New Year’s Eve: Goodbye 2012!

Obviously, the world didn’t end before Christmas. I knew it wouldn’t, because God tells us that no one will know the day or the hour that Jesus comes back. So I am quite willing to put my trust in Him and laugh at the end-of-the-world theories.

But now it’s New Year’s Eve! The year ending always feels like such a big event, doesn’t it? I don’t know why, but it does.

At any rate, it’s time now to list some of my goals for 2013. Yesterday I posted my book list, which is something I’ve been doing for a few years. Reading is my biggest passion. Writing is a close second. But I also have a passion for so many other things. My interests are incredibly varied, which always ends up meaning I don’t concentrate on any one thing for very long, which I don’t like at all. It makes me feel that I neglect my interests and passions, which is a terrible feeling. I’m not necessarily good at managing my time (though I have gotten better over the past few years), and then I try to do everything at once, and…well, that doesn’t go all that nicely.

Thus, one of my goals for the coming year is to manage my time better, in all things that I do. This just takes thought and willpower.

Other than that, I have set myself a goal of getting in shape. I don’t say back in shape because I was honestly never all that fit to begin with! I love hiking and camping and being outdoors, but I never really equated that with exercise. Plus, as I said above, reading is my favorite thing to do. So… But my husband is an outdoorsy kind of guy, and I really, really, really want to be able to keep up with him more so than I can already. And I ache all the time, so regular cardio exercise and stuff like yoga will help that! I really like the physical exercise of yoga. It’s more like strengthening than anything else, and that’s always a good thing. Plus it teaches you to listen to your body, and I think everyone would be a lot healthier if they could pay more attention to what their body needs instead of what they think it wants. Big difference right there. That leads me to my secondary goal under getting in shape: eating right. I eat pretty healthy food, as far as my actual intake goes. But the thing that I have a hard time with is that I so rarely eat at regular intervals. Eating breakfast is something I haven’t done regularly in years, and Nate doesn’t eat breakfast much, either. So I guess I should say that not only do I plan on eating better, but I’m going to help Nate to eat better, as well.

I have a few other goals, like sticking with a cleaning schedule instead of trying to do everything in one day, taking up knitting again, teaching myself crochet, playing the piano (and other instruments) more often, taking a walk every day it’s not gross weather outside, and doing more sewing projects.

Together, Nate and I are going to spend more time outside, as well as checking out cool places and museums together. We watch a lot of tv in the evenings, which is fine sometimes (especially if it’s Doctor Who, haha), but when the warmer weather and longer days come around again, we hope to remember more often that the outdoors calls to both of us. 🙂 Of course, we’ve been outside more in the last few days because it’s snowmobile season!! Gahh, I love it so much.

I realize this is an incredibly long post, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate exactly what you want to. Plus, I’m a writer. Oh yeah, that’s my other goal: write something every single day. Blog post, poem, short story, journal entry, fragment of a novel, etc. Just write.

So.

Hopefully you have a fantastic end-of-the-year celebration with lots of champagne and laughter. Happy New Year’s Eve from us (Nate and Beth) and see you next year!

At least we’re getting winter this time.

You know what I wish? That it would snow all winter long. I’m not even kidding. It wouldn’t have to snow 24/7, obviously. But the last week has been awesome. I dearly hope that continues into January. Nate and I went snowmobiling the last two days and it was so much fun. The best word to describe it is exhilarating. It’s also beautiful, especially when we’re riding the trails on the state land through the Kettle Moraine Forest. Yesterday it was snowing while we were out and I couldn’t get over the beauty. If only there were a way to completely block out the sound of the sleds so that I could feel the silence. But I like the sound, too.

It snowed all day yesterday. It’s still snowing now. Not nearly like last week Thursday, but hey, more snow is always nice. A friend and I were going to have a coffee date this morning, but decided staying at our respective houses and reading was a better idea. Besides, then I don’t have to try to get out of the driveway. Or pretend my body isn’t aching ALL OVER. Good aches, though. That’s what snowmobiling does to you.

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Anyway. A new year begins in a few days! Are you ready for whatever 2013 may bring? I have a lot of hopes, dreams, and wishes. As do we all, I’m sure. I also have a few goals set for myself, which I will be posting about soon.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 21st (Happy Solstice!)

I’m fairly certain that we got more snow here yesterday than we got all last winter. It snowed for a little more than 24 hours and the total snowfall seems to be about 15-16 inches. Not very far south of us, there wasn’t nearly as much. Though it was nasty out, I feel blessed to have gotten so much, since you all know by this point that I love snow.

So, we have come to the shortest day and the longest night of the year. From here on out, the days get longer! And of course (as I knew) the Mayans were wrong. Come on, people. I wasn’t even going to say anything about it since it was so obvious that nothing was going to happen. But yeah.

And now the true rush begins. Christmas Eve being on a Monday can really throw things off, because the weekend has just finished. Just don’t forget the real Reason for the season in the midst of your last minute shopping, baking, and cleaning!

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 20th

It’s been snowing since a little after 10:00 last night. We have close to ten inches (by my estimate, anyway) and there’s no sign of it stopping. I’m so happy!!! I am, though, praying hard for my dear husband, his dad, his uncle, and the other milk truck drivers on the road. Nate claims he likes driving in snow, which I believe, and he’s good at it, but at the same time, anything can happen.

Also, it’s my sister’s 22nd birthday today, and since I know she reads this…. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HEIDI!! 🙂

So.

Since shoveling the driveway at this point is a terrible idea — I’d get nowhere — I think it’s time to throw the rest of my apron together and get that Christmas baking done! And, you know, go enjoy the snow at some point. Get all bundled up and run around in it like the five-year-child that I am at heart.

White Christmas “Snow” Song

(Note: I don’t honestly know why I was able to embed a video once and now I can’t. Any suggestions?)

P.S. I really wish I had a camera because my posts would be so much more interesting. I even know exactly what camera I want, but it’s not cheap. Ah well. Soon.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 8th

I don’t really have anything to post today, so I will just share a photo I took on Christmas Eve two years ago. We had the most beautiful and gentle snowfall that I can remember, and as it was my final Christmas at home, I wandered around the yard taking pictures (this was when I had a working camera….). Have a lovely Saturday!

tire swing 2010

born into a specific season

As soon as the outdoor temperature drops below 50 degrees, I instantly start wishing for snow. I think about snow and cold winter days all summer long. Clearly, winter is my favorite season. People think I am crazy because I love the cold. But I have never enjoyed summer all that much. I would much rather be bundled up in layers of clothing than wearing next to nothing. I prefer steaming hot drinks to ice cold ones. And a gentle snowfall is one of the most beautiful sights in the entire world.

I also adore autumn, of course. The leaves changing color on all the trees is yet another of the most beautiful sights in the entire world. Growing up on the plains of central Illinois, I didn’t often see forests of trees turned golden, and I would drink in the sight when I could. We had some trees, of course, just not huge swathes of woods across the land. Here in eastern Wisconsin, it’s almost all trees. I could cry with the beauty of it. Nate and I often take leisure drives through the Kettle Moraine, and we’ve been driving around almost everyday in his dad’s 1976 Cutlass, looking at the leaves.

I could probably go on and talk about a few things I enjoy about spring and summer, too, but I wanted to make a point about something. I believe that the time of year a person is born into will have an impact on his or her life. No, not in an astrological way or anything. I just think that for a child, the season in which your birthday falls can have a profound effect on the way you feel, especially if you live in a part of the world where the seasons are so drastically different. I was born at the end of November. So many people say that November is a dull month, but as I’ve grown up, I’ve come to love it. Almost every year for as long as I can remember, we have had our first snow of the year on my birthday, November 29th. Being in Wisconsin now, it generally comes a bit earlier, but the point is that I feel I am somewhat programmed to adore snow and the cold. Of course, when one is born can have the opposite effect, as well. My sister was born five days before Christmas, and she always says that she much prefers summer and the warmer temps. Whereas she would gladly move to Hawaii, I would much rather move to Alaska, if it came down to a choice between the two. My husband was born on July 31st, and though I think he does like winter more, he also is quite able to appreciate everything about all four seasons, with the exception of early spring. That’s mainly because here in Wisconsin, most of spring is just MUD. He drives a truck for a living and he generally likes to keep it clean!

I’m very much ready for winter. The cold winds may blow and rain may come for the next month and a half, but I hope and pray very fervently that come December, there will be snow on our first anniversary (December 3rd), and that we will be able to snowmobile all winter long. Unlike last year, which was a disappointing winter all around.

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“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

Though I doubt God actually forgot to put souls into flowers, I do firmly believe He gave them to us for our enjoyment. There are not many people that I know that would think a garden ugly. I absolutely adore gardens. Working in them is something I used to fight, though. When I was young and my parents wanted help with the yard work, boy would I kick and scream. Maybe not really kick and scream, but I generally tried to hole myself up in my room with a book and avoid them. Eventually, I began to realize that cultivating growing things is actually a balm for the soul. When I visited England six years ago, one of my favorite sights was that of the English garden. Oh, there were so many! So beautiful. My grandma, aunt, and uncle with whom I went are all gardeners, so I guess at that point I began to get a green thumb.

In my college years, there wasn’t much time for gardening, so I didn’t really try. Now that I am in my own home and not in school, I have more time. Today I wasn’t entirely certain what I was going to do with my time until I took my cup of coffee to the window and looked out. Our yard is small and there isn’t much we can do with it, but there is a small and narrow bed next to our deck that was hopelessly overgrown that I could see from the window. Every day I looked at it and groaned, thinking it could be so much more beautiful. Earlier in the year I had planted a few things in there, but they didn’t grow; this was partly because I forgot about them and partly because we had a severe drought combined with a ridiculous heat spike. Basically, this summer I gave up doing anything in the yard. We didn’t even have to cut our grass for almost three months! (That was actually nice.)

So, today I decided to at least tackle the overgrown bed and clear it out. For what, I wasn’t sure. (I wish I had taken a photo of it — it was crazy!) As I pulled out little weeds and big weeds, I noticed there was an enormous plant that had a stalk the size of my wrist, and it was growing from behind the lattice on the bottom of our deck. Oh dear. I tried using a sickle, a hoe, a shovel, a scissors…none of those worked. The angle was terrible. The only tool for the job was a hedge trimmer. But I don’t happen to have one. (I need to fix that.) By this point, I had figured that I would plant some mums in the bed, since they are in season, so what I did was call over to the local florist shop and ask if they had a hedge trimmer I could borrow! We’re on first name basis, so I knew it would be okay. The owner said she did have one I could use, so I drove over there to pick it up and to purchase some potted mums. I love supporting local businesses!

I came home, cut the stubborn plant down, worked up the soil (who in their right mind puts bed liner only THREE INCHES BELOW THE SOIL?! I certainly didn’t….), and planted the mums. I had four of them, which turned out to not be quite enough. Since I had to return the hedge trimmer, I was going to drive back down there, but our car was acting funky, so I just walked. I must have looked hilarious walking down the side of the state highway while carrying a long hedge trimmer. On the way back, it was probably even more amusing since I was carrying a huge potted mum. Ah well. It was good exercise.

The point of the story is that gardening is good for the body as well as the soul. I really should do more of it.