“It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve…” Barry Manilow 1977

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Hope all y’all had a wonderful Christmas and that you were able to spend it with loved ones, be it family or friends. My whole Christmas season was such a blessing this year. Best one ever! If you have been following my blog, you know that November and December found me spending a lot of meaningful time with my family – kids, sisters, and mom. I have had so much fun. But the best part was having all of my kids under the same roof (my roof!) for Christmas. Cannot ask for more than that. As I have said before, as much as I love one-on-one time with my kids, I truly love watching them with each other laughing, joking, talking, loving. Does a momma’s heart good – my best present.

“The best gifts can’t often be packed inside a box. How can you wrap shared laughter and tears or talks that run into hours? They can only be wrapped and treasured inside my heart.”

I cannot believe Christmas is already over. My poor tree can though! It is so dry – it stopped “drinking water” last week. I guess that’s what happens when you put a tree up before Thanksgiving (which was early this year!). Since it is in my family room, I have enjoyed its Christmas spirit and beauty every night. This boosted my spirits as well.  As I look back on this past week, I realize there is nothing I would change about Christmas this year. It was our best yet. My kids and I followed a lot of our traditions and added some new fun events too.

Sunday was such a beautiful day, not at all like a wintry December 23rd. My kids went to church with me. I loved showing them off to my pew neighbors. It was the 4th Sunday in Advent, which meant the Hope, Peace, Love, and finally the Joy candles were all lit. So appropriate as it was such a joy having my kids with me in church! Not to mention that my “Day 23 Christmas Sweater” represented 3 of the 4 Advent candles, it was just missing Hope. And I felt all of these emotions Sunday. Hope for my family and friends that 2019 will be a wonderful year. Hope that all pain and suffering, physical and emotional, all disease, illness, and cancer will disappear from the lives of all afflicted. Peace, as I am at a very good place in my SOLO life and thankful my life is just the way it is. Love having my kids close to me. I love that they love me and each other, and that they are very good people. I love that they are celebrating Christmas with their momma who loves them more than anything. Joy, oh I have so much joy in my heart and life, especially this Christmas season. I looked in the face of my great-nephew at our family’s Christmas celebration, and each time he facetimes me, and feel his constant joy. Isn’t that wonderful about kids and joy – theirs is so obvious. I felt such joy having my kids with me this Christmas.

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” Burton Hills

After church Sunday, we decided to visit several area wineries since it was such a beautiful day. We always leave the “which ones to visit” decision up to my younger daughter, our wine connoisseur, who picks perfectly, and Sunday was no exception. We had so much fun all afternoon together and ended up at my house for a lasagna family dinner. Again, more fun just sitting around the table talking, before watching Christmas movies (non-Hallmark!).

We followed a tradition we started several years ago on Christmas Eve, going downtown to a brewery we love for lunch. But first, my older daughter and I went to an early cycle class (I am not running right now or we would have gone for a good run!), and leisurely shopped at a few stores for nothing in particular, which was more fun. Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner was later at my house before church, followed by a late night of fun and more silly movies until we all fell asleep on couches and recliners. Poor Santa had to wait until the wee hours for us to move to our beds!

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

We changed up our tradition a bit Christmas morning and had a waffle bar! Oh, and eggs, grits, bacon, turkey sausage links, and fruit! Opened presents and had a late lunch before everyone headed back to their homes. My younger daughter and I started a new tradition this year: going to a movie Christmas afternoon! We decided to see Welcome to Marwen, and it was wonderful. So happy to do this as I always feel a bit of a let down after my kids leave.

With Christmas over and my tree so dry, I am ready for it to come down. I always like to start the new year with a clean house – all decorations back in their boxes, Christmas sweaters cleaned and  packed away for next Christmas. I plan to have this accomplished before the weekend is over.

“Start every day with a new hope. Leave bad memories behind and have faith for a better tomorrow.”

I started thinking about 2019 while I was in church with my kids last Sunday, as the Advent season wrapped up. Honestly, I am not sure how in my 61 years of life, I never thought so much about the specific Advent candles before. Just something I took for granted. Advent came to an end on Christmas morning, and the Christ candle representing the light of the world was lit. Let’s carry these themes of HOPE, PEACE, LOVE, and JOY right into the new year.

Speaking of the new year… do you have any big plans for New Year’s? Will you be awake to sing Auld Lang Syne? Any resolutions to share? I started 2018 telling myself that I did not want to end the year with any regrets. I would see my “out of town” kids more, go to the beach as often as possible, read more books, and learn to knit. Success in many of these resolutions – I have NO regrets for 2018. Well, I wanted to read more books and I did not learn to knit, but there is always 2019. Since this past year was a good one for me, I plan to continue on this same course.

“Make this year a year of finding, of fulfillment, of joy, peace, and purpose.”

Here is my advice to my kids for 2019 – maybe some will resonate with you:

  1. Be kind. Every day.
  2. Be honest with yourself and others. Every day.
  3. Work hard. Every day.
  4. Have fun. Every day.
  5. Exercise. Every day.
  6. Pray. Every day.
  7. Be thankful. Every day.

“A new year. A fresh start. Same dreams. New challenges. Feel the fear and do it anyway. 365 new days. 365 new challenges.”

This year is almost over and sadly, not all of our family & friends made it. Never take for granted those you love, and make sure they know how you feel, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

And for the final time this year, the last days of 25 Days of Christmas Sweaters:

See y’all next year!

Best,

Leslie

PS: Remember in a previous blog I said I thought the Carolina Frats must have hired a company to put up all of their lights. Well, according to my son, that is NOT the case. Pledges are responsible for the lights. So glad I never knew my son was on the roof of his fraternity house hanging lights!

ATO Chapel Hill…my son’s decorations!

 

 

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