Transitioning from the holiday magic into the rebirth and promise of the new year

Autumn, winter, and the holidays are by far my favorite time of the year.....The aroma of food wafting throughout the house, the abundance and close knit family gatherings, the magic of each holiday, the Winter Solstice- the earth is preparing for longer nights, shorter days, frosty mornings, and a great sleep. Winter is a time to rejuvenate and restore our bodies and minds. The hardest part about the holidays is that they come to an abrupt end and your essentially left with nothing until valentines (which by the way was on store shelves two weeks ago!) Let me share a bit of my holidays with you...

Fire gathering

Thanksgiving- our schedule was full to the brim, ate too much delicious food, spent time with family, took long walks in the woods, and did a little bit of black Friday shopping of course, and this shopping may have extended into cyber Monday as well (got some killer fleece lined water resistant Eddie Bauer pants, OK in truth its my third pair of these, I love them so much and guess what, mom did exactly the same thing)! Moving on from self indulgence......Immediately after Thanksgiving my mom and I went into full blown Christmas mode....the Christmas songs were blasting, the tree was strapped to the roof of the car, and we made about 1,000 trips hauling our Christmas decorations to the house! Every year the house gets transformed into a Christmas wonderland, our favorite style and one we cant help but connect with is the rustic folk decor-wildlife, cabins, camping, its our life in a nutshell. We are a bit nuts for Christmas decorations...the house explodes, you can barely move but this time of year provides the best memories. We use to go out in the woods on our land and cut down our own tree but then we started feeling bad for the little tree, so a couple years ago we decided to go purchase a beautiful Fir that was already cut down and waiting to have a home. It has worked out phenomenal, the smell is intoxicating that this gorgeous tree releases, it transports me right into a wild forest. Our tree isn't necessarily traditional but we have made it our own...each ornament has a story from our travels, from our youth, or is historic. Our friends love coming over to see what we have added and expect to hear those stories. We had to intersperse our decorating with Christmas activities just to give ourselves a break from the hours that will ensue with decorating. We toured multiple historic homes from the 1800's decorated to the hilt, attended Christmas charity benefits, went to a high tea at a haunted historic hotel, visited the Woolaroc Ranch in all of its Christmas glory, and saw about 10 million Christmas lights!

Path of lights at the Woolaroc Ranch in Oklahoma

Now for the fun part.... my brother arrives from college!! My family and I are incredibly lucky to be so close and tight knit, what can I say we work together, live together, go out together, its almost scary! He is in his last year of school (so proud of him) but 4 months is a long time. It is vacation when my brother gets home... we all live in our fuzzy pajamas, fuzzy robes, watch too much TV, and go almost nowhere, except last minute Christmas shopping. We try new recipes, see a few friends, we ring in the new year with non alcoholic sparkling grape juice, we hike, we enjoy each other and our animals. We exist in our own world and it never seems like enough time.

Hiking at Petit Jean State Park

Now that he has gone back to school, the Christmas starts to come down slowly, the smell of pecans and pumpkins dissipates, the presents are put away, and there is a slight emptiness to the house. This is one of the most interesting times of the year, you are left with reflection on the past year and simultaneously the promise of the new year. For me this time of year has always initiated a choice, perhaps the maintaining of a new years resolution, a change in your life, or a simple bit of time for yourself. For my family and I we are happy with our lives but have reached a time for change, we are no longer content with the path our lives are taking, it is not that we are not appreciative, it is just that we must challenge ourselves to follow an old dream... We all came to realize that we don't want to wake up when we are 90 and say I wish I would have at least tried. There are so many what ifs, we may fail but I doubt it, we may work ourselves to a bone, this I know for sure, but we have never been afraid of hard work, it keeps us young. One of our new years resolutions is to learn new things...all sorts, history, survival skills, facts, pioneer skills... making cheese for instance and starting a fire with flint!

Life continues, it is what we make of it that counts... I look forward to the small things like my fresh steaming cup of coffee in the morning and my night TV time with my cat... Ordinary life has replaced the magic of the holidays for now, but magic always surrounds you if you take the time to stop and listen. Emails and work phone calls are now replacing Christmas songs and planning for the new year has begun, it is exciting in its own right! From my family to yours, Happy New Year and may you find the magic in each and every day. .