Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve

Ahhh...another quiet holiday (knocking on wood).

I'm thinking, a lot, about my New Years Resolutions. Like everyone else, I always make them. With hand on heart and the best of intentions, I vow to create better relationships. I vow to get healthier. I vow to get organized.

On New Years Eve, 1999 I came up with the following "Millennium" resolutions:

1. To love more courageously.
2. To twirl, at least once a day!
3. To make more chowder.
4. To write more poetry.
5. To honor my own feelings.
6. To be verwy, verwy quiet... more often.
7. To write the great American....children's book!
8. To dream bigger, run faster, jump higher!
9. To expand the "Gwidy Universe" and have more tea parties! (clue, if you want one) :)
10. To practice savoring.
11. To sing myself to sleep, now and then.
12. To enjoy being here ... and to keep adding to this list!

Added in 2006: ( Yes, I said 2006. OK, so "procrastinate less" was NEVER on the list)

1. To belly-dance, regularly.
2. To communicate with my far away friends…more regularly.
3. To confront and conquer, at least, one fear.
4. To write more songs.
5. To create magical happenings, as often as possible.

6. To welcome the changes in my life with gratitude toward the Universe.

Looking back on this list, I realize that I've done well...with some of my resolutions...and totally forgotten others! (My poor Gwidies have been neglected for years!!!)

This year, I have decided to simplify. I have only one resolution. My vow for 2008 is...

...drum roll, please..... LOVE more and complain less.

I'm thinking that should cover everything. If I love my body more and complain about it less, I will be healthier. If I love my family more and complain about them less, my relationships will improve. If I love my home and studio more and complain about them less, I will be more organized.

Love more...complain less. Works for me.

Happy New Year, everyone!


©2007 Bettina Makley

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve Service

Well it's Christmas day and, since my family is far away, it's quiet and I have time to come here and blog, a bit.

Last evening I was curled up at this computer in my new, red, chenille housecoat (a present from Lance's Mom) enjoying it's softness and thinking about retiring for the night, when Orland called. "I'm leaving my house in a few minutes," he says "if you want to go to the service tonight." Of course, lots of conflicting thoughts started to jump around in my brain, as I only had seconds to make a decision between staying in my warm, comfy, new housecoat, and slamming on some Christmas garb and going out into the cold.

Christmas Eve day had been, unexpectedly difficult. I thought I was ready for a quiet Christmas with just myself and Lance. Sarah is still in NJ with her sister and brother, as she was asked to extend her art show. The rest of my family is in Florida and Lance's family is far away, as well. I hadn't really invested much time in decorating the house for just the two of us, but I decided, at the last minute, to clean, cook and decorate, just a bit. As I puttered around the house, listening to Christmas music, I began to feel the presence of "The Ghost of Christmas Past" and my mind couldn't help but wander through years of family traditions. Fifty years of caroling, presents, Tom & Jerries, ornament-making parties, cookie decorating and taffy pulls.

As joyful as all of these memories are, it was hard not to feel the sadness of loss, as well. (Even as I type this, I know that my family in Florida are together, drinking T&J's, eating great food and singing Christmas carols in beautiful harmony.) Suffice it to say that I spent much of Christmas Eve day on an emotional roller-coaster.

I'm going to insert a lesson, here and one of the best ones I ever learned: One man's tradition is another man's bondage. All this means is that, sometimes, we need to be prepared to surrender tradition in order to create new magic.

The need to re-create experiences in exactly the same way is strong. Why wouldn't it be? If we feel that doing a certain thing a certain way brought us joy, then of course we might want to repeat that experience. This is how tradition begins...with the best of intentions. Problems can arise, however, when we become so attached to those traditions that if the tiniest one has to change, we get the feeling that our joyful experience has been ruined.

I can't tell you how many Christmases I spent, stressed out, trying to recreate all the traditions I was raised with. I had to make Christmas cookies. I had to set up a tree and decorate it with my collection of ornaments, some of them handed down from my grandmother. I had to have a present for everyone at the family gathering. I had to be home to watch Rudolf, Charlie Brown and Scrooge (OK, this one dates me, as there were no VCRs back then *smiles*)...anyway, you get the idea.

One year, my Christmas ornaments disappeared. I couldn't find them, anywhere. It was one of the lean years and I was not able to have a big, real tree and all we had, for ornaments, came from a book of Sesame Street paper cut-outs. I don't remember where I got the three foot, artificial tree that we ended up with, but we made the best of it with a single strand of lights. We punched out Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover and the rest and assembled them and added them to our little tree. It was a very "Charley Brown-ish" tree and was beautiful, with a little love. It was then that I began to realize that Christmas traditions do not give me love or joy. It is the love and joy I put in that makes them magical! Once I had surrendered my imagined need to control the experience and just allowed Christmas to "become", another, very magical thing happened. At my office Christmas party, they gave out tickets for various door prizes. As I was chatting with friends they nudged me because my number had been called. I had won something! Me?! I never won much of anything before, so I was a little shocked. What did I win? It was the grand prize of the evening...a fully decorated Christmas tree! I brought it home and stood it on the other side of the room from our little tree of love. Looking back, we call it "The Year of Two Christmas Trees" and it became one of the most memorable Christmases of my life.

So, as all of these thoughts ran through my head in the few seconds that Orland was waiting for my answer and after quickly consulting Lance, I responded "Sure! Yes! We'll be ready!" and of course I have no regrets. The service, organized by Walt, was wonderful, in spite of a few quirks and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed singing the more solemn carols of the harmony with my new family. After the service we gathered for food, music and "holiday cheer", at Bill and Laura's house. For me, it was an awesome Christmas Eve!

And that is what this blog is really all about. I just wanted to thank all of YOU...members of my new Spiritual family...for helping me remember to be grateful for whatever magic happens! I love you all, more than I can say and wish you all a VERY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

"Whatever (whoever)" bless us...every one! *wink*


© 2007 Bettina Makley

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fun Decorating

Saturday at the dome decorating for the season!

Michelle helping out with the tree, Marianne, Amy & Alex making cranes.

Amy shows the smallest Origami crane in the world.

Jenny, Anna, Jean, Juliana, Alex, Marianne, Amy making decorations. Ned supervises, while Jeff hangs a Wreath.

Jeff hangs the show while Alex, Amy, Jean and Bettina observe.

Everything is done, time to relax.