Home for the Holidays

thanksgiving
Home For the Holidays. I've heard these words all my life and I don't think it ever really hit me until this year what those words meant.  Of course you want to be home for the holidays.  Isn't everyone?

Well, of course not.  I've merely been spoiled.  All my life, most of our family has been either in the same town, or within driving distance, so we were always 'home' for the holidays.  I really can't even remember an instance where someone was not home.

But this year was different - and I felt it.  This was the first year one of our kids was out of the house.  Alyx is in her first year of college, and out of state.  We didn't expect her home until the day before Thanksgiving and we were a little sad about this, but it was busy, so we were making the best of it.

tanda thanks

I was trying to get my desk cleaned off Monday afternoon so I could get to the grocery store before everything was gone.  (And yes, I've become that person who does things at the last minute.  How did that happen?)

Tristan was hiding in his room, making it difficult to enlist his help for anything....and the doorbell rings.  I yell to Bryan, "Are you expecting someone?"  because sometimes customers get confused and go to our front door and not the studio door, where his office is located.  He doesn't answer and I go to the door, a little exasperated.

But then I open the door, and there stands Alyx, with a couple of boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts in her arms!  She is home two days early!!  I was SO surprised and happy and it's bringing tears to my eyes all over again just writing about it.

I grabbed her and gave her a big hug, yelling for Tristan, who flew down the stairs because he really, really misses his big sister.

And in that moment, it hit me.  This is what is means to be Home For The Holidays.  To have all your loved ones with you in the same house.  To enjoy one another's company.  I was feeling what so many others feel who aren't fortunate enough to have everyone close to home like we do.

I was thankful.  So thankful.  Not that I never was before, but I realized I have taken this closeness for granted.  My heart went out all over again to all those families who have family members in the service, who live too far away, who are in the hospital, or who simply can't afford a plane ticket home.  We always keep those in our prayers and thoughts and so many times that day and during the week, I offered up additional prayers of thanks for bringing my girl home early.

We were able to spend a couple of days shopping, eating out, cooking and decorating, a little binge TV, and just being together. Oh, how I've missed my girl.  But I also enjoyed seeing the changes in maturity and confidence.  I love that she has a job she enjoys and is getting to learn responsibility while earning some spending money.  I love that she thought to bring home every one's favorite doughnuts - pumpkin spice for me, chocolate glazed for Bryan, and powdered sugar and chocolate for Tristan.

I think maybe, just maybe, she misses us, too.

I hope that you had as many family members as possible home for the holidays this year and that you had a very blessed Thanksgiving.

blayne-signature

 

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Finding the right photo lab for you

Finding the right photo lab for you

persnickety collageWhile creating my Photo Harmony class, which was offered free to all early adapters of My Digital ScrapRoom, I did a print test at a couple of labs.  This is a really easy way to find out who does the best job with your photos. (You can print at home with My Digital ScrapRoom, but having owned a professional photography studio for 20 years, I am too impatient to fool with home printers and would prefer to just send my prints out.)

No matter whether you use a $50 or a $5000 camera, or like me, your iPhone - the printing of your photo can make or break a great image.  That's why I suggest a print test.  Every camera, every setting, every printer is different.  The key to best results is to work with the lab that gives YOU the best results.

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Living the Imperfect Life

Living the Imperfect Life

photoI've had Brene Brown's book: The Gifts of Imperfection laying on my nightstand to read for a while now.  (See, I'm already starting out imperfectly.)  I'm bad about buying important books that I need to read, and bypassing them for pleasure reading.  

But then I got an email from Oprah herself*, inviting me to take a class with Brene on living wholeheartedly and they were using Brene's book and incorporating art journaling.  Woot!  Two birds with one stone.  I signed up right away.  I could check off reading the book, AND do some creative things, and hopefully, improve myself a little along the way.

As always, I got a late start.  I always seem to push playtime down the list when I'm in my art room.  I'm teaching the Photo Harmony class to ScrapRoom users, and that is taking up a lot of time, still working with my husband in the studio, and yes, there are still kids to consider.

But this week, I got intentional (look, Brene, I'm paying attention!) about getting a good start on living wholeheartedly and being true to my own true self.  I got out the paints, thinking, "Oh, I'm gonna be terrible at this.  I can't paint!" and lo and behold.....it was so FUN!  I felt that old familiar release that comes from creating something.  I did feel in touch with my old, fun self - the one who is spontaneous and joyful and confident.  Where's she been all this time?!

I can't tell you how good I felt after making several pages.  I was making them so fast, they started to stick together and I had to get out my trusty dryer to set the paint.  I got out a stack of those stamps and stencils that I buy and never have used - and got them dirty!!  What a rush.

And you know what else happened?  I had the best night's sleep I've had in a long, long time.

Brene, you just might be on to something.  Thank you!

*I know, I know - it was from some mailing list I signed up for.  Just let me dream a little.  :)

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