Its a Blizzard Baby- Watch out for those Blizzard Babies!

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I had to laugh this am.  As the nation knows, the East Coast is getting ready to be hit by the Blizzard of 2016.  It promises to be an epic storm of severe proportions.  The media can speak of nothing else and bread, milk and eggs are getting scarce.  We live in MD so we are right in the “ZONE” this time for massive snowfall.

Yes, there are warnings abound about exposure to the elements, power outage possibilities and making sure your home is well stocked with the essentials (food, meds, toilet paper, etc.)  I have YET to hear anyone mention to be cautious of…The Blizzard Baby!

You know what I mean?  You and your sweetie are all snowed-in.  No where to go, no where to be.  Cabin Fever rushes in and then you realize you can only watch so much TV and play so many card games.  Am I right?  🙂

I speak from experience.  We have a Blizzard Baby.  The Blizzard of Feb 2010 brought Dapper to us in Nov of 2010.  We threw caution to those Blizzard Winds and in came the stork just 9 months later!

As you know from an earlier post, there will be no more Blizzard babies for us…But lots are soon-to-be in the making!  Mother Nature at her finest!

Enjoy and be warm and if need be- be safe and protect yourself from more than the elements if necessary!  XOXO

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On Your Mark, Get Set…

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Splash! As if in slow motion the brisk water envelopes me inch by inch. My form is perfection by any swim instructor’s standards. My fingertips are immersed first, followed closely by my precisely cupped hands. My arms glide in succession as though following along in a tightly formed marching parade. My carefully tucked and capped head charges in next followed by my elongated torso. My legs descend into the water remaining together as if one unit. Last, my feet and pointed toes torpedo into the water completing the swift dive.

The refreshing feeling I am engulfed with comes not from the water itself, but rather from the exhilaration I derive from the knowledge that I am where I belong; where I have indeed always belonged.

In truth, I don’t even remember learning to swim. If there were indeed formal lessons, they were surely successful and useful, but also long ago forgotten. I remember receiving my favorite doll at the
age of three and I remember the day I learned to tie my shoes but I have no recollection of learning to swim. I used to fancy that I was born with the skill and instructions, formal or informal, were unnecessary.

I presume I learned from a culmination of places that were significant to me in my childhood. The Atlantic Ocean that cascades onto the beaches of Long Beach Island, New Jersey, the lagoon behind my grandparent’s home and our family pool located in our back yard. Likely, it was a collaborative effort from many people at numerous places in my life which have made it possible for me to propel and excel in the water. I wonder if any of them knew just what a miraculous gift they were presenting to me, this
knowledge and skill called swimming?

There is a funny story told of me as a young girl. Our mother would let my siblings and me outside to play. It would be accurate to say we had the run of our street. They were charged with the task of minding me but were easily distracted with friends and fun so I was able to venture some on
my own. Every day that I wanted to go outside, I had to wear a life jacket because no matter what marvelous happenings were taking place in our neighborhood- building forts, riding bikes, or playing ball- I’d find my way to AND into our pool. My mother knew I couldn’t resist the water. Did she hear it calling me too? Probably not. She most likely saw me as a mischievous child looking for trouble. Most people would.

I cannot recall a moment in my life that the water and I did not have a relationship akin to that of old dear friends. The friend you truly considered family even though there were no blood ties. I have
always felt an intense draw to the water. Whether salt water, fresh water, chlorinated pool water, I had no bias. I wanted to be submerged, to ask it to commune with me, to allow me to be a part of it, if only briefly, for a few moments a day. I once saw sea turtles hatch and make their way instantly to the water. I felt we were kindred spirits as I understood their urge and instinct to give into it. I believe the draw intensified when I learned at a young age that the water would always make room for me. It was never too full to let me in.

When I am swimming laps my arms are carefully forming the proper strokes to push me forward. At the same time, I hear my thoughts so clearly and loudly. It is as if there is a giant microphone right next
to my brain picking up every thought. Some of the most brilliant answers to some of my most dire questions have been answered while I was submerged. The water follows my lead. When I want to float, it supports me. When I want to release stress and anger and swim hard until every muscle is burning, it provides just enough resistance to challenge me. When I want a break from the solitude, it is there to offer fun and splashing games with my family.

The water is a constant, a necessity. For all living things, great and small, water is a basic need. Without its consumption, all would perish. For me, it feels so much more than consuming is required. Immersion is a mandatory component. I must, just as the sea turtles, make my way to the
water. It is where I find myself and can clear my thoughts and hit reset, each and every time. When swimming parallel to the beaches I find contentment, awe and God. When swimming laps I find discipline, solitude and peace. The simple truth is that in any body of water, I am
filled with joy.

After my dive in, I rise to the surface amidst bubbles large and small and begin forging ahead with my concise and timed strokes . It is at this moment while my body is forcefully charging through the water that I discover something, a realization of epic proportions, my own little secret. I look around to my fellow swimmers. Some are free-styling, others are doing the butterfly, and one is just floating by on his back. I smile at my wonderful and amazing enlightened discovery. I laugh out loud and my jubilee echoes throughout the enclosed pool deck. My pool mates are now looking at me, the lifeguard too, completely unaware of what could possibly have me so bemused. I am holding on to the side of the pool giggling while adjusting my blue mirrored goggles. I slide my nose plug down. I place my feet upon the wall, almost directly underneath my hands and launch myself backwards and a huge wake is created. The water seems to move over for me at the same time it embraces me. I am elated! They are completely unaware that we are all doing something extraordinary. They do not realize we are flying.

But I do.

©Jennifer Woolford 2014

So, this happened yesterday…

Driving through our lovely town in Maryland, I came across this:

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An adorable Little Free Library.  This made my heart so happy.  Overjoyed, really!  I have heard about them but this was the first I ever saw in person.

It made me wish there was one in every neighborhood.  A ‘Take One, Leave One” free library where we could all benefit from the joy of a new book.  New to us at least.  Anyone who knows me and even those followers on here who do not “personally” know me can attest to the fact that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE books for all ages, on all topics.  I believe so deeply that reading for enjoyment is equally as important as reading for knowledge.  I believe this in my core.

Back to this Little Free Library, I showed the hubs this photo and said, “I want one in our yard”- naturally.  But as he very wisely pointed out, we live on a road which gets basically zero traffic and therefore, our library may be a little lame.

It is cute though, right?  This glorious little box that is the epitome of sharing, knowledge and neighborhood kindness all in once adorable Little Free Library.

Build one.  Share it with me.  I may even have a donation to add to it in a few months (HINT TO THE BIG NEWS REFERENCED THE OTHER DAY).

XOXO

 

Helpful Hint for Holiday Food Prep

blogpic.JPGHey there.  As you know from my earlier post, I am changing my eating habits in an effort to get healthy and hot.  🙂  But it is hard, right?  Especially during these upcoming holidays.

We have tomorrow- Thanksgiving- which is the day where it is socially acceptable to gorge ourselves with any and all food products (and even some questionable “food” products) and it is totally cool.

I know we personally have a huge Christmas party the following weekend and then of course, Christmas day.  I am nervous thinking about it.

Tomorrow we are lucky enough to go to family’s for dinner.  I volunteered to bring an appetizer, a dessert, sweet potatoes and rolls.  To help myself with one little thing, I decided that I was going to add Pecans to the sweet potatoes.  I realize to many of you, this is normal.  I, however, do not like pecans and would typically not make the casserole with them so I could gorge on them (see above).  However, by making the small decision to add something I don’t particularly like, I have taken sweet potatoes off the menu for myself- no cheating happening there.  Its a small victory, but I will take it where I can get it.

Now to be clear, I am not telling you to ‘jack with the food’ so that it doesn’t taste delicious to family and guests.  I am merely saying- perhaps bring popular items that you aren’t a fan of and serve them.

For example this weekend we are having a small Christmas Tree decorating party day- I bought 2 flavor pies that I don’t care for.  They will still be decadent to my guests, but it takes the temptation away from me.

It helps me and if it helps you, well than, that’s awesome!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

One Word- the book

So for the last two years, I have taken notes from a book written by a local man in town called One Word.  The idea and concept of this book is SO easy.  You guys, we can all participate.

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This book asks us to shed the idea of overbearing New Year’s Eve Resolutions.  How many of us create these super-versions of ourselves for the New Year?  We set off our year burdening ourselves with these huge hardships which lead to sometimes even more huge disappointments/ failures and self-hatred.

Not me. Not once I read One Word written by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and  Jimmy Paige (I will post a link at the bottom of this post).  One Word asks the reader to pray to find the One Word we should focus on and embrace for the first year.  Everyone’s word is different and unique to them.  Even people who chose the same word, chose it for different reasons and with different meanings.

For example.  I know two people who chose the word Forgiveness last year.  The first person chose that word because they were a recovering alcoholic and they were trying desperately to learn the art of self-forgiveness.  Forgiveness for the things she remembered and the things she did not but knew hurt others.  The second person chose forgiveness because they had a rocky upbringing and they were struggling to move passed the hurt, the shame and the disfunction experienced in their early years.  Two different journeys all stemming from One Word.

Once you choose your annual word, you create (my fave part) a piece of art to display in your home or office as a reminder of that One Word you are striving to work on all year long.  A lot of people paint canvases.  My art for the passed two years has been ceramic that I paint and then the pottery place puts in the Kiln for me.  It is a decoration and a reminder to me.  It has been so very helpful and much less intimidating than a gigantic resolution that has a high fail rate percentage.

So, seeing as this has been such an incredible experience for me, I wanted to share it with my readers/followers.  AKA My Blog Buddies.  I highly recommend you check out One Word and see for yourself the power it can hold.  The power YOU actually hold when you give attention and dedication to one focal point.  Its a small concept with massive results.

Time for more personal sharing.  I will tell you my words from the past and my reasons.  Hey, we are all friends here, right?

In 2013, my word was Extraordinary.  I chose this word because I wanted to make sure I tried my best to be extraordinary at everything I tried and I wanted to make sure that when I walked away from someone, that I had left them feeling extraordinary themselves.  In choosing this word, relationships in my life seemed better, I was more willing to try and learn new things, I was kinder to myself and to others.  It really was an Extraordinary experience.

2014 brought a new word (you must choose a new one each year.  The word I chose was LIVE.  I wanted to be sure that I was living to my fullest potential.  I wanted to do the things I wanted and LIVE!  This has been an awesome ride this year as I believe my attention and devotion to the One Word, Live, helped me to focus on myself. The word Live kept me driven with my writing and thrust me to pursuing my passions.

I hope you all will consider choosing One Word for 2016.  Feel free to share it or NOT.  Telling others your word is fine but it isn’t what this is about.  This is a personal journey.  I am happy to share with you.

My word for 2016 is Immerse.  I feel so complelled that this is my word, I honestly feel that it chose me.  Aside from being a writer, I also LOVE TO SWIM.  I have gotten away from it and I have decided that my One Word will have Two Meanings.  🙂

The first and most obvious is that I want to get back to swimming.  Back to the water and back to an early passion I had.  I loved swimming even before I loved reading and writing (if you can believe THAT).

The second reason I chose Immerse is that I want to Immerse myself completely in my life.  In my passions, in my family, in my joys.  I simply want to be immersed in this glorious life and I am choosing this word as a daily reminder of that fact.

So take the plunge with me.  Choose a word and watch the miracles take place!

You can find out more at http://getoneword.com/about-the-book/

 

XOXO

 

He is almost here……

Hey guys!  Hope you are having a great week so far!  Thank you for all the messages and comments.  Talking with you has been great!

I wanted to real quickly come on here tonight (this am if we want to be technical) and ask you how many of you do THE ELF ON THE SHELF?  We started it back in 2012 with our little ones and let me just tell you, it has been a ball.

Our guy, Marlin…

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I will just tell you tonight that we named our Elf Marlin because that is the name my husband wanted for our children.  He is an avid fisherman and our children’s names fall in line with that theme but I just couldn’t name one of our children, Marlin.  Nothing against it, truly.  It just wasn’t for me.  SO, I thought, I would name something Marlin- and that special someone was our ELF ON THE SHELF and he has turned out to be a pretty amazing and fun guy!  Our Christmas would not be the same without him, that’s for sure!

We are super excited for his return this month and I just bet he has so much fun stuff in store for our family!

I did, however, kind of wanted to take you all on a journey of where Marlin has been, what he does during his “down time” and ways I have come up with to keep his memories intact for the little ones for their whole lives.  I hope you all will stay tuned!

Here is a photo of Marlin in Haiti last December.  He was in Labadee just soaking up some sun!  That is the cruise ship he was on.

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XOXO