Merry Christmas!

…or Solstice, or reflective year-end time…

I grew up celebrating Christmas as a cultural tradition. In Germany Weihnachten was less a religious event as it was a celebration of traditions, rituals, and the gathering of family (to me at least). I like the slowing down and cozying up as a family unit to light candles, rediscover familiar stories, and celebrate life. There is something soothing about the rituals of advent, baking, and having certain meals every year.

Listening to the carols (and singing along), picking out a wreath, seeing annual performances such as the Nutcracker or Christmas Carol all provide a sense of closure to the year. A lot has been accomplished, and we can rest for a bit.

This Christmas season is quite auspicious as Solstice coincided with a lunar eclipse. I wasn’t able to see the eclipse due to an overcast sky, but enjoyed this particular quote on its astrological interpretation: “step out of time. We are free of the past, and we can consciously create the future, for ourselves, for our communities, for the earth.”

So as you peruse the goodies under the tree and the feast on the table, remember that your gift for you is the PRESENT. The past is done, and the future can be created by you. We may not have full control over all our circumstances, but our approach to these circumstances and our attitude toward change can be powerful tools in crafting the new year you want.

May your stocking be filled to the brim with joy, peace and hopefulness.

fourth advent

I’ve lit the fourth Advent candle (our family tradition), and am reflecting on all the lasts I will have tomorrow. My last commute, last time in the office, the final goodbyes to colleagues. I’m pleased to report that the Flurries I created for my colleagues have been well-received.

It’s amazing how handwritten notes stand out these days in a business environment. I read a column by Ashton Kutcher in which he said something about letter-writing making one more vulnerable than a tweet or an e-mail or text message. I find the process of writing to one specific person on paper rather reflective and personal. While letters can be passed around, its distribution is more controlled than an e-mail forward or a shared Facebook status.

I look forward to more hand-writing between Christmas and New Year’s with the cards I’m preparing now. That’s the time where I review the past year, and share the highlights with my correspondence recipients. Who knows, I might share them on this blog as well.

It’s been a very lovely Advent for me, knowing I’ve already given myself the best Christmas present ever. I wish you a lovely Christmas week, with the effortless completion of any preparations for this holiday, and if you don’t celebrate it, just a restful time on these public holidays.

Safe travels if you’re visiting somewhere!

from thought storm to snow storm

The wind is howling around my home and rattling the windows. Snow has been falling steadily, and is expected to pile up to 6 inches tonight.

It’s been a good hibernation day (love that song by Jars of Clay). With ice on the windows, what else can you do but head for the craft room?

(Wire art by http://blog.birdfromawire.com/)

It’s ironic that the weather is the most turbulent this particular day than it has been in the past few weeks, when my brain was filled with stormy-ness. I’ve spent three months preparing and re-evaluating and self-confirming an exhilarating yet terrifying decision.

It required assessing what is important in life, how I perceive myself, how external factors aid that self-perception, and whether I dare to truly stand on my own rather than take the easy route of ‘conventionality.’ But my life has been anything but conventional, and while I perceive myself to be risk-averse, sometimes the route of (perceived) security can be harmful to one’s health.

So after 18 years of either studying nonstop, working nonstop, or both, it is time to take a sabbatical and determine how to truly follow my bliss. Ultimately this decision has been in the works since 2008 when I first started reading Barbara Brabec’s books on a crafting business. I didn’t take the plunge then, but now know that it was because I needed more preparation.

Today I am in a better place financially, emotionally, and socially. It is time. I get to seize the moment!

So I’ve been busy preparing farewell cards to some special colleagues (a girls’ gotta market, you know?), which turned out to be a lot of people!

Writing them was my favorite part.

Next up are the family cards, which I’ll write over the Christmas holiday. I look forward to a true vacation with the family, and then we’ll see what 2011 will bring!

first flurries

December 1 came with our first snow flurries.

Winter has officially arrived. The skating rinks are open and the Christmas lights are spreading in the neighborhoods. It makes me want to bake cookies and eat sweets all day long.

Instead I’m creating my own flurries with punches and UTEE. While the insides of my cards have a design, I have no idea what the front will look like yet.

If you’d like to make your own cards, here are some tutorials. For holiday decorating ideas, here are some fun trends.

Happy Advent!