Archive for January, 2012

Another Girl Party, Long Long Ago!

Just getting a little nostalgic remembering some girl parties from long ago!



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Snow and Ice

Let winter finally begin?!

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Water Gardens

  Looking through my old botanic center photos, I liked this today as we wait for snow to hit Iowa.  Doesn’t it feel warm and tropical?!  It also reminds me of a warm swim I had last night at Ames Racquet and Fitness.





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Taking Time for Kids

  I love this photo I took at the graduation potluck my friends had for me.  We get so busy and focused on the adult things, but here is Lora making time for the little things and the little people.

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Spreading Christmas out all year long?

Ok, this is my last post about reflections on Christmas! I started out by thinking of people who are sad or feel let down around the holidays.  Some of the kids I’ve worked with have major melt downs around Christmas because of family or health dysfunction.  Everyone around them is building up to this huge “celebration” and their pain just multiplies as they feel it’s impossible to have that shiny ball that the world dangles out there in front of them.  Some hurt themselves to try to make the pain go away.  People give presents to them or have parties for them, but the perfect family Christmas can’t be obtained.  And that may be true for a lot of people, especially in America, where we advertise prosperity and perfection as available to all.  Our culture would be way more sustainable if we gave up our fantasies of having it all and stopped billing things as creating more happiness than they really do.   It’s ok to make choices, to say no to things, to make due with less than the Jones have.  Even if we can afford to have it all, maybe we don’t need to.

One more thought….I’ve heard of people who only go to church on holidays like Christmas and Easter, packing in all their time with God into some intense rush, similar to the way we eat so much and celebrate so much in a few short days.  What if we made a conscious effort to make holidays less of a fuss, to spread our celebrating out in a longer, much less intense manner?   Might we then give more gifts during the rest of the year?  Send more letters?  Get our good dishes out for more Sunday dinners?  Spend more quiet time alone with God?  Hmmm, I wonder…..

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Changing Christmas Idea #3

I am proposing some radical ideas to make Christmas more sustainable and also to make it make more sense.  Some of the things we do in the name of Christmas just DO NOT make sense.  I heard a story at school the other day of a mother who bought her daughter three things for Christmas (even though she had just had her birthday) and the daughter returned all three things, and the mother was not even that upset about it.

I know I already posted this photo, but it is a good depiction of what I am thinking about tonight.

Lots of times, we want to give presents at Christmas time, but I think, if we are being truthful, lots of times we don’t, because we can’t think of a great gift, and we wind up getting something that people will take back, or wish they could take back.  I’ve never experienced hurt feelings over a Christmas present, but I hear it happens.  So, what to do?  How awful would it be if we just decided we weren’t going to do the presents part of Christmas?  Would every one think we are a scrooge?  But so often, it doesn’t make sense, the money we spend, sometimes going into debt, trying to prove we care about someone with a thing.

I know a lot of people have made changes in their gift giving,  donating to charity for example.  Some good ideas can be found here at ISU’s Live Green Dec 2011 newsletter.  The article on Greening the Holidays makes good suggestions about how to find thoughtful and recycled gifts.  The college students here also suggest that giving your time and just being together with others is a valued and sensible gift. If intelligent college students can embrace this, can’t we?

But what about the children?  A lot of people I know have given up adult gift giving but still have Christmas presents for the children.  At first, I thought this was quite sensible, but you know, what are we teaching the kids here?  The sociologist in me would say, we are perpetuating an unsustainable lifestyle by indoctrinating the future generation.  What if kids just never learned to expect gobs of toys or expensive gifts on Christmas or every other American holiday?

If you disagree with me on all of the above, maybe at least you could think about this idea.

Idea #3:

You know how every one tears open their presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning, and then usually it’s the mom who goes around wadding up tons of wrapping paper and putting it in the trash?  And I LOVE wrapping paper.  I have way more fun buying wrapping paper and bows and ribbon and gift tags than I do buying gifts, but it’s all just really totally useless and wasteful.  Maybe we could at least give up the wrapping paper!  Reusable cloth gift bags anyone?!

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