Pest Control. Gail hates to kill anything and said that she had a wasp trap once, but it took too long for the wasps to die and she felt she was torturing them, so she took it down. Mine was also getting a lot of ants, but once I oiled the string on it, they stopped climbing down.
So, I’ve just cleaned out the old wasp trap and there were probably 20 dead ones in there plus a couple of live ones. I dumped them down the kitchen sink and used hot water on the live ones to flush them out and down the drain as well. I’ve never been stung before, but they don’t scare me. I cleaned out the trap, re-baited it and hung it back outside and from where I am sitting, I can see it’s already caught two more. The hummers probably won’t be back until later this evening when it cools off again, but they’ll be happy to know they won’t be bothered. I’m hoping I’ll get multiples at the feeder – it’s designed to hold 4 birds at a time. I promised my dear friend Charlotte I would send her a picture of the birds feeding but so far it’s only been one bird at a time, and they choose the back of the feeder where I can’t see them to take a picture. Typical!!
I love watching how delicate the birds are, but how aggressive they become when they feed…their lunging beaks almost attacking the yellow bulb of the feeder as they hover in mid air, sipping and thrusting and sipping and thrusting. I have a “birds eye” view of the action and they are such a marvel to watch, with their jewel colour bodies flashing in the sun. Here in our area (Victoria, BC) we mostly get Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds,
Yet as delicate as they may appear, they are a hardy species, with the Rufous variety here during the spring and summer, and then spending their winters on the U.S. Gulf coast and Mexico. Although an unusual sight fifteen years ago, Anna’s are now winter regulars at many Victoria feeders. Anna’s are with us year round and we notice their presence at feeders is more obvious because their numbers are increasing locally. Both types are entertaining, and I get such joy watching them.
I strongly advise anyone to research the type of birds you get in your area, and then to put up a bird feeder, especially if you get hummingbirds. Making the nectar is as easy as making sugar water for them, and they are so fun and a real joy to watch.
There is always hope.
I’m taking part in another Blog challenge. This one is a #BlogBattle and involves the use of the word Moon:
The moon makes me wistful, it’s so far away yet it’s filled with the dreams and the hopes of the men
and the women who knew that one day, they would walk on it’s surface, they just didn’t know when
And all those years ago now from when it first happened, we haven’t been back and I worry about why
Does the moon feel left out? Does it ever feel lonely? I wonder if Moons even know how to cry?
It probably thought we were first of the many who would come to pay homage and visit and stay
But after the hoopla and the sciencing was over, we all said goodbye and we rocketed away
Now the Moon overlooks us, and I overlook it and I’m wistfully thinking I’d like to go there
What a joy it would be just to soar in the sky and perhaps see my home as I fly through the air
Imagine my new home where my body could be free of the earthly restrictions I currently feel
My pain would be less as I soar spaceless and free, now that sounds to me like one heck of a deal!
Alas, I don’t think that dream is likely to come true, but I can sure be inspired when I look at the Moon
And one never knows as our science evolves, perhaps someday I might get there, sooner than soon. 🙂
there is always hope
~ Pamela ~